The blogosphere was a-buzz this morning about an article in the New York Times profiling a new movement in beauty: People Who Do Not Shower. Or, I might add, Wear Deodorant.
The reasons are many: water conservation, an attempt to retain the skin and hair’s natural oils, a hipster-esque style statement (ewww….), a fear that antiperspirant causes cancer (okay, I hear you), or simply a belief that daily showers are not necessary.
And the queen of the movement is one Katherine Ashenburg, author of a book called The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History. I actually interviewed her for a story I wrote about sweat—yes, sweat—for ELLE Canada back in the day (get with the program, New York Times!), and of all the features I’ve written over the years, it remains one of my favourites. You can download a PDF copy right here, if you’d like to read it.
I sort of get what Ms. Ashenburg is saying. Now that most of us toil in offices and enjoy such modern luxuries as take-out menus, dishwashers and taxi cabs, it’s not like we’re really getting all that dirty. And yet, we’ve never been more hyper-obsessed with showering, bathing, deodorizing, etc. (Also? I would like this opportunity to take offense with the New York Times’ implication that people who work from home in their pajamas do not bathe. We do so!)
Personally, I choose to see this obsession with cleanliness as a GOOD thing.
Let’s talk about hair first.
Obviously none of these people advocating for one or two showers per week have fine, straight hair. Because honestly? I can only extend my ‘do by one, two days max with dry shampoo before it’s plastered to my head with no chance of resuscitation. (Your mileage may vary.) A couple of my current faves are…
AG Hair Cosmetics Fast Fwd Dry Shampoo:
and Kenra Platinum Color Care Dry Shampoo:
And word to the hipsters striving for those artfully textured, unwashed ‘dos: you can get the same effect with dry shampoo, and also this Schwarzkopf product… and you will smell a whole lot more pleasant.
I’m also not entirely convinced that in a country like Canada we need to be too worried about water conservation—although I’m certainly not advocating that you spend 45 minutes in there. I can definitely get the job done in five minutes or less… but if they ever put a ban on showers, they’ll have to drag me from my bathroom kicking and screaming.
Now as for curly-haired folk, I am aware of a perhaps overlapping movement out there called “No Poo”—as in no shampoo, because apparently curls look better when you leave them the heck alone. You can read more about it here. Alas, with my hair texture it’s something I’ll never be able to personally understand, nor experience: I’m willing to play guinea pig for a lot of things, but not this. (I do, however, plan to investigate further for a future blog post, so if anyone has tried and cares to comment, hit me up.)
My question, though, is whether any of these people trying to enhance their curls have ever heard of cute shower caps? They’re a really neat invention! Keeps your hair dry AND you can still bathe.
I sure don’t.
I will say that I do have one friend (who I will not name, but maybe she will show up in the comments) who does not wear deodorant (although I’m guessing still showers daily). And never, not once, have I ever detected an unpleasant smell.
However, I also have several acquaintances (notice I say acquaintances, not friends) who I have to surmise are entirely unaware of their own B.O. It’s a problem—and this trend is only encouraging them at our collective expense!
Besides, what’s wrong with slicking on a bit of all-natural deodorant? Although the jury’s still out on how dangerous (i.e. cancer-causing) aluminum is, there are plenty of aluminium-free options. Back in the summer, I did a round-up of my faves, but in this category efficacy is hit and miss, so you should also know I’m an advocate of the Rotation Theory. Buy a few and keep rotating ‘em… then they all seem to work pretty decently. No, it’s not scientific.
Probably my all-time fave is this one:
Some of the New York Times subjects use lemon slices. Um..?
Not to knock home remedies too much, though—I have heard that a mix of coconut oil and baking soda works wonders. Someday I will get around to trying it!
So tell me what you think of this whole aversion to showering and deodorizing…
How often do YOU bathe?
Would you be willing to skip a shower or two?
Are you a user of dry shampoo and/or all-natural deo? (Lemon slices don’t count.)