How to elevate your everyday shower ritual
When it comes to daily rituals, showering is up there with one of the more run-of-the-mill activities that we've mastered over the years. But could we be utilising this sacred alone time a little better?
TikTok seems to think so, as the 'everything shower' hashtag – showcasing a self-care practice that includes myriad steps to rival a spa treatment – has amassed more than 32 million views on the platform. Although it's easy to regard everyday bathing as a necessity rather than a luxury, indulging in a little me-time while improving our skin and hair seems like a no-brainer. But glossy strands and glowing skin aside, stepping into the cubicle can also reduce fatigue, pain and stress, as studies have found that the heat prompts our brains to release oxytocin – a 'happy hormone' which, in turn, makes us calmer. Cold showers, on the other hand, are believed to enhance blood circulation, therefore boosting the immune system and blitzing stress levels, if you're feeling brave enough to turn down the temp.
Whether it's a wash-and-go or a lengthy lather-up, we asked Catherine Borysiewicz, dermatologist at skin clinic Dr David Jack how we can maximise our shower time to reap more from our ritual.
Set the scene for your shower ritual
Resetting your mindset from a mundane task to an enjoyable ritual is key to making the most of your shower, according to Borysiewicz. “Getting into the right mindset for a shower really depends on whether you prefer a shower first thing to help you wake up, or a relaxing shower at the end of the day,” she says. “This is an opportunity for you to take time out of your busy day to focus on self-care. Enjoy it! As a busy mum I love the few moments of peace a shower brings.”
Whether it's lighting your favourite candles, or putting on a relaxing or upbeat soundtrack, set the scene to maximise your time. From a beauty point of view, try giving yourself a scalp massage to stretch the cells of your hair follicles and stimulate hair growth, and a body brush from head-to-toe to unclog pores, boost circulation, reduce cellulite and stimulate your lymphatic system.
Think about the order in which you shower
Yes, really! How we wash our body and hair matters and can mean the difference between smooth skin and blocked pores. “I recommend a daily shower to avoid a build-up of bacteria and pollution on the skin,” Borysiewicz explains. “Keep the shower brief – aim for 10 minutes maximum as this will prevent unnecessary use of water and avoid stripping protective oils from your skin. Keep water tepid-to-warm, but definitely not too hot as this will damage the skin barrier and its collagen scaffolding.”
When it comes to the order of business, Borysiewicz suggests starting with shampoo (if you're washing your hair), then apply conditioner and leave it on while you cleanse your body. “This will give a conditioner time to work and you could also do a quick scalp massage here. I always advise clients to switch to a soap-free shower gel to avoid drying out the skin and to respect its microbiome. After cleansing the body, if you want to shave then now is a good time, as you can take advantage of the clean, prepped skin and open pores. This will avoid irritation and shaving rash. After rinsing the conditioner, cleanse your face – this will ensure there is no product residue such as conditioning hair treatment on your face which can lead to breakouts. Drop the temperature a little to avoid any dryness and reach for your cleanser. I also use this as an opportunity to use any active products such as a gentle AHA cleansing product if I have congested or rough skin on my face or body.”
Don't skip the shower after-care
There's nothing like stepping out of a warm shower in a fluffy towel to reset and feel like yourself. But, the regimen doesn't stop there. “After the shower, take advantage of the humidity that has built up in your bathroom to lock in moisture with a good body and a face moisturiser,” Borysiewicz says. “Apply it in the direction of hair growth to avoid clogging your skin and if you have time you could also apply a face or eye mask product as a treat.”
Below, see Bazaar's favourite products to super-charge your shower ritual:
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