Soap Dodgers

A growing number of people are cutting down on daily showering and hair-washing. So could you join the extreme soap-dodgers?

If you are reading this article over breakfast, the chances are you have recently stepped into the shower, lathered up your hair and torso, rinsed off, towelled and blow-dried, before dousing your armpits with deodorant, and wafting on a fog of perfume or aftershave.

Then again, maybe not. The New York Times has just reported on a new trend towards what's sometimes known as soap-dodging. Among those who have cut down on daily showers, baths or hair-washing were a woman who swipes a sliced lemon under her armpits instead of deodorant, another who uses baby wipes to freshen up after her lunchtime runs, and a salesman who shampoos only once a month and gave up anti-perspirant for three years.

Think this is only happening in the US? Think again. There are plenty of signs that this carefree attitude to cleanliness is popular in the UK too – and in some cases growing. Last year, a poll for tissue manufacturer SCA found that 41% of British men and 33% of women don't shower every day, with 12% of people only having a proper wash once or twice a week. (These figures place us behind Australia, Mexico and France in the personal hygiene stakes.) Around the same time, research by Mintel found that more than half of British teenagers don't wash every day – with many opting for a quick spray of deodorant to mask any stink.

Over the last few years there have been regular suggestions that daily hair-washing, or even any hair-washing at all, is quite unnecessary, with the commentator Matthew Parris admitting he hadn't shampooed his hair for a decade, and broadcaster Andrew Marr reporting himself perfectly happy with the results when he followed suit for a short while. Many people clearly agree that a regular hair-wash is a hassle. In 2008, Boots reported a 45% rise in sales of dry shampoo ( a product that can be sprayed on hair between showers), while the Batiste brand has recently seen its sales double...

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  • I followed the no poo hair routine for a while (you rinse hair in bicarb of soda and cider vinegar) but have quite long thick hair and I couldn't wait for the 6week greasy hair period to pass.  Have friends who swear by it though. 

     I try and use natural deodorant (pitrock crystal) and natural shampoo/conditioner (faith in nature).  My skin is sensitive so it makes sense for me to try natural products and I also don't want to dry out my long hair so try and avoid harsh chemicals and silicones.

  • I only ever shower after sex.

    So about six or seven times a day.

  • skottyskotty ✭✭✭

    I only ever shower before sex.

    Or at least I promise I will.... image

    maybe have to change my approach.

  • bath or shower daily but as far as me hair is concerned, daily shampooing ledas to it looking like something you could blow and tell the time  fromimage Shampooing once a week is adequate. Once in a while I will just wet it though and let it dry natural.
  • I'm the opposite, D2D. If I wash my hair daily it gets frizzier and drier, and harder to brush. Every 2-3 days is ideal for me, but it can be hard to balance out with swimming and hard training sessions.
  • It's not really a new trend to give up on soap. Isn't it said of Queen Elizabeth 1 she had a bath twice a year whether she needed one or not? I remember back in the 70s, when showers in homes weren't as prolific as they are now, it wasn't the norm to shower / bath everyday. As kids in winter, we would have a bath on a Friday, but for the rest of the time, it was a soap-and-flannel wash, twice a day. In summer, we had a bath every night, but we were mucky herberts, we needed it.

    There's a view that showing everyday can he harmful to sensitive skin, especially if you have eczema or psoriasis.  My in-laws don't shower every day and sometimes, over a weekend, if I shower late on a Saturday, I might not shower again on the Sunday, if I'm just pottering around at home. Then again, I've also been known to have a shower and a bath in the same day.  

  • JWrunJWrun ✭✭✭

    I'm a bit funny and have to shower everyday, can't get into my own bed if i've not showered off the days grubbiness (i don't even think of myself as a dirty person!) and i have to wash my hair everyday cos it's short and I put gunk in it to make it look pretty image Funny though when i was 16 and had long hair i went for 6mths without washing it, just used to rinse it in the shower, didn't really do anything bad though.

    I use babywipes if i go for a run at work, but thats usually cos i'll be heading to the gym later so no point showering twice.

  • oh,  so this thread isn't about the french image

  • I generally sower / bath every day but I'm not obsessive about it and won't freak out if I miss a day, especially if I'm just pottering around the house.

    My hair is just fine being wshed every other day for general going to work and pottering around (every 3rd day, at a push), but I always like to wash it if I'm "going out".

    The whole thing about not washing your hair at all, and that it supposedly 'cleans itself' if you leave it for long enough, is a load of rubbish; and you do need shampoo to clean it properly.

  • I saw that article too. I shower or bathe every day but it's literally in, get wet, quickly soap around, rinse and out. A shower is just five minutes max, a bath is a "birdy bath" in water no more than ankle-deep. At the very least it'll be a stand-up wash all over at the sink. Washing my hair isn't an issue because I'm a slaphead. Never use deodorant (smells worse than sweat imho) and never antiperspirant. Ditto perfumed soap - coal tar is my fave.

    I just don't like the greasy, uncomfortable feeling of being unwashed.

  • I have to say if you've ever spent a prolonged period without facilities to have a good wash/shower/bath - mountaineering expeditions to high cold places for instance - then you will really enjoy a good wash when you eventually get the chance.

    On a climbing trip to Aconcagua I didn't wash my hair, shave or have a good wash for 12 days as we just had no facilities. What water we had was glacier meltwater at about 2C - fine for a quick face splash but no more! Wet wipes came to the rescue mainly for cleanliness.

    After a couple of days, you really don't notice the lack of washing - and as you all smell roughly the same even body odours don't get noticed.

    But when you get off the mountain that 1st shower/bath just feels so good - I had a shower, then a shave, then a bath, then another shower! It just felt so good.

  • I shower/bath every day but hair only every other day, its down to my waist and such a faff to get dry!
  • dont have any hair to wash, cut very very short.

    Shower or bath twice a day

  • I wash regularly, you know, sink, flannel and access all areas. Don't shower every day. Hair only gets washed when it needs it. If you don't use products on it, there is a relationship between washing it regularly and needing to do so, it produces oil tio keep up with the regularity that you strip the oil from it. I wash mine ~ once a month, and it does a really good impression of a haystack for days afterwards.
  • beebsbeebs ✭✭✭

    I shower and do hair one day then have quick Muttleyesque bath on the alternative day.

    The smell of dirty hair makes me feel image

    I'm rubbish at strip washing myself so would rather just have a quick shower or bath. 

    I love the feeling of being freshly clean image

  • beebsbeebs ✭✭✭

    I did hear a great phrase about strip washing recently.

    Wash up as far as possible, wash down as far as possible and then wash possible image

  • When my hair was short I washed it every day - it usually stuck up all over the place in the morning anyway. Now that it's a bit longer, I wash it every couple of days. I shower 5-6 times a week, I'm happy to have an all-over wash if I'm just pottering around at home.

    I don't run any more but I do always shower after exercise.

  • Beebs, my gran always used that "up to possible/down to possible" saying when we were kids - haven't heard it for ages.
  • I don't wash my hair every day, but I do shower every day. Most parts of your body can get away with just washing with water, but surely certain parts of the body need a proper wash pretty much every day?
  • squibble wrote (see)
    Beebs, my gran always used that "up to possible/down to possible" saying when we were kids - haven't heard it for ages.
    Mine too image. 'Possible' being one of the places best washed with just water anyway.
  • beebsbeebs ✭✭✭


  • I don't shower/bathe every day.  For a start, we don't have a shower!  Every few days for a bath and wash hair (I use shampoo and conditioner, but sparingly).  In the inbetween days I follow my mum's old mantra:

    Face, feet n fan image

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