What do you do when taking a shower and how fast do you do it?
May 29, 2011 10:39 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when taking a shower? Do you wash your entire body and your hair? Only the body (and the hair every couple of days)? Only certain spots on your body?

I'm talking about your typical daily shower here, not the type of scrubbing you'd do after rolling around in mud or working out intensively. I'm asking because I sometimes hear people talk/write about taking something like four-minute showers and that just seems unrealistically fast to me.
posted by Omnibenevolent Supercherub to Health & Fitness (114 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Everything (in four minutes) every morning. Add two minutes if I have to shave.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:44 AM on May 29, 2011

I may tend toward the grosser end of the spectrum, but I really only use soap on my, uh, delicate parts and my underarms. Everything else just gets rinsed.

I wash my hair every two or three days.

That takes me about maybe 5-6 minutes, but I also usually shave, so if I shave/wash hair, probably 20 minutes total.
posted by queens86 at 10:49 AM on May 29, 2011

Turn on shower. Get in shower. Get everything below neck wet. Soap up everything below neck. Rinse/scrub. Get head wet, including hair and facial hair. Shampoo hair (and facial hair, too, since you're up there with shampoo-y hands anyway). Rinse/scrub hair, facial hair, face. Turn off shower.

The time varies based on how comfortable you want your shower to be. Can you do all of that in 4 minutes? Probably more like 2 if you REALLY hustle. Can you do all of that in 20 minutes? Yeah, definitely. It all comes down to how much time you have and how much water you feel okay about using.
posted by papayaninja at 10:51 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've changed my system somewhat recently due to frequent occurrence of eczema which are due to lack of natural skin oils and I tend to have dry skin. I wash everywhere but I only soap the stinky pit areas. I rinse my face but only use face-wash a couple times a week during the summer, hardly ever during the winter. I shampoo 2-3 times a week. I exfoliate by either rubbing my skin or scratching it with my fingernails.

I don't have acne. The eczema has mostly subsided. I do wind up taking longer than 4 minutes but that's cause I love being in the hot water.

I must say it feels kind of weird to type this down.
posted by cman at 10:53 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

face, hair, and usually I wash my whole self with soap. Once a week I might do some hair removal thing.

I'm not sure how fast the shower takes specifically, but my whole morning bathroom routine (so adding tooth brushing, putting on deodorant, and maybe some nail trimming or other occasional thing) takes 10-15 minutes.
posted by Sara C. at 10:53 AM on May 29, 2011

At the risk of this turning into something akin to the stand or sit debate, I just found out a few days ago that I was the only person (out of a group of 8 I was eating dinner with) who doesn't face the shower spray while showering. Unless I'm actively washing my face, I either stand sideways or with my back to it.

I'm one of the "gross" people who only showers every other day (in the winter sometimes less often) unless I've gotten dirty or sweaty. Daily showers are murder for my dry skin and hair.
posted by phunniemee at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2011 [6 favorites]

Everything with the appropriate soap, every morning. Takes about 15 minutes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:56 AM on May 29, 2011

When I was in high school overseas we had a water shortage and went to navy showers. 30 seconds of water, turn it off. Soap / shampoo up. 60 seconds of water to rinse. 90 seconds of water usage, maybe 60 seconds of lathering. It can be done.
posted by COD at 10:58 AM on May 29, 2011

i have fairly short hair, and i start out with shampooing and rinsing my hair. then take the soap and do extra soapy on my sweaty/smelly/icky parts, going from the neck down. mildly soapy handrubbing on other skin as needed (for instance, i don't ordinarily do much to scrub my forearms besides wipe them with a vaguely soapy hand unless they're notably dirty) and sort of wipe myself down. optionally, use a scrubbrush-on-a-stick to get the middle of my back and my feet including between the toes. I usually finish off with washing my face and then do a final rinse of my body from top down (every few years, i get distracted somehow when showering and turn off the water only to realize that i forgot to rinse all of my hair or something). if i'm in a shower that has a shower/tub switch, i switch it to tub before turning the water off and do extra rinsing between my toes. usually takes about 5 minutes. more if i'm being leisurely or am particularly dirty. if i'm really filthy (it's been too long since my last shower or i've been mucking around in a really dirty environment), i'll sometimes repeat the whole process and that can take quite a while. i can manage it in less if i'm comparatively cleaner to start with and need to sluice off sweat rather than scrub out dirt.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:00 AM on May 29, 2011

I work from top to bottom, currently washing my hair every day. Shampoo, rinse, condition, soap up the body and bits, including my toes, rinse the conditioner off, check to make sure I'm not harboring any lingering soap bubbles. I do not use soap on my face unless there's dirt on it.

For additional detail, I wring out my hair, wrap it in a towel, then I dry off with a separate towel.

This all takes about 4 minutes.
posted by bilabial at 11:01 AM on May 29, 2011

I don't typically shower every day.

My showers take less time when I have short hair, and takes more time when I have long hair. Showering in 4 minutes is *easy* when I have short hair.
posted by lover at 11:02 AM on May 29, 2011

Can't wake up without a shower, so it's a daily thing. Face, hair, and between my legs get washed, and all the other major bits get passed over with a soapy scrubby.
posted by rtha at 11:02 AM on May 29, 2011

Because it's for science, I timed the shower I just took.

I washed and conditioned my shoulder-length hair, washed my whole body, washed my face separately, and shaved my legs and under-arms. Total time: 8 minutes. A lot of that time was spent fiddling with the faucets, because it's hard to get the temperature right in my shower. If I don't wash my hair or shave, I can probably get that down to about 3 minutes, and I do that on days when I'm running late. If I really care about how good a job I do shaving, tack on another five to ten minutes.

I can save a lot of time by not washing my hair, but it mostly has to do with the time I spend drying and styling it, not the time I spend washing it. And on weekends, I don't bother drying my hair unless I have somewhere to go right away, so that's not as much of a factor.
posted by craichead at 11:07 AM on May 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Get in, get wet, shampoo hair, rinse, shampoo again (usually), rinse, put conditioner on hair, soap up hands and wash pits, tits, & bits as well as feet (unless I've had to put on sunblock or bug spray since my last shower, in which case all parts get a soap). Rinse off soap and conditioner and exit.

My typical in-shower time is 10-15 minutes; if I have to shave my legs, that adds another 5ish. But then I take a fair amount of time drying off, etc. If I'm putting on makeup and fixing my hair, my complete bathroom time is probably around 45 mins. If I shaved (and therefore have to apply lotion, etc) or have to put on fancy makeup, total time is closer to an hour.
posted by pupstocks at 11:07 AM on May 29, 2011

Get in shower, face under water, wash face. If washing hair, turn around, wet hair, shampoo, rinse, conditioner on. Turn around to face water again, keeping conditioned hair out of water. Soap on places that need it, everything else gets rinsed. Rinse off conditioner and get out. Usually takes 5-7 minutes.

If I don't wash my hair (and I only wash it after I go running) then skip the middle bits and it's a 3 minute shower.
posted by gaspode at 11:07 AM on May 29, 2011

Daily shower is a few minutes with a bar of unscented dye free soap. I get wet, build up a lather of soapy bubbles and scrub my face with my hands, rub that bar of soap... well pretty much everywhere, rinse off, re-scrub any especially fragrant regions and finish by quickly hand scrubbing my hair under the hottest water I can stand, no soap or shampoo. Hair still silky smooth.

I really want to move to the Navy shower thing, but my bathroom fixtures were built for someone much shorter than I (the shower head spray hits me mid sternum at the highest), and fumbling around for the water control knobs somewhere well past my knees, and then getting the temperature right in my old building, all with soapy eyes isn't appealing.
posted by Science! at 11:08 AM on May 29, 2011

I'm asking because I sometimes hear people talk/write about taking something like four-minute showers and that just seems unrealistically fast to me.

I grew up in Northern California during drought and as children we were indoctrinated to take short showers. The idea is to quickly get clean and not waste water. To me, anything longer than 5-minutes seems unnecessarily long and wasteful.
posted by birdherder at 11:09 AM on May 29, 2011

Oh, I forgot I wash my face (w/cleanser), too -- just before rinsing off soap & conditioner.
posted by pupstocks at 11:09 AM on May 29, 2011

I described my shower experience here, in fairly excruciating detail. Takes me about 4 minutes, yeah. Basic progression is 1. wet 2. lather 3. rinse, and it applies to all parts of the body.
posted by carsonb at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2011

And yeah, wasting water is always in the back of my mind when I'm showering.
posted by carsonb at 11:11 AM on May 29, 2011

Most of the time I shower every other day, except in hot/sticky weather or when I'm working out more regularly, in which case I shower every day.

