Friend Friday: The Great Unwashed. Wait…isn’t this the 21st century?

Leopard. Fur vests. Shearling everything. Yeah, you know those things are seriously caliente at the moment.

Here’s another list for you: Showers three times a week. Or less. No deodorant. B.O.

Surprise, surprise! Apparently that list is trending as well. I am so not kidding.

Recently, The New York Times ran an article, The Great Unwashed, about a growing movement of people going back to their natural states, B.O. and all. People skipping daily bathing and deodorant. Um, OK. I kind of get it. Kind of. Well, until I got to this bit:

…Ms. Palmer, a petite, put-together brunette, showers “no more than three times a week,” she said, and less if she hasn’t been “working out vigorously.”

She contends that a soapy washcloth under her arms, between her legs and under her feet is all she needs to get “really clean.” On the go, underarm odor is wiped away with a sliced lemon.

Come again? Underarm odor WIPED AWAY WITH A SLICE OF LEMON? Doesn’t that just turn into B.O. spiced with a hint of lemon by the end of the day?

Oh, I can just see me slicing a lemon every morning and wiping it on my pits. Which will then be sticky. Which in winter will effectively glue my lovely woolly sweaters to my armpits. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Anyway, to wash or not wash—that’s this week’s Friend Friday* contemplation. And following are the questions.


The move to do away with soap, shampoo and deodorant has been growing in popularity in the last year. What are your thoughts on this trend?
I think it is good in moderation, and it is a very individual thing. What works for some will not work for others. That said, subjecting other people to the stink of your B.O. is not only offensive, it could potentially be damaging to relationships and even your career. I think some people have taken this idea a little too far. Truthfully, most people don’t need to wash their hair every day. But deodorant? It should be required.

Be honest how often do you wash your own hair?
I wash my hair about three times a week, maximum. With hair as long as mine, it’s not good to wash daily—it strips it of its moisture, and I honestly don’t need wash it every day; I don’t have oily skin. On days that I work out, I only rinse my hair in the shower after, and sometimes I condition the ends only.

Have you tried to go the more natural route by forgoing shampoo? What happened? Or would you be tempted to try it?
As I wrote above, I do forgo shampoo and just rinse every other day. It works beautifully. In fact, I’ve noticed that on the days that I just rinse and blow dry my roots, my hair has more volume.

What products do you use and have you ever gone with more organic alternatives?
On my hair, I use Pantene shampoo and conditioner and have for years. I’ve tried expensive salon shampoos and sulfate-free organics and none of them are as good.

Outside of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, and the occasional organic body scrub, I really do not like organic cosmetic or beauty products. I’m a drugstore girl…Cetaphil, Dial soap, Pantene hairspray, Nivea body lotion, Neutrogena sunscreen, L’oreal masacara.  Drugstore products do a better job for less money. The rest of my cosmetics are by MAC, YSL, and Dermablend. And I use Creme de la Mer moisturizer—that one is absolutely worth every cent, and is better than any other organic or non-organic moisturizer I’ve ever used.

What about that daily shower? Would you forgo that opting to shower three times a week instead?
No. First, I can’t really wake up for work (at 6:00am) without a shower. I work out to the point of dripping sweat at least three times a week, and being a girl…well…ladies, you know a shower or bath is especially important at certain times. There is just no way I’d sign up for that.

*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.


  1. HA HA HA HA HA, this is actually the first time I read about this
    Come on, I live in the tropics, here people don’t perspire, they SWEAT SWEAT SWEAT
    I wash my hair daily, takes shower 2 times a day, and I exfoliate by scrubbing daily too, that way my body lotion (Jergens) is easily absorbed. Deodorant is A MUST, and sometimes baby powder too

    Please everyone, SHOWER SHOWER SHOWER, I can’t condone BO and yucky sweaty pits

    OMG!!! let’s see how people respond to this HA HA HA

    LOVE all of your answers girl and I’m a drugstore girl too, and my shampoo is also Pantene :))

    Happy Friday doll


  2. Your comment on Creme de la Mer adds another hefty weight to my “try or not to try?” balance. The only thing holding me back at the moment is the hundred-odd bucks, right before the Hannuchristmas credit card bills roll in!

    I imagine the lemon slice is meant to kill and dissuade odor-causing bacteria, and possibly break up sweaty oils for…scraping away with the lemon, I guess? I can see the theory behind it, but give me hot water, antibacterial soap, and Secret deodorant any day. I’ve tried the salt crystal method and wasn’t impressed. It also stung after a shave — as I imagine a lemon slice would.

