If you were to tell me that, up until this very moment, you had not given any thought at all to what you do when you shower–other than, you know, some variation of getting in, letting water run over your body, then getting out–I would not hold you at fault. I do not have the exact data, of course, but I would assume that most people do not think all that much about what they do when they are in the shower, as it is something that feels like it should be a basic instinct. Because of this, there are actually a lot of things that people tend to do wrong when they are showering.
Now, to be clear, nothing you are doing in the shower will, like, kill you, even if it is technically “wrong.” It is very likely that you could continue to do these same exact things, even after you find out that they are not the best thing to do, and be totally fine. There are some shower mistakes you are very likely making, however, that could possibly give your life a marginal improvement. And, hey–sometimes, a marginal improvement is about all you can ask for. So, check out these things you didn’t know you’re doing wrong when you shower:
You're Using Too Much SoapLess is more when it comes to most products. And, when it comes to your shower products specifically, you're probably using far too much of them, since most soaps and body washes can actually dehydrate your skin if you apply too much of them. This doesn't mean that you should skip shower products altogether, but you should try to use ones that contain natural moisturizing ingredients (like cocoa butter and shea) and be economical with them. Image source: iStock
Your Shower Is Too HotYeah, I know. At the end of the day--and especially in the winter--you probably feel like the only thing you need is a nice, hot, long (very long) shower. But, while this might feel good, this will actually cause you a lot more discomfort in the long run. Extra-hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture, which will give you that tight, itchy, dry feeling your skin might get in the winter. You don't have to take a freezing cold shower (though there are some benefits to that, like improved immunity and circulation), but try not to have the knob turned all the way up to its hottest setting. Image source: iStock
You Don't Moisturize Right AwaySpeaking of dry skin, you probably already know that using a good moisturizing lotion is the best way to do it. But what you might not know is that you should be putting on the lotion right after you shower, because your skin starts to lose moisture as soon as you step out of the shower. Plus, lotion actually gets absorbed best when the skin is still a little damp. So, try to put on your lotion within five minutes of stepping out of the shower. Image source: iStock
You Don't Brush Your Hair Before You Wash ItIt can be tempting to jump into the shower and expect your conditioner and fingers to work out any kinks and knots you may have developed throughout the day. But it actually pays off to do a quick brush beforehand, since it'll make your hair smoother post-shower, and help prevent breakage later on. Image source: iStock
You're Not Conditioning Your ScalpWhen it comes to conditioning, most of us are taught that it should go on the shaft (AKA where you'd pull it into a ponytail) and nowhere else. Not so! You should be applying a small amount of conditioner to your scalp, too, since this can help prevent dandruff, itchiness, and flaking. Just make sure that you rinse it all the way out before you get out of the shower. Image source: iStock
Shaving Is The First Thing You DoYou might already know this. But, in the event that you do not, don't make shaving the first thing you do when you get in the shower! If you want a smooth shave, you need to give your hair follicles some time to soften in the warm (not scalding hot!) water so things don't get super choppy. So, try to to wash and condition your hair first, then shave--you'll definitely be much happier that you did so. Image source: iStock
You're Towel-Drying Your HairIf the first thing you do upon stepping out of the shower is grab your towel and rub it vigorously over your head, you might want to, uh, stop doing that. This is because towel-drying your hair, while certainly helpful for speeding up the hair-drying process, can lead to hair follicle damage like breakage and split ends. You can wrap it up in a turban, but, for the most part, try to just let your hair air dry.Image source: iStock
You Over-ExfoliateExfoliation--the act of sloughing off dead, unnecessary skin cells from your body either by chemical or physical means--is good for you. No one here is trying to take that away from you. Exfoliation can be bad for you, however, if you overdo it. So, don't do it too often--once or twice a week should be just fine--or go too crazy scrubbing with a loofah, washcloth, or apricot-pit scrub. Not only will irritate your skin and make it dry and itchy, it actually makes your skin more susceptible to germs and bacteria, since over-scrubbing can lead to more oil production.Image source: iStock
Were you surprised by any of these things? Do you do any of them? Let us know in the comments!