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Learning What We Really Need, Shower Edition

It turns out that my work schedule and laziness (or need for sleep) along with a little apathy are good for my water bill, the environment, and my awareness.

I didn’t shower between Sunday and Wednesday. I didn’t smell bad or feel dirty, though my hair was starting to get a little greasy. I’m sure no one would have noticed if I’d just braided it…but I also enjoy the relaxing aspect of showers and feeling clean so I decided to take one.

I’ve taken many fewer showers since I stopped my 9-5 job. In the morning, I don’t want to get up until I really have to, so cutting out a shower lets me sleep longer. Plus I don’t use hair dryers and my head can get really cold while I’m waiting for the bus or train.

Then after work I sometimes feel apathetic about them–why bother?

And I’ve discovered a secret: We really don’t need to shower as much as we think.

The therapeutic aspects of showers are great, of course. But a short wash-up in the morning is really all the cleaning we need. In the 40’s, 50’s and such my mom’s family only took real baths once a week. They were clean and always washed, of course, but not this daily shower business. I still don’t think my mom takes daily showers.

I’m all about being clean, but I’ve found that daily showers doesn’t have much effect on that unless I’m working out or something.

Someday (perhaps if I’m staying at home with an infant) I might even do this. We’ll see.

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January 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Two Nickels January 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

That’s not an option for me. I have VERY oily skin, and if I don’t take a shower within the first 30 minutes of being awake, not only do I feel disgusting, but my hair is greasy, messy (bed head), and I leave streaks on any glass doors I touch. My wife doesn’t shower every day, usually every other, and I still can’t wrap my mind around it, but she’s not as greasy as I am.

mrsmicah January 10, 2008 at 3:01 pm

Apparently only my face skin is that oily, not the rest of me. I always need to wash my face, but my hair (while oilier than I’d like) can apparently take it.

Carrie January 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm

LOL! Yeah I can go about 2 or 3 days without a shower before DH can even tell πŸ˜‰ I DO think guys HAVE to shower daily though.

Becky January 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I try to workout 5 days a week, so this is rarely an option for me. I do occasionally cover my hair with a shower cap, though, ’cause I know it’s good for hair to not be washed every day.
I’m pretty impressed that you ‘fessed up to not showering every day, Mrs. Micah! 5 bonus points for you πŸ™‚

rocketc January 10, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Ummm, somebody has been spending too much time online. . .

Actually, my wife can go a day or two without a shower. Me? not a pretty picture.

moneymonk January 10, 2008 at 4:17 pm

off the subject,

just curious, are you a lawyer or doctor? How did you get that student loan debt?

dawn January 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Hubby’s dermatologist actually recommended not to take a daily shower, as well as to take cooler showers when he does. Daily hot showers are very drying to the skin.

Anitra January 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm

As far back as I can remember, I’ve only taken a shower/bath every other day (sometimes every third day) unless I get really dirty. But lately, my hair has started looking really lank and greasy after about 24 hours (and it’s not long enough to braid or otherwise hide) – so just this week I started taking showers every evening. I like showering, but it feels like a much bigger time-sink to me now.

Lily January 10, 2008 at 5:12 pm

Showering has always felt like a gigantic waste of time to me – I do it because it’s necessary, not because I find it fun or therapeutic. Then again, my shower is old and one of those annoying ones where it’s either too hot or too cold – so clearly I don’t enjoy showering. I love showering in hotels and I tend to shower multiple times while away from home … not just to make up for my every-other-day showers during the work week.

My coworker confessed to me, in one of way too many TMI moments, that she only washed her hair once a week, if that. I really wish I hadn’t known. She’s perfectly hygienic in every other respect, but I still wish I hadn’t known.

RacerX January 10, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Sorry all…for me it is an everyday thing or I feel gross. Plus a Hot showere is my Zen time to review my day πŸ™‚

rocketc January 10, 2008 at 5:24 pm

If i shower at night – I still have to take one the next morning.

Julie January 10, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I’m so glad that I’m not the only one! I’ve been on swim teams for the past 8 or so years, so showering after practice has become a habit for me. In the off-season and now (since I’m not on the team anymore), I really just forget to shower since it’s not part of my routine. I’ve started going to the gym though, so it’s pretty easy to get in a shower after that. I could never shower every morning though, I want all the sleep that I can get!

Julie January 10, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Also my (way overpriced) gym includes soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion, so if I take my shower there, I’m saving myself from buying all those things!

sham January 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

I went 3 months once only rinsing my hair. Was OK until my SO found out.

Kathy January 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Ha – that’s great. This is something I’ve realized for years now. I’m not sure who decided that people are only clean for arbituary 24-hour cycles. Since when did the speed of the earth’s rotation have anything to do with how clean one’s body is?