I shampoo and rinse my hair, then apply conditioner. While the conditioner sits in my hair, I wash the rest of me. I use a body puff with body wash on it, and pretty much everything gets soaped up. I wash my face with water only. I have a foot file that I use once in awhile, or sometimes I scrub my feet and ankles with a washcloth. I also exfoliate my upper arms occasionally (keratosis pilaris). I rinse my hair, give myself a once over to make sure the soap is washed off, and that's it. It usually takes 7-8 minutes. The water pressure in my shower sucks, so when I'm at a hotel with good water pressure, it goes a bit faster.
posted by cabingirl at 11:12 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History recently. It's a history of Western body-cleaning: if you're a person who's curious about other peoples' showering habits, I can pretty much guarantee that this book will elicit many "Ahhhh.... fascinating." moments.

I don't use very much soap when I shower. IMO, skin that's actually dirty/oily/stinky needs soap, the rest of your body just needs to be rinsed. I think soap is not that great for your skin, and not that necessary.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:14 AM on May 29, 2011 [9 favorites]

I shower daily, starting with shampoo in the hair (not a lot, since my hair is .25" long), rinse, scrub from face to feet with soap, rinse. Then, if I have time, I just stand there. It's nice and warm. Often times, I cannot delay, so I'm under the water for less than five minutes. Often, I will shower a second (or even third time) if I start to sweat or otherwise feel gross.

It boggles me mind how people cannot feel gross after 18+ hours without a shower.
posted by Brian Puccio at 11:14 AM on May 29, 2011

I shower approximately every other day, although I go longer when I'm busy or particularly not-dirty. I always wash my hair first, then conditioner which I leave on while I shave under my arms and wash my face. I've found that my skin loves being left alone, so during a shower is the only time I always wash my face. I rinse out the conditioner, then use a scrubby sponge with body wash to scrub the rest of my body. I don't feel clean unless I scrub, and it's good for my keratosis pilaris. With rinsing, this makes maybe 20 minutes, 15 if I'm in a hurry which I'm generally not because I like to shower at night so I can enjoy it. Shaving my legs and stuff takes maybe another ten minutes or so.

I'm weird in that I like to dry off slowly and I hate putting clothes on while I'm still even a little damp, so my post-shower moisturizing and drying off adds at least a half hour to the time I allot for showering. Showering in 4 minutes is not something I would ever try to do.
posted by MadamM at 11:20 AM on May 29, 2011

I get in, I get wet. I wash my face and rinse. Shampoo my hair and rinse (allllmost waist length hair), then wring my hair out and apply conditioner. While the conditioner sits I do whatever needs to be done depending on the situation, meaning sometimes shave (legs and/or pits), sometimes soap all over, sometimes just a thorough rinse. When that's all done I rinse out my hair and turn off the shower.

Even without shaving or all over soaping, this takes me at least 10 minutes and I'm absolutely baffled that it could go faster. I have to assume this is a function of my long hair and obsessiveness about not being left with any stray soap anywhere.
posted by telegraph at 11:21 AM on May 29, 2011

I think the responses here are skewing towards the short end of the spectrum. My showers are always well under five minutes, except when I'm stiff and sore and not in a hurry, when I might just stand there under the warm water for a while. But every girlfriend and roommate I've ever had has taken 20+ minute showers. So do my inlaws, so do most of the people in my family. So do most of the people I've shared hotel rooms with while traveling.

I'm careful to only soap the areas that are smelly, because I get dry skin and too much soap makes that much worse. And I'm pretty low on the product and beauty maintenance spectrum -- soap and shampoo is all I use in the shower. I love seeing how many bottles and gadgets and loofahs and just plain old stuff other people have in their showers.
posted by Forktine at 11:24 AM on May 29, 2011

I shower every day for about 10-15 minutes (which I know wastes water, don't start...) because I have oily hair and oily acne-prone skin and because the thought of going a day without being clean freaks me out. I face away from the showerhead, and I start from the top going down because as you wash your hair, the dirt you're rinsing out is running all over your face and back and you want to clean those AFTER you do your hair so you're not canceling out any work you've already done. After that, I pretty much just chill in the shower because the water's warm and that's the place I think best. In an ideal world, I'd shower in the morning and at night. If I'm going to the gym in the early morning I at least wash my face.
posted by patronuscharms at 11:25 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have to comb my hair in the shower (long curly hair) so it cannot take me less than 15 minutes. It usually takes me 25 because I like to relax a little. And yes, I clean everywhere, whether it's visibly dirty or not.
posted by saveyoursanity at 11:26 AM on May 29, 2011

I only shower every other day (too much showering kills my skin). When I do, I use a mild soap (Dove sensitive skin unscented), wash everything with soap by hand, starting at the top/face and working my way down (I use no washcloth or scrubbers), and then shampoo and rinse my hair last (usually no conditioner). Takes 10-15 minutes, depending on how long my hair is in a given period. If I shave under my arms that adds a couple of extra minutes. If I am someplace where they are are particularly worried about water supply issues, I turn off the water while I am soaping things up and then turn it back on to rinse.
posted by gudrun at 11:27 AM on May 29, 2011

Having been faced with 5min shower time at campsites on holiday I have found that I could actually do the whole hair,face,body cleansing and shaving thing done in just under 5 mins because I had about half a minute at the end just to stand and enjoy the hot water. Now clearly this wasn't the most through shaving ever but it can be done.

My normal routine at home is to get in, get wet, wash hair, rinse, apply conditioner, wash face, pits, bits and feet and then possibly shave. Rinse, may then wrap hair in towel and apply a bit of body oil to moist skin before drying. Seems to take around the 10 -15 minute mark, depending on how much time I have.

Daily in the summer, more or less daily other times of year.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:30 AM on May 29, 2011

Normally, I soap my pits, butt, groin, & feet - a regimen I learned from ultralight hiking, since these are the sebaceous-gland areas of the body (plus the poopy part).

If I'm feeling itchy, I scrub chest & back & neck with a stiff brush.

Every other day I rub baking soda into my hair (I'm poo-free); otherwise I simply rinse.

That's my "alone" regimen... Showering with a friend requires a lot more suds.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:32 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Wow...I can't imagine showering as infrequently as some of you. I usually shower at least once a day but more likely twice, and occasionally three times depending on what I've been doing. I work out almost every day, but usually in the afternoon, so one shower in the morning and one in the evening. So I know you said don't include your workout but if it's this frequent...?

I do the same thing every time: gentle face wash product on face, wash and rinse. Tiny bit of shampoo basically just for my scalp (I have almost no hair on my head). Then gentle-ish soap (I switch it up a lot to try different things) starting at torso (front to back) then down all the way to the feet: everything gets taken care of.

And if we are including our less frequent hygenic rituals:

Every two to three days, after my shower (my logic is that my beard hair has been softened up a bit by the shower) I shave my face, because I don't have to shave every day for work and I'm lazy, but I don't like having a beard either. Often I'll shave in a very messy way and just rinse off again in the shower, or I may even shave in the shower.

Once a week probably I clip nails, and give my hair a complete buzz (these two things do not necessarily happen the same day). Both of these things I do before I shower.

I'm not really sure how long my regular shower takes but it's pretty short usually, I'd guess under five minutes.

Isn't it amazing how interested we all are in sharing this? I wonder why that is.
posted by dubitable at 11:35 AM on May 29, 2011

I have skin that tends towards dry so I soap my pits, bits, bum and feet only by default. If it's summer and I'm sweaty I do the whole lot. I generally wash and condition my hair but not always. Like some other people in this thread I spent a summer with access to cold water showers only so I got super-efficient at this. If I don't wash my hair it can be done in 2 minutes without hair washing, 3.5 with. (You have to shampoo and rinse first, then do conditioner so it has time to sit, soap, and rinse the conditioner and everything else last for maximum efficiency.)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:44 AM on May 29, 2011

Reading all the other responses makes me feel like I take forever in the shower. So here's my shower routine:

Usually everyday during the week, I usually skip a day on the weekends.

So get in, rinse, and shampoo hair. After I rinse out my shampoo, I go straight for the conditioner so it will have time to sit in my hair. While my conditioner is setting I give everything a thorough scrub down with soap and one of those body poof things. Then I rinse off the soap and conditioner. Finally I use this facial cleanser stuff. All of that takes between 15-20 minutes, longer if I feel the need to just sit under the hot water for a minute.
posted by RubyDoom at 11:51 AM on May 29, 2011

I rinse my hair every day, but only use shampoo every other day. Similarly, I rinse my body every day, and I use soap on the armpits and nether regions, but I don't soap up the entire body every day unless I've been doing something sweaty. If I do everything, it takes about 10 minutes. If I shampoo but not soap up, it takes less than 5. If I shave my legs, it takes about 20. I'm a female with short hair.
posted by desjardins at 11:51 AM on May 29, 2011

Depends on if I need to wash my hair, which can take longer. I don't wash my hair daily. Usually if it's a post-gym shower I'll hop in, soap up - wash my face, rinse off and get out. I reserve shaving for hair-wash days, unless I need to wear a skirt the next day. If it's a hair-wash day, I shampoo then put conditioner in. Why conditioner is in, I wash face, shave legs and 'pits, and soap body. Then rinse all.
posted by TravellingCari at 11:52 AM on May 29, 2011

10 minutes is the least time I spend in the shower unless I'm hustling for some purpose. I get my head in order in the shower, and my hair is long and takes a long time to rinse (lots of individual hairs that are filament-fine hang on to soap). I'm probably around the 20 minute mark right now because I've added a ferocious exfoliation routine to my shower, seeing as my legs are peeling like a mofo.

