HOMESTEADER HYGIENE

Smells Like Free Spirit

Ever since I was a kid, I remember bathing the  night before church – ala “Little House on the Prairie”.   Growing up in water and energy conservative household  it never crossed our minds that our lifestyle wasn’t normal.   A move to city and I found out that daily showers (and shoes – among other things) were a norm here in the city.

Because of our natural lifestyle and homegrown diet, we didn’t have any obnoxious odors,  so nobody, not even our friends, would suspect our 1-2 times a week bathing routine.  Personal hygiene was our own business, that was until reporters came snooping around asking questions.  Nothing like a reporter to bring up things that you hadn’t thought of mentioning because, to us, this is how we’ve always (mostly) lived.

In a recent high profile article, our hygiene was editorialized as “third world.”  Oh, yeah?  That really made us feel weird all right and I had to sniff my clothes just to make sure – nope, no smell!

Walking the goats one day, we ran into a lady who asked “are you the people that take a baths like once a month?”  Once a month? Good grief, now we are freaks!  Note to self, keep your mouth shut next time!

Or maybe I should have talked to this reporter!

A recent NY Times article now points to a growing amount of folks who are bucking the norm. Like many Asians and Europeans, Americans too are choosing to forgo everyday showers, citing environmental reasons, natural beauty and health benefits.

Defying a culture of clean that has prevailed at least since the 1940s, a contingent of renegades deliberately forgo daily bathing and other gold standards of personal hygiene, like frequent shampooing and deodorant use.

To the converted, there are many reasons to cleanse less and smell more like yourself. “We don’t need to wash the way we did when we were farmers,” said Katherine Ashenburg, 65, the author of “The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.” Since the advent of cars and labor-saving machines, she continued, “we have never needed to wash less, and we have never done it more.”

Retention of the skin’s natural oils and water conservation are two reasons Ms. Palmer and others cite for skipping a daily shower. Some have concluded that deodorant is unnecessary after forgetting it once with no social repercussions, or are concerned about antiperspirants containing aluminum

It’s a myth that people need a deep cleaning everyday.”

Read full article

Ha, so we aren’t weird after all.  In fact dare I say more “normal” than hyper hygienistas.

So next time you see us walking the goats I hope to hear, “Hey, aren’t you the people that [you fill in the blank]”

What are your hygiene habits? How often do you take a bath/shower, wash your hair or use deodorant?

Comments(65)

  1. Chris says:

    Okay, I’ll post first 🙂 This is yet another area where Anais and Jordanne influenced my lifestyle. I used to think “ewww” about not showering and washing my hair everyday so I started to experiment last spring. I rarely use deodorant (Laffe’s unscented). I shower when I need it if a particularly sweaty day playing in the dirt or whenever I spend the day in Provincetown or Boston in the summer. For some reason, maybe it’s the sun reflecting off the asphalt sidewalks I feel like I’m covered in city grime when I come home. I shampoo once or twice a week (haven’t gotten to the no poo yet). Otherwise, it’s a quick sponge bath of the strategic areas mentioned in the article and that’s it. I love saving on water and think my skin has improved. So thanks again ladies for your positive influence!!!

    • Zolla says:

      I’ve started showering every other day just for convenience and the extra sleep. I don’t stink either.

  2. Jennifer Hamilton says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’d really like to move to using vinegar as a body and face cleanser when I do shower, and a hair rinse/shampoo for other days. My question is this: how? I mean, yeah, you can take a jug of vinegar in the shower and dump it over your head, but that seems a tad wasteful. I’m used to the gel consistency of body washes and shampoo. Is there any healthful way to mix up the vinegar, thicken it up somehow in a way makes it easier to work with?

    • Cynthia in Denver says:

      @Jennifer Hamilton,

      I got a water bottle with a pop up spout from Goodwill and put my diluted cider vinegar into it. Less was wasted and my eyes weren’t burnt out by pouring a cup over my head. Using the squeezable water bottle made my shower life easy.

      • Jeni says:

        @Cynthia in Denver, also if you mix it with baking soda I have heard that will make it like a paste and also clease the scalp really well:)

  3. Wendy says:

    I have friends who spend hundreds of dollars a year on beauty products loaded with who knows what and feel it necessary to shower and shampoo daily. I spend very little, have never had a daily shower thing going and twice weekly shampoos is a norm. A face to face comparison and you wouldn’t know I was the “naturalist” in the group. Eat good foods and live clean and you don’t need all that crazy stuff. Sponge-baths are us in this house.

