50% Dirtier Wrap-Up and Announcing the Winner!

Well, folks, we did it – we survived one dirty month! ;) I’m so grateful to all of you who participated (and I know there were more of you out there who joined in without commenting here, so thank you, too!).

I’ll leave you hanging in suspense for just a few paragraphs before announcing the winner. (I know, I’m terrible!)

Here are a few observations from the emails and comments I received during this challenge:

::”Dirty” hair is not so dirty.

I have found that the knee-jerk reaction to skipping a day when washing one’s hair is often a tendency to feel grossed out or worried that one’s hair will be dirty, smelly and/or greasy. However, I’m happy to say that several people reported to me that skipping a day when washing their hair was actually easy and not as worrisome as it first seemed! Here are some comments from readers:

Chris C said, “First I tried skipping hair washing for a single day, and it wasn’t bad at all, especially since I didn’t do anything vigorous. I went one step further and didn’t use a hair blower to dry my hair, and my hair was actually extra shiny! …I think I’m going to skip days more often.”

Brandy commented, “My hair is still clean and doesn’t feel even slightly greasy so I will be skipping shampoos much more often in the future.”

Celia added, “I have always washed my hair every day….and I use hair products in my hair every day…..so I have to wash it every day…..vicious cycle. So for this challenge I washed my hair…..didn’t use any products……and then skipped washing it for several days. I chose this challenge because I am trying to grow my hair out and I have bought a few Gypsy Wraps from an etsy shop for this very reason……trying to live simply…..with a smaller footprint…..and this is one small step to many more.”

This is actually a subject that I’m really passionate about, though to be honest, it’s more about vanity and health than water conservation. It is just plain good for your hair to wash it less! You will likely find it prettier and shinier if you cut back on washings. And perhaps you will find, like these ladies, that skipping a shampoo is not so bad.

::Social pressure plays a role.

This is a tough one. I have had comments from people who mentioned their worries about others knowing that they don’t shower every day. Kay (who is a water-conserving hero!) said, “…I’ve been following your blog for quite some time regarding ‘getting dirty’ and it sure made me feel better knowing I wasn’t the only one who skipped showering for days at a time. …This is something I don’t advertise. …The norm for me is 3 to 4 days between showers. I’m really gonna hate this being known by one and all but I suppose it is for a good cause so I may as well spill.”

I hear this a lot, and it continues to reinforce my feelings that our culture is way too obsessed with cleanliness. I know people who shower twice a day, every day, who are disgusted by the idea of not regularly washing. I hear people say that sweat is disgusting, that walking in wind makes them feel that their skin is “dirty,” and that not washing hair at least once a day is unthinkable. I have heard many say that a person should smell like soap all the time, except when at the gym. But to me, this is backwards, and is a desire to wash away all our naturalness, all our wildness.

I think the belief is that if you don’t shower every day, you will smell like dirty hair, like body odor, like really old sneakers. I used to be embarrassed to tell people I didn’t shower every day until years ago, when I heard two stylish beauticians at a salon talking about their dirty hair. These were stunningly beautiful 20-something girls (seriously, they could have been models) and one was asking the other if she would help her wash her hair. “I haven’t washed it in over a week and it’s really dirty!” I looked at the other (who was cutting my hair at the time) and said, “You two don’t wash your hair every day?” She replied, “God, no! That is so bad for your hair! You should never wash it every day.” After that, I started to have a different perspective on the cultural obsession with cleanliness. Now, I absolutely LOVE telling people (if the subject comes up) that I haven’t showered in two or three days and hearing them say, in shock, “But you look/smell so good!” That’s because one can still maintain good hygiene without assaulting the body with soap, shampoo and deodorizers at every opportunity. (A damp washcloth is just as effective as a shower for staying fresh!) And it’s so awesome to be able to demonstrate that to others.

::Creative showering is easy.

