If anything divides people more than the debate between SoulCycle and Flywheel or how often you should wash your hair, it’s whether showering when you wake up or before you hop into bed is superior.
Those firmly in the first camp proclaim the virtues of an aqua-shock to the system before their first cup of coffee, while fans of the p.m. cleanse swear the best way to unwind is by washing off the grime of the day. Both have their benefits (clearly), but does one way truly reign supreme?
To settle this once and for all, three holistic experts of different backgrounds—an Ayurveda devotee, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and an organic beauty pro with a more biological perspective—reveal their picks for the best time of day to get so fresh and so clean.
According To Ayurveda, You Should: Do Double Duty
“In Ayurveda, bathing is a very important ritual,” says Shadoh Punnapuzha, founder of the holistic and natural skin-care line Arya Essentials. “Not only does it cleanse you physically, it’s believed to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.”
She recommends following the Ayurvedic practice of showering twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. “When you shower in the morning, it helps stimulate the cells and improve circulation to leave you looking energetic,” she explains. The evening shower, meanwhile, “allows you to wash away the day’s debris and help create a clean slate before you go to bed.” According to Punnapuzha, this also helps prepare your body for the natural exfoliation and restorative processes that happen at night.
On a more spiritual level, Punnapuzha says, the nighttime scrub down “helps cleanse your mind and impart a sense of serenity.” Sweet dreams, party of one!
According To Traditional Chinese Medicine, You Should: Lather Up At Night
Traditional Chinese Medicine gives you a small window for squeezing in your optimal shower: one hour after dinner and one hour before bed. “Nighttime showers allow your skin to better repair itself overnight,” says Wei Young Brian, founder of the TCM beauty brand Wei Beauty. “If you shower in the morning, you could be washing Yuan Qi—[your spark of energy]—away. So night is the better time.”
For your best shower ever, make sure to keep the water temperature between 75 and 82°F, Brian says, and limit your time under the stream to five minutes. While your pores are open (from all that feel-good steam), cleanse and massage your skin in a clockwise direction. And after toweling off, give yourself plenty of TLC: Slather on lotion, apply a face mask and take some time to meditate before you slip under the covers. Uninterrupted zzz’s are all but guaranteed.
To read the full article, head to Well+Good.