  4. Maureen Garver says:

    This is another part of the, ‘my parents are such hippies’ lifestyle that our children love to mock but one we have come to be quite comfortable with, especially living in a desert. Tho it started more because of the sheer monotony of taking daily showers, both my husband and I consider twice weekly bathing more than sufficient to keep us clean and presentable. I’ve now been using the no-poo method for over a year (baking soda and vinegar) and recently started making home-made deodorant and toothpaste….all without becoming a social pariah. We Americans can definitely learn something from our European cousins about the need (or lack thereof) for daily showering. Now if we could just get our kids on board!

  5. Friday says:

    I shower most days and shampoo my hair, but that’s because my scalp is terribly oily and when I don’t wash it I look like I dunked my head in a grease puddle and my face starts breaking out. But I seldom wear deodorant. I don’t generally perspire, and I find that when I do wear an anti-perspirant I think I usually smell worse *unless* I start perspiring. So I put it on in the hottest days of summer when I expect to be around other people *and* getting overheated. If it’s just me at home, I don’t mind sweating – it’s healthy.

    • Alex says:

      @Friday, I had an exboyfriend who always complained of his hair being oily and needing to shampoo almost daily.. well on a whim, he quit using shampoo and conditioner and he battled with his oily scalp for two weeks, and after the first two weeks, his hair was balanced and he was neither dry, nor oily.. he just rinsed his hair in water, and it was beautiful.. his hair did not smell either.. I think it is great that you do not use anti-perspirant.. we are meant to sweat to draw out the toxins, and by inhibiting the natural process we are allowing the toxins to infiltrate elsewhere!

  6. Jenny says:

    Haha, I feel better about not having time to wash my hair this morning.

    I’d actually like to know more about this. And what is the “no poo” thing other commenters are referencing?

  7. Stacey says:

    I skip 2-3 showers a week, wash my hair once or twice a week with Dr. Bronners, and only wear deodorant when I’m feeling a little self-conscious. My husband stills cuddles with me, so I guess I’m not too stinky. 😛 Now I just need to convince him that his showering/deodorant use is a bit excessive (he uses deodorant twice a day!).

  8. Suseon says:

    I’m with Maureen. My husband and I shower twice a week on average. More on sweaty days or if we get really dirty. Sometimes we only need to wash our feet from the garden dirt. We have been no poo for over a year now. Just diluted baking soda and diluted apple cider vinegar. I make deodorant and toothpaste from baking soda and essential oils and find I don’t need to use the deodorant every day. No soap for me either, just water and a washcloth although my husband still uses a natural soap. My skin is not as dry and my hair is not as frizzy as it used to be. My husband’s dandruff is better although it gets worse if he goes too long without washing his hair. No one has ever commented although I did go through a detox period after giving up antiperspirant and cleaning up my diet when I had to use a natural deodorant more often. I’ve noticed those that have really bad body odor (enough to offend even when showering regularly) are more unhealthy overall.

    • Chris says:

      For Maureen & Suseon ~~ Would you please clarify your no poo method using the baking soda and vinegar. Do you both use apple cider vinegar and what is concoction? How do you use it? A few weeks ago I tried no poo and rinsed my hair with straight apple cider vinegar. I was a total dried out frizzball!!! Thanks for your help 🙂

      • Chris says:

        PS … so then I put Coconut Oil on my scalp and hair and I used too much and was a greaseball for a few days until I couldn’t stand it and had to wash my hair. I know. I’m not the brightest bulb on the planet 🙂

        • Kate says:

          @Chris, Hahah, I did the same thing with coconut oil. I ended up going 2 days and then washing. I will do the coconut oil thing the night before I’m gonna wash it or on the weekends, though.

      • Alice says:

        @Chris, Chris, I have a couple of jars that I saved. In one I put 3 T soda and the other I put 3 T apple cider vinegar. When I am ready I put warm water in them. I put the soad mix in my hair first. I work it into my scalp well the rest will run down my hair. I have waist length hair. I rinse this with water then use the vinegar on my hair from about my ears down. I rinse it out then too. You just have do figure out what works for you. If your hair is too dry you used too much soda for the hair. You may add a t of honey to the vinegar if your hair is dry. If you have light hair you can use lemon juice instead of the vinegar.
        I have put coconut oil on my hair the night before I was going to wash it. I braid it then, by morning the oil is soaked in my hair. Just don’t make it an oily mess just work some oil though your hair. Olive oil works too, again go easy. You will see the amount you need to use as you do it a time or two.

        • Chris says:

          Thank You Alice!!! I really appreciate your formula and will give it a try. I never knew about “no poo” until I came to this site. Fascinating!

