A new cosmetic spray is being sold with the intention of replacing showers forever. The product, called Mother Dirt, is produced by the self-called “microbiome company” AOBiome, who research and produce products that use live strains of specialized bacteria to help balance and support the human body’s natural bacterial biome. By maintaining a healthy bacterial biome on your body, the company argues, you can give yourself healthier skin that helps protect your body from harmful microbes.
The shower-replacing Mother Dirt spray is their flagship product and is being re-branded to appeal to a wider and more mainstream market. According to the company’s website, the spray is intended to return the human body back to its natural state, which can be disrupted by showering and cosmetic products:
We are developing a new class of transformational products based on the use of beneficial ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB). AOB are naturally occurring bacteria that metabolize the ammonia found in sweat, creating both nitrite and nitric oxide, two critical building blocks of good health. AOBiome is capitalizing on this activity to restore part of the skin microbiome disrupted by modern hygiene practices.
AOBiome’s founder, David Whitlock, claims he hasn’t showered in twelve years as a result of using the company’s products exclusively to clean himself. The company also sells body washes and shampoos which do not contain bacteria but are specially formulated to leave the body’s bacterial biome unaffected.
An early test of Mother Dirt’s predecessor product led to somewhat mixed reviews. Julia Scott, writing for The New York Times magazine, said that while her skin did feel and look healthier after a month-long hiatus from showers, there were some unpleasant side effects to avoiding traditional bathing:
People began asking if I’d “done something new” with my hair, which turned a full shade darker for being coated in oil that my scalp wouldn’t stop producing. I slept with a towel over my pillow and found myself avoiding parties and public events. Mortified by my body odor, I kept my arms pinned to my sides, unless someone volunteered to smell my armpit. One friend detected the smell of onions.
While users might have to get used to a new palette of olfactory delights, sprays such as AOBiome’s Mother Dirt could help alleviate the strain on our world’s dwindling water supply. By not wasting millions upon millions of gallons of clean water a year on showers, humankind can devote that water to more pressing needs like, you know, swimming pools and watering our lawns. That is, if we can stand the ever-present onion smell.