Towels. They can be tricky to buy. If they’re pretty they may not be durable. If they’re large, they still may not be absorbent. Or if it ticks all the boxes, then it must be the Hermès luxury beach towel that costs approximately, INR 27,700. But I am fairly confident that we’re not investing that much in bath and laundry, so I went around the LBB Office, asking everyone their favourite towels, or the brands they swear by. From the old-school Bombay Dyeing and cost-effective Home Centre to a few more fancy brand which you may also like, here’s our pick of showered-dried-tried-tested towels.
Organic, Quick-Drying Or Gamchas: Tried & Tested Towels For All Kinds Of Uses
All-Time Favourite - Bombay Dyeing
Of the 20 odd folks I spoke with at our Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore offices, 7 categorically said, “ONLY Bombay Dyeing.” According to Sreepathy Paliath (our SEO & Content Lead), the towels are super soft and absorbent and most importantly, dry within 20 minutes to half an hour. He also says these ones don’t make the hair frizzy, after a hair wash. Plus, they’re not too heavy. Check out the Tulip collection too. In solid colours - they’re absorbent, light and large too.
Best Features: Light, and dry quickly; plus they're easily available and don't bleed colour!
Price: INR 700
Best Large Towels
This one required maths and general research, and we found the biggest selected for large towels was at SPACES. They have options for 160cm x 80cms which is almost the size of a table cloth. In fact, 160cms is taller than someone who is 5’2” so, it really is rather massive. They have prices starting at INR 499, so go take you pick in colours such as navy blue, grey, red, dark green and more. Spaces is also available at Lifestyle if you happen to pop by there. These ones are also good for those who wash their hair frequently, as it’s not too harsh on the scalp nor skin. Srilaxmi, from our Brand Solutions, team, is a big fan of Spaces, and will tell you that apart from being big, and absorbent, they’re soft and fluffy too.
Best Features: Well, size.
Price: INR 499 upwards
Best For Sports / Workouts - Jockey
I exercise regularly - most days, twice - and I found that a post workout shower meant that the towels I used also got worn out much quicker than most people in my home. So, when Jockey brought their Jockey Sport version, a few years ago, I had to try it. Fast-forward to today, I still do! Made from 100% cotton (they say), these ones are highly absorbent, soft (but not fluffy) and are great for multi-use. The colour doesn’t fade despite many washes, and doesn’t retain sweat, grime nor odour. In fact, I just replaced my two-year-old towel, for hygiene purposes, and not because of wear and tear.
Best Features: Absorbent, and doesn’t soak up the sweaty smell even after multiple uses
Price: INR 750
Best For Curly Hair - FabIndia
Both Saniya and Srilaxmi, of Team LBB, swear by FabIndia’s towels. The pile cotton fabric towels are Saniya’s pick as they prevent frizz and breakage when drying the hair. Srilaxmi opts for similar ones - the honeycomb fabric with lovely prints, especially the floral ones. We also recommend FabIndia for their towel sets perfect for the spare bedroom for when guests show up. They have sets of two - bath and hand towels, perfect to show off!
Best Features: Soaks up water without damaging and breaking hair
Price: INR 890 for the standard and INR 990 for the large bath towel
Best Gamchas - Kilol & FabIndia
OK, the best are going to be at your local markets, or your fabric street, no question about that. But should you want a pretty version, check out Kilol and FabIndia. Kilol has handloom cotton bath towels with printed borders starting at INR 380 for the smaller ones, and goes up to larger ones for INR 650. They’re white with lovely prints such as paisley, tree motifs, florals and more. I’ve personally used these, and they seem really thin but are super durable. I’ve been using them for over six years now, and they still have not faded.
Over at FabIndia, the gamchas comes in stripes, checks, solids and one lovely sunflower yellow. These too have been tested out, but the Kilol ones lasted longer. That said, the FabIndia ones are at an easy enough price of INR 380.
