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A person lathering their head in a shower.


How To Take a Shower The Right Way

Knowing how to shower properly is key for healthy-looking skin. Here at Kiehl’s, learn the right way to shower and meet our best products for a luxurious shower routine.

Showering is such a standard part of our daily routines that it’s easy to go on autopilot when you turn the water on. Few of us ever stop to think about whether we actually know the right way to shower. And while the idea that there could be a wrong way to shower may seem laughable, the truth is that how you shower does matter.

Whether you’re opting for a quick rinse or a relaxing self-care shower, there are some things to consider when lathering up. The water temperature, length of your shower, and the products you use can all influence how your skin looks and feels in the long run. Here, we break down three mistakes people sometimes make when showering and provide tips on how to shower properly. You’ll also discover some of our favorite hair and body care products for your nighttime or morning shower routine. Grab your towel and read on to learn how to shower the right way.

How To Take a Shower The Right Way

A big part of knowing how to take a shower properly is knowing what not to do. Here, discover three mistakes people often make when showering—and what to do instead.

Mistake #1:

You’re Using Scalding Water

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as a steamy shower at the end of a long day. But while it may feel great on sore muscles, hot water really doesn’t do your skin any favors. Specifically, hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils and damage your skin’s natural moisture barrier. One steamy shower may not produce any visible effects, but over time, exclusively using scalding water to shower can leave your skin feeling dry and rough. Opt to keep the temperature lukewarm when you can—it’s much gentler on your skin.

Mistake #2:

You’re Staying In Too Long

Luxuriating in the shower may help you unwind mentally, but stay in too long, and you risk that same depletion of your skin’s natural oils. Ideally, you should aim to keep your showers to ten minutes or less when you can. If your shower takes significantly longer than that, you may want to find a way to cut down on the time it takes to complete each step of your shower routine. A timer (or a timed playlist) can help keep you on schedule.

Mistake #3:

You’re Washing Your Body First

If you struggle with breakouts on your back, chest, and shoulders, your shower routine may be to blame. Haircare products often contain oils or other substances that, when left on the skin, can clog pores and lead to blemishes. If you wash and condition your hair after washing your body, you run the risk of leaving product residue on your skin. Instead, wash your hair first, then lather up with a gentle body wash or bar soap to ensure your skin is clean and free from debris.

Your Ultimate Kiehl’s Shower Routine

Now that you know what not to do when showering, read on to discover our ultimate shower routine for healthy-looking skin and hair.

Step 1:

Shampoo and Condition Your Hair

Not everyone needs to shampoo every day—how often you should wash your hair depends on several factors, including your hair type, texture, and lifestyle. On days you do lather up, though, you’ll want to make it the first step in your shower routine. Use a shampoo designed for your hair type or opt for a gentle formula suitable for all hair types, like Amino Acid Shampoo. Formulated with amino acids and fairly-traded coconut oil, this gentle shampoo cleanses and softens the hair while helping to add body and shine. Massage the mild formula onto your scalp, then work the lather down the length of your strands to clean your hair.

Amino Acid Conditioner

After rinsing out your shampoo, massage Amino Acid Conditioner throughout your mane, avoiding direct contact with your roots. The lightweight conditioner helps restore your hair’s natural moisture balance, leaving your strands shiny and healthy-looking. Plus, it’s suitable for all hair types. You can leave the daily conditioner on for up to two minutes to help hydrate your hair—just be sure to rinse it out thoroughly when you’re done.

Step 2:

Lather Up With a Gentle Kiehl’s Body Wash

The purpose of showering is to wash up, and for that, you need a cleanser. For your daily shower routine, we recommend Bath & Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. The classic body wash gently removes impurities, leaving your skin feeling clean and comfortable. You can massage the liquid cleanser directly onto your skin with your hands or use a washcloth, loofah, or shower sponge to work the fragrant formula into a lather.

If you have drier skin (or simply want to treat yourself to a more luxurious shower routine), try Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser. Formulated with castor oil and grapeseed oil, this indulgent body wash transforms from an oil to a light, fine foam that gently washes away dirt and debris. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily or as needed for soft, supple-feeling skin.

Step 3:

Exfoliate Rough Areas

You don’t need to exfoliate every time you shower, but if you find that you have rough or dry patches of skin, adding a body scrub to your weekly routine can help. To exfoliate your body, we recommend reaching for a mild body scrub, such as our classic Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub. The creamy formula with cocoa butter and shea butter removes dead surface cells without over-drying your skin. Use it weekly or as needed to give your skin a little extra TLC.

Kiehl’s Tip: If you shave your body hair, do so after exfoliating for a close, comfortable shave (bonus: exfoliating regularly can help prevent ingrown hairs). Just be sure to prep your skin with a shaving cream or gel before shaving to minimize the risk of irritation.

Step 4:

Wash Your Face

Before stepping out of the shower, complete your shower skincare routine by washing your face with a mild facial cleanser, such as our classic Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash. Made with renewable calendula extract, this foaming face wash gently lifts away dirt, oil, and other impurities without stripping the skin of essential moisture. The unique formula also helps calm and soothe the skin, leaving it feeling instantly revitalized. Alternatively, try Calendula Calming & Soothing Concentrated Facial Cleansing Bar. Designed specifically for facial skin, this calendula-infused bar soap deep cleans and helps rebalance skin. It also helps visibly reduce redness and provides instant relief from discomfort, making it a great option for those with more sensitive skin types.

Step 5:

Lock In Moisture With Body Lotion

Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter

When you exit the shower, you can briefly pat your body down with a clean towel, but don’t dry off completely—you’ll want to apply body lotion while your skin is still damp to help trap in moisture. As for which body lotion to use, we’re particularly fond of Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter. This iconic formula with cocoa butter and squalane provides fast-absorbing, non-greasy hydration and leaves the skin feeling beautifully moisturized. Massage the lotion over your body, focusing on areas prone to dryness, and allow the rich formula to absorb fully before getting dressed (we suggest getting started on your facial skincare routine while you wait).

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