Add my long and contemplative moisturizer regimen, and makeup, and I spend 45 mins to an hour getting ready, 30 minutes if I'm not drying my hair. I can do it in 20 if I really have to. But I hate it.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:53 AM on May 29, 2011

and... I missed the time thing. Sunday nights are long, luxurious showers for me. Like 20m in the hot steam. During the week, or in summer if I don't need ot shampoo; 5-7. Could I get it to be less? Sure. Am I likely to try unless I'm in super hurry? No

At the risk of this turning into something akin to the stand or sit debate, I just found out a few days ago that I was the only person (out of a group of 8 I was eating dinner with) who doesn't face the shower spray while showering. Unless I'm actively washing my face, I either stand sideways or with my back to it.

I always face away from the spray except when I'm washing my face. I hate water spraying into my face.
posted by TravellingCari at 11:55 AM on May 29, 2011

I'm pretty sure the length, thickness and general state of your hair is the major independent variable here, followed by season and activity level.

I am a girl with shoulder length curly hair of medium thickness, not super oily or really dry or dyed or otherwise weird. I don't usually do anything to it besides shampoo, I use conditioner only as-needed, and don't use a ton of styling product. However it has to be squeaky clean, and it takes at least a minute of soaking to even get it saturated all the way down to the scalp all around, another 1-2 min of scalp massage to get the roots clean, maybe 2 min more to rinse. No way I can get my hair really clean in under 4 minutes, and I bet it averages 5 minutes and then I still need another 5-7 for washing and shaving everything else. I don't wash my hair every day; it doesn't need it and feels better washed every other day or every third day, unless it's summer here in Texas and/or it's been under a bike helmet for a few hours. (my hair is soft as silk and sends stylists into jealous rages, so I think I'm doing it right).
posted by slow graffiti at 11:58 AM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It depends on the purpose of the shower for me. If I have to go somewhere, it's 4 minutes, tops. I often listen to a 4-minute long song to time myself. I wash everything with soap, rinse off, then condition my hair. I also don't shampoo. I shave my armpits every other day, which takes about 30-45 seconds.

If I don't have anywhere to be, or I'm taking a "thinking shower," I can take 20-30 minutes. I often sit down for these showers and will maybe shave my legs, which I do about once or twice a week. Sitting down allows me to really think through whatever problem I'm trying to fix in the shower, which is nearly always work-related. I soap up standing first, rinse, and then sit and ponder. I should be ashamed of my water wasting ways; I'm not proud of this habit.
posted by k8lin at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2011

Score another for 15-20 minutes: 15 if I'm not shaving my legs, 20 if I am. I can go faster, but I have long, fine hair, and if I rush it through shampooing I usually end up with bad tangles and quite a few broken hairs, so I try not to do that. I had short hair when I was a little girl and one of the things I remember best was how short my showers were, and how fast my hair dried.

I go in a precise order: shampoo, wash face, shave armpits, optionally shave legs, rinse shampoo, conditioner, soap on body, rinse conditioner. I do this every day. Otherwise my face erupts into an acne carnival and my hair looks extremely gross. For awhile in college I tried the no-poo thing and found that it does not work for everyone. It doesn't matter how long I let my body get used to it, my hair looks awful if I don't shampoo it every day.
posted by troublesome at 12:00 PM on May 29, 2011

Unless I'm tired and moving slow, my showers take no more than 10 minutes and I have long hair. I wash and condition my hair and then wash my pits, face and my privates. Unless I work up a sweat or get dirty, I don't wash my body because it's unnecessary and my skin thanks me for it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 12:01 PM on May 29, 2011

It takes me 20 minutes minimum to shower when I'm washing my hair and shaving everything. Less when I'm not (I shower every day/ every other day depending on what I've been doing during the day, wash my hair about a twice a week and my scalp is much happier for it.) I've tried to cut it down but thats just how long it takes me unless I am SUPER SERIOUS about showering quickly. Takes me about ten minutes if I'm just jumping in to wash my face and body.

General routine is get wet, shampoo hair, rinse, put in conditioner, wash everything else and sometimes exfoliate my legs, shave anything that needs shaving, use cleanser on face, wash out conditioner. I don't use much soap because my skin gets kinda dry and I've never really needed to.
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:07 PM on May 29, 2011

Also, I do a k8lin sometimes and sit and think in the shower for a while, which obviously eats up time, but not that often
posted by stillnocturnal at 12:08 PM on May 29, 2011

Depends how dirty I am.
posted by box at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2011

I do my hair every 3-4 days since it's curly. I shave every other time, which takes a few minutes since I'm female.

Honestly, you don't need to use body wash or stay under the water for very long if you don't have any special skin conditions and aren't doing your hair. Just use water and rinse those areas of your body that get smelly. Normal soap is extremely drying, and strips off your protective layer of oil. You don't need to use lotion after your shower if you're not stripping your skin of moisture, so a 3 minute shower is totally feasible if you're not doing your hair and shaving.

For shaving, I use African back soap, which is SLS free, cheap, and protects from nicks just fine. With hair and shaving, it takes me about 15 minutes. The hair routine is the main determinant of shower length for me.
posted by sunnychef88 at 12:19 PM on May 29, 2011

My showers average about 10 minutes.
posted by Vindaloo at 12:20 PM on May 29, 2011

Daily showerer here, average 15-20 mins. Wet hair, shampoo and condition, then pile it all up on my head with a big plastic clip. Wash face with facial cleanser and one of those little ultrasonic brushes, rinse. Wash ears, neck and rest of body with body wash and a pouf, paying special attention to the dirty bits everyone else has mentioned. Shave legs and underarms, hit feet with a pumice stone. Unclip hair and comb conditioner through to get rid of godawful tangles; rinse. It sounds like a lot but it goes by quickly.
posted by justonegirl at 12:29 PM on May 29, 2011

Daily. Wash everything, rinse. Shave, rinse. Turn water to cold for couple of minutes, until I get used to it. Takes 5-10 minutes in all.
posted by londongeezer at 12:34 PM on May 29, 2011

I'm one of those people that just like to stand under the shower head and think, so my showers usually hit the 15 minute mark easily. I don't do anything fancy. I wash my hair every other day (sometimes two days in between, if I'm just being a homebody -- my hair is short for a girl, so I actually get pretty lazy about it), soap up the dirty bits, quickly run through the rest of my body. Shave when I need to. I always turn the water near freezing in the last minute or so of the shower just to get me started for the day (or whatever) and that's pretty much the standard for me.
posted by quirkychowder at 12:44 PM on May 29, 2011

Ex-military. In, lather, rinse, out, dry. 60 seconds.
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:52 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

I usually only shower 2-3 times a week (just before bed), unless I have a date or a fancy dinner. So every time I shower it's usually "the works": shampoo hair, condition, wash armpits torso and feet with body wash, scrub face, pumice my feet, shave legs and pits, rinse conditioner out, and then just stand there in the gloriously scalding hot water for another 5-10 minutes or so. The whole ordeal usually takes 20-30 minutes.

FWIW, I've never been told I smell, and sometimes people even say I smell good! Despite living in the tropics, I guess I just don't sweat much at all.
posted by hasna at 12:55 PM on May 29, 2011

I really enjoy showers. Often I'll take as long as my hot water gives me, which is probably somewhere in the 10-15 minute range, though I've never timed it.

I wash my hair every time because a) I'm there, what the hell and b) I never really understood how it's an option not to- seems like a lot of effort to purposely not get your hair wet while wetting the rest of you. I mean I guess you could get it wet and not shampoo... but that seems odd too.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:06 PM on May 29, 2011

b) I never really understood how it's an option not to- seems like a lot of effort to purposely not get your hair wet while wetting the rest of you. I mean I guess you could get it wet and not shampoo... but that seems odd too.
I use a shower cap when I don't want to get my hair wet. It doesn't seem weird to me to wet my hair and not shampoo it, though, because my hair gets dry in the winter, and shampoo just makes it drier. Sometimes I wet it and just condition it.
posted by craichead at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Man, now I feel really guilty about my habits. I detest feeling sweaty or dirty and I tend to take really lingering showers, sometimes twice a day. I also need to shower to wake myself up in the morning.

But the routine depends on whether I'm washing my hair or not, and whether I'm washing my hair with shampoo. I wash my hair every second day, and use shampoo about once or twice a week. If I'm shampooing I'll shampoo twice, condition the ends, comb it through then clip it up while I soap my entire body, usually twice, then wash my face using cleanser. Then I'll rinse out my hair really thoroughly. If I'm washing with conditioner I'll start by applying palmfuls of conditioner to the top, sides and back of my head, scrub it in well with my fingers, clip it up, then wash myself. It actually takes quite some time to comb my hair out when it's got conditioner in it, my hair tangles like crazy. I shave my legs every other day with one of those razors with shaving gel bars - turns out they're not a gimmick, who knew?