  9. Me! says:

    Even salon upscale hair dressers know that washing your hair once or twice a week is all you need depending on how oily/dry it is. Silly wabbits.

  10. Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden says:

    I do shower most days, though it’s mostly to feel refreshed and ready to start the morning (like a cup of coffee) than to get clean. I stopped shampooing two years ago and make my own deoderant to use.

    What I did just feel self conscious about this weekend was how rarely I bath my children. I was at a party and when I admitted that I only bathe my baby once a week and I got looks of horror from the other moms. My boys get maybe two bath/showers per week and I only wash their hair about once a month. I just became aware of how ‘different’ that is all of a sudden. I’m not about to change my habits, because you are right, we don’t need to bath all that often.

    • Jodi says:

      @Kendra @ A Sonoma Garden,

      I know that feeling, one of my sisters and I had a big falling out two years ago over the fact she didn’t think I bathed my children often enough, called me an unfit mother for this reason alone. 🙁

  11. Lynn says:

    One of the delights of your homestead in the city are your family values. Your lifestyle is charming — please continue to live and enjoy your lifestyle as you and your family wish to!! Honor your family’s strong convictions to stay true to your values and belief system. Perhaps it’s time to stay 100% focused on these things instead of fretting over negative journalism (where there is an endless supply).

    Hygiene is subject to diverse opinions and criticisms everywhere; governments regulate hygiene in some forms. This week you may be criticized for the number of showers your family takes. What will it be next week? There is looming criticism around every corner. As your family gets more and more attention, the negative journalism will probably become more frequent. Live your life fully and to the best of YOUR ability and try to avoid being sucked into their negativity. This is YOUR life, not theirs, eh?

    BTW, I shower every other day, use my own homemade ‘deodorant’, wash my long hair once a week. Be sure to tell those journalists there are others like you “out there”….. 😉

  12. Audra says:

    I read this a few hours ago and it has just been nagging on my brain that someone could be so rude! I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise with how a lot of people are today, but rude is rude. The reporter was rude, the person who blurted out about bathing once a month was rude. I don’t see what the big problem is with not bathing/showering daily.
    We shower/bathe a couple times a week. If we got really dirty on the farm or sweaty, then a sponge bath just doesn’t quite do the trick. We try to be as fast as possible in the shower. Turn the water off when we soap up, etc. Too much soap makes the skin dry and bothered.

  13. Tami says:

    I am in the process of moving from daily showers to every third day showers. Changing this “habit” will not happen over night because: 1. My mind needs to adjust; 2. My diet needs more refining–total elimination of chemical additives and bolstering digestion with more good bacteria thus quicker transit time; and most importantly, 3. My skin and hair need to get used to it. . . this is the hardest part. My skin is so used to being stripped of oils by some sort of sodium laureth “poo in a tube” that it is now hyper-productive. This flattens my hair, makes me feel gross, and adds to acne issues. So, during interim phase, I have found that by showering and following drying off, that by dabbing a dry amount of bentonite clay to scalp and face, I can now go two days confidently without stripping oils. Bentonite (earth clay) healthfully absorbs oil while the oil glands learn to rest. The bentonite actually adds a bit of volume to my straight, fine hair; it doesn’t have odor; and it does not stain fabric. In a few months, I hope to have saved thousand of gallons of water and use them more productively on the garden beds!

  14. Stacy says:

    I wash my hair about once a week (it’s waist length). While growing up I only ever washed it about twice a week – anything more than that and it gets so unmanageable… Mom used to french braid the girls hair on my high school gym team, and she emphasized to them that it was easier with “day old” hair rather than hair washed that morning/night before. I am still using conventional shampoo/conditioner, though.

    I’ve never used deodorant/antiperspirant. I find that anxiety/anger result in objectionable BO, so in nerve wracking situations I might grab some, but I pretty much have never bought any – another free sample of something always seems to show up before I need to shell out for anything.

    I’ve cut back on showers to roughly twice a week, and I find that winter weather is when I’m more likely to feel like I need one because I’m getting oily. I think it’s the extra layers of clothing and having the heater running that mean my body puts out a little more oil/sweat than I might need, so I wind up needing to bathe a little more often. During the summers I often bathe more to stave off heatstroke than to clean…

    Now, if only I could figure out how to eliminate shaving AND keep the SO happy, that’d be a trick! Bothersome chore, that.

    • Stacey says:

      @Stacy, Ha! I agree about the shaving…

    • nancy says:

      @Stacy, Years ago I decided (I rarely wear skirts/dresses) not to shave my legs during the cooler, no-shorts weather. Works great! Once the weather warms up, I do. I told my 3 girls, when they were teens, since they had blonde leg hair which didn’t really show NOT to start shaving. They wouldn’t listen. Now it’s dark. Oh well. My husband is very okay with the no shaving season, bless him 🙂 Hey can someone fix the part where I never get email follow-ups to my comments???

