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DYDT: Washing Order

Updated at the Bottom

Now that we’ve established whether we’re bath-takers or shower-ers, I’d like to discuss the order of things which applies whether you’re soaking in a tub or standing in a spray of water.  I don’t literally want the order of things, especially if it’s going to turn into one of those uncomfortable moments like that Friends episode with this exchange:

Joey: Hey, why can’t we use the same toothbrush, but we can use the same soap?
Chandler: Because soap is soap. It’s self-cleaning.
Joey: All right, well next time you take a shower, think about the last thing I wash and the first thing you wash.

I guess I am really wondering whether you have an order to things, or whether you soap yourself willy-nilly.  I have to keep the same shower routine every single day, down to washing body parts in the same order.  If I go out of order, I feel off the rest of the day.  I have to kick off the shower by washing my face before I wash my hair.  My right leg is washed before my left leg; my left arm washed before my right one.  See, there is a deep, unchanging order to my shower, and if I alter anything, I feel out of sorts for hours.

So do you keep to the same order when you bathe or shower?  Or do you wash yourself willy-nilly?


I’m sort of amazed by two things: (1) how many people go from top to bottom.  I go in a very set order, but that order jumps around my body.  (2) How many people shave daily.  I’m willing to bet that if I did this, it wouldn’t feel like such an arduous task.  But it literally never occurred to me to shave my legs daily until now.


1 Kitten { 06.10.13 at 7:50 am }

I definitely have an order. Most of the time, I’m either too tired or too distracted to pay attention to what I’m doing, so having a habitual order ensures that I clean everything, every time. I start at the top with my hair (so the conditioner has time to sit), then my face, then work my way down to my toes.

2 Tracie { 06.10.13 at 7:50 am }

I always wash in the same order when I get in the shower. In fact, I start out by washing my face and then my hair, too. Then I move on down to right arm, left arm, and so on…until I reach my feet.

3 Peach { 06.10.13 at 8:03 am }

I definitely have an order and when I vary from it, I spend the rest of the day thinking forgot something! I think its because I’m a shower thinker, so if I don’t automatically follow the routine I may very well miss something!

4 Justine { 06.10.13 at 8:08 am }

Definitely an order. But most people also wash their hands the same way every time. Once, in a meditation class, it was suggested to me that we wash our hands in a different way, just so that it could be a mindful experience. It definitely destabilizes me to have to think about it!

5 Lisa @ hapahopes { 06.10.13 at 9:02 am }

Yup – I also start at the top and work my way down. Gotta give the conditioner time to sit!

6 Tigger { 06.10.13 at 9:16 am }

Hop in and get my hair wet and shampoo in it. Soap on the loofah and then wash from top to bottom. No conscious routine to it, but usually left to right. Then shave half of me, rinse the shampoo out and put conditioner in, shave the other half, rinse the conditioner out and I’m done!

7 Catwoman73 { 06.10.13 at 9:22 am }

Oh yeah, there’s definitely an order to it. Shampoo, rinse. Apply conditioner. Wash face, then body, top to bottom, left arm and leg before right. Rinse conditioner and body at the same time (aren’t I efficient!). Shave under left arm, then right. Shave left leg, then right. Rinse. And drying goes in the same order as washing. Always. And that probably makes me sound like I have OCD.

8 Kate { 06.10.13 at 9:40 am }

I definitely have an order. Shampoo, face, then put in conditioner. I do right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg. Shave in the same order. I rinse conditioner out at the same time I rinse the soap off. After thinking about it, I dry off in the same order too.

9 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 06.10.13 at 9:44 am }

WHO are these theoretical people who can wash themselves all willy-nilly??? My sensibilities are highly offended that such a person might exist…

For me: Wash hair first, rinse hair, then condition hair, then soap up the body, top to bottom, then rinse conditioner from hair, rinse body, wash face/neck, rinse face/neck. Pretty much the same order every time. If some strange something happened and I *absolutely had* to change the order around, I probably could handle it, as long as I was able to ensure that after using conditioner, I was able to wash my face/neck. My “weirdness” is that I feel like conditioner leaves a film on my skin, and since I’m acne-prone, I always feel like I’ll break out if I don’t do the face/neck washing *after* I’ve rinsed the conditioner out.

