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!

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38 thoughts on “A Little Incentive to Get Dirty

  1. 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! And I had built-in air conditioning for a couple of hours (I have very thick hair). Bonus! I think I’m going to skip days more often. :)

    • @ChrisC: Wahoo! I think many people don’t realize that skipping a shampooing just once doesn’t really make a big difference – no one will notice! :) Yay for you! And awesome that you skipped the blow-drying. I try to let my hair air dry as much as possible – it’s just better for our hair. Way to go!!

  2. I really love how those lip balms sound, so I actually did a couple of the challenges, and plan to keep doing the Jennifer showers. :)

    1. I tried a dry shampoo that I found at a health store. It’s lavender scented, and seems to have worked pretty well. At first, I was a little unsure about the dry shampoo, as I have only ever used regular shampoo. I brushed my hair to remove any tangles, got in the shower, and then soaked my hair thoroughly to make sure the shampoo had a good base to stick to. I put the shampoo on, and massaged it into my scalp. After that, I rinsed my hair thoroughly with cold water (to close my pores and increase shine). I definitely would recommend this, but it really wasn’t as cost effective as regular shampoo.

    2. I really liked Jennifer Aniston’s reasoning for taking such short showers, so I wanted to combine these two challenges. I took a three-minute shower. I felt like I was rushing, and ended up nicking my leg in the process. (Ouch!) But, overall, it really wasn’t that bad. I think a lot of us here in the U.S. (and, perhaps, other places) take the free-flowing water for granted. We have water for everything from washing dishes to watering plants to rinsing our mouth when we brush our teeth. I learned a valuable lesson taking such a short shower, and plan to continue doing so in the future. I really thank you for posting this challenge. :)

    I read about this giveaway today, so I didn’t have time to do it for the whole month. =( I do plan to do so, though, in order to make up for lost time. ^_^

    • @Alexia: I’m curious about the dry shampoo you used. Did it tell you to wet you hair before applying? I’d like to look into the brand you used, cuz I’m curious as to what they are advertising. Dry shampoos are supposed to be used on dry hair…weird! But if you have a moment, please let me know the brand name so I can look it up. If you are game to try again in the future, I highly recommend rhassoul clay – just massage a little bit into your dry hair (reapply until you get the look and feel that you want). It should save you time, and water usage – you won’t need water at all, except for washing your hands off afterward! :) And it’s very inexpensive.

      I’m sorry about your leg, BTW – that is the danger with short showers. I have some friends who can shave their legs in 30 seconds, but I’m not one of them! Hence why I just shower every third or fourth day and shave at a leisurely pace. I have another reader who tries to shave her legs in the sink from time to time and says it works and saves water. I’ll have to try that this summer, since shaving every fourth day isn’t going to look so good!

      I agree that we tend to take water for granted. Doing something like this tends to put it back into perspective, and helps us remember that every time we turn on the faucets, we are using a shared, finite resource that must be respected and conserved.

      Thanks for participating!

  3. what about those of us who do all 4?

    to be honest 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. and no, this is something i don’t advertise. i think it would be much different if i were a working woman but i’m a stay at home mom of a 5 year old little boy.

    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 have begun to worry about this country. i don’t know if its my age (50) or watching my little boy play and learn in such a different time. anyway, i time my showers during commercials. thats the only way i know i’m between 3 and 5 minutes. any other time cartoons are on and i’m busy doing other things like “purging” my house one space at a time.

    anyway, this leads into washing my hair. i have extremely thick hair and i do very little with it other than letting it grow. i only wash my hair when i shower. my hair is silver and very coarse so shampooing and conditioning is all i do. i have to admit that by the third day is when it looks the best.

    having done all 4 steps as listed above has opened my eyes to several different issues. first, the amount of water used (or not) has made an impact on our water bill, second, my son has never let the water run when brushing his teeth. how many people can say that about their kid? third, i realize that our resources are not what they used to be. i grew up with well water and i can taste the difference. and last, but not least, my skin is in much better condition. its less dry, i don’t have to shave as often, there is no product build up on me or my hair. not to mention the money we save.

    i may not be as beautiful as jennifer aniston but i actually feel more beautiful being me.

    • @Kay: I find that so interesting – that aspect of our cleanliness that is attached to peer pressure. I used to feel that way, too – worried that other people would know I was the one who didn’t shower every day. At some point, I realized no one could tell (after all, I look and smell clean, and isn’t that clean enough? LOL), and I stopped being worried about it. But I think this is SO PREVALENT in this culture – that if you don’t shower every day, then you are a little weird or a little gross. I don’t think that, of course, but I really think that many others do. That’s something I’ll be talking about in the wrap-up.