I also agree that this is an oddly fascinating topic.
posted by nerdfish at 1:09 PM on May 29, 2011

As I am semi-frail, I've developed a combination system. I have shower bars, a shower seat and a hand held shower. I stand and enjoy the getting wet all over portion of the exercise. Still standing, gently scrub arms and torso from top to bottom using a soapy cloth; put down the cloth and rinse everything I just washed; it's nice to be able to move the spray to thoroughly rinse. Then I sit to wash and rinse legs and feet.

I take a fresh cloth and wash face, ears and neck with a face cleanser. Finally, shampoo my long hair while sitting down holding my head back and using just a little one-step shampoo with conditioner. I reach for the spray and rinse hair squeaky clean, then stand for a final luxurious allover rinse. I think this all takes me about twenty-five minutes, not counting time to deal with my post-shampoo hair at the dressing table.

As I seldom leave the house and I try to maintain a steady indoor temperature, I shower only every other day. I shampoo every second or third shower.
posted by Anitanola at 1:10 PM on May 29, 2011

Craichead - I also use a shower cap! My old housemates used to make fun of me for owning one, which makes me think they're not so common. But if you've got long hair or want to keep a blowdry intact for more than a day or two I don't understand how you can avoid using one.
posted by nerdfish at 1:10 PM on May 29, 2011

I shower every day, taking about ten minutes each time, unless I decide to shave my legs, which adds an additional ten minutes or so.

I wash my hair first, then my right foot and leg, then my left foot and leg, then my back. I wash my face and let the cleanser sit on my skin while I rinse my lower half, then rinse my face and continue washing above my waist. I use a loofah every other day, but if my skin is feeling dry, I only use soap on feet, armpits, and delicate areas.

My hair is really short now, but when it was long, I'd use conditioner right after washing it, so that it had time to sink in.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:26 PM on May 29, 2011

Count me in as another shower cap user, when a supplemental shower is needed (say after heavy activity in the hot summer.)

Also, didn't think it needed to be stated, but since I only shower every other day, on the non shower days I use a washcloth with soap to wash my face and under my arms.
posted by gudrun at 1:32 PM on May 29, 2011

Hop in, sip beer, place beer on rack. Shampoo hair, sip beer. Rinse hair, apply conditioner, sip beer. Wash entire body top to bottom with soap, because I don't want to smell like the people at work who don't do this daily. Finish beer. Get out. Total time, ten or fifteen minutes. Without the beer, about five. But why would anyone willingly not have a beer in the shower?
posted by Sternmeyer at 1:36 PM on May 29, 2011 [7 favorites]

Also, in the spirit of tell-me-someone-else-is-like-this, I am a very, very sweaty sleeper, to the point where my sheets are often a bit damp in the morning. The thought of leaving the house covered in sleep sweat is a little awful for me.
posted by nerdfish at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Daily 5-minute showers, facing away from the spray. Shampoo first, then put in conditioner. Fuzzy green loofah with oil of olay bodywash on all the parts. Use a fancy face gel, and scrub off while rinsing out the conditioner. Sternmeyer, you're a genius - I'm adding beer to the shower tomorrow morning!
posted by soft and hardcore taters at 1:51 PM on May 29, 2011

Morning shower: washing and conditioning hair, washing body with moisturizing body wash and a pouf. 10 minutes, 15 if I shave my legs. When I was working second shift I got in the habit of taking a 5 or 10 minute hot shower to relax me so I could fall asleep in a reasonable way after work. I don't wash anything, I just stand there and breathe in the steam and rub any stiff muscles. It's become an integral part of my 'bedtime ritual' and I definitely sleep better when I do it.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 2:01 PM on May 29, 2011

My mother in law (deceased) used to say 'feet, face, fanny', to which I add 'fur'. Covers the bases. Daily for me. Getting dirty daily is the best part.

Anything over 5 and you are in the shower for reasons other than cleanliness. Which is OK, but come on, folks? 15-20 minutes? This must be from people who don't pay for their energy. WTF?

Top down makes the most sense from an engineering standpoint. Excess surfactants applied to the highest points migrate downwards, pre-loosening that grime you collected since last month. There are places you can't reach, like middle back and that's all they are going to get, unless you are showering with the football team. Sounds like fun, but not for every day.

I do my hair, but considering the amount, I could wash each one individually and compose it a poem and probably not add another whole minute. God damn my genetics! I do it first because I will inevitable knock some loose in the process and want to give them a proper nautical funeral. Poor guys. Drowned.

My wife, whose body surface area I love to calculate, has an area/gallons ratio that exceeds mine by orders. I've tried to resolve this, but whenever I get her involved, she objects to the approximations I use to represent her body parts... truncated cones, cylinders, various rectangular shapes, etc. Critic. What does she know about solid geometry, anyway?

From now on, considering how many replies there are to this, I am going to ask this as the very first question when I meet someone new. I've already chased off all the old ones, so you would rightly think I get a lot of chances to meet new people.

I'll tell you this much.... it won't be any of your 'once a week'-ers, for damn sure. Phew.
posted by FauxScot at 2:06 PM on May 29, 2011 [10 favorites]

I usually take a bath, so if I take a shower, it's because I'm either in a hurry, or it's hot and I don't want to soak in steamy water.

A typical shower for me is less than four minutes, unless I shave. I wash my hair, face, and entire body, taking particular care with groin and armpits. If I shave that shower time has a few minutes added to it.

I'm not sure why a shower would take longer unless you're taking it slow to enjoy it or have really thick, long hair or something. Four minutes is enough for squeaky cleanness otherwise.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:19 PM on May 29, 2011

Daily, mornings. I try to get as many surface areas soapy/scrubbed as possible and then rinse them all - this may have to do with the number of Navy-style showers I had to take at various points in my childhood. The only exception is my hair, which I put conditioner in before anything else, because my hair behaves... badly... if I don't leave conditioner in for as long as is possible. I use special soaps, poufs, scrubbers, the whole thing. I scrub my fingernails in the shower with their special brush (though not every single day.)

I have a big problem with losing time sense in the shower, so unless I'm hustling, I rarely take less than 15 minutes. But if I'm timing myself, I can do everything in five minutes, and it'd be 2 if it weren't for making myself keep the conditioner in (and being supremely diligent about getting it all out at the end.) The actions are efficient, it's the pauses and hair-rinsing that get me.

On gross days I will shower again in the evening. On very gross days I will shower once I get home and then again in the evening. The line between "very gross" and merely "gross" has to do with whether or not I feel like I'm getting other things dirty just by being in the room: falling in mud, decorating a cake, taking a long hike on a hot day, and swimming all qualify for the "very gross" treatment, even though I am perfectly aware that that day's third shower is purely psychological in nature. Going to the gym qualifies as merely gross afterwards, as does coming home on the last day of a car camping trip.

I would (and have) call in rather than go to work without taking a shower. One day of not having hot water at my apartment means I move back home with Mom till the heater is fixed. My hair, face, and teeth must be washed between the time I get up from bed and the time I walk out the front door. I can't imagine taking the trash out without taking a shower first. I was also labeled a "highly sensitive child" and have to cut tags out of shirts and stuff; most of my bath products are fragrance free/for sensitive skin.

(My family members vary widely; the adult men seem to take about 5-10 minutes and the adult women 15-20. My mom used to pride herself on taking 10 minutes from waking up to getting out the door in college, but her showers today are nowhere near short enough. She's the only one of us girls with "shorter than chin-length" hair. When I cut a foot off my hair a few months ago, I was able to cut about 6 minutes off of each shower, due to the increased speed rinsing my hair. This also reduced the volume of shampoo I go through by a factor of at least four or five.)
posted by SMPA at 2:21 PM on May 29, 2011

Just took a shower with this in mind. More than 3m and less than 4 (I don't have a stop watch). This included: face wash, soap body parts, rinse and then just enjoy the shower pulse. It did not include lotions and potions that followed. What can I say? I'm a girly girl
posted by TravellingCari at 2:37 PM on May 29, 2011

b) I never really understood how it's an option not to- seems like a lot of effort to purposely not get your hair wet while wetting the rest of you. I mean I guess you could get it wet and not shampoo... but that seems odd too.

I use a shower cap when I don't want to get my hair wet. It doesn't seem weird to me to wet my hair and not shampoo it, though, because my hair gets dry in the winter, and shampoo just makes it drier. Sometimes I wet it and just condition it.

DrJimmy/Craichead - I have just past shoulder length thick, wavy hair. If I don't want to wash it, I tie it up in a messy bun. I don't mind if it gets damp but I don't want to deal with the work that comes from fully wet hair if it doesn't need washing.

