Ask Me Anything: Blue Dawn Shampoo, Body Wash

There are days when I open my mailbox and have to sit down because I’m laughing so hard. Some things just strike me funny. Turns out this time, though, the last laugh was on me.

I am a cheapskate. I read your column for hot tips, particularly about Blue Dawn Dishwashing liquid. Recently I have begun to use Dawn for a hair shampoo. My wife is aghast. She says my hair is going to turn blue and I will smell. She claims that shampoos have an acid base balance that ensures shiny luxurious hair. Do you have an opinion? How about using it for body wash, as well? Bill

Dear Bill: l have to admit that I was a bit aghast myself as I read your letter. And I came this close to firing off a response siding with your wife but stopped short by sending myself on a research expedition so I could tell you exactly why you should listen to her and never ever shampoo or shower with Blue Dawn.

Man in shower washing hair

Boy, was I in for a shock. Not only could I not find credible reasons to not use Blue Dawn for personal care, I discovered a cult-like following of people out there who swear by the stuff not only for hair care and body wash but as a very effective acne treatment, too.

I found the list of ingredients for Procter & Gamble original Blue Dawn and compared them to the most expensive men’s shampoo I could find—Kérastase Capital Force. While not exactly the same (for starters, Blue Dawn has far fewer ingredients)—and with full disclosure that I am not a chemist—let me tell you that I was stunned by the similarities. From sodium laureth sulfate to methylisothiazolinone, Blue Dawn and Kérastase Capital Force have what I found to be remarkable similarities.

I decided to take this research a bit farther—right into the shower. And not to clean the floors and walls. I shampooed, body-washed and gave myself a complete Ultra Blue Dawn personal spa treatment using the super concentrated “Ultra” version I had on hand.

I purposely didn’t follow with hair conditioner because I wanted to experience the best or worst case outcome. I can’t remember the last time I and my hair emerged so squeaky clean. Of course, I assumed I just removed every last bit of moisture from myself, which I was willing to endure in the interest of product testing.

I styled my hair, as usual, using my regular routine and styling products. I waited a few days to declare the outcome. My hair was fantastic and so shiny—read it again: Shiny and dare I say luxuriously so. And super clean. My guess is the folks at P&G just might know something about what your wife refers to as acid-base balancing.

Related: No More Bad Hair Days

As for using Blue Dawn as a body wash, it was great. I felt so clean! I didn’t notice any difference at all from other body washes, other than it required a lot of rinsing, quite possibly due to the high concentration in the “Ultra” version of Blue Dawn.

I’ve done more reading and poking around and have now come to these conclusions:

  • Blue Dawn can restore hair in a number of ways because of its intense cleaning properties (remember the ducks and wildlife from oil spills)— oil, product build-up and other grimy liquids and dirt that regular shampoo isn’t strong enough to clean.
  • Blue Dawn may lighten your hair if you accidentally color too dark.
  • Blue Dawn will deep clean your skin with no apparent adverse effect that I can detect so far, even to my super sensitive skin.

I’ve begun diluting Blue Dawn with as much as three parts water and it still works really well.

As for your hair turning blue or you smelling, I don’t think I would be concerned about either unless you decide to not rinse, which I do not recommend. In fact, I suggest that you rinse, rinse, rinse again, and repeat.

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20 replies
  1. Chris Kealoha-Hall
    Chris Kealoha-Hall says:

    Does the Green Dawn work the same or does it have to be blue? I heard on a radio station that Dawn was also helping with getting hair to grow back for those who were loosing there hair?

  2. Elaine Burkhalter Ford
    Elaine Burkhalter Ford says:

    couldn’t believe my eyes, Mary, when I saw your post about using blue dawn as shampoo and body wash because just early the same day I wondered why it wouldn’t work 🙂 This morning I also used dawn as shampoo and body wash. It was already in the shower and already diluted because that is what I use to bathe the doggy!

  3. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    Using Dawn dishwashing soap is what I use when coming in from the woods. Poison ivy is my enemy; therefore, when coming in from the area around our home, I shower using Dawn dishwashing soap from my hair all the way down to my toes. Dawn seems to wash away any poison ivy oil that has touched my body. Obviously, the clothes go in the wash machine with soap and hot water. I would recommend Dawn for about anything. Sheila

  4. Pat
    Pat says:

    As I read this post I suddenly thought of the “blue hair ladies” of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. They used a blue rinse to counteract the tinge of yellow in their gray hair. I will try Blue Dawn (which I always have on hand) as my shampoo to see if it works in the same way, since I have been unable to find a product to get rid of the yellow. I refuse to pay the exorbitant prices charged by salons for any kind of color.

    • Emy Young
      Emy Young says:

      If you have a Sally ‘s beauty supply store in your area, ask for a blue shampoo(Shimmer Lights). It works better than the old fashioned blue rinse. Once you are happier with your hair color, cut back on use to only every second or third shampoo, otherwise you could hear children ask about the blue hair lady. But then again, they may just be admiring the color.

  5. Mary
    Mary says:

    I had actually heard about this from my son. He is attending a technical college doing an automotive technology program. He had run out of money, but he had his Blue Dawn dish soap. He had told me it worked great as a hair and body wash and getting clean from his time in the shop. Go figure!

      • April Bagley
        April Bagley says:

        I never seen any clear dawn either . I can’t find the old real one I can only Fong the blue ultra concentrated . I think
        That’s the one everyone talking about but they sell other colors and scents yes but I also never seen a clear one. I seen clear dish soap other kinds . Are you sure it’s dawn refill you bought ? Maybe someone sold you the wrong thing .

    • Judy Jones
      Judy Jones says:

      Yes, diluted apple cider vinegar and water does help get rid of the suds. White vinegar will as well but, won’t give you the added benefits of nourishing minerals that are in the apple cider vinegar. Also, try to remember if you aren’t diluting the Dawn that a little bit goes a very long way. I use to use Dawn all the time but, haven’t been for a while but, I am going to go back to using it even though I don’t really use any hair care products. The other benefit of the vinegar is that you probably won’t need conditioner and if you do you can water it down and just spritz it on as a detangler.

      • Jan
        Jan says:

        Those great nourishing minerals in cider vinegar will turn gray hair yellow. Please use white vinegar, it will brighten our gray.

  6. Deborah Corley
    Deborah Corley says:

    When I finished using one of the foaming hand soap dispensers, I filled it with mostly water and a bit of Blue Dawn dishwashing soap. It works great, foams the same, and is so cheap to use. I keep it at my kitchen sink and the bathroom sinks!! I also have been using your homemade laundry detergent recipe as well for a long time and convincing other people to use it as well. Thanks for all your advice!!

  7. Marla
    Marla says:

    I used it to lighten my hair that was colored too dark just a couple months ago. It did work – it did lighten it, enough that I didn’t resemble Elvira anymore, but still had to get highlights added by my stylist to be happy with it. But it DOES work for lightening too-dark color….I used it 4 times in a 5-day period, so you do have to do it multiple times depending on how dark your hair is, etc.

  8. Lorrie Ney
    Lorrie Ney says:

    Sounds great to me! I raise miniature Schnauzers and use a watered down combo of generic head and shoulders plus blue dawn to wash my dogs. It cleans them well and is a natural flea killer and repellent. Then I use an inexpensive human conditioner. They smell grwatvlinger and their hair is beautiful!


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