Is anyone else magically transported into a magical world during shower/bath time? Or is it just me and my exaggerated Pisces tendencies? I could spend hours just singing atrociously, getting lost in my thoughts and pampering myself. And it just always smells soooo good because I HAVE to use yummy soaps, gels, foams, creams, oils . . . You name it! But we’ll discuss those in a different post. Right now I’m gonna talk about the more functional aspect of shower time: cleaning our bodies and the in-shower tools that I use when it’s time to get down and dirty about getting clean.
I’ve used loofahs/luffas (makonge) ever since I can remember. They’ve been a staple in my family and I can recall harvesting some straight from the vine, waiting for them to dry, shucking them, excitedly shaking the seeds out and then soaking them to get them softer and ready for use – of course showing my mother once done for her approval. Aaaah, sweet memories. The reason they’ve been a lifelong bathing tool is because they work! They’re natural and the fibres are just perfect – not too rough, not too coarse, yet firm. This makes them really grand at exfoliating and sloughing away all the dead skin, grime and dirt. they don’t scratch or damage the skin with micro cuts, amen! Plus they soak up product so well that all you need is a little soap/body wash/cream. To be honest, they’re my favorite body exfoliator and cleansing tool and I don’t think I ever feel clean enough if I haven’t used them. I usually buy loofahs at open market or any street vendor who sells them and the price is usually between KShs. 30 ($3) to KShs. 100 ($10) depending on the size and location.
MESH TULLE WRAPPING FABRIC
No, you’re not reading your own things. Yes, this is still an article on bathing tools. Yes, it’s weird! I know. But they work. I use these when I’m putting together gift baskets for clients and friends because they’re just so gorgeous and extra and I love the texture. So how did I start using them to shower? I was just playing with some one day and I was like hey, this feels really good, and decided to try it and voila! I had a new shower helper. They’re coarse but not overly so and it’s what I go for when I need a really good scrub when my body, and especially feet, have been through a lot of dirt. These fabrics look delicate but the have the power! They’re great for scrubbing the back because they’re long and I can just stretch them and use them to get all over the back (you know that style right?). What also really works out for them aside from their texture is the mesh helps them hold on to water and product well so just like the loofahs, a little goes a long way. And who doesn’t want something so gorgeous when showering? I love using the gold and dirty gold ones, but they are available in many other colours. These are a tad pricey though . . . about KShs. 700 ($70) per meter from fabric shops but I buy them for my gift wrapping/dressing and use the excess for the shower so it works out.
I’ll be honest here: I initially started using brushes for dry brushing but the habit didn’t stick. I kept on forgetting to do it pre-shower and sometimes I just really didn’t like the feeling. So I decided to use the brushes in-shower and I actually love it. There’s something very “elevated” about using a brush to scrub-a-dub-dub an it makes me feel like I’m doing something special. They’re really great for exfoliation and the sensation feels more spa-like to me than just using a loofah or wash cloth. The handles also make it easier to reach the back which is super helpful. I enjoy brushes that have firm but soft bristles that don’t feel scratchy and I prefer to use these when I have time and I’m in a pamper mood and I’m breaking out the candles and relaxing music. I got this brush and a longer one at House of Leather and they go from between KShs. 150 ($1.5) to KShs. 250 ($2.5) depending on the size.
These might be the most common wash tools I’ve listed so far because A LOT of people make and use these. They’re available literally everywhere and they’re soooo affordable. And they do look really beautiful and that might be the main reason I use these and have them around. They just look like some exotic shower flower, right? Because of the synthetic mesh and the sheer volume of folds and fabric, these are amazing at holding and lathering product. Things get really foamy really quick and that’s perfect for days when time is of the essence. I find them a little too soft for a proper cleaning ritual and I usually use these when my main aim is just luxuriating. You know? When your’e soaking in a long bath and you’re about doing that bare minimum. I also use these on days where I use an actual scrub to exfoliate because I don’t want to overwhelm my skin. Mostly, I just like them to it pretty. Why lie?
Sponges are the tools I use the least when it comes to bathing but for some reason I just have to have them. I reckon somewhere in the back of my mind you can’t have a shower set-up without having some kind of sponge. The power of societal programming, eh? Just like with the puffs, I prefer to use sponges when bath time is tub time and I’m getting a pamper sesh in. It’s all about luxe for me. They’re really nice and soft and soak up water well but they just do not give me the kind of exfoliation and scrubbing off of dirt that I need. So I go for sponges after shaving m,y legs because I can guarantee gentleness. Natural sea sponges are also really amazing for babies and their delicate skin. I just pick up sponges from any supermarket when I see one that catches my eye. Prices vary according to brand and type of sponge.
When you think you’re the Barefoot Contessa like I do, you’re feet tend to suffer from all that exposure, wear and tear and just plain mistreatment. So I need to get my feet tended to frequently. But because not every day is pedicure day, it’s important to take some of the responsibility and for that I always make sure I have a pumice on hand in my bathroom. They’re so good to keep the soles of our feet soft, cute and healthy. They get the callouses out, dead skin and blister remnants get scrubbed away to reveal healed, softer revitalized skin. And pumice is a must for helping those ghastly cracks we sometimes get vanish. Because crack is wack! I usually get the natural volcanic pumice stones from the same vendors who sell the loofahs and the more manufactured ones at supermarkets. Again, prices vary.
So, these are the cleansing tools I always have in my bathroom and I know, it’s a lot. Do I need all these different things? No. But I love having them because I can cater to my mood and my needs and still feel like I’m doing something not just running soap and water with my hands. Another advantage is that I can alternate usage of each which means I can properly clean and dry each one so that the chances of nasty mold, bacteria and fungi setting up shop on them is reduced. And that is a big deal because a lot of these shower helpers can be the perfect breeding ground for such as they’re always moist and warm, and they have a lot of spaces. That’s why aside from cleaning them as best I can with antibacterials like Dettol or boiling them or making sure to properly air dry them, I replace them often. Every few months is advisable. Thankfully, they’re all widely available and not so harsh on the pockets. So whatever the case, I know my shower time is not compromised. What do you use in the shower? I’d love to know.