Many of you found ways to cut back on water usage in creative ways. Some of you, like Brandy and Tiffany, shower with your kids, which is a great way to save water! Martina completely amazed with her story of bush camping – now this woman knows how to make water go the distance! She said, “…when I read your blog I smiled as a 7 minute shower is unthinkable for me…what would I do such a long time there? So yesterday I got into the shower and thought I have a really quick one and see how long that takes. It was 1.5 minutes and I thought it wasn’t really a rush. We travel Outback Australia 3 month of the year and bush camp as much as we can – the only reason why we have to get back into civilization is water – so we are good with using very very little. It is often for days a ‘bucket wash’ as we call it – we both wash us out of the same bucket and the same 1.5 liter of water. You get used to it and you feel and you are pretty clean. I think if it is there it just gets used and nobody things about it.” Pretty amazing, huh?!

::A short shower can be an eye-opener.

Some of you tried the “Jennifer Aniston shower” (3 minutes), and bravo! I did that once – just once, because I really hate short showers. It’s been my experience that some people are just really good at taking a short shower, and others (like me) have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of that magnificent stream of piping hot water. LOL. But I think everyone should try (at least once a year) to accomplish the 3 minute shower. It really puts your shower time and water usage into perspective. Hearing the timer go off while you are just rinsing the shampoo out of your hair gives you something to ponder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And how much time and water did you save this month? Kelli, my faithful participant who has been getting dirty since the beginning of the month, submitted this amazing report:

Since I started on May 6, I have taken 5 Navy showers [out of 7 showers total] with water running for 5 minutes total out of 15-17 minutes in the shower. Each Navy shower used 19.5-39.5 gallons of water, so I used a total of 97.5-197.5 gallons of water for those 5 showers. If I had left the water on for the whole shower, I would have used a total of 331.5-671.5 gallons of water. That’s a difference of 234-474 gallons of water for the entire challenge! At the rate I’m going, I could have taken an additional 5 Navy showers and used the same amount of water as a regular shower [for me]. For a normal 17 minute shower I would have used 66.3-134.3 gallons. Instead, I used 19.5-39.5! I can’t believe how much water I saved!

Pretty amazing, huh?

As for me, I’ve taken just 7 showers this month (like Kelli). Kelli totally kicked my butt, though, because most of my showers were 15 minutes long. (I’m too obsessed with the hot water to turn it off between rinses.) I spent a total of 96 minutes in the shower this month. Compare that to my old shower routine from two years ago (showering for 15 minutes every other day): 225 minutes. So I saved 129 minutes of shower time! At 2.5 gallons of water per minute, I used 240 gallons of water. Compared to my old routine, I saved 322.5 gallons of water!

So what will you do, now? You may find that even if you did just one of the challenges here for one day, your routine might start to change all on its own. I did not expect to change my showering routine after the 50% Dirtier Challenge I did last fall. But when I started preparing to present it again this spring, I was surprised to find that I had been showering every third day (which was my goal back then) very consistently, without realizing it! It literally just became a habit and I forgot that it had started when I set my goals for the last challenge. Perhaps in six months, you will realize that you have started to wash your hair every other day and forget why or when you started doing that…

I’ll post a bit more on some tips about this in June, but this post is getting long, and I’m sure you want to hear who won the lip balm! So onward!

The random number generator picked…….

Tiffany Norton!!!

Congratulations to Tiffany!! And be sure to check out her awesome post, Keeping Clean on Less Than a Gallon a Day.

Lastly, I want to thank you all so very much for participating in this challenge. I know it isn’t an easy one – showers are a beloved luxury. Believe me, I understand! And I understand what a challenge it can be to step out of the comfort zone of cleanliness. But I sincerely hope that it was both fun and educational, and that perhaps you found it wasn’t as gross as you thought it would be to get a little dirty. Thank you all!!

(Please forgive me if I didn’t use your comments in this post. I ended up with more submissions than I expected, and didn’t have room for them all. But I am very grateful for your comments and feedback!!)

A Little Incentive to Get Dirty

Okay, folks, I admit it: I’m not very good at organizing or publicizing blog challenges. In fact, I totally suck at it. Case in point, my 50% Dirtier Challenge, which has maybe three people actually participating. What do I have to do? Bribe you?

Okay, you got it! ;)

There are five days left of the month – five days where you can do something to participate. I promise, I’ll make it easy on you. And the bribe? How about two lip balms – Vanilla Woods and Chocolate Mint. And guess what else? I’ll ship it anywhere! No limits on where you live. How’s that for incentive?

