Friend Friday: What would Pig-Pen say?

vintage deodorant ad, circa 1935

On October 31st, 2010, the New York Times published a piece entitled “The Great Unwashed” which featured a number of individuals who are a part of a new “natural” movement.  Some of these individuals have chosen to forgo (or moderate) the usage of shampoo, soap and even showers, while others never wear deodorant.

The article begins with the statement “A DAILY shower is a deeply ingrained American habit. Most people would no sooner disclose they had not showered in days than admit infidelity.” This is undoubtedly true.   Showers have long been a part of the American lifestyle, and the term “the great unwashed” used to refer to something else entirely.

In the 1991 book “Washing the Great Unwashed“, Marilyn Thornton Williams writes that “By 1897… public baths were accepted as one of the important services which progressive American cities must provide for their poorer citizens. Personal cleanliness had become a necessity, not only for social acceptability and public health but also as a symbol of middle-class status, good character, self-respect, and membership in the civic community. If slum tenements failed to provide the poor with bathing facilities so that they could attain the proper standards of cleanliness, then cities must provide public baths to wash the great unwashed. Cleanliness had become a right of all citizens.”

Although Williams’ book is really a study on the advent of public baths, it also illustrates the importance and desire for cleanliness that pervades our society.  A walk through any store deodorant, shampoo, or soap aisle  illustrates that this desire for cleanliness is something that has not faded over the years.  If anything, it seems to grow stronger.

According to the 1935 “Odorono” ad above:

“The care you give to that little closed in hollow of your underarm can make an important difference in your social acceptability.”

Do you think that still holds true today?  Or do you think that our “natural scent” is becoming more and more acceptable?  What about after a workout?  Or on a particularly hot day?  What about when you are on a date with someone new, or a longtime beau?  When you are leaning in for that first kiss?

Is natural the way to go?  Apparently, for some, it is.

Pig-Pen was always one of my favorite characters

But is the “unwashed” movement just a fad, or is this movement here to stay?

1. The move to do away with soap, shampoo and deodorant has been growing in popularity in the last year. What are your thoughts on this trend? Umm…. it scares me?  Just kidding.  Kind of.  I think that, like all trends, this will work for some and not others.   Personally, I could never imagine a life without soap, shampoo (conditioner too!) and deodorant.  I have to admit that out of all three things listed, it’s the idea of foregoing deodorant that seems ludicrous to me.  Have I ever forgotten to put on deodorant?  Sure, doesn’t everyone on occasion?  But to intentionally decide to stop wearing it?  No way.

In the NYT article mentioned above, they share that for 55-year old Jennifer Palmer, the chief executive of Osea skin-care:

“a soapy washcloth under her arms, between her legs and under her feet is all she needs to get “really clean.” On the go, underarm odor is wiped away with a sliced lemon.”

Again, that might work for some, but not others.  I know I wouldn’t feel clean with that regime.  It will be interesting to see how long this trend sticks around.  Movements toward more “organic” products and a more “green” lifestyle have been growing for a long time, but this is something else entirely.  There are ways to be “green” without giving up these things.


Image via cartoonstock

The NYT piece also suggests that some choose to follow this lifestyle because of the “good bacteria” that naturally lives on our skin.

“Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.””

The existence of “good bacteria” on our skin isn’t a new discovery – it was something I learned about in my science classes as a child. I believe that over-washing (i.e.: standing under the shower spray for an hour) and using extremely hot water are bad for the skin. I also agree that the products found in some soaps and shampoos and deodorants can be bad for the skin.  That just means I do (or should do) more research into the products I use.

2. Be honest how often do you wash your own hair? I have long, thick, fine hair that gets oily if I don’t wash it every day, so that is what I do.  Every. Day.  (with a few exceptions).  My scalp gets oily if I don’t wash my hair with shampoo every day, so I make sure to do so.  The only time this isn’t the case is if I get it colored.  On those occasions, I’ll use Klorane Brand dry shampoo for 2 or 3 days, and then go back to my regular wash routine.

