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Do You Take Baths?

A Cup of Jo: Do You Take Baths?

Confession: I’ve never been the biggest fan of baths. I love showers, but to me the bath is a place where you sit in dirty water and get cold too quickly. As Jessi Klein writes, “It makes me feel as if I were stewing up the world’s saddest soup out of myself.” But lately, it seems like everywhere I look, people are swearing by baths, as an essential ritual for relaxation and self-care. So, with newly launched towels from Brooklinen, I tried five types of baths to see what all the fuss is about…

Classic Bath

THE CLASSIC
First up was the “classic bath.” You know the one: where you round up bubbles and magazines and a glass of wine and then feel absolutely fabulous. Or, at the very least, buy yourself some much-needed me time.

Verdict: Carving out time to flip through magazines was great, but I’d rather read them curled up on the sofa.

Grandmother's Bath

THE ENGLISH GRANDMA
Next, I tried to follow the advice of my grandmother Milly, who lives in Cornwall and has taken a bath every single day for 87 years. She fills the tub with very hot water to four inches (“war time depth,” she says) and has “a wash all over and a gorgeous soak for 20 to 30 minutes.” Then, she finishes off with clouds of Johnson’s baby powder. My English aunt follows a similar routine, but in the morning she’ll include a cup of tea, and in the evening a gin & tonic.

Verdict: I enjoyed my tea, although if four inches of water sounds cold to you, you’re right. But once I added a little more water, I actually liked it!

Tips for a Relaxing Bath

THE PODCAST
After that, I tried a relaxing bath routine that Stella swears by: turn off all the lights, lighting a candle and listen to a podcast. “You know how people say, ‘Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee’? My version is, ‘Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my bath,'” says Stella. “It’s the one place where I can be alone with my thoughts.” I used Brooklinen’s Nightcap candle, which smells like blood orange and bourbon, and listened to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations.

Verdict: Out of all the baths, I enjoyed this one the most. I actually felt like this.

Morning Bath

THE TOM FORD
Designer Tom Ford swears by his daily morning bath, taken with a giant iced coffee immediately following his 4:30 a.m. wake-up. “I like that time of the morning when no one else is awake, and I can slowly come to life,” he says. So, as my final experiment, I tried an energizing morning bath, including a few drops of peppermint oil, since its aroma is said to be invigorating. (Apparently, adding peppermint oil to your bath water can also help clear nasal passages and relax muscles. Just be careful when you climb out of the tub, because oil can be slippery!)

Verdict: A quiet morning might work well for Tom, but in our apartment, someone is always awake.

A Cup of Jo: Five Different Baths

THE CHILDREN’S BATH
Last but not least was the kids’ bath, where I was just a spectator. And when it comes to baths, Anton loves them enough for both of us: “Sometimes I don’t want to take a bath. I say, I don’t want to take a bath! Mommy puts the water in the bath and then I want to take a bath. That’s so funny!”

A Cup of Jo: On Baths

He used a colander to “make it rain…”

Do You Take Baths?

And made a beard of bubbles. “The bubbles are fun and cool,” he says. “I make a beard like daddy’s or put them on my head or just relax in them.”

And he loved every minute. The only reason he’ll get out is to get wrapped up in a soft fluffy towel. Our family loves Brooklinen bath towels, which are super thick and plush but also absorbent and warm. They’re made with Turkish cotton and come in four lovely colors. They are also the perfect size — not too long or short. We used to have ratty bath towels, and I didn’t realize what a game-changer it is to have a fresh stack of fluffy towels waiting for you. It makes me happy every morning.

Brooklinen is based in Brooklyn and run by a husband-and-wife team. Their number one priority is making amazing products, which is why they offer a lifetime warranty. If you’d like, you can see them all here.

Bonus for all readers: Through May 31st, Brooklinen is offering readers $20 off, plus free shipping, with the code JOANNA20 for any purchase over $50. Thank you so much!

