Step away from the shower; it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the joys of a proper soak
January. It’s looking pretty grim out there. And whether your detox has somehow resulted in a reinvigorated love for lattes (me) or you’re exhausted from trying to burn off the post-holiday calories (definitely not me), the short days, torrential rain and nasty colds lurking about every office are probably taking their toll.
For this, I prescribe a little something to which I have always been loyal: a daily bath – or as close to daily as you can realistically afford, time-wise. There is something so gloriously indulgent about taking thirty minutes or so for yourself, shutting the door on the universe and saying sod all to family and friends as you sink into steamy, fragranced water with a good book. If you’re not someone who does this often, I seriously recommend it. Its not just good for your soul; a warm bath relaxes tense muscles, helps with blocked sinuses, winds the body down for sleep and is great for softening dry skin and soothing itchy winter eczema (try adding a cupful of oats – it really does help).
Now, if I’ve done my job and you’re currently longing for a soaking, you need to equip yourself with the best in the bathing business. On a recent trip to Paris, my boyfriend did good and returned with a giant bottle of L’Occitane’s Lavande Foaming Bath, £19 for 500ml (though he was devastated to see the same ‘French’ shop in Westfield on his return). This gorgeous liquid, packaged in a beautiful rustic tin bottle, is my bath discovery of the decade. With a vegetal cleansing base, it leaves skin clean and supple, while the lavender essential oil from Haute-Provence has calming and soothing properties. Close your eyes and you’ll be transported to rows of lavender on a sunny day in Provence. I’ve been following my lavender baths with a healthy slathering of Rococo Chichi Whipped Shea Body Butter with Lavender and Vitamin E, £9.95. This 100% natural thick balm transforms into a nourishing sheen of oil as you rub it into your skin, and the subtle scent complements the fragrance left behind by the bubbles.
For aching muscles, supermarket stalwart Radox Muscle Soak contains clary sage and sea minerals and has a lightly masculine fragrance which I find very soothing after a workout or strenuous yoga session. But if you prefer a less traditionally feminine scent, try Badedas Essence Bath Gelee, which I’ve been obsessed with since childhood. The smell is unique: imagine bathing deep in a forest surrounded by vines and green ferns, and you aren’t even half-way close to how fabulous it is. I also love how it turns the bath water a verdant shade of pale green – once you’ve tried this classic, you won’t go back.
Finally, I couldn’t mention baths without a nod to Lush, whose bath bombs have turned up in my Christmas stocking for as long as I can remember. Their latest release is a Love Locket, £6.95; with sensual oils including heady jasmine and neroli – and an actual keyhole in the front, which you break open to reveal an extra bomb inside. It’s marketed for romantic co-baths, but if you can get past the luminous pink, it’s the perfect present-to-self. Add a chilled glass of desert wine, and January suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all.