La Mer dupe by The Bath House, York

There’s definitely something Victorian about The Bath House in York. You could just imagine a lady in a flounced petticoat disappearing inside to buy complexion soap or Laudanum. Happily though, the apothecary-style store on Low Petergate sells luxury beauty products, as opposed to dubious home remedies.

Concocted in quaintly named ‘making rooms’ in Sedbergh, Cumbria, The Bath House range includes body and skin care, fragrance and products for the home. A couple of goodies in particular stood out for me amongst the myriad of bottles and jars on offer. One is Kombu Seaweed Face Cream. I’m always on the lookout for Crème de la Mer dupes (the crazily priced pots containing so-called seaweed-based ‘Miracle Broth’).

Crème de la Mer inspires cult-like devotion, but if you’re even considering paying £230 for a moisturiser, you really must forget the hype for a moment and consider the ingredient list. I go by the golden rule that the first three ingredients in a skincare product will tell me if the price tag is worth it.

The first three La Mer ingredients are seaweed, paraffin and petrolatum. Paraffin, also found in E45 cream, is a cheap to produce mineral oil, while petrolatum is Vaseline, basically. Definitely moisturising, and seaweed is wonderful for the skin, but is La Mer actually just exclusively packaged and marketed, posh Vaseline?

Kombu Seaweed Face cream lists water, grapeseed oil and glycerine as its first three (and therefore greatest quantity) ingredients, with seaweed featuring further down. A smaller concentration of protecting, healing seaweed then, but at £38 for 50ml, it is also roughly one sixth of the price of La Mer, and definitely worth trying.


I also love the scent of the Pomegranate & Blackberry candles, made with soy wax, and the light, refreshing citrus notes of Frangipani & Grapefruit Perfume. Men wanting to avoid the choke-inducing heaviness of many mainstream male scents would do well to look at Bath House’s Cuban Cedar & Lime Cologne.

You can spend quite a happy time sniffing everything on the shelves in the York shop. There are also Bath House boutiques in Ilkley, Ambleside, Windermere and Kirkby Lonsdale. A well-received Northern brand, made using artisan techniques by a really creative, passionate – and probably slightly crackers – team in the lovely Lakes.