Also my hair is dry from dying and dry scalp and it's happier if it's not washed daily.
posted by TravellingCari at 2:44 PM on May 29, 2011


Daily morning shower -- can't envision leaving the house without it. I only wash my hair every 2-3 days, condition it more often, and rinse it daily. I'm pretty fast in the shower and if I stay in longer it's all about hot water on sore muscles or feeling warm on a cold day, not cleaning. I almost never use soap on anything other than underarms and crotch. I use facial cleanser on my face. The soap product I use is a hair/body wash, so if I'm washing my hair I shampoo it first, use excess suds on the parts I soap, rinse my hair, put on conditioner, rinse the rest, wash my face with the face stuff, then rinse the conditioner out, and I'm done. I also shower after working out at the gym.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:05 PM on May 29, 2011

I have never showered outside of 'emergency' situations. I bathe. I like bathing. I have a "washing" bath in the morning; ten minutes? Hair + the smelly or greasy parts, done. I have a "relaxaing" bath most evenings where I soak and read for up to an hour. (That probably sounds a little sybaritic to the time-pressed; I do this instead of whatever your luxury/entertainment activity is, not on top of it; baths are a big deal and the evening salts, oils, reading material, and snacks are top shelf.)

I went through some renovations a couple of years ago and was forced into my shower for a number of days. Ugh! I was in there for at least a half hour every time trying to figure it out. Hard to get a good shampoo going, and I pretty much never felt rinsed. I merely preferred baths before that, and now I am fervently anti-shower. Why would you willingly do it standing up and not fully enveloped in warmth? Seems masochistic. So much more effort required with a shower, having to actually think about rinsing areas instead of just sitting. A bath is a pleasure, a shower is work.
posted by kmennie at 3:06 PM on May 29, 2011

Oh gods, 15 minutes is normal for me, longer if the water pressure is low or the water is soft and doesn't rinse cleanly. I feel awful about it. I have thick and extremely long hair that I'm considering cutting it partly for shower-and-drying reasons.

I shower daily in summer, four or five times a week in winter. Routine is: Get in, wet hair and shampoo scalp. Soap and rinse netherparts, soap and (usually) shave pits. Rinse and squeeze out hair, conditioner it up. Soap chest and neck, wash face with gentle cleanser, rinse all of that. Rinse conditioner thoroughly. Soap and rinse back. Squeeze hair out. Get out.

Shaving legs, washing ears, and scrubbing chest, back and feet happen every few days depending on weather. Soaping and scrubbing anything else happens only on unusually sweaty and grimy days. If I do all of that at once, the shower could easily be 30 minutes. I also get distracted easily and sometimes end up just standing there thinking...

After getting out I still have to exfoliate and moisturize my face (weird acne-prone skin that needs washing daily, but also flakes if water or soap so much as gets near it), lotion various other parts, and towel-dry and shake out hair. So that's another 10 or 15 before I'm actually dressed.

I have managed under-four-minute showers when sufficiently motivated by cold water. My face loves it. But it means hair tangles, no shaving, and accumulating skin griminess, so not a permanent solution, unfortunately.
posted by hippugeek at 3:19 PM on May 29, 2011

I shower 2-3 times a day, because I like to cycle to work and I practice jiu jitsu once or twice a day, 6 days a week. And I sweat a lot. For me, the morning (at home) shower is a luxurious 8-10 minute affair, involving Dr. Bronners soap and whatever shampoo was on sale. The post exercise showers are 2-3 minutes, shampoo hair, soap on the smelly bits and rinse everything else. Cutting my hair really short saved me a minute or two per shower/dry-off.

That said - first thing I'm going to do after buying a home is install a Japanese-style bath tub. A cold beer consumed in a steaming hot bath is the best way to end a strenuous activity filled day.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:24 PM on May 29, 2011

During the school year: Every day, wash hair, condition hair (letting it set), scrub entire body with poof and some kind of "Ultra-Super-Wonderful-Moisturizing-Body-Wash-That-Will-Keep-You-Looking-25-Years-Old Until-You-Are-90-And Probably-Even-After-That-If-You-Don't-Smoke-And -Eat-Your-Veggies!" I CANNOT go to work without showering and blow-drying and poofing whatever has to be fluffed and whatever. I've tried the whole get up, comb your hair, brush your teeth and go thing, and I felt like a weird dirty impostor all day. Total shower time about 10-12 minutes.

Summertime: If I think of it, get in, rub some ultra-fab body wash on pits, bits and feet, rinse, wash face, get out. Total time about 3 minutes, maybe 5 if I've brought a beer in with me (yes, you should do this).

Every other-ish day or if I will be Around People, wash (shoulder-ish length, fine and dry) hair. It looks and feels SO MUCH BETTER right now! Every third/fourth day, shave legs. Total time assuming I would be doing both of these activities in one super-shower: 10-12 minutes.

And all of these activities but for actual face washing are performed facing AWAY from the shower head. What kind of weirdo faces into a shower head the entire time?
posted by deep thought sunstar at 4:09 PM on May 29, 2011

I use a timer in the shower (Australia has a big water shortage problem) so I know that mine come in under four minutes, even on days I wash my hair.

My normal routine is get in, let water run down front of body, turn, let water run down back of body. Scrub underarms and *ahem* lower body region with soap. Rinse those regions. Splash water on face and rub with hands that probably still have a little soap on them, but not intentionally. Get out. It takes just over a minute.

In the summer I will shave my legs, which technically takes longer, but I turn the water off while I lather and shave them, and turn it back on just to rinse it all off.

About twice a week I wash my hair, but I'm fast at that (I ignore the bit about leaving conditioner to sit for three minutes before rinsing) and my hair is shoulder length, fine and straight, which probably helps.

I also got super good at short showers when I spent time in a (not-especially hot) country with no hot water. Believe me, you can wash REALLY fast when it's unpleasant to be in there.
posted by lollusc at 4:26 PM on May 29, 2011

While I tend to think I'm only in the shower for 5 minutes, it's really 10: shampoo in the hair + scrub soapy washcloth from head to toe, then rinse; conditioner in the hair + 1-2 of the following activities (scrub back, shave pits or legs, exfoliate, foot pumice thing, stare off into space), then rinse and dry off. I do this every morning.

But I also sweat a lot and hate feeling dirty, so in the evenings (esp. in summer) I often jump in the shower to scrub head to toe with soap and a washcloth for 2 minutes. Not only does it leave me feeling that all is right in the world again, it's actually a nice ritual/signal that I'm done with work for the day.

I grew up in southern California, so between the drought and parental reminders that water doesn't grow on trees or something to that effect, I still have the habit of shutting down the water to a trickle when I'm not activity rinsing off.
posted by vespertine at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2011

b) I never really understood how it's an option not to-

Seconding TravellingCari on the "why wouldn't you wash your hair in the shower" question - long thick hair is a real pain in the arse to dry especially if you don't want to look like a crazy person with big wild knotty locks, or a lazy person walking round with long, drenched hair on your way to work.

Me: Shower every day, wash my hair about twice a week. Tie it up out of the way of the water, though a shower cap would probably work better. Shower only, about 5 minutes, shower gel on an exfoliating puff bally thing, rub all over, rinse. Shampoo and condition hair an extra 5 minutes. Shaving legs etc. (once or twice a week) couple of minutes.

Take an extra shower after working out etc, though the days I bike to work I don't shower at home, just ride in then shower at work.
posted by penguin pie at 4:42 PM on May 29, 2011

To kind of add onto what I said recently, since I read back over it post-posting and am now feeling as though I am a bit on the dirty side of things - I love the heat and don't really sweat a lot unless I'm, like, playing tennis in the really hot sun or something. Otherwise, I don't really feel like regular (under 90) heat makes me any dirtier/smellier/sweatier than I would be if it were 60. YMMV, of course. But that's why, when I don't really have to, I don't shower every single day in summer when it seems as though it should be the opposite. In the winter? I just feel like taking a shower is part of the work-day, and if I don't do it I'm not really prepared. It's part of the work routine, just like checking email or grading papers. If I could grade papers in the shower, I probably would.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 4:44 PM on May 29, 2011

This question makes me very glad I live in a place that has plenty of water with no way to pipe it elsewhere. I don't have to feel bad in the least about taking a long shower.

The last place I lived was in a similar situation, except that all that water I used to shower went right back into the lake where we got our water from. A closed system, it was. At least until the city built a water treatment plant in another watershed.

Personally, I take 10-20 minutes depending on whether I'm looking to relax in the hot water or not and whether I'm washing my hair or not. It takes a long time to give my hair a good washing, so that only happens a couple of times a week. I should get it cut one of these days.

When pressed for time or when I'm in a region that I know is subject to water shortages, I can do it in less than 5 minutes if I don't wash the hair. If I'm only there for a day, I prefer to just not shower at all. Why waste their water unless I'm terribly gross already? I'm already using it up to drink and flush the toilet, after all. Why use up more?
posted by wierdo at 5:16 PM on May 29, 2011

People's hygiene arrangements are such an interesting reflection of their culture. Caribbean people, like me, have a kind of obsession with bathing and Being Clean (or looking clean; see the whole powder neck phenomenon). Part of it is the heat and the sweat, of course - but another part, I think, is insecurity about having come out of slavery and been considered dirty for so long.