      And as for those who do all four, bravo! I knew it would be tough for many to do just one of them, so I didn’t want to push too hard and make people do them all. I also didn’t want to make it unfair by giving those few who were more willing to try them all a greater advantage. But you have my personal congratulations!

      • i must say my husband was quite taken aback when he realized that i was not “washing” every day. i would make fun of myself just to see if he would say anything. surprisingly he didn’t. however, i should have remembered a statement he made to his mother during a visit at her home. the subject of brushing teeth came up. i suppose we were talking about going to the dentist and what good teeth i have because i have rarely a cavity. and no matter what lengths my poor husband goes to there is always something wrong when he goes to the dentist. so he looked at his mother and said “i don’t know how thats possible for her not to have dental problems… i never see her brush her teeth!” i was mortified!!! but mind you, i do indeed brush my teeth:)

  4. Well I usually wash my hair everyother day. I workout everyday so I can’t really skip showering everyday and still have friends. My showers are usually four minutes if I dont’ wash my hair and 7 minutes if I do. So I don’t think I can shave off anymore. So I will start biking to work and that should count?!? I sure hope so :) ambrerose at(aol) dot(com)

    • @Rose: Way to go on the 4 minute showers! That is completely awesome! If I could shower that fast, I’d be doing it more often, myself, as I work out every day, too, and can get pretty sweaty. Luckily, a little reapplication of my natural deodorant and I’m good to go. I’ll have to work on reducing my showers, though…one of my goals.

  5. Okay….so maybe this doesn’t count because I am reading this after the fact. I’m on my period, so I really wanted a shower yesterday, plus it was my regular shower day anyway and I needed to wash my hair…but I skipped it and didn’t shower till today. I felt SO dirty. Okay, so that wasn’t even five sentences, haha. Oh! But on the bright side, I bought some no poo hair wash, and I’m hoping it will wean me off of shampoo so I can go even longer between showers! AND I started using a body brush, dry, to help me feel clean on my off days. Okay, you don’t have to put me in the drawing (even though I’d love a lip balm), but I just had to share.

    • @Lisa C: Keep me posted on your dry shampoo usage – I’d even love to have you write a post about it, if you want! I have found that dry shampoo is the best way to help me squeak by with less showers – and I don’t feel dirty or gross, at all. In fact, if you read my previous update about this, when my hair is dirty (and dolled up with dry shampoo, LOL), I seem to get more compliments about my appearance! Crazy but cool.

      • Actually the no poo is a wet hair wash :(. But I was hoping it wouldn’t over-stimulate my scalp to make my hair all oily so that maybe I could wean to washing it less–and therefore less showering. I think it might be working, but it’s only be about a week and a half, so we’ll see. The dry brushing is great, though. I brush my body when I want to feel freshened up without taking a shower. It helps with exfoliation and stimulates the skin. I’ll probably write a post after I feel like I’ve made some more progress.

        And really cool about the dry shampoo. I’ve been wanting to try that.

        • @Lisa C: I’m sorry – I must’ve gotten confused when I was responding to your comment, LOL! No-poo, dry shampoo….I must have had dry shampoo on my mind when I responded to you! :) I hope the no-poo works for you. Are you doing the standard baking soda/water combo? I do that about every fourth or fifth shower, and in between, I use my own concoction (1 part water, 3/4 part castille soap, and essential oils). Keep me posted on how it goes!

          I dry brush, as well, before each shower – never thought about doing it on non-shower days! I’ll have to give it a try!

          • Um, well, baking soda would be A LOT cheaper than my no poo! I have tried the baking soda and just did not like it. One day I saw an infomercial for Wen (the non-shampoo that celebrities use, apparently), but it was so expensive. Then on amazon.com I saw that people were suggesting a no poo called Deva Care. It’s not cheap, but less expensive than the Wen, so I’m trying it out. It feels really luxurious, and it works better for me than the baking soda, although I’m not sure it’s much different. I just had a hard time working the baking soda through my hair, and this stuff is easier.

            • Oh wow! I didn’t know there were no-poos on the market! Cool! Yeah, I know what you mean about baking soda being hard to work through the hair. I put mine in a really big cup and fill the cup in the shower, mix it with my hand, then slowly pour it over my head. The bigger the cup (in other words, the more the baking soda/water mixture) the better. I think it’s the only way to get all that baking soda into long hair! Keep me posted on your new stuff!