Children's Bath

Are you a bath or shower person? If you love baths, what’s your favorite kind? I’d love to hear…

(Photos by Christine Han for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Brooklinen, a brand we love and use every day. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Zoe says...

    I meditate in the bath every night, after I have put my son to bed. I use Jo Malone bath oil and for those 10 minutes, work and parenting melt away and I slip into being just me. A bath would be my desert island luxury.

  2. i never undesrtood why people who don’t like baths go “i feel like i’m in my own filth!” there’s a simple solution for that: take a quick shower first! you get rid of all of the gross and then you just get to enjoy the relaxing qualities of a bath!

  3. SMG says...

    Who knew? I’m an English Grandma! Years ago my husband and I started washing our feet every night in the tub before bed – because clean, dry feet are a must if you want a good nights sleep. That has slowly morphed into a night-time bath, in, you guessed it, about 4-6 inches of water. Just enough to wash the day off before getting into crisp (percale!) sheets. Friday nights mean deeper water, and a longer soak. No phone, nothing. Just unwind. The best.

  4. Lisa says...

    Bath over shower. I love my baths. It really is a form of self healing for me.

  5. I’d have to say my favorite type of bath is with candles, a bath bomb, and a good book. Sadly where I live most of the year doesn’t have a bathtub! :(

  6. Whitney says...

    I would have to say that baths are an acquired taste for me. After the birth of my second kid (she’s 4 months) I started taking baths with my oldest (3 years) as a way to have some one on one time with him. I’d put her down for her evening nap, light some candles, pull out the fancy soap/masks and it was a treat for both of us. We’d sit there with bubbles up to our chins and he’d tell me stories and we’d laugh and chat. He loved the one on one time and I got some much needed pampering and self care – perfection. I have begun to crave baths now, where I used to barely tolerate them.

  7. Jamie says...

    I started getting into baths when I was told to for postpartum healing. Ugh… Now I only do them maybe once a month and have fun with bath bombs and sit and watch movie trailers on my phone. Haha. Life with kids right? Can’t go to a movie so I’ll watch all the trailers at once.

  8. Rachael says...

    I used to hate baths but I needed a way to relieve some muscles I couldn’t get to with my foam roller and I can’t afford weekly massages (monthly are perfect). The only way I started to enjoy the bath was putting some essential oils (different based on my needs) in some Epsom salts and filled the bathtub and watch a quick 30 minute show on my iPad balanced on the edge of the tub, sans commercials. I began to really enjoy taking the time for myself and now I can sometimes stay in a little longer (with some additional hot water added).

  9. I love how much care & attention you always put into crafting a story and enjoyable read for every single sponsored post.
    I do not care about towels lol but it was such a fun read :)
    It’s the reason I come back to read Cup of Jo every day for the past ten years!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much, jasmine! that means a lot. :)

  10. Sarah says...

    So, I just read this and was thinking about trying a bath. I just can’t ever get it the right temperature. I’m either too hot or too cold, or some parts of my body are hot and some are cold. Coincidentally, after reading this, the same night, my 4 year old daughter wanted me to get into her bath with her….So, I did. oh my, did she laugh and laugh and laugh, and so did I. It was wonderful. We laid opposite each other with her head on my feet like a pillow….”just relaxing” as she put it.

  11. Jana says...

    A year ago I took bath every single day because we FINALLY moved into apartment with a bath. For first two or three days… :) And than back to shower. Only shower still.

  12. Sanaa Murray says...

    thank you for your honesty- I don’t enjoy baths either and feel some real social media induced guilt about this. how can I not want to marinade in some warm stagnant water with my baby (who has been known to poop in said bath) with my hair just perfectly tossed up in a bun and patchouli candles casting a gorgeous glow on us both?!

