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How to Use Shower Gel

Three Parts:Choosing a Shower GelChoosing a SpongeUsing a Shower Gel

Using shower gel leaves a gentle scent on your skin, as well as leaving you feeling fresh and clean. What greater delight can you have than to get clean in such a fun and easy way? This article will not only show you how to use shower gel, but also show you how to choose one and what you can use to apply it.

Part 1
Choosing a Shower Gel

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    Choose the right shower gel for you. There are different types of shower gels, each with different qualities, scents, benefits, and drawbacks. Some might even be better for certain types of skin than others. This section will show you how to choose the right shower gel for you.
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    Choose a smell that you like. Showers can be a great place to wind-down and relax, and using a scented shower gel is a great start. How the shower gel smells, however, can either make it a pleasant experience, or a less-than-pleasant experience. Here are some things to think about:
    • Do you like cool or refreshing scents? Look for shower gels with lemon, orange, or other citrus-like smells. You can also buy something with cucumber or mint as well.
    • Do you like relaxing scents? Try something with chamomile, lavender, or rose.
    • Do you like sweet, dessert-like scents? There's cocoa butter and vanilla! Many fruit-scented shower gels, such as strawberry and passion fruit, also tend to smell very sweet and dessert-like.
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    Keep your skin type in mind. Different skin types have different needs, so you might want to consider buying a shower gel that suits those needs. You may also consider buying a body wash instead, which has a thinner consistency than shower gel. Both shower gels and body washes are used the same way.
    • If you have dry skin, consider using moisturizing body wash instead.[1] Look for something with added moisturizers, and try to avoid scented ones.[2] Most shower gels and body washes will say on the bottle whether if they are good for dry skin.
    • If you have normal skin, then you are in luck, and can use almost any time of shower gel you want. Keep in mind, however, that shower gels intended for dry skin will be extra moisturizing, while those intended for oily skin will be somewhat drying. You can also consider using a body wash instead.[3]
    • If you have oily skin, then you can use most shower gels, but consider looks for ones with clarifying properties, or ones that have been designed specifically for your skin type.
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    Consider allergies and skin sensitivities. Just because you have sensitive skin and break out in rashes after using certain soaps does not mean that you can't use shower gels at all. There are many things that might contribute to your allergic reactions, including perfumes and certain chemicals. When choosing a shower gel, consider something that is perfume-free, or made out of natural and organic materials.
    • Sodium laurel sulfate is responsible for creating most of the lather in shower gels, but some people are allergic to it. This may also be the case for you. Consider trying a shower gel that is SLS-free.[4]
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    Consider an exfoliating shower gel. Some shower gels include exfoliants that help scrub away dead skin cells, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple. An exfoliating shower gel may include different types of organic abrasives, such as crushed walnut shells, fruit seeds, ground almonds, oatmeal, sea salt, and sugar.[5] It may also include inorganic abrasives, such as microbeads.
    • Studies have shown that microbeads, which are usually made from plastic, can be very harmful to the environment and ecosystem as they cannot be filtered out by water treatment systems.[6]
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    Consider buying a multi-use shower gel. Sometimes, shower gels are formulated for multiple uses, such as cleaning your body and washing your hair. If you are looking to save some money and cut a few corners, look for shower gels that say 2-in-1 or 3-in-1. These ones usually have a list of what else they can be used for, such as soap, shampoo, and bubble bath. Here are some other ideas:
    • While it is possible to use shower gel for shaving, it is not always recommended, as shower gels do not soften and condition the skin and hairs as shaving creams do.
    • Using shower gel to wash hair is not recommended, unless the bottle specifically says that it can be used for hair. The ingredients used in most shower gels can be too drying for hair.
    • It is possible to use shower gel as a bubble bath, although you may not get the same amount of suds. To increase the suds, consider mixing the shower gel with an egg white or some glycerin before adding it into the tub. Be sure to pour it beneath running water, and then agitating the water with your hand.
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    Consider making your own shower gel. By making your own shower gel, you get to decide exactly what goes into it. You can also customize it with butters, essential oils, fragrances, and other types of oils, to suit your needs.

