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Despite all of my best efforts—laying out outfits the night before, setting my alarm earlier than necessary—getting ready in the morning always seems to be a scramble. Clearly I’m not the only one struggling to get out the door, considering the amount of beauty products out there that promise to streamline your routine.
The latest time-trimming category to hit the market: in-shower body products, which, as the name implies, are designed to be used while you’re washing up. From moisturizing lotions to self-tanner creams, see the various ways you can maximize your shower time—and save precious minutes from going down the drain.
Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion ($5.69, at Target)
I was first introduced to the in-shower concept—which originally launched in Europe—when I came across Nivea’s “Sotto La Doccia Balsamo Corpo” line in an Italian supermarket last spring, and couldn’t resist bringing one back as a souvenir. Little did I know that the company’s bath-friendly body lotions would migrate to U.S. shores just over a year later—in much larger bottles, no less.
Despite the more American-friendly packaging, the creams work just the same: slather them on freshly cleansed skin while the water’s still running, then rinse and towel off as usual. The resulting level of hydration greatly depends on which of the three formulas you use: the sea mineral–infused Hydrating option has an almost imperceptible impact, while the almond oil–driven Nourishing version lives up to its claim of quenching very dry skin (Smoothing, made with shea butter, falls somewhere in between).
Olay In-Shower Body Lotion ($6.99, at P&G Shop)
While the application process and creamy consistency are identical, Olay’s take on the in-shower body lotion trend differs from Nivea’s in one major way: the fragrance. Whereas Nivea’s have a subtle, clean scent, both of Olay’s options are incredibly aromatic—it’s like unleashing a bouquet of florals the moment it hits your skin. The shea butter–fortified Ultra-Moisture version is slightly richer than its basic Quench counterpart, but the difference in moisturization is pretty marginal. Either way, your skin will stay hydrated for the whole day.
Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer ($7.99, at Ulta)
Since there’s no rinsing with these body lotions, you technically don’t need to be in the shower when you use them—but you do need to be sopping wet. They’re designed to lock in moisture when skin is most hydrated (i.e. damp), so you apply them after the water stream has stopped but before you towel dry.
The way these gelatinous formulas glide over wet skin is reminiscent of a Slip ‘N Slide, and you may feel slick until any excess gets patted away, but the lotions largely absorb into skin pretty quickly. The three available options each feature a different oil (monoi, coconut and green tea), which impacts the product’s scent (floral, beachy and botanical, respectively) more so than its performance.
Nair Shower Power ($10.29, at Harmon)
These in-shower depilatory creams are a vast improvement from the noxious lotions you used in your youth, but they also require a bit of advance planning: You smooth on the solution before you hop in the shower, letting it set for at least a minute (take advantage of this wait time to brush your teeth or do some other form of multitasking).
The thick creams are meant to be pumped directly onto the included sponge’s flat surface as the vehicle for massaging it onto skin, but I found the porous tool absorbed too much product and it was easier to use my hands (if you go this route, just make sure to wash your paws before proceeding any further—you don’t want to re-create that Nair-shampoo scene from the movie “Love Stinks”). Either way, you’ll want to hold on to that applicator—it’s what you’ll use to remove the remnant lotion and any burned-off follicles with the aide of your shower’s stream.
While none of the three formulas were a match for my stubborn armpit hair, I had better luck with the bikini line and my legs—at least when it came to the maximum-strength Moroccan Argan Oil and medium-fortitude Brazilian Spa Clay varieties. The Sensitive option was almost too gentle to really work anywhere, but hey, at least your skin won’t be irritated.
St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion ($25, at Sephora)
Second to self-tanner wipes, this rinse-off cream might be the easiest way to fake a believable glow. That doesn’t mean it’s completely seamless to use, though. Just like regular in-shower body lotions, you apply this bronzing version right after you cleanse—but first you’ll need to turn the water off. For a full three minutes as it sets (or until you can no longer stand the shivering).
There’s very little you can accomplish in the shower with no running water, which makes the wait time for this one extra awkward, but those 180 fraught seconds are counterbalanced by the natural-looking results. The buildable formula is made for daily use, and you’ll really start to see a color difference after three consecutive applications. While the start-and-stop process isn’t ideal, it’s a small price to pay for a streak-free faux-tanning method that doesn’t smell horrible, isn’t messy and doesn’t dry out your skin (thanks to hydrating sweet almond oil), so let’s call this one a wash.