On social media, the shower has become much more than a daily act of hygiene. TikTokers are aiming to make the shower into a ritual that helps liberate the mind. Between fruits, vegetables and detailed body-care practices, TikTokers are rivalling one another with ingenious ways to make a shower more than just a shower.

One idea that recently went viral on TikTok, is the Shower Orange, which has accumulated over 4.5 million views. The concept is simple: it consists of eating an orange in the shower in order to benefit from the scent of the citrus fruit in a kind of natural aromatherapy rite. TikToker Makenzy Smith explains the process in a video: "So when you get in the shower, and you peel an orange, essentially you’re getting all of that delicious aromatic orange citrusy peel. When you mix that in with hot steam, it makes your shower smell amazing." According to its fans, this spa-like practice helps them release pressure and reduce stress, while as a bonus you don’t have any sticky fingers to deal with.

Other TikTok users have shared videos of showering with plants. According to devotees of this practice, taking a shower with aromatic plants suspended in the shower, such as eucalyptus, not only allow you to enjoy the scent, but can also help you breathe better by clearing the airways thanks to the steam of the hot water and the decongestant properties of the plant. Proponents note the spa-like experience and stress relief, and even the sensation of peace.

At the beginning of the year, many influencers were touting the benefits of the so-called Everything Shower. As its name suggests, it’s about making a shower an all-in-one experience: body scrub, hair mask, shaving, any and every self-care task is on the list. These intensive showers provide a feeling of being at the spa. The goal is to feel completely clean from head to toe. Although this kind of shower takes time and energy, it’s a very satisfying experience for many of those who undertake such a ritual. One TikToker, named Jenna.Grwm, shows her entire ritual in a video, from hair mask to facial exfoliation to nail care. Despite the lengthy process, she feels it’s valuable. "The work is so worth it in the end because you feel so much better," she explains.

These shower rituals may not be new to everyone, but their exposure on TikTok means more are trying them out in a desire to reduce anxiety and daily stress. In fact, a Canadian study published in 2022 established a link between cleaning oneself and stress reduction. To reach this conclusion, researchers from the University of Toronto showed an anxiety-provoking video to more than a thousand adults. After viewing the video, the panel was divided into three distinct groups. The first group watched another instructional video on hand-washing, the second group watched a video on how to draw a circle, and the third group watched a video on how to peel an egg. The group that watched the hand-washing video subsequently showed lower levels of anxiety than the others. "Daily cleaning behaviour may facilitate coping with stressors like physical risks and psychological threats to the self," the researchers concluded.