I'm a soap-dodger – I never wear deodorant, don't own a hairbrush and think washing myself is a massive waste of time

HOW often do you do it? No, not sex. Showering. It feels like every week there’s a new survey about the nation’s washing habits.

During lockdown, although we were all washing our hands more than Lady Macbeth, most of us became a bit laissez-faire about the rest of our bodies.

Apparently, Brits were showering less regularly and many people weren’t even brushing their teeth any longer. And now that we’re all hugging and hanging out again?

Our hygiene habits still haven’t caught up. The latest survey has found that half of us don’t shower daily.* And I have to confess I’m one of them.

Even before lockdown, I’ve always been a bit of a soap-dodger.

I prefer a long, hot soak in the bath (“wallowing in your own filth” as one housemate described it) to a shower – but not every day.

When I had an office job, I would always choose 20 minutes more snooze time over a shower, and now that I work from home, I often find it’s getting dark and I haven’t got around to brushing my teeth yet.

I wash my hair once a week (god bless dry shampoo), and if I’m not doing exercise or it’s not that hot, I’ll usually forego deodorant.

SLOVENLY HYGIENE HABITS

Whenever I reveal my slovenly hygiene habits to friends, they’re shocked and/or horrified.

I remember a mate staying over and being aghast that I didn’t own a hairdryer. I thought it best not to mention that I also don’t own a hairbrush.

I’ve come to believe that washing (and all the buffing, shaving, exfoliating, moisturising, deodorising and flossing associated with it) is one big waste of time and money.

In fact, I’m convinced that being a member of the great unwashed is the secret to my success. When people ask me how I have time to write this column with a small baby, I usually laugh it off.

But the secret of my productivity isn’t 5am wake-ups or the Pomodoro technique – it’s being a massive filthbag.

I know I’m probably dirtier than most people

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not become one of those who talks about hair being “self-cleaning” and how we all have “natural oils” – I know I’m probably dirtier than most people.

But I’ve never had anyone tell me I pong (perhaps they’re just being polite), and I’ve long believed that using too many products and chemicals on our skin can actually make it look worse. 

I came to this conclusion after spending ludicrous amounts on posh skincare and still getting spots, while boyfriends would occasionally rub an old bar of soap on their face and maintain glowing complexions.

Last summer, in his book Clean, author James Hamblin described how he quit conventional showering years ago and now only rinses with plain water every few days.

According to him, there’s scientific evidence that lathering up too much disrupts the skin’s microbial layer, and can even lead to allergies and skin conditions such as eczema.

And it’s not just our bodies – I remember a few years ago, the CEO of Levi’s told everyone that jeans should never be washed, and recently, Stella McCartney came out saying she’s “not a fan” of cleaning her clothes.

So whether washing is your self-care and you shower multiple times a day, or you’re like me and think that a bit of dirt never hurt anyone, we shouldn’t judge other people for their washing habits. 

No doubt these surveys will keep coming anyway. I guess it’s all just good clean fun. 

● Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites.

This week I’m…

Sipping…

Teapigs Kombucha – I’m a big fan of the fizzy fermented stuff – and these cans are some of the tastiest I’ve tried.

Watching…

Starstruck – This BBC comedy, written by and starring Rose Matafeo, is Notting Hill meets Girls, and is very LOL-some.

Travelling with…

Micralite Sleep & Go – A 3-in-1 cot that can also be used as a playpen and a co-sleeping crib – ideal on mini adventures.

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