woman laying in relaxing bath with herbal leaves floating around

When it comes time to get the most relaxing bath, go all in

Everyone knows baths are wonderful for reducing stress, easing sore muscles, preparing you for  sleep, softening skin and getting clean, but some baths are just more satisfying than others. If you value bath time for quality self-care, these tips can ensure you get the most out of tub time.

 

1. Shut the door

This one should be obvious–you need alone time. If you’re single, great; closing the door is optional for you. But if you’re a mom, you know how everyone needs you the moment you threaten to take time for yourself. Make a deal with your partner, parents or best friend to take care of them for an hour–not a single question or door knock allowed. (Bonus points if they take everyone out of the house.) If the kids are old enough not to set the house afire if left alone, make a deal with them: let them watch a movie they love or take them for ice cream if they can go it alone for an hour. Bottom line: no visitors.

 

3. Multitask with Masks

One of my favorite things about a bath is to pamper my skin and hair, so I always use facials  and hair masks when I bathe. I like clay based face masks, but you should use whatever works best for your skin and apply it liberally (to your neck, too) before getting into the bath. Hair masks (or deep conditioners) add moisture to your hair, so whether you choose a drugstore brand, high end specialty mask or make your own is up to you. I take a thin towel and wet it, bunch it on a plate and microwave it while I spray my hair with water and put on the mask. The hot towel allows the mask to penetrate the hair better. I usually shower off at the end of a bath, so all the products will rinse away rather than float in my bathwater.

 

4. Candles and music

If you need to de-stress, I suggest this route for absolute relaxation. Choose your music, whatever you like to listen to in a quiet mood. I like classical or jazz so I can daydream without lyrics, but again, it’s up to you. Run your bath, light several candles around the room (remember to place them safely), turn out the lights, and sink into the water. Close your eyes and let the music wash over you and allow your thoughts to drift wherever they want. Add hot water as needed and enjoy.

 

5. Book and drink

When I just want a long soak, I love to read in the tub. I always go for a novel that’s not terribly long (easier to hold!) and is light and fun. I make sure to have a towel within reach to dry my hands need be, or to put the book down without getting it wet. A glass of wine or a mug of coffee, tea or cocoa is an excellent companion. This is the perfect chance to have an entire drink in silence, so don’t blow it!

 

Bonus: Products

Your bath, your products. Luxurious bubbles, bath bombs, Epsom salt for sore muscles, essential oils, sachets,  the temperature you like–it’s all up to you. I like to make my own bath bombs using coconut oil and floral essential oils for soft, lovely smelling skin. I also take the time to shave my legs very thoroughly at the end of a bath, using a luxe shaving cream; I find that shaving after a hot soak is much more effective than doing it quickly in the shower. The bottom line is, pamper your senses and your skin with whatever makes you happiest.

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