  13. Sarah says...

    I hope the image of Anton wearing a bubble beard is getting printed and framed, STAT. <3

  14. Yvonne says...

    Sadly, I am a shower person. Life is just too hectic to sit and relax and enjoy everything a bath is supposed to be. My mornings are tight and I have everything timed to the minute (I know, not a good routine to have). But like your Anton, my grandbabies love, love, love bath time. As a matter of fact, I had this conversation with my 3 year-old granddaughter yesterday. My daughter had a very bad headcold, and the babies needed a shower before they could go outside. So I told her I would do it. Normally, my daughter will put them in the shower (her days are timed down to the minute as well). But Nana was there and Mariah talked me into letting her take a bath. I watched as she made a ritual of the whole ordeal. She gathered her toys, her towel, her special soap and when the tub was 3/4 full, she said, “Nana, that’s enough water. You’re gonna drown me if you put more.” So I watched her as she climbed into the tub, put her little feet up, leaned back, and started humming to herself as she played with her toys. I asked her what she was doing and she said, “I’m taking time out of my busy day to relax. Don’t you relax, Nana?” And there it was. Life, summed up by a three-year-old.

    • Anna says...

      This is so great!

    • Jessie Frey says...

      Oh, my. What a wise little 3-year-old!! I suddenly feel like I need a bath, haha.

  15. Heather Hall says...

    I’m a fan of the bath/shower combo. First bath and then shower to rinse off.

  16. Elga says...

    In Brazil it’s really rare and exclusive to have a bathtub at home, so I would see it in the movies and dream about it. When I moved to the US I finally had my own tub and I was just sooo excited, I would take baths almost daily on winter time, and at least weekly during the summer. I found it to be as amazing as I had imagined, but even better when you get home after a cold day. I felt like after the bath I was so warm and relaxed to go to sleep, and it helped me a lot to cope with the dryness (as for me, a very tropical being, everywhere else is a form of desert). Some days I read, some days I just listen to music and somedays I’ll have some podcast on (when I first tried the bathtub was Serial season 1 times <3).

    • Haha so funny! Love this. I come from tropical Singapore and everywhere is a desert too!!!

  17. Sammy says...

    I’m very curious – do all you bath people clean the bathtub a lot? Or clean it right after you get out so it’s clean for your next one?

    I would take baths more if it wasn’t so much work cleaning it first. And if you use an oil or some kind of scrubs, the bathtub gets greasy so you have to clean that. I have a hard enough time making sure the bathtub is cleaned often enough for my children’s baths, let alone for me!

    • Patty Smith says...

      I so agree about that. Lots of bending over and cleaning right after. It kind of takes the joy out of it. I also feel like I am sitting in my own dirty water. Perhaps a shower first to clean up – then a soak.
      However, since having 3 joint replacements, I can hardly get out of a tub anymore…so showers for me.

    • Jean ann says...

      I have a long brush, bought at Home Depot, to use after each bath. I won’t use oils but do use epsom salt which seems to leave a slight abrasive powder and a few brush swipes, it’s good to go. Once a week, I fill the tub to the highest waterline of the week and put a big squirt of Dawn in the tub. Let sit for 15-20minutes, drain, hit with the brush again. Clean enough for me.

  18. Amy Ellis says...

    After living in Japan for two years, I am definitely a big bather now! Japanese tubs are so deep and they have amazing bath soaks (cooling ones for summer and heating ones for winter!) Now, I bathe every Sunday night as part of self-care. I put on a face mask while I soak and watch a show on my phone (you can get waterproof cases cheap). Afterwards, I do my nails and self-tanner. Self-care sets the tone for my week!

  19. This has reminded me just how much I used to love baths… and the family rituals that now I look back on might seem a bit odd to anyone else. My mum and her two sisters were always bath lovers and for years growing up it would be a place to gather and chat. In fact, some of our best talks happened in the bathroom! I didn’t realise it wasn’t the norm until, at 18 or so, I dropped by my aunt’s house with some friends and she was in the bath. I went into say hi and chat for a bit and when I came back out to my friends they were all slightly horrified that I’d just walked in and made myself at home. Didn’t help that my aunt was calling out for me to “pop my knickers in the door before you go”!

