Written by Kiku
I’ve always used my shower time as a little ‘break’ from life. Whether it be a quick one after a morning workout or a leisurely one Friday night with some jazz tunes playing outside. These days during self-isolation and staying at home, I REALLY look forward to my shower as a way to unplug from the TV, screens, work, anxiety, what have you … and really spend this daily ritual taking care of myself and enjoying it.
So there’s your usual steps 1-2-3 that you’re doing in the shower — soap up the body, cleanser on the face, if you’re washing your hair then shampoo and then maybe condition. Perhaps there’s a shave. But I want to talk about a few extra rituals that I’ve practiced on and off in the shower, but now really have become more important because not only are these practices beneficial for your body but they also help calm my mind.
These three in-shower rituals are simple but do their part in taking care of your body as a whole, tip to toe. All three of these rituals are rooted in Ayurvedic practices that focuses on slow, conscious beauty care.
Dry Brushing Before You Turn On The Water
So I do this right before I turn on the shower water on my dry body. I have a little built-in bench in my shower, where I sit and dry brush my body for literally one minute before I turn on the shower water. Of course, you can do this anywhere in your bathroom and can do it for as long as you like, but the important thing is to do it on dry skin before it gets wet.
For the brush, you can use any of those body brushes that has sturdy, natural bristles. I think I got mine at Home Goods in the ‘bath’ section during a Saturday morning shopping spree a few years ago. Use the brush to stroke your skin firmly but not harshly — start at your feet and brush upward toward the heart with small strokes. Similarly for your arms, start at your hands and work upward. You can watch this how-to video to get a better idea.
What are the benefits of dry brushing?
The mechanical action of dry brushing on dry skin is great for our bodies because it increases blood circulation, which amps up your oxygen and nutrients to your skin. One of our favorite celebrity estheticians, Joanna Vargas, mentions that "[dry brushing] helps stimulate collagen production, which will help to strengthen your skin. It also dramatically increases elasticity, so it's great for lifting and toning." It also is a physical exfoliation that helps get rid of dead skin and preps it to get a better cleanse in the shower.
Finish With 30 Seconds Of Cold Water
Who doesn’t love a hot shower? Whether it be summer or winter, it always feels great to breathe in that steam and to relax your body with hot water. I absolutely love taking hot showers but here's the game changer — I change the temperature the last 30 seconds. Right before I decide to turn off the shower, I turn the knob to cold water… and hop around in it until my body has cooled off.
What are the benefits of a cold water shower?
There are multiple studies that show several scientific benefits of cold water showers. Cold showers supposedly trigger an increase in your metabolic rate, which results in an increase in white blood cell production. This study shows that this boost in white blood cells from the cold water protects you from illness and helps boost your immunity. Cold water is also great for your hair and skin, as it helps close your hair follicles (smoother hair) and increases blood circulation for your skin. You just read above the benefits of a good blood flow.
For me personally, it gives me a boost of energy and helps me mentally be present. The burst of cold water pauses my mind from worrying or thinking and allows me to just focus on what’s happening right in the moment — THIS IS SOME COLD WATER!
Massaging Body Oil Into Wet Skin Before You Dry Off
So I’m always Team Oil (vs. Team Lotion). I’m going to refrain from writing a whole ode on how I love oiling my body. If you do use body oil, I recommend keeping it in your shower instead on your bathroom counter or shelf. Oiling your body before you dry off, while it’s still wet, really increases the hydration of your largest organ. Once I massage the oil in on my wet skin, I lightly pat dry with my towel (especially my feet so I'm not tracking water on the bathroom floor) and let the rest of my body air dry while I do my skin care routine.
What are the benefits of oiling your body when it's wet?
Oil is a sealant, as in it seals in moisture. The best time to use it on your skin is right after you’ve bathed or showered, and your skin is still soaking in all that water so it traps that water into your skin. Also, a little goes a long way. Rubbing oil into your wet skin before you’ve toweled off results in super soft, hydrated skin.
My Finishing Two Cents
Including these three rituals into my shower time has been really helping me reset on a daily basis. During this difficult time, some days can be so stressful and tough to get through. Adding these few rituals while I'm washing the day off helps me immensely, both for taking care of my skin and body and taking care of my mood and energy.
All other photos from SHAZ & KIKS