Showering Routines Have Changed Since the COVID-19 Outbreak

We asked readers to share all the ways their bathing habits have been affected.

Showering Routines Have Changed Since the COVID-19 Outbreak

By Ashley Abramson, Allure

Typically, I shower every two days, or whenever my hair starts to feel greasy. I have superfine hair that accumulates oil quickly and dry shampoo doesn’t do a thing for me, so I usually wash it three times a week and take an occasional body wash only shower if I want to freshen up, like after working out. As a stay-at-home mom with a writing side hustle, not much has changed for me now that almost everyone is in some form of isolation, simply because my daily routine hasn’t changed that much.

For other people, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about drastic changes in their schedules, habits, and activities, including how they bathe and shower. A few friends of mine say they’re showering far less in the absence of social pressure to get “done up,” and I’ve also heard some folks say they shower more in self-quarantine because they finally have the time or want to reap the mental health benefits that come with bathing.

To find out how people’s showering habits have changed (or stayed the same) while self-isolating, we created a Google form to allow people to share their experiences. Here's how those people have adjusted their bathing schedules, or not, in the wake of a global pandemic.

Keeping the same shower routine when everything else has changed

Lynae, a 58-year-old office coordinator in the Minneapolis area, is showering the same amount as usual. She says she’s keeping the same daily showering regimen mostly because she sees routine as a form of self-care, in and out of quarantine. “My mental health needs routine," she tells Allure. "I get up, eat breakfast, shower and dress for the day. Same as always.”

Allison, 28, works as a pediatric nurse case manager in Milwaukee, and says she’s maintained her bathing routine too: “[I] showered daily before and shower daily now. Nothing has changed, so far, in regards to my shower routine.”

Reducing anxiety wasn’t my main motivator for keeping my shower schedule the same, but I have realized that keeping a routine helps me feel in control. During the first week of my self-quarantine, I had a telehealth appointment with my therapist, who reminded me how important it was to control the things I could. Showering is one way to do that.

Switching things up out of necessity

Some of the people I talked to said COVID-19 has caused a complete switch-up in their normal shower and beauty routines. Brittany, a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom from Texas, says her shower routine hasn’t necessarily changed, but she has been skipping makeup and returning to her pajamas after washing her body. She’s hoping to reintroduce her beauty routine soon because of how it makes her feel. “I told my husband last night, I need to start getting up and getting ready because I want to feel more like a person,” she says.

“Despite my largely sedentary lifestyle, a shower is the perfect way to scrub off all the COVID-19 fear that has landed on me during the day.”

Some people are changing the time they shower, due to scheduling changes that have imposed new demands. Meaghan, 34, who works as a copywriter in California, says she doesn’t have time to get ready in the morning like she used to because she either has to tend to her kids or get started on work right away. She used to start her day with a shower each morning, but now she showers during her daughter’s nap or at night. “I was exclusively a morning showerer before, and I kind of like going to bed clean now,” she says. “I never understood that obsession before.”

Reaping the hair benefits of showering less

Jess, a 32-year-old recruiter in Minnesota, had an every-other-day routine before self-isolating. She’d shower the three days each week that she went into the office, and on Sunday mornings. She’s still bathing the same amount now, but she’s embracing a new hair routine. “As soon as COVID-19 hit, I bought a shower cap pronto and vowed to wash my hair less,” she tells Allure. “I’m testing my hair’s limits to see how long I can go between washes. So far I’ve gone five days, but I hope to go longer.”

Liz, a 36-year-old chiropractor, says she showers the same amount — every other day — but she’s skipping shampoo. “I still get my hair wet and use conditioner, but shampoo and stripping my [hair’s] natural oils is long gone,” she says. “Here’s hoping my scalp and curly hair will thank me!”

Bathing more to prevent the spread of germs

Brittney, 34, who stays at home with her two kids in Minnesota, has found herself showering more, depending on what she’s doing. For the most part, her habits have remained the same, but if she’s making essential runs or leaving the house for any reason, like to go to the doctor’s office, she showers right after. She tells Allure that her husband, who is still working outside the home, has had to shower much more to avoid spreading germs to his family.

“He leaves everything in the garage, uses the downstairs shower, and sanitizes anything he may have come in contact with on his way in before coming up to be in our living spaces or greeting us,” Brittney explains.

Kendra, a 25-year-old living in Minnesota, has also found herself bathing more frequently due to her occupation as a health care worker. Prior to COVID-19, she liked to stretch out her showers to three times a week at most. Now, she showers every day she works, which ends up being more like four to six times a week. “I actually enjoy showering, but having to do it this frequently feels like a hassle and isn’t good for my hair,” she says. “But it’s obviously better than bringing home COVID-19.”

Spending time in the shower can be self-care

With more time on their hands now, many people are doing more beauty- and self-care-related activities — including showering — to help pass the unbearably long days of self-quarantine. Claire, a 27-year-old speech therapist, is one of those people, and has been spending more time in the shower to cope with the isolation. “I am shaving my legs, exfoliating, and doing hair masks much more now," she says, "simply for something to do to fill the time.”

Olivia, a 22-year-old PR rep in New York, says she probably doesn’t need a daily shower these days, but she uses bathing to symbolically wash the day off. “Showers these days feel more and less necessary than ever before,” she says. “Despite my largely sedentary lifestyle, a shower is the perfect way to scrub off all the COVID-19 fear that has landed on me during the day.”

Showering less, most of the time, at least

For Nicole, a 27-year-old therapist in Indiana, showering is less of a priority, unless she’s seeing clients. “I showered every other day before COVID-19, and I would shower but not wash my hair after sweaty workouts,” she says. “Now, I normally go three days without showering or washing my hair, if I’m not doing a telehealth therapy session.”

Jennifer, a 31-year-old executive assistant in the Chicago suburbs, says she was on a solid every-other-day schedule before COVID-19, but now she showers about two days a week, because it usually doesn’t feel worth the trouble unless she feels gross or has to run out to the store.

Instead, she’s homing in on her skin-care routine. “I’m mainly focused on skin-care for my face and neck, so I’ll take time to wash my face and moisturize, with a few steps in between,” she says. “I actually didn’t practice a skin-care routine before the virus. At least my face is clean!”

Showering Routines Have Changed Since the COVID-19 Outbreak
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Health Magazine: Showering Routines Have Changed Since the COVID-19 Outbreak
Showering Routines Have Changed Since the COVID-19 Outbreak
Nearly everything has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak, so it follows that our showering and bathing habits have changed too. Here's how 12 people have adjusted their routines during the pandemic.
Health Magazine
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