As a seasoned beauty editor it’s my job to test and trial things on a daily basis. From peach hair to skin peeling solutions, I’m not afraid to give things a go. But getting me in a bath is no mean feat which is why when Lush asked me to put some of their new bath bombs to the test, I had to think carefully before I gave them the thumbs up. But boy, am I glad I did.
Last year it was reported that sales of bath products were up – partly because they’re being billed as a massive stress reliever (much needed in today’s highly strung society) but partly because of hashtags like #bathart trending on social media. Pictures of fizzy psychedelic scenes that look like art gallery installations, bath time has most definitely had an upgrade from a quick dip in the tub and a customary end-of-day clean. Which begged the question – why was I still putting them on the back burner?
Of course, baths have always been ritualistic – insomniacs are often prescribed lavender soaks to lull them into a relaxed state before bed. But I find them – or should that be, ‘found’ them – quite the opposite. In fact I’d go so far as saying they instilled fear in me. The waiting time while the bath fills up; the issue that I’m always cold so need water that’s scorching hot, only to find myself sweating profusely after five minutes with a burning desire to jump into a cool shower, and the real humdinger – that I could be using that valuable time to be ticking things off my to-do list. I’ve tried to ease the pain using various tactics…reading magazines, catching up on my Instagram feed/emails/bank account, making a phone call…but the anxiety about dropping said publication/phone in the water or being on the phone so long that the water turns tepid and I have to evacuate the tub immediately is far from pleasurable. Yep, I’m a signed, sealed, delivered case of not being able to switch off. And while my sister calls her husband on the way home from a long day at work to get her bath filled so she can have a pre-dinner soak, it would never cross my mind. Ever.
But something strange has happened. Spending a month trialling an array of new bath bombs, my mindset has shifted and so have my bathing habits. Before I began my tub trials, I quizzed my friend’s seven-year-old daughter and bath bomb obsessive, Evie on why she placed such high value on these mesmerising multicoloured balls. “They make the bath go all colourful and the glitter ones you can scoop your finger in and it goes all sparkly and they fizz and whizz and smell amazing.” I was game.
I decided that I’d break my BB virginity after an evening yoga session to top up that virtuous feeling. Opting for Fairy Jasmine, swayed by the divine floral scent, I gave myself a 20-minute time limit, which felt achievable. What I noticed first was that my fingertips and toes didn’t take on that shrivelled raisin-like texture like they normally do mid soak – result. Feeling bold I also skipped the body moisturiser – one self-care step I’m meticulous about. I went to bed feeling uncomfortable about changing my routine, but also rather chuffed that I’d found myself a beauty hack. Still hydrated come morning, I’m onto a winner.
As I worked my way through the bath bombs, I did encounter a predicament that I imagine the #bathart brigade fall victim to as well. Baths are traditionally a phone-free zone to allow for that relaxation and switching off to take place, but when those lumps of brightly coloured baking soda start jetting about the bath, twisting and turning under the water flow, the first thing I wanted to do was reach for my phone to document the process. Take Groovy kind of love– transforming my bath into a Neopolitan ice cream, as the bomb broke down into crumbly little meteorites I found myself scrunching it in my hand waiting for spurts of the rainbow to fizz out. I was regressing. Within beauty it’s usually make-up that takes the giant’s share of playing and experimenting but here I was feeling like a princess in glitter-filled waters. And while I’ve never been able to get on board with mindfulness apps, 20 minutes focusing on nothing else but the shapes and colours that these fun nuggets creates must be doing something for my mental wellbeing?
It’s worth mentioning that during this time great things started happening to my skin too. After indulging in the Bath bomb and admiring the golden glow and shimmer it imparted onto my skin, I jumped out of the tub and applied some fake tan. Not like me at all as I’m pretty lazy in that department. Plus, for a tan to develop evenly it’s important not to moisturise the skin beforehand and I always forget (see above about my obsessive hydration habits), but the bath bomb had left my limbs soft, smooth and hydrated enough for the colour to develop evenly without any patchiness. It also faded fantastically.
All of the above led to a bathing ritual revolution and I found I was factoring baths into my routine. After a Sunday gardening session (rare in itself), after a day of back-to-back meetings in London (pre-dinner) and the big shocker – one morning when I was working from home I opted for a bath over a shower. Something I never thought I’d do. The novelty didn’t wear off either and those hypnotic moments as the bath bombs broke down kept me hooked. Switching off guilt-free and saving precious time and effort on body moisturising, the clear benefits this experiment has had on my brain and body means it’s one tried and tested I won’t be giving up anytime soon.