Self-care comes in many different forms, all of which are equally important. Eating healthy, meditating and working out are well-known ways to care for oneself, but some look at bathtime as a luxury that is not afforded to them or not important in their self-care ritual. Boredom, obligation or simply thinking you don’t have time are all factors that keep some people from indulging in a lengthy bath. However, baths aren’t just for cleansing. They’re for relaxation, healing, calming the mind and even soothing sore muscles. All you need are a few key ingredients to take your baths to the next level.
Add one or more of these seven ingredients, and your bath will become less of a bore and more of a ritual.
1. Flowers Or Herbs
Plants are arguably one of Mother Nature’s best presents. Whether dried or fresh, you can add flowers and herbs to your bath to elevate your experience. While it’s a great sensory experience, another benefit is that the essential oils from the plants get released with the steam of the bath. Various plants have skincare benefits, such as the magically soothing powers of the rose (both for the skin and the senses) or the invigorating qualities of rosemary. Try an unlikely hero like cinnamon or cardamom in your next bath for a warming experience that’s perfect for winter weather.
2. Tea Bags
You may be thinking that you’ll never have time to add fresh flowers or herbs to your bathtime ritual. Fortunately, a great bath can be just a trip to the pantry away. Chamomile teas are perfect if you’d like a soothing bath before bed, or add some ginger tea bags if you need an energy boost to get you through the day.
3. Essential Oils
If you don’t have live flowers or herbs in your home, try adding a few drops of essential oils to the bath. These concentrated formulas come in varieties like peppermint or eucalyptus to help you breathe easier if you’re feeling stuffed up. Can’t sleep? Try a few drops of good ole lavender to help set your mind at ease before bed.
Salts like Epsom or Pink Himalayan sea salt are popular in both mainstream and DIY bath formulas because of their effectiveness against sore muscles. The minerals in the salt, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium are absorbed into the skin. At the same time as you’re soaking up nutrients and helping to rid the skin and body of toxins.
If you have milk in your refrigerator, try adding a cup to your bath. Adding milk to your bath will leave your skin feeling silky smooth because of its exfoliating properties. The Alpha Hydroxy Acids (or AHA’s) will exfoliate and help with skin problems like acne or discoloration, while the vitamins and proteins will add moisture to the skin.
Adding a cup of finely-ground oats to your bath is the perfect remedy for Itchy or irritated skin. Not exactly the same as oatmeal you buy to eat, finely-ground oats, known as colloidal oatmeal, are easily dissolved in the bath. If you don’t have these at home, you can grind your own oats in the food processor, just know that they won’t dissolve as easily as colloidal. This is known as a particularly popular DIY remedy for people with eczema flare-ups because of the soothing benefits it has for inflamed skin.
Honey’s healing properties are perfect for the skin any time, but particularly after a sunburn. Honey is a humectant, meaning that it attracts and helps retain moisture on the skin. This will leave the skin feeling hydrated after any bath, as well as help heal sunburned skin faster than if you just moisturize after each bath. Combining milk and honey in a bath is a classic experience that will have your skin glowing year round.