13 shower essentials every student needs to survive the dorms
Communal showers don't have to be the end of the world.
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When I first moved into my college dorm, the weirdest part was using communal showers. Not being able to just leave my shower stuff in the bathroom? It took some getting used to, especially because I never got the right shower stuff. I was always the one struggling to juggle my shampoo bottles, my loofah, and my towel, usually running through the halls trying to not be late for class just once.
If you want to make your life easier as you adjust to dorm life, don’t skimp on your shower essentials. Seriously. This is everything you’ll need (and everything I wish I’d been smart enough to buy) beyond soap, shampoo, and the like:
1. A plastic or mesh shower caddy that won’t get mildewy
All those canvas bags that are popular this year? Avoid them! They will never dry properly, leaving you with a stinky, moldy shower bag that, let's be honest, you'll never get around to washing. Get a mesh bag or a plastic caddy that can handle being damp.
2. These washable bath cloths that are way less gross than a loofah
Loofahs give you that scrubbed-clean feeling, but after a few uses, they start to fill up with dead skin cells, bacteria and all sorts of gross stuff. Instead, try these reusable bath cloths that we love. The best part is you can just toss them in the laundry after every few uses. Much better.
3. A good pair of shower shoes so your feet never have to touch the shower floor
These adidias slides are as classic as a pair of hi-tops and perfect for any style. And the soles are thicker than that $5 pair of flip flops you were considering, so you don’t have to fear stepping in the occasional, unavoidable puddle.
4. A shower cap for when you just need a quick rinse-off
Sure, you could just pull your hair up and hope you don’t accidentally soak it while you shower, but a shower cap just makes life easier, especially when you’re running late for a midterm and don’t have time to wash and dry your whole mane.
5. A comfy bathrobe with roomy pockets (and a hood)
Trust us on this one. A terrycloth robe, especially one with pockets, is going to be your favorite possession in the dorm. It's much warmer and more modest than darting to the communal showers wrapped in a regular towel. In addition to being warm and comfy, these robes come in lots of different colors.
6. A microfiber towel for frizz-free hair
Microfiber towels are especially great for curly hair, but all hair types can benefit from swapping out a regular bath towel for this cloth that’s absorbent and gentler on your hair to prevent excess breakage and damage.
7. An oversized towel that dries fast
You won’t do your laundry as much as you should once class is in session. You’re busy, there are way more fun things to do, and you'll never seem to have enough quarters. So get a towel that dries super fast and won’t get mildewy and stinky between washes. You’ll be glad you did and bummed if your roommate did not.
8. This set of brushes made to easily detangle your hair
A good hair brush is a necessity for all but the shortest of hair cuts. Unless you plan to go for the dreadlocked hippy look, these brushes can help you stay tangle-free. Plus, they're great for wet hair.
9. This hair dryer that works way better than the price suggests
If you blow dry your hair, you should use a dryer that will give you salon-quality results, right? We recently tested 9 of the highest-rated dryers to find the best of the best, and this Revlon dryer wound up blowing lots of more expensive models out of the water.
10. This waterproof speaker so the party never has to stop
Your dorm mates will either love or hate you for this one, but if you love singing in the shower, you’ll want one of these in your shower caddy. We tested this one ourselves and ranked it in the top 5 best portable speakers. It also has a bungee cord so you can hang it anywhere.
11. This portable, fog-proof shower mirror $12
Whether you’re shaving, singing, or giving yourself a pep talk, a shower mirror can come in handy. If you want to share, leave it there. Otherwise, you’ll need to stick the hook to the wall each time you shower or find a good place to hang or prop it.
12. This waterproof phone case so you don’t miss a thing while you scrub up
Waiting on an email from your professor or just need to check your Snapchat while you shower? Don’t risk wrecking your phone. A waterproof phone pouch is just what you need, and this best-selling option on Amazon is less than $10. That's a lot cheaper than getting a new phone.
13. This subscription razor service
There’s nothing worse than running out of fresh razor blades when you really need to shave. Dollar Shave Club sends you fresh razors each month (and add-ons like shave butter and lotion) so you never have to use a dull blade, which means no razor burn and no need to pick up refills at the store. They’re perfect for faces, legs, armpits, and whatever else you feel like shaving. College is all about experimenting, right?
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.