It all started with a single Hero product; Bathing Culture’s Cathedral Grove Mind & Body Wash was launched as a brisk walk through a California redwood forest, in a bottle. This inaugural launch is perfectly balanced, universally appealing and loved by just about everyone I know. It’s known as the soap in the rainbow bottle. Just one whiff of the original scent is all it takes to inspire an investment in a bottle that will elevate your daily bathing ritual or routine hand wash. It is so good, a cult following demanded it in a concentrated perfume form, and the call was answered with Cathedral Grove Perfume Oil, a tiny portable and universal rollerball application of the Bathing Culture’s signature scent.
Cathedral Grove is a masterful blend of woodsy maritime pine, multiple cedar woods, resinous balsam and frankincense balanced with bright juniper berry, green vetiver and floral ylang ylang. The blend was shepherded by Bathing Culture co-founder Spencer Arnold, with the guidance of his mother, who are both studied and experienced perfumers. Cathedral Grove delivers the perfect forest bathing experience without hitting you on the head with the common, predictable piney notes, landing as both native and familiar, but not obvious. The scent is original, and one that never feels faded or exhausted, the way a brisk walk in a forest invigorates and never gets old.
With the success and love for Cathedral Grove so strong, I didn’t expect Bathing Culture to craft follow-up scents that would match its charm (I don’t know why). But in the past few months, as I’ve explored their newest collection of products, I realized something I hadn’t before. Tim and Spencer, the duo behind Bathing Culture, just really ‘get’ scent. Their newest launches include four products: Heat Wave Body Oil, Kelp Forest Shampoo, Good Seed Conditioner and Mind & Body Wash in a new scent, Meadow Vision, each featuring a fresh, completely original, transporting aromatic profile, on par with their OG, Cathedral Grove. Discover them all in this month’s Beauty Heroes Discovery, a one-time opportunity to immerse yourself in all the Bathing Culture newness at once, available only through January 20th.
After bathing in this collection, I’ve resolved to not choose a favorite. The scents are like songs, they’re each so different and so cool, it’s not possible, or necessary to choose. Let’s begin at the top, with the newly launched Kelp Forest Shampoo featuring a new scent they call Break Water. As you dispense this clear gel into your hand and lather into hair, the scent opens up with brisk top notes of cypress, sweet orange and mugwort, middle notes of laurel, clary sage and rose geranium and grounding notes of seaweed, fir and green vetiver. Refreshing and crisp, Break Water manages to smell like the best version of clean ocean spray.
The new ultra-hydrating creamy Good Seed Conditioner brings together squalene and amino rich amaranth with argan seed oil, carrot and celery to deliver Vitamin E, fatty acids and carotenes to depleted hair. The scent, called Nude Beach, is a balancing act to the shampoo, with oils extracted from the leaves of magnolia, lavender and rock rose blended with cypress and sweet orange, carrot seed and celery seed. Base notes of clary sage, coconut and seaweed are warm and sensual, begging to linger in your hair and on your body, evoking the post dip euphoria of drip drying.
This leads to Heat Wave Body Oil which debuted earlier in 2022 and features the same Nude Beach scent, but here infused into a soothing blend of skin-loving rice bran, coconut, sunflower, avocado and jojoba seed oils that mimic the skin’s natural lipids to quickly absorb. That Heat Wave contains arnica – with the bioactive constituent helenalin – is a bonus, as it soothes tired muscles and soreness. Nude Beach is a scent that belongs on skin and is appreciated by those who want a little, but not too much scent. My best description is that Nude Beach leaves skin smelling clean, soft, warm and comforted.
To cap off this exhilarating collection, Bathing Culture delivers their OG Mind & Body Wash in a NEW, luscious scent – introducing Meadow Vision. The bar was set high, and Tim and Spencer met the challenge to deliver a follow up to Cathedral Grove that felt just as native to Northern California as the original with a fresh and original scent experience. Not your everyday floral, Meadow Vision is an accessible, all-gender floral aroma that transports you to a lush meadow of wildflowers that are more herbal and airy, than concentrated and heady. Meadow Vision brings together top notes of Himalayan cedar, bright pink pepper, green spearmint and basil with uplifting clary sage, sweet geranium, lush lavender and sensual ylang ylang. Woodsy balsam Peru, vetiver and patchouli ground it in true Bathing Culture fashion. As a follow-up to Cathedral Grove, I think they nailed it.