    If I worked in close professional quarters, I would certainly shower every day. As it is, although my life is hectic, it isn’t sweaty or airless, so I usually shower and shampoo every other day and simply polish the fine wares at the sink each morning. But…I take it as it comes. If I’m busy, the shower can go for three days, even four. If I’m depressed, I’ll fit in an extra daily hot shower to cheer myself.

    I appreciate your list of favorite drugstore products. Gotta try the Nivea body lotion.

    1. Cloud…the Creme de la Mer is worth it. You know if I’m a drugstore girl in every other way, I’d be in that regard as well. But nothing else compares.

      I always wondered about the crystal, and you make a good point…that lemon WOULD sting! Maybe the lemon lady also skipped shaving her pits. Ew, now that would be even more gross.

      Anyway, to each his own. When you’re cashed up. Try the La Mer. If you don’t like it, you can take it back. That’s the good part!

  3. Ha! I laughed so hard at your commentary. Like Jemina, this is a new concept to me. But then again I live in the boonies and everything tends to trend here a year or two after the rest of the world. Ask me about it in 2012! I refuse to give up showers and deodorant. In fact, considering I work at a gym, if people stop using deodorant on a daily basis the only thing I will be giving up is my job!
    I have to tell you that we basically have the same hair routine. I only use Pantene and occasionally will just condition the tips. It works wonders!

    I love this post! It’s just so entertaining. Happy Friday! xx

    1. Thank you honey! Sometimes I wonder if I’m too verbose, cause I HATE that on a blog. Your comment helps me to know I had it just right…and YOU cracked me up as well.

      Kind of fun to know we have the same hair routine. I always wonder what other women are doing behind-the-scenes.

  4. I know SERIOUSLY! yeah… I couldn’t go without showering during lovely woman time. I already feel gross, and adding no shower?! Yeah, that’s not happening. How about up-ing it to two showers a day? lol that’s excessive.
    your hair is beautiful.

  5. First I got the judders just reading about the sticky lemon situ then full blown LOL ‘ness of it all, so funny! This is so bananas it’s on another level. I’m moving if this trend actually transpires to Greece, can you imagine the stench in 40 something degree heat? Mammoth Judder again….

    Also a drugstore kinda gal, highstreet brands work just as well as the designer brand names but when it comes to cosmetics, that’s where I like to play and mix it all up! Have a super Friday darl!


    1. Oh, hell, you are NOT kidding about the stench there would be in Greece! I actually think I smelled it there last time. Yikes.

      Hope you are well, lovely!

  6. I sweat bucketloads and would never go without a rinse after a heavy Zumba class. I do find that heavy workout sweat is different (and less offensive, actually) than “sitting at work, armpit trapped under a ponte jacket” sweat. I accidentally forgot deodorant on one side yesterday or something and PHEW.

    1. HAAAAA! I get the same feeling of horror when I forget my deodorant. Actually, if I’m in sleeves, I’ll put tissues under my arms…I can’t stand the feeling of moisture there!

      And you are totally right: heavy workout sweat IS different (and less offensive) than “sitting at work, armpit trapped under a ponte jacket” sweat. Funny, that.

  7. Oh my, this is one “trend” I will not be joining. When it comes to organic beauty…I love Wen cleansing conditioner. It’s different in the fact that it doesn’t lather. From what I understand, the same chemicals used to make shampoo lather – can also be drying. So even though it took a little getting used to, I’ve now used it for years and love what it’s done for my hair. Have a beautiful weekend V!
    XO Piper

  8. I never laughed so loud. hahaha.. Its a very funny but 100% so true kinda of article. BO is disgusting. Can’t they smell themselves?
    If I could, I would be showering ever 3 hrs.. Not that I smell but I just love the fresh smell out of shower. A good deodorant and a nice fragrance. Being a man and going gym every day requires a lot of hygienes as I see and smell lots of BO at the gym and it’s awful. But sometimes I do tell them. (lol)..

    1. You are so right, Lee! I’m lucky that my hubby is fastidious in this area…he is not a stinky man. In fact, his deodorant drives me crazy because it’s so clean and manly smelling!

      I work out in a coed gym and I have to tell you, there have been some very nasty smells in there on occasion. I WISH I could tell them! Or just get away!

  9. Oh, lordy, I want to shower after just reading about this, um, “trend”! I’m always of the opinion that people should do whatever they like, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, but nope, this isn’t for me: I just feel horrible if I don’t shower every day (my day hasn’t properly started until I’m fully showered and caffeinated), and I’m cursed with greasy hair which needs to be washed every day too, so if I tried to shower 3x per week I’d spend the other four days feeling miserable.

