THE ART OF BATHING

Words: Grace Gargini. Images: Zoe Natale Mannella
 
By exploring how we can elevate our everyday routines and practice sublime acts of self-care as part of SUPERSELF, we’re delving into the holistic benefits of an indulgent, therapeutic and all-out joyous bath with a little help from Dr Barbara Kubicka.

THE ART OF BATHING

Words: Grace Gargini. Images: Zoe Natale Mannella

 

By exploring how we can elevate our everyday routines and practice sublime acts of self-care as part of SUPERSELF, we’re delving into the holistic benefits of an indulgent, therapeutic and all-out joyous bath with a little help from Dr Barbara Kubicka.

You’d be mistaken for thinking a whirl of Imperial Leather will cut the mustard these days – in fact, taking a bath has become something of an art form. There are books, articles, and reams of Instagram posts sharing #bathinspo set-ups to get you in the mood. Here, we celebrate the restorative ritual as we explore the science behind bath-time, along with the practices and products to take your bath to the next level.

 

Having a bath is so much more than simply cleaning your body. It’s a ritual that encourages you to pause, breathe, reflect, read, listen and simply be. It gives us license to check in with our body and mind, often without distractions. But what are the real physical and psychological benefits of a bath? Author of The Bath Project, Dr Barbara Kubicka, explains “bathing has a long history of treating different skin ailments and medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and immune deficiencies. It’s renowned for reducing toxins and stimulating blood circulation which helps reduce stress, fatigue and inflammation. By increasing and lowering our body temperature after bathing, it helps our mind to relax and fall asleep, making it the best natural solution for insomnia.”

BATHING 101   

So, when it comes to creating your bath, should you go for bubbles, oils, milks, salts…? The choice is yours – it really depends on your desired outcome and your mood. Founder of eponymous skincare and wellbeing brand, Susanne Kaufmann, says “the wonderful thing about bathing is that you can personalise it depending on what your body and mind need. For example, milk baths gently calm and soothe the skin as well as alleviate mild skin concerns. Personally, I always aim to end my day with a bath to help unwind for a good night’s sleep – the Oil Bath for Senses is my saviour on days when I need to relax my mind, whereas I love Mountain Pine Bath Oil when my body needs an invigorating boost.”

 

So, it’s all about matching bath products to your specific concern. If aching muscles are an issue, look to the soothing benefits of Epsom or Himalayan salts. If you’re stressed, tired or need to clear your head, go for a blend of powerful aromatherapy oils that will help relax a busy mind. And if you’re in the mood for big joyful bubbles, then indulge your inner child with some of the more sophisticated formulas now available (such as Laura Mercier’s super-indulgent Honey Bath). But there are no strict rules; just pour in a mix of whatever feels and smells good to you.

BODY BEAUTIFUL

The beauty of bath-time is that it encourages you to take part in other self-care rituals you might ordinarily overlook. As you’ve carved out time for yourself, spend some attention on your body while the bath water is running – whether it’s harnessing the benefits of traditional body-brushing techniques, or a detoxifying body scrub (similar to the charcoal soaps still used in Hammams today) to exfoliate dry skin, improve blood circulation and give the skin an invigorating wake-up before you step into the bath.

 

Once out of the bath, your skin may feel hydrated, but this can be deceptive as the water absorbs or evaporates – some may even find their skin feels drier or irritated after a bath if the formula is too strong. So be sure to follow with a nourishing body lotion, balm, or oil. Some favourites include the Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil, a fast-absorbing formula that’s made of plant extracts for all skin types, plus Aesop’s range of luxurious body lotions that smell as good as they feel on the skin. 

MARVELLOUS MASKS

It’s likely you don’t have 15 minutes spare in your daily routine to indulge in a double hair and skin mask, so use this time to your advantage. “During a bath, I love to apply a mask or a peel,” says Susanne Kaufmann, “our Enzyme Peel is my go-to for instantly radiant-looking skin. Formulated with fruit acids, it gently removes dead skin cells whilst refining pores to reveal a beautiful, glowing complexion.” If you have blemish-prone or congested skin, opt for a clarifying clay mask, like this mud mask from Omorovicza, and if your skin needs plumping hydration, Sisley’s Black Rose Mask is a bestseller for good reason.

 

With so many hair masks needing (at least) 10-15 minutes, now’s the time to let them work their magic – try Olaplex’s salon-favourite treatments or OUAI’s masques that are designed for different hair types.

SET THE MOOD

So much of bath-time is about setting the mood. “I start my bathing ritual by preparing the mixture whilst the bath is running. The next most important thing is to create an ambience with dimmed lighting, candles and soft music,” says Dr Kubicka. “After some meditative breathing, I use a Japanese flat stone to massage the face and body to help lymphatic drainage and reduce water retention.” Alongside your relaxing candle or room spray of choice, a good podcast or playlist is perfect for creating a complete sensory experience. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve created a bespoke bath-time Spotify playlist to help you feel your most zen – check it out below. Now, all that’s left is to dim the lights, turn on the taps, light the candle and breeeeaaathe…

Feel good, inside and out

Our beauty and wellbeing experts are on hand (in store and from home) with inspirational tips and advice, from relaxing treatments to revitalising skincare and joy-inducing make-up. As we explore innovative wellbeing and sublime self-care practices as part of SUPERSELF, the Beauty Concierge team has also designed an exclusive spa-worthy consultation session tailored to your skincare needs. Click below to find out more and book.

Meet Our Beauty & Wellness Experts 

You can now book an in-store appointment (including hair, nails and skincare appointments) with some of our beauty brands, or access inspirational beauty advice from home via video call with one of our experts. 

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