When I started this blog, I made a commitment to writing six days a week (and on the seventh day, TFB rests). Twice this week, I chose wine and sleep over writing, and so I present to you a one-time-only Sunday special entry – in honor of the bath.
Like most people over age 50, under age 5, or of extreme wealth and indulgence, I prefer baths over showers. Apparently this is shocking to my peers, many of whom think it is “sitting in a tub of your own filth” or “a waste of water” or “dehydrating for your skin.” All of these things may be true. But for me, the bath is a singular pleasure.
When I am having a bad day, nothing calms and rejuvenates me like a hot bubble bath. When I can’t sleep, a bath will often soothe me into peaceful rest. When I wake up and the day seems overwhelming, I make an extra 20 minutes for a soak to set up my entire schedule for success.
Baths are my secret weapon.
So how do I bathe? My friends, it’s all a carefully instrumented process, with specific products, methods, and order. You fine readers are the first people (ok, second people, since my fiance is all-too-familiar with my weird habits) to know the details behind my old-timey bathing ritual.
First off, I stand in the bath before filling it so I can dry brush. Dry brushing uses a brush like this one to exfoliate, invigorate, and detoxify the skin by increasing circulation, improving digestion, and removing impurities from the surface of the skin. It feels amazing, wakes you up, and yes – even reduces the appearance of cellulite!
Now is a great time to light a candle if you’re in a super fancy mood, which for me is about once a month (and always on a weekend). You and I both know that those crazy Diptyque candles are all the rage, and they are every bit as awesome as you think they are. They are also $60 apiece and don’t last particularly long. This one’s up to you, readers – save or splurge, but rest assured that a bubble bath with all the lights out and just a candle burning is the ultimate height of relaxation.
After sexy candle lighting and dry brushing (and a quick rinse of the tub to get the dead skin down the drain), I fill ‘er up with warm (not hot!) water and pour in one of three things: either my ULTA 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothie in Buttercream Cupcake (for normal days), Dr. Teal’s Therapy and Relief epsom salts (after a week of tough training), or Village Naturals Aches & Pains Therapy Soak (once a week – the effervescent effect is stimulating and amazing). All of these products are best used in 20-minute soaks, so if you’re the impatient type like me – set an alarm, grab a magazine, and make sure you stay put in that tub.
Before I get too deep into my US Weekly (yes, I allow myself to read total trash in the tub), I make sure to wash and deep condition my hair. The product I have used for years and swear by is a simple and cheap one – Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle. Yes, it really works in 3 minutes (even when you’ve curled, teased, or braided your hair) and yes, it really is a miracle for any hair texture and type, You do remember that you’re in the tub for 20 minutes, right? So let the conditioner sit and work.
What else to do with your precious tub minutes? Pop on a face mask, of course! I like to use a “low impact” mask that I can put on daily or near-daily, so my go-to is a nice cheapie from Queen Helene – the Mint Julep mask. It shrinks my pores, clears my skin, and has a nice minty scent – plus it’s under four bucks. Can’t be beat, IMO. Should you want to elevate your regimen a smidge, I do recommend the Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, which is a killer pore cleansing mask (I splurge on this one once a week – usually the same day I use the Aches & Pains bath salts).
After brushing, masking, and conditioning, I put on my bath gloves and exfoliate with oil. Yes, oil. I go through phases that typically follow the seasons – in the summer, I love a light, citrusy oil, whereas in the fall and winter I go for a deeper, musky scent. Right now I’m stuck on this eucalyptus spearmint stress relief oil from Bath & Body Works, but this is one place you can go for quantity over quality. Any essential or massage oil that you like will work; just pour it right onto your gloves and start massaging it in, focusing on places that are traditionally dry (upper arms, butt/upper thigh area, etc.). This part isn’t super intense – you’ve already dry brushed, so this is more of a massage than an exfoliation – enjoy it.
Now the sad news, folks – it’s time to get out of the bath. Rinse your face mask off, take off your gloves, and pull the plug – this whole lovely ritual is only intended to last 20 minutes so that you don’t dry out your skin, wrinkle your fingers and toes, or let the water get cold. It’s a fleeting pleasure.
Afterwards, I try to keep the luxuriousness alive by working some Moroccan Oil treatment through my hair, throwing some Boots Organic Facial Oil on my skin (have I mentioned that I LOVE OILS?!?), and rubbing the old classic Nivea lotion into my entire body.
Boom. We’re done.
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but believe me, this type of bathing is my sanity. It is my release. Since starting this ritual I have found so much more peace in my daily life, and it fills the space that a massage, yoga class, or meditation session usually would on weeks that those things just aren’t possible.
Do you bathe or shower? What are your favorite products – and what “little luxuries” do you allow yourself each week?