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The Great British Soak-Off

Are you a bath or a shower girl? Time to scrub up on the age-old dispute

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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.

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‘It’s power showers for me’

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 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!’

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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.

‘Tub time gets my vote’

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 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.’

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SOAK SMARTLY

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.

Photography Pixeleyes Prop Build Dexter Dymoke

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