The Art of Drawing a Good Bath


The day’s wavering vicissitudes were long and arduous. A bath is what was needed to replenish the frayed nerves and exhaustive angst. I dreamt of a special place where I could soak and melt away the daily doldrums that face – the wretched commute, the office politics, and the city’s clog of citizens.

I yearned deeply to cleanse ritually in a float of balmy embrace, perhaps even sit under a waterfall of warmth to energize the tired body and soul. I looked to the purity of water to satiate the fleshy pleasures needing tender care.

Once immersed, I closed my eyes to imagine the curative powers of a sea salted froth transporting me to another world, another time where the light of sun graces the heart and cheerful nurtures the broken soul. Birds sing on. Flowers bloom in serenity. Nothing can disturb my reverie. I surrender to peace.

With gentle steps, I tip toe out and reach for the soft, richly absorbent robe and ensconce myself into its unfold. My feet remain grounded as the exhales refuse contemplation. With balance and shanty, I am readied to feel alive once again. How to get to this healing place inside of you?

Not with this absurd suggestion of using dropper or two of a bath oil.

It just occurred to me that most of us may not have a good idea of just how to draw an effective…not just pretty bath. The tidbit from Daily Candy reminded me of my few classes of early morning organic chemistry that I crammed through way back in my Bruin days.

From what I recall, a dropper can contain 18-26 drops of oil isn’t exactly enough to soften the water and condition your skin. I mean, what if those itsy bitsy little droplets makes their way to the other end of the tub and decide to cozy up in the corner on their own? How will these tempestuous little buggers scent up the hot & steamy bath or share their covetable fatty acids with me if they are hell bent on floating a good 45" away? Will I have to swim over and coddle the bratty beads back onto my skin?

While not a full fledged wellness expert just yet, being a beauty writer means that shamelessly I've sifted through my editor's secret stockpile of neatly tissued pretty products and have tested way more bath salts, oils and other scrubby knick knacks in various forms & quantities. Sure, it's the perks of my gig, but it also got me thinking of some tried n’ true tips on how to draw a mineral-rich bath that will really be a therapeutic addition to your utterly serene monthly -- if not weekly -- beauty regimes. In other words, the tips on stuff that I swear are totally worth the hype.

And, no it's not a cliche; steep prices for decadent but simple products aren't a requisite.

Step 1: The Dry Brush 


Forget those fluffy nylon bath things you get as a freebie and toss out that bacteria-infested loofah, which turns to mush really. These budget-friendly brushes have firm, dense bristles to effectively slough dead skin, strengthen the immune system, tighten the skin, tone the muscles, help digestion and boost circulation. Cactus bristles are softer for sensitive skins, while jute or sisal bristles are more firm. For best results, use wet or dry. When wet, apply your favourite shower gel to gently scrub toe to head with long, upward sweeping strokes. Or, if using the brush dry, use before a body scrub and stepping into a bath.

Did you know the Japanese brushed their skin before their traditional hot bath? Ancient Greek athletes used spoon-like scrapers called strigiles to remove grime and stimulate circulation. The Cherokee Indians used dried corn cobs to brush their skin to enhance beauty and durability. The Comanche Indians used sand from the Texas river bottoms to scrub their skin.

Step 2: The Scrub

Delight your senses as you smooth your skin with richly exfoliating salt, sugar or bamboo scrubs. Highly concentrated with skin nourishing ingredients and powerful anti-aging antioxidants and vitamins, most have natural oils to soften while varying granule sizes help give a fine, medium or coarse buffing.


Soften the skin first by soaking 10-15 minutes in a warm tub. Step up (not out of the tub), place a towel on the edge of your tub and sit on it. Use circular motions and gently rub the exfoliant on the front and backs of your arms, legs and feet. Step back into the bath and let the salt/sugar granules dissolve into the bath. And don't use shower gel -- it's good to keep the oil and aromatics on your skin. And, always scrub before you shave.

How much to use? A large sized dollop for each of your legs and arms. Yes, for each limb to get a decent scrubdown. And, don’t forget an extra one for the upper chest and neck, as these two are often overlooked during the at-home spa experience.

Did you know to keep her skin smooth and exfoliated, Cleopatra would have her body regularly rubbed and polished with numerous body scrubs – in particular sea salt scrub? Among other ingredients used in Cleopatra's skincare were balsam, cedar, beeswax, calamine, castor oil, aloes, apple cider vinegar, turpentine, goose-fat, dill, fennel, juniper, mint, ginger, antimony, sulfur, red lead and onions.

Step 3: The Soak

It’s best to draw a spa-like tolerably hot bath steeped in skin-softening natural salts and moisturizing botanical oils before bed when you can lull into restorative slumber with ease. For optimal detoxing action, use:
  • 1-2 cups of sea salts (Epson, Dead Sea, Sulfur, and more) which are laced with calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, and other minerals to ease tired muscles and joints 
  • 1/2 to 2 ounces of your preferred bath or body oil to physically soften the water and skin
  • 4-5 capfuls of bubble bath to create a good froth. 
Did you know that Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine) discovered the therapeutic qualities of seawater by noticing the healing affects it had on the injured hands of fisherman? 

And, in 1767, Dr. Maret, professor of medicine at the University of Montpellier, published a theory that seawater can penetrate muscle tissue and soften it. He thus prescribed seawater salted baths for both their antispasmodic and diuretic properties. 

And, today a serious bath aficionado and founder of a major leading luxury organic brand I happen to deeply adore uses 1 lb. of Epsom Salts + 1 lb. of Baking Soda to detox weekly.

Optional:

Candles are about creating a mood: one that soothes the senses and promotes well-being. One of the easiest ways to create that mood is with the soft, flickering glow of candlelight. Cluster candles on the vanity or window ledge or around the tub for a long, stress-relieving soak. Choose varieties that are infused with a relaxing scent, most of which are known to counter stress, anxiety and fatigue, and foster calm.

Ooooh and aaaah yourself away…when done the right way, you step out feeling like you could take on the world...

PS - the 4.5 ounce bottle Diptyque Precious Bath and Body Oil referenced above means you'd have about ~135 droppers according this conversion assuming 20 drops. At a bath a week, you'd be looking at 135 weeks or about 2.5 years before you finished the bottle. Just saying...