5 Ways to Upgrade Your Next Bath
A bath with benefits
Of course a bath lets you relax, but did you know that it can deliver other perks? Natural ingredients turn tub time into a therapeutic experience, says Christine Choi Kim, MD, a dermatologist in Santa Monica. “Give your brain the right cues by dimming the lights and turning on soothing music.” Here, Dr. Kim’s bath hacks. (Got sensitive skin? Test essential oils on forearm first.)
If you crave a good night's sleep
Add: Chamomile + lavender
Why: Lavender is well-known for its rela effects; chamomile brings more soothing power and can lower stress hormone levels.
How-to: Put ½ cup of dried crushed lavender and five chamomile tea bags into the tub. Steep for five minutes; remove tea bags before bathing.
If you want more energy
Add: Peppermint oil + lemon
Why: The peppermint essential oil's aroma can lead to increased alertness, while the scent of lemon may enhance positive chemical reactions in the brain.
How-to: Juice five lemons into the water, then add 5 to 10 drops of peppermint oil. Inhale deeply to feel refreshed.
If you have a bad cold
Add: Eucalyptus + tea tree oils
Why: Breathing in eucalyptus essential oil can break down mucus, according to Dr. Kim. When inhaled, tea tree oil acts as a decongestant.
How-to: Add 5 to 10 drops of each. Kick back and feel your sinuses open up.
If your muscles are really sore
Add: Lavender + epsom salt
Why: The magnesium in Epsom salt may ease muscle pain, explains Dr. Kim, while the lavender can help reduce inflammation in stiff, tired muscles.
How-to: Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt and ½ cup of dried lavender into a full bath; soak for 20 minutes.
If you dream of softer skin
Add: Powdered milk + honey + oatmeal
Why: The fat and protein in powdered whole milk hydrate, honey helps retain moisture, and oatmeal calms skin and prevents eczema.
How-to: Combine 1 cup of finely ground oatmeal, ½ cup of honey and 1 cup of whole powdered milk, then pour into bath.
Cleanup made easy
To buy: $4; bathbodysupply.com
Does the thought of scouring the tub after your bath make you want to shower instead? Use a mesh bath tea ball to keep your ingredients contained. If any residue escapes, give the tub a quick wipe with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.