  20. This post makes me kinda sad, I haven’t had a bathtub in 7 years! When my now husband and I were apartment hunting as 24 year olds in Brooklyn, my requirement of a bathtub went out the window once we saw what our options were at the time. We still leave here, still same tiny shower :(!

  21. Maria says...

    i just got out of the bath. :) i LOVE baths. LOVE. it’s not a daily thing by any means, which is why they are so awesome. i usually have a bath once a week, normally sundays – but occasionally mix it up and have 2 in a week, like this evening. i never read, i just don’t get that in a wet environment. i always use burt’s bees baby bubble bath – smells heavenly and 99% organic. always have red wine, and yes, the bose radio comes in the bathroom with me and i listen to whatever music i feel like. tonight it was incubus. we have a really deep soaking tub and it is heavenly. then i slather up with body butter and it is wonderful. showers to invigorate/clean, baths to recharge and relax.

    • Back says...

      This is exactly what I do! I love my weekly sunday baths with some music, wine, and my kindle (in a waterproof case) or something audio (I’ve started listening to mindfulness talks)

  22. Carrie says...

    I love baths for the record but the most enlightening thing about this was the link to Tom Ford’s daily schedule. Four baths!? Two doughnuts!? Uniforms for individual places!? I found the whole thing so fascinating (and kind of crazy).

  23. Lori says...

    Would you happen to know what brand/type of bath tub is featured. Looks wonderful!
    Thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      lori, i’m actually not sure! it’s the bath in our master bathroom, but it was here when we moved in. sorry i can’t be more help!

  24. Jenny says...

    Firstly, I must say that that photo of Anton with the bubble beard is a definite framer. Secondly, I am solidly pro-bath. I love my morning shower for washing my hair, shaving my legs, etc. I exit the shower feeling fresh and ready for the day (mostly). But an evening bath is one of my favorite self care rituals. I mix in two different kinds of Dr. Teal’s Epsom salts (Lavender and Milk & Honey – I find the Milk & Honey mellows the intensity of the Lavender), and sip on a sparkling water or glass of chilled white wine. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I (very carefully) scroll through Instagram, and sometimes I’ll set up my laptop on a chair outside the bath and watch the newest episode of Jane the Virgin or revisit old favorites like The Office. Something about being in the bath feels more comforting and special than simply doing these things in bed or on the couch. It’s like the pressures of the real world, while still present in those other places, magically don’t exist in the tub.

    • zeezee says...

      if u wish to scroll your phone during a bath, all you have to do is put it inside a ziploc bag! no more fear of it plonking and dying in the bath water!

  25. Jane says...

    we had a giant soaking and jetted tub in our last house and used it only a handful of times. it felt so wasteful to fill the entire thing up for only 20 minutes of use! when we moved to our current house, we took out the tub when renovating and just put in a larger shower. I hang eucalyptus or other fragrant greens in the shower, use high-quality soaps and super fragrant shampoos, plush towels. It still feels luxurious but conservative with water since I’m never in there longer than 7-8 minutes anyway.

  26. Annie says...

    When I was pregnant with my first, we toured the hospitals and of course had to go with the one that had tubs in the birthing rooms, because doesn’t that sound lovely? Then when I was actually in one of those rooms, in active labor, my husband and the nurse kept asking if I wanted to get in the tub or shower. I literally could not think of anything LESS appealing in those moments. Why would I want to get totally undressed and get soaking wet right now?!?! lol, I was definitely not expecting to have such a strong aversion to a bath, but it sounded so terrible to me. For the second kid, we just went with the closet hospital and didn’t even tour it. There were no tubs. :-)

  27. Andrea says...

    I stayed at a convent of cloistered nuns in Cobh, Ireland for a weekend (fun fact, many monasteries and abbeys accept guests) and I came in soaked from a driving rainstorm. One of the other guests left lavender oil and a note at my door that a few drops would be good in the tub.