So first things first. Here’s what you have to do to enter: Complete one of the challenges listed below. Write a one- or two-paragraph (and by my standards, that means at least 5 sentences) description of what you did, why you chose it, and how it went. Post that as a comment here. Please note that I intend to publish what you write in a wrap-up post about the challenge next week, so don’t write anything you don’t want the public to see.

Yep. That’s all you have to do. Now for the challenges:

1. Skip washing your hair for a day. (Obviously this one is for those of you who wash your hair every day.) For an extra challenge, try a dry shampoo (optional).

2. Time your shower once, then for your next shower, shave 2 minutes (or more) off your previous time.

3. Skip one shower. If you shower once a day, skip a day. If you shower every other day, stretch it to the third day. For an extra challenge, skip as many showers as you can!

Jennifer Aniston / AP photo

4. Take a Jennifer Aniston shower. This lovely lady reportedly takes 3-minute showers, pointing out the fact that “every two minutes in the shower uses as much water as a person in Africa uses for everything in their life for a whole day!” This one will require a partner with a stopwatch – no cheating! See how far you can get in 3 minutes.

Doable, right? And you only have to choose one, so hop to it before the month ends! :)

For those of you who have been participating, you can earn one extra entry by leaving me a “report” of the water you’ve saved by cutting back on showers during the month of May. But please note that these reports will only be eligible if they are submitted here on Tuesday, May 31st (by 6PM PST).

And lastly, please make sure you follow the rules of the giveaway:

::I ask that you pick a task that is NEW to you – that is a genuine challenge. If you are already showering less often, or shortening your showers, please push a little further, rather than entering a comment about a routine you have already worked out over the years. This giveaway is based on the honor system, and in order for everyone to have a fair shot, each person needs to do something new, or stretch themselves a little further past their comfort zone. If I were to enter, for example, I would choose #4, since I have already established a habit of showering only once or twice a week (keeping up my long showers). Taking a super short shower would be something new and challenging for me.

::Each person is allowed only two entries. The first type of entry mentioned in this post requires at least five sentences explaining which of the four challenges you chose, why you chose it and how it went. (Again, please remember that I intend to copy and paste these entries into a wrap-up post next week, so be aware that other people will be reading it.) The second entry mentioned requires a “report” of the water/time you have saved during the month of May by decreasing your showers. These will only be eligible if they are left here in the comment field on May 31st (by 9PM PST).

::Please note that if you intend to enter twice (following the guidelines above), you must post your reports in two separate comments. Otherwise, your entry will only count as one.

::Giveaway ends on May 31st, 6PM PST. The winner will be chosen by an online number generator and will be announced here on the blog on June 1st. The winner has 3 days to send me their shipping address. If the winner does not contact me, I will choose another winner.

Now go get dirty!

Getting Dirtier Update

I almost canceled this blog challenge, but decided to go on with it after one faithful reader decided to join in, LOL. I have discovered that people’s showers are sacrosanct. I have gotten a lot of semi-annoyed emails about this project expressing that it’s a waste of time, and that showers play a very small part (if any) in water conservation. Mostly, I’ve heard a lot of people say that shortening their showers, or showering less frequently does absolutely nothing for the environment, and that if I really wanted to make a difference, I would stop taking 15 minute showers, even if I only take them every third or fourth day.

And I understand all these opinions about showers. I understand people being confused about my unwillingness to give up long showers, and my willingness to shower less often, instead. I understand them thinking that my efforts (or their own) are a waste of time. And so even though I had already decided to keep the challenge going for myself and my one other participant, I didn’t plan on blogging about it again.

However, when my water bill arrived a few days ago, there was a newsletter from the utility company included. You know what it said? “Your daily shower is one of the biggest water wasters in your home.” After that, I felt confident about continuing my efforts at reducing my time in the shower (which means, in my case, showering less often), and giving this challenge one more plug before it ends on May 31st.

