Some of the world’s best inventions, philosophies, and ideologies were probably thought up mid-bathe. Most of us do our best thinking (and best beautifying) in the shower. But where did the genius concept of bathing come from, anyway? Our earliest understanding of showers started with the waterfall. Ancient people would immerse themselves in natural springs for a good scrub. Then, there is evidence of upper-class Egyptians and Mesopotamians having indoor bathing rooms in their homes. Sure, these involved a jug, some cold water, and servant doing the work, but it was the closest thing to hygiene they had available. The first real showers, with pipes and all that hip, modern technology, were brought to us by the ancient Greeks, who created communal showers for the elite and commoners alike. Save water by showering with the whole town, as they used to say. I think.
Today we have the modern elegance of rubber duckies and rotating shower heads. So much has changed since the inception of showering that it is practically a concept all its own. With any brilliant idea comes a series of rules, and bathing is no exception. However, what you know as some basic Shower Do’s and Don’ts might just be ancient history. Here are a few mistakes you’ve probably been making in the tub.
1. Shampoo First, Conditioner Second. Every. Single. Time.
If bathroom etiquette exists, this is probably rule number one. But if you want the kind of hair that is so bouncy that it practically defies gravity, it’s time to mix it up. Not only is it a good idea to condition before using shampoo, but I also encourage you to deep condition (aka put conditioner on your dry hair and leave it there for 5-10 minutes) before you even step foot in the shower. For especially dry tips, this is the best way to get in that extra bit of moisture. Leave the shampoo for later.
2. Not Using It To Get The Perfect Manicure
Some of us just aren’t artistically inclined. When I try to give myself a manicure (big emphasis on try), I end up looking like I wanted to give my entire hand a pink ombre. But that doesn’t stop me. Art is subjective, OK? I like to plan my DIY mani so that I have time to let it dry, and then hop right in the shower and use a soothing scrub on my hands to get them soft and manicure-ready, and to remove all the excess nail polish from my horrible paint job. By the time you’re done shampooing, you’ll basically be a hand model. Or something.
3. Shaving Too Soon
Even if you’re in a hurry — like getting ready for a date last-minute or rushing out the door for work — shaving your body the second you step in the shower just isn’t a good idea. Your skin needs a little prep in order to avoid the terrors of razor burn or ingrown hairs. Your best bet is to wait until the end of your shower to start shaving. The hot water and steam soften your hair, making it less likely to tug and cause irritation. Then, use an exfoliator— even your daily face scrub will do — in order to get rid of dead skin, so you can enjoy a smoother shave.
4. Using A Loofah. Period
I’ll be upfront about it: Loofahs aren’t really hygienic. I’m sorry if you have an emotional attachment to yours, but it’s time to find a new bath-time security blanket! Basically, all the bacteria and dead skin you scrub off of your body just gets trapped in the loofah, and every time you use it, you’re actually just spreading that gunk all over yourself again. It’s a vicious, vicious cycle, and by tossing it, you really aren’t losing much.
5. Making The Water As Hot As Possible
Sure, in the winter, nothing is nicer than a hot shower after enduring a polar vortex or two. But there are some very real benefits of giving a cold shower a try. Medical Daily claims that it can help with everything, including circulation, muscle soreness, immunity, and even depression. The benefit I can speak to? Adding five minutes of cold water to the end of my shower made my hair and skin noticeably softer. If not for all those awesome health benefits, at least do it for the shiny hair!
6. Not Taking Your Makeup Off Beforehand
f you get in the shower with a full face of makeup, TERRIBLE THINGS WILL HAPPEN. OK, not terrible, but not ideal. A lot of cleansers aren’t intended for makeup removal, so even after washing your face, you might still go to bed with residue, meaning you might up your chances of getting blemishes. Save yourself from a serious skin faux pas by removing that cat eye before you suds, or invest in a face wash with makeup remover built in!
7. Using Too Much Product
If you go through body soap way faster than you should, you’re probably using way too much at a time. The more body wash you lather up, the more natural oil is extracted from your skin. So basically, the more harsh soap you’re using on your skin, the drier it will be! And nobody wants skin that’s in a drought. Stick to bar soaps that contain moisturizing ingredients, like aloe and shea butter, to keep rough skin at bay while still keeping you clean!