Soak It And See


Hate baths? Natalie Meehan discards you utterly. Here’s why.

There are two types of people I don’t trust in this world. Those who don’t appreciate the wholesome, unbridled joy to be found in watching videos of cats talking to each other, and those who don’t understand baths.


“Oh but I couldn’t sit there in my own filth!” they claim, with scrunched up noses and wincing eyes. “The waste of the water!” they bark, conveniently disregarding the fact they’ve boiled the full kettle seven times for tea this morning and I’ve only had one coffee (yes, I know this is not the same, but this is my story). “I’d never feel clean enough!”


I simply do not understand. Did I miss a lesson somewhere, where we were taught that baths don’t leave you as clean as a shower? For I know that I personally am not filthy enough at the end of the day that taking a bath is insufficient to wash away the day’s dirt. Granted, working in an office isn’t exactly shinning up a chimney, but come ON – how much daily grime are we really talking here?


Dirt, okay then, disbelievers. I’ll allow it at a push. But worries? Aches and pains? The cold, January chill that gets deep into the bones and makes you feel like you’ve done a gym class when the only activity you’ve done is raising your fork to your lips, and changing the channel to something with Michael Portillo on a train? Totally. Tell me I’m wrong, and I’ll show you a liar.


Winter is cold and dark and long. The bright, crisp days are unexpectedly wonderful, but too fleeting. The hours of daylight are like tiny, fractured slivers of a memory somewhere – of barbecues on the beach and being too hot to wear trousers and of flip-flop blisters and of melting Twister lollies. Did that really happen? Was I really wearing shorts only a few months ago? Did the sun really kiss thin strap marks on my shoulders and coax out my freckles? I can’t be sure.


The darkness that comes at 5pm – later, now, mercifully – brings with it a strange fright. A little panic that there won’t be light again and there will never again be heat on my skin. But with the closing of the bathroom door, the streaming taps and the fogged-up mirror comes a shaking off of the winter and the too-short days. The smell of the cheap, familiar green Radox in the steam is the smell of home, and of forgetting about the grey drizzle outside and of a few lovely, moments of hot nothingness.


And then the cat meows outside the door and I remember that I am here, I am present, and I can take on anything, even in the darkness.


Sali’s favourite bath products

January chill harassing your mellow? Pour these in the bath and wine in the glass. Inhale both.


Mio Liquid Yoga Bath Soak, £26

The perfect winter bath. Herbal ingredients clear the sinuses and soothe achy bones, while essential oils and epsom salts soften dry, scaly skin. This is what I pour when I feel by bones will never thaw and my goose pimples will never recede.


Mandara Spa Bali Santi Indulgent Bath and Shower Cream, £7

I adore this brand. This – my favourite from the range – is a blend of coconut, yoghurt and essential oils and creates fragrant, skin-softening lather at a very reasonable price. Bath haters needn’t miss out either – this can also be used in the shower, and doubles up as an excellent leg shaving cream.


Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath, £32

I’ve either asked for, or treated myself to, this sumptuous bath foam every single Christmas for about ten years. It’s peerlessly luxurious, from the wooden honey dripper used to measure and pour the creme into the bath, to the heavenly smell that fills the whole house for hours. This is serious, next-level decadence.


Badedas Original Bath Gelee, £6.89

An instant Proustian rush transporting me to my 1970s family bath. I will forever love its huge herbal bubbles that stick nicely to the chin for comedy beard cultivation. All seems well when the house is filled with Badedas steam. An infinitely comforting beauty icon.


Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, £42

Who says dry, sensitive types have to dose up with gross petrochemicals from the chemist? This offers rich, treaty luxury for even the touchiest skins. The fragrance (think newborn babies, sprinkled in powder and dressed in freshly ironed onesies) is beautiful but non-irritating and never overpowering, the formula is the most skin softening, non-oily soak you can buy. I often buy this for women in need of a treat who may not be able to tolerate other luxury bath cremes (those undergoing chemotherapy, for example). Trust me, it’s bliss.

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