We shower every day, take a hot tub now and then and we like it but have you ever given any thought to the possibility that you might be doing it wrong? That’s right there are right and wrong ways to shower and wash your hair, and most of us have made at least one of the mistakes you will see here. Here’s what you should not do in the shower, for your own good.
1. Water too hot
There’s probably nothing like a hot shower after coming home on a freezing winter’s day but hot water is not so great for your skin or your hair. The thing is that hot water dries the skin and the hair, it makes the former flaky and the latter frizzy, and that’s not something you want on you, do you? If you can’t live without a bit of hot water, limit the time you use it, then turn the tap to a warmer temperature, especially, for when you wash and condition your hair.
2. No exfoliation
If you think a soft, gentle sponge is all it takes to get dead skin cells off your body, you’re, unfortunately, wrong. Exfoliation takes a bit more: you can make your own scrub from brown sugar, ground coffee or whatever you have handy, or you can use a loofah, for instance, though not too rough – no extreme is good. The exfoliant is up to you but make sure you use it regularly to keep your skin in good shape.
3. Too much exfoliation
As we said, no extreme is good. Important as exfoliation is, you don’t need to do it every day because this could have a boomerang effect. The more you scrub, the more likely your skin is to start producing more sebum, the oily substance that keeps it moisturised and acts as a trap for bacteria and dirt, to compensate. You might end up with oilier skin than you like, so go easy on the scrubs.
4. Give your hair a minute
When you wash your hair, make sure you give it a minute to get rinsed with plain water before shampooing. This initial rinse will take care of some of the dirt and hair product residue in it. And, of course, something that cannot be stressed enough: after washing, rinse thoroughly to make sure no shampoo or conditioner residue remains on your scalp. If you’re not sure, check for signs of flatness in your hair or scalp irritations.
Shampooing and conditioning your hair every single day puts a strain on it. Frequent washing dries it up, so it overcompensates by becoming oily quicker. What you can do, however, if you live in a very polluted environment or exercise daily and sweat a lot, is give your hair a rinse with water, no shampoo, every other day. It’s refreshing, it does remove some of the grime that accumulates on your head and it doesn’t dry it.
6. There’s such a thing as too much
There are tons of jokes about men getting angry at women because they stay in the shower for a whole day (and perhaps night). While it’s true that we, girls, like to take a bit more time to relax under the spray, there is also such a thing as too long, and that’s not good. There’s only so much time you can spend washing, shampooing, conditioning and rinsing, plus shaving your legs. Staying too long in the shower is just another thing that dries your skin, that’s the long and the short of it.
7. Also true for shower gels
Do you like to play with lather? Unless you’re four, you have no excuse for it. Using too much shower gel or body wash does exactly the same as too hot water or staying too long in the shower: it strips your skin of the oils it needs to be healthy. Apart from making your whole body itchy, which is annoying enough, this dryness can aggravate skin problems such as eczema or even cause similar irritations. So, resist the temptation of swathing the bathroom in lather.
8. Don’t switch shampoos
There’s such an extensive choice of shampoos for every type of hair imaginable out there that sometimes it’s hard to resist the urge to try them all. Hard or not, resist it, because changing your shampoo too often will make your hair suffer. Also don’t forget the conditioner to avoid hair breakage when you brush it after showering. Hair conditioner is indispensable hair care product, it changes the appearance of hair, making its texture softer and smoother. It’s common sense, that’s right, this is what conditioners are for, but when you’re in a rush, you may decide to skip it. If you do, skip brushing, then. And yes, avoid applying hair conditioner to the roots of your hair.
9. Tap, not rub
Tap yourself dry, body and hair, rather than wiping harshly with the towel. Harsh wiping can cause hair breakage and irritate your skin, so go easy on yourself after getting out of the shower. Patting yourself dry is the right way, that’s valid for face, body and hair. Try to lose the habit of wrapping your hair up in the towel. Wrap it as it is, hanging down, and pat dry as much as you can.