Practical Guide to Taking a Shower in Chinese
But, there’s one strategy that you probably haven’t heard of: take a shower in Chinese.
Am I serious? Is this just some weird metaphor for immersion?
Yes… and no. Learning Chinese takes commitment. So, level up your commitment by studying Chinese everywhere: even in the shower!
By the end of this article, you will have bathed yourself in Chinese vocabulary, lathered up your hair with sample sentences, scrubbed up with new knowledge of common shampoo brands found in China, and finally, rinsed off, with practice situations that will prepare you to apply this knowledge in the real world!
How to Take a Shower in Chinese
If you aren’t in China, consider labeling your shampoo bottles with these words or taping a laminated page with shower-related vocabulary and phrases in your shower so that you can 复习 (review) every time you bathe – which is hopefully frequently!
However, if you are in China, or considering traveling to China for a semester or a summer internship, consider this your shopping survival guide so that you don’t accidentally end up going home with three bottles of conditioner instead of what you actually need: body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.
Although shopping for basic groceries and toiletries sounds easy, until you actually walk into a store and realize that you never learned the word for shampoo and can’t tell which of the 30 options on the shelves is the bottle you need!
But, never fear, if you want to take a shower in Chinese, it is as easy as learning a few new vocabulary words.
In my experience, one simple shopping trip cemented these characters into my memory forever.
Immersion really does work!
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Basic Shower Vocabulary
|English||Chinese Hanzi (Pinyin)|
|Shampoo||洗发水 (xǐfàshuǐ), 洗发露 (xǐfàlù)|
|Body Wash||沐浴露 (mùyùlù)|
|Hair dryer||吹风机 (chuīfēngjī)|
|Face wash||洗面奶 (xǐmiànnǎi)|
|To bathe||洗澡 (xǐzǎo)|
|To shower||淋浴 (línyù)|
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Common Shower Product Brands
Walking into a grocery store in a foreign country can be dizzying. New products, new items, so many choices to make- all in a foreign language! Decision making can be hard.
That’s why it is useful to familiarize yourself with some of the most common brands in-advance.
Some of these are international brands, others are found only in China.
If you are extremely particular about your hair care brands or have a hair type that is very uncommon in China (extremely curly, for example), you may want to pack some extra product in your suitcase.
Most products available internationally are also available in China, but some are much more expensive and difficult to find.
Luckily, if you have straight or wavy hair, the options at Chinese grocery stores should be sufficient!
Although international grocers in bigger cities may offer a simplified shopping experience by selling items labeled in English, you will save a lot of money and transit time by simply heading over to your nearest supermarket to stock up on shower supplies.
Start practicing your Chinese now!
The key to learning to take a shower in Chinese is to really use the small details in life to learn useful Chinese that you can connect immediately to your life.
Zoom in on these bottles and see if you can read the product and scent information, all crucial information for taking a shower in Chinese.
(Like learning about different brands you will see in China? Check out this list of common milk tea brands!)
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Shower Your Chinese with Full Sentences
The most common way to announce that you are going to take a shower in Chinese is to say “我要去洗澡了.” (I’m going to go shower/take a bath, wǒyào qù xǐzǎo le).
Although in English, people tend to more specifically say “I’m going to go shower” or “I’m going to take a nice relaxing bath tonight,” 洗澡 (to bathe, xǐzǎo), as opposed to 淋浴 (to shower, línyù) is the most common word to refer to any form of washing up.
Consider these other sentences and see if you notice any of the vocabulary listed above.
Remember that you can print out this list and stick it near your shower to really take a shower in Chinese!
mùyùlù zài nǎlǐ
|Where is the body wash?|
wǒyào qù xǐzǎo le
|I’m going to go bathe/shower!|
tā měitiān xǐ liǎngcì línyù
|She showered twice a day.|
yòng xǐfāyè xǐxǐ
tóufa ránhòu cāgān
|Shampoo your hair and dry it.|
zài xǐzǎo huò línyù
hòu yòng sīguāluò ànmó shēntǐ
|After a bath or shower rub down the whole body with a loofah.|
Advanced Chinese Learner Practice
Watching children’s shows like Peppa Pig (小猪佩奇 , xiǎo zhū pèiqí) is a great way to embrace the “take a shower in Chinese” learning philosophy at a metaphorical level.
TV and other media like music are important tools to help you learn how people truly use the Chinese language and to adjust your ears to the phrasings and sounds of Chinese.
Take a Shower in Chinese: Real Life Practice
Imagine you are in the following situations where you will need to use your newfound vocabulary to successfully take a shower in Chinese.
What will you say (in Chinese!)? What do you think the other person will say in response?
- You are in a grocery store in Shanghai looking for shampoo. All you can find is laundry detergent! You see someone in the store uniform. How will you ask them where the shampoo is?
- You have arrived at the section with shampoo, but there are so many bottles of different brands. How will you ask for a suggestion or recommendation?
- You are doing a home stay in Beijing and do not know if you are allowed to use the family’s shampoo. How do you ask?
For bonus points and extra practice, shower the world with your answers in the comments below!
Shower in Chinese – FAQ’s
我要去洗澡了。wǒyào qù xǐzǎo le
洗发水 (xǐfàshuǐ) or 洗发露 (xǐfàlù)
她每天洗两次淋浴。tā měitiān xǐ liǎngcì línyù
沐浴露在哪里？ mùyùlù zài nǎlǐ
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