      • Anais says:

        @nancy: Sorry about that! My sister is working on upgrading the blog, should help with the comment notifications.

  15. Kate says:

    I shower about 1-2x a week…more if I do something really gross. I do sometimes take hot baths in the winter when I’m really cold and want to relax. I stay in there until the water’s cold, but I’m not sure if it’s more energy efficient than turning up the heat for a bit. I only wash my hair once a week or so. Same with my 5 year old, although she really likes to play in the tub, so she takes a small bath 2-3 times a week.

    • Kate says:

      @Kate Oh, and for deodorant, I’ve tried Tom’s, but it does NOTHING for me. So I keep some regular stuff in my car for before going in the gym or just stressful days.

      Anyone know of an aluminum free deo that works better?

      • Aubrey says:

        @Kate,

        Let me know if you do! I am currently using Tom’s but I do put on a second swipe before yoga class-all that hands in the air! I have tried crystal deo-both solid and liquid-didn’t work, and I have tried one from Lush-their’s was pretty much on par with Tom’s.

      • Arika says:

        @Kate,
        I use Arm and Hammer Natural Essentials deodorant- I like the scent and it’s aluminum-free and paraben-free!

        http://www.armandhammer.com/Products/arm-and-hammer-essentials-natural-deodorant.aspx

      • Sarah Cortes says:

        @Kate, I use a white vinegar + water mix, about 1/2 and 1/2 or a little heavier on vinegar. If it’s too strong it may sting, especially freshly shaven skin. I also add a few drops of tea tree essential oil and Grapefruit seed extract, both for antibacterial. Then I add whatever aromatic essential oils I want. Mints seem to be soothing for skin sensitive to shaving.
        I spray my pits with this from a 2 oz blue glass (pretty)spray bottle purchased empty at our pharmacy. Then I smear it around with a deodorant chrystal. Neither seem totally effective on their own, but together work very well.
        I have also thought to try an infusion of cucumber (to soothe razor irritated skin) in place of the water, but haven’t gotten around to that.

  16. Amanda says:

    Hello! Love the awareness your family brings to current conservation issues! I have never worn deodorant, just never felt the need for it. I can still remember the looks I got while changing after high school gym. “You don’t wear deodorant, EVER?” The craziest thing was that no one ever noticed until I said someting about it. Then all of a sudden I was “dirty” for not wearing it.

    I tend to shower a lot more often in the summer. I work outside and get pretty sweaty/dirty in the 100 degree/80 % humidity weather. It’s usually a quick rinse in cool water with mild soap. The showers drop off in the winter to about 2 a week.

  17. Kathryn says:

    I generally shower/wash my hair 3-4 times a week. I know this is near our social norm. BUT i find that i’m not as “stinky” as when i ate SAD (Standard American Diet). If i had not changed my diet, i don’t think my homemade deodorant would work. I think the reason they have to come up with stronger & stronger antiperspirants and deodorants is because of the way people eat.

    They also have folks convinced that they have to douse themselves with all kinds of chemicals in order to “smell good.” My husband & i have NEVER liked the stuff like “air fresheners” & the chemically scented candles, but now that we are using only natural products for cleaning (vinegar, baking soda), when i scent the lotions, potions, candles, cleaners, etc., all i can smell is chemical.

    One of my husband’s friends seems to shower in chemically-laden stuff. He rode in our car once, going with my hubby somewhere. I had trouble breathing in our car for a couple of weeks after that. (Hubby has been strongly encouraged to go places in friend’s car.)

  18. Dog Island Farm says:

    I no longer use shampoo and conditioner on my hair. Instead I use baking soda and vinegar about twice a week. It’s no longer dry and brittle and it doesn’t get as oily as it use to be (thought it still does get oily after a couple of days). Seems to help the “flakes” issue as well.

  19. Nebraska Dave says:

    It seems the question becomes to bathe or not to bathe. For years I went without deordorant due to my wife have extreme allergies from any thing perfumed. We used only one kind of laundry detergent that didn’t cause her sking to break out. I now use deoderant when I’m going to be around folks that will be up close and personal. I’ve found that most time just a drop or two of cologne will be just as good as deodorant.

    Clothes can be aired out and worn more that once without being stinky. Of course workiing outside in the heat will produce stink due to the extreme sweating. I do laundry about once every two to three weeks. That would be three loads, one whites, one jean shirts and pants, and one colored clothes.

