Have you ever tried perfuming your bath using your own perfumes? I do so once in a while, especially when I’m feeling stressed and really need to relax. When the oils in the perfume are heated up by the warm water, the aroma fills the entire bathroom. Soaking in the perfumed water, I can’t help but be enveloped by a sense of calm. And when I leave the bath, I am coated all over with a thin layer of whatever perfume I sprayed in the bath, a shield against the stresses of the world.
Some people think that spraying perfume in baths is a waste of money. Let’s consider some reasons they might give:
- Perfumes are too expensive to waste on a bath, where the smell lasts for only the duration of the bath.
- Heat from the hot water spoils the perfume so you don’t get to enjoy the ‘real’ perfume.
- There are dedicated products that are meant for scenting your bath. Why not use those instead? E.g. Lush bath bombs [Oooooh I love those things, but let’s not go there for now]
- Baths are a waste of time and water to begin with, perfumed or not.
These are valid reasons, and I can absolutely see why someone would hold such views. I wish, however, to offer some of my own reasons to encourage anyone to give perfumed baths a try:
- Some of you, like me, have way too many perfumes to finish using in your lifetime. So why not enjoy the luxury of a perfumed bath?
- You don’t necessarily have to use expensive perfume for your bath. In fact, the bath might be a great place to use cheap perfumes that don’t cost a bomb, and which might even be cheaper than dedicated bath scenting products. For instance, I sometimes use Crabtree & Evelyn‘s Iris to perfume my bath. Seeing as I got it at £17 for 100ml on Amazon, and going by the estimate that 100ml = 2000 sprays (it depends on the atomiser, but I’ve actually tried this once, just for fun), 5 sprays per bath works out to 4.25 pence. Now if you consider that expensive, then even the shower gel you’re using per bath is probably more expensive.
- It is true that heat from the hot water changes the smell of perfume. But sometimes, it can be nice to enjoy just the heart and drydown of a perfume. Use a perfume that has top notes you don’t like. The hot water from the bath will eradicate the top notes, leaving the drydown for you to enjoy.
- Perfumed baths inspire your imagination. I sometimes use Ormonde Jayne‘s Ta’if to perfume my bath, and it makes me feel as though I’m soaking in a tub full of rose petals (I wouldn’t buy petals just to soak in, so Ta’if will do). Some of my most creative moments come when I’m taking a perfumed bath. There’s actually some science behind it:
Alice Flaherty, one of the most renowned neuroscientists researching creativity has an answer for us. Another ingredient, that’s very important for us to be creative is dopamine: The more dopamine that is released, the more creative we are, she says:
“People vary in terms of their level of creative drive according to the activity of the dopamine pathways of the limbic system.”
Typical triggers for events, that make us feel great and relaxed and therefore give us an increased dopamine flow are taking a warm shower, exercising, driving home, etc. The chances of having great ideas then are a lot higher.
Still, that’s not all there is to it. Dopamine alone, which gets triggered in hundreds of events, where we aren’t very creative, can’t be the only reason. Another crucial factor is a distraction, says Harvard researcher Carson:
“In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.’’
Especially if you have thought long and hard all day about a problem, jumping into the shower can turn into what scientist call the “incubation period” for your ideas. The subconscious mind has been working extremely hard to solve the problems you face and now that you let your mind wander, it can surface and plant those ideas into your conscious mind.
Lastly, after you have received an influx in dopamine, can be easily distracted by an extremely habitual task like showering or cooking, a relaxed state of mind is absolutely important to be creative, says Jonah Lehrer:
“Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease–when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain–we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. ‘That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,’ Bhattacharya says. ‘For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.’ It’s not until we’re being massaged by warm water, unable to check our e-mail, that we’re finally able to hear the quiet voices in the backs of our heads telling us about the insight. The answers have been their all along–we just weren’t listening.”
So this seems to be the magic combination: If you are in a relaxed state of mind, easy to distract and fullofdopamine, your brain is most likely to give you your best, most creative ideas.
So you see, baths aren’t a waste of time. And a perfumed bath is doubly effective at stimulating your creativity (this is my own theory!) because it combines aromatherapy with the benefits of a bath.
My favourite perfumed bath? A few spritzes of Shalimar by Guerlain always hits the right spot.
What are your thoughts on perfumed baths? Are they a waste of money? What fragrances do you use to perfume your bath? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below 🙂
[Note: I got the inspiration for this article while soaking in a perfumed bath :D]
~ The Smelly Vagabond