Best Feature: Quick drying, light and highly absorbent
Price: INR 380 upwards
Best Functional Towels: Westside, Homestop & Homecentre
Hands down Westside, Homeshop (by Shopper’s Stop) & Home Centre (by Lifestyle) win for this! These department stores’ home collections have a range of towels - from smaller bath towels with face towel sets, to the entire set of 6 with bath, hand and face towels included. But to make it easier for you, we’ve broken it down a bit.
The Homecentre: Get towels that are muted colours like mint green and sky blue here. They also stock brands like Portico, Maspar, and Spaces. We’d avoid Maspar’s towels as they leave fluff on you.
Homestop: With brands such as Spaces, Spread, IVY, and Maspar as well, there’s little to tell this one and Homecentre apart. But if you really want to splurge, check out the brand Maishaa’s Airdrop bath towel at INR 3595. Not anything to do with Apple transferring systems, Airdrop is a process of spinning that uses 100% cotton fibres and traps them with air. Meant to be durable even over extended usage, and still soft, this one’s worth it, we are told!
Westside: With all towels from their in-house brand, prices are what you need to go here for. Prices start at an easy INR 499 and colours range from light pink, navy and charcoal to white, taupe and sage green. While we all use them, and love them, these are not the most durable, and unfortunately also fade after a few washes.Price: INR 500 upwards for the bath towels
Best For Kids & Babies: The Baby Atelier & Mothercare
We outsourced this one to five mothers with kids between the ages of 3 months to 8 years. The one name which was unanimous was Mothercare, with The Baby Atelier, a very close second. Here's their take...
Mothercare: These are tried-tested and almost very mother approves of them as they're super soft, and ideal for kids between from newborn to four years. Check out their mutli-pack ones say these mothers as with kids, more is always better. The simplest, and most used one was this 3-pack cuddle and dry set that even comes with a little hood for the babies. Also, they recommend changing the towels every six months.
Price: INR 2,499 for the set.
The Baby Atelier: A brand from Bangalore which does lovely organic linen for kids, this is a fantastic option to aim to keep the kids away from synthetic materials. With set for kids and babies, the towels are simple white with borders in options like florals, checks, polka dots and in different colours too. Each set contains two towels - a bath towel and a hand towel, and you can even add a monogram for your little ones on these. Oh, and they are anti-alergic so safer for the kids' skin.
Price: INR 1,800 for kids and INR 1,400 for the hooded towel set for new borns.
Best For Gifting: Suvasa
Suvasa, Suvasa, Suvasa. Their range of towels (both bath and face) are just so pretty, and soft. I was gifted a set a few months ago, and can vouch for them. They appear delicate, but behind all that pretty floral facade, this ones absorb water well, and don’t even become wet. They’re fairly quick-drying which makes them great even in the cold. Some of the patterns on them are adorable elephants, gorgeous liliums, pansies, poppies and even one themed around the Thekkady locality in Kerala (with coconut trees and elephants!) all intricately hand appliqued with block prints.
Pro Tip: While you do get them separately, we highly recommend you get the sets - at least the bath and hand towels for gifting.
Price: INR 1,420 for the bath towels, but with added face or hand towels, add on INR 500 - INR 800.
Best If You Have Allergies And Want 100% Cotton
For those fussy towel-needing folks, or the genuinely sensitive-skinned folks, organic cotton is needed and Amouve does just that. The brand apparently only utilises zero synthetic pesticides and harnesses rain fed irrigation, so your cotton is also ethical and certified cotton. We tried it, and not only is it super soft, but is very absorbent. The towels are large, at about 3 feet by 5 feet. They don't specify for men or women, so go ahead and towel off with this velvety soft options.
Pro Tip: They also have towel sets which come with large bath ones, hand towels and face towels too. They have a Forest Green towel set at INR 1,899 which we have, and love. Perfect for gifting too!
Price: Bath towels start at INR 1,600 and smaller towel sets start at INR 800 for 3.