Bathing has become a real event in 2021 with music, books, candles, luxury bath cremes and even our favourite snacks making an appearance, the study by indulgent bath and shower brand, fenjal, has revealed.
Experts say it is the Lockdown effect which has seen the humble bath-time enjoy a resurgence in the UK over Lockdown, after playing second-fiddle to the shower for so many years.
The research shows that 4 out of 10 Brits now take a bath regularly - up from just 20% who say they took a bath before Lockdown.
And the surge in bath-time is down to Brits seeking new ways to relax during the forced isolation of Lockdown. Some 78% of us say the main reason we now take a bath more often is to properly relax and wash away the stresses of the modern day with some precious me-time.
“We sensed there was a surge in the numbers taking baths over lockdown so we conducted research to put some real world perspective around our changing bathing habits,” said fenjal spokeswoman Jen Varley.
“Taking a bath has been the only real opportunity for many to enjoy that ‘me’ time and properly relax both during and since Lockdown.
“The research shows that there has been a clear resurgence in the numbers taking a bath since Lockdown and that habit shows no signs of receding now that Lockdown has eased.”
Fenjal is working with renowned etiquette expert William Hanson on its British bath-time study. William is widely regarded as the UK’s most trusted authority on etiquette and civility. William is also executive director of The English Manner, the UK’s most established etiquette and protocol consultancy.
William said: “There are certain things which modern etiquette dictates we should and shouldn’t do in the bathroom. Playing music, and the choice of that music, as the study reveals, leaves a lot to be desired.
“The fenjal study shows that more than half the nation (53%) plays music in the bathroom when they take a bath.
“Pop music (50%), rock music (30%) and classical (29%) are the favourite musical genres for bath lovers, according to the data. Although, I was somewhat startled to discover that a quarter of bath-times are played out to a soundtrack of hip-hop, with dance music tunes ringing out for 27% of bath lovers during their plunge. Far too vigorous and lively, by my standards.
“The bath has become a haven for many other reasons. It has become a place where people really can take advantage and enjoy some precious ‘me’ time. Six out of 10 bath-times see bath lovers take the time for a spot of reading. Thirty-one per cent read books in the bath, 18% read a Kindle or eReader surrounded by suds and a further 11% regularly read a magazine, newspaper or other publication while they’re bathing in bubbles. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with educating yourself while in the bath.”
As you’d expect in an era where the smartphone rules, those little mobiles also accompany us to the bathroom. Some 44% of Brits take their smartphone into the bath with them, with 11% insisting they never take a bath without their phone to hand.
“Brits have once again fallen in love with just how relaxing bath-time can be, Jen Varley added. “Some 49% of us have candles in the bathroom when we take a bath, according to our research.
“Also, 82% of us use bath salts, bubble bath, bath crème or bath oil in our baths because we know how much more relaxing they make our bathing.”
Some bath-time habits are more unexpected than others, however. Three out of 10 of us now eat our favourite snacks while we’re in the bath. And 14% say they always or regularly eat while in the bath.
Surprisingly, men are more likely to take a bath regularly in 2021 than women. However, according to the data, women are more likely to use bubble bath, bath crème, bath salts or bath oil than men. And most won’t be surprised to discover that men are twice as likely as women to eat in the bath.
While bath-time has traditionally been a solo pursuit, as Brits seek out those special ‘me’ time moments, there’s also been a shift in that movement. While 50% of the nation admits it would only take a bath solo, the other half of the country wants to share its bath-time suds with someone else.
In fact, if Britain had its way, the most popular celebrity to share our bath-times would be Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson. While Scarlett was the most voted for celebrity for Brits to share their bath-time with, others including Taylor Swift, Adele, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt all featured high in the bath-time celebrities list.
So which parts of Britain like to bath the most? London tops the list with 50% of Londoners taking a bath regularly, followed closely by those in the North-East, with 46% regularly taking a bath.
Those in East Anglia are most likely to read in the bath, with 42% taking a book, eReader or magazine into the tub with them.
People living in the West Midlands are most likely to take their smartphone into the bathroom with them - 24% admit it always accompanies their bath-time. They’re also the most likely to eat in the bath, with 23% admitting bath-time is regularly snack time too.
Those living in Yorkshire & the Humber are most likely to use bath salts, bubble bath, bath crème or bath oil in their bath, with 47% admitting it’s a must-have.
William Hanson added: “Some of the results of the fenjal study make me shudder. The bathroom, particularly at bath-time, should be a place of calm and tranquility. Luxurious bath cremes, calming music and candles are all more than permissible. But I’m not sure that the nation truly understands this - according to etiquette, hip hop music, snacking and smartphones have no place in the modern English bathroom.”
*fenjal polled 2,000 British adults via OnePoll in October 2021