    The other thing that bothers me about this is the fact that sometimes you just don’t notice your own body odour, presumably because you’re smelling it all the time. I’d really worry that I was walking around all, “lalala, a quick swipe with a lemon is all I need, srsly!” while behind me, people were dropping like flies due to the stench…

    1. HAHAHA!:

      “lalala, a quick swipe with a lemon is all I need, srsly!” while behind me, people were dropping like flies due to the stench…

      You are a riot. And we are so alike, my dear. My day hasn’t properly started either until I’m fully showered and caffeinated.

  10. I could never forego daily showers! Even if I haven’t been working out, I *need* a shower every day or I just don’t feel clean. No exceptions! I also only wash my hair around 3 times a week, as long as it’s not smelly or greasy I think it’s fine to wash it infrequently (not to mention better for your hair as you said) – I normally wash it after a sweaty workout!

  11. Your comment about the lemon was hilarious!!!

    I totally get you on the shampooing every other day. I can live with that. But deordorant however, especially if you’re a sweater is an ABSOLUTE MUST! I shouldn’t be subjected to someone else’s BO!

  12. Wowzers. I, like many, had NO idea this was trending. Not shampooing ‘the do’ every single day I get, however daily showers + overall good hygiene are non-negotiables. I guess I will have to wait for the next bandwagon, haha.


  13. very interesting points. On the no-deodorant thing, I used to actually not wear deodorant b/c at the time, I just didn’t need to. Now that I work in PR, I make it a point to usually wear it. Not only is my lifestyle more active but I find myself frequently onstage, under not lights, or in very close proximity to others so I’m very wary of how I smell.
    When I did forego deodorant it wasn’t at the expense of daily showering or clean clothes (shudder, as some people do), and it worked because I had an almost entirely raw, unprocessed diet. Unless you were straight up in my pits you couldn’t smell me. But I still wore tea tree oil scents to keep things fresh. It’s all about being self aware.

    1. Alli, you are right that everyone has different chemistry, and occasionally, there is someone like you who doesn’t really need doedorant. But I respect the fact that you ARE self-aware and because your circumstances have changed, so has your grooming routine.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  14. LOVE this! When I had long hair (a decade of fine tresses ago) I refused to wash or comb my hair more than 2-3 times a week. I totally support the uh, “sponge bath” on urbanistas who don’t make sweat or smells for a living. Seriously. After working at a Natural Foods store on and off for over said decade, one is used to the “unwashed masses.” I don’t judge. But personally, I’m a bather. LoVE those baths, and my job, as a cook precludes any desire to slip a day in doing so. I don’t like the feel of the kitchen on me. Lots of stick stuff, and sweat. But perhaps if I was a secretary, I wouldn’t feel so obliged.

    Personally I like the idea that people are allowing their actual body oils and smells to stick to them. As long as they’re not stinky. And the shampoo, well, I never liked daily hair care (see my short dyke do) so whatever it takes.
    And hopefully, a quality perfume is part of the equation.

    1. HA!! The unwashed masses. You kill me.

      I think your approach is smart…because of your work, you don’t have much of a choice…kitchen work is HOT and hectic. I think people just need to accept their limitations/situations and do what needs to be done.

  15. I have a friend who only bathes 3-4 times a week, and that works for her. I do think people have different body chemistries and personal hygiene is just that. For myself, I am pretty stinky by the end of the day and after a run I am sweaty and smelly. I don’t see myself jumping on that bandwagon at any time in the near future. As far as shampooing goes, I try to only wash my hair 3 times a week, but if I run it turns into a cesspool if I don’t shampoo.

    1. You are totally right, LHdM. It’s all about paying attention to our own bodies, because they vary greatly. I used to work out near someone who ate a LOT of garlic and even though they were very clean otherwise, working out near them was absolute torture. It was a disgusting, B.O. garlic stinkfest. That person had no idea, however…proof that you often cannot smell yourself, so you should ask if in doubt. Or just freakin’ wear deodorant!

      Anyway, thanks for sharing your routine and thoughts!

  16. LEMON pleeeeeaaaaase!!!! Ha ha ha this post had me laughing out loud 😀 Honey, I use deo and lots of it LOL

    Thanks for reading and commenting on the feature 🙂 I agree, hysterical with the grandmother-stories 🙂 She actually is a woman ahead of her time, she opted out of the life of nobility that her familiy background dictated (playing the piano and conversing in French and Italian, all though she was never deemed beautiful enough by her peers) and became a historian and writer and joined the army during world war two. Later on she divorced my grandfather and the boring bourgois life they led to break free again, this time leaving her children behind. She is in an open relationship with her lover, and can`t conceive of people marrying for love. She is a complex and interesting woman who I admire, but who also has inflicted long term wounds on her children. She is caring in her own way, but likes to share things like how she was depressed when I was born (I`m the first grandchild), who would find a grandmother sexy after all? Which is why when I tried calling her grand-mama as the other kids in France said she brisquely replied “What a funny thing to say!” Cynthia it was then. LOL.In many ways she is a living piece of feminist-history. Anyways, just felt like sharing with you, leaving comments and reading yours sometimes feels like a long conversation. Hope things are well with you xx Anika

    1. Anika, that you for sharing more about your family. I love your comments…and I am so not surprised you had a few mavericks in the family. That creative strong spirit of yours comes from somewhere!

