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As it's officially bath season, these are our favourite products for an indulgent soak in the tub

From sugar scrubs to skin-smoothing moisturisers, treat yourself to a decadent dip 

Louise Whitbread
Monday 14 September 2020 14:13
Sit back and relax in a tub full of bubbles, bath oils and body scrubs for some well-needed self care
Sit back and relax in a tub full of bubbles, bath oils and body scrubs for some well-needed self care

As summer is officially over, the air is cooler and our autumn wardrobe is slowly making an appearance. While dreary mornings and shorter days will have us dreaming of warmer climes, the best bit about the change in season is that it’s finally cool enough to have a bath.

It’s the best solution to a bad day, to treat sore muscles after a workout, or when you want a bit of self care and time to yourself.

As it’s been a trying time with the ongoing pandemic, time in the tub is definitely needed, along with the most indulgent products to take your bath to the next level.

From scrubs to salts and masks to massage bars, we’ve created the ultimate guide to mastering the art of drawing a bath, so you’ll emerge pampered, rejuvenated and refreshed.

Not to mention, your skin will be smoother and nourished.

Whether you like to have one to cure the dreaded Sunday night blues, or as a weekday treat, you’ll find the perfect bathing companions in our round-up.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Bath bombs and oils 

First things first, grab a bath bomb that adds fun colours, bubbles and swirls to the water along with skin-soothing properties.

Should you be having trouble sleeping, drop this deep sleep bath bomb (Lush, £5.95) into the water next time you’re in the tub for a relaxing, calming scent of lavender that will help you drift off when you crawl into bed after.

Sleep easy with this lavender bath bomb

Mixed with chamomile flowers, it’s all neatly wrapped together in biodegradable muslin, to help you evenly infuse the water with as much or as little as you like, and will leave little mess to clean after and no plastic waste.

If you gravitate towards clean, simple skincare, pick up these Ouai chill pills bath bombs x 6 (John Lewis & Partners, £25).

Chill out, literally, with these luxuriously rose-scented bath bombs

A mix of hemp, jojoba and safflower seed oil, fragranced with jasmine and rose, they’re the perfect pick-me-up at the end of a long day.

Let them infuse the water and then sit back and relax.

If a bath bomb isn’t for you then we’d recommend a bath oil, the more sophisticated sibling of frothy bubble baths.

In our guide to the best bath oils, we loved the Espa soothing bath oil (Espa, £30) which hit the spot after a stressful day.

Combat dry skin and enjoy total relaxation with a bath oil

Enjoy a blend of sweet almond oil for supple skin combined with aromatic sandalwood, rose geranium, frankincense and myrrh to calm and soothe the senses.

Our reviewer said: “Following the instructions to ‘immerse yourself then deeply inhale the aroma’, we were reminded of a luxury spa experience and felt so relaxed afterwards that sleep came easy. The bathroom, gorgeously scented, became a haven of tranquillity for the duration of the soak.” 

Body wash

Ditch the everyday shower gel for a bottle of the good stuff, that will not only leave you skin feeling nourished, but can come in handy if you plan to shave your legs or underarms in the tub.

The L’Occitane almond shower oil (L’Occitane, £19.50) is a treat we cannot do without.

This silky-smooth oil is perfect for shaving

It’s a silky oil that isn’t gloopy nor sticky, and when it comes into contact with water, lathers into a rich foam to leave a satin-like finish on the skin.

Brilliant on sensitive skin, it has a subtle almond scent that isn’t overwhelming.


While you put your feet up and soak tired limbs, multi-task with a few skincare saviours to brighten and perk up a fatigued complexion.

In our guide to the best under-eye masks, we loved the Skin Glow London turmeric, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid eye mask (Skin Glow London, £8) that has an ingredients list that reads like a pick-me-up smoothie.

Pop these under your eyes for a quick 20-minute boost while you soak in the bath

After using them, our reviewers noticed that skin was noticeably bright and luminous – similar to post-gym skin but minus the redness and sweat.

