God, I love a good shower. I appreciate I may be biased – my poky flat means that I don't actually have a bath – but, technicalities aside, I think that long soaks in the shower can be superior to a stint in the tub. For example, I'd wager that jumping into a hot shower trumps waiting around for the bath to run. There’s none of that “Ooh, ahh – too hot!” as you lower yourself in. Then there's the fact that water pummelling against all your aches and pains is infinitely relaxing – a wash with a massage thrown in. Finally, there's the noise – your very own trickling soundtrack to drown out life around you. Bliss. So, it's worth spending some time on making your shower products and surroundings into as much of a sanctuary as you possibly can.
a bATH OIL THAT YOU CAN USE IN THE SHOWER
It may sound counterintuitive to take a bath oil into the shower, but I've found massaging a bit of SenSpa's glorious Sleep Therapy Bath Soak, £5.95, over my arms and chest in the shower means that I'm left smelling like zen itself by the time I'm ready to get in my pyjamas. It'll leave your skin feeling unbeatably plush, too.
A comforting hot-cloth Cleanser
I like to take my cleanser into the shower with me in the evening to give my face and neck a thorough clean without risking drip-down on to my clothes. No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser, £10, is great for this, as it's gentle, has a simple, clean scent and leaves skin soft, rather than sticky. Lather a 2p-sized amount across your face, then massage away with a face cloth under the running water (flannels are slightly more abrasive than muslins, so will give you a better exfoliation).
A GLOSSY Hair mask
After you've shampooed your hair, coat a generous blob of Sacha Juan's Hair Repair mask, £23, through your hair. You can pop it on your roots if they're particularly dry, as the proteins inside kickstart cell regeneration to help with hair growth. Or, if you find your hair gets oily at the roots but drier towards the bottom, stick it through the lengths and ends, and leave for five minutes (try to avoid getting your hair wet) while you get on with washing and procrastinating, then rinse out for healthy, glossy hair.
SOME POSH SHOWER GEL
If you need a reason to treat yourself, here's one: it's cold outside and getting steadily darker, so you needn't feel guilty about picking yourself up a fancy body wash. The gold standard comes from The White Company. This is a creamy gel that morphes into a soft, fluffy foam. Lime & Bay's bright, zingy scent is delicious for mornings, while White Lavender is lovely and relaxing in the evening.
A very gentle body scrub
The most gentle way I've found to exfoliate is with a konjac sponge. It dries pretty solid, but damp it's soft, squishy and only mildly coarse, so can be used every day over your entire body in light circular motions without causing sensitivity. Much more relaxing than a onceover with one of those grating mitts.
A SILKY BODY OIL
The good thing about showers is that the steam should leave the room slightly more toasty when you step out, giving you time to chuck on some body oil without freezing your whatsits off. A total luxury, Nars' Monoii oil, £44, smells like heaven (rich, sweet and coconutty), sinks in super quick and leaves skin gorgeously velvety. It's not cheap, but a little goes a very long way.
A SHOWER CADDY to put it all in
There's nothing worse than your shampoo bottles scattered across the shower floor. This smart-looking gizmo hooks over your shower head and holds all your products in one place. It's a decent width, so you won't have to lie your taller bottles down, plus you can use the "S" hooks for extra storage.