I wonder if Alexander Skarsgard is using shampoo?

3. Have you tried to go the more natural route by forgoing shampoo? What happened? Or would you be tempted to try it? I did try it, and it doesn’t work for me.  When I first started coloring my hair in college I tried to wash my hair 3 days instead of 7.  I would still rinse with water when I showered, but didn’t use shampoo.  As I shared above, my scalp gets oily, and having fine hair – it looked awful.  Then I tried 5 days instead of 7.  Same travesty.  So now I stick to the routine I mentioned above.


Image via Google Images

Truthfully, I could get away with only washing it 4 or 5 days a week if I used dry shampoo in my “off days” but I don’t want to do that.  I’m not convinced dry shampoo is any better for my hair than shampooing in the shower, although it definitely comes in handy on the days when you might not have time for that shampoo first thing in the morning or after your workout!

4. What products do you use and have you ever gone with more organic alternatives? Through my childhood and teens, I always used Pantene products.  When I entered college I began using AVEDA because I loved the smell and it made my hair manageable and shiny without feeling weighed down. I also liked the fact the line is a bit more “natural” than others and tries to avoid any unnecessary chemical additives.

Today, I generally use sulfate and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners.  I mostly use Alterna TEN and David Babaii for Wildaid products.  The Alterna product is expensive, but a little goes a long way, and my hair has never looked better or been healthier.


I also use a clarifying shampoo once a week and, on occasion, still use AVEDA products, especially for styling.  However, my styling routine has changed since I began using MoroccanOil.  Lately, that is the only styling product I need!


As for deodorants – I use Secret. Body washes – Korres. Soaps – Dove. I am not that picky on these.
5. What about that daily shower? Would you forgo that opting to shower three times a week instead? Absolutely not.  I work out 5 days a week, and there is no way I would ever forgo a shower following a workout.  I’ve even been known to shower more than once a day (gasp!) because of a late workout.  Hey, it happens.

Showers keep me clean and fresh and they help to wake me up in the morning!  The only way I think I could ever forgo showers is if I absolutely had no choice. For example, if I was stranded on a deserted island or in a third world country where water (or plumbing) was scarce.

I would consider giving up daily showers for you...

What I would love, however, is a “greener” way to shower.  Right now, I use a Jonathan Product Water Purification System in my shower (which I swear it also has made my hair healthier).  It’s a nice start, but it is nothing like the experience I had when I visited Roatan, Honduras in March.

My shower at the Santé Wellness Center and Spa was the best I have ever experienced in my life, even though I had to make it a quick one.  Why?  Because they collect, store and use rainwater on the grounds.  I will never forget the purity of that water and how it felt on my skin.  Pure heaven.  I wish I could set up that type of system here, but I just don’t see it happening…

What do you think of these new trends?  Are they here to stay, or just a fad?

To see what other bloggers are saying about this topic, click here;

For more info on ModlyChic’s Friend Friday series, click here.

{ 15 comments… add one }

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  • Anonymous November 7, 2010, 3:45 PM

    A lot of your answers are exactly the same as what mine would be. I would probably smell fine to others if I didn’t shower on winter days when I don’t workout, but I just don’t feel clean, damn it! And, yes, I want to hear about this Moroccan Oil on fine hair, too. My mom swears by it, and I’m heading to Israel in December where it’s really cheap. I guess I’ll have to stock up and bring some back for a giveaway.

    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:22 PM

      Exactly! It doesn’t matter if I smell clean to others – I would know I wasn’t clean, and that is a big enough “ewww” for me. No thank you.

      Check out my comment below on the MoroccanOil. I ♥ it. If you can stock up when you go, I say go for it!

