Vivienne Westwood Showers Once a Week

Dame Vivienne Westwood watching rehearsals of a fashion show

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The 76-year-old fashion designer said washing less is the key to her youthful looks.

Vivienne Westwood has revealed the secret to her youthful looks, and it might surprise you. The 76-year-old fashion icon told reporters at a recent fashion show in Paris that she stays young by bathing only once a week. Her advice to them, given with a smile: "Don't wash too much." If that wasn't surprising enough, her husband Andreas Kronthaler, added:

“She only takes a bath every week. That’s why she looks so radiant ... I only wash once a month.”

(It's unclear whether or not Kronthaler was joking about his bathing schedule.)

An Environmentally Conscious History

A black bathtub in a washroom with white subway tiles.

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Westwood's views on showering should not come as a surprise to many of her fans. At one point she starred in a PETA promotional video, standing stark naked in a shower and saying that she can "take long showers because I'm vegetarian." From PETA's website:

"An impassioned environmentalist, Vivienne reveals that the meat trade squanders global water supplies by diverting rivers and depleting our scarce natural resources. She explains that it takes 16 pounds of grain — and all the water and land that goes with it — to produce just 1 pound of meat."

This is followed by the amusing insight that, despite knowing she can shower guilt-free, Westwood prefers not to:

“Normally at home, I’m not used to the habit of a shower. I just wash my bits and rush out in the morning. I more often than not get in the bath after Andreas.”

Doctors Back Her Theory

A woman lathering her body in the bath.

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Westwood is not alone in her bath-phobic views. In fact, she fits in well with a growing interest in dirt and the understanding that soap and scrubbing can remove important microflora from the skin. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends bathing babies no more than three times a week, especially if soap is used, and the American Academy of Dermatology says only once or twice a week for 6- to 11-year-olds. Brave souls like James Hamblin, medical doctor and senior editor at the Atlantic have tried shower-less living. Interesting startups like AOBiome are selling bacteria-rich body washes, shampoos, and sprays to keep those good skin bugs alive. (I've been using their products for the past month and have been very impressed by the results.)

So maybe Westwood's not completely out to lunch with her views. And she did say she's washing her bits (and hopefully pits), which really are the only places that matter. If you're curious about showering less, check out Melissa's post on 7 ways to skip a shower. Let us know how it goes!