Five days ago, luxury fashion house Prada released its advertising campaign for a men’s fragrance, featuring Hollywood star Jake Gyllenhaal at the helm of an extreme sailboat battling a ferocious high seas storm.
Shot in a studio, it feels like he’s actually out in some dangerous ocean, drenched in wild sea spray trimming the sails with a winch, eventually caressing calmer waters with his hand.
The irony is not lost on Hollywood.
The almost comedic timing of the launch of the masculine scent – which has “notes of iris and bergamot and vetiver” – coincides with the Nightcrawler and Brokeback Mountain actor revealing he doesn’t wash regularly.
Gyllenhaal, 40, recently told Vanity Fair he finds “bathing to be less necessary,” adding, “I do think there’s a whole world of not bathing that is really helpful for skin maintenance and we naturally clean ourselves”.
Filthy rich: Celebrities showering in their own scent
And apparently he’s not alone. Celebrities and their showering habits are now the talk of Tinseltown.
“I don’t wash my body with soap every day,” Kunis said.
“I didn’t have hot water growing up as a child, so I didn’t shower much anyway. But when I had children, I also didn’t wash them every day. I wasn’t that parent that bathed my newborns – ever”.
Ashton added: “I wash my armpits and my crotch daily, and nothing else ever. I got a bar of Lever 2000 that just delivers every time. Nothing else.”
What about his kids?
“If you can see the dirt on them, clean them. Otherwise, there’s no point,” he said.
The 46-year-old Shepard, who shares daughters Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 6, with Bell, 41, said: “We bathed our children every single night prior to bed as their routine, then somehow, they just started going to sleep on their own without their routine … and we had to start saying [to each other] like, ‘Hey, when was the last time you bathed them?’”
“I’m a big fan of waiting for the stink. Once you catch a whiff, that’s biology’s way of letting you know you need to clean it up,” Bell clarified.
Oversharing on ablutions has caused a real stink
Celebrities normally reveal very little to an audience hungry for the minutia, but oversharing has opened a can of worms, with some taking to Twitter to point out it takes a lot of privilege to boast about not showering.
Jemele Hill, a contributor to The Atlantic, didn’t take long to slam the comments: “Celebrity white folks bragging about not showering have the privilege of not worrying about stereotypes they’re inherently ‘dirty’.”
“Black folks don’t have that luxury. *Most* of us were raised to be obsessively clean because we always have to ‘present well’ for white folks.”
MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid joined the chorus: “When did rich folks stop taking showers and bathing their children daily??”
“What is this madness about being stinky as a family ON PURPOSE????,” she wrote on August 6.
“As [Jemele Hill] pointed out, segregation included barring Black folks from swimming in pools or at public beaches on the premise that we were dirty by definition.
“So when did it become rich kitsch to brag about family filthiness?” she asked.
‘Nothing weird’ about bathing
Not all A-listers smell, or brag about not showering.
Aquaman‘s Jason Momoa was quick to hose down the trend, telling Access Hollywood: “I’m Aquaman. I’m in the f–king water.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m Hawaiian. We got saltwater on me. We good.”
And muscle man Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, spotted walking into the local gym last week with several drink bottles under his giant arms, also ridiculed the “not washing themselves” thing … and overshared his regime.
“I’m the opposite of a ‘not washing themselves’ celeb,” the 49-year old Jungle Cruise star wrote on Twitter.
“Shower (cold) when I roll outta bed to get my day rollin’. Shower (warm) after my workout before work. Shower (hot) after I get home from work … Face wash, body wash, exfoliate and I sing (off key) in the shower.”
Showering every day – is it necessary?
So, do we really need to shower every day?
According to Adam Sheridan from the Australasian College of Dermatologists, the answer is simply, yes.
“Effective showering cleans the skin surface and reduces the surface microbial load, debris and related odours. It also offers an opportunity to mentally reset, energise or relax,” Dr Sheridan told The New Daily.
“Showering for an appropriate duration, at a mild temperature and with a soap-free, pH-matched cleanser contributes to maintaining the healthy barrier function of the skin and a balanced skin microbiome.
“Healthy skin feels and looks good, and is less susceptible to conditions such as dermatitis.”
Dr Sheridan said children derived benefit from daily bathing to “wash away food, excrement and other debris … secondary benefits such as psychosocial bonding with the parent and siblings, and the instillation of self responsibility, discipline and self care routine exist”.
“In the context of a global COVID pandemic, daily bathing of all children who have contact and exposure outside of the home is to be advised,” he said.
So when it comes to showering, just because celebrities don’t do it – doesn’t mean we shouldn’t either.