  • Grit and Glamour November 7, 2010, 12:22 AM

    Hmm. I have long thick hair that’s on the fine side as well. I thought Morroccan Oil would weigh it down…what is it that you like about it? What is it doing for you? My ends definitely need some TLC. Should I try the light oil? Which products do you use? Thanks, doll!

    ♥ V
    twitter: @gritandglamour

    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:20 PM

      My hair is long, fine, color-treated, and I have a ton of it, but it doesn’t weigh it down at all.

      The only MoroccanOil product I’ve ever tried (and the one I use) is the original treatment. I know they have the light treatment that is supposedly geared toward blonde and fine-textured hair, but since this doesn’t weigh my hair down at all, I am sticking with it.

      I think the trick is in the amount you use. I only use about a quarter-sized amount and concentrate on my ends, and then just lightly run what is left through the rest of my hair. It usually ends up being enough that I don’t really need any other styling products. Plus, using it has cut down my drying time by a good 5 minutes.

      Confession: my hair is LONG overdue for a trim. I shortened it to shoulder length in April, and I haven’t had it trimmed since. It’s a little longer than mid-back length now, and I would normally expect quite a few split ends because the cut is so overdue, but I hardly have any. I really think it’s because of the MoroccanOil.

      It is basically just argan oil (which is supposed to be good for your skin and hair) combined with some silicones. I would almost buy it for the smell alone.

      I wish I could send you a sample, it really is one of those things you have to try to see if it will work for you!

  • Olivia. V.B November 6, 2010, 4:11 PM

    OMG of course we should shower everyday!!! Is natural the way to go? … heuuu…. NO!!!
    Funny and interesting article tho!!!!
    I really have to try the morrocan oil, a friend told me about it but haven’t tried yet!!!


    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:06 PM

      I agree – daily showers are a must for me! LOL

      I heart my MoroccanOil. It;s made mornings much easier.

  • fashion butter November 6, 2010, 1:43 PM

    Everything Korres is addictive.

    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:05 PM


      Funny story – before Sephora started to carry Korres products I actually used to order them from a supplier in Greece via ebay. Even with shipping costs, it was cheaper to get everything through him!

      Right after Sephora started to carry the line, he mysteriously disappeared from ebay. My guess is they shut him down.

      But I love all teh products – I am addicted to the Guava body butter.

  • Anonymous November 6, 2010, 2:54 AM

    Like you said, this may work for some but not for others, and in this case, I fall in the “others” category. I live in the tropics, where it is HOT and HUMID, so I MUST take shower twice daily, wash my hair everyday, and DEODORANT is a MUST, and I exfoliate daily too 🙂

    This is really a FUN post, let’s see what the others think about this 🙂

    Wishing you a lovely weekend


    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:03 PM

      I think if I lived in your climate I’d have the same habits as you! 🙂

      I think most of us agree that the idea of living with no deodorant is just unimaginable. The amount of days between shampoos varies here and there, but bottom line – we all like to be clean! 🙂

  • Shop Vogue Vintage November 5, 2010, 5:27 PM

    I love Morrocanoil! I wrote about that in my post today too!


  • Yonkersmom November 5, 2010, 5:27 PM

    I love your visuals!Question: what’s up with the dry shampoos? Do they really clean your hair and what are the ingredients like?

    Fresh Radiant Skin

    • Beautifully Invisible November 8, 2010, 10:01 PM

      Thanks! Finding fun visuals is one of my favorite parts of blogging 🙂

      As for dry shampoos – the ingredients in various types can be all over the place, but essentially it is just a powder that you spray (or sprinkle) onto your hair that works to absorb the oil and give it a nice scent. Since it is a powder, you usually have to work it through your hair and brush it out to get rid of any white residue, If it’s a good dry shampoo it will do the job without weighing your hair down and making it feel strange – it will just feel and look clean.

      I use Klorane Brand Dry Shampoo because it is a more “natural” brand that doesn’t use parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMO, or Triclosan . The can doesn’t clog, and the results are pretty amazing.

      Hope that is helpful!