Maybe you relish your grooming products and take your skincare seriously. Or perhaps you’re more of an easygoing type of guy who would describe your self-care routine as minimal. But either way, we’ve all got to shower, right? And since it's something you do everyday, you might as well enjoy it and get the most out of those few precious moments under the soothing, cascade of steamy water.
Since I’m something of a shower connoisseur, I’m rounding up all the latest science and the ultimate upgrades to make this daily task into something more of a self-care ritual. Do you need all of the suggestions below? No, surely not. But could you pick and choose and devise your own personal shower nirvana? Absolutely. Read on and then start the water.
Wash Your Hair First
Of course, you want to get all that hair product out of there and off your body before you start sudsing up your skin. But this is about more than just cleaning from the top down. If you’ve been sweating, your body has also been releasing DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the chemical that can cause male pattern baldness and thinning. Get that stuff rinsed out of your hair first and spend the rest of your shower feeling a bit more relaxed.
Really Work In the Conditioner
Most barbers will tell you that you don’t have to wash your hair everyday. Some say that just three or four times a week is enough. But if you’re an active guy, you may need to wash more frequently—even daily—and that’s where cowashing comes in. Co-washing is shorthand for simply washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Just try it for a day or two and notice how different your hair looks, feels and behaves after you towel it off. It's less brittle, less frizzy. Your hair has an instant, nice shine and the perfect malleability for styling.
Herbarium conditioner, $65 by Frama
A Better Body Wash
One of the easiest upgrades you can make is to find a really great body wash. No longer just a simple liquid soap, the best body washes can awaken your senses in the morning or soothe you to sleep in the evening with luxurious essential oils. This one, from Necessaire, can hydrate and heal dry skin while waking you up quicker than a double-shot espressos thanks to a hit of cooling eucalyptus.
pH optimized body wash, $25 by Necessaire
Lather Up, Navy Style
You’re going to clean yourself better if you focus on the scrubbing rather than paying attention to where the showerhead is rinsing. So after you apply some body wash to this Japanese exfoliating shower towel—designed to make your skin feel soft and smooth—turn off the water for a bit. Gently scrub down your whole body before turning the water back on and rinsing off. Don’t worry, the water stays warm and there’s enough steam to keep you comfortable while you scrub yourself down. If you’re worried about the soap drying on your skin, you’re taking way too long. And if the shower towel isn’t your thing, then this ultra-hygienic antibacterial silicone scrubber will slough away dead skin while increasing circulation. The long-lasting material is incredibly durable and the pop-socket-style nub on the back means it won't slip out of your hands.
No, it won’t close your pores (that’s a total myth), but turning the water back on as cold as possible will leave you feeling refreshed, and if you recently finished working out, it can help you stop sweating. And a study by Virginia Commonwealth University found evidence that cold showers can help treat depression symptoms, triggering a flood of mood-boosting endorphins. Plus, it’s a great mental exercise. Can you keep your breath slow and steady while under a stream of icy-cold water for a couple of minutes? If so, the rest of the day can’t be so bad.
Speed Up the Drying Process
Before you step out of the shower, cup your hands into a human squeegee and slide them hard and fast down your arms and legs. Repeat the process with flat palms across your torso. You might’ve seen divers do this at the Olympics, and it’s because it works to rid your body of excess water. You’ll be amazed by how much water you swipe off before grabbing the towel. The benefit? You dry off faster and as an added bonus, you keep your bath mat nice and dry.
If you’ll be spending your day in a climate-controlled space (and you most likely will be), the air is going to be on the dry side. That makes things incredibly comfortable, but dry air makes for dry skin. Protect your skin with a fast-absorbing, lightweight, moisturizing body lotion, like this one from Brickell, made up of 80% organic ingredients, including green tea, aloe vera, jojoba oil, and vitamin E.Deep moisture body lotion, $25 by Brickell