    Showers or bathing are variable. Sometimes every day if doing strenuous sweaty work or every two to three days if not. Since I suffer from being follicly challenged (bald) the need for poo is really at a minimum. A good wash cloth and some water usually does the trick. Shaving is only a trim about once a week because of the beard.

    Put it all together and it comes out rather conservative. I just never thought of it as conservative just normal living.

  20. Linda says:

    I shower daily, although usually skip a day on the weekends. I’d love to skip it for the drying effects it has on parts of my skin, but mostly I have really greasy hair and I just don’t feel right if it’s not clean when I go to work. Plus, I smell. I figure if I can smell myself, then it’s something that I should be taking care of. I have found one deoderant that works for me, and never use antipersperant – I’m gonna sweat through it anyway, why try and stop it? I have noticed that when I’m tired/stressed, I smell worse and sometimes my deoderant doesn’t even work then. I eat well, and so can’t place blame for my smelliness on diet. I do try to take quick showers to save water, but I do take them every day.

  21. V Schoenwald says:

    I generally have to take a very hot shower very quickly soon after I get up in the am. I have a fused spine with quite a bit of titianium hardware screwed into my spine and a hot shower is the only thing that softens up the muscles so I can move around during the day. It generally just takes about 3 minutes of sitting in the shower to loosen up and I am ready to start the day. I usually soap up with goat milk soap, wash my face in the soap, and run a quick drop of lye soap or Dr. Bronner’s through my hair and then a rinse with a handful of baking soda in my hair to rid it of oily build-up and that’s about it. During the winter, I use a splash of Bragg’s vinegar in warm water in a cup to balance the acid in the scalp and I use a rinse of it as well in a small bucket I have in the shower for a body rinse.
    I generally have to wash my hair daily, as I do not have a thyroid either and my hair and skin get a little oily and sullen and doesn’t feel good. I use olive oil once a month as a conditioner and then wash it out after about a hour on my hair and scalp.
    I do the Navy shower, get wet then shut off the water and soap up and then rinse.
    The reporter was rude, you should of asked him/her what their personal habits are?
    Yes, Anais, the more exposure you get, you will get more negative responses, I have found that out and then I finally had to get rude back, stand my ground, and then I’ve been left alone finally. I am the nut in the neighborhood anyway. You know your a nut when the drug dealers in the neighborhood leave YOU alone because you are deemed a “freak”. I never thought that eating greens and living the hippie lifestyle would turn a drug dealer’s stomach, go figure.
    Anyway, you all just stand your ground. You do not have to answer to anyone anyway. We who live a simple lifestyle have to do or just do what our family needs call for. And in doing so, we still save water, and energy.
    You go girl…..

    • Chris says:

      Thanks for your thorough description, V. So you sprinkle on dry baking soda through your wet scalp and then rinse in the winter with the splash of Braggs? Thanks for clarifying.

      • V Schoenwald says:

        @Chris,
        Yes Chris, or put a about a handful of baking soda in some warm water in a non breakable cup and pour it over your hair, massage in your scalp, rinse and then shampoo if you need to. The baking soda removes oily build-up shampoo build up and dirt and freshens up your scalp.
        I follow with a few tablespoons of Braggs in warm water and then pour over my scalp and let set for a few minutes and then rinse. This for me sets the acid in the body, again, as I do not have a thyroid, I sometimes have to resort to old ways to bring the body back into balance. Hope this helps. I am not a college educated person on things like this, only experience and Amish grandparents.

        • Chris says:

          Your testimony, experience AND your Amish heritage is better than a college education for me, V. Thank you so much for clarifying. This is what makes what the Dervaes family is doing is so wonderful! They educate and bring “like-minded folks” together sharing a “virtual community”. I really appreciate your response.
          God Bless!

  22. TamaraG says:

    I stopped using deodorant this past year. Not on purpose, but by accident. I forgot to buy some at the store one shopping trip, and then as the week went on without my deodorant, I realized I didn’t suffer from BO, like I dreaded. Since I was looking for ways to be frugal, I dropped this item entirely off of my list. Also My hair is extra frizzy and curly with the humidity where I live. I shower every other day, and wet my hair everytime, but only shampoo every other shower. This helps distribute the oil in my hair so it doesn’t look so greasy.

    Its really nice to have everyone commenting to similar habits. I guess all that stuff they try to sell you on TV is just that. STUFF! And stuff you don’t really need.

