"Shower Sandwiching" Is The Easiest Skin Care Hack You Need To Try
The shower has arguably never received so much fanfare. For years, beauty fans have used their rinse as a way to ground themselves and connect with their skin, but lately, a growing number of folks have decided to put their shower routines on full blast.
Of course, I'm talking about the recent "shower aesthetic" trend commanding the TikTok space. Maybe it's just my algorithm, but practically every other video I see depicts some user's stacked shower scene: eucalyptus leaves, shower melts, body scrubs, the works. No longer must you commit to a long soak in the tub to melt away daily stress—a romanticized shower regimen has you covered.
Well, allow me to add just one more item to your curated shelves: You should absolutely bring your body oil with you in the shower, especially if you suffer from dry, flaky skin. Why? It's called "shower sandwiching," and it will no doubt transform your scaly complexion.
What is shower sandwiching?
All "shower sandwiching" entails is applying body oil before and after the shower—so you're essentially sandwiching your skin between those rich, nourishing fatty acids.
It's a tip I once received from celebrity esthetician and dermatological nurse Natalie Aguilar: She considers it one of her favorite rituals to care for dry, wintry skin. "This oil barrier prevents excessive water loss and helps with any irritation," she notes.
You see, scalding your skin with hot water can render your complexion dry and ashy, as the steamy temperature can strip the precious natural oils from your skin. By massaging in a body oil pre-rinse, your skin can better hold on to moisture and keep the water from drying it out.
But that doesn't mean you can forgo the post-shower lather: After you're finished, reapply that body oil over slightly damp skin so you can trap all that lingering water inside and nourish the skin barrier. "You can feel and see the difference in your skin by doing this magical ritual," Aguilar says.
How to do it correctly.
It sounds pretty straightforward—don't you just slather on body oil pre- and post-rinse?
Yes, that's technically the gist of this trick, but a couple of tips can further elevate your shower experience. First up: Make sure to saturate easily parched areas before hopping under the spray, like your elbows, knees, backs of the arms, etc. Don't be afraid to spend some extra love on those dry, flaky patches of skin.
I also personally like to bring the oil into the shower with me, so it serves as a reminder to reapply when I'm still slightly damp. I'll pat dry ever so slightly, grab my oil off the shelf, then lather on. If you're thinking, Uh, doesn't that sound slippery? then I suggest you take a peek at your oil ingredients: I recommend choosing a fast-absorbing dry oil that doesn't leave you feeling slick (or result in greasy shower tiles).
You can discover different types of dry oils out there, but sunflower and safflower seed oil are practically famous for their light, nongreasy texture. So I make sure to snag mindbodygreen's dry body oil for this hack—the added prickly pear seed oil and vitamin E make my skin appear impossibly glowing, even in the dead of winter. Not for nothing, the minimalist, frosted bottle looks oh-so-chic among the rest of my shower lineup.
If your skin feels especially scaly right now, you definitely should try shower sandwiching. Hot water has the ability to rob your complexion of moisture, and providing an oily barrier can keep those healthy lipids intact. I'm confident it will instantly quench your thirsty skin barrier—experts would agree.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.