Sure, you’ve mastered the 3-minute shower — you’re in, you’re out, you feel clean – you consider it a success. But your shower routine can and should be more than just an exercise in good hygiene. Strategic showering will put you on the fast track for healthy, shiny hair and clear, glowing skin.
1. Brush Your Hair First
Entangling prior to showering is key because wet hair is weaker and prone to breakage. That means you should avoid the urge to rake through any tangles while conditioning too. Just start brushing the ends and work your way up to the roots while you’re waiting for the water to warm up.
2. Rinse Thoroughly
Before you rush in to lathering up those locks, be sure to give them a good, thorough rinse under warm water. Take at least 10 seconds to loosen dirt and oil and open up the cuticle, prepping hair for what’s next.
3. Lather the Right Way
A proper shampoo job should take about 30-60 seconds. But don’t just plop the product on top of your head and start scrubbing. To distribute the shampoo across the roots evenly, pour a quarter-sized dollop into your hands and gently massage it in using a back and forth motion. You don’t need to shampoo the whole head — never scrub fragile ends, but don’t forget the nape of the neck. The roots there can actually collect the most oil. When your time is up, squeeze the lather down the length of your hair then rinse until the water runs clear of suds.
4. Condition Quickly
Squeeze excess water out of hair and form a loose pony with your hand, smoothing a cherry-sized drop of conditioner through the lower half of your ponytail. This way, the conditioner is concentrated around your ends and not your roots, which can make your hair appear greasy. Your hair only needs a few seconds to soak up the benefits of your conditioner, so unless you’re using your weekly deep conditioning mask, you can rinse it out right away.
5. Cleanse Your Body
If you’re finding breakouts on your back, leftover conditioner may be to blame. So be sure to wash your body after your hair. Steer clear of traditional soaps, which can be irritating and drying to the skin. Choose a non-soap hydrating cleanser, and use your hands to hit all the key areas. Loofahs and washcloths can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold, so when you need exfoliation, do it with one of these full-body exfoliators instead.
6. Shave Smarter
If you’re going to shave, it should be one of the last steps in your routine. On days when you’re also due for some exfoliation, scrub before you shave to help release any ingrown hairs. And remember to always use a sharp razor. Dry it off and store it outside of the shower after every use.
7. Save Your Face for Last
And finally, it’s time to take advantage of the giant steamer that’s been opening up your pores and loosening all that acne-causing sebum. Wait until you’re completely finished shampooing to ensure you’re washing away any and all pore-clogging product runoff. Just turn the water temperature to lukewarm to protect the delicate skin on your face and do your final rinse in cool water to seal the hair cuticle and leave your complexion perfectly refreshed.[Read also: How You Know Your Foundation Has Gone Bad]