A shower is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Is there anything that feels more relaxing than a jet of water hitting your skin, especially on a hot day? Plus, unlike the 10-step Korean beauty routine, there’s little fuss when it comes to showering. There’s no need to worry about which products to apply and in what order – some soap, shampoo, and water are enough to do the trick.
But as much as you think you have showering figured out, there’s a high chance you’re doing it wrong, like most of us. In the quest to remove dirt and odors from our bodies, we often go overboard with showering or use harsh personal care products that strip the skin of its natural oils. These oils, however, are crucial to maintaining the skin hydrated and protected.
Believe it or not, there is a right way to take a shower that’s not only relaxing but also 100% good for your skin. Even though your current method may work in getting you clean, it’s easy to take your showers to the next level with the following tips. Try this routine and see how your skin starts to feel softer and look more radiant.
USE NATURAL, SKIN-FRIENDLY SHOWER PRODUCTS
Many conventional bath and shower products can really dry out your skin. And even those that call themselves “moisturizing” aren’t guaranteed to help keep the skin hydrated. This is because standard personal hygiene products contain a plethora of chemical ingredients that dry out the skin. Additionally, products that have parabens, phthalates, triclosan, styrene, and similar ingredients, have been linked with harmful health effects like reduced fertility, endometriosis, and cancer. Pretty serious stuff for a simple body wash product, right?
That being said, you may want to switch to shower products that are free of any toxic stuff. Look for products with a short ingredients list and carefully inspect each name on the list. Also, make sure that the products are marked as “fragrance-free” instead of unscented. Many products labeled as unscented contain fragrances to cover up the harsh smells of chemicals. And these fragrances, in turn, contain phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting compounds.
However, labels can often be misleading, so a good way to make sure you’re not exposing yourself to harmful chemicals is to opt for natural formulas. In addition to being better for your skin, natural bath and shower products are better for the environment too. They are made of organic and sustainable ingredients that don’t pollute the water and often are stored in non-plastic, recyclable, or degradable packaging. In Australia, some of the best natural personal hygiene products you can find are the ones by brands like Trilogy, Akin, Lanolips, Loccitane, and Weleda.
KEEP YOUR SHOWERS SHORT
Showers help relax your mind and it’s easy to get carried away and spend half an hour under the water. But a good shower is more about quality than quantity. And ideally, your showers should last between 5 to 10 minutes. Not only does this help save water, but it also prevents the skin from drying out. To shorten your shower time, clean where it counts. Areas with a high density of sweat glands and which rub throughout the day are most likely to have bacteria. So, instead of soaping up your whole body every single time and stripping your skin from its oils, focus on areas like the groin, buttocks, armpits, and under the breasts.
TURN DOWN THE TEMPERATURE
If you’re like most people, you probably can’t resist a hot shower. But hot showers aren’t any more hygienic than mildly warm or even cold showers. They are actually bad for your skin as they wash away the nourishing oils and dry it out. And this, in turn, can contribute to early wrinkling and aging. Plus, since the skin is the protective cover of the body, regular hot showers can make it more vulnerable to cracking and infections. So, to prevent your skin from premature aging and maintain its health, try to keep the water at medium heat. And if you can handle it, a cold shower isn’t a bad idea either considering its numerous health benefits.
Scrubbing might seem like a logical way to remove dead skin, but the abrasive scrubs can actually irritate the skin, especially if you have a skin allergy or other sensitivities. Actually, dry brushing can have more benefits than in-the-shower exfoliation. And if you’re moisturizing properly, the simple act of washing can be enough to exfoliate the skin in a natural and gentle way.
If you’ve been using a loofah, it’s a good idea to ditch it altogether. Loofahs are very abrasive and can cause tiny, almost invisible scratches on the skin. Additionally, most people don’t clean their loofahs properly and use them for longer than recommended, which is usually 2 months. This makes them especially prone to harboring bacteria and mold. Instead of a loofah, a much better option is a soft washcloth.
MOISTURIZE WHILE YOU’RE IN THE SHOWER
Did you know that it’s best to moisturize while still in the shower? Yes, you read that right. Body lotions have the job of trapping the moisture in the skin. But after a shower, there’s usually little moisture left on the skin. And this is why people with naturally dry skin may feel the tight and unpleasant dry sensation even while sticking to the aforementioned tips and moisturizing afterward. That’s why it’s better to moisturize while you’re in the shower before the little remaining moisture has evaporated from the skin. You can use a specialized in-shower moisturizer but even plain coconut oil works too – unsurprisingly, given its multiple benefits for the skin and hair.
USE OIL FOR A SMOOTHER SHAVE
If you struggle with razor burns or breakouts due to shaving, a little trick can go a long way in achieving a smooth, much better result. Instead of using soap or body wash, applying oil to your skin while shaving is a better idea. By coating your legs with oil, you’re creating a barrier that protects the skin from the sharp blade. In addition, the smooth texture of oil also does a good job of preventing moisture from evaporating. And remember, dried-out skin is more susceptible to infections and irritation. However, not just any oil is suitable for shaving. Look for cold-pressed organic oils that will offer you the additional benefit of feeding your skin with vitamins and minerals. Avocado and jojoba oil are especially suitable for shaving as they have an antimicrobial effect.