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Do Europeans bathe/shave/wax less frequently than their American counterparts?


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  I'm in the U.S. and am very much a creature of habit who has to bathe daily, otherwise I feel gross... zombie with skin falling off type of gross. I wash my hair with Tea Tree Oil shampoo twice a week, shave my underarms daily and legs 2-3 times a week. I wax or bleach any facial hair and pluck my eyebrows. I've gotta have deodorant and my Alba Lavender body wash or I get seriously cranky. I love the smell of soap but can't stand perfumes or colognes. I want my clothes to smell like clean laundry detergent and Downy, too. My dog gets a bath once a week with baby shampoo and conditioner. She's an indoor girl who sleeps on the bed and furniture.

  How about you? Does any one else want to chime in? What are your habits and do any Europeans or other non-U.S. citizens think that Americans bathe too often or worry too much about personal hygiene and body odor?

  Bath & Body is a very popular in the U.S. Are they popular in your country as well?

60 Replies (last)

I'm from Europe (Slovenia)...
I tend to shower at least 1x a day - and up to 3x during summer (depends on what I'm doing & how hot it is)...I wash my hair every 2 days or so - as it tends to get greasy rather quickly (and I hate, hate, hate limp, greasy hair - especially when it's too short to be put in a pony tail... it makes me feel unclean)
During the summer I shave my legs around 2x a week & under my arms every other day... during winter I do it less often - I have some issues with my hormones that cause excessive hair growth and I find it difficult to deal with (it stresses me out)... I used to have major problems with excessive facial hair but BC pills & laser removal really made it better... I don't normally pluck my eyebrows because I kinda like them as they are, lol :)

I brush my teeth in the morning, after lunch and before going to bed + I use mouthwash... flossing - I do it occasionally
I use deodorant every day - normally from Nivea (smells nice and doesn't irritate my skin)
& I never wear the same clothes 2 days in a row - except maybe jeans

I'm a Swede/American living in northern Europe.

I shower daily, sometimes 2x/day. My soap/deodorant are neutral smelling, but I do like real perfume. I wash my hair every 3-4 days. I brush my teeth probably too much, and floss daily. I wax my eyebrows and legs about once a month. I'm a bit lax about it in winter, no one sees them then except my boyfriend and he doesn't care. This is true for most of my female friends from here, though they always wax in summer.. in fact, the only ones I know who don't at all are 2 American girls.

Boyfriend is British and he showers daily but doesn't use deodorant (gives him skin problems).

I don't think Americans are worried more about hygiene than most Europeans, but I do think many of them worry more about appearance. I've lived on both continents, and in my experience, Americans spend way more time on hair and makeup. I don't wear makeup or do anything with my hair besides brush it except on special occasions (same true for most friends). And things like teeth bleaching are much less common here.

I don't think I've seen Bath & Body here, but The Body Shop is popular and places like L'Occitane and Lush.

Original Post by cptbunny:

I'm American.

I shower once a week. I shave my pits every other day. I shave my legs twice a week in the summer. In the winter, it's random. I brush my teeth every morning after breakfast and every evening before bed, and I floss before bed. I wash my face every morning. I wash my hair every 2-3 days (at the sink) depending on oily-ness. I wash the important bits every day at the sink in the morning. I pluck/epliate(sp?) hair as they appear.

I don't like to waste water for no reason. I don't feel like my arms/legs/etc get dirty to warrant a shower every day.

I second the Alba stuff. I LOVE them. I use their sea lettuce milk as my face wash everyday. Stuff smells amazing and it's so soft and smooth. I looooove it. I really had no idea they did body wash and hair products... now I've got to get those. I'm bored of Burt's Bees!

  The Alba body washes leave my skin really soft as well.

Original Post by cajunrider:

Original Post by alibsam:

A German girl lived with my family for a year in high school. She generally showered daily but her pants were NEVER washed in the year she lived with us... only her undies, socks and tees. Sweaters weren't washed either. 

