Gross or Not Gross: “I Don’t Shower Every Day”
Some people skip daily showering, shampooing—and deodorizing.
If a coworker’s hair looks a little oily, or that cute guy you’ve just met smells like a marathon runner at the finish line, don’t assume that they’re ignorant about personal hygiene. They may just not want to clean up every day.
According to an article in The New York Times, people are increasingly avoiding the traditional American routine of a daily shower, shampoo and deodorant application in favor of cleaning up, well, when they feel like it. Want examples? One 30-year-old guy interviewed by the Times said he shampoos once a month, just to reduce frizz a bit. A 55-year-old businesswoman who travels frequently uses sliced lemon instead of deodorant. (We had a few questions on this one: Does she routinely carry a large bag of lemons in her luggage? Or does she have to forage for them in unfamiliar cities?)
The practitioners of alternative hygiene say they’ve got good reasons, including water conservation and the preservation of the skin’s natural oils. Others are afraid of the aluminum that’s in many mainstream deodorants, claiming that it might cause Alzheimer’s. (This belief persists, according to the Times, although the Alzheimer’s Association says there is no link.)
But as eccentric as these practices might sound, there are a few arguments in their favor: some experts say it’s true that excessive showering can dry out your skin by getting rid of protective oils. In addition, there may be good bacteria on our skin that protects us from infection, in the same way good bacteria helps our intestines function well. And there’s no arguing against the need to conserve water.
Of course, scientific research doesn’t take the aesthetic factor into account—people who don’t wash their hair every day, or even every other day, just might not be all that attractive to others. And though many alternative-hygiene adherents may want to “smell like myself” rather than a deodorant, perhaps that extremely authentic odor isn’t appreciated by co-workers.