  6. Okay, I’m game. I had to think really hard about how to reduce my showers, since I already skip more days than my husband appreciates, and when I do shower, I split it with my 4 year old. We race each other to see who can get done first, and I don’t even use shampoo on my tailbone-length hair. So this was hard for me! I am deciding to do the camping shower every day but twice a week, when I have to do my hair and wash my grimy kid. I wrote about this on my blog last year, how to get the dishes done and bathe a family of four in one pot of pond water. http://picnicbasketcrafts.blogspot.com/2009/12/keeping-clean-on-less-than-gallon-day.html Ha! That sounds totally disgusting, doesn’t it?? Well, that’ll get us 50% dirtier!

  7. Now when I read your blog I smiled as a 7 minute shower is unthinkable for me but in the way – what would I do such a long time there :). So yesterday I got into the shower and thought I have a really quick one end 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.
    Great that you to encourage people here to be honest and reveal “dirty secrets” – well done.

    • @Martina: You’re my hero! LOL. I can’t imagine 1.5 minute showers…hopefully someday I’ll get there! (And thanks for making sure your email was correct!)

  8. I already take short, infrequent showers (3 times a week), so I did something else; I bought some cloth napkins at a garage sale and just last night we switched from paper to cloth! I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner…

      • i love the idea of cloth napkins. that is, if you are referring to table napkins. when i first started my version of “going green” i tossed the idea of continually purchasing paper towels and napkins. i decided to start using my cloth dish rags and dish towels i seemed to be saving for some unknown reason. and cloth napkins (bath clothes) replaced the endless supply of napkins that seem to grow by leaps and bounds. the only paper napkins that show up in our house is from take out food. i even keep a towel or cloth in my car for the same reasons. i’m glad “wehaf” shared her idea.

  9. Hi, there.
    I´m Celeste.
    I chose the challenge number 04, the Jennifer Aniston shower… I sincerely did not know she did this sort of thing, it caught my eye and thought: “Why not?”.
    My husband took the time… I never practised on getting my showers shorter so, honestly, I failed miserably :/ !
    Regardless of the fact that I win this or not, I will practise on reducing my showring time. I shower everyday and I spend a long (and unnecesary) time there!

    • @Celeste: I am the same way – three minutes goes by fast! When I tried it, I had barely finished soaping up! But it really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? LOL! Thanks for participating!

  10. I had intended to reduce my shower time by 2 minutes everyday for the remainder of the month but I wound up skipping a shampoo instead. My husband and 2 year old son showered together this morning and filled the tub half-way with the latter part of their shower water. My son always likes to play in the tub after showers so today I hopped in with him. I soaped up and shaved as usual but I didn’t use any additional water for myself. So technically I saved an entire day’s worth of shower water for myself and skipped washing my hair! My hair is still clean and doesn’t feel even slightly greasy so I will be skipping shampoos much more often in the future. And I also intend to cut down my shower time in the coming weeks as well.
    Thanks for the challenge! Water consumption is one thing that my family is terrible with and we need nudges in the right direction. :)

    • @Brandy: I absolutely love your story here! That is completely awesome how your whole family was able to clean up with the same amount of water. Yay! And I love hearing how surprised people are that their hair isn’t as “dirty” as they thought it would be without a washing! Another yay! LOL. Thank you so much for sharing this story!!!

  11. A 3-minute shower, when I’m not washing my hair (which I think I mentioned is really, really thick, like as thick as 3 average heads of hair), is actually too long for me, and I already skip showers on days when I’m not working outdoors — and I live in the humid sticky south! So I want to share with everyone something that most people don’t know about. The exact name escapes me, but there is a lever that can be added to a shower head which allows you to stop the water flow without turning the water off. The friends who had it said it was something they had on naval vessels (?) but it absolutely ROCKS. The lever is large and easy to flip quickly, so you can do all of the soapy business while the water is off, flip the lever and rinse, flip it off again to add your conditioner, flip back on to rinse. Imagine one of these as standard on all showers!

    • @ChrisC: That is a really good point – when you skip washing your hair, showers go REALLY fast!

      And yes, I have heard about those shower heads! I’ll have to remember to mention them in the wrap-up post. Many thanks for your participation!!

  12. 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!

  13. My post may be too late….but I’m going to post it any way. 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. Thank you for this challenge.

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