10 Heather { 06.10.13 at 10:16 am }

Oh there’s an order. Shampoo, conditioner, arms, body, legs, face/neck, rinse conditioner (so that I can be sure to get any residual face soap off my hairline too), done. I shave my legs every other day in the summer, once a month (if I’m lucky) during the winter.
If something happens (like a child opening the curtain asking me to play My Little Pony_ and I get out of sync… I always forget something. Usually, it’s rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. Forcing me to turn the water back on, getting it to the right temperature again, and rinsing. I. Hate. That.

11 Gail { 06.10.13 at 10:17 am }

I definitely have an order. I start with my arms and torso, then my legs, then in between my legs and then I change washcloths and wash my face. Then, my hair is last and I let the shampoo run down my body as a second wash. I shave my legs every other day and do them last.

12 Elizabeth { 06.10.13 at 10:23 am }

I love hot showers. I wash the stinkiest parts first, then left to right, face last. My hair is super-thick so it takes a long time to get it wet through. So wash hair last. Then enjoy the hot water for as long as I can before guilt takes over.

If I am taking a cold shower, I have a very specific method to minimize how cold the water feels: left arm, right arm, left leg, right leg, front torso; flip my hair over upside down and wash my hair without the water touching any other part of my body; turn around and wash my back.

13 Jo { 06.10.13 at 11:06 am }

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I am the weird, willy-nilly washer. I do shampoo my hair first, and put in conditioner so that it can sit. But beyond that, there is no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I shave, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wash my face, often I skip it and do it at the sink before putting on my makeup. Same with brushing my teeth. Sometimes in the shower, sometimes at the sink (Ihave a toothbrush in each location for convenience). When I wash my body (which could be before or after the face/teeth, or in between), I put soap on the loofah and soap up in no particular order, though Isuppose a top-to-bottom generalization could be made. If I am shaving, I may stop soaping mid-body and do a quick swipe (underarms, for example), or I may stop during the leg-soaping to shave. Other times I use my hubby’s shave cream after I soap up. Sometimes I do that first. I also don’t wash my hair every day (it dries it out, which actually increases oil production and makes it greasy), so there are days that a quick loofah is all I do. But I don’t have a set number of days igo in between washings, as it depends on my activities, work schedule, and the weather.

So, overall, no set order or pattern. And now I feel very weird having analyzed my shower routine in such detail. 🙂

14 Sharon { 06.10.13 at 12:19 pm }

I have an order or pattern, but it’s not as “set” as many of the other commenters or you describe, and if I deviate from it for some reason, it doesn’t have much effect on the rest of my day.

And I, like you, find shaving my legs an arduous task AND do not do it daily. (I don’t care that much about being silky smooth at all times, and it adds precious minutes to my shower that I do not have time to spend.)

15 jjiraffe { 06.10.13 at 12:23 pm }

Huh. I never thought about this before, but I definitely have an order too: get hair wet, shampoo and rinse (sometimes repeat) then apply conditioner and wash and shave, then wash conditioner out. Finis. I always shave every time I shower. It would not be a shower without shaving for me.

16 Juanita { 06.10.13 at 12:31 pm }

I definitely follow the same order – from top to bottom, left side first and then the right. Same with drying off and getting dressed. Feel funny if I do it another way round.

17 It Is What It Is { 06.10.13 at 12:40 pm }

Yes to the order of things (although I recently had to change it up when I decided to make improving the condition of my hair a priority (and it worked)):

Wash hair (twice), then slather on conditioner (this is priority #1 as the longer it sits, the better). Then, shave my underarms, left, then right, then wash my body, left side, right side as I progress downward, then wash my face and rinse it and the conditioner at the same time. I only wash my hair every other day, shave my entire legs once/wk, and my shins/knees every other day (this is especially true during summer when I use a self tanner that works better on hair-free legs).

18 Brianna { 06.10.13 at 1:06 pm }

I most definitely have an order, which helps because I’m usually still half-asleep when I’m in the shower. Shampoo, rinse. Conditioner. Then shave legs if I need to. Then soap my body from the top down; I always start with my left arm. After that, it’s wash my face, then rinse face and conditioner.

