It has recently come to my attention that most men are ashamed of their love for bath time. It seems as though the bubble bath is a bit taboo for boys, a stint of R&R mostly marketed to women with slick legs and soft Rapunzel-worthy long locks. I was delighted to discover there exists a secret society of men who do indulge in a regular hot soak. They tend to hide their bath salts and bombs at the back of their closet (for shame). Not far off from the boys who knit their own cardigans in secret, hiding their needles and balls of yarn under the bed.
I am a vocal ambassador for the bath and not ashamed in the slightest to chirp my cheer for the restorative properties of a well timed soak. I’d even go as far as to say that “the bath has saved my life, hundreds of times.” I find refuge in the bath. It’s the poor mans every day spa experience, benefiting both body and mind. In a dimly lit room I find solace in an internet-less world which allows one to disconnect from the stresses of the day, even for just a moment. Set the scene: the flicker of candle light, orchestral sweet lullaby (Lana Del Rey, Bjork or Adele depending on my mood) then slipping your body into a warm aqua-cocoon.
I spent the last few months tirelessly slathering my body and soaking in an endless array of creams, gels, foams, mousses, soaps, bombs and salts. The list below features my must have’s for a bath lovers pantry.
Bookworm in the Bath
whenever I’m loitering in the immigration line at the Toronto Pearson Airport desperate to get home after a long haul flight I keep calm by whispering a sweet love song to my tub. I now have a home sweet home tradition which goes like this: deep sigh after waddling through the front door, drop my luggage in the kitchen and whisk my way over to the bathroom to turn on the tap. After sleeping on a plane for 15 hours there really is nothing more therapeutic than an unbridled soak.
My bath ritual evolved after I got my hands on the Kobo Aura H20, a 100% waterproof e-reader which you can enjoy with ease by pretty pool, roaring beach or while floating in the bath. Over the past few weeks I’ve turned my bathroom into a book-nook, flipping through the pages of Rough Guides India in preparation for my upcoming trip to Delhi, Agra, Mumbai and Kerala. Book lovers no longer need to feel wary about taking the plunge for a good read.
The Mighty Manhattan
Nothing else quite sets the mood than a whisky, sweet vermouth, bitters and cherry muddled Manhattan. I always have a few ice spheres prepared in my freezer for last minute bath emergencies that require a bit more splash than the tap can offer. Deanston Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a bottle of bliss offering a lovely harmony on the palate featuring notes reminiscent of candied fruits, vanilla toffee and heather honey.
The luxurious melts at Lush Cosmetics are addictive. The petite bars literally melt before your eyes when plunged in warm water. Each melt is made up of natural butters and fragrant essential oils that moisturize and leave your skin feeling soft. My two favourites: Dreamtime (lavender, jasmine, chamomile and sandalwood) and You’ve Been Mangoed (mango and avocado butters, lemongrass and almond oils).
Old School Lather
If you are looking for a more vintage vibe the best “big bar of soap” you’ll find is at French beauty L’Occitane. Their signature 250g verbena bar offers the sweet smell of Provence, moisturizing with shea butter and seducing with swoon-worthy citrus notes.
Clean Yo Face
If you’re focussed on freshening up your face pop into Holt Renfrew and grab a bottle of Aesop Fabulous Face Cleanser. The stubby bottle is reminiscent of old apothecary and I have to admit I fell in love with the label and typeface before I even slathered the suds across my face. The Fabulous Face Cleanser is an olive-derived formulation featuring a careful blend of bergamont rind, chamomile bud and rosemary leaf.
Hairing is Caring
Last year I launched Toronto’s Top Spa’s and was blown away by the offering at Toronto’s Four Seasons, dubbed “the largest luxury hotel space in Toronto with over 30,000 square feet of rest and relaxation.” My favourite shampoo and conditioner of the moment right now is reNeu by Neuma and the Four Seasons in Toronto is the only spa in Canada offering the exclusive brand. I’m most fond of the products peppermint forward aromas but the ingredients list reads like an exotic menu featuring sage, nettle, rose hips, horse tail, coltsfoot and green sea alga.
Multi Purpose Perfection
If you aren’t one to store a choir of products in the bathroom you’ll find multi-purpose perfection via Turbo Wash by Jack Black available at Holt Renfrew. The energizing cleanser can be used both on your hair and body (a handy 2 for 1 deal) and features aromatics courtesy of rosemary, eucalyptus and juniper berry.
If shiny skin is your envy get busy exfoliating with On The Rocks Japanese Peppermint and Eucalyptus by Toronto’s own WAXON Waxbar. Vigorously scrub dry skin with an all-natural product made up of sugar, white lava and coconut oil. The Aussie team at Men’s Sanctum also makes a fantastic Face & Body Scrub featuring a combination of walnut shell, luffa and rice bran which assists in removing dead cells from the body and loosens ingrown hairs from the face in preparation for shaving. Calendula extract and sandalwood oil help soothe and calm irritated skin.
Toronto based bath fans Greg Macdonald and Mathieus Roy Chabot launched Bathorium in September 2013. Their locally made bombs are nearly 25% larger and 40% heavier than their competitors, about the size of a baseball. The CocoCreamer is a soothing, fizzy delight featuring coconut milk, organic virgin coconut oil, lavender and hibiscus while Morning Sunshine adds a brightness to the day via fragrant orange peel, jojoba oil, mango butter, sweet orange oil and micro glitter.
Gents who widdle back their facial hair on the regular will find happiness in bentonite clay enriched Shaving Soap by St. John’s Newfoundland based TVAL. The soaps clay content gives you an extra slip, protecting your skin from nicks and cuts while shaving. The scent is an invigorating blend of peppermint and patchouli essential oils which leaves ones neck feeling fresh.
Soft as Silk Long Locks
I have big hair. After growing my locks out for the past two years it may not come as a shock that I had to tweak my daily cleansing ritual. Needless to say I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the amount of time women spend taking care of their hair. As a young gent who often wears his hair down I’ve found it rather funny how absolute strangers run their fingers through my hair without even offering a simple hello first. Reminds me of how pregnant women rant about strangers coming up unannounced to rub their belly. I do have to admit the sheen and shine is enticing and have to give most of the credit to Moroccanoil. The Israel based company’s signature Moroccanoil Treatment features a proprietary blend (read: those ingredients are a secret) of powerful ingredients and rich argan oil which offers relief to damaged hair, leaving it shiny and healthy from root to tip.
Best not to forget stocking soap by your bathroom sink. Aveda’s cream coloured spout-pump topped Shampure Hand and Body Wash is a perfect no mess solution for keeping your hands clean. Shampure features a calm potpourri of 25 pure flower and plant essences which protect skin’s moisture barrier and leaves one feeling beautifully botanical.