Going Soapless

January 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve cultivated a bit of a reputation around my infrequent showering and general lack of hygiene. I’m lucky to have hair that doesn’t require a daily shampooing and I like to think that my body can steep a few days in its natural oils and odours without offending anyone too much. When I do decide to take a shower, I hardly ever use soap. I rarely wash my face before bed, I never wear antiperspirant and sometimes? As in most of the time? When it’s just pee? I don’t even wash my hands. Yes, really. Are you repulsed by me yet? You’re probably not alone, but as it turns out, neither am I.

Two recent articles in GOOD magazine and the New York Times point out that skipping the morning shower and ditching your anti-bacterial moisturizing soap with exfoliating beads and ylang-ylang does actually have its merits. Among them, softer, more hydrated skin, decreased exposure to harmful chemicals, water conservation, a heightened immune system and increased sex appeal. And if that’s not enough, how about having more cash in the bank due to all the money you’ll save on all the ridiculous personal care products the media tells us we need to make ourselves attractive, hygenic, and, apparently, more natural?

Personal cleanliness is a huge business in North America and we are bombarded daily with advertisements singing the praises of clean pores and flowery scents. According to this article, “Widespread advertisements address (and arguably generate) anxiety about body odor, from the classic spots ordering consumers to ‘Raise your hand if you’re Sure!’ to recent popular commercials with the actor Isaiah Mustafa hawking Old Spice body wash.” It goes on to cite statistics that adults younger than 24 years old use deodorant more than nine times a week, while 93 per cent of adults shampoo daily. And they wash that cocktail of chemicals down the drain every morning, only to shellac themselves with a fresh coat immediately after. And I’m the crazy one here? Please.

I’m not telling you to give up bathing entirely. Apparently a pretty good case has been made for hand-washing and while I don’t put that much stock in germ theory, I will concede that it at least exists. All I’m asking is that you take a few moments to read the label on your antiperspirant, your collagen cream, your hand soap, and think about when rubbing aluminum under your arms became considered “hygenic”. Because it’s not. It’s gross and unnatural and weird. But it’s not too late! Start living soap-free today and start living.

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