How to Take a (Better) Shower

Mornings in our house are, in a word, chaos. Toby requests both first and second breakfasts, and one-year-old Anton has a habit of galloping (literally galloping) up and down the hallway. Alex trims his beard while I try to jump in the shower for two seconds, but Toby often comes in to tell me I’m taking too long and he’s still hungry.

So! This year, I’m rejiggering my beauty routine to feel a little more spa-like. Since your routine starts in the shower, I’m trying to up my game there. Here, we partnered with Dove to come up with simple ways to make the old daily shower feel more zen…

Shower by candlelight. Light a candle in the bathroom and turn out the lights. The flickering light feels so peaceful and calming and makes such a difference.

Scent your shower. Tie some eucalyptus branches to your shower-curtain rod for a sweet woodsy scent (Erica‘s awesome recommendation!). You can usually find them wherever you buy fresh flowers.

Watch the temperature. Hot shower water is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to dry, scaly skin. Tip: If your skin turns red, the water’s too hot.

Use a moisturizing body wash. I’ve been using Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash during these colder months; their new formula is even milder on skin yet still creates a rich lather, and their moisturizers leave your skin softer and smoother after just one shower (such a godsend in the winter!).

End on a gentle note. After your shower, gently pat yourself dry with your towel, since rubbing can irritate skin and increase dryness.

What are your shower rituals? People can be weirdly specific about how they shower!

And today Dove is giving away an entire year’s supply of Deep Moisture Body Wash. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen at random tomorrow. Update: The winner has been emailed. Thanks for playing!
(Photos and styling by Kate Jordan for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Dove, a brand whose products I’ve used for years. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo)

  1. Long hot showers forever!

  2. The candle trick works amazingly well!

  3. hi joanna! i just wanted to tell you yesterday i had a rough day, i was really feeling kind of terrible, but when i got home… i remembered this post! so i lit some candles, had a shower, took my time… and felt brand new afterwards! thanks! :)

  4. This is like a pinterest board shower. I would love to do this in my dream life…highly unlikely to happen in the real world. :)

  5. With an 8 month old, hy hubby and I have found nighttime showers to be divine. Once Jack is down to bed we pour a nice glass of a then jump into the shower together to catch up on the day.

  6. I love baths! Pop in some melts or bath bombs and your skin will come out silky smooth!

  7. Love this! Scented shower will be like taking a bubble bath standing up. I’ve also used Dove for years, unscented recommended to me by a doctor.

  8. Thanks! Would be a great thing for the family to use.

  9. I love the suggestions in this post. Thanks for the tips. :)

  10. oooolalala ! Dove is such a radiant company – Best of luck to all the beautiful and radiant women out there !

  11. RF says...

    I tried everything from high end to low, and I kept coming back to Dove. You just can’t beat it! Will be trying the eucalyptus branches for sure x

  12. I tried the Eucalyptus thing this year and love it. I need to try the candlelit shower

  13. I use Dove soap in the shower! I have tried other soaps and just found that my skin responded better to good ole Dove!

  14. I would love to win!

  15. Dove is great on dry winter skin!

  16. I love to play music while I shower, and I’m a big fan of in-shower moisturizers.

  17. I use Dove shampoo and conditioner, I’ve never used their body wash, I love their stuff

    I hate that hot showers are bad for your skin, who doesn’t love a scalding hot shower when it’s brrr cold outside!!

  18. YAAY! I love Dove Sensitive.

  19. Love Dove and what they stand for.

  20. I really like the photos!

  21. Oooh I’d love to win this! I get crazy dry skin in winter and I am always too cheap/poor to buy actual body wash! Fingers crossed :)

  22. Jo – your posts are so natural, genuine and inspiring. I’ve been using Dove body wash for year – they are the only ones that come close to giving me moisturized skin!

  23. Dove has some great products.

  24. This is a fantastic giveaway……I would love to get this!

  25. I used Dove during hard time in my time (divorce) , i love the scent , it was like softing my day start and ideas. Shower in the morning is special time and Dove brings you a smell you will never forget, a unique smell that makes you feel yourself !
    Today, i used different products for my shower but when i need special care to myself, i buy Dove to feel better and get the nice perfume on me :-)

  26. I too have two young boys, so anything to improve my shower (me time) would be wonderful!

  27. Love the candle and eucalyptus idea – adding both of those to my morning routine! A year’s supply of dove body wash would also be a great addition ;-) Thanks for the great post!

  28. Usually my bath time is with the kids trying to get in the bathroom…

  29. C says...

    Dove is fabulous! I’d love to win :)

  30. My fiance and I both love Dove bodywash! Can I ask where the towel in the photo is from? They look luxurious!

  31. I love Dove body wash! It always leaves me feeling so moisturized instead of the normal “quick! I need lotion!” feeling. When I was in high school, a friend of mine told me that her secret to shiny, silky hair was to leave the conditioner in your hair as long as you possibly can. So 13 years later, I’m still rushing to get the conditioner in and, once it’s in, I relax, slowly lather my body, do some shower dancing, shave, whatever is necessary to elongate the time the conditioner is in. And I swear it works. People are always commenting on how healthy my hair looks, especially my hair dresser. :)

  32. I can’t start the day without an invigorating shower. I live in rental places & the quality of the baths is always…interesting. {I now only have them in hotels which feels super swanky!} Showers are the one thing i cherish. I try to have my radio in there too tuned to something to suit the mood {relaxing – something classical, cheerful – something to waggle to!}. I always use Dove to rescue my skin – otherwise, with the amount of showers i take, i’d look like a lizard!

  33. Dove products are my favorite! I have heard the tip about avoiding hot water before, but I love the feel of a super hot shower. It’s a conundrum.

  34. What an interesting post :) I LOVE showering by candlelight!

  35. I wouldn’t mind having a year of Dove products…sounds like a dream :)

  36. Dove is awesome I would love a year supply of their products!

  37. Am I too late? Entering the contest!

  38. My favorite body wash, it smells amazing! That shower looks so nice, too

  39. I have been using the Dove Deep Moisture body wash this winter and really like it. I am terribly about making the water in the shower really hot. Guilty pleasure.

  40. Dove’s body wash is incredible!!

  41. With my pale dry skin I would love to try dove! Good tips!

  42. With my pale dry skin I would love to try dove! Good tips!

  43. I love Dove. It’s wonderful for sensitive skin. I’ve used it for many years.

  44. I love Dove products! I need to change up my shower routine. I think showering at night is the way to go. I hate being so rushed in the mornings.

  45. Would love to win some Dove ;)

  46. Love dove! They make great body wash. This is sorta quirky but it makes sense: I start from the top and work my way down when I shower. I’ll wash my hair first, my face, then my arms, then legs. It’s like I’m getting more of the dirt out. :)

  47. Living in WI I need all the moisture I can get! Showering is my favorite part of the day. xo

  48. I have a very specific order of operations in my shower. Face. Shampoo. Body. Shampoo. Condition. Shave. Wash out the conditioner. Throw a wrench in my system and I just can not deal. :P I love the idea of showering by candlelight. Who says baths get all the candles??

  49. Love Dove!

  50. I would love to win a year’s supply of Dove products!

  51. I love using Dove’s products!

  52. The last thing I like to do before turning off the water is dripping two drops of either sweet orange or lavender essential oil onto my palm and then running my palms over my shoulders and body. This way I exit the shower smelling like a French country garden and more relaxed than ever!

  53. The eucalyptus is a wonderful tip! Keep up the great writing, Jo!

  54. I love the eucalyptus recommendation – I bet it would be great with lavender or sage too!

  55. DB says...

    I always shower with the lights off! SO much more relaxing!