African Botanics $75
Bathtime tips from VIOLET GREY and our tub-hopping interviewees.
Written By ERICA LOPEZ AND JACK SUNNUCKS
At VIOLET GREY, we take baths very seriously—and have been known to engage in spirited debates about the questions surrounding the art form. (Bubble bath—yay or nay? Nibbling croissants in the tub: indulgent or inappropriate?)
1. CALL ME BABY (OR DON’T)
The bath is the ideal place to unplug—but no one needs her new iPhone 7 meeting a watery end. But while the sound of silence is much lauded, it can also be somewhat terrifying, allowing one’s thoughts to play over and over at full volume. To put anxiety on mute and encourage relaxation, try whale sounds for a distracting aquatic theme. If marine mammals aren’t your thing, put classical music on your Jambox speaker and imagine triumphing over adversities to the soundtrack of soaring violins.
I will not take a bath without some kind of bubbles. As a kid I would use Ivory Liquid soap and Joy dishwashing detergent because I didn’t want to clean the tub.
2. DON’T DRINK THE BATHWATER
But do drink other liquids. Water is obviously up there, as you’ll be sweating profusely in the primordial, womblike waters of your tub. More exciting, obviously, is alcohol. We recommend either something with a really large ice cube or a tipple that’s okay at room temp. We suggest red wine, as your warm paw will help release its scent, or Champagne on ice—what the French call a piscine.
I don’t like showers. Why do ANYTHING standing up that you could do LYING down?
SHOP BATH FAVORITES
I was in Provence last summer, antiquing, and found this pure oil that they harvest [from] the LAVENDER fields. I have a gallon of it that I transfer to different bottles by my bathtub. It’s an ART FORM for me, bathing.
I like to get in the bath and put in some Epsom salts and oil and magnesium. My prepping is very holistic.
3. THE COMPLETE CLEOPATRA
Liz Taylor as Cleopatra had it right—baths look best when accessorized with some floating flowers (she also had miniature boats, but that might be a bit ambitious). Candles add a contemplative air to any bathing occasion, especially if scented—electric light is thoroughly overrated. If both of these seem like too much work, there’s always a rubber ducky.
SHOP BATH FAVORITES
Susanne Kaufmann $172
I do really HOT baths with different SALTS and OILS a few times a week and exfoliate.
Bathtime is a ritual! You’ve got to get the right temperature, you must have good bath salts or Epsom salts and dissolve them properly, and you need bath oils to get some scents going. I don’t do bubble baths—it makes me feel too much like a kid. I have to soak for at least half an hour. If I had time I could be in that bath for three hours, although me having three hours to take a bath is like finding a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.
I’ve had as many as maybe THREE, maybe FOUR baths in a day. Is that really excessive?
4. IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE
Needless to say, bathing is most fun à deux, but if you’re not careful it can lead to knees and toes in all sorts of places. We recommend sitting with your back to your lover so he can carefully wash your hair—this position also works well because he won’t notice if your face gets red from the heat.
From Turkish hammams to Russian banyas, we have compiled a list of the best traditional bathhouses worldwide.