Hats have gone out of fashion in most places and aside from weddings it’s rare to see many people wearing one. There is one place however where they are still an essential accessory and that is in the banya when you are in the steam room itself. The reason you should wear a hat in the steam room is to prevent your head from overheating, to protect your hair and extremities like your ears. Your head heats up faster than the rest of your body and a hat insulates it, helping to keep it comparatively cool while your core temperature rises. It keeps the air temperature around your head at a comfortable level, allowing you to tolerate the heat of the steam room for longer, thereby maximising the benefits of banya. When you take parenie (the leaf and steam massage), your head will always be covered by a hat as well as eucalyptus leaves that have been soaked in cold water. Banya hats are usually made of felt for its insulating qualities, but sheepskin and wool can also be used. Some have flaps that fold down over ears or a pair of horns, others are embroidered with the name of the banya or the owner. Although they come in different shapes, sizes, styles and colours, they all serve the same purpose. It might not be much of a fashion statement, but make sure you pick one up when you next visit The Bath House.