  23. Sharon Rowe says:

    I have now given up anti-perspirant although I still use deodorant most days. I gave up perfumes over a year ago due to allergies and the effects on other people, but I do use scented soaps because I like a little scent. I have used unscented detergent for years and switched to dryer balls instead of sheets both because of the waste and the scent.
    At the moment, however, I have short hair and frequently use mousse or gel to style it. This means I have to wash that stuff out the next day. But I often just wash my hair and key parts instead of a complete shower. I am wondering if dry shampoo would remove the styling products.
    I air out and re-wear a lot of clothing between cleanings.

  24. Monica says:

    I started doing the “no poo” thing about two years ago, on and off, but just recently started it again. I use baking soda to wash my scalp and vinegar to rinse my hair. My hair is curly and dry but I find that the soda/vinegar works well for me and my itchy scalp is gone! YAY!

    I bathe about every other day, but would like to bathe every third day. I use a castile soap for the vital areas as well as on my face. I find that I no longer need lotion for my dry skin, and when I do feel a little dry I use coconut oil or vegetable glycerin. The glycerin is great on my face. My face is no longer oily or dry, and I don’t need powder to take the shine away anymore.

    I use a homemade deodorant that is just a concoction of baking soda, corn starch and coconut oil.

    My skin is healthy, my hair is clean, we use less water, I’m not putting chemicals on my body and I am saving MOOLA! So, that makes me happy! (now to get the kiddos and hubby on board)

  25. Jogesh Yogi says:

    Our body odor largely depends on the food we eat. Once a year, I fast on fruits and milk for a stretch of 9 days. Toward the later half of my fasting, actually my body starts to acquire a naturally pleasing odor. But also I perform yoga and pranayam, about 2 hours a day during that period, which contributes to elimination of toxins and inaundation of the body by happy hormones.

  26. Rhonda says:

    Well, I grew up in a house without a shower. We just had a tub. Taking a bath takes a lot more time and wastes a lot more water than taking a shower so we were light on the full-on bathing. I was brought up taking a bath once a week and washing hair once a week standing at the kitchen sink. We washed our face, feet and any other dirty parts every night before heading off to bed. Our school clothes were taken off immediately upon returning home and they were put away neatly and NOT into the dirty clothes. We then put on our play clothes which also did not go into the dirty clothes unless they were for sure dirty. If clothes aren’t dirty why wash them?

    So anyway … now I’m grown with kids and that’s the way we still live (me and my kids, anyway) My husband has been hard to train, ha ha. He wakes up, he showers, he comes home from work — in an office, mind you — he showers, when it’s time for bed, he showers. He is addicted to showering!

    I feel good about our hygiene. I know we’re saing water and money, I KNOW we’re not dirty and I know we don’t smell. 🙂 More power to you Dervaes!!!

  27. Katie says:

    I started on the “all natural” path a few months ago after some contemplating about how my mom used to live in Europe when she was younger and how I live today in the U.S. I wear deodorant rarely, but I do have a sample size in case it gets hot in the office or I get stressed. If I notice that I smell, I take a washcloth with some soap on it, and then rub off with a wet washcloth.
    The no-poo transition went great! The detox period lasted about 2-3 weeks, and I was able to figure out the combination easily. 1 tbsp baking soda diluted with BOILED water (we have hard water). Rub into scalp, leave on for a few mins. Then rinse with 1 tbsp vinegar diluted in regular water. I noticed that apple cider vinegar was more conditioning than white vinegar. The vinegar prevents static in my hair. My hair feels great, softer, bouncier, silkier (esp. with the Coconut Oil deep treatment).

    Thank you to the Urban Homestead for opening my eyes and sending me on a much better path!

  28. Cynthia says:

    I read this post yesterday and it gave me a lot of food for thought. My partner and I talked it over last night, and while we try to live a very eco conscious livestyle here in the country, we realized that there are still many areas we can improve – and personal hygiene is one of them! We realized that there are so many ways to stay clean without resorting to a daily shower – especially when I work in an office all day. I was also getting upset with the staining anti-perspirants do to my clothing…so here I sit and type for the first time WITHOUT wearing deo! It’s crazy to admit (but I can do that here, right?) but it’s a liberating feeling! Now that winter is here and one doesn’t sweat….I’m going to give up anti perspirants and only use a natural deo when absolutely necessary.