19 Tiara { 06.10.13 at 1:17 pm }

Definitely shower in a particular order, pretty much top to bottom: Shampoo on hair, wash face, rince both, conditioner on hair, wash upper torso, left arm, right arm, lower torso, left leg & foot, right leg & foot then the privates, then rinse in alternate order…& how freeing it was when I “learned” about shaving everyday! it’s never such a huge chore now!

20 Tiara { 06.10.13 at 1:17 pm }

oh & I towel off in that particular order too!

21 Pepper { 06.10.13 at 1:29 pm }

I do have an order, though it is not necessarily top to bottom. And I somewhat shave regularly – that is, I do it daily but I do not take the time or care I should on a daily basis. So parts of my legs get shaved better than others. It makes no sense and it makes even less sense as I type it here. Eh, well. Also, I am not one to leave conditioner on to sit (though it might help my hair) because I have a great fear of forgetting to rinse it out and spending the day with hopelessly greasy hair. If I don’t finish something when I start it, there’s a good chance I will totally forget about it.

22 k { 06.10.13 at 1:32 pm }

I have a sort of order. Basically if I don’t wash my face first, then my hair, then condition, then wash the rest of my body (no order required at that point) then I’ll get to the end of the shower wondering wait, did I (wash my face/Shampoo/condition?).

23 Another Dreamer { 06.10.13 at 3:02 pm }

There’s a definite automatic order. I never thought about it. Face first, shampoo, wash arms and work down, conditioner, and legs. I shave every couple days in summer, probably less often in winter. I would hate shaving every day, I always nick myself. No matter how careful I am.

24 a { 06.10.13 at 4:26 pm }

I have an order, but it is not sided – left or right doesn’t matter. Shampoo, conditioner, bottom to top (gotta get those feet clean and then continue to apply soap to the hands) of neck, second round on the undercarriage (TMI? 🙂 ), rinse conditioner and then wash face. Because I always get soap/water in my eyes, requiring a towel to fix the situation, I must wash my face just before I turn the water off and get my towel.

And I shave whenever I feel like it – which is not frequently. My hair is light colored and grows slowly on my legs…

25 Valery Valentina { 06.10.13 at 4:31 pm }

o dear, that is a Lot of soap being used above. Not only am I a theoretical willy-nilly shower person, I don’t even use soap… my thoughts now trailing off, wondering if that makes me a natural clean person who doesn’t need soap or a not so very clean person… I guess my skin is used to it, I don’t use any body lotion/cream /poisonous mosquito repellent /sunscreen that needs washing /soaping off. And it seems the epilady is gone out of fashion too?

26 GeekChic { 06.10.13 at 5:42 pm }

I have a sort of order. I have pain issues and whichever body parts are giving me the most trouble will get a pulsing under the shower head first. Then I wash my body – top to bottom. Then I wash my hair – I have extremely short hair so it doesn’t take long.

Oh and I don’t shave. I never have. 😉

27 amy { 06.11.13 at 3:10 am }

Order in the shower? There is no such thing for me. Usually I shower in the pm and its the best time for me to relax and sometimes I come up with great solutions when doing the mindless task of showering. Am shower is usually a wake me up the coffee didn’t work!

28 loribeth { 06.11.13 at 8:49 am }

I never really thought about it, but yes, there is a definite order. Top to bottom (so everything has a good chance to rinse down & off), left arm first, then right, and ditto for the legs & feet. Shampoo first, conditioner only once or twice a week, shaving under arms twice a week & legs once or twice a week. I usually use conditioner the same days I’m shaving — I leave it on my hair while shave & then rinse it out. THEN I soap up & scrub/rinse off.

29 BigP's Heather { 06.11.13 at 8:53 am }

I’ve been thinking about this and I have to wonder if we all do it the same because it is a learned behavior. Didn’t our mothers, and their mothers before them, teach their daughters to wash their hair first? I know that is what I’m teaching K. Just a thought.

30 Melanie { 06.11.13 at 10:31 am }

I read this last night and had to wait til after I showered this morning to post. I have a routine/order but its so ingrained I hadn’t thought about it on a conscious level in a long time. My order is based on temp of the water. I like to start out really hot and stand underneath the water for a few mins with my back to the shower head. It’s relaxing. Then I shampoo and put in conditioner. Then I adjust the water to be a little less scorching hot and turn towards it and wash my body from top til bottom and shave under my arms and wash out the conditioner. Another temp adjustment towards cooler and I wash my face. Partly cause its more pleasant to have cooler water directly in my face and I remember hearing rinsing with cooler water closes your pores back up.

