It is mid-January as I write this. It is cold here in northern Wisconsin, every view a snowscape. This is the time of year I absolutely crave a nice soak in a warm bath.
Next to my most snuggly blanket and home humidifier, a hot bath is at the top of my favorite list at this time of year.
As I've aged I've noticed my skin, muscles, and joints become a little more stressed with every Winter. A warm bath with muscle and joint soothing additives make a huge difference in my physical and mental health.
For me, a nice warm bath means much more than just settling into a tub of steamy water. For me, a nice warm bath includes water at just the right temperature for skin health, aromatic scents, candles, soothing water conditioners, and hydrating bath/body oils. All of which work to ease sore muscles and joints, rehydrate dry winter skin, and lift my spirit.
I've rounded up all of my best bath tips for you below!
Best Bath Tips:
1. Timing - When is the best time to take a bath?
I love using baths for relaxing and because of this I recommend taking your bath one to two hours before bedtime. Warm water combined with relaxing bath salts or aromatherapy essential oils can do wonders for helping you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Aim to bath for at least ten minutes (this applies to showers as well) for maximum relaxation benefits.
2. Water Temperature - What is the best water temperature for a bath?
The best water temperature for a bath is just above your body temperature. To determine if your bath water is right just dip your wrist (not your fingers or hand) into the water. If it is nicely comfortable you are in the zone.
While dipping into a steaming hot bath can be really attractive, avoid this. Water temperature that is too hot can deplete your skin of its natural oils, leaving your skin dryer than ever.
If your bath water is so hot you have to slowly ease yourself into the tub or you start sweating while bathing, your water is too hot. Add some cold water to even the temperature out.
3. Before you enter the bath...
Set your bath intention - are you bathing for relaxation? muscle relief? skin soothing? The goal of your bath will determine which additives you will add to your bath water.
Prepare your bath environment - clean your bathtub thoroughly, give your bathroom a general wipe-down so you are stepping out of the tub into a clean room, lay out a fluffy clean towel, lay out your skin care regimen so you can finish with soothing facial products, make sure your robe or pajamas are within reach.
For a super relaxing environment dim the lights and light some lovely scented candles. If possible add a calming playlist by searching for "spa music" or "relaxing music" choices.
Prepare your skin for your bath with an exfoliating dry brush. Before entering the tub (or shower) use a dry brush to loosen dead skin cells and increase circulation.
Should you shower before or after leaving the bath? I have heard a lot of debate over this question. There is no hard and fast rule about this, it's really a personal decision. I recommend basing this decision on your bath goals:
If your bath goal is a relaxing bath then a quick shower in which you soap up to cleanse before entering the tub will ensure your bath water stays clean. In this case I do not recommend an after bath shower because the shower will rinse off any soothing oils or aromatherapy oils, diminishing the return on your bath investment. Then shower the following morning to ensure you are starting the day clean and refreshed.
If your bath goal is cleansing and exfoliating then I recommend ending with a shower for a final sweep of any soap, body scrub, or debris that may still be clinging to your skin. Follow up with body oil or lotion to lock moisture in.
4. Boost Your Bath Water!
This is where the magic happens! Boost your water with mineral rich and soothing additives. I use several types of water boosters with my bath, depending on my bath goals.
a. Bulk Salts - Bulk Bath Salts are those bags of Epsom or Dead Sea Salts that come either scented or unscented and can be found almost anywhere these days. There is a large difference in quality among bath salts and different bath salts provide different bath outcomes.
Be sure to choose salts that are from reputable sources to ensure you are getting a high quality, clean salt. There is nothing worse than opening a bag of salts only to smell musty ocean water. If that happens, discard the salts and replace them with a better option.
My top two salt choices are Dead Sea Salt and Epsom Salt. Dead Sea Salt is made of salt and more than 20 minerals. Epsom Salt actually contains no salt at all! It forms when high levels of magnesium and sulfates combine with water. Epsom is just referred to as "salt" because it looks like salt.
Dead Sea Salt - while there are a wide variety of choices of sea salt, the salts from the Dead Sea are known to contain the highest mineral concentration including magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Dead Sea Salts can help boost your overall wellness in addition to soothing aching muscles and joints. They also help to actually hydrate dry skin as opposed to other salt types which can dry your skin.
At Brown Barn we currently have just one Dead Sea Salt option which is a pre-scented salt with sage essential oil for supporting skin health and tangerine essential oil to boost your mood. Scroll down to the end of this post to learn more.
Epsom Salt - Epsom Salts are a great option is your bath goal is for detoxification or for muscle/joint relief.
For bulk salts I recommend using anywhere from a handful to a cup of salts. Simply toss them into warm bath water and swish to dissolve before entering the tub.
b. Bath Bombs - Bath Bombs are a true bath treat. Bath Bombs are fizzy balls of condensed oils, water conditioners (think baking soda and salts), and fragrance or essential oil. Personally, Bath Bombs are my favorite add-in. Brown Barn bath bombs have are large enough for a good sized bath and I find I don't even need to follow up with lotion after adding a bath bomb to the bath. I do not recommend combining bath bombs with salts or other soaks as a bath bomb is usually enough on its own.
c. Soaks - At Brown Barn, our premium salt blends are termed "soaks" because they include more than just salts, more than just water conditioners, more than just fragrance. Think of soaks as "targeted treatments". For example our Eucalyptus Arnica Soak includes ingredients specifically known for their ability to soothe joints and muscles. And our Orange Immortelle blend includes charcoal for a deeply detoxifying experience.
For soaks I recommend using from a few tablespoons to a handful in an average sized bath. Feel free to boost your soaks with our unscented Ultra Epsom Salts!
d. Bubble Bath - Bubble Bath is so fun! Unfortunately many bubble bath formulas contain additives that are not as skin safe or natural as we prefer. Brown Barn has a foaming salt soak that is 100% safe and results in a nice, luscious foam. Use our foaming bath salts the same as you would any salt soak however add them to the bath by holding your hand, with the salts, under running water. One thing to note is that soft water will produce more longer-lasting bubbles than hard water.
e. Bath Oil and Body Oil - I absolutely love to add a little body oil or bath oil to my bath for hydrating and soothing my skin. Add a few tablespoons to warm water, swish to mix. The oil will rest on top of the water and cling to your body as you exit the tub. Always exit with care when using any additive with oil. Pat dry as rubbing with a towel will rub off the skin loving oils from your bath. Bath oils can be used with any other bath treat, botanicals, or salts. My favorites are Brown Barn's Lavender Bath Oil when I want to sleep and Nourishing Bath and Body Oil when my skin is in need of some tender loving care.
f. Bath Tea/Botanicals - Bath Tea turns your bathtub into a giant cup of tea! Bath Teas usually come pre-packaged however you can make your own bath tea by inserting approximately a cup of fresh or dried herbs, florals, or other botanicals into a pantyhose. Just tie off the hose and allow it to float (think "steep") in warm bath water.
5. When you leave the tub...
It is essential that when you leave the tub after using hydrating treatments you pat your skin dry so as not to rub off the skin loving oils or aromatherapy benefits of your bath.
There may be times when you will prefer to shower right after you bath. This is recommended when using detoxifying treatments or exfoliating treatments such as sugar scrub.
Intentional baths can become an important rejuvenating part of your self-care/skin care regimen. Remember, the key to success is setting your intention or goal for the bath then matching your bathing environment and bath boosters to your goal.
Brown Barn has a fine line of all natural bath tools and boosters to choose from! Take a peak at our favorites below.
FAVORITE BATH BOOSTERS
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