Recently, I found myself pulled into a conversation about what people do immediately after they exit the shower. More specifically, the drying-off process. My friend posited that people consistently do the same thing, no matter what. To further the point, no one taking part in this conversation could quite remember exactly what they did once the shower ended. With eyes turned up toward the ceiling and brows furrowed, each person thought to themselves, “What the hell did I do this morning?” It seemed (to us anyway) that people subconsciously commit to a habitual routine, developing a serious modus operandi—so serious that it's become muscle memory and takes up no actually headspace.
But it made me curious, so I resolved to pay more attention the next morning.
Here's what I do:
First, I step out of the tub with my left foot (goofy foot to you surfers?). Then, for sake of stability, I leave my right foot behind. Next, I reach for the folded towel I propped on the sink.
I brush the water off my left arm, topside and then underside. I do the same to the right arm, then step the right foot out and pick up my left foot to give my legs the same treatment as my arms—one at a time. Then, I gently rub my face in one soft, upward motion. After that, I wrap the towel around my chest and fold it over—never towel drying my neck, chest, abdomen, etc...
Next, I squeeze my hair into a roll, like a dish towel, and smooth out all the excess water from each strand. Usually, if I have my act together, coffee is brewing while I’m showering and the timing works out that I’m able sip a strong French press and get air dry all at once. Finally dry, I get busy with my Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion, dab some Rosebud Perfume Co. Smith's Rosebud Salve on my eyelids and lips, and then wrap the same towel over my hair and twirl it up—that seashell wrap, or the croissant wrap, as I call it. What goes on next is as uninteresting and boring as what I just recounted to you, so I'll just stop here. My point is…I do this every morning, without fail, the same exact way, and I didn’t even realize it.
Asking around the office collected different responses. While many don't think about it, a few do. Associate Editor Emily Ferber, for instance, varies based on what treatment she's doing post-shower. Moisturizing with oil? She skips the towel altogether, slathers on the oil, and waits around for it all to sink into her skin. Self-tanning? A rigorous brush-down with the towel before an even application of whatever formula she's using that week. She's still trying to figure out the perfect just-out-of-the-shower routine, she tells me, and recalibrates often.
So now it's your turn.
What's your routine? Do you even remember it? Drop me a note.
Illustration by Lucy Han.