Around two years ago, a friend handed me the biggest towel I’d ever seen after I took a shower at her apartment. I’m four-foot-eleven and it covered me from sternum to ankles, with enough fabric to nearly wrap around me twice. When I asked her about it, she told me it was actually called a “bath sheet,” which, to the uninitiated, is essentially a towel on steroids. When I got home, I immediately ordered some very on-sale (but now sold out) bath sheets from Saks to replace my other (literally) lesser towels.
Like the towel I borrowed from my friend, my new ones felt luxurious and provided so much coverage I could basically walk around with one on like a robe. But while I appreciated their ability to wrap me up like a burrito, after receiving my set I soon discovered that bath sheets have a few flaws. Namely, all that extra fabric means they take a lot longer to dry after each use and makes them a pain to wash. If I put two of them in my standard-capacity washing machine, I couldn’t fit anything else, and I’d often have to run them through two dryer cycles, because just one would leave them damp.
While these issues weren’t major enough to revert back to regular towels — which in comparison now felt scrawny and inadequate — I kept an eye out for new bath sheets. All the ones I saw online, or felt at Bed Bath & Beyond, seemed to be just as thick and unwieldy, or a not-as-soft waffle weave. Then I came across Coyuchi, a nearly three-decade-old California-based brand, after reading my fellow Strategist writers rave about their linen sheets (Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal-Bacon is also a fan) that look like they were plucked straight from the set of a Nancy Meyers movie. Browsing Coyuchi’s website, I discovered their “Air Weight” towels. Described as “soft and thirsty,” these thin cotton towels were supposedly both absorbent and fast-drying, offering a plush feel without the bulk. They’re definitely on the more expensive end, but they were the first towels I saw that looked promising.
A note: If you like your towels thick and fluffy, these are not that. While the cotton is certainly soft and it still feels really nice to be wrapped up in one, the thickness is somewhere in between a regular towel and a superthin Turkish peshtemal. At first I wasn’t sure they’d absorb any water since they’re so thin, but they actually dried me off quicker than my old towels and didn’t get wet and soggy in the process. Apparently the secret is the towel’s loose weave, which promotes air circulation for fast drying. Because they spend less time dripping on the towel rack, they don’t tend to smell mildewy after a few uses like other towels. They also don’t hog as much room in the laundry as my old bath sheets because they aren’t as hefty, and never need extra time in the dryer. And if my occasionally lazy husband drops one on the floor instead of hanging it up, it doesn’t leave a puddle.
Plus, the brand is serious about sustainability. Coyuchi offers a subscription program where you can use any of their (organic, fair-trade certified) sheets or towels for 6 to 24 months (experts say towels will start to lose absorbency after around two years), paying a little bit per month, after which you return them and get brand new ones. Depending on their condition, the linens are either recycled, upcycled, or put through a rigorous “renewal” process before getting shipped back out, so they never end up in a landfill. My towels are a few months old now and still going strong, but it’s definitely something I’d consider when it comes time to replace them.
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