Taking your bath to the next level
It seems like we waited forever for the weather to cool down, and now that it’s cooler, a cozy, soothing bath is in order. If you’re ready to trade up from Mr. Bubble (though, if that floats your boat, have at it) to something a little more luxurious, calming and heavenly scented, I’m bubbling over with information and recommendations for products to take bathing (or showering) to the next level. Before diving in, there are a couple things to know about the best way to soak it all in.
Few things feel better than a hot bath on a cold day. Bathing rituals have been around for centuries, with almost every culture having its own version; think Turkish Hammam, Japanese Onsen or dips in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon. But, what’s the optimal temperature for bath water? Debates are fierce, ranging from super-hot to super-cold, with most experts settling on a couple degrees over body temp – somewhere between 102 and 112 degrees. That range ensures proper washing away of environmental dirt and bacteria without burning or drying out the skin. The chestnut about going from a warm soak to a cold rinse for keeping hair shiny and facial pores tight appears to have some merit with the dermatological community, though jumping from a hot bath to a cold shower is my personal preference. Some find the hot to cold invigorating, but there’s no real science behind any purported health benefits. Basically, if you don’t feel dry, tight or itchy after a bath or shower, the water temperature is likely right on.
There are myriad ways to set the scene – candles, incense, music, podcasts, a book, trashy magazines, a glass of wine or whisky – and find your chill. For a simple option, try Epsom salts and coconut oil. For a detox, mustard baths are the bomb. I adore the candles and incense from Astier de Villatte, found locally at Pied Nu, and usually I’m a fool for reading books or magazines in the tub. However, my latest obsession is listening to podcasts. No electronics in the tub, I set up my phone or tablet on a nearby table and tap the speaker to turn it on and fill the room with sound.
As for carefully selected bath bubbles, oils, soaks and scrubs, to complete the full-body experience, here’s my big list of little luxuries at all price points:
Lush: The bubble bars, melts and bombs are intensely scented and best used for more than one bath. Look for the Butterbear, Butterball and Honey Bee bombs; the Ceridwen’s Cauldron Bath Melt; and the Blue Skies & Fluffy White Clouds Bubble Bar.
L’Occitane: The Almond Shower Oil and the Lavender Foaming Bath are both simply divine, and the shower oil is a stellar cleanser.
Chanel: The ultimate in elegance: No. 5 The Foaming Bath
Aveeno: If you have dry and itchy skin, the Skin Relief Shower and Bath oil is the answer.
Burt’s Bees: The Lemon & Vitamin E Bath & Body Oil is deliciously scented.
Bliss: Vibrant and perfect for shower or bath, the Blood Orange & White Pepper Soapy Suds are luxe.
Origins: Calm to Your Senses Lavender and Vanilla Oil for Bath & Body is just that: calming and lovely.
Aveda: Take the edge off before bed with Stress-fix Soaking Salts.
Philosophy: Fans of crisp and clean will adore Pure Grace Shampoo’s Bath & Shower Gel.
Fresh: Lightly peach scented, Fresh’s Rice Sake Bath is best for soothing and soaking, and also boasts the ability to even skin-tone.
Laura Mercier: For the gourmand, the Crème Brulee Honey Bath leaves skin super soft, supple and sweetly scented like caramel.