“Designed to be worn for 20 minutes, we left it on a little while longer as it was comfy to wear and sits like second-skin. Plus, the hydro-gel texture acts as a cooling refresher, and leaves not a dark circle in sight,” they said.

Once that’s done, depending on your skin type or concern, apply a face mask. To avoid making a mess of your hands, we recommended using a clean make-up brush to apply an even layer.

In our guide to the best clay masks, we loved this Liz Earle deep cleansing mask starter kit (Feel Unique, £19), particularly if you’re breakout-prone.

A clay mask will leave your skin radiant and de-congested

Clay is an ideal ingredient for problem skin as it draws out impurities and brightens tired, dull complexions.

We found this one to be gentle, with softening, soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and manuka honey that absorbed excess oil and left us glowing.

For a quick, fuss-free mask, try a sheet version such as this Simple sheet mask 48hr glow (Boots, £3.49) that’s made with 100 per cent natural cotton and is biodegradable.

For a fast-acting mask that will give skin an immediate glow, this sheet style hits the spot

Soaked with a formula rich in antioxidant vitamin E, fruit enzymes and agave extracts, it’s a quick fix to getting glowy, dewy skin and contains no colourants, perfume or alcohol that could otherwise upset sensitive skin.

Our top tip for application is to use a face tool to smooth it out across your face and give you a massage simultaneously. It will also help the skin to absorb all of those hardworking ingredients.

We love this Herbivore jade facial roller (Cult Beauty, £26) that’s dual-ended and easy to use.

This dual-ended roller will work comfortably on your skin to lift and stimulate

You can use it alone or with the product, by simply rolling it over the skin, starting from the centre of your neck, rolling upwards and outwards on each section of your face and stopping at the hairline.

Facial rollers also help to lift and firm, as they drain excess fluid from the skin.

Hair mask

Don’t forget to treat your tresses too with a hair mask that you can apply before stepping into the tub, and wash out once you’re done. Adding this step to your routine once a week will keep hair hydrated during the colder months. 

The Philip Kingsley elasticizer hair treatment (Philip Kingsley, £34) came top in our guide to the best hair masks. It was first created for Audrey Hepburn in 1974 to remedy the damage done by excessive styling tools used on film sets.

Using a weekly mask will keep your hair in tip top condition

A pre-shampoo treatment, it should be applied for a minimum of 20 minutes, or overnight, then washed out to then shampoo and condition as normal. Our reviewer said it left their hair shinier, more supple and less lacklustre.

Body scrub

For smooth and supple skin, don’t skip out on using a body scrub that will slough away dead skin cells. 

Our favourite is this Sol de Janeiro bum bum body scrub (Cult Beauty, £39), it’s pricey, but oh so worth it.

Massage onto wet skin and rinse off for smooth, exfoliated limbs

It has the signature Sol de Janeiro scent, a blend of coconut acai and cupuacu butters that condition skin, and a scrub made up of sugar and salt to exfoliate every inch of you.

For a more affordable option, try the Soap & Glory sugar crush body scrub (Boots, £5.33) that’s also a standout in our eyes.

For a cheap and cheerful buy, pick up a tub of this next time you're in Boots

With a citrus twist thanks to the lime and lemons, mixed with brown sugar, vanilla musk and almond oil, it works wonder on drier areas such as elbows, knees and legs.

Body moisturiser

Once you step out the bath before you wrap up in a fluffy dressing gown, the last step is to moisturise. 

As the final step, apply a rich body cream

A rich body cream will keep dry skin at bay and have you feeling silky soft all evening.

In our guide to the best body moisturisers, we were won over by this Laura Mercier fresh fig souffle body creme (John Lewis & Partners, £53).

It has a light, whipped texture that feels silky on the skin and the mix of grapeseed, macadamia nut, sweet almond and rice bran oils are the ultimate treat, while the fig and honey deliver a delicious scent.

If you’re rolling out of a long bath and straight into a fluffy robe, this is the product for you – an entirely decadent treat.

For more autumn buys, read our guide to the fragrances to wear this season, according to perfumers

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