  17. i am so not down with the BO. and i really can’t be near someone who has bad BO because i have a really sensitive sense of smell and gag reflex. it’s not my fault and it’s not a judgmental thing at all, but unless they want to add vomit to their list of odors, best the stinky not stand too close.

    i’ve tried organic deodorants and i don’t like them. at all. if it’s a day where i’m just sitting and not doing anything, sure they might do the trick, but they don’t do crap on gym days and i don’t like how they feel. as much as i don’t like the thought of getting alzheimer’s due to my deodorant, i can’t live my life feeling sticky or stinky. it’s just not me.

    i’ve also tried forgoing shampoo. i’m like you, i have long hair and can’t wash it every day. but when i tried foregoing shampoo it just didn’t work. my hair doesn’t look any better for it. i tried this cream stuff that is supposed to clean your hair but it isn’t shampoo and doesn’t strip your hair of it’s natural oils. didn’t do it for me either. my hair just ended up looking weighed down after a week and i didn’t like how my scalp felt. call me old-fashioned but i just like the way a freshly shampooed scalp feels.

    so yeah.. for me this trend is getting filed under the “ignore” category. =P

    1. Kristy, I have the same sense of smell…I’m like a vampire…I can smell garlic on people from across the room.

      HAAAA: “unless they want to add vomit to their list of odors, best the stinky not stand too close.” Amen.

      I get you on the long hair stuff…the other thing that often forces a shampoo is being out near smokers, or in a restaurant with an open kitchen. That stuff stays in my hair and I can’t take it…rolling over in bed and getting a whiff of other people’s ciggies in your own hair is just vile! Blech!

  18. As usual, love your answers! I agree wholeheartedly – I can deal with someone skipping on washing their hair (although my long fine hair can’t handle that well. I have to wash every day), but showers are a daily MUST, as is deodorant. Especially deodorant. The lemon slice would never do, especially after a workout.

    Also, what if you are getting intimate with someone? “Honey , you smell like lemons – and sweat?” Ewww. No thank you.

    So – off topic, but Creme de la Mer – you really love it?

    1. Hi doll, thanks for ringing in here. I have the same thoughts myself: what about your partner or potential partner in all of this? Don’t you want to be sparkling clean for him/her?

      RE: the Creme de la Mer. Yes, I really love it. As I wrote to Cloud of Secrets above: You know if I’m a drugstore girl in every other way, I’d be in that regard as well. But nothing else compares…Try the La Mer. If you don’t like it, you can take it back. That’s the good part!

  19. Ewwww say what?! This is wrong. I can’t wake up until I shower either, and there is no one a lemon slice would do the trick after my workouts! Seriously, people do not fail to disgust me! I will stick with the shearling 😉

    Great post! This gave me a good laugh 🙂

    style activist

  20. I agree whole- heartedly with using deodorant everyday. That is a daily must do and there are no exceptions. I am not 100% natural with my products but because my hair is long, thick and curly I have went pretty much natural because my hair feels so much more moisturized. I heard someone say that if you cannot put an oil on your skin then it should not be going on your scalp. I stopped using oils that have mineral oil and petrolatum because it clogs the pores so I started using 100% argan oil. This oil is a dry oil and it can be used on the face and hair and I don’t need much.

  21. I am pretty appalled that this is a trend. I mean I agree that people’s lifestyles and body chemistry differs and to each his own. But like, seriously? You worked out, take a shower, you most likely smell. Have people really gotten this lazy??

  22. I shower more than once a day, it’s one of the perks of modern living. I do try to keep them short though. As for the no washing trend…I just don’t know what to say. To each his own I guess.

    1. Heather, you echo my thoughts: showering and running water ARE perks of modern living! They’ll have to pry my razor, shave gel, and deodorant out of my cold, dead hands before I’d ever willingly give them—or showering—up! I love my American conveniences (central air con and heat, dishwashers, dryers, full-size tubs), thank you. Call me spoiled. I don’t care.

  23. 2 years on and I’m just now seeing this one. WOW. You absolutely NEED more than a pit/crotch swipe. The body accumulates dirt whether you think you sweat or not. Check your shirt collar. It doesn’t lie.

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