When we get a pimple, a patch of dry skin, a whiff of B.O. or experience conditions like eczema, we’re programmed to immediately turn to products. But what if this modern, obsessive approach to hygiene and beauty is actually making these issues worse? What if, eliminating soap, shampoo and cosmetics from our routines is the secret to clear, healthy skin?
Two editors at the website Total Beauty bravely gave up showering and products for 30 long days to find out.
The results are as gag-inducing as they are eye-opening.
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The stench is real: Two Total Beauty editors, Jill Provost (left) and Jessica Amaris (right) gave up showering for 30 days to see how it would affect their skin
The experiment’s fearless participants were Jill Provost, Total Beauty editor-in-chief, and Jessica Amaris, Total Beauty editorial assistant and, it’s worth mentioning, daily gym-goer.
Throughout the process, there was only product they were permitted to use: Mother’s Dirt AO+ Mist, a probiotic spray that claims to clean skin without water by replenishing the ‘good’ bacteria that our body needs to wick away sweat and odor and to re-balance skin on its own.
Items like soap get rid of this ‘good’ bacteria, hence why we’re so hooked on hygiene products.
As Jill recalled in her detailed account of the experience on Totalbeauty.com, one of the most difficult products to give up was deodorant.
Before: Jill (left) and Jessica (right) had doubts that they could last a month without their beloved hygiene and beauty products
THE GORY DETAILS
By day two, she wrote, ‘I can smell myself. The scent is skunky and oniony…I keep my arms pinned to my sides all day.’
While during the 30 days Jill received compliments on her make-up-free appearance, her and Jessica’s stenches elicited complaints from co-workers, family members and friends.
‘Yesterday’s food’ and ‘lingering stink cloud’ are two terms that were used to describe their odors.
Another tough product to forgo was shampoo.
Jill wrote that by day three her hair was so greasy, that when she brushed it, it stayed slicked back by itself. By day 10, she said it smelled like a ‘moth-addled basement’ and by the end of the experiment, her husband told her, ‘it feels like seaweed – off a dead person’.
‘Smells like a moth-addled basement’: Jill, seen here during week two of the experiment, chronicled every gag-inducing detail of her shower-free experience
THE SURPRISING RESULTS
As for their skin, issues of cystic acne and psoriasis flared up at first, but by day 21, something changed.
Jessica’s acne cleared up and her complexion looked ‘better than it had in months’, while Jill’s psoriasis magically disappeared.
Though they admittedly still smelled ‘putrid’, they began to feel completely clean after using just water to rinse off their bodies. ‘That dirty tackiness is gone,’ Jill recalled.
Plus, the product-free routine saved them each about 45 minutes in the morning.