Continuing our conversation about the rituals of winter hibernation, I have always loved a hot bath. Lowering into a tub of hot water, feeling my back instantly relax… I can’t think of a better way to signal to my body that it’s bedtime. Wrapping up in a cozy robe after the fact just about guarantees a great night’s sleep.
Years of soaking has motivated me to pick up a few tricks — elevating tub time from something relaxing to something that’s also productive? Win. I dump all kinds of stuff into the water that promises to do work on my behalf for my skin, hair and sore muscles.
I mix up all kinds of soaking potions and give them away to my friends like some kind of bath tub witch doctor, usually with really common ingredients. Here are a few tried-and-true mixes that you can grab on the grocery aisle:
After a rough workout, nothing is better for sore muscles than epsom salt. I buy the giant (like, 20lbs!) bulk bag on Amazon, because I put epsom salt in just about all of my baths, sore muscles or not. It’s also really good if you’re feeling a little bloated or had too much salty food that day.
On the palatable subject of bloat, I swear by this by-the-pound clay you can get at Whole Foods or Amazon. Mixed with apple cider vinegar, it makes an amazing face mask (I do my neck and chest too), but it also draws all kinds of impurities from your skin when you drop a few healthy scoops into your tub. Just be sure to rinse your tub down afterwards, or deal with green cement.
A good stable of essential oils is essential. Lavender is really great for relaxation, eucalyptus (sinus rescue) and tea tree oil (antibacterial properties) for when you’re sick. Or Jasmine! Because you want to smell nice!
Also awesome for when you’re sick: Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath. The smallest size is around $5, just go ahead and dump the entire thing in your bath. I don’t know what all is in it, but damn, it’s magical.
Speaking of eucalyptus, if you have an instagram account, you’ve probably seen all the photos of people tying up branches in their shower, citing the plant’s natural aromatherapeutic powers when combined with shower steam. Spoiler alert: it works!
Drink a lot of water before and after your bath, all that salt and clay detoxing pulls lots of water out of your body.
If you’re fighting a dry winter scalp, rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar and toss some in your tub to soften up your skin, too.
This is a good time for a mask. Just sayin’.
As far as products go, I like glossier’s Body Hero body wash, Ouai shampoo and conditioner, and this nifty Japanese body cloth that makes it so much easier to scrub your back and shoulders! (Bonus: it feels like a good back scratch.)
Regarding tunes for soaking? I love Charlie Siem. He’s both classically handsome and classically trained. I call him Charlie cheekbones, and he’s got magic strings. I put together a little playlist of my favorite violinist, and it’s a pretty perfect companion for an end-of-the-day bath, or anytime you need some really solid, but un-disruptive background tunes. ⚡️listen up⚡️