Showering isn’t exactly rocket science. You step in, turn on the water, lather up, and you’re squeaky clean in a matter of minutes. And with its hot and steamy sauna-like benefits, it’s the quickest, simplest, and possibly the cheapest at-home spa session you can provide yourself with. So showering might not require an instruction manual, we get that, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it, well, the right way. From washing your hair to overusing your washcloth, there are countless mistakes you could be making when you’re lathering up. Skim through this list to learn about the mini mishaps you might be making and how to fix them.
1. Using Water That’s Too Hot For Your Skin
Water that’s too hot is a concern for your skin and your hair. We’ve all stepped in a shower unknowingly when the water has reached a scolding hot temperature, and the instantaneous burn you feel on your body isn’t anything you want to relive. You probably jumped around (or out of the tub) and quickly switched the nozzle to a cooler temp. If you have dry skin, a super hot shower can be of some concern. The American Academy of Dermatology actually suggests those with dry skin to stick to a lukewarm water instead. As it turns out, if you have colored hair, you could be making it fade faster by using hot water. “Comfortably warm is ideal. If water is too hot, the hair cuticle will open and as a result, hair will not be as shiny. Also, for color-treated hair, if the cuticle is open, the color will fade faster,” explains Lori Zabel, Master Stylist at Dop Dop Salon in New York City.
2. Not Rinsing All the Shampoo Out of Your Hair
Washing your hair won’t yield clean, light strands if you’re not rinsing all the shampoo out of your hair. When you have failed to rinse thoroughly, your hair can actually end up looking dirty. The solution is simple. Stylist Lori Zabel says you’ll know that you’ve removed the excess product when there are no longer any suds in your hair and when you feel a clean scalp.
3. Shampooing and Conditioning Twice in One Shower Session
The back of the bottle might instruct you to rinse and repeat, but Zabel says that shampooing twice is only necessary if your hair is very dirty or you have a ton of product build-up. So what about conditioning? “Twice is not necessary because there is no added benefit, and instead, you will be wasting product,” explains Zabel.
4. Leaving Your Conditioner in for an Extended Period of Time
If you’re using a regular conditioner, feel free to rinse out after you’ve worked the formula through your hair. “It is cosmetic, so the conditioner is working on the surface of hair but still has the repairing qualities. If you are using a treatment or masque, these should be left on for five minutes or as recommended to get the full benefits of the product,” says Zabel. She continues to explain that these are the types of products that need time to penetrate into the cuticle.
5. Overusing Your Washcloth or Loofah
Think twice about your washcloth or loofah’s cleanliness. Replace or wash these often, as these tools could be grounds for bacteria growth.
6. Using Too Much Body Wash
Noticing that you’re running out of body wash obscenely fast or that the shower floor is dangerously slippery? You’re using too much. You don’t have to coat the entire palm of your hand with product to get the same result. If you have to rinse for an extended amount of time or it’s suds city in there, start using a smaller portion. Only take enough product to wash a specific body part and then go back for more product. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you’re not using a moisturizing formula, that excess of soap could actually be drying out your skin.
7. Not Taking Off Your Makeup Before the Shower
If you tend to use your facial cleanser in the shower, make sure to take off your makeup beforehand. Many cleansers are not specifically made to remove makeup thoroughly, and if you step out of the shower and still notice mascara dripping down your face or smudged eyeliner, you’ll have one more step to add to your pre-bed beauty routine.
8. Shaving Too Quickly—With Not Enough Product
A quick shave is a dangerous shave—with a potential for cuts, irritation, and stray hair. Lather your legs with shaving cream or your conditioner (it’s a moisturizing multitasker) and slowly shave in smaller strokes all the way up to your thigh. If you speed through one large stroke, you’re likely to miss a patch of hair—and discover it at the worst possible time.
9. Staying in the Shower for a Really Long Time
We all love a long, hot shower, but it doesn’t take THAT long to wash your hair, and standing under a steady stream of hot water is not only wasteful but could dry out your skin. Make sure you’re taking the time to properly cleanse, but if you’re getting bored and there is nothing left to clean, it’s time to step out of the shower.