Part 2
Choosing a Sponge

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    Choose something to apply the shower gel with. Unlike soap, shower gel comes in a fluid form, which means that it can't be simply massaged over your body. This section will show you the different things you can use to apply the shower gel to your skin and their benefits.
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    Use a sponge. Because of how porous they are, sponges produce great lather. They also tend to be gentle on the skin. There are two types of sponges: synthetic, plastic sponges and natural sea sponges.
    • Synthetic sponges are made out of plastic, and come in many different shapes and sizes. They tend to be softer than natural sponges.
    • Sea sponges are a natural product. They are mostly brown or tan in color. Unlike other types of sponges and loofah, both organic and synthetic, sea sponges contain natural enzymes that prevent bacteria, mildew, and mold from growing. They are also hypoallergenic.[7]
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    Use a loofah or pouf. You can buy a loofah either as a pouf made from netted plastic, or as a natural, tubular sponge. Both are great for exfoliating the skin, although poufs tend to be gentler on the skin than loofahs.
    • Bath poufs come in all different colors. They are generally made from plastic, although it is possible to buy ones made from natural plant fibers, such as bamboo. They are soft and gentle on the skin. They are also great at producing lots of lather.
    • Natural loofahs are tube-shaped sponges made from the luffa plant. They are fibrous and coarse-textured, making them great at exfoliating away dead skin.
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    Use washcloths or bath mitts. You can also use a simple wash cloth or bath mitt to apply moisturizer. They don't produce as much lather as other types of sponges, but they provide the least barrier between your hand and your skin, thus allowing you to massage your skin while showering.
    • Washcloths are small, square pieces of towel. You can use almost any towel as a washcloth. They do not produce a lot of lather but are fairly easy to clean: just toss it in with the rest of your laundry.
    • Loofah mitts are square-shaped washcloths that fit over your hand. They are cloth on one side, and loofah on the other (the same material used in natural, loofah sponges).
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    Take proper care of your sponges. No matter what sponge you choose to use, you must take proper care of it by cleaning and drying it properly, or else it might start growing bacteria, which could lead to skin infections. Here are some ways that you can do this:[8]
    • Allow it to air dry. After you use your sponge, rinse it out, and then hang it outside the shower, away from any moist air. Let the sponge dry completely before using it again.
    • Microwave natural sponges. Make sure that your sea sponge or loofah is damp, then microwave it for 20 seconds to kill bacteria. Don't attempt this on a plastic sponge; instead, consider setting it out in the sun to dry.
    • Bleach it. Soak your sponge in bleach diluted with water. You want to use a solution of about five percent bleach.
    • Launder your washcloths. If you are using a small towel as a washcloth, you can clean it simply by tossing it into your next laundry load. Do not put your sponges into the dryer, however.
    • Replace it often. Poufs and loofahs should be replaced after three weeks, and sponges should be replaced after six or eight weeks.[9]

Part 3
Using a Shower Gel

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    Turn on the shower and step inside. You can use any temperature that you are comfortable with, but keep in mind that very hot water may be damaging to the skin. If you tend to get dry skin, consider using cool or lukewarm water instead.[10] Once you have set the temperature to your liking, step into the shower.
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    Pour some gel onto a sponge or washcloth. You want a quarter-sized drop—about ½ teaspoon—of shower gel onto a bath sponge or washcloth. For more information as to what sorts of sponges and washcloths you can use, refer to the section in this article on choosing sponges.
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    Lather the soap. Squish and massage the sponge or washcloth until the soap begins to foam and lather. You only need to do this for a few seconds. Keep in mind, however, that some natural and organic shower gels will not lather as much as inorganic ones.
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    Gently scrub yourself all over. Do not scrub too hard, especially if you are using anything abrasive, such as a loofah or a shower gel with exfoliants, or you may irritate your skin. Instead, massage your body with the sponge or washcloth, just as you would with a bar of soap.
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    Rinse it all off. Once you have soaped yourself all up, it is time for you to rinse that soap off. Some of it may already have come off during your shower, which is fine. Simply turn around in the shower until the soap has rinsed off. You may have to raise your arm or leg, and rub water over the skin to get all of the soap off.
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    Step out of the shower and dry yourself off with a towel. Don't rub the towel over your skin. Instead, lightly pat your skin dry with the towel. If you tend to get dry skin, then consider leaving your skin slightly damp, so that it can absorb the remaining moisture.[11] Don't forget to conserve water by turning the shower off!
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    Consider using moisturizer. Once you have finished drying yourself off, consider applying a moisturizer to your skin.[12] This will help keep your skin soft, moist, and healthy.


  • Experiment with different scents and brands to find one that you like best.
  • Consider using cool, refreshing, and fruity scents during the warm, summer months, and warm, sugary scents during the cool, winter months.
  • Sponges and loofahs tend to be more exfoliating than washcloths. They also tend to lather better.
  • Washcloths are gentler and softer than sponges and washcloths. They may not lather as well, but they are easier to clean.


  • Use caution when taking a shower; wet tubs can be very slippery, and you may fall and hurt yourself if you are not careful.
  • To prevent bacteria from accumulating, be sure to properly clean and disinfect your sponge, loofah, or washcloth. Refer to the section on choosing a sponge to learn how.
  • Be gentle when using anything abrasive, such as loofahs and exfoliating shower gels, or you may risk agitating your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Shower
  • Shower gel
  • Loofah, sponge, or washcloth

Article Info

Categories: Bathing