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BATHE BRITISH

LUSH-POOP
LUSH-POOP

Long after Twelfth Night and well into March , even April , don’t be surprised to find Christmas puddings, Santa heads, reindeers, mistletoe and the perhaps the odd gold ingot floating in your bath.

Bath bombing is becoming a national pastime. Bathtime fizzers and aromatic, effervescing bicarbs have become big business with companies – like Bomb Cosmetics, Rotherham’s Bath Bomb & Beyond and Bath Bombs Away, trying to out fizz each other with novelty fragrances and fun designs.

No household is without a novelty bath bomb Whether that be simple WestLab Himalayan Salt, Aromatherapy menthol. eucalyptus, or cucumber. Or Unicorn poop.

Shark-Attack-Bath-Bomb
Shark-Attack-Bath-Bomb

Lush’s £6 poop is “a playful perfume of bergamot, davana and jasmine.” They also offer hippos, Intergalactic ( at £4.95 “ a scentalicious fusion of peppermint, vetiver and grapefruit oil”) , marshmallow ( vanilla soak , fruits , floral and even spicy. You can get a turmeric latte bomb.

Bath bombs have become artisanal. And many are works of art.

Lush Cosmetics co-founder Mo Constantine invented the bath bomb or “Acqua Sizzler” in her Dorset shed in 1989. Inspired by Alka-Seltzer tablets, with husband Mark she began experimenting with ingredients and jelly pond moulds. “Cosmetics To Go” took out the first patent but then went into administration an a new one had to be issued under the name “Cosmetic Warriors Ltd.” The sodium bicarbonate base and weak citric acid dissolved on contact with water.

Bath bombs now come in all different shapes and sizes. Newquay’s “Simply Soaperior” produces Shark Attack bath bombs. Its gold bar “Our Mr Million Bath Bomb” is similar to the iconic best selling aftershave.

Mr-Millionaire
Mr-Millionaire

Ouai” produces outsized “Chill Pills” – XL pill-shaped bathtime frolicsome fizzers of hemp, jojoba, safflower and jasmine rose. The Yorkshire Soap Co has a Bakewell Tart bomb.

Bombs for kids that have toys inside. There is nothing quite like having mini troll or Stretchy Man suddenly appearing between your legs.

According to Yorkshire’s Bath Bomb& Beyond, there’s nothing we won’t get in the bath with – Spider Man, baby groofs, llamas and even X-box controls. Suffolk’s Luxury Organics makes Agel Delight, Lemon Meringue and Tropical Fig Cassis, Pineapple and Papaya.

Oliverum
Olverum

But you still can’t beat a long soak with a very old Mosel Valley winemaker.

There was a time when Germans were very difficult to get out of the bath. They virtually invented bathing and spent most of their lives doing it.

Germany was the cradle of aromatherapy during its renaissance in the 1920s. Franz Otto Klein and his wife Edith, a pharmacologist, were spa nuts and their favourite spa, long before the phrase “green wellness center” was a twinkle in an American PR’s eyes, was in Baden Baden.

They loved the house blend and were so distressed to learn that the slap-on organic gunge was going to be discontinued that they decided to make their own. As you do.

Potions1
Potions

In the Monchhof family home, a former Cistercian monastery farmhouse on the Mosel riverfront with an old apothecary physic garden, they began blending their own invigorating “signature” bath-time tincture.

Their experiments tested their marriage. Their were huge rows about aloe vera, sulky silence caused by patchouli, arguments over the ratio of sandal wood to Atlas cedarwood and falling outs about vetiver. But, the first seven litres of the precious pioneering elixir appeared on July 31 1931 in clay bottles. The response was universal rapture. Locally.

Neighbours raved about the bath oil’s silky smooth therapeutic attributes and rapid-action restorative qualities. And delightful scent. All their friends couldn’t wait to try it out and baths started running all around old Moser-Saar-Ruwer.

During the war, the oil was hidden in stoneware jars in the family wine cellar and the secret formula buried under the aromatic herbage of theold monastic garden. Herr Peter, the son, tweaked the formulation naming it Olverum, from the Latin oleum verum, “true oil”.

Then an English gentleman named Michael Hawksley discovered the irresistible cleanliness of the oil at his Mayfair hairdresser, Truefitt & Hill, barbers by royal appointment. Allegedly, the British royal family had discovered it before anyone else and kept it to themselves.

With his wife, Betty, founder of the perfumery “Les Senteurs”, Hawksley bought the UK distribution rights and then, in 2014,. the whole fragrant revivifying concern. Son Dominic is now head of luxury self-care business. Also available are pillow mist, body polish and body firming oil.

Everyone’s definition of bliss is different. For me, it’s that feeling you get when someone remarks how nice you smell and enquires what the smell is. And I can tell them it’s Siberian fir needles mainly.

From the forested banks of the River Volga and densely wooded taiga where, for centuries native wise women used it in a balm to soothe aching limbs and minor wounds. And shamans venerated the tree as the tutelary Spirit of the Forest, the link between heaven and earth, a sustainer of life and source of cosmic energies.

I leave my wife, who is one for sublime odours, likes a good soak to ease away the tension and stress of her latest make-up catastrophe and the chance to speak about her sumptuous, non-greasy indulgence and only—half-a-cupful-per bath unrestrained decadence, to deal with the price (£36.50-£65.00) and other queries.

Such as how she ever manages to smell so voluptuous all the time and come over as if immortalized in the Song of Solomon, the ancient poetic paen to human sensuality.

Which is largely due to the olibanum, Bhutanese palmarosa soul tonic, ho wood oil ( Cinnamomum camphora ), a favourite of the ninth century Arab philosopher-scientist al-Kindi, the founder of pharmacology, and helichrysum otherwise called immortelle or everlasting flower and, more prosaically, the curry plant.

Santa, sharks and unicorn poop don’t provide the same bath time experience as Olverum. It’s precious liquid. That’s why my wife draws lines on the bottle. To make sure I haven’t been helping myself behind her back.

She treats it like nitro-glycerine. You cant afford to spill a drop.