When was the last time you thought seriously about baths? Chances are it’s not been since you were young enough to get excited about the prospects of bubbles and a rubber duck. Whether you’re a water baby or not, baths are a fantastic way to relax and recover from strenuous exercise, and act as a great way to rejuvenate muscles and get rid of aches and pains.
The benefits of immersing yourself in warm water infused with salts, oils and minerals are well documented. Sinking into a deep tub filled to the brim with gently steaming water and fragranced bubbles will help to get rid of the tension from even the worst day. Baths help to reduce anxiety and can even help you to sleep.
There’s no wrong way to take a bath, but there are certainly a few things you can do to spice up your time in the tub and make it something you truly look forward to. Here are Innermost’s tips on taking the best, most relaxing bath of your life.
Create some ambiance
You can’t work out how to relax with harsh overhead lights glaring. The first step to a relaxing bath is to create a calming, peaceful atmosphere, and that starts with lighting. Dim the lights and bring out your best candles, which as well as providing a gentle, flickering light will make the whole room smell terrific.
Unless you’re planning to spend your bathing time meditating (which is a great idea), it’s also a good plan to have a few things to do close to hand before you sink down into the water. This is the ideal moment to crack open that novel you’ve been meaning to try, work your way through a few back issues of magazines or balance your laptop on the loo seat and get into a new Netflix series. As long as you’re careful to not drop your entertainment into the water, you’re all set.
The aim here is to make yourself comfortable, so to that end it’s also nice to have your favourite beverage to hand, and perhaps even a snack if you’re planning on staying in there a while. Most importantly, let your family or housemates know not to disturb you. This is your time.
Not too hot, not too cold
One crucial bath tip is to ensure the temperature of your water is just right for you. Too cold and you’ll be shivering and won’t benefit from the muscle-relaxing properties of hot, steamy water. Too scalding and the bath could dry out your skin and cause you to overheat. Aim for a comfortable, warm temperature, and test the water against the skin on the inside of your wrist before you clamber in, as your hands and fingers are less sensitive to heat than this area.
Salts, oil or bubbles?
What you fancy adding to your bath will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve. To soothe sore muscles, choose bath salts of Epsom salts for their relaxing properties. Affordable and effective, these are best to add in close to the end of your bath once the water has almost finished running.
Bath oils are great in the winter months, when skin tends to be dry. Soaking in a bath with a few capfuls of oil will rehydrate your skin, and you can choose an oil with essential oils in for an even more dramatic effect. Try lavender for a nighttime bath and rose oil for when you want to smell delicious.
Bubbles are the festive option. Who can resist a bath filled with bubbles, after all? Just be aware that if your skin is on the sensitive side, the sulphates used to make bubbles could dry out your skin.
Do a face mask
Your skin will thank you if you take this time to treat it well. Choose a mask (we like a clay one or a moisturising one) and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off to reveal your new glowy skin underneath.
In a world where we’re used to 10 minute showers and rushing from task to another, it can feel counterintuitive and unproductive to sit for a while doing nothing in some warm water. This is far from the case, however. To get the most out of a relaxing bath and to make the most of these bath ideas, it’s best to spend at least 20 minutes to half an hour enjoying the water. If you’re only to sit down for five minutes before rushing off to check your work email, what’s the point of drawing the bath in the first place?
For some extra relaxation help, try taking one of Innermost’s The Relax Capsules, nootropic capsules which contain research-backed ingredients that help reduce stress, promote relaxation and help you get a great night's sleep.
Once you’ve stepped out the water and blown out the candles, the first thing you should be doing is moisturising. Hot water can stirp the natural oils from your skin, so by applying a gentle body lotion all over, you’ll lock in hydration and set yourself up for smooth, soft skin the next day.