You may not think of your daily shower as anything other than that thing you do to clean off before or after a long day, but the reality is that a shower is so much more than that. It’s the first—and, arguably, most important—step in your beauty routine, so it should be treated as such.
Everyone has a different way that they like to shower, and we’re not trying to shake that up too much: You’ll still be shampooing, conditioning, and soaping up. But, there are things you can do to make your daily shower routine more efficient and effective. Ahead, we’ll outline our five-step shower routine (plus the products we recommend), so you can start your body care routine off on the right foot. Read on to learn how to take a shower the right way.
Step 1: Suds Up Your Strands
For the first step of your shower routine, we recommend shampooing first. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule, but washing your body after your haircare routine can help ensure no pore-clogging shampoo or conditioner residue sticks to your skin (a common cause of body acne). Washing your hair first also gives you time to keep the conditioner in for a while you’re soaping up—but we’ll get to that in a bit.
After thoroughly soaking your strands, reach for a shampoo that suits your hair’s specific needs. If your mane is fine or flat, we recommend Amino Acid Shampoo. This mild formula features amino acids and coconut oil to gently cleanse hair while adding volume and shine. For dry or damaged strands, try Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo. It contains a creamy blend of olive oil, avocado oil, and lemon oil to nourish and hydrate dry, unmanageable tresses.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: How frequently you should wash your hair depends on several factors, including your hair type and lifestyle. For a more in-depth guide, check out our article: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Step 2: Rehydrate Your Hair
After washing your hair and rinsing out the shampoo, you’re going to want to re-introduce moisture to your strands with a hydrating conditioner. Again, the formula you choose should be tailored to your specific haircare needs. For gentle everyday hydration, we recommend Amino Acid Conditioner, which stars coconut oil and jojoba oil to soften and strengthen all hair types. Those with extra dry hair may prefer Nourishing Olive Fruit Oil Conditioner. It features a blend of lightweight hydrating oils to nourish dry strands and improve manageability for a healthier appearance.
We generally recommend applying your conditioner through the length of your mane, focusing on the ends. If you have thin or oily strands, avoid applying conditioner near your scalp, as this can weigh down your hair and cause it to appear greasy faster.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: Leave your conditioner in for a few minutes before rinsing it out for an extra boost of softness and hydration (like a mini hair mask).
Step 3: Lather Up With a Loofah
After washing and conditioning your hair (or while you’re letting your conditioner sit), lather up with a gentle body wash, like Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. This hydrating cleanser features glycerin, aloe vera, and amino acid-derived humectants to gently cleanse and moisturize the skin. It’s available in four refreshing scents: grapefruit, coriander, lavender, and a special “pour homme” fragrance for men.
We’re betting you already know how to use shower gel, but just in case: Apply a quarter-sized dollop to a loofah and gently massage the cleanser all over your body. If you have sensitive skin, you can skip the loofah and use your hands instead—just make sure to work it into a mild lather for an effective clean.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: Scalding water can dry out the skin, leading to uncomfortable symptoms like itching and redness. Aim for showering with warm water, if possible, and try to limit your time in the shower to 10 minutes or less (especially if you can’t bring yourself to turn down the temperature).I
Step 4: Exfoliate For Soft Skin
Next up in your shower routine: Exfoliating. Using a body scrub is a great way to ensure your skin stays soft, smooth, and feeling its best—particularly if you deal with dryness or roughness. We recommend reaching for a mild scrub, like Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub. This indulgent exfoliator features crushed apricot seeds and perlite to remove dead skin, plus aloe vera, glycerin, and cocoa butter to smooth and soften rough, uneven areas.
To use it, apply a small amount to damp skin and massage upward in circular motions. You can use it only on dry or rough skin, or all over—just be sure to avoid delicate areas, like the face and neck.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: If you typically shave in the shower, this is the point in your routine we’d recommend you do so. Always use a sharp razor, and shave in the direction hair grows to avoid razor bumps or ingrowns.II
Step 5: Lock In Moisture
Your shower routine doesn’t quite end when the shower itself does. After getting out of the shower and toweling off, we recommend applying a hydrating body lotion to keep your skin feeling soft and healthy.
For daily moisture, try the cult-classic Creme de Corps body lotion. This iconic formula (a Kiehl’s favorite for nearly 40 years) stars cocoa butter, olive-derived squalane, and antioxidant-rich beta-carotene to moisturize, nourish, and improve the texture of dry or dehydrated skin.
We recommend Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter for drier skin or when you could use a richer treatment. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula contains shea butter, jojoba butter, and honey to soften skin with 24-hour hydration without a greasy or heavy feel.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: Apply your body lotion after toweling off, while your skin is still damp. This helps lock in moisture for soft, hydrated, healthy-looking skin.
Bonus Step: Treat Your Tresses
Once or twice per week, treat your hair to an extra boost of hydration with a mask, like Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Mask. This creamy formula helps moisturize and strengthen brittle, damaged hair for a shinier, healthier appearance. Over time, it helps protect your strands from environmental stressors to keep your hair looking and feeling its best.
To use it, apply a liberal amount to damp (not wet) hair while in the shower, and leave it in for a minimum of three minutes to let your mane soak up all the nourishing hydration. Be sure to rinse thoroughly afterward to wash away any residue or buildup.
Now that you know how to shower the Kiehl’s way, read up on the best skincare routine in our article, Your Skincare Routine Order: A Step-By-Step Guide.
I. ”Ask A Dermatologist: Do Long, Hot Showers Dry Out Your Skin?” American Academy of Dermatology. 2020. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/dry/hot-showers-damage-skin
II. “Hair Removal: How To Shave.” American Academy of Dermatology. 2020. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/hair/how-to-shave