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6 Ways to Get Soft Skin and Shiny Hair

If your workout routine has you showering more than once a day, protect against dry skin and hair with these moisture-boosting tricks.

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J. Ryan Roberts
woman in shower
J. Ryan Roberts
J. Ryan Roberts
J. Ryan Roberts
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Happy, Healthy Hair

In the morning: Use a sulfate-free shampoo to avoid drying your locks, says James Corbett, a salon owner in New York City. (One we like: Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo, $8, Once a week, wash with a shampoo made with sodium laureth, which should be listed among the first ingredients on the bottle. "It will remove product buildup without stripping moisture," Corbett says.

Post-workout: Put on a shower cap and wash from the neck down only. "Every time you shampoo, the lathering action of your fingers stimulates your scalp's oil glands into overdrive, leading to slick strands later on," Corbett says. In two or three weeks, your scalp will naturally adjust to fewer washes. After your shower, sprinkle a dry shampoo onto your scalp and brush it through your hair to sop up grease and sweat from roots to ends.

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A Glowing Complexion

In the morning: Adjust the water temperature to lukewarm before washing your face. The reason for this is season-specific: "Your face is more sensitive than your body during winter because it's constantly exposed to cold air and wind," says David Leffell, MD, chief of dermatologic surgery at Yale School of Medicine. Use a nonsoap cleanser and focus on the T-zone, the oiliest part of your face.

Post-workout: To keep skin hydrated and acne-free, tote a soap made for your complexion to the gym. "Many women lather their face with locker-room body soap, which is usually too harsh," says Elissa Lunder, MD, a dermatologist in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and a FITNESS advisory board member. She suggests a noncomedogenic oil-based cleanser, which gently removes sweat without clogging pores.

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Soft Skin

In the morning: It takes eight hours for skin to naturally replenish the moisture it loses from a shower, according to new research by Dove. And your arms, chest, back, and torso can be left drier than your lower half because hot water hits the skin there first, Dr. Lunder explains. Use warm water instead (plus a body scrub to lift dead skin) and call it quits after 10 minutes, she says.

Post-workout: After your second shower of the day, gently pat -- don't rub -- your skin with a towel. Then reach for a hydrating mist of essential oils, such as orange and geranium. "The dampness of the mist allows skin to better absorb a moisturizer," says Jessica Clark, head aesthetician at Equinox Spas in New York City. (Try Aveda Chakra Balancing Body Mist, $30, Apply all over, then lotion up.

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Silky Legs

In the morning: Many women shave their legs with regular bar soap. But soap plus the calcium in hard water, found in 89 percent of U.S. homes, forms a gummy coating and makes skin drier than soap alone, according to Dove research. Use a body wash made with sodium lauroyl isethionate, a soap alternative. (A good one: Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash with NutriumMoisture, $5.84, drugstores.)

Post-workout: Shave every day, but not after every shower. "A razor removes the protective top layers of your skin, along with hair," says Howard Sobel, MD, a dermatologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. When you do de-fuzz, choose a four-blade razor -- it offers the closest shave, allowing you to use a gentle hand, which preserves natural moisture -- and opt for a hydrating shaving cream, not gel.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2010.

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Fitness Magazine, January 2010
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