My one participant, Kelli, said she has had some luck with shortening her showers, which is awesome! (Her comments have inspired me to try to cut back to 10 minutes per shower, but that’s a work in progress, LOL!) I think that just taking the time to become aware of how long we spend in the shower is a major step in the right direction, even if we choose not to change at all. I have found that many people have never timed themselves in the shower, and that they tend to underestimate their shower time by at least 5 minutes.

As for me, I have had my challenges. We have been having some warm weather, which is a bit unusual for this time of year (we don’t tend to have a warm spring here), and with all the biking I’ve been doing, I’ve been getting a bit more sweaty than I anticipated. However, my last shower was on Monday, and I won’t be showering again until tomorrow morning (Friday), so yay!

Here’s the funny thing: I visited my sister today, and the first thing she said was, “Wow, you look especially pretty today!” This is the third time she has complimented my looks when I haven’t showered for four days! I told her how “dirty” I was, and she jokingly said, “You should really avoid the shower, then!” She also asked me for my secret at keeping my hair from getting too oily on non-shower days and I gave it to her (rhassoul clay). She’s very excited, as she doesn’t want to have to wash her hair every day anymore. It’s better for your hair and it saves time – what’s not to love about that?! ;)

It’s May 19th as I write this, and I have taken 4 showers since May 1st. For me, that equals 60 minutes of shower time, which isn’t bad. If I took a 5 minute shower every single day, I’d have spent 95 minutes in the shower, so wahoo! I’ve saved 35 minutes of shower time. Now let’s convert that to water usage. I have a good shower head, though honestly, I don’t remember exactly how efficient it is – I think it is around 2.5 gallons per minute. So that equals about 87.5 gallons of water saved! (This is all assuming I did my math correctly!) Not bad, huh?

So there’s only a little more than a week left of May, but you can still participate. Here are just a few easy, things you can do:

::Time your shower once or twice then leave me a comment about how long your showers are. Totally easy, I promise!

::Cut 2 minutes off your shower time. Just once. Try it.

::If you are truly daring….skip a shower one day. Make it a Saturday, when you don’t have to go out and see anyone, in case you are worried about your appearance. But don’t worry – it’s not as scary as you might think!

I would love to hear from you! Just try one thing – whatever is easiest for you, and report back. You’d make my day! I can say with absolute certainty that getting a little dirty, a little sweaty is not so bad!

America’s Water Footprint

Copyright: Five Seed

Have you joined the 50% Dirtier Challenge yet? 

There are two major reasons behind my decision to start the 50% Dirtier Challenge:

1) to help people reconnect with the natural rhythms of their bodies

2) to help people become more aware of their use of natural resources (something we often take for granted)

Many people say, “It’s just a shower! Who cares?!” But to me, it’s not about the showers. As I’ll say many times, I take super long showers (12-15 minutes), but I honestly don’t feel guilty about it because I only shower every second or third day. So yeah, in a way, it’s just a shower.

But a shower is a piece of a bigger pie. We use water every day for multiple purposes. According to Yes! Magazine, the United States uses more water per capita, per year than any other country. A whopping 655,939 gallons. That’s almost exactly twice as much as the water usage in the UK. An American’s average indoor water use is 69.3 gallons per day. An average shower represents 11.6 gallons – the amount of water a resident of Bangledesh uses for everything in an average day.

So a shower just becomes part of our bigger picture. I think sometimes we get so entrenched in our habits and routines that we forget to think about what we’re doing. We don’t think about what we are taking, since we live in a culture that generally views the unlimited use of natural resources as the norm. We don’t often think about our part in the system. We tend to take things for granted: electricity, gas, water. I think we all generally know where it comes from, and many are aware that extracting natural resources can be harmful to the environment. But we don’t like to think about that. And I think many of us are reluctant to take the next step in the questioning process – to explore our sense of entitlement to the comforts we enjoy thanks to the extraction of all these resources. While there is no doubt in my mind that the Great Mother surely intended for us to use the resources she has given us, I also believe that She did not intend for us to take without giving back, to take more than our share, or to participate in the world without a sense of connection, respect and humbleness.

