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How to create those relaxing baths you keep seeing on Instagram


“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them,” Sylvia Plath wrote in The Bell Jar. While her book may have been published over 50 years ago, this piece of advice is still as relevant today as it ever was. 

After all, a bath is such an essential salve to so many, that there’s even a day – International Bath Day – dedicated to the art of soaking. *Adds date to calendar*

Whereas showers are no-nonsense and efficient; the hygiene equivalent of a colour-coded to-do list, best employed post-jog or pre-work; baths are blissfully drawn out and contemplative.

 They’re indulging in the forgotten art of stillness. They’re remembering what it’s like to have a break from your phone. They’re giving yourself a pat on the back at the end of a tiring, stressful, looooooooooong day.

@domsli22 / Instagram

In short, soaking in a warm bath is one of the simplest ways to be kind to yourself. And whether the current Covid state of affairs has left you struggling with your mental health, you’re feeling burnt out at work, you’re wrought with financial worries or even just crying out for some time to yourself, two things are for sure, you’re not alone and we could all do with being extra kind to ourselves right now.

@lenaterlutter / Instagram

And so, now is not the time for a mediocre bath. You probably don’t have time to bathe twice a day (like Emma Watson) or even five times a day (like Tom Ford – no, seriously). But if you’re looking forward to a nice long soak in these anxious and – to use the word de jour – unprecedented times, you deserve it to be as relaxing as possible. You want blissful vibes only. You want all the at-home spa bathroom (spathroom?) feels. You want to chill the f*** out.

We hear you. So does the whole of social media; people have been taking to Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for some time now to showcase their delightfully smug lockdown baths replete with bath bombs, candles and slogan bath mats and fluffy bath towels. In fact, #BathTok is popping off right now on TikTok, with people uploading videos of themselves preparing what can only be described as ‘decadent’ tubs, full of everything and anything, from dried flower petals to crystals. 

It all started with the ‘Lockdown bath’, a term coined by people during the pandemic to refer to that indulgent, languishing soak that we all so desperately needed to help us escape for a few moments. Plus, we’d watched everything on Netflix and couldn’t see our friends, so what else was there to do?

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And there’s actual science to it as well, because experts say that a bath can help elevate your mood, encourage better sleep (yes, please), relieve muscle pains, keep your heart healthy and soothe irritated skin (what about an irritated soul?). 

So, if you’re in need of something more than just supermarket-own bubble bath and a quick fix minute soak, we’ve shared are our tried-and-tested ways to perfecting the art of the luxurious bath.

@m_golovina / Instagram

Follow these steps and before long you’ll be luxuriating in warm, soapy suds, trying to remember why you ever felt so stressed in the first place. 

Inform the co-habitants

If there’s one thing guaranteed to disturb the peace of your bath, it’s your flatmate/ significant other/ spawn/ parent/ dog. Deliver a house-wide pre-bath briefing, then lock the damn door.

Ditch the phone

You may be tempted to use this time to respond to all those unanswered WhatsApps, or mindlessly scroll through social media, or challenge your best mate on the Scrabble app – but these are all terrible ideas. Mobile phones do not a relaxing bath make.

Prep the bevs

This is no time for self-restraint or moderation. Open the good bottle of wine you were saving for celebrations and/or emergencies (this is arguably both). Or go sans booze with a cup of herbal tea, a smoothie or a virgin cocktail. Whatever your tipple of choice, use the nicest glass you own.

Choose the entertainment

We know phones are off limits, but decide whether you’d like your favourite podcast, a book, some music or an audiobook to accompany you in the tub. Or just soak up the suds in serene silence.

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Choose the best bath products

Finally, you need the right products to truly perfect the art that is the bath. Silky-soft shower gels, muscle-soothing salts, skin-smoothing oils, relaxing masks for hair and skin, fabulous foamers and of course, the very best at-home spa candles.

We also have a top tip from The Dorchester’s spa director, Sally Pedder. “Of all the fragrant essential oils Sally works with at the spa, she has one particular favourite, a comforting blend of rose, lavender and peppermint. She enthuses: “This glorious combination smells amazing and helps to soothe any skin irritations, relieve tension and improve energy levels – it’s a really great all-rounder. There’s nothing quite like a long bath at the end of the day. Sally says, “Bath infusions are a great way to relax, and you always feel wonderful afterwards. Simply add to your bath water to release all those wonderful aromas.”

Happy bathing.



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