— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.
Those committed to baths may have their routines down to a science, from bath bombs and candles to a caddy that holds their book or tablet. While a long soak can feel pampering, not everyone enjoys submerging in their tub—or even has a tub. To wit, many folks turn to showers to wash off the grime and stress of the day. And just because they might not be as inherently leisurely as a bath, showers can still be heavenly. We spoke with spa owners and managers, as well as estheticians to learn their tips for making your shower as dreamy as possible.
Start off the New Year with deals and shopping advice delivered straight to your phone. Sign up for text message alerts from the experts at Reviewed.
1. Ditch the standard showerhead
Consider how well your current stream fits your vision for a comforting, soothing shower. If it could use some improvement, switch to a rainfall version that will feel more like the luxe experience you’re craving, suggests Jenna De Somer, the spa manager at The Spa at Hilton Denver Inverness. “It’s much more relaxing and is a quick way to upgrade the experience,” she says.
A splurge option is the Hai Smart Showerhead with four settings defined as “full,” “soft,” “massage” and “vigorous.” The handheld shower head also comes in several sleek colors, alerts you when the water is warm with an LED on the handle and pairs via water-powered Bluetooth to track water use on a companion app.
If you’re not ready for such a splurge, from our test of the best shower heads we recommend the Hydroluxe 1433 because it’s easy to install, has good water pressure and features 24 stream settings, including rain and mist—all at a very nice price.
- Get the Hai Smart Showerhead from Bed Bath & Beyond for $249.99
- Get the Hydroluxe 1433 Handheld Showerhead from Amazon for $24.99
2. Spruce up the decor with eucalyptus leaves
You might not have considered bringing greenery into your bathroom, but the addition of a bouquet of eucalyptus leaves is not only decorative but offers other atmospheric benefits, too, explains Krista Rahman, a master esthetician at The Woodhouse Day Spa in Denver. “Shower steam activates and releases eucalyptus oil compounds into the air, allowing you to breathe them in, giving off the feeling and smell of a spa steam room,” she says.
Pick up branches weekly at your local grocery store or garden nursery or subscribe to a monthly delivery service like Eucalyptus Farms. Drape the bunch on either side of the showerhead, cinching the stems with an elastic, to maximize the steam-induced benefits.
Get a monthly subscription to Eucalyptus Farms for $12
3. Add a diffuser and essential oils into the mix
Essential oils are, well, essential to every dreamy shower routine, says Terra Orndorff, the director of spa at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa. For those who prefer to shower in the morning, she recommends refreshing, energizing scent blends that include lemongrass, lemon, citrus and eucalyptus. If you tend to shower at night, she recommends turning to lavender-containing blends for the flower’s soft, calming scent.
We at Reviewed named the Airomé Serenity Medium Diffuser the best essential oil diffuser because of its sleek, portable design. Stock up on oils that set the tone and scene of your shower escape. The Pure Aroma set has more than 55,000 reviews on Amazon and comes with six scents: lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemongrass and sweet orange.
In addition to diffusing oils, you can make your own shower mists at home for an aromatic spritz any time, Orndorff says. Combine 20 to 30 drops of essential oils, four ounces of distilled water and two ounces of witch hazel into a fine-mist spray bottle. Aim the bottle away from you and spritz a few times into your bathroom or directly in your shower, then enjoy your customized scent.
- Get the Airomé Serenity Medium Diffuser from Amazon for $36.99
- Get the Pure Aroma Essential Oils from Amazon for $9.99
4. Exfoliate for smoother skin
To mimic the experience you have during a spa treatment or service, try pre-shower and during-shower rituals. Before you hop into the shower, Brianna Stanko, a skincare expert and the founder of SkinTruth.com, suggests using a dry brush to gently massage your skin from head to toe in long, circular strokes going toward your heart. “Dry brushing contributes to lymphatic drainage, increased circulation and also helps your body release toxins,” she explains. “It’s also a great way to get a full-body exfoliation and the first step to beautiful skin.”
The CSM Body Brush contains soft boar bristles to exfoliate, rubber nodules throughout the bristles to prevent you from using too much pressure and a hand strap across its round, wooden base to keep your hand in place while brushing.
A body scrub is great for days you’re not up for dry brushing or if you prefer in-shower treatments only. The Rituals The Ritual of Jing Body Scrub exfoliates the skin using sea salt while moisturizing with a blend of oils. Use the scrub once or twice a week to slough off dead skin cells for smoother skin.
- Get the CSM Body Brush from Amazon for $9.99
- Get the Rituals The Ritual of Jing Body Scrub from Amazon for $14.89
5. Add a plant to your bathroom
Don’t underestimate the power of placing or hanging plants, either right outside your shower or in the corner of the tub itself. “Plants are known to boost your mood and purify the air,” says Elyse Badewitz, a licensed esthetician and the owner of Spa Haus Nashville. “Plants also are known to reduce stress and a stress-free shower is a heavenly shower.”
