Here’s a secret: don’t bathe

My entire life I’ve been told — sometimes forced — to take a bath.

It’s something we, as Americans, do every day — Hawaii folks prefer evenings to mornings — as part of our personal hygiene ritual. We shower, we brush our teeth, we wash our hair and clothes. We try to stay clean.

But there’s a growing sect of people who have decided to forgo these daily cultural norms — including the use of deodorant — and living life very, well, au natural.

In a recent article in the New York Times, we are living in a time when we could actually wash less — but instead we wash more.

People who have abandoned the daily cleaning rituals cite reasons such as allowing their skin to retain natural oils, conserving water and avoiding the potential harm of ingredients like aluminum (found in antiperspirants). Some, particularly men, like the “unkempt” look.

So why do we wash and clean and bathe so much, anyway?

The article points at money. It’s possible we spend more money on personal hygiene products because we’re conditioned to — through magazine and TV ads, through societal pressures.

Look at the data: Adults younger than 24 use deodorant and antiperspirant more than nine times a week; older folks use it on average once a day. And a whopping 93 percent of American adults use shampoo almost daily. That’s big business for personal hygiene companies to offer products to such a highly enthusiastic consumer base.

I know people who live on the Mainland who don’t shower every day during the winter months. You’re not sweating, there’s no reason to shower. And I’ve long known that washing your hair every day can strip it of its natural oils and dry it out. So unless I’ve dunked my head into the ocean, I tend to forgo shampooing for at least a couple of days.

But who wants to admit that, right?

Any of you can relate to this recent trend? Or do you think it’s utterly disgusting to not shower every day?


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