Bathtubs Are Back: Why People Can’t Get Enough Bubbles

From bath bombs to barre classes, opportunities for self-care everywhere. And while it may seem like some sort of fad, more people today than ever are prioritizing work-life balance and personal health.

Here’s why self-care and relaxation are so important to modern consumers — and why the bathtub is at the forefront of that movement.

Rise of the Self-Care Movement

One reason people are taking preventative measures regarding their personal health and wellness rising healthcare costs in the United States, Ann D’Adamo at Women’s Marketing writes. When people take control of their own wellbeing, they’re less likely to suffer from preventable and costly-to-manage conditions. In turn, more people are realizing the importance of self-care across both mental and physical realms.

But is the self-care movement just a fad?

Faith Brar at Shape.com says no. She points to a recent survey of millennial women in which 72 percent of respondents said mental health and self care were going to be a priority in 2018. Moreover, Brar writes that this number is only poised to grow in the coming years. It’s also important to note that the self-care movement comprises many ideas and acts, and that it looks and feels different to everyone.

Regardless of how self-care is pursued, Kimberly Truong at Refinery29 points out that it should provide an opportunity to tend to one’s needs and nurture one’s self in a ritualistic way.

The self-care revolution is also a response to longer workweeks and busier schedules. Writer Alex McDaniel explains that when things get busy with our work and social lives, we tend to put personal needs on hold. As a result, people are taking less time to decompress and are more stressed than is healthy.

By setting aside time to meet one’s personal needs — whether that’s soaking in a bubble bath or meditating on the run — the self-care movement aims to stop this pattern.

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A Symbol of Self-Care and Relaxation

For people who want to improve their self-care and work-life balance, a comfortable and relaxing home is essential. Specifically, people often look towards the bathroom — and the bathtub — when creating a more indulgent, spa-like experience at home.

As pointed out by ELLE Decor associate editor Sarah Tardiff, people don’t want to have to go to the spa to experience relaxation and rejuvenation. Rather, making a few changes their bathroom at home can make a big difference in the self-care department. Self-pampering spaces equipped with ample lighting, calm colors and cozy accessories are essential for making the home bathroom more spa-like.

Bathtubs are a key element in enhancing this spa-like experience. In fact, design editor Arlyn Hernandez explains that an at-home spa experience isn’t complete without a luxurious bathtub and indulgent accessories. Soaking in a tub is actually considered a ritualistic aspect of self-care.

Bathtubs are also paired with other creature comforts that people associate with self-care. For example, Natalie Van Der Meer at Aleteia points out the importance of candles for people who are creating a self-care routine in the bathroom. Since there are candle styles and scents to suit nearly every taste, they create an opportunity to make this self-care ritual even more personalized.

The Bath in Pop Culture

As self-care assumes a bigger role in daily life, bathtubs are becoming a symbol of this movement. Guides for how to best use the tub for self-care exist across the internet.

Lifestyle writer Elise Moreau outlines a step-by-step guide at Yogi Surprise for creating your most luxurious bath experience. There’s room for personalization, which places an emphasis on catering to one’s self and meeting one’s needs in whatever way is required. Another bathtub guide comes from The Wonder Report, where founding editor Lacey Johnson details products and accessories for optimizing a bathtub soak. From soaps to teas, Johnson shows how soaking in the bath is an entire body-mind experience.

Social Media

Recently, the proliferation of social media and cell phones have made bathtubs even more popular. If you haven’t yet seen the #bathtub selfie trend, you might be surprised to see how many people really are taking baths — and sharing photos of it on social media.

The trend started with celebrities, Jeanette Settembre, reporter at Moneyish, writes. Taking place of the traditional red carpet photo ops, brands including Chanel and Revolve provide deluxe bathtub settings for A-list celebs to take pictures in.

Oprah even shares an adoration for bubble baths, Condé Nast writer Evelyn Wang says. Since Oprah plays a leading role in shaping what people admire and purchase, her personal lifelong adoration for baths amps up their cool factor tenfold. She was recently quoted as saying “I major in bathtubs. I spend my time looking for the best possible bathtub a woman can buy.” And: “I love creating bathing experiences—bath gels, bubbles, crystals, salts, lavender milks.”

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Movies and Music

Musicians are also joining the conversation about bath time.

News writer Suzannah Weiss reported on a bath time playlist Chance the Rapper tweeted back in 2016. The musician allowed his fans to engage in a shared experience and learn what he likes to relax to. Since Chance is a major influencer with millions of followers, his mention of a bathtub shows just how big it is in pop culture.

Bathtubs, bubble baths and luxurious at-home soaks have also played an important role in movies throughout the years. Luxury bath products company Bathorium lists five famous movie scenes where bathrooms play a starring role. From cult classics like The Big Lebowski to Julia Roberts’ famous singing scene in Pretty Woman, bathtubs have always epitomized relaxation and personal care.

A Status Symbol

Homes with luxe bathtubs help sell the lifestyle that people are looking for. It makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize themselves relaxing in the space and shows that this house is one that will enable their self-care goals. This is why adding a bathtub to a home can improve a home’s resale value, according to designer Kristie Barnett of The Decorologist.

A bathroom without a tub is not considered a full bath — it’s a three-quarter bath. And if that is the only bathroom in the house, the resale value of that home will drop, the team at Gulf Stream Homes writes. In order to maintain its value, they add, there should be at least one bathtub in the home, preferably in the master bathroom.

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