Showers…I used to love you so. You woke me up, you refreshed me, you were like a morning cup of Joe. But since I’ve been sick…it’s been a little more challenging.
I know I’m not alone. Many spoonies, for various reasons, have difficulty showering. Here are my tips for clean living when you are…hygienically challenged.
How to Shower Less Often
1. Use Dry Shampoo
I was not a believer in this for the longest time. I’ve always had a pretty disgustingly oily scalp, necessitating daily showers. How could adding more gunk to my hair help anything?
Enter my new hero, Batiste Dry Shampoo.
Disclaimer: I am not receiving any endorsements from this company. But I have tried three other dry shampoos that have done absolutely nothing. And with this mighty can of mist, I can go 3-4 days sans shower without oily buildup. With my scalp, that’s saying something. I’ve already purchased it in travel size so I never have to live without it!
Important Dry Shampoo Tip: Use it every day. Even on days you don’t think you need it. This will keep the oil and gunk from building up faster.
2. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo
I use Eulence Volume Clarifying Shampoo, but it was recommended for my type of hair by naturallycurly.com. Using any type of clarifying shampoo, however, really knocks out the gunk to give you a good clean that’ll last for days. If you have dry ends, I recommend pairing it with a leave-in conditioner.
3. Avoid greasy hair products
Especially if you’re not going out of the house anyway, don’t put any styling goo in your hair. And if you are leaving the house, only put it in the ends of your hair. Stay free of the scalp.
4. Change your underwear daily
This seems obvious, but when you no longer distinguish between daywear and nightwear, you can forget.
Your armpits and your undergarment areas create the most smell. Keep them clean and it’ll be much longer before you start to have wavy cartoon lines form around your body.
5. Use Baby Wipes
Use these daily between your legs and under your armpits. Hey, a lot of us eat baby food, why stop there? Scented sprays also help keep the smell away. Although I’d spray your clothes instead of your body, so they don’t build on each other.
Edit: Someone helpfully posted in the comments that you shouldn’t use the wipes on your genitals directly. I mean the sweaty part between your thighs. If you use wipes on your genitals, you could get a nasty yeast infection. And you have enough problems.
6. Keep your hair braided
For those of us with long hair, I don’t know exactly how or why this works, but I swear, keeping hair braided keeps the grease away longer. Or maybe it’s just harder to tell once it’s braided. For those with curly/wavy hair, it also helps keep its form longer, so you don’t have to style it as much. Plus, everyone knows pigtails and pajamas are the coolest look in town.
How to Make Showering Less Painful
Obviously, this will vary based on why showering is hard for you. I have dysautonomia, so hot water and standing for a while are a bad combo for me. A good tip for POTSheads is to keep the temperature of the water pretty moderate…but cold intolerance makes that fairly painful for me. Here are some other tips I’ve picked up recently.
1. Shower Chair
Oh Shower Chair, how I love thee. Let me count the ways.
I have the AquaSense Shower Seat. It’s not too expensive, fits easily in my tub, and makes showering 1050% easier (I’ve done the math). You can also sit down in the tub/shower, but it’s much easier to get back up from the shower chair than the floor, and it’s way more comfortable. Even if you don’t have an autonomic dysfunction like me, sitting through the shower just makes it much easier on your body.
2. Motivate yourself with special showering listening material
It can be hard to motivate yourself to de-stinkify when you know how much it’s going to take out of you, and you’re already tired. I save my favorite podcast especially for my showers, so I have something to look forward to that helps me drag my calorically-deficient-yet-somehow-still-pronounced ass outta bed. Save your favorite album, spotify/pandora station, audiobook, or podcast for the shower, and it will help take your mind away from how tired you are.
3. Shave and/or wash your hair separately
If there’s only so long you can take of shower time, divide and conquer. Wash your hair in the sink and shave whatever you wish to shave with an electric shaver on dry land. I also keep a chair by my sink so I can sit through my post-shower routine.
4. Choose your shower time wisely
I used to use my shower as my morning coffee, to get me started in the morning. It took me a while to realize that routine wasn’t going to work for me anymore…what can I say? I’m not always the quickest draw in the west.
I’ve now found that showering at night works best for me, because then I can rest afterwards without having to be anywhere or do anything else. It’s harder to motivate myself since I’m tired from the day, but, again, the podcast helps, and I try to plan ahead and “schedule” my shower for a day when I don’t do as much. You may find a different time of day works best for you. Experiment and find out what your body prefers!
5. Lay down/elevate your legs/rest your body parts (depending on your illness) right after the shower, even if you think you don’t need it
Even if you think you’re doing just fine, the aftermath will hit you harder if you try to keep pushing through. Know your body and your patterns, and get ahead of the post-shower crash.
Now you’ve got a battle plan, it’s into the fighting arena, soldier!
Post any bathing tips you have down below!
About the Author:
Leah is a 24 year old suburb-of-Philly native. She has gastroparesis, dysautonomia, a feeding tube, and a battery operated stomach. She is the proprietor of this site, as well as the sassy Disney blog The Magical World Of, and a contributor to the new podcast Media Matters.