She recently came to visit me in Korea and despite sweating a lot she didn't shower daily. These kind of things are why people think that Europeans don't shower/shave as often.

 Yeah but generalizing a whole continent from one person or even one group of people is being a bit tough.

But I did find it interesting that one can find bath houses in Rome, in Japan, but try to find one in an old English castle and you'll be looking for quite a while.

I never said I generalized an entire continent based on this. I'm just saying it's meeting people like that (many times) that makes people think a certain way.

Original Post by alibsam:

Original Post by cajunrider:

Original Post by alibsam:

A German girl lived with my family for a year in high school. She generally showered daily but her pants were NEVER washed in the year she lived with us... only her undies, socks and tees. Sweaters weren't washed either. 

She recently came to visit me in Korea and despite sweating a lot she didn't shower daily. These kind of things are why people think that Europeans don't shower/shave as often.

 Yeah but generalizing a whole continent from one person or even one group of people is being a bit tough.

But I did find it interesting that one can find bath houses in Rome, in Japan, but try to find one in an old English castle and you'll be looking for quite a while.

I never said I generalized an entire continent based on this. I'm just saying it's meeting people like that (many times) that makes people think a certain way.

The problem with this argument is that most Americans have never been outside the States so where are they meeting all these stinky Europeans? Obviously you have a personal experience with someone but this is an opinion that is shared by the majority of the population without actually having any experiences to back it up.

Scotland here, and I shower every day. I am lucky that I don't need to shave often, only once about every 2 or 3 months Laughing "gloats" but I do do it as soon as is needed.

I don't think it's either an American or European thing, you get smelly people everywhere in the world, but you also get people everywhere in the world who are just OTT with it all also.

Original Post by lasposacadavere:

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

  My dog gets a bath once a week with baby shampoo and conditioner. She's an indoor girl who sleeps on the bed and furniture.

As in your bed? Wow, I could never let an animal do that...

 

 Yes, all 6 lbs of her. She sleeps on top of my blanket, by my legs. That is why I want her to be clean and smell good. My dog is the reincarnation of my previous dog in this same lifetime and she is very special to me. Her soul chose to return to this physical plane of existence which is full of pain, sorrow and physical death to accompany me, once again, on my journey of growth. I have much to overcome and my selfishness has held me back quite a bit. My soul tends to sink into an overpowering depression at times, in an attempt to protect itself from the pain of this existence on the physical plane and I begin to long for the "in between lifetimes" dimension of peaceful serenity and unconditional love. You can compare it to a toddler who screams in protest when you take away something she wants. The child has to learn to earn her reward, even if it means delayed gratification. My yorkie came to me at a time when I wanted to end the anguish of this life and return to the "in between place". She saved me when no human could (and many had tried).

 My little dog has brought me much hope and love when I thought there was none left.

Of course I shower daily, and shave as needed, use deodorant/light perfume, and keep my clothes clean. My dogs are allowed on the bed, but they are all bathed once a week and kept free of fleas and other nasties. They even have their teeth brushed daily just to be extra sure.

A friend of mine who was half German and grew up there told me that hot water was expensive, so they did tend to bathe less due to that. Here in the states, she would shower maybe twice a week, never bothered shaving, and didn't understand the point of manicures/pedicures or visting a salon for anything other than a simple haircut.

Then, too she would go from her bed to a chair and not really move all day except to grab another soda or nuke some food. She had issues.

I'm sure she was an exception, but my BF's cousin lives in Hamburg and says the women there aren't super into having nails done, either..don't know about showering/waxing as this did not come up in the conversation.

 

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

Original Post by lasposacadavere:

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

  My dog gets a bath once a week with baby shampoo and conditioner. She's an indoor girl who sleeps on the bed and furniture.

As in your bed? Wow, I could never let an animal do that...

 

 Yes, all 6 lbs of her. 