    The example your family sets is a daily source of inspiration, Anais! =)

  29. Alice says:

    I grew up where water was limited so bathing once a week and washing hair once a week was the norm. We never got a full tub of water and the least dirty one washed first then more warm water was added and the next once washed and so on.
    I have been no poo now for a few months (4 or 5 now). And using oil cleansing on my face. In a month or so people started saying “I don’t know what you are doing, but your skin and hair are looking so nice now”. I then told them I no longer wash my hair and face with soap that is.
    I bath or shower once a week. A tune up can be done when needed on the places that need washed.
    I use 1 T baking soda to 1 cup of water for my hair. It is waist length so I have a jar that I put 3 T in and fill with water and use that to wash the scalp, it will run down the hair, I rinse that out and then 3 T of Apple cider vinegar to 3 cups of water to rinse. I rinse that out after working it in my hair and I am good to go. Hey no tangles either.
    I use coconut oil on my hair when I think it is dry or want to treat myself to it. Usually the night before washing, I oil my hair and braid it for the night. The big test was when I had been working outside all day and burning junk so I was very dirty. The no poo worked great, it got my hair clean.
    I took 1 part castor oil and 3 parts olive oil and use about a quarter sized amount that I work into my face and neck for 15 to 20 minutes. Then I take a wash cloth and get it hot with tap water and “steam” my face with it until the washcloth cools then I wipe to oil off. If feeling like doing a spa treatment I may steam once more. If my face is dry I add some more of my cleaning mix or coconut oil.
    My outside work clothes are not washed every day just once a week unless I get something really gross on them. Other things are washed when needed as well not just because I put them on and wore them.
    Tomorrow my daughter in Law and her mother are coming and we are making laundrey soap, fabric softener and other cleaning products.
    No bad smells here, At least no one is complaining. I don’t smell like a wizzard air freshner either.
    The scented laundry sheets were made for wives to scent their husband’s clothes so other women knew they were married men.

    • grace says:

      I would love to have your recipe for homemade fabric softener if you wouldn’t mind sharing it. I make my own laundry soap but haven’t found anything for softener.

  30. Crystal says:

    We shower once or twice a week here. We celebrate our Sabbath on Sunday, so Saturday is our prep day. DH and I usually shower in the morning. Then in the evening there is warm water for the kids. They share. We bathe the baby and his big brother first, then the boys get out and the two girls get in (they are all under 7 so two still easily fit into the tub together). We use baking soda (abt 1 T) diluted in warm water to wash our hair, followed by a vinegar rinse (apple cider works best) in about the same ratio. Sometimes we’ll use a castille soap. We don’t use antiperspirant and when a deodorant is needed we use all-natural ones. If we find a mid-week shower necessary, it’s mostly just a quick rinse.

  31. Jeni says:

    Oh how I could go on and on about how silly people are now days.

    Like many readers have posted this is another area where you gals gave me some strength to stop thinking about it and just do it. My very all-natural sister helped too:) I shower once a week and I do not stink at all…if in the summer I have a rather sweaty day out in the garden I simply sponge bath…it saves water and is more relaxing to me too I have not ventured into not using shampoo yet, but I have been researching on how to make your own shampoo and hope to make some soonJ I can’t wait to have a solar shower and maybe even an outdoor tub to! All in good time, like you always say baby stepsJ
    I think people now days are so weird and worried about what others think about them.

    Hey maybe we should get that Matthew Maconahay guy to do a commercial or something he is like us and doesn’t use deodorant or bath everyday!!! lol maybe society won’t think its so weird if a “celebrity” is doing it…hahahaha couldn’t resist sorry.

    On a side note don’t listen to those that think change is weird. The bigger you guys get and the more publicity you get the more critics you are going to have:( its so sad how people judge before they even know the real facts now daysL

    YOUR FAMILY ROCKS and I LOVE reading your blog everyday!!! You inspire me everyday to do more so Thank You from the bottom of my heart!

  32. Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple says:

    I shower and wash my hair daily. My hair gets pretty oily. And I exercise daily. Like, really sweaty (or chlorine-y, if I go swimming) exercise.

    But we had an “energy audit” recently, and we use something like 1/3 the amount of water as the typical household in our area.

  33. Suezi says:

    I’ve showered every other day for 30 years mainly because that is how often I need to wash my hair to keep it clean and fresh looking. On shower-free days I wash my face and sponge wash other areas. In the summer I use antiperspirant if it is very warm or I expect to get some exercise and be around people. This regime works well for me. I’ve never understood the daily shower because I come from European stock and we have dry skin that easily gets stripped of natural oils and besides we keep our skin clean and covered up most of the time anyway. IMHO- sometimes a natural scent is very sexy.

