I was the type of kid whose toys were 95 percent waterproof because I spent pretty much all my time in the bath anyway. I've always loved feeling clean. That being said, when I learned about the worst shower mistakes women make, it kind of threw a wrench into things — especially because I was guilty of most, if not all of them.
I started my writing career in the nutrition and holistic health business, which sparked an interest in the human body and the way we take care of it. My main realization: it turns out that America has been moving in the wrong direction when it comes to hygiene practices. We're intent on ridding ourselves of bacteria, sweat, oil, hair, and impurities, only to find that all of them are actually essential to our well-being. That's why our bodies create or house them in the first place.
Antibacterial soaps can strip the essential bacteria that protect our skin. Antiperspirants that stop sweat might also stop other necessary detoxification functions. Shaving can open your pores to infection and cause the follicle to grow all wonky. Granted, there are healthier alternatives. It took a bit, but I've finally revamped my hygiene routine so that I can feel clean while simultaneously allowing my body to do its thing. Here are a few of the worst mistakes women make in their hygiene practices, as well as easy ways to fix them.
Mistake # 1: Stripping Your Skin Of Essential Bacteria
Your skin has both good and bad bacteria on its surface, and for the past several decades, we ended up eliminating both with antibacterial soaps and harsh cleansers. However, scientists are now learning that a healthy body needs this good bacteria for protection, immunity, and keeping the bad bacteria in check.
Solution: A Soap That Respects The Microbiome
Mother Dirt is a company that pledges to create products that clean skin without disrupting your skin's natural balance. Their Biome-Friendly face and body cleanser can be used anywhere, is made with all plant-derived ingredients, and is especially awesome for sensitive skin. It can even be used as a shaving cream or makeup remover, and reviewers say it drastically improves everything from acne to body odor.
Mistake #2: Using A Loofah
A study published in the Journal Of Clinical Microbiology found that loofahs are a breeding ground for fungi, mold, and bacteria. They trap dirt and dead skin in the mesh netting, and when combined with the warm, wet conditions of your bathroom, unhealthy things start to grow. On top of all that, the synthetic plastic material is a bit too abrasive, and it could be tearing your skin.
Solution: A Sponge That's Natural, Gentler, And More Hygienic
In addition to being hypoallergenic, sea sponges have natural enzymes that keep them clean and bacteria-free. The honeycomb natural sea sponge uses no harmful chemicals, lasts for years without disintegrating, is easy to wash, and helps with gentle exfoliation. It even has a convenient string so you can hang it up on your shower caddy.
Mistake #3: Using A Harsh Shampoo
If you wash your hair every day, you probably do it because you don't like the feeling of an oily scalp. However, it turns out that harsh shampoos actually exacerbate that problem, leaving you with oiler hair than you would have had if you washed it less. Additional ingredients like sulfates can dry out the scalp, causing it to produce more oils to compensate.
Solution: A Co-Wash Or Cleansing Conditioner
My hair is significantly less greasy since I ditched the shampoo and switched to a cleansing conditioner instead — and that's because it balanced my scalp's oil production instead of disrupting it. Luxeorganix cleansing conditioner coWash cleanses the dirt and product buildup while leaving essential moisture and protecting hair from split ends, damage, and dryness.
Mistake #4: Shaving With A Dull Or Dirty Razor
Using a dull, dirty razor is the quickest way to get ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and even a potential infection. A less-than-sharp razor also contributes to that burning sensation you sometimes feel after shaving, as it can't adequately glide across your skin if it's clogged with oil and dead cells.
Solution: A Sharpener That Keeps Blades Sharp
You could invest in new razors every week — or you could choose the smarter option and invest in the Blade Buddy. It's a sharpening tool that saves you tons of money because it bends the blades back into place and cleans them simultaneously. The result is a closer, safer shave, and it works with any kind of razor, disposable or long-term.
Mistake #5: Stripping Your Scalp's Essential Oils
Most people can't stand the feeling of oily hair. However, your scalp produces natural oils that are meant to moisturize, strengthen, and lubricate your strands. If your hair is too dry, it causes unnecessary breakage and frizz. This is especially true for curly hair types, which need more moisture than straight hair because it's harder for oils to travel down the shaft.
Solution: Replenish Moisture With A Hair Mask
Argan oil is a great all-natural moisturizer for hair because it absorbs quickly into strands, nourishing and hydrating without an oily residue. Calily natural argan oil hair mask uses high-quality plant-derived ingredients to promote healthy, shiny, soft hair without leaving it feeling dirty or greasy. It's especially great for dryness or damage, and reviewers say, "It was a miracle potion! I was able to comb my hair easily after rinsing it out! It left my hair feeling so soft!"
Mistake #6: Ignoring Ingrown Hairs And Bumps
Razor bumps happen when the skin becomes irritated and inflamed after shaving. Ingrown hairs are a result of a follicle curling backwards against the skin as it tries to grow out. Most of the time, these issues are harmless, but occasionally, they can lead to breakouts or infected hair follicles.
Solution: Treat The Area Post-Shave To Soothe And Protect
With awesome ingredients like aloe, witch hazel, and lavender, Kerah Lane razor bump and ingrown hair formula soothes irritated areas, helps with inflammation, and removes excess bacteria from the skin. It works on the most sensitive areas after any kind of hair removal, doesn't sting during application, and reviewers say, "Don't think I've had one ingrown hair or razor burn since I've used this stuff."
Mistake #7: Ignoring The Label On Your Moisturizer
Experts tell you to moisturize straight out of the shower because your pores are especially open and absorbent after coming into contact with hot water. However, if you don't know the chemicals you're putting on your skin (and plenty of moisturizers have chemicals), than you don't know exactly what your skin is absorbing.
Solution: A Moisturizer With Natural Ingredients
Because it's made from real Manuka honey, aloe vera, coconut oil, and blue green algae, Honeyskin Organics cream is good for your skin. Reviewers say it works on everything from acne to rosacea, and it leaves their whole body feeling "much healthier and incredibly soft."
Mistake #8: Drying Hair With A Coarse Towel
Most women wrap their hair or blot it with a towel before styling, but even soft cotton can be too course for your hair. In addition to being too heavy, a regular old bath towel causes excess breakage, frizz, and damage.
Solution: A Gentle, Lightweight Towel Specifically For Your Hair
The DuraComfort Hair Towel uses an extremely soft and absorbent microfiber material. Not only is it lightweight, compact, durable, and actually stays on your head, but it soaks up water faster and prevents frizz and breakage. "Finally tried this and it was AMAZING," says one reviewer. "My hair dried instantly and the curls were so defined and frizz-free. It was like magic!"
Mistake #9: Using An Antiperspirant
Who doesn't love to feel dry and fresh? That being said, using an antiperspirant may come at a price. Most use aluminum to physically clog up the sweat gland, which some doctors claim that it causes a variety of serious health problems — and while that hasn't necessarily been proven, it might make you really rethink what you're putting under your arms.
Solution: An Aluminum-Free Alternative
It skips the aluminum, parabens, and toxins, but people swear that it still works. Zaffré natural deodorant has safe vegetable ingredients, powders, and essential oils that go on smooth without flaking, sticking, or crumbling. In addition to all that, they come in a ton of great scents and reviewers say, "I've been using natural deodorants for years and Zaffre is the first one that I've been completely satisfied with."
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