My dog sleeps on my bed too. My dog is 20lbs and tends to get under the covers. haha She's an indoor dog, goes out only for the bathroom and is bathed regularly. 

ha um! Axe is a popular manly body spray! They use all these ridiculous commercials like if you use it girls will follow you everywhere. There directions aren't clear enough because a few guys i know spray on the axe heavily to avoid take a shower or didn't take one at all.

I swear it should say " Use with caution.. may cause choking hazard"

Original Post by mrssoderstrom:

The problem with this argument is that most Americans have never been outside the States so where are they meeting all these stinky Europeans? Obviously you have a personal experience with someone but this is an opinion that is shared by the majority of the population without actually having any experiences to back it up.

 I know you were answering alibsam, but I wanted to respond as well. I initially wanted to make this question part of a fun cc, informal survey, but I find surveys boring. My question came from my idea that many of us Americans are too caught up in appearances. We are inundated with commercials and ads, especially aimed at women, about how we are supposed to look, what we are supposed to wear and what we should smell like.

 For myself personally, if I don't smell like soap, I feel stinky. I began to wonder if this was a result of growing up here. My question was not meant to offend you, mrssoderstrom, nor anyone else. I think you are looking for a way to be offended by it. 

Original Post by raychelc:

I'm sure she was an exception, but my BF's cousin lives in Hamburg and says the women there aren't super into having nails done, either..don't know about showering/waxing as this did not come up in the conversation.

 

I guess I can agree with that, although I'm not German... Most people I know aren't that big on manicure, pedicure or make-up either - some of them don't shave/wax anything other than their armpits and legs - but they have regular bathing habits. And it really doesn't bother me; as long as the person is clean, I don't care how much body/facial hair they have (armpits are an exception, due to sweating).

I never get my nails done, to be honest. I draw a lot, so it would be harder to do it with long nails. Bass playing would also be much more of a pain in that case, so I keep them short and clean.

 

phoebe_loves_smallville - I understand that your dog means a lot to you and I hope you didn't take it as an offense. :) I didn't want to imply that it was unhygienic, it's just that I'm not that much of an animal lover and I couldn't share a bed with one.

 

 

And as for Americans being obsessed with appearance, I've had different experiences with them. I went to a high school in the States during my senior year and most of the girls in my school were that way: thick layers of make-up, hair and nails perfectly done on a daily basis and always looking top-notch. Most women approaching their late 30s, however, seemed to turn opposite. Or maybe it's just my opinion or the area I lived in.

Original Post by lasposacadavere:

Original Post by raychelc:

I'm sure she was an exception, but my BF's cousin lives in Hamburg and says the women there aren't super into having nails done, either..don't know about showering/waxing as this did not come up in the conversation.

 

I guess I can agree with that, although I'm not German... Most people I know aren't that big on manicure, pedicure or make-up either - some of them don't shave/wax anything other than their armpits and legs - but they have regular bathing habits. And it really doesn't bother me; as long as the person is clean, I don't care how much body/facial hair they have (armpits are an exception, due to sweating).

I never get my nails done, to be honest. I draw a lot, so it would be harder to do it with long nails. Bass playing would also be much more of a pain in that case, so I keep them short and clean.

 

phoebe_loves_smallville - I understand that your dog means a lot to you and I hope you didn't take it as an offense. :) I didn't want to imply that it was unhygienic, it's just that I'm not that much of an animal lover and I couldn't share a bed with one.

 

 

And as for Americans being obsessed with appearance, I've had different experiences with them. I went to a high school in the States during my senior year and most of the girls in my school were that way: thick layers of make-up, hair and nails perfectly done on a daily basis and always looking top-notch. Most women approaching their late 30s, however, seemed to turn opposite. Or maybe it's just my opinion or the area I lived in.

 Yeah, the way she put it was "They don't have interest in such things" meaning..you won't necessarily see a nail salon on every corner the way you would here, and that she just hadn't noticed German women in her area being super interested in makeup, hair, etc.

Maybe they're just more into being natural, and less obsessed with those things as a society?

It is purely optional of course, and your average American probably spends a lot of money on things like makeup, hair products etc. If our infomercials are any indication...we're pretty invested in these things on the whole.

