How much time do you spend getting ready for the day?  I clock in at about an hour, although that time is divided between the night before (when I shower and dry my hair) and the morning when I fix my now pillow crimped, weird hair, and put on a minor amount of makeup.  About an hour.  Sometimes more, sometimes less but if you were to round it out I’m gonna go with an hour.

According to my totally informal, unscientific and possibly grossly inaccurate Facebook poll, that’s about the same amount of time a lot of you devote to getting ready every 24 hours.   Unless you’re Wendy Ann who says it “Only takes 10 minutes, when you have fine hair and don’t wear makeup or jewelry or clothes”.  But I think she’s the exception.  

One of my sisters on the other hand takes almost twice that amount of time (although that includes her sitting with her coffee waiting for her hair to set or some 1950’s thing).  The other sister is less high maintenance but still wakes up extra early so she can clean.  Who ARE these people of mine?

The two hour sister and I were talking about the amount of time we both spend getting ready, she 2 hours, me 1 and thought wouldn’t it be fun to calculate how much time in our lifetime we lose by showering, doing our hair and putting on makeup.  Right?  That’s some amusement park level fun right there.  We both started doing quick calculations in our heads but because we’re both more linguistically skilled than mathematically we mostly just stared at our fingers as we tried to remember if we’d counted that one already.

Out came the iPhone.  Let’s see.  We start worrying about showering and doing our hair at around puberty, although honestly, I didn’t wear a stitch of makeup until I was out of University, much to the chagrin of Betty who was constantly chasing me with “rouge” and lipstick.  But let’s say most people start taking care of their appearance and start a daily getting ready routine at around the age of 14.

Canadian women have an estimated life expectancy of 82 years, much longer if you’re healthy.  Let’s go with 82 though for the purpose of this very scientific study.  Assuming you maintain the same level of “getting readiness” throughout your lifetime,  that’s a total of 68 years of waking up and getting ready.

An hour a year is 365 hours per year of getting ready.  That works out to15 days a year GONE to showering, hair and makeup.  And I mean full days.  A full 24 hours each.

Multiply that by 68 years and it’s 1,034 days of getting ready in a lifetime.

What does that mean?

It’s almost 3 years.


Basically if you didn’t shower or get ready you’d have enough extra time in your life to become half of a doctor.

3 years of beautiful dreams, laughing out loud, hugging your friend, reading a book, listening to music, watching the birds, walking in the grass, eating ice cream, relaxing at the cottage, yawning, crying, talking, listening. ALL gone.  So you don’t stink and have good(ish) hair.

I don’t have a solution.  No fix for it.  It’s just a reminder to pay attention this weekend to enjoying things because 3 years of your life is going down the drain.

Have a good weekend!


  1. Leslie Barnard says:

    Okay, but what if you spend that shower time singing and vocalizing and practicing conversations with people who aren’t there, or better yet, famous(ish) people you’ve never met but if you ever do, you’d know exactly what to say? I’m not even counting the corrected, hindsight remarks that you didn’t get to say but have to repeat to perfection so you can put that one to bed.

  2. WoniyaWaken says:

    Oh man…I’ve done this calculation. But it hasn’t been about hair/make-up or’s been about commuting. And that’s a depressing loss of time…I’m up to five whole years just sitting in traffic 24 hours a day… or on BART, or on a bus or some stupid thing. So I say YES to go have fun whenever I can, and YES to no commuting to dead end job-o-rama whenever I can..which is never. But I plan to say yes when I can!

  3. SusanR says:

    I never took an hour to get ready for anything. Not even my wedding. Until I was in my 30s, I didn’t wear makeup. I had long, straight, fine hair that I washed, combed and let hang dry because it refused to do anything else, anyway.

    Then I discovered perms! I would have my hair permed once a year into lovely, long, soft, romantic curls. That removed the need to comb it, and resulted in what I happily referred to as my wash-and-wear hair. I’d wash it, flip my head forward and back a few times which would get rid of the excess water, separate the curls into their original permed state, and make the curls nice and springy, and be on my way, letting it dry naturally, which would happen quite quickly. Makeup consisted of mascara and lipstick. Period.

