When Wet Makes You Dry

Many of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I like to get a little dirty. I never shower every day unless I’m really dirty (and I mean that literally – like when I’ve been gardening all day and am actually covered with dirt) or really, really sweaty. The reason for this is simple – showering too often strips your body of its natural oils and dries you out. And the side benefit: showering less saves water!

I’ve mentioned this dry skin issue before and I tend to get a lot of skeptical glances. But it’s true! Showering really does dry your skin. The top layer of our skin consists of dead skin cells and oils produced by the living skin cells. The purpose of this oil is to form a protective layer over our skin, keeping the water of our bodies from drying out. This layer of oil also protects us from irritating substances and germs.

When this layer of oil is stripped away, the water content in our skin decreases, causing the skin to dry out. Do you know the most common cause of the loss of our skin’s oil? Too much soapy, hot water! The more you wash, the more you are drying out your skin.

To remedy this situation, the University of Iowa suggests taking warm (not hot) showers that are no longer than 10 minutes – and never more than once a day. Also, use soap minimally. In most cases, you don’t need to wash your arms with soap, for instance. Save the soap for the underarms, feet and groin areas. Plain old water is sufficient enough for the rest of your body.

When you’re done with your shower, be sure to pat dry – don’t rub. Rubbing exacerbates the loss of oil in the skin. Finally, be sure to moisturize within three minutes of getting out of the shower – this will seal the shower’s moisture into your skin.

What kind of moisturizer? Stay tuned – we’ll talk about that on Monday!

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.

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!

Seven Minute Showers…Getting There!

How dirty have you gotten this month? More than usual? If so, pat yourself on the bath. You’ll know you’ve really gotten down and dirty when letting yourself get a little dirty doesn’t freak you out! :)

I intended to write more updates on this little challenge but I always forget how busy November is! Plus, with the cold weather, I know people don’t like to cut back their delectable hot showers – myself included! So if I do this again next year, spring would probably be better. April or May, maybe.

Anyway, I’ve slacked a bit but haven’t given up. I have easily kept up my every-third-day shower routine. That has been so easy that I think I’m going to continue that throughout the winter months. Even though going from every other day to every third day isn’t cutting my showers in half, it’s still a significant decrease.

As for actually cutting my shower time in half – that has been more of a challenge! My first timed shower was 12 minutes, making my goal 6 minutes. I have yet to achieve that, though most of my showers since then have been 7 minutes – pretty close! There were two days when I was so cold that I lingered…and lingered…and lingered. Those showers ended up being 13 and 15 minutes long! Whoops! But I’m not concerned. This is just a fun challenge and I’m still doing well and trying my best.

Ultimately, this challenge is just for fun. It isn’t that easy, of course – most of us love our long, hot showers! But it is supposed to challenge your perception of “clean.” My goal for all of you participants out there was to get people to shower every other day. Some of you already are doing that, which is why I added the option of shortening your shower. But many people can’t fathom showering every other day – and honestly, it’s not so bad and extremely liberating. That’s really what inspired this challenge, and I hope some of you tried getting dirtier and found it to be less scary than you thought! LOL.

I’ll be writing a wrap-up post on this challenge next week and I would LOVE to hear from some of you. If you want to drop me a line at five5seed@gmail.com or on my Facebook fan page, I would love it. Let me know what your goal was for this challenge and whether or not you met it. Maybe let us know your emotional response to letting go of your perception of “clean,” too.

Until then, have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving for you American readers!

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!

Getting Dirtier

I’m very excited about the feedback I’ve gotten on the 50% Dirtier Challenge. I honestly didn’t expect anyone to sign up, LOL!

I’ve got about 6 or 7 people joining me this month – and you can enter at any time, so join in if you are just reading this now.

As you may have read, I’m committing to showering every third day (instead of every other day) for the month of November, but since that isn’t 50% less showering than I normally do, I’ll be actually cutting back my actual shower time by half. My first shower of November will be tomorrow – I’ll be getting my timer out! (It feels weird to talk about my showers in public….hmmmm….)

And as promised, here is the button for the challenge. Feel free to post it on your blog and spread the word!

UPDATE: I’m having a heck of a time getting this button code to work, so if it doesn’t work, after all my struggles, go ahead and just copy/paste it and please link it to the following URL: http://fiveseed.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/the-50-dirtier-challenge/

The 50% Dirtier Challenge

First of all, let me apologize for not printing this sooner – and say Happy Halloween, as well!

I have been wanting to do some challenges on this blog for a while now, but never followed through because I know with my tiny blog, I will be lucky to get one person to join me, LOL. But…what the heck! Why not?

I have been talking to people about showering a lot lately – it is just one of those subjects that seems to come up a lot. There have been so many conversations about the American proclivity for taking two showers a day. In fact, I even ran across this article recently about Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey showering twice a day (under not one, but TWO shower heads). Now I know two people who are entertainers have no need to shower that often. Even Jennifer Aniston supposedly only showers for three minutes in order to conserve our resources.

So here it is – we are entering November, a cold month, in which most of us won’t be sweating that much (presumably). I’m not going to propose specific numbers here – just a percentage. Though, admittedly, a large one. Fifty percent. Yep, fifty percent less. If you shower twice a day, then cut back to once a day. If you shower daily, cut back to every other day. Believe me, this isn’t as hard as you may think. If you are cutting back to showering once a day, you won’t even notice the difference. If you are cutting back to once every other day, you will barely notice. Just use a little dry shampoo if your hair feels dirty and feel free to do a little soapy action with a washcloth in certain areas (like the armpits, crotch and feet) that you want to stay fresh.

If this is way too far past your comfort zone, then you have one other option. Time your next shower, and for the rest of the month, commit to finishing each shower in half the time. Fifty percent less time in the shower if you can’t fathom taking 50% fewer showers.

Are you in? If so, please sign up here in the comments by stating your 50% less showering goal. I’ll do a couple updates over the month – even if no one signs up, LOL! And if you just see this post a week or two into November, you can still sign up – go for it! Even if you are only involved for a week, please join in.

As for me, I already only shower every other day, and since I have yet to have success showering every FOURTH day (even I have some limits!), I’m showering every third day. But I do intend to cut my shower time in half, as I tend to take very long showers.

If you decide to join in, please remember to compare November’s water bill to your previous bill to see how much less water you used. You may not save much money (water is cheap), but you might be surprised at how much water you can save by simply showering less. Also, take note of how much more time you have on mornings you don’t shower – you may not want to go back to your old routine!

So come on! Join in!