It’s a debate almost as contentious as whether to put jam or cream on your scone first. Which is better, a shower in the morning or the evening?
Whilst morning shower folk will tell you there’s nothing better than the refreshing blast of a shower first thing, those in the evening shower camp will rave about the blissful sleep they have when they slip into their bedsheets with squeaky clean hair and skin. So, who is right?
Lucky for you, in this article we lay the case for both sides to help you decide once and for all.
The Morning Shower
Pro: After a night of sleeping, a morning shower allows you to wash off any bacteria or sweat you may have accumulated whilst you were dreaming away. Particularly if you suffer from an oily complexion, which is likely to be all over your body and not just your face; a dip in the shower can quickly leave your skin feeling balanced and fresh.
Con: With similar thinking in mind, it is likely you will pick up more dirt and sweat throughout the daytime. Therefore, by sticking with your morning shower, you run the risk of heading to bed feeling grubbier with a build-up of bacteria on your body.
Pro: If you struggle with rousing after your alarm rings, a morning shower can be the perfect wake up call. Many people are now even turning to a quick blast from a cold shower before they commence their usual cleaning ritual to help them feel refreshed and ready for the day.
Science also backs this cold shower trend, with researchers showing benefits from reducing low mood and stress levels to a more robust immune response. A brief morning shower with a 15 to 30-second cold plunge has been shown to help with awakening and stimulating blood circulation.
Con: If you’re wrestling with poor sleep, then that may be the first thing you should address rather than working on waking yourself up! Poor sleep ensures you wake up feeling groggy, therefore by improving your nightly z’s using the warm shower technique before bed, you could feel more alert earlier in the day.
Pro: Morning showers encourage productivity. Studies show that a cool stimulating shower in the morning boosts productivity for the rest of the day. This is due to the time it gives you whilst under the spray of water. This time can be used to regroup and meditate before the day to come. Studies show that taking a shower can have a similar effect to meditation when it comes to brain waves, allowing your brain to enter the alpha state; known to be the perfect condition for big ideas and creativity.
Con: Your schedule may not allow for time in the shower. If you find yourself rushing from bed, to shower, to the car in the morning, then it may be better for your productivity to plan your shower for the night before. The benefits of meditation and inspiration will be totally lost if you are rushing to fit in a good wash!
Pro: A smooth shave and glowing skin. If you shave, then the morning shower is the best option here. Not only are you more alert in the morning, so less likely to cut yourself, but morning is the time when you have a surge of platelets (which help your blood to clot). What’s more, a hot, steamy shower will help to open pores and soften hairs, making for a more comfortable shave. Your skin will also appear more refreshed after a morning shower. Our skin cells relax overnight and are then stimulated by the water, prior to encountering any dirt, debris and free radicals from the outside world. This is particularly significant for acne-prone or oily skin.
Con: Be warned though, the temperature is important here. Although the morning shower may help your skin appear healthier, if you turn the heat up too far it will have the opposite effect. More so if you already suffer from dry or sensitive skin.
The Evening Shower
Pro: A morning shower may make your skin look refreshed, but dermatologists agree that an evening shower is better for your skin because it cleanses it before you sleep. This removes pollutants, which if accumulated, will produce free radical damage and cause inflammation. It also feels great to have metaphorically ‘washed off’ the day and the dirt before you get into bed. Furthermore, most people have more time for a longer bedtime routine in the evening meaning they can use this to apply lotions and creams to keep skin soft and moisturised.
Con: You could wake up feeling a little oily. When you sleep, your skin produces sebum and sweat, so those who suffer from already oily skin may wake up feeling extra greasy. Cleansing can help remove some of the excess oil or you may want to wash your whole body, especially your back where hair products can be left unrinsed.
Pro: A good night’s sleep. Sleep Ambassador, Nancy Rothstein is Team Evening Shower when it comes to getting your full forty winks. Not only is it important to go to bed clean, it also allows you to prepare for bed with a perfect routine to aid sleep. It gives you time to yourself, no phones, screens or distractions – just you and the warming, clean water. Rothstein calls it an opportunity to shower yourself with mindfulness.
Scientists also agree that showers in the evening can help you sleep better. As you shower in the warmth, your core temperature actually drops. Although your skin may feel hot, you’ll notice you feel colder after towelling off and putting on your pyjamas due to moisture evaporating off your skin. By cooling the body in this way, you enable the onset of sleep to come round faster, research has shown.
Con: Going to bed with wet hair on the other hand not only may disrupt your sleep but can also damage your hair follicles. Water from your hair and a wet pillow makes the perfect environment for yeast to grow which can cause dandruff. It also traps moisture in the different layers of your hair, causing hair cuticles to rupture leaving you with a weathered effect.
Pro: If you are prone to allergies, evening showers can help. Coming inside from the outdoors often means bringing in pollen and chemicals which contaminates your bedding if you go without a full body wash. This is often worse when seasonal allergies are at their peak, but at other times of the year, creams, make-up and hair products can attract more pollen to your body and cause further reactions.
Con: Your schedule will dictate the best time to shower in the case of sensitives. If you prefer to exercise in the morning, for example, it is much more beneficial to follow up with a shower to cleanse the skin and hair and wash off excess sweat and bacteria from any equipment.
Or you could even consider being in the two-showers a day tribe!
Can you do both?
Can’t decide? Well, some people swear from having a shower both in the morning and at night, especially in the summer or if they live in a warmer climate. Keeping these showers quick will ensure your skin doesn’t dry out.
Depending on your working environment this could be the perfect solution. For those who work in schools or public places, they may want to keep on top of how many germs they are gathering throughout the day. Even those who live in busy cities should consider an extra shower here and there. However, the downfall of this is of course the impact on the planet. If water wastage is a particular concern of yours, then you may want to take a look at products available which help you to time your shower and capture the water.
So, which camp do you fall into now? If you still can’t decide, perhaps it’s time to run a bath!