How to upgrade your next bath to an indulgent ritual

Bath rituals are the new spa days. That’s according to the 2021 Pinterest Predicts report of trending topics skyrocketing in popularity on the image sharing and social media platform.  The report is an excellent indicator of beauty and wellness approaches likely to be influential in the year ahead.

Long a part of cultural and religious rituals as well as famed for therapeutic benefits, there’s no denying being enveloped in water has been a key ritual for centuries. But somewhere along the way a busy life, smaller homes and even water scarcity has meant bathing has become a luxury many of us no longer pursue.

However the COVID-era and more time spent at home has meant we’re all reevaluating how to boost our wellness and self-care practices and reduce anxiety. It means if you’re lucky enough to have access to one, it’s worth reconsidering (water-shortages permitting of course) how to indulge in some elevated tub-time.

‘This isn’t your typical tub,” says the Pinterest report. ‘Bath time will get an upgrade with influences from ancient rituals. This year, you’ll see people carving out time for an extra-special soaking experience.’

From upgrading the room itself with a reno that prioritises an extra-deep, freestanding bath, to the addition of dedicated milks, teas, salts, oils and flowers a luxe, long hot soak is said to be just the ticket for soothing your skin and your spirit.

There’s even been a jump in those seeking out more spiritual approaches, aligning their soaks with specific phases of the moon, and considering the addition of specific crystals and herbs and botanicals to the bath water.

Deborah Hanekamp aka @MamaMedicine is a popular advocate for the benefits of ritual bathing, and one of the most visible proponents on social media. She also outlines her favoured crystal and restorative plant additions in book Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer.

Even if the benefits you’re seeking are as simple as relaxation and soothing tired muscles, there are a number of easy approaches to adopt that make the experience more enjoyable and effective.

How to create a ritual bath

To encourage a sense of calm, take a considered approach to your bath environment and try some of these luxurious additions. Don’t have a tub? Try creating a simple foot bath instead.

Santa Maria Novella Notte Bath Oil, $149, cleanses without leaving skin depleted of its natural oils and has spicy oriental notes. Just be careful when leaving the tub as bath oils can cause a slipping hazard.

With detoxifying tea tree, organic seaweed and calendula encased in a no-mess bath ‘tea’ bag Addition Studio’s Green Tea Bath Brew, $24, is an easy addition. The brand also has other options that utilise Australian native botanicals, goat’s milk, cacao butter and clays that each offer different bath benefits.

New Zealand linen brand Baina has been grabbing plenty of attention for its understated, modern approach to bathroom towels. The Cove organic cotton towels, $80 each, feature a ribbed arch detail, in a neutral clay hue.

Salt by Hendrix is famous for its flower laden bath salt soaks, but this beautifully-packaged Bath Time Set, $34, set offers the option to try five different options. There are Epsom Salts, said to soothe muscle aches with thanks to its magnesium content, as well as Dead Sea salts, and Himalayan pink salt.

The bath soap renaissance is upon us! Orris Le Botaniste Soap, $33, can be used on the face and body and combines​ the  freshness of sweet Moroccan mint tea and the bohemian decadence of Patchouli. Soothing calendula and comfrey work to calm irritated and sensitive skin.

A bath ritual is nothing without ambience! Set the mood with this stylish Addition Studio Oil burner, $109, that allows the soft diffusion of essential oils to the air.

Expert’s view: The hair trends that will be big in 2021

Top hair stylist Michael Beel picks the hair looks we’ll love in 2021

New year, new do? If you’re thinking about an update, now’s the time to embrace it! According to the hair professionals we consulted for the March Future Beauty issue of MiNDFOOD, after a tumultuous 2020 more of us are ready to take a leap and have a bit of fun with our looks.

We spoke to Michael Beel, Dyson NZ Stylist Ambassador and Director of Buoy Salon & Spa in Wellington about the influential hair trends we can expect to see this year. He says we can embrace owning a strong and unique look, an antidote to time spent at home in 2020 that necessitated a low-fuss approach, but that doesn’t mean it has to be high maintenance.

MiNDFOOD: What changes will we see in the way people wear their hair?

Michael: 2021 will all be about reinvention. For obvious reasons, 2020 made us relook at how we go about everything in our lives and forced us to change how we tackle things. People have had enough and many feel like a completely new take on how they look and how they want to present themselves to the world.

I feel like the ‘wash and wear’ type of hair style won’t be as popular, people will want to style their hair to present a more groomed version of themselves.

What key trends will be big?

The return of “THE” haircut. What I mean is a strong resurgence of a bold silhouette or strong texture being cut into the hair. This allows for hair styling to be super easy and help create your new look. Whether it’s a nod to a mullet, a cute little box bob or more of a shaggy-type long hair.

Hair that ‘glows’ has also been flagged as a key desire this year, what are your tips for achieving it?

Using professional home hair care. You use good skin care, so why not use good hair care?! I recommend doing regular weekly deep treatments and using the right styling products with heat protection. Hydrated hair is shiny and healthy hair, and getting regular trims even when growing is also essential. And of course, using Dyson styling tools to help the cuticle stay flat and reduce exposure to extreme heat damage to increase shine is a no brainer!

Where are dominant hair influences coming from these days?

Social media in all its forms now is playing a massive role in influencing how we see things, from Instagram, TikTok to YouTube. Being in lockdown has made us look more to the online world. Viewing “how to” hair and beauty videos increased drastically while people had time to practise different looks in the safety of their home!

What are your customers talking about with you in-salon right now?

People are now asking questions about hair health and wanting to know how to style their hair in a variety of ways. So it’s important that stylists actually know what the ingredients actually are and what they do to the hair, or why we use different tools or attachments for styling hair.

Which styling tools are you loving right now?

The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is my absolute essential tool to create beautiful hair. It dries hair faster and at a lower temperature, which keeps the hair’s integrity and health in check. The other favourite is the Dyson Corrale straightener, its flexing plate technology is the first of its kind in the world. The heated plates flex around the hair, which helps hold onto the strand and reduce going over the section again and again to avoid excessive heat damage. It can straighten, it can curl and it can wave too! And do not get me started about the fact that it’s cord free. It’s an absolute game changer to be able to style whenever, wherever!

And any styling products that are key?

A great mousse can help you to produce as much volume as needed to create different styles. I also use oil in wet hair to help increase shine, dry the hair faster and protect the hair. A pea size amount through mid-lengths and ends once dry can really increase shine.