My nightly bath ritual started I don’t know when. A long time ago. It was born out of my incessant anxiety and insomnia rather than a need to pamper or even relax, if I’m being honest. I was lucky enough to grow up in houses equipped with baths, and then I went through a few years where I was either living in University housing or else traveling and bathing wasn’t really something I thought about often, and I became a shower person by necessity, but trust this was never good for my soul. For instance, on my first night living in University housing I went to take a shower and tried to adjust the shower head on the wall so that it aimed at my body rather than straight into my face (I’m taller than your average female), and rather than gently angling the shower head I ripped it right out of the wall. I stood there with a steady stream of water shooting out of the wall into my face until I turned the faucet off and ran back to my room to hide and write an anonymous tip to the housing people letting them know some idiot has ripped a shower out of the wall. I digress.
I lived in Paris for a while and a full bathtub wasn’t something I saw while I was there. Maybe I was hanging around the wrong parts but in any case, where I lived there was a really deep shower. It went up passed my knees. I started really missing baths there, partly because my insomnia was kicking in again and partly because a product of my time traveling and living abroad became a firmer sense of self and desire to love and care for myself (hey, solitude and feeling foreign can do that maybe). Anyways, for many months I filled the bottom of the shower and sat in there with my feet dangling over the edge.
I’m back in Canada now and I’ve continued my nightly bath routine but with more purpose than ever, and the purpose is this: I want good sleeps, I deserve good sleeps. I am generally a nicer person, a calmer person, a more productive person if I’ve slept well. I used to joke that baths were a simple way to heat exhaust myself to bed but I mean, it’s kind of true. So there’s that. Also I’ve been exploring the connection between what I put on/in my body and how that relates to my general wellbeing, and I find that when I bathe using products/rituals that I’ve put time and care into either making or researching, I feel pretty good. It’s like when you take the time to think of the perfect gift or activity for someone you love because you want them to feel their best–I’m trying to do that for myself more often so that I’m better equipped to do it for others.
Okay ramble over. Your dopest bath will be consistent with whatever relaxes and treats you, but here’s some ideas to get you started or to compliment the routine you already have going:
- Oils. I’ve tried every different buzzworthy : oil out there. Oh boy. Seriously, man. There’s a lot! Everyday I go online and someone is like no no, this is the one, for real, this oil is going to change your life. None of them have particularly changed my life but I’ll say that doing a nice sesame oil full body massage before getting into a bath is something I picked up from Ayurveda and it’s a treat. It’s supposed to be warming and grounding, which are kind of hard things to quantify but I do think that it helps to do a bit of both.
I also like to add sweet almond oil sometimes, just a couple tablespoon or so, to the water. It add that extra bit of luxury I guess, and I’m super lazy about actually moisturizing my skin (and am currently experimenting with whether or not I actually need to), so this gives a bit of moisture without having to actually slather it on.
On that note, I don’t really like coconut oil. I know that makes me a bit of an internet beauty pariah but I’ve just never found that it does much for me. It hasn’t been terrible for moisturizing my body, but it does make my face break out, and it weighs my hair down. So I don’t use that anymore before or during my bath.
- Candles. Hell yes. This has taken my bath to the next level. I light a bunch of tea lights all around the bathroom and turn off the overhead lights and good god! It’s so damn romantic. It’s like a sexy date with yourself. I put a little table next to where my head is so that I can read my candlelight sometimes, too.
A note on candles: I would like to eventually use all beeswax candles, but right now I’m not. They’re meant to be better for the environment and for you, too. And they do cool stuff like remove negative ions and cleanse the air etc. Alas, I find them a little out of my budget right now for the amount of romantic candlelight I’m taking in, so I’m using regular old tea lights. I did get some sweet Presidents Choice 8-hour ones that seem to be holding up for more than a few baths, so that’s a good investment.
- Scents. I grew up with a mom who was pretty into holistic everything, so I’m not necessarily a stranger to essential oils (tea tree oil has always been a staple for me), but I’m just starting to experiment with using essential oils and aromatherapy as a relaxation tool. Right now my favourite scents to add are rose, eucalyptus, and cedar, but you do you.
- Face masks/treatments. I like to fit in some of my weekly beauty treatments while I have a bath. Two birds one stone, plus it feels like you’re in a fabulous spa but you’re not dude, you’re in your bathroom and you can fall right into your bed afterwards. See my post, The Mask, for what face mask I’m using right now.
I also love doing hot oil treatments/scalp massage during my baths. I just heat up about a 1/4 cup of olive oil in the microwave and then massage that shit into my scalp for a few minutes and then let it soak while I soak. If I have rosemary essential oil I add that, too, because it’s meant to stimulate hair growth. I’ve found olive oil works better for me than any store bought leave-in treatments. Oh yeah, try and get real olive oil if you’re able to. I get mine from Costco.
- Rituals. Okay so the whole thing is a ritual, I guess. And so are the little beauty regimes I do during. When I say ritual here I mean the sort of calming/spiritual things I like to add to my bath regime that has really taken it to the next level as far as it feeling like a beautiful finish to my day and a loving start to the following day etc.
- Agua de Florida: I like to add a cap full of this. It’s supposed to help cleanse negative energy.
- Sage smudging: This is also cleansing. I light the dried sage leaves and wave them all around the room, focusing on the door ways and my body and the water in the tub.
- Crystals: I throw my crystals in the water sometimes, too. I can’t say I know a whole lot of crystals or if I even really believe that they can be super beneficial, but I like doing this for whatever reason–they’re pretty, it’s fun, all that.
- Music/Audio: Sometimes I listen to an audiobook while I’m in the bath. I like to stick to positive stuff over fiction usually when I’m in the bath so sometimes I’ll listen to an Eckart Tolle book and let his strangely robotic but relaxing voice carry me away. I also like Snatam Kaur for music.
Then I like to soak for however long–I try for half an hour at least usually. Like I said, I don’t usually moisturize after baths because I’m lazy. I just towel off and fall into bed. You can insert some reading here, or watching a nice show, or writing in your diary, or cuddling a person/pet/pillow. Whatever makes you feel happy and cozy as hell.