Everybody in my family who lived, worked and/or studied in Europe before the 1990s has at least two stories. One is about a time they got so cold that they cried. The other is about the radically different standards they encountered there about how often a person should bathe. There was the one about the long daily walk my uncles took from their bathless boardinghouse to anyplace a shower could be had, the one about the English landlady who threatened to evict my father for trying to bathe every day, and the one about another uncle's French girlfriend who jumped at the chance to rent an apartment without bathing facilities of any kind, since she could just shower at her parents' house every weekend anyway. Of course, they understood that there were reasons for these things - European infrastructure is much older than ours, you don't get as sweaty there anyway, water is harder to come by - but it felt very strange nonetheless. (And to be fair, let me note that the only French person whose bathing habits I know anything about, my ex, was scrupulously clean.)

The funny thing is about the Caribbean is, it can be fucking hard to get a bath here. Lots of people in my country (which is one of the wealthiest in the region) don't get water at home, or don't get it regularly. Until I was 16 or so, water would only actually come to us three nights a week, when we would collect it in tanks, from which we pumped it into our toilets and showers and sinks. I would stay up late doing loads of laundry while it was coming in, so as not to use up our limited supply. Sometimes, water didn't come in at all for a scheduled night or two, and we were screwed. Having guests over also risked fucking up the whole system. But then at some point we got lucky and they put us on another line, which supplies water all the time.

Unlike other places with water shortage issues, lots of people here just don't seem to worry about conserving water. The attitude is, when you have it, use it until you don't. It drove me crazy as a child. It's probably the reason I hated bathing then - I hated having to wash my hands out of a bucket of water under the sink and not being able to flush the toilet for days. If skipping baths meant not having to deal with that other stuff, I was perfectly willing. Of course it was all for nothing because nobody else in my house gave a damn.

Anyway, the point is we have loads of water now and I shower for at least fifteen minutes every day. When wash my hair (twice a week - my afro would fall out if I washed it more than that), it's more like half an hour. Soap is how ashiness and yeast infections happen, so I only use it on my Business, and then carefully. I use an exfoliating scrub on my armpits to get rid of deodorant residue and discourage ingrown hairs. I use some blue Nivea gel on my face. And then I come out, all soft and wet and clean and sparkly. It's great.

Four minute showers sound crazy to me, too, by the way.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:22 PM on May 29, 2011 [9 favorites]

Anything over 5 and you are in the shower for reasons other than cleanliness. Which is OK, but come on, folks? 15-20 minutes? This must be from people who don't pay for their energy. WTF?

You do not have long thick curly hair which you usually brush in the shower b/c brushing it when it's slicked with conditioner is considerably less painful then trying to do so when it's merely wet. I do. It adds a few minutes to what would otherwise be a ten minute or so shower.

I also wonder how much morning person-ness plays into this. I'm not really awake and fit for conversation until about 10 AM; I can't imagine having the focus, drive, and energy to get through any sort of complicated routine pre-coffee in under four minutes, unless I was dashing for the airport or something.
posted by Diablevert at 5:33 PM on May 29, 2011

I shave in the shower, and also shave my head, so my time in the shower will vary quite a bit depending on whether I need to shave.

I don't shave my face or head daily, and will often accumulate a day or three of stubble on both before shaving. So about two to three times/week, usually in the evenings, I'll take a 10 or 15 minute shower (Guessing. I've never actually timed it.) which includes soaping off and shaving both head and face.

If I don't need to shave it's more like 4 minutes. Scrub everything clean w/ Dr. Bronner's soap, scrub face/scalp with face-soap, and out.

Another exception is if I've just finished a long bike ride, hike, or a long day of doing something strenuous outdoors. Or maybe I've just returned home from camping or something. In those cases I tend to stand there and luxuriate for a while in cascades of hot water about as close to scalding as I can stand.

It was during one such shower that I decided that the pinnacle of societal/technological achievement is hot running water.

Take away my iPhone, laptop, gps, whathaveyou, just don't take away my ability to stand under a cascade of near-scalding water for minutes at a time after returning home from a week in the woods.
posted by zen_spider at 5:37 PM on May 29, 2011

I love these threads.

I take about 15 minutes in the shower, but can do it in less than 10 if I need to. I'm amazed at all of you who are done so quickly!

First I wet everything. My hair, though it is fine and not very long, takes forever to get completely wet and to rinse. I shampoo and rinse. Then I put in conditioner, and let that sit while I wash the stinky bits. It takes a while to work the conditioner through my hair. Then I rinse everything. Then I scrub my ears, neck, chest, back and feet with soap and a scrubby cloth. I'll so my legs too if I'm going to shave them, which usually only happens once a week. Then I rinse again. Then I was my face with face wash.

I do this every day before I leave the house, unless I know I'm doing something that will make me sweaty or dirty. I get really hot and sweaty, so sometimes I take a second shower before bed, but then I use a shower cap and just wash my body with body wash.
posted by apricot at 5:58 PM on May 29, 2011

My ablutions take time and are infrequent. There are days that only the hair is washed while other days require more. It starts from the head down. This includes washing the face, using a japanese scrub towel and extra cleansing with a hand held shower. I face outward. Moisturization takes more time post shower.
posted by jadepearl at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2011

My boyfriend takes showers so quick sometimes I don't even realize he's taken one. He doesn't really like to shower, so he says he just jumps in, soaps up, rinses and he's done. Every few days to a week he'll wash his hair really quickly, but not all that often.

He prefers baths, so he'll do that once a week instead of a shower.
posted by Rocket26 at 6:28 PM on May 29, 2011

I shower every day and I wash everything (hair, face, body). I take about 8 - 10 minutes, I think. When I was going to the gym regularly I would give myself a rinse when I got home. I got into the habit of treating leg shaving as a separate event (under a slow-running bathtub faucet while perched on the edge of the tub) because my water tank was miniscule and when I tried to combine it with a regular shower I always ran out of hot water.* Plus I am kind of clumsy and I find sitting down easier.

*Well, I mean, I ran out of hot water every day anyway. My landlord replaced my water heater a few weeks ago with a newer, bigger tank. I'm sure my apartment neighbors are relieved they no longer have to hear me whining "But I am NOT FINISHED!" as I used to do every morning when the water got cold.
posted by janepanic at 6:56 PM on May 29, 2011

If I just want to cool off or for some reason want a short shower, I can be out in a minute or two -- I only wash my face, armpits, often my feet. A normal shower without washing or wetting my hair or shaving is usually 5 minutes long. A shower when I wash my hair is at least 10 minutes long so I have enough time to wet all my hair, get conditioner through it all, wash my body and exfoliate and whatever, then comb out my long, thick, curly tangles slowly enough that I don't break all the strands, then wash out some of the conditioner. Shaving adds even longer. Sometimes I feel like taking a long, luxurious shower, and I can stay in it for half an hour. I pay for my own electricity, but I have never felt like I am wasting money by taking a nice, enjoyable shower or bath. I have plans to buy an excellent shower head as soon as I figure out what exactly I want in this shower head.

I do not shower every day. (On the other hand, when I do not feel well or cannot sleep, I might take multiple baths in a day.)
posted by jeather at 7:01 PM on May 29, 2011

I wish I could do the 4-minute shower thing, but it just never seems to work. Mine are more like 15 minutes, a bit longer if I shave (which I do once or twice a week). I wash my hair, put in conditioner, then let that sit while I shave pits and legs and wash with lovely-smelling gel on a poufy thing. Then I rinse the conditioner out, wash my face with whatever facial cleanser I'm using that week (I have rosacea and ridiculously sensitive skin, so I'm forever trying cleansers, then giving them to my mother when they make my face red and irritated; maybe someday I'll find one I can actually use for more than a week or two) or just rinse it with water if it's already irritated, then wash my bits with Cetaphil (the only cleanser I can use on those parts). About once a week, I use an exfoliating glove to smooth the skin on my butt. Every once in a while I use a pumice on my heels. I take a shower almost every day; wish I could skip more often, but I have a complex about it. If I don't shower, the only thing I can think about is NOT CLEAN NOT CLEAN NOT CLEAN.

Why yes, I am a spazz, why do you ask?
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 7:07 PM on May 29, 2011

First of all, if you don't have a hand held shower faucet, you don't know jack about taking a shower. Or about how wonderful a shower can be with one!!!

That said, I confess to being usually with the 4-5 minute shower gang. Wet, shampoo and cream rinse, do the 'bits' and face with soap, then rinse everything thoroughly. I don't always use a washcloth, as too often is hard on my (now older) skin, but about once a week I do use a soft one, or gently exfoliate with a puff ball. Occasionally I pumice elbows, knees and feet (my elbows get gross!) I used to be obsessive about showering at night. Now, unless I've done something to get sweaty or grungy, I occasionally am a slacker and will skip on till the morning.

