I'm not sure why, but I've always found loofahs luxurious. This is probably because they always come in really bright, vibrant colors, and make your whole body feel like a baby's ass. Plus, loofahs are intended to exfoliate, and there's something about the word "exfoliation" that is somehow synonymous with "The Four Seasons Resort and Spa." So since I'm a classy broad, I've used one since the beginning of time.
Unfortunately for me and my lifestyle choices, loofahs are dirty as fuck.
When you use a loofah to exfoliate your skin, you are removing the top layer of dead skins cells. Those gnarly cells don't all get washed down the drain, though, they actually stay inside the little crevices in the mesh of the loofah. I don't know if you've ever given one a really good look, but if you were microscopic in size, it would be really easy to get lost as fuck inside a loofah (is that what After Alice is about? If not, it should be).
Obviously, since the loofah cleans you, it's naturally self-cleaning, too. So you stroll out of the shower and leave it there until your next encounter. Except that is not the case, and now is when all your dead skin cells and dirt start to bump and grind with the water that's left over inside your loofah and it's basically like a big breeding ground for mold spores and bacterial waste. And when it's time for your next shower, you rub it all over yourself.
Hi, that's disgusting. I should know, I do it every day.
If you wash an open wound (I get paper cuts like it's my job, so this is no joke), with a dirty loofah, you can actually CAUSE an infection, like staphylococcus, better known as a staph infection. This article in Huffington Post claims that when you wash yourself with a loofah you've already been using for a while, you're washing yourself with "lavender scented bacteria." SHOWS HOW MUCH THEY KNOW. Mine is citrus.
Even though Huffington Post was all wrong about what type of bacteria I'm using to wash my body these days, they do provide a list of things you can do to lower your risk of infection and bacteria that includes the following:
- Letting your loofah dry in between showers (sounds like work...)
- Replace it more often (sounds like expensive work...)
- Microwave it (don't get me started on microwaves...)
- Bleach it (if I don't want to rub bacteria all over my body, why would I want to rub bleach all over my body?)
Tempting, but I might just try to find something other than a loofah.
Dr. Melissa Piliang feels that we should stop being so pompous and switch to washcloths, the loofah's uggo cousin. People have a tendency to replace them more often and wash them in the laundry, and they're not made of the same material used for dresses in the Moulin Rouge so it's harder for germs to linger. I've never been a fan of washcloths because I feel like they're just towels that aren't big enough to do the real job, and they never get sudsy the way a good loofah does.
There are a few options if you're like me and refuse to settle for a washcloth. You can grow your own loofah sponge, which is literally a plant, and I'm sorry, but I am not fucking washing my whole body with a plant that looks like a hairy cucumber that I grow myself. Option two: you can buy a natural sea wool sponge, which seems fucked up since I'm pretty sure they were stolen from their cozy beds on the coast of Florida, but at least they don't harbor bacteria the way a regular loofah does. This natural sisal bath mitt is flat so there might be less infection-causing HELLFIRE trapped inside it after a few uses, maybe. Also, for the record, just putting your Manuca Honey shower gel from the Body Shop in your hands and cleaning off, the way our ancestors did, might be the best way to go for those with sensitive skin and possibly just skin in general.
I am going to try this "bath pouf" from Bamboobino, a brand that specializes in bamboo-based children's clothing. The logo is a lazy panda, which really resonates with me so I trust this brand completely. I thought I peaked in snootiness when I said I exclusively use exfoliating loofahs but now I'm planning to buy a "bath pouf" that's $7.50, so I might have outdone myself.
Finally, once my Bamboobino bath pouf arrives, I have to figure out what the fuck to do with my loofah. I can't throw it out because I'm trying trying to adopt a less wasteful approach to consumption, a.k.a. not throw so much shit away. Re-using an old loofah is actually easier than I thought it would be. Dry it out, STERILIZE THAT SHIT, and then unravel it. I might try number 14 from this badass list of ways to recycle old loofahs, but I'm also considering donating half of my loofah to my boyfriend so he can use it when he paints (watch me try to use that on my taxes as a charitable donation...).
Let me say before I conclude: although I will be replacing my loofah with a bath pouf, I still fully support the loofah as a Halloween costume. That is one of the best costumes I have ever seen in person, so don't rule out the loofah from your life entirely.