Three Ways To Make Your Bath Time A Truly Luxurious Experience
Without wishing to rehash the age-old bath versus shower debate that has been, ahem, bubbling over in the MR PORTER office this year (if you really must, read all about it here), there’s something that only a long soak in a tub can offer: “me” time. Time is something we’ve all had a bit too much of this year, but how much has been squandered tending to children, Zoom meetings or sourdough starters and how much has been spent on you? Your bathroom might be just the place for this (provided you remember to lock the door).
Don’t just take our word for this. Science, the discipline that has worked so hard to get us out of this jam, has some choice words on taking a bath. Research shows that, by improving your blood circulation, a hot bath can do more than soothe aches and pains. Neck-depth immersion is thought to improve the flow of blood for the brain, which in turn improves cognition and memory. It’s no coincidence that Greek mathematician Archimedes had his eureka moment in the bath (although he might have accidently sat at the tap end).
Given that so many of us have had to adapt to remote working this year, the bathtub might just be the place for inspiration. We can neither confirm nor deny whether this article was written while submerged in warm, soapy water, but we strongly advise you to keep electrical equipment, such as a laptop, out of the bathroom. However, the following items, along with a playlist weighted heavily towards Enya, are actively encouraged.
Oil can do strange things to a man – just look at how Sir Daniel Day-Lewis turned out in There Will Be Blood. Ironically, his ruthless prospector might not have been nearly so highly strung had he had a few drops of oil in his bath.
The impact of oil – a different breed from the black gold Daniel Plainview was sniffing out – to a bath is two-fold. First, it results in an increase in cutaneous hydration, which means your skin absorbs more of the water and thereby softens it and allows it to gain more nourishment. And second, as a sensory experience, a bath oil can present a physical or emotional shift for the body. Combined with dimmed lighting and the right ambience (we’d stop short of whale song), it’s perfect for a reset.
Susanne Kaufmann’s range of bathing products is infused with natural products with known medicinal benefits. In the case of Bath Oil For The Senses, lavender, ylang-ylang and patchouli, all of which will help you unwind. For those with a yen to take a dip as ludicrously luxurious as the bath Ms Marilyn Monroe was once rumoured to have drawn (a 350-bottle-per-tub habit), we can’t help with the bubbly. We can, however, point you in the direction of Sisley’s Eau de Campagne Bath and Body Oil, which is close enough, and uses botanical extracts to ease tension. And pray that all of your bain be champagne.
In most of polite society, the use of heroin is frowned upon. As are most opioids. So, the resourceful and intuitive species that we are, we have come up with more healthful ways to loosen up after a long day. Booze is one (a drug, like heroin, but one with a more successful PR team behind it). TV is another (also not great for restful sleep). An alternative? The relaxing scent of a candle.
The only thing to bear in mind here is to put it out once you have finished your bath. Otherwise, lie back and enjoy the smell of a Buly 1803 Pater Mateos candle, which, we are reliably informed, is “based in heady incense and musk” and has “notes of bergamot, lemon and rosewood that fade to a heart of floral, marine and woody accords”. Something to ponder as you toy with your rubber duck.
If the idea of a burning bell jar on your bathroom shelf seems too dramatic, Diptyque’s smaller Ambre is, if not quite down to earth, certainly more earthy. With spicy notes of aniseed and tonka bean to give it a lift, the vetiver at the core of this scent is known for its sedative qualities and is less of a dependency issue than chasing the dragon.
“A towel,” Mr Douglas Adams noted in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, “is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have… Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
Even if your daily routine keeps you closer to home, a substantial towel is still something to covet. And few are as covetable as these by Missoni Home. Fashioned from unfathomably soft cotton-terry, this five-piece collection features the celebrated Italian house’s trademark stripes, and is not something you’d want to leave strewn somewhere near Alpha Centauri.
If you’re more of a Man With No Name than an Arthur Dent, Pendleton has a hooded towel that has more than a whiff of the poncho made famous by Mr Clint Eastwood, with a pattern that’s a nod to the terrain of Utah’s Canyonlands. To be worn in your abode, not strolling into some one-horse frontier town.