Wednesday, July 13, 2011

hygiene experiment

in my journey to live a healthy balanced lifestyle, reduce the "toxin" intake of my body, live a simplified life, live a happy life, and one that supports life knowing it inherently has the wisdom to take care of itself, i have chosen to question our modern view of hygiene.

first let's reference wikipedia for a definition of hygiene:

"Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there are a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between different cultures, genders and etarian groups. Some regular hygienenical practices may be considered good habits by a society while the neglect of hygiene can be considered disgusting, disrepectful or even threatening."

notice that the statement defines hygiene as "perceived by a community" meaning that whether or not the act actually results in cleanliness, the act is seen as clean or accepted of how to preserve "health".

right now, many societies accepts using multiple products for our regular hygiene and health care of our bodies. for me, when i wash my face, if i dont moisturize my face immediately, i feel it begin to dry out which would feel quite uncomfortable. i need to moisturize my face to feel comfortable. i cant be without my chapstick, its my one thing i must have if i dont have my purse. i dont like that dependency. it doesnt make sense. first of all, as a female living in this modern society, the amount of products you have in a bathroom, is ridiculous, and is frankly cumbersome and unnecessary - or at least thats my theory :)

fear of dirt or overcleaning
i wont go into the history in detail, but pretty much since disease became a big problem in europe and america, people figured out that if we clean our hands more frequently, disease was less likely to spread. rightly so. with the progression of science and medicine, it became the solution to keeping disease away - clean, clean, clean. it was also a sense of ease, cleanliness, and "feeling good" ... nobody wanted to be the smelly person in the room. businesses gave us solutions to our bodily cleanliness desires to keep disease away, be healthy and smell nice or not at all.

unfortunately, i doubt any of these companies actually had long-term studies of how the cleansers affect the skin and body or even searched mother nature for solutions. 3 step cleaning was created, remember? face wash, toner, and moisturize. who came up with this? its not like we have something that has been passed down for years and its worked for generations.

my discovery has been that most soaps and facial cleansers are too harsh for my face and i have been progressively using less harsh soaps, looking to nature for solutions - plus, diet has helped a lot as well. i began to think about all the harsh cleansers that are used so frequently now and thought about how people in the "wild" live or tribes. do they use cleansers? do they use moisturizers? its not like we were born with a bar of soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and face moisturizer. in fact, when people have babies, you dont see them buying special baby face cleanser and moisturizer - it only seems to happen ... when? teens? when people become self-conscious, when acne begins to appear. interesting. all of a sudden that bar of soap isnt enough and we need to go get ourselves some skin care products!

dont get me wrong, i LOVE the feeling of being clean and fresh ... i love using products that make me feel and smell like i just went to a spa.

ok, so the question is: how much is necessary?

how often is it necessary to cleanse oneself? is our body not capable of taking care of itself?

i believe our bodies have the wisdom and knowledge to be able to take care of itself as long as we listen to our body, treat it well, give it good quality nourishment (food), plenty of activity and sunshine.

our bodies produce natural oils, is there a reason? there must be. from what i have learned moisture provides life and dryness is death. it makes sense that our body naturally knows how to keep ourself hydrated. should our bodies need some help to do what it already knows how to do, looking to nature for solutions makes sense.

i have chosen to do an experiment:

i am going to see how my body does without using cleansers or moisturizers for at least a week ... or as long as i can to get my body to stablilize and see how it works "naturally" without the aid of products. 

  • i will take showers by simply using water and nothing else.
  • i will not use any cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and chapstick
  • the only place i will use soap is on my hands as they come in contact with many surfaces

i began monday (july 11, 2011) with a "clean start" - i showered with soap, shampoo that doesnt leave residue and mosturized with coconut oil. ever since then i have been taking water showers.

so far, i find the showers feel just as refreshing. im definitely not used to not feeling "squeaky" clean, but i dont feel dirty. my hair is interesting as it isnt terribly oily. in the shower, where i am used to washing my hair and adding conditioner to give my hair that slick feeling, its now not easy to run my fingers through my hair with just water. however, when i get out of the shower, i am able to brush my hair with a brush with no problem at all. also, my hair looks great, not frizzy, and forms nice smooth waves - almost like my natural oils are acting as a pomade? ... i dont seem to notice any smell so far :) lol i have to consult others to make sure though as im sure ill get used to my own scent.

today is day 3! so far, its been interesting and im very curious how this will turn out. i will keep you all updated! ;)


  1. Well it is August 26th today. How did it work out?

  2. it was a great experience for sure! i am working on my follow up post on this in which i will explain my experience in more detail :) watch for it soon! :)

  3. @peachpitts: here is the post update on my hygiene experiment :)