    Now that I’m too old to pull off the long romantic curls without looking like Baby Jane or something, I have very short hair which dries on its own and is allowed to just lay on my head however it pleases because it’s still baby fine and refuses to do anything else. When I was working, it took 20 minutes to shower, and apply foundation, mascara, lipstick and eyebrow pencil, and dress. For the observant, the addition of foundation became necessary with aging, to even out the skin coloring.

    My recommendation is to buy a good wig for special occasions and bad hair days, use as little makeup as you can get away with, and try to figure out how to have wash-and-wear hair the rest of the time.

  4. Leeuna says:

    Since I retired I’ve found so many different things to waste my time on it’s hard to choose.

  5. Kelli says:

    ha HA, joke’s on you! Unemployment means only showering every 4-5 days. If that.


  6. Benjamin says:


  7. tiffany says:

    not one but two articles in the Lee Valley newsletter, you tomato grower extraordinaire .
    Pits and parts daily, shower and hair wash only if I am extra dirty or sweaty from the garden.
    Is anyone else having problems trying to type responses?

  8. Dina says:

    I’m with Wendy Ann. I do dog rescue; 19 dogs in the kennel; I don’t have time for any of that stuff; barely have time to eat!

  9. connie says:

    LoL , gardening in dress! Good for you Karen. I don’t see anything wrong in that ;) At all. Reminded me of the time I’d gone into the city all dressed up. Came home to dark rainclouds and just enough time to cut the grass if I hurried. Wanting to seize my oppourtunity ( we’ve had so much rain!) I didn’t stop to get changed. I hopped on the riding lawn still wearing my full length skirt and heels and finished as the first drops were falling. Should have heard the comments from the neighbours. ” Well, that’s a first – I’ve never”….haha. I’m new in town , they’ll get used to me.
    You Go Girl !

  10. Jennie Lee says:

    Since I’m retired, I only go out among human beings once or twice a week, so I clean up right before I go out. I’ve never worn makeup. I started wearing my hair short when I retired, and I wished I’d done it years before– I love it. I shampoo and manicure once a week. Even though most of what I do is what I WANT to do, I still keep very busy, and haven’t enough time for everything. How on earth did I ever waste time watching bad TV shows?

  11. Kathi says:

    True, showering, hair, and make-up can be time wasters when you overdo them. But at least you smell and look good! My hideous time waster is Netflix at night. Not so much the movies, but the seasons of great thriller or ‘spy’ shows that keep you guessing all season until the last episode conclusion. Way too addictive! And the shame when I finally turn off the TV. 😱

  12. Deb Ketchum says:

    pondering: should i waste time being clean or should i be dirty & old …

    no question in my mind that make up and hair styling – other than obligatory church/holiday/wedding – would be a bane to my existence.

    • Kath says:

      Confession-me neither!!! Thought I was alone in this. Over 5 yrs ago I decided to see how long I could go w/o washing it b/4 it would look bad enough to frighten the horses. Because I have the worlds DRIEST hair& skin, turns out I could do 2 weeks, easy peasy. After a lot of searching I found a stylist who does a fabulous blowout for 40 bucks American. I did the math, figured I spent almost that much on product to do it myself plus the hours on my feet in front of the mirror and it never looked 1/2 as good. I haven’t washed my own hair even once ever since. And I will never do it again. Come the apocalypse I’m just gonna go full Britney, but til then it’s blowout city sweetheart.

  13. Sabina Missana says:

    Confession: I don’t wash my hair!

    I have baby fine, wavy hair that can curl with the right level of humidity. At the advice of my hair stylist guru I stopped washing daily it a few years ago and it’s much healthier and curls better now. The only time it gets washed is when I go for a cut or a color, so basically twice a month.

    Don’t judge… ;)

    • Kath says:

      Confession-me neither!!! 5 yrs ago I decided to see just how long I could go without washing it before it looked bad enough to frighten the horses and, due to the fact that I have the worlds DRIEST hair and skin, I can do 2weeks easy, peasy. Longer in the dry winter months. After a lot of searching I found a stylist who does a fantastic blowout for $40(USD) + well-deserved tip. I did the math & found I’d been spending almost as much on product to do it myself plus hours on my feet in front of the mirror and it didn’t look 1/2 as good. I haven’t washed my own hair even once since then and it routinely garners the most compliments after day 12. So now there are 2of us.

