The ultimate summer escape? Your bathtub. VIOLET GREY shows the model, actor, and stylist how to make a splash without leaving home.
“She’s not gorgeous or luxurious, but I’m just grateful to have one at all!” says Summer Dawn Miller of her beloved bathtub in New York City’s East Village. “I lived in New York for two years in three different apartments with only stand-up showers.” While Miller dreams of an outdoor bath somewhere “humid and lush” where she can leisurely lay in the tub knowing she’s the “only person for miles,” she certainly knows how to make the most of what she’s got. She’s a frequent shopper who regularly raids the drugstore aisles in order to keep her East Village apartment stocked with everything needed for her nightly soak, a topic she discussed in detail with Nick Axelrod, co-founder of Nécessaire, a chic personal care brand known for its minimalistic packaging, clean ingredients, and sultry scents. While Axelrod prefers the shower, he understands the appeal of steeping one’s self in a steamy tub, which is why Nécessaire partnered with Miller to create “bath content” that features the blonde bombshell in her birthday suit—a look she’s never shy about sharing on social media.
Here, the two beauty connoisseurs talk lube, lymphatic drainage, and why you should sweat it out by slipping into the tub this summer. VIOLET GREY listens in..
NICK AXELROD: YOUR VIOLET GREY SHOOT TOOK PLACE PRIMARILY IN YOUR BATHTUB. SO WHAT DO TYPICALLY DO WHILE YOU’RE IN THE BATH?
Summer Dawn Miller: I try to read in the bath…something easy, like poetry. Nothing I have to pay too much attention to. I’m sweating and there’s water everywhere. I like a cheap bargain book or something I’ve read before. I take a bath every day, but I don’t post about it every day.
YOU TAKE A BATH EVERY DAY?
IN THE MORNING OR AT NIGHT?
Usually at night.
HOW LONG IS THE DAILY BATH?
Usually 20 minutes.
DO YOU KNOW THE LAST TIME I TOOK A BATH?
N.A.: PROBABLY 20 YEARS AGO.
No way! I don’t believe that. Why are we even talking? We don’t have anything in common.
IS A BATH YOUR MODE OF RELAXATION OR IS THE PRIMARY GOAL TO CLEANSE?
S.D.M.: I actually feel sweatier when I get out. I shower after taking a bath to rinse off. It’s more of a relaxation thing. For a long time, I wasn’t able to work out comfortably because I have chronic pain and an autoimmune disease, so taking a really hot bath was my way of sweating and getting that same rush you typically achieve from exercise.
WHAT’S YOUR BATH SET UP LIKE? ANY FAVORITE PRODUCTS?
S.D.M.: I have a lot of stuff, but I really like Epsom salts from Duane Reade. I use half the bag.
THAT'S A SHITLOAD OF EPSOM SALTS.
You have to use a lot. It’s the only way.
THEN YOU TAKE A SHOWER TO RINSE IT ALL OFF?
AFTER THAT, WHAT'S ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?
I have ten different lotions. I have all the lip balms that I could ever want. Then, I have a lip mask for sleeping and an eye mask. I have my CBD pen. I like to put a CBD tincture under my tongue before I go to sleep. I have a jade roller and a microneedling tool. I have the books that I’m reading and my journal. It’s a lot.
IS THERE A BEAUTY TOOL THAT YOU’VE FOUND WORKS THE BEST?
Jade rolling—I'm actually surprised by how well it works. I get a lot of hormonal acne and when you do jade rolling correctly, it helps with lymphatic drainage. If I have hormonal pimples on my jaw and I start rolling, they're gone in a couple of days, which is great.
ANY PRODUCTS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL SEXY AND SAUVE?
Lip gloss. I especially love plumping lip gloss, like the Dr. Devgan Platinum Lip Plump.
I also love when my hair is slicked back into a bun with oil. I have a hair oil from Davines that I like a lot. I also use Fur Oil in my hair. That makes me feel sexy. I also recently started used Kevyn Aucoin’s Glass Glow highlighter.
