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Are you a bath or a shower girl? Time to scrub up on the age-old dispute
s there nothing you love more than a long soak? Or do you prefer the invigorating power of a shower? After learning that a third of Brits take four – or fewer – baths a year (shocking stat, huh?), we carried out a straw poll in the office to see who favours a shower over tub time. And it quickly became apparent this is a subject that gets us all in quite a lather! There are the super-soakers – those who look forward to using bath time as a bit of escapism – and then there are the don’t-mess shower-lovers, who like the speed and exhilaration of a vertical drench. Which clean-up camp gets your vote? Two members of the Health & Beauty team share their thoughts.
Donna Francis, Beauty Director
‘I’ve tried to like baths. The beauty journalist in me daydreams about luxuriating in a vintage claw-foot tub, reading a good book, surrounded by bubbles and candles, a relaxing aromatherapy scent permeating the air. But cut to the reality: I’m like an irritable child with cold feet (NB: I’m tall, my bath is not). Indulgent? Pah! There’s no bath oil luxurious enough to make soaking in my own dirt feel sumptuous. I like to rinse off my shower gel and go, not wallow in a day’s worth of city grime, leg-hair shavings and toe-nail clippings. A power shower makes me feel clean. There’s no time for soap suds to dry out my pores or upset my “delicate pH balance”.
Then there’s the temperature issue – I’m in control in the shower (I actually like to dial it to freezing to help jump-start my circulation). But with a bath, the water starts out so hot it makes me feel faint and brings me out in a heat rash. Then, in about a minute, I need to turn on the hot tap with my (cold) toes to top up the warmth.
Baths are boring, too. I can’t read my favourite magazine without the pages going all crinkly, I risk electrocution if I use my phone, and on the occasions when I’ve tried to close my eyes to lock into some “mindfulness”, all I can hear are the kids knocking on the door moaning that their tablets have run out of battery (tablet bribery is the only way I manage to escape to the bath in the first place!).
No, I’d far rather read/watch TV/sleep without the risk of hypothermia (or drowning), thank you very much, and just use the shower for more pressing duties – like getting clean!’
SHOWER LIKE A PRO
Hair-beautifying and skin-perfecting tips from make-up and skincare guru Nathalie Eleni
BRUSH YOUR HAIR BEFORE YOU GET IN: Save your mane and clogged plugholes by removing tangles while it’s still dry – wet strands are more prone to breakage.
LOOK AFTER YOUR SHOWER PUFF: Sponges and puffs harbour bacteria, so replace them at least once a month. If you prefer flannels, boil-wash them regularly.
KEEP YOUR RAZOR DRY: To prevent rusting, remove your razor from the shower after each use, dry it off and store it somewhere it won’t get wet.
GET YOUR ROUTINE RIGHT: Hair, body, face – that’s the perfect order. If you cleanse before shampooing, product run-off can clog your pores.
Make space on your shelf for some of these clever time-savers
No time to moisturise? Use Sanctuary Wet Skin Moisture Miracle Boots Exclusive £8/800 points (200ml), at the end of your shower, when skin is most ready to lock in moisturiser. Then towel-dry as normal.Add
Fast track your fake tan with St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Tanning Lotion in Medium, £14.50/1,450 points (200ml)Add
For sensitive skin, try Bioderma Atoderm Ultra-Nourishing Anti-Irritation Shower Oil, £8.50/850 points (200ml)Add
Julia Martin, Associate Editor
‘Let me start by saying that I have a shower every morning. So all that stuff about “sitting in your own filth” – well, speak for yourself…
I hold my hands up – I’ve always been a fan of a long soak. Even as a teenager I’d barricade myself in the bathroom with a stack of magazines and some “fancy” bubble bath (usually a Christmas stocking-filler or part of a birthday gift set). But since becoming a proper “grown-up” (i.e, having a child and house of my own), baths have taken on an exquisite new appeal.
It’s unadulterated me-time. Cocooned in warmth, surrounded by a cloud of exotic scent, door locked against the world (or the chores, at least) – what’s not to love? All that stuff about “creating a spa at home” – yes, it may be a cliché, but it’s true! Uncorking a bottle of “saved for special occasions” bath oil and watching it pool across the water’s surface while the air fills with steam and perfume seems like such a luxury – a break from the norm – that I feel transported from the humdrum of everyday life. Not to mention the obvious benefit that even the fanciest bath oil is a good deal cheaper than a trip to a spa.
The other thing I love about bath time? As well as setting me up for a restful night’s slumber, it’s the only chance I get to read (other than on the crushed, stop-start commute). Admittedly, the pages of my paperbacks go a bit curly, but it’s a small price to pay for the pleasure of some undisturbed escapism. This isn’t a time for “maintenance” – leg-shaving is definitely shower territory – it’s all about relaxation. Yet factor in the face mask I smooth on before I step in, and I feel like I’m practically multi-tasking – not time-wasting at all.’
Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk shares her advice on how to bathe the right way
SHUT THE DOOR: Keeping the bathroom door closed increases humidity in the air, which will help prevent skin drying out.
GET OUT AFTER 10 MINUTES: Soaking for more than five or 10 minutes on a regular basis can irritate and dry out skin, especially if you have eczema.
WARM WATER IS BEST: Hot water can exacerbate itching, so if you have dry or irritable skin, a lukewarm temperature is ideal.
SHOWER AFTER YOU SOAK: Especially if you have added oils to the bath water. This will ensure your body is completely cleansed.
Make your next long dip even more indulgent with these relaxing little pick-me-ups
Fancy some spa time? Add a handful of Dead Sea Aromatherapy Bath Salts With Frankincense Oil & Rose Petals Boots Exclusive, £7.79/779 points (300ml), to the water to help sooth muscles and de-stressAdd
Cocoon your body in a skin-softening milk: No 7 Beautiful Skin Sumptuous Bath Milk Boots Exclusive £11.50/1,150 points (290ml)Add
For a bath that smells so good you'll want to wear it as perfume: Lancôme La Vie Est Belle Relaxing Fragranced Bath Oil, £55/5,500 points (200ml)*Add
Photography Pixeleyes Prop Build Dexter Dymoke