      • Sabina Missana says:


      • Hi Karen and Kath; this is a very interesting subject. Due to 3 years of bad health, none of which I was ‘responsible’ for, and far too many surgeries, I determined that I was going to try and go as chemical free as possible. My body requires plenty ‘o scripts so I pay far more attention to my liver’s well-being. I confess I still drink wine and beer; life is too short, and thus far, my liver is fine, which is proven every time I have a blood test which is, at the very least, often. I read labels. I googled contents listed on labels. I almost fainted. More googling led me to a billion, perhaps 2, sites relating to home made, or DIY everything. As a result of all this, I no longer use any soap except on my hands, I shower very rarely, and when I do, it’s with very cool water, and I’m in and out in under 5 minutes. I scrub my skin with cotton face cloths, while in the shower, to remove dead skin and dirt. My shampoo, used on average, once every 8-10 days, is a paste made from double-sifted rye flour and water, rinsing with diluted vinegar which is left in. My hair is amazing, it is super healthy, and if my head gets itchy, a lemon squeezed on my head, and left for half an hour solves that.
        My facial moisturizer is Aloe Vera Gel, and astringent is Apple Cider Vinegar. I only use Mille water to remove sun screen which is ridiculously hard to take off any other way. My skin isn’t dry, I have zero body odor and have a sensitive nosed husband to assure me of that. Spot washing is done regularly, but just with water. We should all try to use fewer chemicals in our homes: there are SO many options, and likewise pay more attention to what goes into, and onto our bodies. You’re the ONLY blog I read and you are one clever, intelligent and entertaining woman. Thank for you sharing your interesting thoughts with all of us fans.
        Charlotte T

  14. Ella says:

    There are ways to reduce the time it takes to get ready without ending up being offensive to those around you. Laser hair removal has shaved a lot of time off my routine (see what I did there?), business like showers, multi-purpose skin care products and a dyson hair dryer. The dryer has been life changing – dries my hair so quickly and leaves it straight and shiny eliminating the need to straighten. I exercise hard every day so skipping a shower and shampoo is simply not an option. I NEVER leave the house without at least mascara and lippy. NEVER!

  15. Jody says:

    I too, like to see how many years various things take. For instance, I have just checked out Michelle Duggar (yes the mother with 19 children). Two of her pregnancies were twins and at least one did not go full term. However if all her pregnancies had gone the full 40 weeks gestation she has been pregnant for a total of 13 years. Elephants have the longest mammal gestation period at 95 weeks.
    And that is an hour of my life I will never get back…….

  16. jaine kunst says:

    Karen, you are too funny…gardening in a dress, LMAO. OMG, I’ve got coffee coming out of my nose.

  17. Mary W says:

    I have short hair – just blow dry and so liberating! I can NOT get into bed without a shower – it is impossible as I sweat or lean on dirty counters or other regular life stuff during the day and my bed is a sanctuary for me. I absolutely love the experience of climbing into cool, clean sheets with the AC turned down and a light quilt on top. I sleep well in my little haven so it can’t be littered with sticky life stuff. The shower is 5 minutes tops. I wash my hair every night and dry it. So 15 minutes for bedtime routine. Five minutes in the morning to make my bed and get ready as I wear no make-up except a smile and only ‘adjust’ a flattened area on my head with a little damp sprinkle and dry then out the door to face another day. But my kitchen? that is another story – full of art stuff and dirty bowls and grandkid experiments. I love my life!

  18. Eileen says:

    I love learning how many others have stopped the daily shower and hair wash…also the leg shaving goes by the wayside in winter. Cuts down on water use too!
    I spend the extra water (and then some) on the garden during the now regular summer droughts. *sigh*

  19. Loralee says:

    We lose almost 3 years of our life showering & getting ready… that’s more time than selfies and finding the perfect Instagram filter combined.

    Hahahahahaahahahahahahaaha! As a social media specialist with IG being my primary platform, you couldn’t have chosen a better comparison. ;)
    I love this Seinfeld-ish feel post.
    Karen, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
    I’ve been mostly a lurker on here for years (possibly the first blog I ever followed?), but I pipe up every once in a while to make sure you know you are appreciated. ;)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Loralee! I may be looking for a social media specialist soon so I’ll keep you in mind. :) ~ karen!

