What To Know Before You Try The Trendy Eucalyptus Shower Trick

If you've ever dreamed of bathing under a waterfall in the woods, you're going to want to check out the latest shower trend taking over Instagram. You've probably seen it — people are hanging bunches of eucalyptus branches from their shower heads. It looks lovely, and makes you feel like an adorable little koala bear (they eat the leaves almost exclusively). It may also help soothe your stress, open up your breathing a bit, and smells just delightful. 

If you haven't tried it, it's pretty easy. You can grab a few branches from a florist, Trader Joe's, or Whole Foods. Pull the leaves off of the bottom to give yourself room to attach them. Put them on a dishtowel and roll over them with a wine bottle or a rolling pin to bruise the leaves a bit, which releases the oils containing the scent. Then, attach them to your shower head with twine, a rubber band, or a hair tie. Change them out every three weeks (per Healthline), and try to keep them out of the direct water stream. If they're blocking all your lotions and potions, try getting a stick-on hook for the other side of your shower and hang it there instead. 

Simple, sure, but there are a few things you need to know before you deck out your shower stall like an Australian spa. (That's where eucalyptus comes from, by the way.) We'll give you all the dos and don'ts for this fragrant trend. 

The benefits of eucalyptus

Let's start with the benefits of eucalyptus and what you should be doing. First of all, little koala, it smells lovely. Eucalyptus is a cool scent along the lines of mint and rosemary, and it's often used in the same products. The scent tends to relax us and is sometimes found in calming products like the De-Stress Spray from Babylonian Soap Company

Folk medicine has long mentioned anecdotal stories of eucalyptus being used to clear your breathing tubes. Please note that this is through scent; again, it's anecdotal. Still, brands like Williams Sonoma offer a rosemary eucalyptus spray to put on your shower walls and inhale. You'll also see it used as an ingredient in products like Vicks VapoRub

Eucalyptus is often used in bug repellents like Repel and Off!, and is also the main ingredient in many products to help inflammation. There was even a 2013 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that inhaling eucalyptus oil made participants feel less pain. There is also some evidence that it lowered blood pressure. Please, though, if you're having medical issues, do see a doctor, and don't rely on a pretty shower accessory as your sole M.D.

What you need to watch out for

Now the very important caveats. Do not, under any circumstances, take eucalyptus oil internally, as it can cause seizures. It can also be an allergic irritant, which is one of the reasons you don't want the leaves right under your shower stream — oils in the eyes can be very irritating. If you notice any allergic reaction on your skin, take it down and call your doctor, or 911 for severe reactions. 

If you don't want to risk it, you can always use fake eucalyptus for the look and use a eucalyptus shower spray, a body wash, soap, or even a shower steamer that releases scent with steam. Do take note these body washes or soaps might create a cooling sensation on your genitalia. If you plan on having guests use your shower, warn them. Let's just say that it can be a "refreshing" shock for visitors.

Absolutely do not use eucalyptus if you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant, nursing, or if you have small children at home. There aren't enough studies on this, and it's always better to be safe than sorry. Eucalyptus can also be toxic to pets, so if your cat is a bit of a climber, skip this trend. All of that said, it's lovely to come across a shower/decorating trend that's relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to accomplish. Happy showering!