Taking a shower has the ability to clear your head and relax your muscles as you start your day ahead….and should be both refreshing and relaxing.

Although there’s really no wrong way to take a shower, there are several things to know in order to make the most of this time.

The following tips will help take your everyday shower from ordinary to indulgent.

Temperature

Although a steaming hot shower can be a great way to warm up on cold mornings or unwind after a stressful workday, hot water can actually be bad for our bodies. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, can make common problems like eczema even worse, and damage the skin faster.

Instead stick to a lukewarm, or cooler, shower.



    Time…

    Taking too long of a shower can actually remove much-needed moisture from the skin. This will leave your skin feeling dry and itchy.

    The shorter the shower, the better. Keep your shower time down to no more than five to ten minutes.


    Frequency…

    There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how often you should shower…but most of us can cut back to a few times a week. Just don’t cut back so much that you smell or risk having skin infections.

    Shampoo

    Washing your hair no more than two times a week should help maintain the natural oil production, while achieving moisture balance.

    Washing your hair too often can be drying, especially for anyone with gray hair or colored hair…Washing your hair too seldom can cause a buildup of oils that lead to flaking and redness.

    Always brush your hair before you get in the shower to work through any tangles. This will also help prevent clogged drains. After you shower, brush your hair again. Plastic vent brushes are best because they have multiple bristles.

    Put a quarter size amount of shampoo in your hands. Distribute theshampoo evenly throughout the hair, instead of simply pouring it on top of your head. Avoid using too much shampoo on your ends because they’re prone to dryness and brittleness.

    Make sure to get the nape of the neck, scalp, and roots because this is where dirt and oils usually collect. Scrub for a complete minute before rinsing.

    Conditioner

    Instead of using a regular conditioner, apply a deep conditioner once or twice a week. The heat and steam of the shower will help the deep conditioner penetrate hair strands.

    Apply the deep conditioner, oil-based serum, or simply olive oil to your hair immediately after rinsing the shampoo out. Leave this on while you wash the rest of your body. 

    Applying conditioner above your crown line will lead to grease and unnecessary oil production. Instead, focus on your roots first because this is the area that requires the most moisture and attention.

    Finally, wrapping your hair tightly in a towel can cause severe damage to your hair. Instead, gently squeeze out excess moisture with a cotton t-shirt or a dry towel. Pat hair dry, rubbing your hair too roughly can cause knots and frizz.


    Soap

    Soap contains surfactants, chemicals that attract both oil and water and that are able to bond with and remove the natural oils in your skin…leaving your skin feeling tight, dry, and itchy. 

    Use a creamy soap-free, water-based body wash or cleansing oil instead of drying soaps. These will moisturize with natural oils, without stripping your skin of its own. 

    Look for products labeled as “cleanser” instead of “soap.”

    Avoid shower gels and body washes with excessive lather. The more bubbles or lather a cleanser has, the more it strips your skin of its natural oils.

    Both Dove and Olay make excellent body wash products that strip fewer lipids and proteins from the skin, leav ing the skin better hydrated than most other body washes.

    Be sure to rinse the soap completely off of your body. Not properly rinsing soap off can cause skin irritation and dryness. Harsh cleansers can be irritating if left on the skin, because of the chemicals and fragrance these soaps contain.


    Face


    Doing a mask in the shower is great because the steam from the shower opens your pores and allows the nutrients and vitamins to actually be absorbed into your skin much more easily.

    A gel-based mask is better than a creamy version. Although the mask is still emollient, it will not  slide off your wet skin

    Masks should only be applied before washing your face, not after. Washing your face both before and after a mask may be too drying for many skin types.

    Anything applied after a shower will be more rapidly absorbed and may cause breakouts. Instead, apply a moisturizer after your shower to add back and seal in moisture.

    Exfoliating

    The biggest mistake people make is responding to dry, flaking skin with harsh exfoliation. Actually exfoliating more than twice a week can actually irritate your skin.
    There are three different levels of exfoliation…

    The first level involves simply adding a bit of raw sugar or iodized sea salt to your loofah along with your normal body wash.

    The second option is to buy a sugar scrub or make your own.

    For example, try this homemade coffee sugar scrub. This scrub has so many benefits. The coffee beans reduce inflammation and redness of the skin. The cinnamon acts as a drying agent, can help clear your acne, and helps bring blood and nutrients to the skin’s surface. The coconut oil acts a moisturizer, and helps slow down the process of your skin aging.

        

      Homemade Coffee Cinnamon Scrub
      1/2C ground coffee
      1/2C used coffee grounds
      1C sugar
      1/2C coconut oil
      tsp cinnamon

      A third option is dry brushing. Dry brushing involves stroking from your feet upward with a natural-bristle brush for three to five minutes before stepping into the shower. 

      This improves circulation, stimulates skin cells, flushes toxins surrounding these cells, and sloughs off dull, dead skin cells. 

                Feet

                 Giving your feet a good scrub while you are in the shower will help you avoid foot fungus or bacteria.Be sure to (Actually you should take the time every day to thoroughly wash your feet with mild soap and thoroughly dry them every day.)

                Rub any conditioner that is left on your hands after you condition your hair onto the heels of your feet and into your toenails.

                Shaving

                Shave at the end of your shower so that the hairs are already damp and soft and that the pores are already opened. This will allow you to get the closest shav and reduce your chances of getting an ingrown hair.

                Consider swapping traditional shaving cream for a hydrating shaving oil.

                Make sure the water is warm, not scalding hot. Scalding hot water will cause your follicles to swell and your hairs to be more likely to break before they can be removed.

                Drying Off

                How you dry off is just as important as how you shower.
                Rubbing your skin vigorously with a towel can cause irritation, leave you itchy, and make dry skin get even worse. 

                Instead pat yourself dry. This leaves some water on the skin, which can be sealed in with moisturizer after each shower.
                Be sure to dry certain areas-any skin folds, between your toes, in the groin area, and under your arms-in order to prevent rashes and infections.

                Moisturizer

                 if you don’t moisturize your skin right after your shower, you can be doing your skin a great disservice. Applying moisturizer to freshly-showered skin maximizes its absorption.

                Applying a thick all-over layer of moisturizer right after lightly patting skin dry, even when you’re still damp, will lock the water into the skin and protect the epidermal barrier. Moisturizing while the shower door is still closed will help your skin absorb the product 

                People with dry skin should try a cream moisturizer instead of lotion. Look for a cream containing ceramide or alpha-hydroxy acid. 

                Look for a fragrance-free cream or lotion with humectants, such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which actually attract water vapor to the skin’s surface and promote its absorption. 

                Loofah

                 Always wash the loofah thoroughly and wring it out. Store it in a dry place, not in your shower.

                When you use a loofah, dead skin cells become lodged in the nooks. These dead skin cells become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and yeast. Never share your loofah for this reason.Allow your loofah to dry completely between uses. This is the best way to keep your loofah clean. 

                Replace your loofah frequently, at least once a month. 

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