    The tub was the most wonderful thing ever. It was 7-8 feet long (the convent had once been a home for British Navy brass) and I had the best bath of my life, watching the rain blow sideways out the window.

    • Sally says...

      This sounds like heaven.

    • Jenny says...

      What a fun memory! A lavender scented bath while escaping an Irish rainstorm sounds idyllic and cozy!

  28. The biggest barrier to me is having normal, unattractive tubs, and never feeling like I can keep them clean enough. Make sure you use Epsom salts when using any kind of essential oil in the bath though! The EO needs a way to dilute and spread through the water, which it won’t on its own, and a hot oil like peppermint could be unpleasant in that situation. Peppermint may also be too cooling (like literally give a sensitive person hypothermia). I’m all about EOs, we just have to use them safely!

    • Sharon says...

      oh yes, this is a great tip! I normally use Epsom salts, but not always EO. But I know exactly what you mean about Peppermint being “too cooling”

    • Olivia says...

      Wait. Is that how I got a burning sort of red rash in the bath?!

  29. Amy says...

    I love baths! I used to take them scalding hot but now I take them with my little one, he definitely likes more luke warm (sometimes I think that might be my fault!) But the bath is really embedded into our routine, and it’s great way to have some one on one time with my little one.

    On the days, where I had a really stressful day, my husband will take my son out of the bath and I get to run the water super hot and just relax for a few minutes with a half a dozen boats and farm animals floating around!

  30. My daughters and I all wish we had a bathtub in our little home! I would love a good soak. Maybe one day!

  31. janine says...

    For several years, I lived in a tiny NYC apartment with no bathtub, only a shower – so when I finally moved into a place with a tub, I was pretty excited about it. Now, I don’t take baths that often since I just don’t have the time. But now and then I enjoy one.

  32. Lena says...

    I love to take a bath at the end of a cold winter day but during summertime I always prefer to take a shower.

  33. Ellen says...

    Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations podcast is basically my everything right now. No wonder it was your favorite bath!

  34. Maryse says...

    I hated baths (human soup) I went to Japan. The ritual there of cleaning yourself on a little stool first and then soaking was so nice.

    • Maryse says...

      *until I went to.. etc

    • erlie says...

      Yes, this happened with me too. Once you’re clean, you’re free to soak forever and even better, the tubs there are tall, not long, so you are up to your chin in hot water which feels great. No oils though, but it’s fine.

  35. Cynthia says...

    If I had a bathtub I could fit into comfortably I would be a bath person. Baths in the standard college apartment sized bathtub are no fun.

  36. Simone says...

    I love love love baths… But I’ve never thought to take one in the morning. To me it’s an evening event, accompanied by wine, bubbles, and a good read. I’m skeptical (not a morning person at all) but I’ll try the experiment!

  37. Tricia says...

    I am with Ingrid, a big shower fan. When we took our bath out, our children were horrified. We told them “but you don’t live here anymore!” I don’t miss the bath at all but maybe a little now we have a two year old granddaughter. A shower is relatively quick, refreshing yet relaxing especially if accompanied by a gorgeous shower gel such as The White Company’s “Flowers” (I live in the U.K.) and a rub down with a hamman towel. Hair washing is a breeze and I like to think I am saving water too. It’s a novelty to have a bath when staying in a lovely hotel.

  38. There is a big divide in our home. My husband LOVES baths, I abhor them. He does the works, takes in a drink, uses some bath salts, wears his cap from the Russian baths, stack of magazine, sometimes has incense going. For me, sitting in warm water full of your body dirt, no thank you. I’d rather read with incense going in the living room. However, I DO love a long hot shower where I take in a cold beer or glass of wine with me aka “the spa.”

