Last updated in September 2020
There are so many things you can live without that you probably never thought about. We live in a time of affluence and decades of influence of the media have led us to believe many things are essential in our lives.
However, in reality, most of them are a luxury and living without these things is completely fine. At times, it can even increase your health and happiness, as well as help to save money.
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6 things you can live without in your bathroom
Did you know that you can brush your teeth perfectly fine without toothpaste? Nobody ever tells you this because there is no benefit attached to it.
Companies like people being reliant on their products. Dentists prefer their patients to use toothpaste for two reasons. Firstly, the pleasant flavour of the toothpaste makes it more likely that people will brush their teeth. Secondly, the fluoride in toothpaste strengthens your enamel.
Do we really need a tasty flavour to brush or teeth? One can argue that people who are aware of the importance of brushing will brush their teeth regardless of flavour. Fluoridation does play an important role in preventing caries. However, a much easier way to prevent caries is to brush regularly and limit sugar intake.
If going cold turkey is totally unimaginable to you, you can still safely reduce your toothpaste consumption. Whatever amount you currently put on your toothbrush, you can easily halve the amount without any detrimental effects.
Not using toothpaste feels absolutely disgusting at first. My brain associates the fresh taste of toothpaste with cleanliness and in its absence, it feels like I could never brush enough. However, after a few weeks, this feeling improved and I felt fine going without toothpaste.
After the six-month trial period, I re-introduced toothpaste again but I am now using substantially less.
There is a whole movement formed by people who have abandoned hair shampoo (“no poo“). People either wash with just water or use baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
Does your hair really become clean with just using water? Looking back at the evolutionary timeline, human hair did not evolve to be washed with shampoo. In fact, daily shampooing only became normal during the 1970s. Before that, people had perfectly fine hair without shampoo.
My hair gets greasy really quickly and I used to wash my hair daily or at least every two days. When I stopped using shampoo, I expected the worst and, needless to say, I was not disappointed. My hair became a greasy mess on day 3 and it stayed a greasy mess for the entire six-month trial period.
The benefits of not using shampoo only became apparent when I re-started using shampoo. Instead of having to wash daily, I now need to wash only every four days.
As with shampoo, people lived for a long time without deodorant and were completely fine. Natural body odour was not regarded as something bad, rather it was normal.
However, people naturally want to fit in and are afraid to stand out. So when someone invented a deodorant and the media told us that body odour was bad, people became self-aware about their smell. It is a strong evolutionary drive for people to want to stay part of a group.
Luckily, we do not live in that time anymore. Yet we all now use deodorant mindlessly just because we have been conditioned to think that body odour is bad.
I stopped using deodorant for six months. It was pretty unexciting as not much happened, I just washed more often and wore a shirt underneath my normal clothes. For summer or for gym visits, you can also easily make deodorant yourself.
4. Daily showers
How often should we shower? Showering every day is unnecessary and a waste of time and money. Naturally, if you work out every day or have certain conditions, you may want to keep your daily showering habit.
Everyone else should consider that showering every day can lead to dry skin and that even dermatologists recommend not to shower more often than every two to four days.
For the sake of this post, I had to put daily showering to the test. For two weeks, I showered every day and for the following two weeks, I showered every three days. The result was surprisingly uninteresting: I hardly felt any difference.
5. Anti-ageing products
For many anti-ageing products, scientific evidence is lacking. Hence, you may as well throw your money out of your window.
The most important question is, why is it wrong to look old when you are old? Why are we so obsessed with looking young? It is undeniable that we all age and putting a mask on does not change your true age. Perhaps the obsession comes from the fear of dying. If that is the case, accepting that we all are going to die at some point is a better solution than skin cream.
I have never used anti-ageing products.
6. Things you can live without – body lotion/moisturisers
Body lotion is another thing you can live without. Your skin is able to regulate its hydration level without the help of creams and lotions. Dermatologists actually say that nobody requires moisturisers for their skin. In fact, body lotion can make your skin look older and dull. The exception from this are people with medical conditions.
Note that if you have been regularly using body lotions or moisturisers, stopping will make your skin feel dry and hard. This is natural as your body has become addicted to external moisturising. Although it may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, your skin will adjust itself within a week or two.
Again, my experience is pretty uninteresting. I never used body lotion and I do not have dry skin.
6 things you can live without summary
There are many things we think we need that are totally unnecessary for our life and happiness. However, we are so conditioned that it is hard to realise and wake up from mindless consumerism.
Think about your behaviour and consumption of the mentioned products. Whether we are talking about shampoo or deodorant, you will probably just fine with using half the amount you currently do.
Find out about other ways you can save money without much effort.
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