The most recent controversy in Hollywood isn’t about the hottest new couple or a toxic divorce — strangely enough, it’s about bathing. Dax Shepard was one of the first celebrities to spark what people are calling the “bathing debate” when the “Armchair Expert” co-host told Monica Padman on a July episode of the podcast that she “should not be getting rid of the natural oil on your skin with a bar of soap every day.” Instead, Shepard said that washing only with water is better. Since the former “Parenthood” star weighed in, around a dozen A-list celebrities, including Dwayne Johnson, Terry Crews, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Chris Evans, have offered their thoughts on the great bathing debate.
Coco Austin, Ice-T’s wife of nearly two decades, shared her opinion on bathing during an interview with E! News’ “Daily Pop” on Aug. 10. Austin, who is no stranger to controversy, said that she doesn’t usually shower every day. Rather, she prefers to bathe whenever she is “feeling icky.”
Austin’s bathing comments have been almost as controversial as her thoughts on breastfeeding, which also made headlines this month.
In an interview with US Weekly on July 31, 2021, Austin said she continues to feed her daughter, 5-year-old Chanel, because she likes it, and Austin doesn’t want to just tell Chanel “no.” The interview was focused more generally on parenting do’s and don’ts, but most of the attention from readers honed in on Austin’s choice to continue breastfeeding. While Austin’s daughter Chanel does have a well-balanced diet outside of being breastfed, many have written hateful comments directed at both Austin and Ice-T for their parenting choices.
Austin’s most recent comments regarding bathing have elicited a similar response.
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Coco Austin, Chanel Nicole Marrow (2018), (Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
“Well, I don’t shower every day,” Austin said in the interview, part of which you can see below. “I do what’s needed. My hair — I wash my hair every four days. Yeah, but when I’m feeling icky, I’ll get in the shower. Whether that’s every day, that may be, but that could be every three days. I kinda keep myself clean, though. Like, if I feel like my pits smell or something, I just take some washcloths and some soap to it. I might not have to clean my whole body.”
Austin’s bathing routine had some fans on Instagram in an uproar.
“I’m extremely shocked people are so comfortable saying they don’t bathe 😳,” one commenter wrote.
Another Instagram user bemoaned the fact that so many celebrities are sharing their personal bathing schedules.
“Can everybody just keep their showering schedules to themselves 😩,” the fan commented.
With that said, Austin is in good company, as many celebrities have come out in the past few weeks in favor of bathing less.
“More and more I find bathing to be less necessary, at times. I do believe, because Elvis Costello is wonderful, that good manners and bad breath get you nowhere. So I do that,” Jake Gyllenhaal told Vanity Fair in an Aug. 5 piece. “But I do also think that there’s a whole world of not bathing that is also really helpful for skin maintenance, and we naturally clean ourselves.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finds himself firmly on the other side of the debate, however.
Coco Austin, Ice-T (2019), (Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images)The “Jungle Cruise” star Tweeted:
“I’m the opposite of a ‘not washing themselves’ celeb. 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.”
While those in favor of daily showers might agree with The Rock’s routine, fans levied another criticism at Johnson’s love for showers: you’re wasting water.
However, the question remains. What do health experts think? Is overwashing a big issue? Should we all limit how many showers we take?
According to Robert H. Shmerling, a doctor and faculty editor at Harvard Health Publishing, “showering several times per week is plenty for most people.”
“Overcleaning your body is probably not a compelling health issue. Yes, you could be making your skin drier than it would be with less frequent showering. This is not a public health menace. However, daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water. Also, the oils, perfumes, and other additives in shampoos, conditioners, and soaps may cause problems of their own, such as allergic reactions (not to mention their cost),” Shmerling explained.
Given Shmerling’s assessment, it seems that while many of these celebrities might not be as clean as one would think, their routines aren’t as gross or unhealthy as some critics say.
“If you’re like me, it may be hard to imagine skipping the daily shower,” Shmerling writes. “But if you’re doing it for your health, it may be a habit worth breaking.”