Shower length is a bit seasonal. Obsessively checking for ticks in the spring takes longer. In the summer, I often go barefoot or wear beach sandals in the garden, so add an extra minute for scrubbing grungy feet and ankles. If I've done something really gross--like cleaning the garage or tack shed, loading hay, branding calves or moving cattle, it will be a minimum of 10 minutes--or more--as I soap hair twice and use a washcloth all over. Sometimes in the winter when I've been out, or in the evening when I'm cold, I'll spend 15-20 minutes getting warmed up. Have you ever been so cold that your skin turns beet red and feels like it's burning or prickling even in warm water?

Face forward/face back? Maybe I'm a party of one, but don't people usually turn around in the shower to rinse all their parts? Even with a hand held, I put it up occasionally, then turn around to get the shampoo and rinse the front, turn around to get the back, etc. And yes, occasionally I have 'powder neck.' I usually put my deodorant on right after a shower, even if it's in the evening.

Finally, several people have commented how fascinating they find threads like this--makes me wonder how many folks strange enough to really read all the answers. (I can't help it, I'm nosy.) There, everything you never wanted to know about my hygiene habits.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:09 PM on May 29, 2011

Shower on, wet everything, soap pits and ass, rinse everything, scrub hoo-hah (soap causes problems down there), occasional re-soap of pits, occasional wash of face, weekly-ish shampoo and condition, final rinse, get out. 2-6 minutes.
posted by serazin at 8:09 PM on May 29, 2011

Daily. ~2-8min, depending on how bad the drought currently is - we had a 140L per person per day water limit in my city not long ago - which is bugger all, when you factor in clothes, dish, and floor washing.
I have hip-length, curly, incredibly dry hair - I rinse most days, but only shampoo/condition once a fortnight or less (mostly to get rid of styling product buildup).
For a non-hairwash shower, it's jump under the showerhead, get everything wet (~30secs), put gel on puff and lather it up (~30secs), scrub from shoulders to feet so that rinsing starts straight away - I skip the girly bits, they just get a warm rinse (~45sec), cleanse/exfoliate face while letting rinsing of body happen (~30secs), fast once-over to check I got all the lather off (~15secs), and then the occasional luxurious last rinse (~5-90sec).
Hairwashing takes longer, because while I only shampoo my scalp, I am really careful to wash out the last speck of shampoo. I do that first, so I can leave the conditioner in while I soap and scrub the rest of me. It adds around 3-5min to my routine, depending on how lazy I was about getting the knots out before hopping in the shower.

I'm in the bathroom for about 20min, though, because I comb my hair before I shower, and after I style my hair, brush teeth, moisturise/sunscreen, and of course dress. I don't blow dry my hair - yes, I'm one of those people who walks around with wet hair.

A more general comment - so many people put soap on their bits - that just makes me shudder. I can't tolerate anything but the most conditioning and gentle of body washes on the rest of my skin - I sure as hell keep it away from the sensitive parts (face, bits). I don't get fragrant, despite living in a warm region of the world. Mucking with the chemical balance down there is, however, a really good way to get UTIs and similar.
posted by ysabet at 8:11 PM on May 29, 2011

4 minutes if I have to, in practice more like 5 minutes. (Aussie, also have a countdown beeper in my shower)

Does anyone else use shampoo for soap? Saves heaps of time!

Also, this could be overly hippy-ish, but apparently vitamin D absorption is helped by not stripping those natural oils from your body. (dubious source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/12/Shocking-Update-Sunshine-Can-Actually-Decrease-Your-Vitamin-D-Levels.aspx)
posted by titanium_geek at 8:19 PM on May 29, 2011

Daily evening showers in the warmish months, much less frequent in the winter. ~5 minutes, generally.

I get in the shower, rinse my hair and scrub my scalp (I've been experimenting with seeing how infrequently I can shampoo/condition without starting to feel gross, and lately it's been about once or twice a week), and do a pretty thorough upper-body and not very thorough lower-body scrub and rinse with an exfoliating scrubby mitt thing. I generally don't use soap. Like at least one commenter above, I mostly face away from the water when I'm showering.
posted by Vibrissa at 8:33 PM on May 29, 2011

FauxScot: "There are places you can't reach, like middle back and that's all they are going to get,"

Have you not heard of a long-handled shower brush? When my legs are extra-itchy I like to run it over them too.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:08 PM on May 29, 2011

Liquid soap/body wash on hands, wash pits/butt, everything else rinses. I face away from the stream. Also I tend to keep my shampoo in for a long time sometimes, particularly if I've gone for more than a day without a shower (which I do occasionally in winter but not in summer) cause my hair can get pretty greasy if I don't. Sometimes I shampoo first when I get in the shower and hang around for a bit while it works its anti-greasing magic. I use conditioner but only on the tips of my hair.

I also wash my vulva but not with soap. Sometimes shampoo the pubic hair, but mostly because this conceptually amuses me. Particularly because I use "tousle me gently" shampoo.
posted by NoraReed at 9:14 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

What really helps to cut down on overall shower time is a focused shower head (removable or not) that doesn't spray water in all directions, so it rinses everything off really quickly. I've showered in places where the time is doubled, just because it takes so long to wash the shampoo and conditioner out of my long hair and the soap off of wherever I apply it on that particular day. Also, I don't wash my face in the shower. I prefer to wash it at the sink.
posted by wondermouse at 9:35 PM on May 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

Usually my showers are 10-15 minutes...........but once, sometimes twice, a week, I take a shower that's at least 1 hour long, for thinking / relaxing. Horrible, I know.

I always face away from the shower head (can't stand the water going into my eyes), get my hair and body wet, shampoo first, rinse, then if I have any I use conditioner, soap, rinse body and hair, and quick armpit razor swipes. On those long showers, I use a rough body brush followed by a sugar scrub, usually with a leg shave thrown in there somewhere, and admittedly at least 20 minutes of doing nothing.
posted by DisreputableDog at 9:45 PM on May 29, 2011

I can't believe I just read all of those! Why is this so fascinating?

 I'm going to answer because I believe my routine is a bit different. I do not wash my hair ever. And I only shower at the gym after working out (avg 4x per week) unless I've just done some dirty job like, say, plumbing in the crawlspace. I use a tiny bit of liquid soap on my pits and crotch and that's it. The rest of the time (5-15 minutes) I just relax and enjoy the warm water. 

Regarding my minimal contact with soap, I decided years ago that anything beyond hand washing to avoid colds or the flu was overkill. It just dries my skin out. I don't *think* I have any stronger body odor than others. I play frequent shirts'n'skins  basketball, work in a casual office wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and have a family. And I'm a hugger. No one's ever said anything if I do stink.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 10:46 PM on May 29, 2011

I bathe, and I read in the bath, so about the length of a short story, or a magazine article.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:09 PM on May 29, 2011

and i mean, i soap, and shampoo my hair, soap before the reading, shampooing after.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:10 PM on May 29, 2011

I'm asking because I sometimes hear people talk/write about taking something like four-minute showers and that just seems unrealistically fast to me.
A four-minute shower is considered here to be the maximum, as decreed by government water-saving messages. Unless you are washing long hair, 4 minutes is plenty. I take about 2 minutes to wash all over with soap and shampoo my hair (granted, the parts that haven't fallen out are very short) and I have greasy skin. Luxury for me is using the other 2 minutes to enjoy the warm water. Things like shaving and brushing teeth don't need to be done in a shower or with a running tap (I guess I have been paying more attention than I thought to the water-saving propaganda).
posted by dg at 11:17 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Once a day: get in, get wet, shampoo hair, rinse. Put conditioner in hair, soap bod all over while conditioner rinses from hair, wash face with anti-acne face wash, final rinse and done. I use an epilator once a week to tidy up body hair.
posted by workerant at 8:27 AM on May 30, 2011

I live in Memphis so showering daily is fairly required, especially this time of year. How much I do depends on the day--I exfoliate/scrub and do a deep cleanse and deep conditioning of the hair about once a week (usually on Thursday or Friday so I feel/look my best for weekend socializing). I shave every day because I have thick, jet black hair that grows monstrously fast, always has, plus yeah in Memphis you never wear long pants, always short skirts and shorts. On a non-once-a-week day it goes something like this: gently rinse and rub face to clean it (I don't use soap/cleanser on my face anymore, just rub and rinse thoroughly), apply a tiny amount of shampoo to my scalp, rub in circles and rinse quickly, apply conditioner to my ends and rinse quickly, use body wash and a poufy thing to lather my body (everything but my nether regions) and do a super quick swipe with a razor (I'm a bit more careful/thorough on weekends), take a special bar of soap (long story short, keeps from irritating my bits) and do the nether areas, do a brief blast of ice cold water on ahem, my chest, face, and hair. This process takes between 6 and 10 minutes. If I wasn't a daily shaver I could do it in 4 I think, but definitely no faster. On the special weekend day it's more like a solid 10, up to maybe 12 minutes (the conditioning requires 5 minutes of just sitting on my hair, so that's when I shave etc.). I don't know what in a shower takes 20 minutes, have always wondered about that with other folks.
posted by ifjuly at 9:37 AM on May 30, 2011

Areas with apocrine glands get soap. Face gets washed with anti-acne soap. Especially in cold, dry winter, the rest just gets rinsed, unless it's gotten dirty (yay, gardening season). Hair gets washed every 2 - 3 days, depending on activity. I shower most days in summer, maybe more than once, not so much in cold, dry winter, because my skin gets so dry. I've learned that it's easier to shave legs more often, but less carefully, and to use lotion instead of soap. Sometimes I just stand in the shower because it feels good. I pay my water and heating bills, and it's still worth it.
posted by theora55 at 10:01 AM on May 30, 2011

10-15 minutes on most days.
- soak head and body
- wash face, sometimes with just water, sometimes with a natural facial scrub
- lather up head with shampoo (I'm a daily hair washer. It's just how I grew up. It wasn't until like high school when I realized most people didn't wash their hair everyday)
- while hair is lathered up with shampoo, soap up body
- rinse off shampoo and body, tilting head to let the water sploosh against my ears for a few seconds per side
- lather up head with conditioner
- while head is lathered up with conditioner, shave legs and other necessary areas (usually every other day or so)
- rinse off legs, etc, and lastly, hair.