But obviously we have the whole range here..those who are super concerned, and those who are not concerned at all with that stuff.

It depends on a lot of things, I'm sure. If you're working in an office in NYC, you might have to dress up and wear makeup, whereas if you live in a rural area and take care of horses all day or something...this would be a silly waste of time.

 

I'm american and I shower anywhere between about 4-12 times a week depending on the weather and what I've been up to.  I wash my hair every time I shower.  Brush my teeth at least twice a day, often 3 if im going out or seeing my boyfriend.  I wax my bits once a month and shave my legs and armpits probably about once or twice a week. I will wear perfume maybe once a month but otherwise all my product are scent free.

My boyfriend seems to shower 2 or 3 times a day but he is bald and low maintenance so it's pretty quick.  He always smells amazing though.  He is like me and prefers unscented soaps and shampoos so it's just his natural smell.   I love that about him :)

I shower most every day...except Sundays.  That's my smelly day.  I try to only wash my hair every other day, otherwise, it's frizzy and dry and unmanageable.

I wear deoderant and brush my teeth every day.  I don't wear a lot of perfume or lotions or stuff like that anymore because I'm honestly in too much of a hurry.

Have to wash face daily.

 

Oh and I never shave.  Anything.

Original Post by alibsam:

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

Original Post by lasposacadavere:

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

  My dog gets a bath once a week with baby shampoo and conditioner. She's an indoor girl who sleeps on the bed and furniture.

As in your bed? Wow, I could never let an animal do that...

 

 Yes, all 6 lbs of her. 

My dog sleeps on my bed too. My dog is 20lbs and tends to get under the covers. haha She's an indoor dog, goes out only for the bathroom and is bathed regularly. 

Same.  Mine is a 20lb Doxie.  She sleeps under the covers, usually between my feet. 

I can't sleep if she's not there.

Phoebs, this has nothing to do with anything, but your avi picture made me laugh out loud. :D

My 18lb pound beagle sleeps on our bed as well. He gets a bath once a month. Don't think that that's unhygienic though because any more than that and he has skin issues (severe dry skin and itches). He's never smelly. I really should brush his teeth everyday (I do it once a month with baths... I'm terrible). I just have to get into the habit, it doesn't even take that long, I have no excuse.

Also, I've never had my nails done, ever. I do my own nails (I'm actually really good at it, I don't use the brushes the nail polish comes with). But with school this year (messy ceramics and painting), I've decided to go very plain. I prefer short natural nails over long nails any day. I think long fake nails are the tackiest thing ever.

Original Post by phoebe_luvs_smallville:

Original Post by mrssoderstrom:

The problem with this argument is that most Americans have never been outside the States so where are they meeting all these stinky Europeans? Obviously you have a personal experience with someone but this is an opinion that is shared by the majority of the population without actually having any experiences to back it up.

 I know you were answering alibsam, but I wanted to respond as well. I initially wanted to make this question part of a fun cc, informal survey, but I find surveys boring. My question came from my idea that many of us Americans are too caught up in appearances. We are inundated with commercials and ads, especially aimed at women, about how we are supposed to look, what we are supposed to wear and what we should smell like.

 For myself personally, if I don't smell like soap, I feel stinky. I began to wonder if this was a result of growing up here. My question was not meant to offend you, mrssoderstrom, nor anyone else. I think you are looking for a way to be offended by it. 

I actually really wasn't offended by anything said here until your last remark. It was fun. My last comment was a factual reply in response to alibsam's statement "it's meeting people like that (many times) that makes people think a certain way." Maybe she has met many Europeans who's bathing standards don't match your own, but the fact is that this exact opinion is shared by the majority of your country most of whom, as I have already said have never left the border.

Personally I've met hundreds of smelly Americans. And Europeans and Asians and Africans and Middle Easterners. But I don't go making huge sweeping generalisations on a whole population based on the very tiny percentage I've actually met.

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