Little challenges like this can help us remember to be conscious about our daily activities – to move within the world with a sense of awareness about our actions, to keep exploring our interactions with the world, to contemplate our place among the many forms of life on this planet. While blog challenges are ultimately supposed to be fun, they can also inspire some pretty cool changes in your life, if you really let yourself go deeply into the experience. I know this for a fact, because many healthy/green changes I have made in my life were inspired by other bloggers.

I believe that the more you learn about one area of your life, the more you start to make changes in all of them. I know many of you consider your shower one of the high points in your day – I know I adore my showers. While it may be fun to experiment with cutting back on the amount of showers you take or the time you spend in the shower, this ultimately may not be a place where you want to make any changes. But maybe, as you become more aware of your water usage habits through this challenge, you might find other places to cut back.

Be aware, experiment, set your timers, set some goals…but above all, have fun with this! And get a little dirty!

*All the statistics quoted in this post are from Yes! Magazine.

Getting Dirty…Again

I warned you last autumn that I’d try the 50% Dirtier Challenge this spring. And here we are! Spring. So let’s talk.

The 50% Dirtier Challenge is simply a fun little challenge with two goals (that you will, no doubt, hear me repeat again and again):

1. To encourage people to become more familiar and comfortable with their bodies, including the way you smell, the way your hair feels and how your skin feels when you shower less.

2. To make people aware of their water usage. Once you start noticing your usage in one area (in this case, showers), it is inevitable that you’ll become more aware of your water usage in other areas, as well.

Now, you may feel that you are plenty comfortable with your body and/or that you are a water-conserving maniac. However…please consider participating, anyway. For one thing, it’s always more fun to do something as a big, crazy group (LOL). For another, even I (and I already don’t shower often and am extremely committed to conserving water) have learned from the last 50% Dirtier Challenge – and my shower routine has reflected that. I’ll discuss more about this later, but for now, let’s just get down to the nitty-gritty.

What this challenge is all about.

I chose the name “50% Dirtier” simply because the ultimate goal of the challenge is to cut back on your showering by 50%. If you choose to go this route (and there are other alternatives I will describe in a moment), you can either cut the time of your shower in half, or you can shower half as often. Many people (including me) love long showers, and don’t want to give that up – so don’t. Just try showering, say, every other day, instead of once a day (or once a day instead of twice a day, etc.). Or, if you really feel the need to shower every day, time yourself (you’d be surprised how few people actually know how long they spend in the shower – I didn’t even know until I did this challenge last year!), then make a commitment to cut back to half that time for your subsequent showers during the month of May.

Now I realize that this doesn’t necessarily work for everyone for any number of reasons. But please don’t let that stop you! You can customize this challenge any way you want. Commit to trying it for one week (or heck, one weekend), instead of one month. Keep your regular shower routine, but wash your hair less often. Cut back on your shower time by 1/3 or 1/4. You can do anything you want – you don’t need to hit the 50% goal. Just try!

Make it a challenge and really get dirty.

This should be fun, but also challenging. The only actual rule is that you must set a goal that is a genuine challenge for you. Not necessarily super hard – but a comfortable challenge. Remember the goals of this challenge: to become more aware of your water usage (and potentially to learn to get by on less), and to become more comfortable with your body, just the way it is – sans constant scrubbing and shampooing!

Yes, get dirty! This is, in my opinion, the hardest part of the challenge. If you have followed Five Seed for a while, then you know I think the beauty industry pushes us to over-wash ourselves – something I think isn’t healthy for our skin or hair. I’m sure many of you have heard that washing your hair every single day strips it of its natural oils. The same is true of our skin. However, this “over-cleaning” of our bodies is deeply ingrained in our culture. I have written about this a lot in the past, so I won’t get into detail here, except to say that I know how hard it is to shower less often. It can be very uncomfortable for people. Every time I’ve experimented with showering or washing less often, it always pushes me out of my comfort zone. It’s hard to step outside of our habitual patterns (even those involving our beauty routine) and let our hair get a little dirty, or not jump into the shower the moment we break a sweat. We literally feel dirty, or gross. I think many of us even worry that everyone around us notices the slightest change in our routine and that they are judging us for being dirty, sloppy or lazy.

