• Fri, Dec 20 - 3:10 pm ET

How to Transform Your Bathtub into a Spa Paradise

photo: Shutterstock

photo: Shutterstock

I am not a long shower kind of girl. The ability to scrub, shave, deep condition, and wash my face in eleven minutes or less is a skill of which I’m quite proud. I can never figure out what other people are doing in there, frankly, and prefer to maniacally cleanse myself like Carrie White trying to get the eff out of the locker room. But bathing is a whole different ritual.

Bathtime as an adult isn’t really about getting clean. It’s about feeling spoiled and sexy and totally self indulgent. Baths are downright empowering, if you think about it. You take an hour to put yourself above everyone else, dim the lights, and luxuriate in some expensive products like an apartment dwelling Cleopatra. Drawing yourself a bath turns a sad, lonely Friday night in your sweatpants into a rejuvenating evening of self love (just saying “draw a bath” makes me feel like an extra on Downton Abbey). If anyone asks what you’re doing tonight, purr “ohh, just having a bath,” and they will think you are the most luxuriant queen of sex appeal with woodland creatures awaiting your glistening bod with a warm towel.

Before you get naked, clean your tub. I like to do a quick scrub in the morning. That way, when you come home from work, all you need to do is pour a glass of wine and turn on the tap.

Assemble your arsenal:

Epsom salts, unscented
Foamy goodness of choice
Trashy magazine, astrology guide, or something by Anais Nin
Candles
Wine, preferably in a plastic vessel

Start your bath by pouring in two cups of epsom salt. Epsom salt is actually Magnesium sulfate, an inorganic chemical compound containing magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, but these dirt cheap crystals are essentially made of magic and witchcraft. Epsom salts are a detoxifier and soothe tired muscles. Crossfit devotees swear by magnesium pills to prevent soreness after a grueling workout. Magnesium is also absorbed through the skin, so a cup or two of epsom salt dissolved in your bath work as well as popping vitamins to ease and prevent muscle pain.

Epsom salts are available at the drugstore, but the unscented kind are usually hidden away next to the laxatives. If you find this proximity unsettling, pick up a box at the health food store instead.

Pink Chiffon

Once you have your water going, add in some foam and fizz. For a Wednesday night, I like a generous pour of Bath & Body Works Signature Collection Shower Gel because you get enough bubbles to feel fancy and it rinses away without leaving a film. My scent obsession is Pink Chiffon. It smells like you imagined popular high school girls smelled when you were eight, which B&B Works tells me is pink petals, vanilla chiffon icing, sparkling pear, and peach nectar. It’s my bathtub party and I’ll rock synthetic fragrance if I want to.

Sex Bomb

If you have more time to marinate in a pool of glitter and essential oil like a deranged and gorgeous empress, drop in a LUSH bath bomb. They come in flavors from the minimalist Avobath to hot pink Sex Bomb (recommended for couples but have you ever tried bathing as a couple? Best case you can’t relax because two adult humans are trying to fit in a bathtub and worst case you light your hair on fire with an ill-placed tealight. Ask me how I know.). They color and scent your bathwater for a multi-sensory bathtime that is worth a little post-bomb tub clean up.

For a deluxe edition bath, massage in a hair mask before you hop in the tub. Heat opens up the hair shaft and helps products penetrate deeply, so soaking in a steamy tub is the perfect time to slather on Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque or a little olive oil.

And finally, soaking in hot water is not actually awesome for your skin. Combat dryness and make your bath an all-inclusive moisturizing event by adding oils directly to your soak. For an old-school Caligula vibe, add in ¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil (melts right into the hot water). A lighter option is ¼ cup sweet almond oil. Sweet almond is a gift from the heavens above, has no scent, and you can pick up a bottle for $5-$10 at any health food store.

I personally can’t stand the feel of an oily tub and prefer to slather myself in Almond Body Butter after towel drying.

You will feel so delicious and pampered that it won’t even matter when you drink too much wine and drop your book/phone/Nook into the tub. Again, ask me how I know.

You can reach this post's author, Mandie Williams, on twitter.
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  • the hair care pro

    I absolutely YEARN for a bathroom like the one in your picture!! Thanks for sharing these tips, there’s nothing better than a nice, relaxing bath after a stressful day–tho you’re right, hot water can be very damaging to your hair and skin, so be sure to use appropriate lotions and oils afterwards!

  • Katie

    Its not bath time unless there’s a Lush Bath Bomb. Period.

  • Ivy

    Didn’t know all that about Epsom Salts. Going to get some and try the sweet almond oil. Thanks.