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How Often Do You Shower?
12.06.16
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Dr. Brandon Mitchell says most people over-bathe. In fact, he told Time that humans only need to bathe “once or twice a week.” You know, if they don’t care how they look or smell.* Dr. Elaine Larson agrees, says that showering “is mostly for aesthetic reasons.” We think we do it for hygiene — to get clean — but “bacteriologically, that’s not the case.” They say our bodies are well-oiled machines. That showering too much is robbing us of said oil and potentially exposing us to infectious germs.

Curious: Does the phrase “once or twice a week” horrify or validate you? I’m pretty shook. Fifty-two showers a year would make me feel like I was permanently camping. Inside my body. Right? I mean, can you imagine? That’s a cadence for the birds. I wouldn’t have any friends.

I feel for the kid in me though, who could have sorely used this intel during shower battles. I used to view bathing less as a personal responsibility and more as a chore I had to do for my mom, like cleaning my room. I distinctly remember her sending me back in once after I admitted that I hadn’t actually washed anything. The whole point of the operation would occasionally escape me.

As I got older, I fostered a more nuanced love-hate: dreaded the thought, loved the execution. That attitude carried through to college, where I remember showering most days but also joking around with roommates whenever any of us managed to go three or four without. We weren’t overly bothered.

Today I shudder at the thought of going half a week. I feel a freakish drive to shower every night, probably as a result of dating a guy for so long who was personally adamant. His neuroses stuck. Now if I go to bed without showering — a rarity — I imagine laying down in the mud-pit-like x-ray version of beds in mattress commercials. Do you know what I’m talking about? That shit haunts me.

Anyway. Now I’m curious. How often do you shower?

*Has he met a person?

Photo by Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast/Contour by Getty Images; collage by Emily Zirimis. 

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  • I shower after every workout, that means 3-5 times a week. It also means I forget to shower for quite a few days whenever workout is impossible. But I do try to wipe away sweat in the evenings, even then. I also happen to believe that a bit of dirt is good for my health – my health seems to agree with me (knock on wood).

  • Adrianna

    You know how you shouldn’t work from home in your pajamas? I don’t really feel like I have my shit together unless I took a shower.

  • Vic

    Every other day for me. I’m hoping that this once a week suggestion doesn’t include armpits and downstairs because I imagine that shit needs washing more often

  • Leliforever

    I shower after every workout. Washing my hair though? That’s another story. I can do twice/week with that easily…

    • jellymo

      So I wish I could do that but doesn’t your hair get sweaty and gross from the work out??? I like, NEED to wash it after i exercise.

      • Leliforever

        It took me a good year to train my hair. I went from washing it every day to literally once per week ( now I do it twice/week). I did it slowly (from once a day to Monday in the morning-Tuesday in the evening, then every other day as soon as my hair was used to it, then every two days etc).
        Couple of things to keep in mind though. I wear my hair up, probably every single day, so I don’t touch it. That means no styling with heat (when I style it for going out, it gets oily so I try to avoid it). Also, I don’t use any product on it, besides of course soap (I never use shampoo, plain old bar soaps, they are the best thing!) and conditioner/mask, but after I’m out of the shower I don’t use any product on it.
        After a workout (usually after the devil treadmill 😡😖😖 ) I might use some dry shampoo (that I borrow from my sister, I don’t even have my own bottle) only if I have to be somewhere.
        Scheduling your workouts a certain way helps as well. If I have a late afternoon workout, then an early one the next morning, I’ll wash my hair the next day for example.

  • Abby

    Every morning, first thing, no matter what. I don’t feel alive until I’ve run myself under some hot water.

    • Erica

      yes yes yes

  • Grace B

    NO COMMENT.

    In other news, the lichen in my natural deodorant was making me smell HORRIBLE and now I haven’t worn deodorant in about a week and I actually smell..okay.