I shave under my arms in the shower every few days. I never shave my legs in there. I shave once every 1-2 weeks in the bathtub. It’s definitely an arduous task for me and any more frequently and my skin gets irritated.

31 Ana { 06.11.13 at 1:26 pm }

Hmmm. I even waited on commenting until after I’d showered, but this morning I forgot to pay attention. I don’t shave everyday. Its haphazard. I do my armpits every other day-ish and my legs every 2-3 days? And I only wash my hair every 1-2 weeks. I’m pretty sure I go top to bottom and then face (with face wash) but I only use soap on my “core”.. I don’t soap up my legs/arms or feet (all of which have dry skin) unless they are specifically dirty from something, I let the soap passively wash down on my arms and legs. If I’m shaving I do my armpits first, with no lubricant, then I put conditioner on my legs and shave with that. It seems that everyone washes their hair every day! And shaves every day!

32 Battynurse { 06.11.13 at 4:36 pm }

Definite order. Pretty much top to bottom. I don’t shave daily although since I started using the razor with the sudsy blob thing around it and don’t need to factor in shaving cream it happens way more often than it used to. Pits not so much. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t frequently go sleeveless.

33 Christina { 06.11.13 at 5:04 pm }

I love these DYDT ones!! Will you do one about whether you sleep wearing underwear or not? I’ve always slept with underwear and recently have learned how many people automatically take theirs off when they put on their pajamas….just curious and I don’t have the reach that you do with my blog!

34 Blanche { 06.11.13 at 9:13 pm }

Oooh, I’m an oddball – I have a semi-order, generally from neck to undercarriage (love that description) with a stop in the middle to shave my pits, feet, and then back up to wash & condition hair (every other day) followed by face as the last thing before turning off the water. I try to time leg shaving days to hair washing days so that both the shampoo & conditioner have time to work (one for each leg) & then everything is sure to be washed off before hitting my face.

35 Jessie { 06.12.13 at 3:08 am }

I have an order, but now that’s been shaken up since I started dating my boyfriend and taking showers with him (before any of you get any ideas, it’s easier that way in the mornings when we don’t have his kids to get ready, it’s faster). I still follow the same routine when I’m showering alone, where I do my body before my hair and shaving because that gives time to get water through my hair (which is almost to my waist) and for the hair on my legs to soften. But when I’m showering with my boyfriend, I have a completely different order of things as we move back and forth for who has the water.

And for the record, when I’m uber-rich someday, I want a double shower. Not the kind where there’s two heads on the same end. One that has a completely different showerhead on each end of the tub so we can both be warm at the same time.

36 Tracie { 06.12.13 at 8:24 am }

I’m surprised at the daily leg-shaving, too. I never thought to do that.

37 JustHeather { 06.12.13 at 3:30 pm }

I think I’m one of the few that doesn’t have a set order of how to wash. I do have a general order, but it doesn’t have to happen in a specific way. However, my last rinse is from top to bottom.

I don’t wash my hair every day (scalp gets too dry), nor could I imagine shaving every day. My skin would get insanely itchy dry! Plus, I hate shaving and hubby doesn’t really care one way or the other. Also, I don’t use shower gels or soaps, as that too dries out my skin and I can’t stand the smells sticking to my skin. It gives me a headache!

38 Shelby { 06.14.13 at 10:30 pm }

I am a creature of habit and order. I do literally ever task that is regularly built into my day in a very specific order and I rarely, if ever, deviate from that. Even the sub-tasks, such as what order I do my makeup in (always eyebrows first) never changes. If I wrote down my daily tasks, I could do so in a very linear, chronologically and time-ordered way. And sometimes I try to change it up to deliberately throw myself off and while it certainly doesn’t come close to ruining my day or anything OCD like that, it feels very odd. Showering is the same story, down to the sub-tasks’.

I was raised with a lot of structure when it came to daily tasks and the specific timing of them, and with extremely punctual people, so it comes naturally. (And I do shave my legs everyday as I HATE the feeling of hair on my legs-ugh!)

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