Shower Rituals That Will Give You Your Softest Skin Ever

Amid the ongoing stress of daily life and the hustle and bustle of work, it's nice to slip away every now and again for a relaxing moment alone. Some people like to get away by gardening, while others enjoy yoga or journaling. However, there's nothing like a relaxing shower ritual to bring peace to your mind, body, and spirit. "Time in the shower also gives you a few minutes alone to focus on your breathing and mindfulness, both of which can reduce feelings of stress and support your self-care," health coach Jim Curtis told Well + Good. If you love a good shower, there are countless ways to up its benefits, including taking your skincare routine to the next level.

Turning your showers into a sanctuary for self-care can be an excellent way to nourish your body and care for your skin. And experts agree that a consistent routine along with a good night's sleep are the two biggest gifts you can give your skin. "Regular body hygiene is important to prevent overgrowth of microorganisms on the skin," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner tells Refinery29, adding that you should always be washing sensitive areas like your face and underarms daily. A comprehensive at-home skincare routine is key for smoother skin because this gives the body the nutrients it needs to repair and replenish damaged skin cells. So, if you're looking to regain your radiant glow, use our shower routine ritual guide to get smooth skin that you'll feel confident showing off.

Remove your make-up and do a face mask

In order to achieve the perfect silky smooth skin, there are a few key steps to take before your shower begins. You'll want to start by cleansing your face using a face wash or cleansing treatment like micellar water. "Micellar water is a multipurpose skincare product, typically used to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from the face prior to cleansing. It can also be used on its own without washing off," dermatologist Jason Emer tells Ipsy. One of the many benefits of micellar water is that you don't have to rinse it off after use, making it a quick and easy way to clean your face.

Once you have a fresh face, it's time to use a face mask to brighten your skin and give you that instant facelift look. For those with dry skin, you'll want a hydrating sheet mask. If you have oily skin, a clay mask will help soothe things. People with acne–prone skin should choose a face mask that contains salicylic acid or a gel–oil mask rich with reparative enzymes. Finally, if you're dealing with hyperpigmentation, you should pick up a face mask with brighteners and antioxidants (via Marie Claire). Leave the mask on for 10 minutes before jumping in the shower and rinsing with warm water, massaging your skin in gentle circular motions to exfoliate and remove the layers of dead skin.

Get the temperature and timing just right

They may feel great at the moment, but your love of steamy hot showers could be causing your skin some serious irritation. According to the experts, showering in hot water for extended periods of time can strip your skin of its natural oils and compromise your moisture barrier, which can aggravate the skin. "Any skin condition characterized by a defective skin barrier can be worsened by a hot shower," dermatologist Shari Marchbein tells Allure. "[It] strips the skin of sebum, the healthy fats and oils necessary for skin health, and dehydrates the skin." So, although it may feel refreshing to step into a steamy hot shower every now and again, you should wash and rinse your skin with lukewarm water to help minimize the chance of irritation.

Another skin tip that can be hard to adjust to is cutting down the length of your showers significantly. Sure, it's nice to unwind and relax under a steamy showerhead. Exposing your skin to water for extended periods of time causes dryness. Studies suggest a healthy shower ideally lasts for eight minutes, however, depending on your routine, a regular shower can take five to 15 minutes on average (via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

Wash with a luxurious body cleanser

Nothing helps set the mood of your shower like the body wash you choose. Whether you like warm vanilla sugar or Japanese cherry blossom, there's a lot more to body wash than its alluring aroma. Along with ensuring the fragrance appeals to your senses, you'll want to choose a body wash with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients like vitamin E, cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil (via Kiehl's). These ingredients help lock in the smoothness of your skin and leave you feeling luminous and bright.

Getting that radiant glow isn't just about the product you pick. In fact, it's all in the way you wash, and believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. There's a hot debate amongst dermatologists as to whether washing with a loofah or washcloth is more sanitary. And many experts are now advising consumers to ditch the loofah because they can harbor bacteria, mold, yeast, and a host of other things that can leave your skin feeling lackluster. "Our hands are the most accessible tools. They're easy to clean and, if washed properly before lathering your body with your preferred bath product, you're at less risk than if you were using sponges or loofahs," Gretchen W. Frieling, M.D., tells Real Simple. If you're going to hang onto your favorite loofa, however, be sure to replace it once a month to ensure you're keeping things fresh.

Invest in a high-quality exfoliant

One of the oldest beauty secrets in the world, exfoliating is not only a luxurious way to pamper yourself––it has some serious benefits for your skin. "It's important to help your skin in the process of its cell turnover by gently exfoliating your body once per week," dermatologist Dr. Sarina Elmariah tells Vogue. "This will help to reveal newer skin, which then makes it easier to nourish and hydrate the skin that needs it, versus just dead skin cells." A good exfoliant also allows moisturizers and serums to absorb deeper into the skin. It also creates a smooth surface for your make-up to sit on, giving you a radiant youthful shine.

Whether you're using a body scrub or a dry–brush, you'll want to start with using a gentle product once or twice a week if you're just starting out with exfoliants. Experts normally suggest incorporating at least one exfoliant in your daily skincare routine; however, it's important to start slow when you're first trying them out to avoid irritating or micro-tearing the surface of your skin. These tears allow for acne-forming bacteria to clog up your pores and inflame your skin. To avoid choosing a product that is incorrect for your skin type, you should consult a dermatologist to learn about products best suited for your skincare needs and goals.  "For people starting off with exfoliants, it's best to use a gentler product once or twice a week. It's possible to work up to daily exfoliation," Michele Farber, M.D., tells Byrdie.

Finish things with some flair

Your post-shower routine is just as important as the main event. After you've finished rinsing off, you'll want to pat yourself dry with a towel until you're mostly dry. Leave a bit of dampness on your skin to allow the lotion and post-shower body oil to easily absorb and prevent any loss of moisture. Another favorite trick of many beauty influencers? Invest in a small, portable humidifier to keep by your bedside or at your vanity. "Dehydrated skin lacks water and may feel dull, rough, and tight. Using a humidifier can help by adding moisture to the air," dermatologist Ryan Turner, M.D., tells Shape. "This may help reduce dry or cracked skin especially overnight when skin cell regrowth and repairs are at their peak." Plus, your house plants and seasonal allergies can both get a natural boost from the benefits of a humidifier.

And, of course, you'll want to finish off any skincare routine with SPF. "After you wash your face in the morning, you should apply your sunscreen. It is the first step before using moisturizer," dermatologist Debra Jaliman tells Insider. You'll want to apply a ¼ teaspoon amount of sunscreen to your face before finishing off with about a shot glass' worth of sunscreen for the rest of your body. SPF keeps your skin supple and hydrated with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which aid in keeping your skin looking youthful and glowing.