Image by gfairchild
Guest Post by the lovely Kathleen of Becoming Peculiar
The other day I was listening to CBC radio in my van when I heard some disturbing news: in many parts of the world, we’re using up groundwater faster than it can be naturally replenished through precipitation. By the year 2040, experts are predicting major water shortages on many parts of the globe.
After more research I discovered that it’s mostly poor agricultural practices that are to blame, and it’s mostly occurring in the Middle East and North Africa. But it got me thinking a lot about our water use in general. I was reminded that clean water is a precious commodity that we mustn’t take for granted, even here in Canada.
I’ve never before given too much thought to water consumption, focusing instead on reducing my consumption of more tangible things (i.e. “stuff”). Water just seemed like something we couldn’t run out of. But this radio program compelled me to start thinking about how I can reduce our family’s water use, and start talking to others about the same.
There has to be enough clean water to go around, if we all learn to steward it well. I do not want to contribute to global water shortages in any way.
There are lots of things we can do. We can stop wasting water on lawns. We can say no to individually-owned pools and hot tubs in favour of community pools. We can stop buying and drinking bottled water. Water should NOT be a commercial commodity, but a common good!
However, one of the easiest ways I feel I can reduce water overconsumption as an individual citizen is by bathing less often. There is no way every single person on the continent needs to immerse his/her entire body in water every single day!
Without my current sense of urgency, I’ve actually already been working to reduce the number of showers I take. It varies throughout the year, but I typically shower 3-4 times a week. I think I could reduce that to two times if necessary.
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve used to stay fresh and clean while reduce the number of showers I take. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too!
How to Naturally Reduce Body Odour
We live in a culture obsessed with not smelling like we have bodies. We are pathological about deodorizing and re-odorizing our bodies, often in terribly unhealthy ways.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to naturally reduce B.O. Healthy bodies don’t actually stink all that much, even with regular sweating, and without daily showers, antiperspirants, and commercial perfumes. Here’s how:
1. Switch to Natural/Homemade Deodorant
The first thing you can do is break your body’s dependence on antiperspirants and artificial fragrances, which actually make you more prone to stink in the long run. When your sweat glands are used to being blocked up and oozing chemical fragrances, they can’t function the way they’re supposed to.
Ever since I made the switch to natural deodorant three years ago, I don’t start to smell nearly as quickly after application – I can often skip a day without noticing. Back when I used commercial deodorant, I had to be vigilant about applying every day or I’d start stinking by evening.
There are lots of homemade recipes out there: I use this simple baking soda, corn starch, coconut oil and essential oil recipe (adding beeswax in the summer to prevent melting).
Folks with more sensitive skin might prefer this recipe from Stories and Thyme, using bentonite clay. Crunchy Betty has a number of recipes you can try. I also know some people have had great success with those mineral salt crystals you can buy in health food stores.
Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did.
2. Use Magnesium Oil
I started using magnesium oil about a year ago for various reasons, but I learned that a happy side effect was less body odour! I’ve read that most of us are chronically deficient in magnesium (read more on the subject from Wellness Mama and Cheeseslave), and balancing the minerals in your body can lead to all kinds of improvement in your health – better sleep, improved fertility, etc. It only makes sense that your body would be less stinky as well!
Interestingly, the best way to boost your magnesium is to absorb it through your skin. I make my own magnesium oil (check out Food Renegade’s post) and keep it in a spray bottle in the bathroom. I just apply a few spritzes to my skin (arms, belly) after most showers and rub it in. Simple!
How to Stay Clean Between Showers
So now you can go longer stretches without showering, because you have less body odour. But now it’s morning and you don’t feel totally fresh. What else can you do to look, feel and smell clean between showers?
For me, I’ve found that it’s mostly important to focus on underarms and hair to look and smell clean without getting my whole body soaking wet and scrubbed.
With a few quick steps, you can freshen up to face your day.
Step One: Change your Underpants
Sorry to even mention it. But it’s a really quick and easy way to immediately feel cleaner. And adding one more pair of underwear to the wash takes a lot less water than a full shower. Just sayin’.
Step Two: Wash Your Underarms
If you’re paranoid that your underarms will be smelly, just give them a quick wipe-down with a damp washcloth and a dab of soap. Insta-clean. Then you can go ahead and reapply your natural deodorant.
Step Three: Use Dry Shampoo on Your Hair
I’ve always tended to get oily locks pretty quickly. It has improved significantly since I switched to the no-poo method, but sometimes my hair still needs a quick clean-up between showers.
Dry Shampoo to the rescue!
Allow me to demonstrate with some visuals:
My hair on a bad no-shower day:
I use this homemade dry shampoo recipe from Petit Elefant, using corn starch, baking soda, cornmeal, and oat flour. (I add a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder to camouflage it a bit in my dark hair). I generally just apply it to my bangs, since my hair is so long – it would be a huge ordeal to get it all out effectively if I did my whole head. If you have shorter hair, you could probably pull off a full-head dry shampoo.
I apply a tablespoon or so of my dry shampoo to my bangs (standing over the sink) and rub it in. It looks kinda like this:
Then I brush and comb and shimmy my hair (still over the sink) until it’s all out.
I generally throw my hair into a sock bun on no-shower days and voila. You’d never guess my head was a big old grease-ball ten minutes ago.
Congratulations for saving yourself a bunch of time, water, and energy! You just skipped a shower!
If you want, read more about the benefits of showering less here!