Baths matter now, with their ability to soothe nerves, but also their ability to earn you time alone.
If you live with other people, there are, by now, few refuges from them, but a bath might be one such. And it's better than hiding out in a shed or under the stairs.
A bath's warm water relaxes tense muscles, thus promoting a psychological sense of relaxation. Also, increasing body temperature in the evening causes it to then drop, which is said to help promote sleep.
Adding scents such as lavender can promote calmness, while elements such as magnesium can have a positive effect on jangled nerves. And in self-care terms, an evening bath trumps the TV-bingeing, the food-bingeing, the wine and the Zoom. Leave the phone outside. And maybe lock the door.
Voya Lazy Days Detoxifying Seaweed Bath, €22, see voya.ie
This is, for now, a fantastic, at-home alternative to the Voya baths in Strandhill, Co Sligo. Immerse the net of organic Irish seaweed and salts in hot water, let the elements infuse, and then soak for 20 minutes for maximum effect on skin, muscles and joints. The net can be used again, with an extra bag of salts included, and the seaweed makes great compost once you're finished. "There's something life-affirming about this bath; it's a reminder of the Atlantic," said a panellist.
The Handmade Soap Company Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint Bath Salts, see thehandmadesoapcompany.com
This Co Meath company makes soaps, home fragrances, gentle hand sanitisers and this bath soak. The base is Epsom salts, which is rich in muscle- and joint-soothing minerals (top tip, for an exfoliant added bonus, rub the salts into the skin before submerging, instead of just throwing them into the bath). "This is like having France in the bathroom," said a panellist. "Which will do for now."
Ren Rose Otto Bath Oil, €37, see marksandspencer.com; cloud10beauty.com
The elegant bottle and the selling point that it features one of the most expensive essential oils in the world might be enough to convince you. This bath oil is a beauty, and it excludes a long list of skincare pariahs. The rose scent is satisfyingly deep and not too sweet, while the sesame-seed oil leaves skin soft, but the bath won't be slimy. "This bath oil feels like a real treat," said a panellist. "And the scent lingered on my skin until bedtime."
Dr Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence, €22.95, health stores and selected pharmacies nationwide, or see drh.ie
Sometimes, instead of seeking a soothing from a soak, we want it to make us feel alive. There's nothing like citrus to make the spirits soar, but it's key that the scent has its sharpness softened, and here, that's achieved by combining lemon with lemongrass. Sunflower-seed oil makes a skin-friendly, inoffensive base. "This is a bath boost for the senses and one's mood," a panellist said.
Laboratoire Altho Rosemary Bath Salts, €13, see purelyorganic.ie
The greyish colour of this product is slightly offputting, but this is the character of these French brut Guerande salts in their organic state. Rich in minerals, they promise to ease muscles and joints, as does the rosemary essential oil. Limonene adds a citrus zing, and these salts are also available in lavender (relaxing) and eucalyptus (for easy breathing). "I love the savoury, earthy quality of the rosemary," said a panellist, "and a little goes a long way."
Sunday Indo Living
Navigating our beauty regimes for the next few weeks - while not the most important aspect of the current pandemic - is something we all might need a little help with. Here's your guide to looking after yourself during lockdown.