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Back in the summer of 2015, long days found Spencer and Tim escaping their office jobs in downtown San Francisco, jumping on their bikes and racing the sunset across the Golden Gate Bridge into the rambling trails of the Marin Headlands. Streaked with mud and sweat, they’d joke we’d never be able to get clean. As they surfed and climbed, soaked and sweated, the running dirty joke became an obsession. Returning home from their epic adventures, they found that run-of-the-mill body wash couldn’t hold up. Bathing Culture was born.

What is the culture of bathing?

From steam baths to sauna rituals, the culture of bathing is something that cuts across time and space. In some communities, it’s deeply ingrained in the everyday. You have hammams in the Middle East, onsens in Japan, saunas in Nordic regions and sweat lodges in the Americas. In modern America, we don’t really think about it too much, but it’s a truly valuable and overlooked time to connect with ourselves and eventually each other. Nothing is really needed to practice conscious bathing, just the realization that you have yourself.

Free word association: swimming holes, skinny dips, sweat-inducing activities, surfing, saunas, whirlpools, spiral jetty, mud pits, other peoples unattended pools.

What brings you to the wet world of soap?

We were really dirty and couldn’t find truly natural, environmentally friendly products that respected the act of bathing. We would come home after these long bike rides covered in mud and sweat and the memory of all the beauty we saw would totally be interrupted by nasty fragrances and chemicals that dried our sensitive skin out. Straight killing our natural high. No need for that. We went deeper and deeper on what it meant to bathe and we continue to chase that rabbit on its uncatchable journey. Great bathing starts with getting dirty. Cherish what you do to earn your bath. The harder you work for it the better and more satisfying it tends to be.

Northern California seems to be a huge inspiration for your project. Can you tell us how your location and surroundings play a role in what you’re creating?

Nature has been our greatest medicine and we are grateful to call the Bay Area home. We have this saying that Bathing Culture is “Made Under the Supervision of Mt. Tamalpias.” That everything we make and do is in respect to the beauty and preservation of the earth, as if the mountains are watching. The experiences of dipping into the oceans and forests of Northern California made conservationists out of us. We hope that Bathing Culture brings people closer to nature wherever they are.

How did the two of you meet? How does working together impact your business?

We are dyslexic (if you see an Instagram post with a spelling error that’s most likely why) and met in high school at a specialized school called Kildonan. For three years, Tim had the top bunk bed, Spencer below. We basically came of age together and built a pretty awesome friendship. It’s really our history and understanding each others character that’s led us to create Bathing Culture.

What are the benefits to using Bathing Culture soap?

Bathing Culture is a full Mind and Body experience. Lather so good it wraps you up in a velvet robe and sends you floating out to sea. The aromas lift you into the damp redwood canopies and will leave you in an aromatic afterglow. Our formula is sensitive skin aware and after cleansing makes your skin feel healthy and smooth. All of that is done with purely plants, no chemicals, no synthetic fragrances, or ingredients like palm that deforest rainforests. Besides that, we are certified organic, cruelty free, and biodegradable. As of this October, we are now one of the only companies to use bottles made from 100% recycled, California collected, and reprocessed bottles.

What’s your favorite way to get dirty before you get clean?

We love any shower that comes after getting good and dirty. Depending on the day the best way to get dirty can range from riding salty surf breaks, to loooong distance trail running, dancing deep into the night, painting, gardening, completing a tough day of work or project, making a really involved dinner for friends, tangling with a lover… this list could go on forever… really as long as you’re working hard to get dirty you’ll be happy getting clean.

Tell us about your favorite bathing experience.

It must have been around 101 degrees Fahrenheit in the Nevada Desert and Tim and I decided it would be a good idea to take a steam bath in this geodesic dome. We stripped down in the blaring sun and stepped into misty darkness. It was completely black inside with beams of light that shot across the room from a few joining corners. I remember waving my hand through the beams and the steam casted colors in the light. We sat, poured sweat and rambled. The wildest sensation was stepping out into the desert and feeling all that moisture leave your skin like water in a skillet. It cools you down so much. I actually remember being cold and feeling clean and pure. Truly one of our favorites.

Do you have a specific bathing routine?

We could write a book on this. Or if people reach out directly, give you a full on bathing consultation. For starters… Get dirty. Get wet. Lather up with Bathing Culture Mind and Body Wash. Breathe. Rinse. Reveal in euphoric clean!  

Do you have any pro tips you’ve learned along your journey? How can one ensure they are making a sustainable choice when choosing a quality soap product?

Over 95% percent of packaging makes misleading claims about how green a product is, so it’s really important to know the company behind the products. What’s their approach to carbon, packaging, is the farming/sourcing of the ingredients sustainable? If they aren’t talking about it on their website ask them about it. Push them.

You guys have created a brand that seems deeply authentic. Could you pass on a word of advice for those who are interested in taking on their own creative endeavor?

Have fun with it! We have the majority of our design meetings over home cooked meals. Which helps keep us grounded. It’s also really important that ANY project that people start today factors in the environmental crisis, before every decision, asking "is the best thing we can do for the environment?" will make it a lot easier to sleep at night and will ensure your project aligns with the situation we’re living in.

Your packaging and branding are incredible! Who are your design heroes or where do you look for inspiration?

We traded BC for memberships to a bunch of art museums and it’s been really nice to go soak it in whatever art they have on. Music is also super inspiring. Really there’s nothing next to nature and bathing in it. We find ourselves moved by a lot of artista and experiences who work with sound and light. Some faves are Ana Mendieta, Andy Goldsworthy and James Turrell. So much respect for Lenord Koren and our awesome design consul Greg Burrkett, Evie Alexander, Kirk Jonson and Ayni Ramondi.

What are your top five CAP Beauty favorites?

CAP BEAUTY THE MATCHA Keep us vibrating.

DAVID'S NATURAL TOOTHPASTE Nicest guy, total design crush and our teeth are pretty happy.

SUN POTION YIN POWER A friend turned us on to this.

GLASS DHARMA GLASS STRAW It’s all fluid dynamics and #nonewplastic

LEAVES AND FLOWERS Awesome Tea made right near us. We actually served her tea at an art installation we put together at Hedge Gallery (Hi Emily!)

CAP BEAUTY THE FACIAL, 90 MINUTES (duh)

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