  • nevvvvave

    i prob shower on avg 5-6 times a week; used to be every night but it’s too hard to leave my hair unwashed when I’m showering so it’s easier to just avoid the shower altogether rather than do it “half-way” l o l

  • Andrea Raymer

    i shower every 2-3 days, so i guess around 2 or 3 times/ week. my skin hates showers and becomes a desert after any contact with hot water. it always feels a size too small afterwards. I usually let my hair dictate when its time. i don’t get sick too often (usually like once per season) so i guess it works for me?

    • Antoinette

      Andrea, I think it’s genetics because I mostly shower twice per day, but at least once everyday and I hardly ever get sick. I get a cold or the flu every few years!!!

    • ValiantlyVarnished

      The same. I have eczema and psoriasis and my skin just can’t take showering everyday in the winter.

  • Kezia

    I shower probably about two or three times a week! Used to shower more but then stopped and boy has my hair improved! Way less frizzy, more soft and my natural wave comes out instead of this weird fluff. I’m all for the shower less!

  • Blakey Bessire

    i shower like 2-3 times a week because i have no time to be cleaner than that. but in the year of 2k15 i was in the bath like 24/7. I took a bath literally like once a week which was magnificent and made me feel like Gwyneth Paltrow because i read once that she bathes every night with epsom salts and if that isn’t the purest form of self care luxury i don’t know what is. Currently my hair has been in a bun for 2 days because I haven’t washed my hair in an obscene period of time.

    • Haley Nahman

      My hair has also been in the same bun for 2 days!!

  • Molly

    I shower at night before bed, and then occasionally again in the morning if I”m feeling tired and need to wake up.

  • MMR

    uh oh– I shower on average twice a day….. wash my hair once to twice a week.

    • Miranda

      Same! Twice a day only on days that I work out, but at least once a day. Am shocked at these “twice a week” responses!

  • Jessica Farmer

    I only take a shower when it’s time to wash my hair. I just don’t really sweat much and taking a shower once every 2-3 days seems to work just fine.

  • Janelle Domek

    I’m a p solid 3-4 times a week showerer. Mostly just because I don’t wake up early enough to shower every day.

  • jiggahava

    Once or twice a week. Armpits and bits get washed every day, but I’m honestly so sedentary more than twice a week seems unnecessary to me.

  • hmmmmmmmmm I hate showering, but I do it a minimum 5 days a week mostly because of my spin class (so active, so fit). I always have to like pump myself up for a shower though. some days I just lay on my floor hoping i magically get clean.

    • Omg are you me.
      I basically shower whenever I work out, the frequency of which varies on if I’m in school or on break. But I often will (some might say pray) that I just magically get clean.

    • Krista Anna Lewis

      I feel the exact opposite. I love love love my shower. but it probably helps that there is a plant hanging from the shower head. His name is Conan I like to sing to him. But, I digress. Showering is my happy time.

      • ok well maybe if i had a conan!!!!! idk, this sounds nuts but showering gives me such fomo. i feel like a whole life is lived outside the shower and i’m busy inside of it effing waiting for my conditioner to rinse out. i sound so crazy.

      • Ashley Flores

        A plant from the shower head? Whaaa? So you like have something to care for and in turn take more showers?

        • Krista Anna Lewis

          sort of! mostly he just kind of keeps me company and gives me something to look at while I’m in there. Plants are v fun to look at when there’s nothing else to do.(lol)

      • Emily Michaelis

        i need more info about this Conan!!

      • I love this. You have inspired me to buy my own Conan 🌿

  • Char

    I shower on average twice a day, morning and evening… and wash my hair every 2 days.

  • Trilby16

    Once a week? [slowly raises hand]
    Not working out helps enormously.
    The bits when the bf is expected.
    I work at a desk and don’t have body odor!

    • Haley Nahman

      Lol’d @ the third line

    • Caterina

      lol I think washing bits is the future

    • JFM

      Same, and I sweat quite a bit. I don’t smell and my hair doesn’t look greasy so… what’s the big deal?

