"You Don't Have to" Series, Alternative Living

You Don’t Have to: Shower Every Day


Gum commercials. Cologne and perfume. Home cleaning products that claim 99.9% death to bacteria. It’s a daily story we’ve been told our entire lives telling us that we stink, and society won’t accept us if we’re not freshly hosed down on the daily.

But do we really smell that bad? Are we jumping in the shower because of actual need or simply social pressure? Here’s what I found from some dermatologists and cosmetologists on the subject:

Our bodies have natural oils that can be washed away by hot water and the countless products we use. This goes particularly for your hair: when you shampoo too frequently it removes the oils that keeps your hair strong, healthy and keeps your head moisturized.

Unhealthy skin is more prone to conditions like eczema and acne and can allow bacteria, viruses and infections to permeate more easily through the micro-cracks in your dry skin.

Showering takes time, money and resources. If you record the time it takes from stumbling out of bed and in to the shower, to drying off and styling your hair just right, showering can eat up a better part of your morning. Imagine saving 30 minutes a couple mornings a week for sleeping in or making an extra tasty breakfast.

On top of that, heating water costs money, and the thousands of unnecessary daily showers around the world are using countless gallons of drinking water. Reducing our showering saves us money and our valuable resource.

We’re not even cleaning our hair properly anyway! According to Elite Daily, we should shampoo only near our scalp and not the ends of our hair. By scrubbing just our scalp, the shampoo gently runs down the ends and cleans them without damaging them.

And the opposite goes for conditioner. You’re supposed to only condition the ends and not the roots, as conditioner on the scalp will make your hair greasy faster.

I can already hear the daily exercisers chiming in. Sure you likely need to shower more often, but you don’t always need to shampoo and condition every time; just rinse your hair to get the sweat off and get outta there.

Water can damage our hair color and our skin health. Tap water in particular has minerals and sometimes chlorine that can dry your skin by damaging the healthy top layer, and can dull hair color, especially if you dye your hair. If you shower too often your skin never has time to repair itself properly.

It’s more effective to simply wear clean clothes daily. According to a study mentioned in this BuzzFeed article, we shed 90% of the dirt and oils in to our clothes, so the dirt rinsed in the shower is relatively minor.

What do you think? Do you love your cozy warm morning ritual too much, or is it a chore you’d be happy to rid of once in a while? Personally, I’m happy to sleep in a little longer, and my friends still seem to hang out with me so I can’t smell all that bad. But maybe they’re just really nice.

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