Discover tips for keeping up with brushing teeth, showering, and more

Not being able to maintain personal hygiene is a reality for many people suffering from depression. When it’s hard to simply get out of bed, taking a shower or brushing teeth can seem like an impossible task. It is important to remember that you are not lazy or gross; you are just struggling right now. 

Try your best to take even small steps to maintain personal hygiene. These small steps can help you feel better physically and more accomplished mentally. The following hygiene hacks can help. 

  • Use dry shampoo: dry shampoo can help remove the extra oil in your hair. Hold it 4-6 in away from hair and spray directly at the roots. Then, using your fingertips, massage the product into the roots and scalp so it’s evenly distributed. 
  • Try a sink bath or use baby wipes: for a sink bath, use a wash cloth and some soap in the sink and use it to wash the “dirtier” areas (such as armpits, etc.). You can even try washing your hair under the faucet if the sink is deep enough. Baby wipes are another alternative you can use even while still in bed. 
  • Take a bath instead of a shower, or purchase a shower chair: if the thought of standing in the shower for a long time deters you from taking a shower, consider taking a bath or buying a shower chair. You could also make the bath a relaxing, therapeutic experience, with bath bombs and essential oils.


Brushing Teeth

There are a number of ways to keep breath fresh and your mouth relatively  clean when you haven’t been able to brush your teeth. These include: 

  • Using mouthwash
  • Chewing minty gum: look for sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, a naturally-occurring sweetener that reduces cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Examples include: 5 Sugar-Free gum, Ice Breakers Ice Cubes Sugar-free gum, and Orbit Sugar-Free gum.
  • Using disposable toothbrushes: Disposable toothbrushes are difficult to find in stores but can be found online. Examples include Wisps and Brushee. They don’t require water and are great for when it is difficult to get out of bed.


  • Consider purchasing clothing dry wash sprays (such as this one) meant to give clothing a refresh. 
  • Use stain removing pens and wipes to get stains out.
  • For wrinkly clothes, use wrinkle release spray (such as this one) that removes most wrinkles without an iron.
Brushing Hair

Not being able to keep up with activities such as brushing your hair may bring up a lot of emotions, like shame, embarrassment, and sadness. It might help to know these issues are actually quite common, as we see in this article. Here are the general steps for detangling “depression hair” (may vary slightly depending on hair type):


1. Prepare yourself: this may take a while and some hair could fall out, which could be difficult. Make the environment as soothing as possible by brightening the room, utilizing paced breathing (the breathwrk app is great for this), and turning on music that makes you feel good.

2. Get your equipment together: You will need:

    • One full spray bottle of water
    • Deep conditioner or some detangling oil
    • 3 combs – one wide-tooth, one “medium-spaced,” one standard comb
    • A small set of of hair scissors (*You may want to have a friend to handle the scissors if you do not feel safe around them)

3. Begin detangling.

  1. Moisten the hair (but avoid drenching it, as that can cause breakage). Lightly spray and massage scalp.
  2. Apply deep conditioner and leave in according to instructions.
  3. Start with your fingers. Gently un-knot the easier spots first with your fingers.
  4. Comb time. Start with the widest comb first and focus on the ends by holding your hair firmly and lightly combing the ends. As your hair starts to detangle, work your way toward your scalp.
  5. Once you’ve loosened it a bit, comb with the “medium” spaced comb, followed by the smallest.
  6. If need-be, you may need to use the scissors on a section of matted hair that refuses to loosen. First, get a good hold of it, and then lightly run the scissor blade  on the underside of the matted hair. Tug at the matted section gently to see if it loosens. 

4. Consider going to a professional hairdresser/barber: it may difficult to untangle all the matted hair. Also if energy and concentration is low, going to a professional from the get-go might be the preferred decision.

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