  • Erica

    Every single day (I can’t not!!!), typically after I’ve finished dinner around 7:30/8. My dedication to the cause runs so deep, that I shower when I get home from sweaty crowded bars and outings with friends, even if it’s at 1 or 2am. Drunken showers are seriously underrated, but I don’t recommend shaving while doing so. I just love the feeling of slipping into my soft cozy sheets “so fresh, so clean” !!!!

    • Lillian

      Yes!!!! I’ve been preaching the brilliance of drunk showers for so long and no one will hop on board.

    • Haley Nahman

      I too shower when I get home, no matter how late or drunk!

      • Erica

        The last time I took a drunk shower, I wrapped my hair in a towel and plopped onto my bed to “rest my eyes” and woke up at 4am only to realize I was in fact still wearing an extremely damp towel turban

  • Mari

    every day before work, sometimes i’ll have an extra shower when i get home from work when its’s too hot outside.

    the only acceptable occasion for me to skip a shower is if it’s a sunday, it’s cold and i’m in my pajamas all day doing nothing (thus never leaving the house). then i can wait till monday morning without feeling too gross.

  • MT

    By and large, every day. I need a shower to wake up, I need the hot water on my head in the morning to keep my sinuses from acting a damn fool, and my hair looks ridiculous when I first wake up in the morning. Since I only “style” my hair wet (which amounts to combing and…. well, combing), I shower most every day before I leave the house.

    With an option on showering after I go for a run after work, which is often a half-shower because I’ll condition but not wash my hair.

    But even if I’m sitting around doing nothing all day on a Sunday, I’m prolly gonna shower at some point. It may not be needed from a bacteria standpoint, but how many people are actually showering because of bacteria, specifically? I’d wager very few. I’d wager msot people shower when they no longer feel or look clean, which is, yes, mostly about aesthetics.

  • I read most of the comments and I only have one thing to say: Americans heritage must be quite dirty, because I don’t know any Spanish person who would say in public that they don’t shower every day. Showering every day before going to school or to the office is basic, is polite towards other people. And in summer, even twice a day… This kind of posts are amazing to check cultural differences… Being more than 1 day without a shower is grose.

    http://www.mgluxurymarket.com

    • Haley Nahman

      Interesting!!

    • Emese Sik

      You came to the conclusion it’s cultural difference and still called it gross… interesting. It is definitely a cultural and also climate difference, as for example where I live summers can be really hot, while winters are cold as ice. I take more showers in the summers, to cool down and get rid of sweat, but don’t really feel the necessity in the winter. Also my skin feels super dry when i shower in the winter, especially if the water is hot. Also living in a capital is definitely dirtier, but in the wintertime covered in endless layers of clothes, your body has no chance to get dirty while going to the office and back.

      • What about putting yourself some body milk after showering in winter? I’ve been in places where it’s under 0 and I wanted a shower the same way I want it in my Spanish winter. Wearing big sweater doesn’t mean that the smell won’t go through… I’m just saying that clean people showers every day, or at least, admits to do it, because saying in public that you shower a few times a week is dirty.

        • How about some nice smelly words on your PC screen/phone? 🙂

          Oh, I forget, I showered yesterday … Will be back with some dirty words later 🙂

    • I wouldn’t say it’s all just purely cultural, because I think there are very clean and very dirty people everywhere, but I totally agree, Maria. Even if I didn’t shower every day, I wouldn’t want to admit to that.

      I think many of those that don’t regularly shower… can’t smell their own body odours so think they’re clean… PSA to those people – we can smell you. THIS is why I move away from people everywhere, public transit on the street… yes, we can smell you. And no amount of fragrance or spraying deodorant will cover up a sweaty smell. Same as being super clean and showering, if you don’t wash your clothes and they smell and you wear them… you will also smell. Shock horror.

      But yes, different for everyone, different climate and skin types, upbringing, daily lives and some people have very oily skin and hair or are more prone to sweating, depends on your job and if you work out.

      Nothing would change my mind. Shower every day! It’s just my personal preference.

