I take at least two baths a day. I’m not proud of the carbon footprint it takes to deliver all that hot water, but if it means spending less time on airplanes to make up for it, I’m willing. I don’t bathe for cleansing so much for comfort. The bath is my cocoon, like a liquid Snuggly.
Like all things in life, my strong attachment to the bath harks back to my childhood. Our house was always cold, and every morning, I’d scramble from my bed to the bathroom, where I’d sit in the bathtub, impatiently waiting for it to fill up and blanket me. We didn’t have a fireplace, so the bath was the next best thing.
After a lifetime of taking baths, drawing one seems about as intuitive as eating, so when I was asked to write about my bath routine, I paused. But it is bath season, so here are my tips to achieving the perfect bath in your very own bathroom.
Step one: Clean the tub. Bathtubs are often gross, filled with everything from lingering shampoo residue to yucky rings left behind from past baths. Sprinkle a little baking soda on a wet sponge and have at it, then rinse thoroughly before proceeding.
The most important element needed to optimize the bath experience, other than a tub full of really warm water, is low lighting. Taking a bath in a brightly lit bathroom completely defeats the purpose. You want calm, warmth, serenity, hygge. If your light has no dimmer switch, use the shower curtain to block it, or turn the lights off entirely and light a candle.
Our tub rests against a wall, with 19 bath products standing along its edge. I use maybe two or three of them on a regular basis, but I like having them all around me, like a stuffed animal collection. Each bottle and jar has been vetted — for its scent (which should be subtle; a good bath product knows that the bath water is the star and its fragrance is merely a supporting player), texture and relationship with the bath water, as well as aftereffects on me and my tub.
Read on for my favorites.
The Best Bath Salts
Bath salts — especially ones that contain soothing minerals— are great if you’ve overextended your body, pulled a muscle, or pinched a nerve.
Red Flower Hinoki Mint Mineral Bath Soak
A favorite for warding off the first signs of a cold, this blend of hinoki, cedar, sage, and lemon creates a nurturing, curative feeling. You’ll want to change into your pajamas after using this.