As uncomfortable as it may be, this is such a rich time to start exploring our thoughts, assumptions and habitual behavior. For instance: What really constitutes being “dirty?” Are you really dirty, or are you just experiencing different sensations in your body as it re-balances itself? Is sweat dirty? Are your natural scents truly unappealing or are you just used to smelling like soap all the time? I think these are serious and important questions to consider if you are trying to work in harmony with your body.

If you really give this challenge a genuine effort, I truly believe it will change you – maybe a little, maybe a lot. I certainly did not think there was much further I could explore, being careful about water conservation and having only showered every other day for years. But the last challenge did changed things for me. I committed to try to shower every third day, or to cut my usual 12-minute showers back to 6 minutes when I couldn’t go three days. Both of those goals were extremely uncomfortable for me – at first. I look back now and laugh, though, because I started showering every third day, for the most part, without thinking about it, once the challenge ended.

My goal.

I, like many, love my super long showers, so I’m choosing to shower less often this time around. During the last challenge, I pointed out that showering 50% less than my usual every-other-day shower would leave me showering every fourth day – something I couldn’t fathom! However…I have experimented with it for two weeks in preparation for this challenge and……..that’s what I’m going to do! I have found a better dry shampoo than the mixture I used last year, and I’m all set to get seriously dirty!!

Setting your goals.

Now please remember, this challenge doesn’t mean you can’t wash yourself at all! You can keep your regular facial routine, and use a good old soapy washcloth for cleaning out any areas that might get a little sweaty and/or stinky. Sponge baths are absolutely allowed and are surprisingly effective! You may also choose to go back to your usual routine during your moon time, which is fine – just re-join the challenge when you can.

The point is, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, there’s always a new path to explore that will lead you to unexpected places. So please leave your 50% Dirtier Challenge goals here in the comments section. Remember, you can make any goal you want, that fits your needs and lifestyle. Just try to make it a little bit of a challenge!

Let’s get dirty!

You can read more about last year’s challenge here.

Stay tuned – I’ll try to get a button up for those of you who want to use it on your blog. If you don’t want to wait, you can copy the above picture and just link it to this post.

How dirty did you get?

You can breathe a sigh of relief, because the 50% Dirtier Challenge is OVER! :) What I want to know is: How dirty did you get?

I was pleased to hear from a few of you over the past two weeks. Some of you joined in during the last week or two of the challenge, which is awesome! And I got so much great feedback.

How did I do? Not as well as I’d hoped! It got so cold during the last two weeks of November, that I didn’t stick to my 6-7 minutes – more like 10 or 12, which is basically where I started! I probably only stuck to my 7 minute showers a handful of times. BUT – I found it completely easy to shower every third day instead of every second day, which is a major cutback, too. Further, I plan to keep going with the every third day shower during the winter. I just don’t find that I feel that dirty at this time of year.

Speaking of feeling dirty, many of you expressed to me that you just couldn’t handle showering every other day because of feeling too dirty, not liking the way your hair smelled, etc. Believe me, I TOTALLY understand that! When I first cut back to every other day showers back in the summer of 2008, I was also transitioning into the no-poo routine. Let me tell you, it was an ugly, dirty summer, LOL. I was very uncomfortable with the way I looked and felt. However, I felt completely certain that my body would rebalance itself and if I could just hang in there for a few weeks, I’d be okay. My hair ended up taking a few months to rebalance itself, but I got used to being a little “dirtier” after just about 10 days or so.

Ultimately, my reason for cutting back on showers was that I felt I was stripping my body of its natural moisture. My scalp was often itchy and irritated and my skin was painfully dry. After showers, I felt like a dried up desert floor in the heat of the noontime sun. Ouch! Cutting back on showers did not completely cure my dry skin, but it is no longer a painful problem for me, and the irritation I was experiencing is long gone. And as I said before, an unexpected benefit of showering every other day was that I suddenly had loads of extra time on the mornings I don’t shower! Heck yeah!

