How to take the best bath of your life: Flower petals optional.
If you want to feel elegant, pampered, and a touch extravagant, treat yourself to the best bath experience of your life. It doesn’t have to happen at a spa or at a hot springs—although it can! Luxurious baths can happen right at home.
When I studied abroad in London, I lived in a flat with a leaky shower. Some of my roommates made it work with strategic nozzle placement and lots of towels, but I passed on this option and indulged in a daily bath. There’s a quietness to bathing that was especially welcome after a day of bopping around the city. Although my current apartment has a perfectly functional shower, I enjoy the occasional bath—and I make sure that every moment of bathing is divine.
Sure, you can run some water and hop in the tub, but if you want a true (home) spa experience, here’s how to do it:
Create the right atmosphere. This part is totally up to you. Do you want candles? Or dimmed lights? Sometimes I enjoy a little music with my bath. Lately I’ve been listening to Bessie Smith radio on Pandora—I find it relaxing and energizing at the same time. Essential oils are a lovely way to elevate your bath experience. Sensual jasmine is a staple in my bathroom, but there are a bazillion options. A friend of mine reported supplementing her bath with peppermint oil and boiling water when she was feeling stuffy and unwell. Sounds genius.
Don’t forget reading material. Whether it’s a mystery novel or this month’s Vogue, your guilty-pleasure reading is perfect for bath time. Just remember that pages can get puffy and sometimes wet—so nothing too dear!
This one is so common sense, but it’s my favorite: Have everything ready before you submerge yourself. On one corner of the tub, I place my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, comb, and anything else I may need. (It’s no fun to have to stand up mid-bath and root around your shower caddy. I also go ahead and light my candles. On a little table by the tub, I place a fresh towel and washcloth, each folded nicely—why not? Now you’ve saved yourself from dripping all over the bathroom because you needed x, y, and z.
Use your bath time to beautify. Apply a face or hair mask while you wash, shave, etc. No one says you can’t multitask in the bath! If you do plan to wash your hair in the bath, here are a few tips: Shampoo your hair before you do anything else. This way, you’re working with fairly soap-free water (there will be some soap in the water if you do a second lather). Soap left in your hair creates buildup, which is not beautiful. Next, condition or use a hair mask as normal. When it’s time to rinse your hair one final time, you have a few options. You can rinse the bulk of your conditioner out in the soapy water then stick your head under the running bath faucet as you drain the bath (this is a good workout for your core) or simply fill a large cup from the tap and pour over your head, using your fingers to aid the process. Repeat as necessary.
Another way to beautify in the bath is to exfoliate. Opt for a nice washcloth rather than a grainy scrub (the grains will collect on the floor of the tub—not a pleasant experience if you’re still sitting there!). Massage your limbs in small, upward circles. This will make skin softer while stimulating circulation. Massage your belly and lower back in a clockwise circle to aid digestion.
Once you’re all rinsed and patted dry, give your skin yet more love with a luxurious post-bath body milk. You may also want to: apply body oil to rough areas: elbows, heels, knees…, dab on your favorite perfume, and massage a few drop of hair serum on the ends of your hair.
Now you have treated yourself to a goddess-worthy bath.
More DIY beauty treatments: DIY Maca Cacao Clay Mask
Photos: Mary Hood