“It feels like we’re going down a slippery slope.”

To stick to their budget or continue to treat themselves to some pleasures, half of the population has reviewed their hygiene habits, according to a recent survey.

He was hoping for one last good deal. Abdoul jumped on the tram, Thursday February 29, towards Auchan, in Bagnolet (Seine-Saint-Denis), after seeing a report from France 2 announcing the imminent end of super-promotions in the hygiene, beauty and maintenance departments. “It’s the last day”, repeats this 73-year-old former hardware merchant, arriving in front of the toothpaste. Wasted effort: the brand, which was still selling off shampoo at -70% three days earlier, has already complied with the new regulations. Discounts cap at -34%, the maximum authorized since Friday. “These sets of two tubes, I bought several at 60% offremembers the retiree. I’ll wait before restocking.”

Like Abdoul, the French are increasingly careful about their hygiene spending. Faced with inflation, 50% of them say they are “encouraged to limit and reduce” their consumption “for budgetary reasons”, according to an Ifop* survey unveiled on Monday. Last winter, they were only 34%. Purchase renunciations primarily concern beauty and well-being (make-up, coloring, moisturizing care, etc.), but also affect more essential products such as laundry detergent, shampoo, toothbrushes and even toilet paper. (nearly one in ten surveyed).

“In mass distribution, sales volumes in drugstores, perfumes and hygiene fell by 4.4% in 2023, a drop twice as strong as in other departments”reports Emily Mayer, consumer specialist at Circana. “The French seek to control the amount of the checkout and will more easily remove a mascara or a shower gel from their shopping cart than a packet of pasta”she explains.

Increasingly spaced showers

Those most exposed to these renunciations are the most precarious households. “I no longer buy anything except soaps in packs of six and Eco+ detergent”, describes Ryan, 26, at the RSA since the end of his civic service. Responding to a call for testimonies launched by franceinfo, he said he was forced to space out his showers and shaves, to wear his clothes longer between two machines and to “eating rice makes you feel a little constipated” For “save a lot on the PQ”.

Nearly a quarter of the young adults surveyed by Ifop say they have had to call on a support structure to obtain hygiene products in recent months. All age groups combined, while the Restos du coeur organize their annual collection until Sunday, nearly one in ten French people would have turned to these places. “Ten years ago, people only came to see us to find food”observes Jacques, volunteer for the Le Havre Food Bank (Seine-Maritime). “Now we are asked for toothpaste, razor blades, diapers.”

A retired construction engineer, this 70-year-old volunteer claims to have taken a shower himself every three days. “When I’ve been walking a lot or doing DIY, it’s a little temptation that sometimes you have to resist, just like my wife and I resist the urge to go to the cinema or a restaurant”he explains.

“All these deprivations are making me a little depressed.”

Jacques, retired engineer

at franceinfo

At 46, Pierre-Yves evokes a feeling of “frustration” after having to give up his mouthwashes and branded products. “When you have studied, have a job that should allow you to live properly and until then you had a certain standard of living, you have the impression of going down a very steep slope. slippery”worries this perfume-beauty employee.

Hand towel to absorb the rules

If Cyprielle decided to testify in turn, it is to raise awareness. “In the imagination of the French, those who cut corners on hygiene are just people who don’t want to work, marginalized people. But no!” This 32-year-old rehabilitator, in a relationship with a caregiver, decided, a year ago, to“eliminate unnecessary expenses”. An assumed choice so as not to have to cut back on food, nor to give up certain hobbies with her daughter.

In the morning, complete the deodorant ritual after the shower. The “pschitt” is now reserved for special occasions, enough to save a few bottles. “The problem is that I go to the hospital by bike, with uphill climbs. I wash myself off before putting on my gown, but my job makes me sweat. I’m afraid of smelling badconfides the Savoyard.

“I feel less confident, like people are judging me.”

Cyprielle, rehabilitator in a hospital

at franceinfo

Also finished the conditioner. “I have very dry hair, with a strange texture that forces me to braid it”she laments. “It’s a big renunciation. I liked varying the hairstyles, having fun with colorful scrunchies or decorations that the patients liked.” Other colleagues have stopped taking hair supplements, “for the same reason of money”.

Like 16% of women interviewed by Ifop, Cyprielle says she sometimes lacks hygienic protection. “I stopped using disposable products, which cost an astronomical amount of money, and I took advantage of a promotion at Lidl to buy a set of three menstrual panties and three washable pads”, she says. Not enough to ensure sufficient rolling and drying between each use. “So I put a layer of towel on top, to try to get through the day with the same protection. But I sometimes pay for it with leaks at work.”

Buy less to “consume better”?

For other French people, inflation would almost be a blessing in disguise. After swapping your shower gel for Marseille soap, “which costs much less”Emmanuel said to himself “very happy” Of his choice. “I stay just as clean, my vacation budget is preserved and, without depriving myself, I have the impression of consuming better ecologically”welcomes this 44-year-old manager, living with family in Hauts-de-Seine. “It makes me think about how our society has evolved towards ever more complexity”he slips.

“We don’t have the impression of living less well, just more efficiently”, abound Geoffrey and Karina, 30 and 31 years old. For these young parents from Lille, no more laundry in overdosed and overpackaged doses. Haro on toilet paper, hand towels and tissues, which they now choose “with less thickness” or whose leaves they cut in two. Same echo from Stéphane, a 44-year-old engineer near Nantes, who gave up his deodorant. You might as well rewash your armpits during the day if you’ve been sweating, rather than spraying yourself with aluminum salts and harmful chemicals.”he advises.

“Contrary to what the ads tell us, you don’t need much to be clean.”

Stéphane, engineer

at franceinfo

Evelyne, she says she is experiencing end of month “easier” since she started using Marseille soap again and filtering the ashes from her fireplace “to do laundry and certain household products, like our great-grandmothers”. With her husband, this retired teacher even allowed herself “to return to the cinema”.

A little pleasure that not everyone can afford, even if they dare to venture outside their home. “I systematically calculate my hair washes so that they fall on the day I go out and make as good an impression as possible”confides Gabrielle, 28 years old, looking for a job in Nancy. “I have psoriasis which requires shampoos at 40 euros per bottle, so I space out as much as possible, even if it is very uncomfortable for me. I am ashamed of my situation.” According to Ifop, nearly a quarter of French people have already given up leaving their homes due to a lack of hygiene products.

* Ifop survey for the Dons solidaires association carried out online from November 17 to 22, 2023 using the quota method (sex, age, profession, etc.), with a sample of 2,000 people representative of the French population aged over 18 years old.

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