What's the deal with in-shower lotion?

Does using an in-shower body lotion really save you time? We break down the pros and cons of this product category.

Some people are shower-in-the-morning people, while others are shower-at-night people. I’m a shower-at night person. There’s just something about scrubbing away your stress and putting on your PJs after you’re nice and clean. After my shower, I usually apply CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion all over my body, which is lightweight but still rich enough to keep my skin from feeling itchy. I recently started thinking about the idea of in-shower body lotions. Who uses them—morning or nighttime showerers? And do they really save that much time? I decided to investigate.

When you search for “In-shower body lotion,” two main brands appear to lead the pack: Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion and Olay Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion. Let’s take a look at what ingredients actually go into these two products.

Olay in-shower body lotion ingredients

water, petrolatum, hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, dimethicone, fragrance, stearyl alcohol, utyrospermum parkii (shea butter), polysorbate 60, dmdm hydantoin, disodium edta, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol

Nivea in-shower body lotion ingredients

water, petrolatum, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, hydrogenated coco-glycerides, stearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil , acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, fragrance, carbomer, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol

What’s in an in-shower body lotion?

These in-shower body lotions look to be quite similar—both are heavily composed of water and petrolatum. That might be what makes it “water-resistant”—have you ever tried to wash off Vaseline? It’s pretty resistant to water. But whereas Olay Ultra Moisture In-Shower Body Lotion relies on shea butter to provide moisturizing benefits, Nivea In-Shower Nourishing Body Lotion includes a mix of hydrogenated coco-glycerides (coconut oil) and sweet almond oil. Fragrance also appears earlier in Olay’s ingredient list, but later in Nivea’s.

Both companies instruct you to apply the lotion after you’ve cleansed with soap and rinsed off in the shower, while your skin is still wet. Then they say to pat dry with a towel, and you should be good to go—no need to apply body lotion after your shower because you already did so in the shower. Is sounds nice, but how much time does it really save you? And don’t you still end up wiping some of the moisturizer off, even if you pat dry very gently, as instructed?

Here’s what my dad had to say about the idea of in-shower lotion.

My Dad the Chemist’s thoughts on in-shower body lotion

Dear Emily, in-shower just a Gimmick, apply before you use towel instead of after you towel dry, I think conventional way you can choose the leave-on conditioner just base on the after feel, but for “pat dry”, you may not like the oiliness feel if pat lightly , and you would use towel to dry more, the residual conditioner may not last as long as it should be. Besides, you don’t save any step, the conventional way you would apply to cover wherever needs, but in-shower you may not feel the same coverage and may feel the oiliness ( or slightly wet feel) isn’t ready to have clothing on yet? Just my opinion, the formula should work but you need to change the drying process.

Love,
Dad

My dad makes a few good points here. Many people will need to adjust their showering, drying, and possibly their post-shower routine if they choose to use an in-shower body lotion. In-shower lotions are often formulated with petrolatum and oils, so they can leave a slick feeling on your skin, especially if you only pat lightly, as instructed. This means that you might have to wait a bit longer than usual before putting on your clothes (unless you don’t mind getting them wet), so an in-shower body lotion may not even save you that much time. It might be faster just to towel off as usual, put on your clothes, and then apply a quick layer of regular after-shower lotion. And, if you’re using an in-shower lotion, you probably also need to be more diligent about rinsing out your tub at the end of your shower, or you might slip and fall on the oily residue. All in all, it doesn’t sound like in-shower body lotions save you that much time.

Plus, if you’re not used to the oily feeling of an in-shower body lotion on your skin, you might (even subconsciously) towel off more than you’re supposed to, which wipes off too much product and defeats the purpose of even using an in-shower body lotion.

I’m not sure if the potential benefits of using an in-shower body lotion have won me over yet. I think I’ll stick with my after-shower body lotion for now, but I appreciate the attempt at innovation, and I can see how some people might like applying lotion in the shower—it does seem rather luxurious, doesn’t it?

Photo courtesy of: unsplash-logoJon Tyson

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