8 Ways to Pamper Yourself in the Shower

The typical American shower lasts 5 to 10 minutes. During that time you could a) wash up, or b) royally pamper your hair, skin, and senses. We've checked out everything new under the nozzle - from fizzing aromatherapy tablets to foaming body scrubs - and here are the results. Check out 7 more ideas here.

Brush Up
Once the sole province of spas, body brushing is so easy, fast, and delicious (think soft, pleasingly scratchy bristles) that it's infiltrating the home front. And a one-minute session is the perfect prelude to a shower, says Ann Marie Cilmi, spa and wellness consultant for Mama Mio Skincare. Using one or two brushes - and large, gentle, circular strokes - start at your feet and work your way up toward your heart. Then repeat from hands to heart (of course, you can use only one brush at a time for this part). You'll not only stimulate your nerve endings and circulation, but slough your skin lightly, too. "Whatever you use in the shower will consequently be absorbed more easily," notes New York City dermatologist Doris Day, M.D. Try The Body Shop Round Body Brush ($12, thebodyshop-usa.com).
Related: How to Create an At-Home Spa Retreat


Get the Vapors

For a quick hit of happiness in the morning, spike your shower's steam with an aromatherapy tablet, suggests Shéri Bardot, a spa manager for Equinox Fitness Clubs in New York City. Once you've selected a scent (peppermint for the most exhilarating inhalation, lavender for calming, eucalyptus for sinus-clearing), toss the tablet on the tile, away from the direct stream. Then step - and breathe - in. Try Bath By Bettijo Sweet Peppermint Aromatherapy Shower Infusers ($36, bathbybettijo.com) or Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Shower Tablets in Purifying Eucalyptus, Relaxing Lavender, or Reviving Peppermint ($7 for three, Whole Foods Market).
Related: 40 Beauty Steals (and 10 Little Luxuries)


Meet Your Kneads

The easy way to turn basic sudsing into a stimulating scalp massage: Start by squeezing your shampoo's prescribed dose directly onto your wet hair. Then, opening your hands wide (into "spider-fingers position," as Cilmi calls it), vigorously rub your scalp. "Don't just run your fingers over your hair," she says. "You want to really move the tissue along the bone." Within one minute, you'll release tension, boost blood flow, and clean well to boot.
Related: Cheap Hair-Thickening Shampoos and Conditioners



Lather. Rinse. (Switch.) Repeat.
If you use a somewhat pricey treatment shampoo, squeeze more life out of it: "Treatment benefits tend to be wasted with your first sudsing, when you're mostly breaking up sebum and product residue," says Philip B., owner of the eponymous skin- and hair-care line. "It's only when you 'repeat' that the shampoo penetrates your hair and scalp." His advice? Save the good stuff for when it really matters: the second sudsing. For round one, "you can get away with any inexpensive, noncreamy shampoo."
Related: Simple Shampoo Secrets That Make a Big Difference


Go Deep
Mention deep conditioning, and visions of long, towel-turbaned treatments come to mind. But some of the new two- and three-minute versions - which you use in the shower - produce equally dramatic results, says Fazio. "They're like softness transfusions; you feel the difference even as you're rinsing." One caveat: Avoid your roots, where you least need moisture anyway. These products can be a bit clingy there, potentially requiring repeat rinsing. Try Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deeeeep Conditioner ($3.25, drugstores) or Ojon Revitalizing 2-Min Hair Mask ($34, Ulta).
Related: How to Find the Right Conditioner for YOUR Hair


Smooth Things Over
Though frizz fighting is typically the domain of styling products, you can actually get a, um, head start on it in the shower. New shampoos and conditioners aimed squarely at flyaways deposit extremely lightweight silicones on the hair so it's primed to behave well post-shower, mid-humidity. (Though you may still want the added protection of a serum or spray.) Try John Frieda Frizz-Ease Smooth Start Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner ($6.49 each, drugstores) or Fekkai Silky Straight Ironless Shampoo and Conditioner ($23 each, Nordstrom). No matter which shampoo and conditioner you use, rinse with cool water afterward to help seal the cuticle off from frizz-causing humidity, says Julien Sabatier, a stylist at the Frédéric Fekkai salon in Dallas.
Related: 3 Steps for Frizz-Free Summer Hair


Make a Pit Stop

Antiperspirant and deodorant can leave a morning-after residue that's impervious to the average suds-and-rinse job. The resulting buildup not only prevents a close shave, but diminishes your deodorant returns: "Deodorant needs to penetrate to work well, and it can't if there's a filmy layer in the way," says Dr. Day. So the occasional underarm sloughing - however odd it seems - may be in order. To kill two birds with one stone, try a scrub/cleanser combo, such as Crater Lake Sugar Cloud Foaming Sugar Scrub ($16, craterlakecompany.com), or a scrub/shaving cream combo, such as Skintimate Moisturizing Cream Shave in Revitalizing with exfoliating pearls ($4, drugstores).
Related: Beauty Secrets to Look Younger


Find a Better Fuzz Buster
This year has seen a host of hair-removal innovations. Three of our favorites: With its four-bladed razor surrounded by a block of water-activated, extra-moisturizing shaving cream, Schick Intuition Plus Renewing Moisture with Pomegranate Extract ($9.29, drugstores) makes the ideal travel companion. Nair Shower Power Max ($9, drugstores), a particularly thick formulation with water-repellent particles, stays in place while you're doing whatever else you need to in the shower - then comes off easily with a special sponge. And Gillette Venus Satin Care In-Shower Moisturizer ($5, drugstores) goes on immediately after you shave to lock moisture into your skin, so you won't need to slather on more lotion when you get out. No matter how good your shaving products, however, dead skin will get in their way. "Always pre-exfoliate with a gentle scrub for the closest possible shave," says Dr. Day.
Related: Razors with the Smoothest Shave


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