Rub-a-dub-dub, splish splash—whatever tune you belt out while bathing, the shower itself is an important part of your routine. It's where you oust odors from the gym, get energized in the morning, or unwind after a long day. And perhaps more than anything, it's key to maintaining your ideal epidermal health.
If you shower too often, you'll strip your skin of its natural oils. Bathe too little, you run the risk of feeling like you're perpetually camping (the smelly part, not the stargazing-and-s'mores part). Everyone's sweet spot for shower equilibrium is different. Once you've found yours, these easy adjustments will keep your skin glowing and healthy.
Here's a primer for your healthiest showering routine yet (a cappella soundtrack optional):
The optimal showering routine starts before you even turn on the faucet - with dry brushing. In case you haven't heard, this energizing practice is a full-body approach to exfoliation. It removes dead skin cells and boosts circulation, and it's also purported to stimulate the body's lymph flow. This, in turn, helps our systems to fight infection. How? Our bodies excrete toxins in different ways, including via the skin; dry brushing helps unclog pores and, theoretically, release toxins trapped in the skin.
Whatever the internal effects are for you, the outward results are undeniable. The more you dry brush, the better your skin texture and elasticity will appear. Some individuals find the practice also reduces their appearance of cellulite.
Dry brushing is simple—using your brush of choice, start from the bottom and work your way up. The same goes for every section of your body: starting with the top of your feet, brush your way up towards your knees; for your arms, start with your hands and work towards the elbow. As with other types of exfoliation, a gentle touch is key: don't press too hard, and use small strokes. Dedicate two to five minutes to dry brushing.
Those with normal skin can incorporate dry brushing prior to a daily shower. If you have sensitive skin, two to three times a week is best. And don't forget your face—once or twice a week, exfoliate for two minutes in gentle, circular motions using a designated face brush.
One more pre-shower brush goes a long way (and no, it's not for your teeth). If your hair is prone to tangles, give it a quick run-through before you hop in the shower. Wet hair is weaker than dry hair, which means it'll snap more easily if you only comb it post-shampoo.
Want to go the extra mile in self-indulgence? Try a warm oil massage before you hop in the shower. This Ayurveda practice, also known as abhyanga, is said to have a host of benefits ranging from calming of the nerves to overall nourishment.
These simple pre-shower tips can be completed while you wait for the shower to warm up. And speaking of...
Apologies in advance to anyone who loves the heat on full blast when they shower: Lukewarm water is the way to go. As cozy as its steam might feel, hot water strips away your skin's natural oils, causing quick epidermal damage. If lukewarm water feels uncomfortably cold, start with hot and work your way down as the shower progresses.
And if you can brave it, ending your shower with a cold spurt—even a couple seconds' worth—may be advantageous. Studies are limited, but there's research behind the theory of hydrotherapy, or the notion that changes in water temperature can improve brain function and mood. Plus, if you're a morning bather, a blast a cold will energize you far better than any espresso!
Love the effects of facemasks, but never have time for them? Try applying one in the shower. Ten or so minutes is usually the recommended period for masks anyway. Plus, the warm water opens your pores, making your skin extra absorbent to those nourishing ingredients.
Of course, arguably the most important part of your shower is what you use to wash up. Avoid antibacterial or scented soaps, which often contain harsh ingredients that can trigger even the least sensitive of skins. Opt instead for an organic body wash that doesn't strip your skin of its natural oils. Your cleanser should also contain healing ingredients that work with your skin to clean naturally. (Puracy Natural Body Wash uses coconut-based cleansers and Himalayan sea salt to encourage hydration and balance.)
When you lather up, focus on the dirtiest spots of your body—your underarms and feet, for example. Unless you're showering after an intense gym session, your arms and legs are typically fine with just a water rinse. Forgo the loofah or washcloth if you're worried about exposure to bacteria, since buildup is a common issue with bath tools.
Save your shave till the end of your shower, when your pores have had enough time to open up—this makes for a closer shave. (For a natural formula that will lather sans causing irritation, follow this four-ingredient recipe from Mommypotamus.)
And if you really want to make the most of your shower, consider installing a built-in water filter. You'll eliminate your exposure to chemicals like chlorine, which can be harsh on skin and hair.
Ready to grab the towel?
You've probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Pat, don't rub, your skin dry.
Doing so will cause fewer issues down the line (we're looking at you, wrinkles). Plus, gentle patting leaves enough water on the skin for moisturizer to seal in as extra hydration. And speaking of, your body lotion should go on within three minutes of exiting the shower—this prevents "transepidermal water loss," and keeps your skin rejuvenated.
Healthy skin is a passion of ours at Puracy. Each of our products has been specially formulated by our team of PhD chemists, ensuring effective results with plant-based nourishment. Whether you lather up daily or twice a week, follow these tips to restore your skin to its natural health.