The key is to pick tropical plants that thrive in humid conditions. It’s also important to be mindful of the amount of natural sunlight your bathroom receives. Some options that require a lot of natural sunlight include aloe vera, jade, ponytail pond and pothos plants. But ones that require little sunlight are spider and bamboo plants, ferns and succulents. We recommend using The Sill to learn more about plants that’ll fit your home and get them shipped right to you with care instructions.
Get a live plant from The Sill starting at $14
6. Toss in a shower steamer
If you thought bath bombs were only for the tub, think again. A shower bomb, also called a “steamer,” fizzes just like a bath bomb would, but it’s often placed on the floor of the shower where the water can hit it, Badewitz explains. “Quality shower bombs are filled with essential oils that release during your shower, filling the steamy air with beautiful fragrances,” she explains. Like essential oils, you should choose a scent that will give you what you need for a great shower experience, whether it’s energizing citrus or relaxing lavender.
For an introduction to steamers, try the popular Cleverfy set from Amazon that contains six fragrances: lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla, watermelon, grapefruit and peppermint.
Get the Cleverfy Aromatherapy Shower Steamers from Amazon for $19.99
7. Upgrade your water’s feel with a filter
The quality of the water running from your showerhead makes a big difference in your skin and hair’s texture. To ensure you’re receiving the best quality possible, install a filter on your existing showerhead, suggests Kimberly Landsman, a licensed esthetician and massage therapist and the owner of The Nook and Dual in Rapid City, South Dakota. “They remove chlorine, bacterial contaminants, hard minerals and more from your tap water,” Landsman says. “The removal of these unwanted components in your water, delivers softer, more hydrated skin and hair.”
Try the BWDM 15-Stage Shower Filter that removes chlorine, heavy metals and other sediments. It comes highly recommended with a 4.7 rating on Amazon and more than 4,800 reviews.
Get the BWDM 15-Stage Shower Filter from Amazon for $20.97
8. Play soothing tunes with a waterproof speaker
Music can be transformative in setting the tone and the mood of your shower. The right tunes can help you relax your mind and body, says Linda Babigian, the head esthetician at VIO Med Spa Burlington. “An easy way to soothe your mind is to put on soothing, spa-like music. Even when taking a shower, you should be able to play the music that will allow helping your body feel refreshed,” she says.
To boost your shower’s soundscape, get a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Reviewed’s top pick is the Sonos Roam because it provides high-quality sound, a stylish and intuitive design and the ability to move it from room to room. It can even function as a smart speaker when connected to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, allowing you to control your music with your voice even while mid-shampoo.
Get the Sonos Roam from Amazon for $179
9. Create mood lighting with a dimmer switch for lighting
Bright, fluorescent lighting does nothing to enhance an atmosphere. Ditch your current bulbs and opt instead for warm ambient lighting. Take things a step further by using a dimmer switch or lighting several candles in your bathroom, suggests Susan Hunnell, the spa director at the Spa at St. Julien in Boulder, Colorado.
After testing smart in-wall dimmer switches, Reviewed’s top pick is the Lutron Caséta Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit, which pairs with Amazon, Apple and Google smart home systems. With it, you can flip between a wide variety of hues, colors and moods from your smartphone.
Get the Lutron Caséta Smart Dimmer Starter Kit from Amazon for $99.95
10. Hydrate your skin with a sheet mask
Surprise: A face mask can be more effective in the shower than the tub or on its own. Celebrity esthetician Lindsay Faulk explains that the steam from a warm shower will open your pores, allowing ingredients to seep into the skin better. Apply a hydrating sheet mask, like the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydro Gel Mask that contains hyaluronic acid, when you first step in. Leave it on for the duration of your shower while you scrub your body or allow the conditioner to soak into your hair.
Get the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydro Gel Mask (12 pack) from Amazon for $23.76
11. Find a fluffy, cozy robe for post-shower
When it’s time to turn off the water and step back into the world, it can be abrasive to your skin to use an old towel to blot off and put on your pajamas or clothes. Instead, ease into the transition with a plush, absorbent bath towel and then a luxurious robe.
After testing the best bath towels, we recommend the Parachute Classic Towel because it’s made with Turkish cotton that’s softer and more absorbent than typical cotton. For a great bathrobe, you can’t go wrong with Nordstrom Bliss Plush Robe, which Reviewed editors named a top pick because it’s made of super-soft fleece, fits comfortably and has pockets. If you prefer the texture of terry cloth, consider Parachute Classic Bathrobe, which is unisex and absorbent enough for post-shower wear.
- Get the Classic Turkish Cotton Towels from Parachute starting at $12
- Get the Bliss Plush Robe from Nordstrom for $69
- Get the Classic Turkish Cotton Robe from Parachute for $99
Make 2022 the year of good decisions. Start by signing up for our newsletter for twice-weekly tips, reviews and more from our experts.
The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or Flipboard for the latest deals, product reviews and more.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.Internet Explorer Channel Network