Today’s the day to start my experiment with AOB (ammonia-oxidizing bacteria)!
I’m a little jittery, to be honest. It’s a bit creepy to imagine your skin crawling with live bacteria. Of course there are probably billions of bacteria living in and on my body as we speak, but usually I don’t much think about them, nor do I actively try to acquire them. Out of sight, out of mind—which kind of means they’re not really there.
It’s like that mental blind spot that enables me to eat fish as long as the head isn't still attached. Seeing those bulging eyes with their accusing stare ruins my appetite every time. In the same way, the thought of dousing myself in live bacteria causes a slight queasiness, but I’m determined not to let that stop me.
As a natural worrywart, all kinds of concerns run through my mind: What if the mist gets into my mouth when I spray my face? Is it okay to swallow? What if it gets into open wounds and cuts—will they get infected? After all, these are bacteria derived from dirt, though somewhere I read the AOB are supposed to help with wound healing, so who knows.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, the little AO+ bottle has no dire health warnings printed on it, other than “For topical use only.” It doesn't say you have to call the poison control center if you accidentally lick some off your lips, so let’s trust that the biotech guys have sufficiently researched this stuff.
The only thing I might change is to omit soap, shampoo, and conditioner, but I won’t change brands or do anything else different.
Speaking of brands, I should maybe tell you what my old “normal” is: I use mild liquid soap (EVERYONE SOAP, Coconut & Lemon); AVEDA shampoo and AVEDA conditioner, Rosemary-Mint. I use TOM’S aluminum-free deodorant, wild lavender. Right after showering, I use a small squirt of Vermont-made massage oil (GREEN SEED HERBALS) on my face and hands, sometimes my body.
That’s it. About 360 days of the year, I don’t wear makeup, and I don’t blow-dry my hair.
I’m also posting some “Before” pictures below, so you have something to compare my new and improved self to after the four weeks are up.
So I just took a shower, making sure to follow AOBiome’s instructions: “[After] you wash, remember to rinse thoroughly with water to remove all harmful residue from your skin.”
“Harmful residue,” here, means soap.
I dry off as usual and towel-dry my hair. For the record, I did use soap, shampoo, and conditioner, so from here on out we’ll see how long I can go without. I’m going to get one of the bottles out of the meat drawer now.
The bottle itself is quite severe looking. The white background and the dark-red text make for a rather stark contrast, and the big red plus sign (+) reminds me of the Red Cross or the flag of Switzerland, both weird connotations.
While we’re at free association, the cross also conjures up images of blood, emergencies, and first-aid kits… maybe not quite the imagery the AOBiome people were shooting for. As a copywriter and advertising pro, I would recommend they shrink the Plus and give the bottle a more “cosmetic” design. Softer colors would be good to emphasize the tenderizing effect the AO+ mist is supposed to have on the skin.
But enough with the theorizing—let’s get practical!
To unlock the sprayer, I break off the small white tab below the exotic-looking bottle’s nozzle, as instructed. The first thing I notice is that I don’t know which side of the bottle the mist is supposed to come out of, so I cautiously pump some into the air. Is it bactericide if you don’t make them land on you? (The spray end is the “beak,” by the way, marked with a green dot for dummies like me.)
Then I follow the rest of the instructions that came with my AO+ supply:
Be sure to shake the bottle first.
Use 6-8 sprays of AO+ Mist all over the body and let it absorb.
Recommended use is twice per day, preferably after showering, or any other events that displace the biome (such as swimming in a chlorinated pool).
Be sure to focus on areas with high amounts of sweat glands: the face, scalp, underarm, groin, hands & feet. You can even spritz before working out—your mist loves sweaty activities!
Each bottle holds over 100 sprays to last a week at about 15 sprays per day.
Here’s the second thing I notice: fifteen sprays won’t get you very far.
I might be able to get away with six to eight sprays if I really just go for the sweat glands. But as I said in yesterday's post, I don’t just want odor control—I want the full benefits, including softer skin, a healthier scalp, fewer wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, and hands, and so forth. That means I have to spray my whole body, and you can’t do that in eight sprays.
In fact, you can barely do it in fifteen—so the twice-a-day routine is definitely out, or one bottle will only last me three and a half days.
Note: As I’m spraying, I’m close to balking when I get to my nether regions. Too many openings into the inner sanctum here, and too many sensitive bodily fluids. I do it anyway, in the name of science. This better be harmless.
An hour later, I’m still alive and well—so far, so good. See you all in a few days for the next report.