WHAT ABOUT FRAGRANCE?
I’m not devoted to one, but I’ll usually wear white musk from Whole Foods and layer Gypsy Water from Byredo over top. I also love Velvet Haze and Sundazed, which is new and good for summer. And my favorite candle is Apocalyptic from Byredo. It’s really underrated. Burning Rose is great too, but Apocalyptic feels a little more special because fewer people have it. I guess I’m a Byredo girl for now.
I FEEL LIKE THE CONTENT YOU CREATE IS SUPER CONFIDENT AND FUN, BUT YOU DEFINITELY REVEAL ASPECTS OF YOURSELF THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T. DO YOU HAVE ANY GOOD TIPS FOR TAKING A GREAT NAKED PICTURE?
I definitely couldn’t take one at any given time. I couldn’t just pull my pants down and take a great picture! I have to be in the mood and really feeling myself. I also need a new pair of panties. That always makes me feel great. I never take a picture with old underwear. Always wear a fresh pair that has no memories associated with it. Everything should be new. I like La Perla. I like Everlane for simple black and white thongs. I also have a lot of underwear from, again, Duane Reade. Hanes really fit me.
I THINK PEOPLE GRAVITATE TOWARD AUTHENTICITY AND YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO FIT INTO A SPECIFIC MOLD.
I’m not trying to be a beauty, fashion, or sex influencer. I’m just me.
WELL, YOU DID CALL YOURSELF A “LUBE INFLUENCER” ON INSTAGRAM NOT TOO LONG AGO.
Oh yes, I did say that, but only because I’ve had so many lubes gifted to me recently. It’s really funny.
I FEEL PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE. EXPLAIN HOW THAT TITLE CAME ABOUT.
It’s all your fault! I got The Sex Gel from Nécessaire and then a friend who works for Maude—which is a company that sells sex toys, lubes, and condoms—asked me to post a giveaway. I did that and they sent me a giant thing of lube with a pump. It’s a lot. I gave it to my boyfriend for his side of the bed. I keep the one from Nécessaire on mine.
“I live with chronic pain that affects my joints, so working out has become impossible for me in the past year,” says Miller. “I’m on a path to heal my body and inflammation. Once I get to where I’d like to be, I’ll start working out again. I miss running. I miss hot yoga. I love anything that makes me sweat.” A steamy tub spiked with this soothing blend of French grey sea salt and purifying green clay from the Loire Valley stimulates circulation, eases muscle aches, draws out toxins, and generally helps an Instagram It girl unplug.
In addition to the plethora of oils she regularly pours into her tub, this sweet-smelling powder is guaranteed to give Miller’s bath an instant boost. Moisturizing carotenoids nourish dry skin, jasmine softens the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and Dead Sea salt alleviates redness so that this bathing beauty can emerge feeling refreshed and renewed. “Being in a dark, warm, wet place is so sensual,” she says of her nightly tub time. “It’s an act that makes me feel my most real.”
After running a bath and swiping her face with micellar water, Miller likes to apply a mask to her neck and chest before sliding into the tub. She typically reaches for something with Manuka honey, but this balancing blend of salicylic and lactic acids, AHA-rich super fruits, and chlorella will help clear hormonal breakouts without drying skin.
“I like to bring a tool into the tub,” says Miller of this device that uses 540 surgical stainless steel micro-needles to target fine lines, even skin tone, and restore volume. Adding the GloPRO Body Microtip Attachment Head means the model and actor can also tackle tough-to-treat areas, like her thighs and bum, for smooth and supple results from head to toe.
Miller admits she’s only just “started to address” the sun damage on her chest. In an effort to take this trouble spot “more seriously and not skip over it” she’s already worked an overnight glycolic peel into her routine. Following up in the morning with this rose-scented formula that increases cell renewal and protects skin from damaging UV rays will help rev up radiance and erase existing spots.