Perfecting the art of a self-care bath

Words by Hannah Cole

Illustration by Twylamae


The days of glorified bathing have been revived and oh boy am I glad. Naysayers and shamers are slowly switching teams, now espousing the therapeutic and joyful benefits of a long soak. I too was once a doubter, but the shades have been peeled from my eyes, and my heart has been filled. Just the thought of a rose-scented soak makes me giddy. I’m clearly not the only one to feel this way. Instagrammers hashtag up a storm and popular news sites feed me the latest news in bath bombs and related accoutrements.

I put this renaissance down to two things: nostalgia and self-care. The rose-tinted glasses have poised themselves nicely on my nose as I reminisce the days of childhood baths. What fun was to be had! Getting clean was no daily chore but an adventure in bubbly bliss. Innocence always meets its end, though, as I became horrified to bathe in my own filth. A shower offered a quicker alternative; all the more hours to spend socialising.

While a shower ticks off cleanliness just fine, it lacks the care, the time, and the wholesomeness of lying in a bath and just breathing. Self-care, for many of us, culminates in this one big porcelain tub. For me, bathing has become a time of ultimate *zen*. I light some candles, drop the bath bomb and read/listen/think. The pace of my heart slows; I breathe wholly. No form of meditation that I’ve tried has even come close to these soothing effects. My mental health is reliant on a regular soak – I’m counting down the hours until my next as I write.

Self-care looks different for everyone, but maybe it’s worth delving into the art of #bathtime and giving it a go. To make this transition simple, here is your checklist of requirements to ensure your time is as ~chill~ as possible.

1. The tub

No tub, no bath. I shake my fists at rental apartments depleted of bathing glory, but if you have so been blessed, keep a firm grip on that lease. The tub is a precious asset. And if you are lacking, may I suggest a brief staycation. Book yourself in for a one-night getaway in a room with an artfully-placed, luscious bath.

2. The bath caddy

Second to a tub, the bath caddy is of utmost importance. Without this bench, your bathing activities will be severely limited. Opt for a perfectly moulded slab, complete with wine glass holder and book rest, or a simple copper style. A skateboard will suffice just fine too if things get desperate.

3. The bubbles

I am very partial to a so-good-you-could-eat-it bath bomb (care of Lush). They fizz away, create a technicolour bath dream and leave you smelling delicious. Alternatively, a combination of Epsom Salts and essential oils are an au naturel homemade option. If bubbles are the name of your game, find one delicate on the skin to ensure optimal post-bath hydration.

4. The beverage and/or snacks

We require prolonged bathing time, so don’t risk an early exit because of your tum. My beverage of choice is undoubtedly wine – *pure decadence*. If your body is a temple, a glass of kombucha will suit just fine. A prerequisite for snacks: they must not be flaky or crunchy to avoid unwanted floaties. Stick to equally lush, non-messy offerings like olives, chocolate or grapes. The daring eat their dinner while bathing.

5. The atmosphere

The whole point of this experience is to reach your ultimate zen level. For many, this means the entire bathroom is ensconced in a level of appropriate darkness – farewell stark light-bulbs. Light a few candles, scatter them around the room and watch the steam rise.

6. The activity

Last, but definitely not least, comes the activity. I would argue that almost anything could be completed in a bath if one really put their mind to it. My favourites: reading a book I have had too little time for, listening to a podcast, or watching the latest ‘Killing Eve’ episode. But you do you.

I’m looking forward to seeing bath-created art projects taking over Instagram very soon – #bathart.

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