A pair of feet stick out of a tub full of bubbles.

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My relationship with Refinery29 is largely friendly. I enjoy many of their articles and often have elaborate fantasies in which I move to New York and become their chief beauty editor—but that is neither here nor there. But every once in a while they post an article that’s really great. Not all of their pieces are about trends and lifestyle options or food: some of them, and this one in particular, offer really great insights into other cultures and other lifestyles. This time, R29 discusses the different ways women around the world get clean—and it’s a really interesting read. Here are some highlights.


People in this country take their hygienic practices very seriously. “Face masks, washlet toilets, hand sanitizer: everywhere. It’s a very hygienic culture,” says Cynthia Popper, an American living in Tokyo. A common practice is to take a quick shower to rinse off before a nice, relaxing bath. People wash their hair frequently—dry shampoo is not really a thing in Japan. In the summer, people use mint body sprays to cool off and keep clean. That sounds awesome.


In a highly-populated and diverse country like India, it’s no surprise that hygiene practices vary from person to person. Most people do not bathe every day, but rather every two or three days, but in the summer, some people bathe twice a day. In areas where access to water is difficult, people take baths using buckets and cups for water to get the job done.

Sierra Leone

Hygiene is an important part of this country’s culture, too. 77% of the population is Muslim, and wudu, the Islamic practice of cleaning oneself, is a strong part of that culture. There’s also a big emphasis on natural bath products in Sierra Leone, items made from ash and local plants and trees. Bidets are a very common household item, regardless of income.

The rest of the article is insightful and interesting. If you’re interested in learning about how other people around the world lives, check it out.