Some people take their lunch break to go for a walk, plow on through the workday, or eat actual lunch. But I like to take it in the bathtub. It’s important, in these serious, mega-fucked up times, to seek levity like it’s the last roll of Charmin Ultra Soft on the shelf. Bathing is a cheap thrill. Kids know this! They get toys and bath paint and cotton candy-scented jugs of of Mr. Bubble. Adult bath products are so boring. The health-touting, bougie flecks of Himalayan salt. The expensive oils in too-small containers. Whatever a "fizz" is, as lackluster as stale Pepsi.
I want to bath in a root beer float. I want to be able to shape the bubbles into a bubble bikini and shake my tits like a kickline chorus girl. I want bubbles I can scoop with my wrinkled hands and blow like dandelion dust into my shower grout. Bubbles that will congregate on my pubes and refuse to whither. "Look!" I’ll say, calling my partner into the bathroom, "this is what Santa’s pubes must look like." I want not only the bubbliest bubbles, but also to share that knowledge with the world.
And so, I found them.
Gotta love the subconscious powers of a product named after someone with an honorific—immediate trust. Dr. Bronner's. Dr. Singha. Mrs. Meyer's. And Dr. Teal’s, which makes the bubbliest bubble baths (well, they're called "Foaming Baths") a person old enough to vote can find. My favorite Dr. Teal’s scent is Shea Butter & Almond Oil, which smells more like sandalwood and heavenly, depending on what you believe happens after you die. And it’s cheap! You can put three good glugs into the water without regret because the 34 oz. bottle is just $5. When the soap hits the water, BOOM! Bubbles that expand and compound into giant mountains in the corners of the tub. I’ll buy this again and again. (Sidenote: Don’t try to find a bath product that softens your skin, you’re fighting a losing battle—I slather Cetaphil moisturizing cream on after, two layers.)
Alaffia’s bubble baths are not only bubbly, affordable ($12 for 32 oz.), and gentle on the skin, they’re gentle on the conscious too. Through purchasing bubble bath, you’ve helped build schools, reforest forests, give away bikes, and are generally a good person. Never thought about myself that way before! In all seriousness, Alaffia is a great company to support; the shea nuts are fair trade and bought from women-led cooperatives in West Africa. The philanthropic mission is woven into this Black-owned company, and the bubble bath's altrusim isn't just a damage control corporate afterthought. The lavender scent is my favorite (the lemon-lavender for kids is a close second), but Alaffia ALSO makes an unscented bath, which is cool if there’s a perfumed bath oil you love the scent of—you can get crafty.
Blast some Fleetwood Mac and pour a kir royale because when you’re sharing a tub with Kai’s bathing bubbles, you’re the star of your own rom-com. At $30 for 12 oz., this is a special treat bubble bath. It smells like screenplay romance—or Kai’s signature perfume, a sun-dappled gardenia that clings to your skin all afternoon. On the company’s website is a list of celebrities—"devotees"—who like it, so it makes total sense that bathing in these bubbles makes me feel like Jennifer Garner. I was able to shape a scant string bikini and forget about the mold growing in my shower grout for many, many minutes.
Say you want to bathe in a banana smoothie. With the power of modern technology, now you can! Pour some of The Body Shop’s Banana Bath Blend—a milky, yellow liquid—into your tub and inhale the fumes of something between a piña colada and a Little Debbie’s Banana Twin. I didn’t hate it! I used a quarter of the $10 bottle to get the bath to my state of preferred froth, so I’m not sure it’s going into regular rotation (you also need to be careful not to get it on your face, which, uh…). This bubble bath has a mysterious allure I just can’t shake.
I’ve used The Honest Company’s orange-vanilla bubble bath before and found it good for a mid-day bath. Clean-smelling and refreshing, not too heavily perfumed, and $10 at Target. I found that the bubbles pop and retire relatively quickly, and honest-ly, that’s probably because they don’t use the sulfates that create bubbles, which can dry/irritate the skin. You can decide if this is the bubble level for you.
If you’re ready to drop some bills on a bubble bath, Frédéric Malle x Dominique Ropion’s Portrait of a Lady Foam Bath is as expensive ($155, damn) as it is bubbly. Actually, true to its name, this stuff is FOAMY. You know how they say that one of the differences between cheap and good Champagne is that good Champagne has smaller bubbles that tingle on the tongue? It may also be so with bubble bath. These bubbles have the texture of polyethylene foam, which is the first thing that came up when I Googled “types of foam.” It's a thick, dense foam. Instead of a bubble bikini, I could knit a bubble cashmere sweater. A little goes a long way, and will cover your bath, your skin, and your bathroom all damn day with the heady scent of a rich person’s rose garden. This is some Versailles shit and I love it.
Did I miss any? (Yes). Fill me in in the comments. Continue on your bubble journey. Never settle for a flat water bath again.
Photo via ITG