The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

These celebrities do not believe in bathing daily

Jake Gyllenhaal, pictured in February 2020, recently said he increasingly finds “bathing to be less necessary, at times.” (Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Palo Alto Networks)
2 min

Celebrities, as disparities highlighted by the pandemic have made increasingly clear, operate in a reality that can seem mind-boggling to others. Consider, for instance, how many A-listers thought it reasonable to participate in Gal Gadot’s “Imagine” singalong in the early days of this global nightmare.

But all the same, celebrities are people. They are “just like us.” They grab coffee in unflattering joggers, they walk their dogs under the same blazing sun. They eat, they exercise, they shower daily.

Or do they? An increasing number of famous Americans have come out recently as nondaily washers, or at least as the parents of children who are not bathed on a regular basis. The latest crusader is none other than Jake Gyllenhaal, the charmingly wacky actor who, in a Vanity Fair interview published Thursday, admitted to washing himself less often these days.

“More and more I find bathing to be less necessary, at times,” he said. “I do believe, because Elvis Costello is wonderful, that good manners and bad breath get you nowhere. So I do that. 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.”

Elvis Costello, the patron saint of mouth hygiene, does not have another famous quote about taking a shower every day, unfortunately. But out of fairness to Gyllenhaal — who once described showering as “a spiritual practice,” also to Vanity Fair — some experts have deemed it okay to do so less frequently if you have skin on the drier side or aren’t participating in the sort of activities that make you sweaty or expose you to dirt. Most, as one dermatologist recently told The Washington Post, would encourage people to make sure they focus on the cleanliness of their “three P’s.”

That’s pits, privates and piggies (or feet, as they are more often called).

It’s the method of choice for Mila Kunis and husband Ashton Kutcher, recently in the news for not going to space with billionaire Richard Branson — and in headlines again for revealing on fellow actor Dax Shepard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert,” that they do not wash their full bodies with soap every day.

“I wash pits and t--- and holes and soles,” Kunis said after Shepard explained that he had been telling his co-host, Monica Padman, not to get rid of natural oils on her skin with daily soap usage. Kutcher shared that he washes “my armpits and my crotch daily, and nothing else ever,” and that he and Kunis only bathe their children if “you can see the dirt on ’em. … Otherwise, there’s no point.”

Shepard doubled down on the wash-as-needed approach when he and wife, Kristen Bell, swung by “The View” this week. Revisiting the conversation with Kunis and Kutcher, Shepard somewhat jokingly noted that he and Bell sometimes forget to bathe their young children for “five, six days” at a time.

“I mean, they don’t smell,” he said, to which Bell countered, “Well, they do sometimes.”

“I’m a big fan of waiting for the stink,” she continued. “Once you catch a whiff, that’s biology’s way of letting you know you need to clean it up. … So I don’t hate what they’re doing. I wait for the stink.”

Celebrities are waiting for the stink, Hollywood’s newest wellness trend. Imagine all the smelly people.

Read more:

How you shower matters more than when, dermatologists say