      • Thanks Laura! For a moment I thought that I was the only one thinking that 😊

  • sarah

    I shower two or three times a week. I switched from shampoo to using Dr Bronners and apple cider vinegar on my hair, so it’s not as greasy as it used to be and I don’t have to wash it as often. Culturally different in the USA and also colder climate here than where I grew up (SE Asia) are factors. I grew up taking at least one shower every single day because I was in such a humid climate and outdoors a lot.

  • Jessica H

    I don’t use shampoo or any hair products at all. I try to go more than a day without showering but I usually shower every other day.

  • I shower every day, but don’t always wash my hair. Otherwise I don’t feel awake — since I’m one of the weirdos who showers every morning. Sometimes I will forego a shower on a lazy Sunday in favor of just washing my face. If I have a particularly grueling gym sesh, I will shower twice in a day, but just to wash the sweat off (again without washing my hair.)

  • Krista Anna Lewis

    My new favorite move is to hope into a shower the second I get home. It’s super helpful to start the bedtime routine and makes getting home that much more relaxing after a long day.

    • ValiantlyVarnished

      I do that in the summer. I still take all my showers at night though. It’s more relaxing.

    • lydia

      Right there with you. Only I add a glass of shower wine. It doesn’t actually go IN the shower with me, but there is something nice about knowing it’s right out there waiting for me.

  • Abe Luther

    My step-mom used to call washing just the pits and bits a “whore bath”, a term that today makes 7 a.m.’s sheer laziness feel a bit more salacious and risqué. Living in France where utilities sometimes feel more expensive than a nice eau de toilette really changes your perspective as to how necessary it is to bathe every single day. Plus, as others have noted, the hard water does a number on my skin and hair. An upcoming article on how to deal with that dilemma as winter sets in would be much appreciated!

    Also, I enjoyed your anecdote about bathing being a chore growing up. I’m glad this struggle was universal. Both my sister and I used to simply run the water in the morning for about 8-10 minutes to make it sound like we showered before heading off to school. Back then this absurd behavior was merely a precautionary measure in order to avoid a lecture about our aversions to proper hygiene- a cringey talk which usually involved the dreaded word “puberty” and generally took place at the dinner table in front of my Dad.

    Actually… in retrospect, I feel like taking this extreme might have been done more to protect the ideal “second-day hair” which eveeeeryone knows was essential to crimping during a moment in beauty history where Conair styling tools and Bath & Body Works glitter spray were make or break to one’s public school career.

    Junior high was weird.

    • Amy Mills

      your whole comment rules

    • Ashley Flores

      Crimping (with that double barreled curling iron device) and glitter (bonus if it was roll-on) were the lewk.

    • Emese Sik

      We call it the airplane wash 😀

  • Lebanese Blonde

    I pretty much shower daily. However, that’s solely because my hair gets so greasy after a day! What’s wrong with me! It’s blonde post-shower but turns brown with the slightest grease…when that happens it’s time to shower.

    I seriously don’t know anyone who washes their hair as often as I do, but I don’t have a choice! Any great dry shampoo or hyper-cleansing normal shampoo recommendations?

  • Rebecca

    OK, I’m going to be blunt here. Showering every day is a luxury to me because I have a chronic condition that leaves me in pain for a majority of the day and fatigued for almost all of it. A lot of the time the sheer effort of washing my whole body in the shower and then drying myself afterwards is just. too. much. I get a choice between the shower and getting through the work day, sometimes, so I’m an expert in the slow sink wash with plenty of rests in between sections of body.

    I love showers, I love being clean, I love the feeling of my freshly washed hair. I get it far less than I wish I did.

  • Alexia

    When I was a little kid I showered maybe once or twice a week. I don’t produce a lot of body odor and at that at that age, nothing else really smells or gets oily. Anyways, when I told my friends they were disgusted.

    3rd grade me feels validated RN. A small (okay large) part of me loves being RIGHT.