  20. Laurie says:

    This probably explains why there is such a plethora of beauty supplies on the market for us to enjoy, especially since we’re glued to the mirror anyway.

    And I’ll admit, those DIY spa days are fun.
    PS> Think carefully before adding too much herbal foliage to your bath if you are also your housekeeper! :)

  21. susan says:

    The getting ready part of your life is as long or as short as you want to make it. Or dependent on your maritial status lol. The time-sucking, life-wasting part of my life that drove me crazy was the commute. You had absolutely no control of the duration and it could go from long to longer to OH NO THERE’s AN ACCIDENT half a day longer.
    So I sold my house, gave away my car, gathered up my dogs and moved to PEI and bought a convenience store.

    • Madeleine Whitfield says:

      I’ll visit you when I go on vacation there. I’ve been planning to do it for about 15 years, so it will probably happen fairly soon!


  22. Leticia says:

    People all around you are happy you didn’t find a solution for this problem. :)

    I am a Brazilian, I cannot go outside – even to the store to buy milk – unless I’ve had a shower. It’s for everybody else, not for me.

  23. Ann says:

    I may be odd, but I have never been able to stand the feel of make up on my face. So that has never been a time eater for me.

    Then as I got older, I learned that taking a shower daily is not great for my skin or hair. So summer time I shower every other day unless going somewhere in public. I won’t get into bed with dirty feet or such so I do spot clean if necessary.

    Winter I can go 3 days, unless again, there is public involved.

    But anything more than this and I itch constantly. And no lotion or moisturizer can work enough magic for the itch to stop. One can take a quick sponge bath nightly to hit the trouble spots but otherwise we would all benefit, including our planet, if we showered much less than we do now.

    Oh-and I choose to use my unwasted time out getting dirty in the garden, LOL

    • Lynn says:

      I hear you, I am not an have never been much in to makeup either. My skin has been healthier because of it, I am sure same with all the smelly stuff . All it has ever done for me is give me headaches.
      Spot clean with a good bath soak with Edson Salts on the weekend. Fine thick hair with Cow licks , learned early keep it short an brush it often forward, backwards keeps it clean an tame. Hair product just acts like a weight ,even hairdressers found my hair impossible to put products in that didn’t make hair go flat in less than 10 minutes.
      As result 15 minutes an I could be out the door with my coffee . Never understood people that wasted a hour or more …

  24. Joslynne says:

    I’m on the other side where I enjoy a bath every night to relax and restore. Morning is super quick – 5 minutes tops on face and hair – I hate needy hair!!

  25. Dianne Drew says:

    Totally agree. I can get away with not showering or washing my hair for 4-5 days and I do! One can always wash certain parts easily and quickly enough if needed and I lived in Italy for awhile and that’s what everyone did, they just used a bidet or washed in between a full shower/bath. You can ‘train’ your hair not to be dependant on an everyday wash.
    *high five*

    • Alena says:

      I think it depends on the type of hair you have. Try training very fine hair (which defaults to greasy). I have many days when I waked up in the morning and my [short] hair (washed the previous day in the morning) is such a mess and sticks on all directions that I simply have to wash it to be able to go to work. I really wish I didn’t have to wash my hair every 2nd day but it seems to be an unattainable goal.

  26. Helene says:

    a) I work from home, b) I don’t own make up, and c) children. They prevent showering for years. So for now, I’m good. I’m saving time for the rest of my life! ;-)

  27. Beth W. says:

    A couple of years ago, I made the challenging decision to get back to washing my hair only once per week like I did when I was a kid. I shower as necessary but only get my hair wet and wash it once a week. It was a greasy process getting from washing every day to where I am now. I sometimes might have to use dry shampoo to get me through day 6, but my hair is much healthier overall. Washing and drying my long, thick hair is torture for me. I feel so much happier spending 5min a morning putting my hair up and brushing my teeth, then showering after work when I need it, and washing and air drying my hair on Sundays. I highly recommend it!

  28. Nancy W says:

    The other, less high-maintenance sister gets up early to clean WHAT?

