After realizing that we spend around 2 years of our life showering JAMES HAMBLIN decided to try an experiment. He decided to stop showering and see what happened.
If you are anything like me then you enjoy your showers. You spend an average of 20 minutes a day cleaning your body, washing your hair, and enjoying the soothing water. But did you know that we spend around 12,167 hours of our life washing our bodies?
While commercials and society are obsessed with telling us that we need to constantly clean our bodies, remove oils, and moisturize the big question is: what is this doing to our bodies and how much water are we wasting?
The fear seems to be that without showering we would become very oily, smelly, and generally unclean which could lead to diseases and eventually no social life. But what if we decided to brave all the stigma and do it anyway? Whether out of laziness or plain curiosity what if we decided to just stop showering?
Let’s see what James found out.
“At first, I was an oily, smelly beast.” -James Hamblin
What James started to discover in both his personal experience and through research is that our bodies are covered with a natural bacteria that lives on the skin and feeds off of the oils that come from our sebaceous glands. When we overly wash our bodies, apply lotion, or deodorant we actually disrupt the balance between our natural bacteria and the oils.
When the bacteria is disrupted it gets out of balance with over production and ends up producing odors. The theory is that once you reach a state of homeostasis the natural bacteria on your skin would stop smelling bad. You literally stop smelling like BO and smell like a person is supposed to smell.
In nature not a lot of animals wash constantly. While there are many grooming rituals animals generally aren’t seen using soaps and other chemicals in order to keep themselves clean. Often they produce natural oils that help keep their skin and fur clean and healthy without putting off an offensive odor. Humans are this way too.
Another benefit to this homeostasis is that we stop needing so many moisturizers because our skin and hair stops fluctuating between skin that is too oily or too dry. There is a balance created that makes it much easier to maintain the skin and hair that we all want.
There is even a biotech company known as AOBiome that is trying to create a spray that will help bring your body back into its natural balance. Check out this video below about it.
“In the course of meeting these people and thinking more about skin microbes, I started using less soap, and less shampoo, and less deodorant, and showering less. I went from every day to every other day to every three. And now I’ve pretty much stopped altogether.
I still wash my hands, all the time, which remains an extremely important way to prevent communicable diseases.
I still rinse off elsewhere when I’m visibly dirty, like after a run when I have to wash gnats off my face, because there is still the matter of society. If I have bed head, I lean into the shower and wet it down. But I don’t use shampoo or body soap, and I almost never get into a shower.” -James Hamblin
James reports that at first he did smell bad especially when he gave up using deodorant. Instead of just going right off the products he was used to he gradually worked himself off of them by switching to a non-aluminum deodorant and then to none at all. Aluminum based deodorants will work as an antibiotic and actually kill the natural bacterias on your skin. So getting away from them and using a more plant based deodorant is always a good idea.
After the transition and rebalancing that James’s body went through he started to notice that he actually smelled better than before. When he was using regular products he would often smell bad after either working out or being out all day.
“I just don’t. At least, to my nose. I’ve asked friends to smell me, and they insist that it’s all good. (Though they could be allied in an attempt to ruin me.)” -James Hamblin
If you decide that you want to go through a transition like this James suggests that you do it in stages and that if you work in close quarters with other people that you take a vacation out into nature until your body rebalances. Talk with people close to you and maybe even a life coach before you dive in.
James also enjoys the fact that he is saving a ton of money now that he isn’t buying so many self-care products.
“I don’t know if everyone will achieve detergent-free steady state, which is extreme, but I do think there’s room to question the endless marketing of cosmetic skin and hair cleansers and the need for daily showers. The biggest dilemma might be what to do with all the extra time. ”
What would you do if you had saved 2 extra years of your life? Let us know your thoughts about James’s experiment in the comments below.