  39. Saz says...

    Baths are basically one of the nicest things ever! For me, when moving into my current rental flat, “does it have a bath?” was a deal breaker for me, if the answer had been “no”.
    There are two perfect times of day to take a bath. One is right before bed. Literally “get out of the bath, get into bed”. Make sure you do all your pre-bed rituals before you get in the bath. I promise, you’ll never feel snugglier or more restful in your life.
    The other perfect time is about 2pm on a weekend afternoon. It feels incredibly self-indulgent and a bit naughty, but so perfect! There’s something about hearing the rest of the buzz of the house, or noise from the street, that makes you feel like you know some awesome secret that everyone else is missing out on! The 2pm bath is also the perfect cure-all for when you’re a bit under the weather. I don’t know how it does it, but it does.
    And on that note, I’m going to go and take a bath!

  40. I’ve never been into taking a bath…just at the very end of pregnancies when I’m trying to be open minded, but I’m already miserable and figure anything is worth a shot.

  41. Dee says...

    After years firmly in the ‘baths are too much effort’ brigade I recently discovered a newfound appreciation for baths because it is the one time I can catch up on my podcasts (currently S-town!). Also I moved to a new house with a big double bath and I can close the door on the whole house and just soak. Recommend!

  42. Ingrid says...

    When we bought our (old) house, it only had one bathroom with a tub (no shower.) So every day I took a bath. When years later we built on to enlarge our bedroom and add a second bathroom, we just put in a shower (no tub.) I have never taken a bath since. I love showers! I hate baths! To each their own… The towels look great for whichever floats your boat.

  43. Julie says...

    I’ve always loved baths, but rarely took them throughout my 20’s as my “vintage” (read: dingy) rental tub/shower combo was never very appealing to me. Now that I have a huge soaking tub, I feel like I have ARRIVED. I enjoy a good playlist/podcast, wine or tea, my latest book and sampling ALL the bath salts. I think I took an evening soak almost every night during Chicago’s endless winter – and tore through my book list as well. The only downside for me is the water damage to my paperback collection! :)

    P.S. I think the secret to loving baths is not to view them as a way to get clean. Shower to scrub down. Bathe to wind down.

    • Dee says...

      Yes! This is the key to bath-time success! For soaking, not washing.

    • Annie says...

      I can’t wait for that stage in my life! We’re currently in a rented townhouse with one not-very-appealing tub that is currently half full of kid toys and scribbled on with bath crayon. Some day I’ll have a nice tub!

    • mym says...

      Julie, your last sentence is the truth! After all, you can’t really relax if you’re standing up. Incidentally, when we recently remodeled the bathroom, I had a bench built indide the shower. Now I can shower while sitting down – scrub down AND wind down at the same time! (I do use the tub if I want to really relax or get truly warmed up from inside.)

  44. D says...

    What kind of bathtub do you have? I love it. The lines are so clean!

    • Iva says...

      Yes, I’d like to know the same – what is that bathtub? Looks beautiful!

  45. Melanie says...

    As I was growing up my dad never turned up the heat in the house as high as I would have liked, so during the winters I practically lived in the bathtub. I read Gone With the Wind multiple times over many successive baths, and my copy of the book as the water marks to prove it!

    During college and for many years after I lived in apartments that either didn’t have bathtubs or the bathtubs were hopelessly grimy, but last year I bought a house with an extra deep tub in the master and I spent this past winter savoring weekly baths with candles, bath salts, dimmed lights, and lots of reading time.

  46. katie says...

    In drought stricken California baths are too much of an extravagance. Ship board showers are my norm. That means constantly turning the water on and off to conserve. I do miss a long, hot shower.

  47. Nicole says...

    Oh, how I love a good bath! My favorite is with a good book and a glass of wine. I took nightly baths in my old apartment because it was SO cold, and it was the only thing that warmed me up at night.

    Now, I live in a place without a bathtub, so I was resigned to not taking baths (other than in fancy hotels). But, when I was pregnant, exhaustion led me to try sitting in the shower, and it is my new thing! I can’t drink wine or read while sitting, obviously, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to relax. I drop some eucalyptus oil on the shower floor and steam myself for a bit- it’s wonderful! Note: not recommended for those who have very small showers:)