  29. Bronwyn David says:

    You say the daily cleansing routine means I’ll miss and average of “3 years of beautiful dreams, laughing out loud, hugging your friend, reading a book, listening to music, watching the birds, walking in the grass, eating ice cream, relaxing at the cottage, yawning, crying, talking, listening.”

    But I:
    have had beautiful dreams (most of my thinking goes on in the shower!)
    laughed out loud
    hugged my friend
    listened to music
    eaten ice cream
    yawned, cried, talked, and listened,

    All in the shower / bath / bathroom / dressing room.

    I call that “two birds with one stone”. No offence to the chickens!

  30. MrsChrisSA says:

    I consider those hours well spent to make me feel better about myself and not have everyone run and scream at my naked face.

  31. leo muzzin says:

    what are you getting ready for?

    • Karen says:

      LOL. LIFE! And I have a whole lot of people to impress at my community garden. I’m always, always looking my best there. I even garden in dresses. ;) ~ karen!

  32. Tina says:

    I’m an every-other-day showerer (and hair washer) unless I’m doing something stinky or dirty or going for my massage or to the doctor. And when I do shower daily, I don’t (usually) wash my hair daily. So I guess that gives me more time to live my life. I dedicate those hours to loving my grandkids and dogs and cats. So now can I NOT live to 82? That’s a little over 15 more years and I’m getting tired!

    • Dina says:

      The ONLY time I shower daily is when I have so much dirt under my nails from gardening without gloves, that the only way to remove is to shampoo my hair in the shower. And I always forget the gloves because in reality, I really do like to play in dirt and have done so, since I was a wee tot.

  33. Madeline says:

    If one were to pay attention to the showering and makeing-up, in a zenish way, that would be a three-year gain of living in the moment…
    be the shower

    • Beth says:

      Love it! No makeup here – why should women have to look different than they “look”?? Men don’t do that, unless they are on-stage or television. Let’s change the expectations.

      • Dina says:

        agree 100%…I’m who I am…take it or leave it, which reminds me, I should go to the medicine cabinet right now and throw away all the dried out Lancome eye liner pencils in every shade they had 20 years ago. LOL!

    • Madeleine Whitfield says:

      I thought that was Gestalt! (Be the footpath you’re walking on, etc.)

      Another Madeleine

  34. billy sharpstick says:

    But if you didn’t shower, fewer people would want to be near you(at least downwind), so what would be the point?
    Slightly off topic tangent: I am so disappointed to hear that you are an iphone person. With all of your DIY attitude, you have an iphone??!! Really??!!
    (This message was created on my homemade UNIX phone)

    • billy sharpstick says:

      Wow! I was #3. Someday I aspire to be your #1 comment of the night.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! How do you know I didn’t make my iPhone? You dunno. Wait. Did I mention in my post that I didn’t make it? I can’t remember. ~ karen!

  35. MartiJ says:

    Basically if you didn’t shower or get ready you’d have enough extra time in your life to become half of a doctor.

    Wow. Everything I need to know about that doctor I dated years ago. As always thanks for making me feel better about my life and all. Think I’ll go outside and eat some of those extremely well-trained cherry tomatoes you got me to grow.

    • Karen says:

      How are they doing?? ~ karen!

      • MartiJ says:

        It’s coming along beautifully. Just made it through a nasty heatwave, which always slows production. I ran twine up for three separate branches and I don’t prune quite as steadfastly as you do, but this is my first try and I’m still trying to adjust to the idea that I should wack off so much of my darling tomato plant.

        The first few tomatoes ripened this week; I was delighted. The bush is only about 5’3″ so far, with about 6 feet upward left to grow. Plenty of room and they seem to be doing better in the stairwell, where I have a tiny bit of control over how much sun they get. Seems like the season here runs well into October, so I feel confident this is just the beginning.

  36. Deirdre says:

    I have to admit in the summer when I’m off (public school employee). I shower less and never wear makeup for those two months. So I’m hoping now that I’ve bought some extra time for myself. 😁

    • Holly says:

      as I do, now retired. I have fine, naturally curly hair I have fought my entire life..1 1/2 hours right there! Now only 2 times a week vs 5 or 6!

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