I’ve also decided that its VERY individual. My roommate takes multiple showers a day because she’s sweats a lot. I’m more on a once every 2-3 days rotation, and even that is because of oily hair – not because the rest of me feels unclean.

plonkee January 10, 2008 at 8:04 pm

I normally shower because my hair is skanky and needs a wash rather than because I actually need cleaning. Lucky are the people who don’t need to wash their hair every day.

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances January 10, 2008 at 10:27 pm

My hair is the first thing to show, too. My bangs are greasy by evening and I’ve been known to use a bit of cornstarch if in emergencies when I can’t wash my hair.

I like long hot showers, but I really dislike the beginning and ends when I’m standing there nakid and cold. When I know that I’m not going out, I may forgo a shower for a few days. I start feeling kind of greasy all over, though, and finally I’ll drag myself to the shower.

pfmoron January 10, 2008 at 10:49 pm

I shower everyday and assumed that everyone else did as well. Who knew there were so may dirty people out there. Thank goodness the smell doesn’t permeate over the internet.

rocketc January 10, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Plonkee, your hair sleeps around?!


CatherineL January 11, 2008 at 2:37 am

Mrs M – I don’t shower every day either – especially if i haven’t done anything physically demanding. It dries your skin out too much and also wastes too much time.

And like you, I don’t use a hairdryer all the time (because that takes up too much time too).

The Bad Penny January 11, 2008 at 11:52 am

I’ll be one to admit I only shower when I need it – when my hair gets too oily or I’ve done something to exert myself and make myself stink. πŸ™‚

The funny thing is, that the less I shower the less I need to. Posters above were nervous because their hair gets too oily, but so was my hair. I think it was washed too often! Now that I only shower every other or every third day, my hair doesn’t get as oily, and my ends don’t get as dry, and I don’t spend so much on hair products! πŸ™‚

tarits January 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm

i live in a tropical country, so daily showers are a must. no offense, but foreigners who visit our country and do not take a bath every day are obvious not just because of their appearance, but because they … uh… smell. it’s very humid here and you tend to sweat a lot!

also, i live in the city, so after just a few hours my skin feels icky already. sometimes, i even take another shower before bedtime. i’m trying to cut back on shampooing my hair though, to just every other day; it gets dry if i shampoo too often.

Mrs Micah's Mom January 11, 2008 at 4:07 pm

We used to bathe once a week in a laundry tub in the basement, carrying down kettles of hot water. I was the second child and always got second use of the water and a damp towel. Then my parents got fresh hot water, but they also had to share a towel since we only had two towels then.

When we moved into a house with a shower, it was such a great luxury that I showered every other day. When I went away to college, I started showering every day, and I still do, even though it is bad for the skin. I only wash my hair twice a week though. I take my shower before bed, which is why MrsMicah doesn’t know about it.

In the Philippines, I took daily dip and pour baths since we didn’t have showers, and as tarits says, you need at least one bath a day in a tropical country. I was in the mountains. In the lowlands, most people bathed three times a day. They oiled their hair with coconut oil.

I have known people who have begun taking showers less frequently and have lost track of when they took the last shower and became quite stinky and didn’t know it because they couldn’t smell themselves. One person I know once went 11 weeks without a shower, a bad idea. So, do keep track.

Mrs Micah’s Mom

vh January 12, 2008 at 1:43 pm

(Chortle!) And here I thought I was the only person in the developed world who had slipped into the habit of bathing once every two or three days instead of every single day. Around here, you can’t get away with it during the summer (110-degree heat does nothing to keep you smelling fresh!), but I’ve discovered that if the pool’s chemicals are kept balanced, a swim before work will carry me through to the next shower. In the wintertime, though, when your skin gets dry and itchy, a little less bathing is in order.

Back in the day (when Mrs. Micah’s Mom and I were young things), women did not wash their hair every day. My mother and I washed our hair once a week, because it was a big project. We didn’t have hand-held hair dryers or curling irons or electric rollers. Nor did we shampoo in the shower. You had to scrub out the kitchen or utility sink, wash your hair under the tap, rinse with rainwater or vinegar water (in those days shampoo didn’t come out well in hard water), and then clean the sink again. Argh!

BTW, to save shampoo and also wear & tear on your hair, you can “wash” your hair with conditioner. About every second time you’re in the shower, use conditioner instead of shampoo. Your hair will come out looking refreshed and clean.

Janie Krukemeyer December 19, 2008 at 5:49 am

I have dry skin and my doctor has recommended NOT showering every day. Of course, I use deodorant and a nice cologne (I found one that I think smells like soap — it is called Gingham) and I dab a tiny amount of that on because I hate overly perfumed people (gives me a headache to smell them.) I am fortunate that I never sweat much so it hasn’t made much of a difference in my life. I shower usually twice a week and wash my hair only once because I’m 58 and my hair is very dry.

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