  • Every. Single. Day. Without question! And always at night, just to feel fresh and clean before bed. Wash away the day psychologically, too (does anyone relate to this?)
    Morning shower would be nice, but night showering every day just makes sense to me and has always felt right.
    And yes, even when drunk, but too drunk and I will just collapse on my bed, not in it, on it, fully clothed and in makeup and wearing contact lenses, but that’s pretttttty drunk. Otherwise if I am capable I will always try to shower.

  • Mariana Rosa

    Most brazilians (hey! o/) shower twice a day (to begin the day and to end it). I shower everyday after going to bed, and always shower before any social gathering or important meeting. I also brush my teeths after every meal, use deodorant everyday and, in the summer, shower before the meals. ***mama’s clean girl***

  • Gabrielle

    I’ve started showering less, because A) better for skin (your skin + other important organs get less dried out, our body’s not designed to withstand daily soap and hot water, your healthy oils and good bacteria get stripped off, so showering less helps with any number of skin conditions), B) better for environment, and C) really fun to observe/trigger people’s socialised grossed-out reactions upon my declaring such habits.

    In my in-between shower days, I wash the necessary/smelly bits of me with a wet towel and small amount of soap. My boyfriend laughs at me. I feel morally superior. Everyone wins.

    • Grace B

      honestly, between less showering and less tight bra wearing — some of my very gross under boob gunk is going away…thank goodness for wipes though.

  • elpug

    I work out so frequently or walk around so much that I shower just about every day unless its a random saturday where I sat around all day. The only time I’ve gone longer was in the woods, in Kentucky, in the summer humidity, for 3 sets of 5 day spurts without showers for army training. One girl and I snuck off occasionally to take rushed bird baths and check for ticks (EW) behind our ponchos with just a canteen of water each.

  • Marion A.

    Well mostly I shower everyday… sometimes twice a day if I work out later in the day. On occasion if I woke up late I’ll “hot spot” it (washcloth to the important areas). I do like a nice shower for relaxation though, it always makes me feel better. Though this could be psychological effect of my dad telling us to take a shower when he had been sick a day or two as kids. He’s ask “how do you feel” we’d say “still bad” (or something like that) then he’s say “go take a shower I bet you’ll feel better” and he was usually right. Maybe it’s something medicinal about taking care of yourself.

  • Every day on weekdays but sometimes on weekends I get lazy and only shower once, especially if it’s a chill at home weekend. Once a week sounds gross to me but I think I could handle every other day.

  • Rebecca

    I used to shower every few days … simply to address greasy hair that no dry shampoo could hide. Then I too began dating a guy that showers every morning and every evening consistently, as a result I did as well and continue to do because now I am marrying him. The interesting thing is that now it is less about hygiene and more therapeutic than anything else. Just to wash the day away, drown out my thoughts under the high pressure water – it’s free therapy for me now… and also NYC is a filthy place.

  • Antoinette

    Everyday. When I’m working, I shower twice a day. If I don’t leave my house, I do chores, workout then shower. I only went without a shower when I was hospitalized and physically couldn’t. This is a huge part of my Jamaican background. A proper bath is is expected and not taking one twice per day is frowned upon. This stuck with me. I can’t function if I don’t have a proper cleansing, and I mean a head to toe washing. But to each his own, I’m not judging anyone.

  • i have missed a day during winter when i had a baby. Chinese confinement says no bath/ showers for 40 days, but i only lasted 3

    • Grace B

      wow really? 40 days?

      • 40 is maximum. 30 is recommended. but i believe it is only done if the in-law/ mother is insistent.

        • Grace B

          got it. that is really interesting!

  • Beatrice

    I live in SoCal and I feel so. guilty. about the drought that I only shower about 2 times a week! My hair is less oily and my skin has gotten much less dry and eczema-y now that I shower less. I work out probably 5 days a week and I always end up doing a quickie sink bath after a workout. French braiding my hair then blow drying it after working out is … Gross but also, I tell myself sweat salt is like a free sea salt spray????!? Now that I’ve written this out I think I might be really sweaty always

  • Hannah Cole

    As much as I often hate the shower ( all the things I could be doing instead !! ), it’s not a real night-time without that clean feeling and slipping into pj’s. It’s my body’s way of telling my brain it can chill out now, put on the tv and be ok with doing nothing at all.