So why this challenge? Many of you expressed how important your shower time is – that it is the only time you pamper yourself. I feel the same way. Ultimately, I do not plan on cutting my shower time in half in the near future. My showers seem to be averaging 12 minutes, but again, I only shower every third day (or second, in hot weather). That’s not bad. And I do believe we all deserve some indulgence. If your shower is your favorite way to unwind or pamper yourself, then great! In fact, I’ve realized that I need to make the showering experience a little more special (light a candle, try some new scrubs, etc.). Showering IS special – it’s a wonderful privilege we have, allows us to take care of our bodies and is a wonderful way to metaphorically wash away any negativity in our life.

I was inspired to do this challenge not as a way to discourage people from enjoying that pampering, but as a way to heighten our awareness of our habits and activities and to challenge people to get out of the cultural mindset that we have to be so damn clean all the time! :) As I mentioned earlier, I have encountered so many stories about people who shower TWICE a day, and it really stunned me. It makes my skin shriek to think of all the oils that those people are stripping from their skin and hair. Sure, some people have a legitimate reason to shower twice a day – but very few! Most of us don’t even need to shower ONCE a day – that is just something that has become a cultural norm.

So yes, it was my goal to challenge people to skip a shower – even just one a month. See what happens. Is it really SO gross? I’m not saying you should completely drop any form of hygeine. Just use a washcloth for those areas that need a little freshening. There’s really nothing wrong with not showering every day – it’s just that we’ve been trained to believe that many of our body’s natural scents, rhythms and tendencies are dirty. But honestly – how dirty can you really get in 48 hours?

That was my primary reason for starting this challenge. I feel it is important for us all to step back from our culture that asks us to be hyper-vigilant about our hygiene to the point of interfering with the natural wisdom of our bodies. You know how I feel about all that, if you’ve followed Five Seed for a while. Our bodies are perfect the way they are and don’t need a ton of buffing, scrubbing and soaping to stay healthy. On the contrary – the more we get out of the way, the healthier we can become.

Now I know that cleanliness is a super charged issue. And that’s fine. Only do what is comfortable for you – this should be a fun exploration of the experience of living in your body. That’s why I gave one other option to the challenge – to cut the actual time of your shower in half. Why? I realized that even I, someone who is deeply committed to making green changes in her life, had never timed my showers! I had no idea how long I spent in the shower – 15 minutes? Thirty? This part of the challenge was simply to see if we could become more aware of our habitual actions. You may have felt your time in the shower was a little excessive and maybe you wanted to cut back a bit. Or perhaps you were interested to find out how long your showers were and left it at that (which is basically what I ended up doing, LOL!).

All in all, I found it a fun little challenge and I am so grateful to all of you who participated (even if it was only for a day!) and commented. I hope it was a fun experience for you, as well.

I do plan on doing it again, just to see if I really can cut my showers in half when it’s not so darn cold! And I think doing challenges during the holiday season is not the best idea, either! :) So maybe this coming April or May we can try this again…

Until then, thanks for participating, everyone, or for following along!

Cutting My Shower in Half

I have a confession to make: I have never timed myself in the shower before, despite the fact that I have recommended that people do this anytime I write about greening one’s beauty routine. Yep. I haven’t walked the walk on that one.

Why not? For the simple reason that showers are one of my greatest pleasures in life. Who doesn’t love standing under the scalding hot spray of the shower head? Especially in winter? It is so relaxing and everything just melts away. I figure since I only shower every second or third day, I shouldn’t have to feel too guilty for taking long showers, right?

Well, maybe, maybe not. The fact is, I was afraid that my showers were averaging 20 minutes. And I was too afraid to find out if that was true or not, because if it turned out to be a correct estimation, then I knew I’d have to, in good conscience, cut way back!

So today, I did it. I brought in my timer and set it for 30 minutes, just to see how long my shower would take. I didn’t try to hurry at all – I wanted an accurate picture of how long my average showers are. And I’m slightly relieved to report that my shower today was 12 minutes long. Yeah, that’s a long shower in general, using, at minimum, 30 gallons of water. But it wasn’t 20 minutes, so I considered it a small victory.

For the rest of the month, however, I am now committed to taking 6 minute showers. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, because I’m sure there are plenty of people who already DO take 6 minute showers! :) But here it is – I’m a slowly reforming shower glutton.

Hope you are all doing well on your 50% Dirtier Challenge goals!