Take A Shower In A Cup Of Tea


Among my many obsessions, forging a bathroom that smells less like human being and more like quite literally anything else is way up there. Such are the priorities of a person whose bathroom plays the role of multihyphenate: it’s a bathroom, yes, but also a spa/salon/lab/occasional place of work. It’s where I find out if that sunscreen actually blends in well, or if that mask can really sweep out the grit in my pores. Lipsticks are swatched and blushes are given a go ‘round. And in that action-packed space, is it too much to ask for a nice smell?

So I zhuzh it up. For years I kept it simple with a steady rotation of “scent packs” care of Bed, Bath, & Beyond (and my mom). I’ve had a Diptyque room freshener that lasted for literal years, and then I started hanging eucalyptus from my showerhead a few years back. Now the thing about the eucalyptus shower is that while it’s great and all, it also...always smells like eucalyptus. It really starts to lose its wow factor after two years of the same ol same ol. A change was in order, and now I’m happy to present: the lavender shower.

The lavender shower is a lot like the eucalyptus shower, in that you’re meant to hang plant stems from the top of your showerhead, and their oils—animated by the shower’s warmth and steam—perfume the air. But it’s lavender, so it smells like how a good sleep feels. It doesn’t put me to sleep, but it is relaxing, which is not a bad way to start yet another day in a global pandemic. Since I’ve installed it in my shower a few weeks ago, the scent envelopes my bathroom against all odds. Last week I blow dried my hair and it didn’t smell like burnt embers. When I gave Puff a wash on Tuesday, the tub didn’t reek of dog. And when I was up for a mask session with Biologique Recherche’s Masque Vivant, my bathroom didn’t smell like the dearly departed.

The only issue with the lavender shower is that it’s messier than eucalyptus—the little purple nubs tend to loosen from their stems easily, and we’re not talking about a few at a time. My solution is to shove those stems inside some cheesecloth (which I had on hand to fully ruin a recipe from Modernist Cuisine), and to tie it all up with some string. It looks like a chunky tea bag and it smells like tea, too. It’s the best (and only) improvement I’ve made to my bathroom all year and please, I am begging you to try it. Go to your local Trader Joe's, drop $4 on a bundle, and get ready for a good steep.

—Ashley Weatherford

Photo via ITG