  • Sophie Boldiston

    Drunk showers are actually a revelation. You wake up the nest day and feel so proud of yourself and morning self esteem is important especially when you got home at 3am and stopped for dollar pizza on the way. They’re also more fun

  • Caroline Williams

    We don’t actually have a shower in the house. I have a bath probably 2 x a week (maybe 3 on a busy week). I must say I’m moving house soon and making a hotel style bathroom a priority.

  • molly_maureen

    I probably only shower five days a week and wash my hair twice a week… Does that make me a dirty, nasty human? I hope not.. At least my husband still loves me.

  • Emma

    I feel like it’s every persons HAIR that determines the frequency??? You know how some can go days without showering and their hair keeps on looking great (me hehe), and some get greasy hair at the end of every day which “demands” them to also shower every day! At least among my friends this is the case, but aslo most of us VERY seldom work-out so it could be that (were eighteen so we believe we’ll live forever!! as if not we too get affected by a sedentary lifestyle….:( )

  • Molly

    There’s a lot of factors that go into deciding to take a shower. 1.) smell 2.) hair 3.) climate, 4.) level of activity/sweat.
    I have very dry skin. So twice a week showers work for me and rinsing after workouts for winters. Summers I can probably rinse everyday, but not with soap–I have literally cracked and bled doing that. Personally it takes a lot of time moisturizing to make my skin feel okay and not itchy, tight, or painful–so I have to work around that.
    I was shamed by some people for not showering daily and it’s not something I used to talk about much. But then I realized just how diverse humans are as far as skin types, hair types, body types. If one-size doesn’t fit all. One moisturizer, cleanser, or makeup doesn’t fit everyone. Why would showering be any different? So now I just observe my skin and how I feel and let that determine what needs to be done.

  • Elise

    I shower every other day, and use a face towel to wash my face, armpits and lady parts every other day.

  • Winnie Wouters

    I live in a tropical country, are the same rules to us? Cause some days two showers aren’t enough for a good relationship with the world…

  • Emily Michaelis

    i feel weirdly fantastic if I can manage to go 3+ without a shower. I also feel this about about washing my denim as little as possible? idk.

  • Mollie Ward

    I used to wake up at 6 am every morning in middle school to shower. The days of being clean are definitely behind me though. I shower maybe once or twice a week. And always at night (especially in the winter). It feels like a burden to get naked and be damp before leaving the house.

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    I shower less in the winter (3-4 times a week) because of my eczema and psoriasis. Constantly stripping the natural oils from the skin only makes these things worse when coupled with cold dry winter air. I also prefer to shower at night before bed because again it’s easier on the skin and it saves me time in the morning. In the summer I shower everyday because sweat

  • Morgan

    these comments make me feel great! I usually shower every second day and have wondered if I’m the only person who doesn’t shower daily.

  • Fran

    It depends on how dirty/sweaty I get, but, when I need to shower daily, it’s really hard on my skin. I think the dermatologists are correct!

  • Somethingwitchy

    Of course, everyone should do whatever it is that makes them feel good – for me that’s showering daily, twice if I’ve worked out in the morning, and I always shower in the evening. However, after reading a lot of the comments, I feel like I approach showers in a different way (and interestingly, how I assumed most people approached them). I look to showers as a source of pure relaxation as opposed to a chore. And I think there’s something to really be said for the restorative benefits of bathing.

  • I shower when I feel smelly, which is maybe two or three days a week right now; and I usually go a week or more without washing my hair because it’s so damn dry.

  • Once a week seems funny, maybe three times a week? I personally love long baths before bed. Will I have to limit myself to once a week now?

    @themariabonita

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