Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis made quite the splash yesterday with the news that there is actually a distinct lack of splashing happening in their home. That is to say, they—and their children—don’t bathe all that often. They explained on the Armchair Expert podcast, as CNN reports:
“I wasn’t that parent that bathed my newborns, ever,” Kunis said.
And now that they are older, Kutcher said they have a system.
“If you can see the dirt on them, clean them,” he said. “Otherwise, there’s no point.”
Kutcher said he does wash his “armpits and my crotch daily and nothing else ever,” and has a tendency to “throw some water on my face after a workout to get all the salts out.”
Kunis said she washes her face twice a day.
Naturally, the admission prompted a steady stream of memes, but to be fair, kids don’t need to be scrubbed down all that often. In fact, you’re probably over-bathing them. Here’s an age-by-age guide to bathing your children if you’d like to keep them relatively clean without going full Kutcher-Kunis on them.
Three times a week during your baby’s first year is probably enough, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Bathing your infant any more than that can dry out their skin. “Your infant doesn’t need much bathing if you wash the diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes,” the AAP states. It’s also fine to “spot clean” whatever’s dirty. Pay particular attention to the mouth area and anywhere there are skin folds (AKA what we referred to as “the place where old milk goes to die”).
At this age, it’s fine to bathe your kid every night if it’s part of your routine (some parents find baths to be the great tantrum diffuser), but be careful about overusing soap. If your kid has dry, sensitive skin, dermatologist Scott Norton recommends washing them with a mild soap only once a week. On the other days, you can simply have them soak or rinse off in a lukewarm, plain water bath.
The American Academy of Dermatology states that children in this age group need a bath:
- At least once or twice a week.
- When they get dirty, such as playing in the mud.
- After being in a pool, lake, ocean, or other body of water.
- When they get sweaty or have body odor.
- As often as directed by a dermatologist if getting treated for a skin disease .
So basically, use your best judgment. The academy also says that children ages 6 to 11 generally only have to shampoo their hair “once or twice a week until puberty starts.” Though children with “dry, curly or African American hair only need to shampoo their hair once every 7 to 10 days.”
Tweens and teens
Once puberty starts, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that kids shower or take a bath daily (and any time after swimming or sweating heavily), and wash their face twice a day to remove oil and dirt.
This article was originally published on April 5, 2019 and was updated on July 28, 2021 to reflect Lifehacker’s current style and timely information about Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ bathing habits.