  34. Psalm 19:14 says:

    I only shower and wash my hair once or twice a week. In between times, I take a “sink bath.” In the winter, I use a hot water bottle to keep warm under the covers. in the morning, the now warm (rather than hot) water is perfect for the “sink bath.” I have used H202 as a deodorant, but do not use it every day. I use something natural the rest of the time. I use baking soda instead of tooth paste, and make liberal use of floss. I do not use shampoo, but unfortunately, use conditioner instead. I am a bit reluctant to try vinegar with my hair. 🙂 It isn’t good to comb curly hair, therefore, it is only combed when washed. I do not smell and no one can even guess that my hair is rarely combed. 🙂 Your habits sound quite normal to me.

  35. eyewrist says:

    I am 50 and I do remember we bathed once a week; and yes we did not stink. My mother also had us wash from only a sink of water doing what they call a Victory lap… the big “3” of the “V” area hit only. I take a 5 minute shower every other day depending on what the temp is outside.

    PS Just LOVE your site. I will be visiting it more often now

  36. Alex says:

    I love your posts your family is an inspiration to me and my own personal journey! I live a very busy life, I garden and do landscaping work part time, and hold a full time job in the service industry, and I am a full time college student. Even if I wanted to bathe everyday I wouldn’t find the time as my time away at home is very limited and I find it a nagging necessity. I bathe twice a week, rarely three times, but I wash down without getting in the shower when I need it. I always found it comical how some spend so much time pampering themselves, as there are the few who spend an hour plus showering and getting ready in the morning, and above all I wonder, “where do these people find the time?” It’s like the saying goes I’d rather be fishing!.. Well I would rather be doing a lot of things. I do not think it is uncommon not to bathe everyday, however I think there are a lot of people who would not admit to it. I even work outside in the heat and I just feel it unnecessary and a waste of more than just time!

    • Anais says:

      @Alex: Amen to that. Thanks for sharing your story.

  37. Alex says:

    oh yeah and I forgot.. An ex-boyfriend of mine did not wash his hair with shampoo, but just rinsed with water… he said it took about two weeks for his hair to balance the oils and get accostumed to it.. but after two weeks his hair was neither oily, nor dry and it was as beautiful as ever.. his hair never smelled bad either.. just think of all of the packaging we could save if only people would get out of this mindset that clean is after applying chemicals.. clean is clean.. and I think we are stuck into this bacteria and germ craze, where we trust that a chemical is going to eliminate our woes, and in reality we are just left to wade in chemicals…

    • Anais says:

      @Alex: the simpler the better I say 🙂 No need for all the countless crap folks are trying to sell us.

  38. Thiago Santos says:

    Well,
    first nice work, this revolution will be a mirror for me from now to the future. i live in Rio de Janeiro, a warm place so called from the “third world” and here because of the hot summers springs, falls and even winters, our daily habit is to take 2 or 3 baths! So I didn’t understand the point of that brilhant reporter who enquiere you.

    thanks a lot, congratulations and I tell you with much joy when i could declare myself free, to be whatever I want, growing my own food!

    Peace and Love, Thiago Santos

    • Flavio says:

      Thanks Anais for the precious information. As i said before… everything is new for me especially when you born in a city like Rio de Janeiro (where I’m from) and for my surprise… I make the words of Thiago Santos as my too “I could declare myself free, to be whatever I want, growing my own food!.” Little by little i am doing the change in my life. Every single step is very important and i know that i’ll have a long way to go. My neighbor is already planting too. Him is so thankful and told me something that i’ll never forget. “Thanks to open my eyes Flavio .” Looks simple but have a big impact for me. I’m a very patient man and one day i’ll get there.Once again… Thank you guys for the nice work !!! God bless you all !!! keep going… I’ll be here to support and help.

  39. Jessica says:

    I used to be in a rhythm of showering every other day, but lately I found my hair stays in nicer condition if I don’t wash it that often. So probably I take 2 showers per week. I can’t shower every day! We live in a dry climate and if I shower every day my body gets so dried out (skin, hair, and my eyes really bother me). So most I do is every other day.

    • Jessica says:

      My husband is from India (a third world country) and he just told me that over there, in the summer, you have to take 3 – 4 showers per DAY in order to beat the heat. They shower early morning, afternoon, evening, and just before bed.

  40. mammabird says:

    I my friends and co workers call me ‘granola’ or ‘Mrs. Oatmeal’ I guess being a clothes line drying, cloth diapering, from the garden eater, chicken keeping, woman isn’t normal anymore…huh? Strange. I make all my own soaps, ‘shampoo’, deodorant, hand/lip balms and toothpaste. But rather unfortunately if I don’t bathe every day I stink…bad. My homemade deodorant works better than any brand I have bought. Ever. But after a full day of house and garden chores, bike ride errands, running around after babies, I just plain stink. I really wish I could skip she shower but I can’t. I have been ‘poo-less’ about a month now and LOVE IT.

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