Confession: Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t a bath person. As a very type-A go-getter personality type, I struggled with the concept of sitting in a pool of water, at home, for no reason other than to relax. It felt lazy and unproductive — not to mention a fast way to make me feel trapped. But then, I met my wonderful European husband, who grew up with a bath culture. They weren’t just a way to clean the day away but an opportunity to create a sanctuary. He doesn’t just take a quick bath — he makes it an immersive experience. And over time, he’s convinced me to take indulgent self-care time for myself in the form of fancy bubbles — in the bath and in my glass — listen to a podcast or watch a show, and disconnect. It was important before we had children and is even more non-negotiable now.
If your bath needs an upgrade, consider this your guide to the luxury bath experience.
Invest in quality towels.
Your bath begins with undressing, but it ends by drying yourself off with a towel. And while the towels you’ve had forever technically still do the job, consider investing in a higher-end set for your bathtime ritual. Made of 100 percent long-staple cotton that’s infused with copper, these towels are not only hypoallergenic, but they’re ideal for sensitive skin. You’ll enjoy being wrapped up in this luxury find each time you step out of the tub.
Try it: Alta Towel by OURA (Ouragami.org; $155)
Find a hotel-worthy scent.
When you stay at a fancy hotel, you look forward to showering since the provided soaps and lotions somehow have a heavenly scent. So why not bring that same dazzle to your home by finding a glamorous fragrance that takes you somewhere exotic? This option, from Glasshouse Fragrances, does just that and will remind you of spring in bloom in the serene city of Kyoto, Japan. So even if you’ve never been, soak in your bath while you dream of venturing through muted streets with blossoming trees. Notes of amber, vanilla, and rosehip oil create an excellent scent, and coconut oil, aloe vera, and shea better hydrate your body.
Try it: Glasshouse Fragrances Kyoto in Bloom Body Duo (GlassHouseFragrances.com; $60)
Create a body oil habit.
While most people will apply lotion once they step out of a shower or a bath, many forget the magic of oil. Adding a level of hydration that can encourage supple skin, body oil can be an indulgent way to upgrade your bathing ritual. After you soak in your bath, gently pat yourself dry before applying this omega-rich oil from Irene Forte. It’s made with sunflower, olive, and avocado oils, with the just-right amount of wild rose for a subtle, alluring scent.
Try it: Irene Forte Rose Body Oil (IreneForteSkincare.com; $129)
Mask it up.
You may find that having idle hands is difficult when lounging in a bathtub. One way to encourage you to be in the moment, lay back, and relax is by wearing a face mask. And while sure there are many options, this classic pick in a fancy glass container from Borghese will transport you straight to Italy. Made with Siberian ginseng root, Chaga mushroom extract, bentonite clay, and almond and avocado oils, it’s the perfect blend to open and cleanse your pores. Apply it, let it sit for up to five minutes (or until right before it dries), and then wash away.
Try it: Borghese Advanced Fango Active Purifying Mud Mask (Borghese.com; $50)
Soften your bath water.
Depending on which zip code you call home, you may have hard water. (Psst: you can test it for free here.) Water softness might not seem like a big deal, and while it isn’t dangerous, it can leave your skin and hair feeling dry. And this can be exaggerated by lying in a bath. If you have this type of H20, consider adding a few drops of this formula from Diptyque Paris. In addition to softening your stream, it also can be applied directly to the skin as oil after shaving or in your locks for smoother hair.
Try it: Vinaigre de Toilette – Mediterranean Edition (DiptyqueParis.com; $80)
Get a fluffy robe.
When you visit a day spa, the first item on your agenda is changing out of your clothes and into a robe. The same ritual should happen at home when you take a bath. As you’re filling up the tub, prepare your body and mind for the self-care time by putting on this sheen, unisex robe. It’s soft and plush to get you in relaxation mode and absorbent once you’ve finished your soak. (You can also upgrade the robe to include a monogram, so no one in your home tries to borrow it!)
Try it: Sferra Amira Robe (Sferra.com; $216)
Find your zen with essential oils.
Essential oils can help you focus or inspire you to zen out. With a beautiful diffuser, it can also be the signal to your brain that you need to get into your bathtime mindset. You can choose your favorite relaxing blends (try these Sunday Riley face oils) and use this stone diffuser to set the mood. In addition to doing the job it’s set to do, it’s a chic, modern decor statement, available in various colors.
Try it: Vitruvi Stone Diffuser (LuluAndGeorgia.com; $122)
Pop in bath salts.
Part of setting up your bath experience is gathering all of your necessities. And though bubble bath is still appropriate, no matter your age, salts can help to soften your skin, so you soak up more oils and benefit from the hot water of your bath. Invest in quality ones, like this beautiful set from Esker. They’re formulated with dead sea and Epsom salt to cleanse your pores, then finish with coconut milk to hydrate. These are all custom-crafted and stored in glass carafes wrapped in handwoven seagrass, so they’ll look stylish on your sink.
Try it: Esker Sparkling Bath Salts (EskerBeauty.com; $75)
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