In warmer months and days, I'll often take an additional and very quick 2-3 minute shower in the evening just to wash the day off.

The replies from others are super fascinating! I used to have a roommate who would take TWO hour-long showers daily. Part of me was curious about what he was doing for a whole hour, twice a day. Mostly though, I was too weirded out to ask.
posted by raztaj at 10:16 AM on May 30, 2011

oh, i see comments about where soap does or doesn't go...i never use cleanser on my vulva either. just a daily thorough water rinse. soap/body wash for butt and pits, and lightly on limbs i'm shaving. for a super smooth shave, something i use occasionally is body oil. mm.
posted by ifjuly at 10:26 AM on May 30, 2011

Love this topic...

Shower virtually everyday, usually in the mornings. 5-7 minutes for me. Quick wetdown, lather-rinse-repeat on the hair, followed by conditioner. Soap everywhere. Rinse off conditioner and soap. Face away from the shower head (which is well above head level, so no weird bending over backwards required.)

Shave face at the sink.
posted by jindc at 1:07 PM on May 30, 2011

another timing for science. 4:13-4:28. Step in to step out. Does not include lotions and potions. This involved shampoo and conditioning of shoulder length thick mop, shaving lets and pits and overall good wash including feet which were dirty from walking in flip flops . I will admit to lingering under the stream because it's hot and I don't have AC.
posted by TravellingCari at 1:48 PM on May 30, 2011

I love showering! 10-15 minutes, every night. I start by standing with my back to the water and getting my body wet. Then I get shampoo my hair. Rinse shampoo and apply conditioner. Wash my face with mild soap, rinse, and dry it off with a washcloth to keep water from running in my eyes. Soap up a washcloth or loofa, using whatever soap strikes my fancy (am a soap freak. I keep like 5 different kinds on hand). Scrub my neck, ears, and upper body and shave my pits. Scrub my lower body and shave my legs. Then I get some soap on my hands and wash and rinse the nether regions. Then put some soap on my dedicated foot scrubber loofa and scrub my feet, ahhh. Then rinse everything off, including the conditioner from my hair, lightly dry myself off with the washcloth, and apply body oil or lotion. I can't believe I just shared all that with the internets.

I *could* cut that down to 4-5 minutes, but showering is a relaxing and enjoyable time of day for me. With me it's actually not the hair-washing and shaving that takes so long; it's that I like to stand around basking in the delightful stream of hot water. I do feel a bit guilty about wasting water, but not enough to forgo this particular luxury.
posted by asynchronous at 4:15 PM on May 30, 2011

I shower facing away, every morning. Takes about 7 minutes to wet short hair, shampoo, wash whole body with loofa and dove liquid shower soap, rinse, dry. I spend about 15-20 minutes in the bathroom (shower and other morning toiletries). It does take me about 30 minutes to shave, but I do that in the evening with a safety razor and badger brush, so it's not a rushed experience.

Mrs. TBS takes a similar amount of time in the shower, with an additional 20-30 minutes with makeup, hairdrying, etc. Shaving for her is in her daily evening baths.

fwiw, we're in the midwest and have no water restrictions, we also pay the water bill.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 9:27 AM on May 31, 2011

I timed it this morning -- 6m10s from stepping into the shower (let it run for a few moments first to get the hot water running) to stepping out of the shower and hitting stop. I shampoo'd twice, actually, because my hair didn't feel clean after the first. But otherwise a normal-for-me shower.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:18 AM on May 31, 2011

Aw man, I'm sorry i didn't see this thread until it was mostly dead. Here's my 2 cents anyway.

Mid-back-length, tangle-prone hair means that there is pretty much no shower for me shorter than 6 minutes, ever. Since my hot water often runs out, I wish it were possible to cut it below that, but shampoo and conditioner each take about three minutes to put in, scrub around, and rinse out. If I'm doing my regular routine besides, a typical shower for me is just about 15 minutes (I've casually checked the time in and out a few times, and it's almost always between 12 and 15 minutes). I follow a pretty obsessive top-down order of routine in the shower, as follows:

-Turn on shower, wait for water to get hot, step in
-Brush teeth (am I the only one who does this in the shower?)
-Shampoo, rinse
-Wash face, rinse
-Wash pits, rinse
-Shave pits
-(optional leg-shaving goes here. Anywhere between once a month and every other day, depending on the likelihood anyone will be seeing my legs. Shaving adds about 5 to 10 minutes to shower time, depending on whether I use shaving gel or just stick my legs under the running water)
-Condition hair. Scrape fingers through hair, trying to make hair brushable. Despair. Rinse.
-Re-wash parts of my face conditioner got on (under penalty of spectacular acne appearing there the next day)
-Rinse bits with handheld shower head
-Wash bits with washcloth
-(optional standing-and-enjoying-the-hot-water if I'm somewhere other than my hot-water-challenged home)

If it's a no-hot-water-at-all day, I can, very painfully and not very thoroughly, be in and out in about 5 minutes. There's no way I could get it any further below that that I can think of and still have clean hair.
posted by badgermushroomSNAKE at 1:27 PM on May 31, 2011

When I was normal/worked in an office (more on that later):
Showered daily except for one weekend day, get everything wet, shampoo hair and face and ears (yes, I use shampoo on my face and my skin is fine), rinse hair and face and ears, soap up a bath scrubbie and scrub down all my parts paying special attention to pits, nether regions and feet, shave legs and pits, rinse everything. I face away from the water unless I'm wetting/rinsing those parts. This took about 10-15 minutes.

I don't work, I'm depressed and am somewhat physically disabled. I shower an average of twice a week. I always shower before I leave the house. I now have a hand-held shower head and use it. I get everything wet, shampoo hair and face and ears, rinse hair face and ears, pour liquid bath soap into my hands and use that on my torso including pits and nether regions, shave my pits, rinse everything. If I have time I stand in the hot water for a couple minutes because it feels so good. I haven't shaved my legs in years; you can't see the hair so it would be silly to do so. Every few showers I use a bath scrubbie everywhere, I sit on the edge of the tub to do that. I'd like to shower more completely more often, but it's so tiring.

I used to live in an RV so I'm completely familiar with short showers (get wet, turn off water, soap up, turn on water and rinse, get out of shower, no lingering because even doing a short shower the water gets damn cold damn quick!).
posted by deborah at 5:02 PM on May 31, 2011

Nthing everyone who commented that this thread was oddly interesting. I like to make environmentally conscious choices when I can (If it's yellow, I don't mind letting it mellow), but it's hard not to indulge in a delicious hot shower! I'm also a lady, and I've got a mess of hair...the kind that defaults into a squirrel's nest after exercising/sleeping (which happen to be the exact two things I'm usually doing immediately before taking a shower). I get chilled easily, too, so sometimes I need to tack on a few minutes in the very beginning to just thaw out under flesh-meltingly boiling water. In general, though, I'm around 10-12 minutes. My routine goes: 1) crank on the water, full blast 2) drench head and body 3) shampoo and rinse 4) slop on the conditioner and rake fingers through 5) rinse the horrible tangle of hair off my hands, then lift the little matted clump that's clinging to the drain and sling it in the trash 6) wash body. i focus on the pits and bits, scrub off any mud that might be clinging to my inner calves from my run, scrub the mud from my toes if I've been in the trails (otherwise I tend to not do much with my feet, just let the suds drip down...lazy, I know!). 7)shave anything that needs shaving - pretty much pits 'n' below the knees couple times a week 8) wash and rinse my face with facewash, not every time, but each time if I've had makeup on and 9) rinse it allll. the conditioner has had a nice long time to soak in at this point. that's it! I sometimes go as long as 20 minutes...can't seem to get in and out in less than 10, though.
posted by red_rabbit at 1:47 PM on June 1, 2011

If you're in the shower more than three minutes you're just playing with yourself.
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:17 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

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