Chinchillas Use Dry Shampoo...And Other Ways Animals Primp

by Alexandra Owens

Getty ImagesGetty Images

Looking good takes effort--even, it turns out, if you're an absolutely adorable member of the animal kingdom. Last week, I met up with zookeepers from the San Diego Zoo, who shared a few details on the grooming habits of their charges. For starters, chinchillas (above) don't use a drop of water to look that fluffy and cute. Because they hail from the cold altitudes of the Andes Mountains, they've learned that water soaks their thick fur and causes them to freeze to death. Plan B? Rolling vigorously in dust, which absorbs oil and dirt, leaving their fur soft and clean (not unlike dry shampoo). Here are some other fascinating animal-grooming facts I learned:

We share approximately 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees. One of our shared traits is a love of social grooming. As a way to establish friendships, apologize, and relax, chimps spend most of their daily rest periods combing, picking, and smoothing their fellow tribe members. Makes sense, considering grooming is believed to release endorphins.

See more: 8 Products for Better Brows

Male macaques, on the other hand, groom females in order to seduce them into having sex. How romantic.

When birds preen, they're not just removing parasites to protect their feathers--they're realigning them to make themselves more aerodynamic.

See more: The 10 Commandments of Concealer

Even elephants can get sunburnt. And taking a mud bath is akin to dipping themselves in a giant vat of sunscreen. (The dried dirt blocks out damaging UV rays.)

Sharks allow pilot fish to swim into their mouth unharmed in order to clean (eat) food off their teeth. Impressive, considering all the times I've been tempted to bite my dentist.

More from Allure:
50 Beauty Products to Try Before You Die
Find the Best Haircut for Your Face Shape
Top 21 Drugstore Beauty Bargains
Celebrity Hairstyles That Will Make You Look 10 Years Younger