By Diane Small
When the days are a colder and shorter, there’s no better way to warm up than lounging in a super steamy hammam or fragrant cedar sauna. But if you’re not lucky enough to have access to one of these, the next best thing is your own bathtub.
Top luxury hotels have recognised the power of the bath ritual and now offer ‘bath butlers’ who will prepare a lush, hot bath for you, complete with scattered rose petals and your choice of oils, salts and scents. But there’s no need to travel to have the ultimate bath experience; with a bit of creativity you can transform your own tub into a watery paradise.
Step 1: Prepare
Select some organic candles to infuse the room with scent and atmosphere and choose a quiet moment when you’re sure you’ll have minimal distractions. Get your very thickest towel and comfiest PJs ready so you’ll stay warm and dry when you get out. We recommend:
We love this rare smokey rosy scent, made from natural essential oils and set in vegan friendly soy wax. And the best part? These candles are priced so you can light a whole galaxy of them without breaking the bank.
The ultimate in luxury, these beeswax candles follow the same formula used when they were made for Louis XIV. Our favourite scent? Parquet de Versailles – it smells like a cross between a baby, honey and old wood floors. Somehow divine!
Step 2: Brush up
Give yourself an invigorating body brushing with a natural fibre brush. Start at your toes and stroke upwards up the left leg, then right. Do the same on your arms, and if someone’s around, get them to brush your back with upward strokes, too. It hurts a bit at first, but after a few minutes you’ll feel fully invigorated, plus you’ll be free of dry, dead skin.
Step 3: Prep your hair
Take advantage of the bath’s steam heat! Comb a hair mask through your locks and cover with a shower cap. You’ll rinse this out in the shower, later. We recommend:
Without the use of heavy waxes or excessive oil, this nutrient-rich, super-hydrating mask helps keep the skin oxygenated, protects against free radical damage, regenerates collagen and balances the production of sebum.
Step 4: Prepare the water
This is essential: forget bubble bath…ALL bubble bath! If it foams, it’s guaranteed to be almost pure sodium laureth sulphate, which can irritate skin. Instead, add a cup of pure baking soda or Epsom salts to balance your skin’s pH levels and to draw out toxins. Alternatively, try an all-natural soap or one of these mineral-infused, all natural bath products that will nourish and hydrate your skin instead. We recommend:
Pure Irish seaweed and sea salt infused with delicious essential oils nourishes the skin with minerals and vitamins. This product is a bit different from others in the sense that it is actual seaweed with scented mineral salts – you will need to clean this one out of the tub afterwards, but it does make you feel a bit like a mermaid while it floats around you.
Pure, finely ground Himalayan salt is the foundation for this detoxing bath blend, which also includes rosemary to reduce fluid retention, Lemongrass stimulates circulation, tones skin. Smells uplifting, tangy and refreshing, and dissolves slowly in the tub, leaving minimal residue.
This little jar of happiness contains a blend of organic and biodynamic plant extracts, Ylang Ylang, Carrot Seed and Rose Geranium essential oils and the energies of gems and crystals for a relaxing, cleansing, nourishing and stimulating effect.
Step 5: Relax!
Now jump in! Take a newspaper or magazine if you want to catch up on reading. Set some music if you jut want to chill with some tunes. Personally, I bring my laptop to the bath, set it on the laundry hamper, and watch my favourite TV shows. Decadent, right? But be warned: ALL electronics must be at least a meter away from the bath, obviously. For an aromatherapy boost, add a few drops of essential oils to your bath. For relaxation, lavender, chamomile or frankincense oil do the trick; to energise, try citrus based or ginger scents. We recommend:
An exotic blend of lavender, jasmine and rosewood oil, this organic oil not only transforms the bath into a fragrant garden, but it leaves your skin feeling wonderful too!
This unique blend of clary sage, frankincense and cardamom was designed to help you find strength in challenging and difficult times. Just breathe in deep and feel yourself feeling infused with confidence and power.
This wonderful, all-natural soap brand has created a range of products whose scents and colours are designed specifically to soothe whichever chakra is out of balance.
Step 6: Scrub up and dry off
Once your skin’s been softened by the water, slough off any excess cells with a sponge or washcloth. Take a quick shower to rinse out the conditioner and rinse off the dead cells that were sloughed off in the bath.
Step 7: Nurture your skin
Now that your pores are still open, it’s the perfect time to slather on a quality body oil or cream to seal in the moisture from your bath. Also take advantage of your skin’s softness and push back the cuticles on your finger and toenails with an orange stick.
Last step: go to bed! You’ll sleep deeper and better: bathing relaxes us and drops our blood pressure, putting us in a perfect state for a deep snooze. It’s a perfect way to end a stressful day.
Main image: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Bath