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How to run the ultimate bath - according to experts

HELLO!’s Junior Beauty Writer Lydia Mormen shares expert tips for a luxurious bath

A woman perches on the side of an elegant red roll top bathtub.
Lydia Mormen
Junior Beauty Writer
12 January 2024
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Last year Pinterest's trend report declared baths a thing of the past as we fully embraced the art of the ‘everything shower’ to rejuvenate rather than restore.

This year we want to bring bathing back. There’s something undeniably soul soothing about taking the time to fully submerge yourself in a tub of warm water and soak away the stresses of the day - and trust us, the cold, rainy month of January is the perfect time to hone the habit. Studies show a regular soak can boost your immune system, improve sleep patterns and help to manage emotional wellbeing.

While you may be tempted to run the warm tap, slosh in your favourite bubble bath and call it a day, there is so much more to bathing than simply scrubbing yourself clean. To really transform your bath into the ultimate self care ritual there’s a few things you should consider…

Relax with a candle lit bath © Oleg Breslavtsev
Relax with a candle lit bath

Set the scene

It may seem obvious but creating a calming environment is one of the first steps to being able to relax for the duration of your soak. I like to give my bathroom a good scrub beforehand so I’m not distracted by the sink tap that needs a good polish while I’m trying to switch off. Anyone else?

It’s a given that you’ll be lighting a candle to get you in the mood. I usually opt for a lavender-based scent to help me unwind like the Cowshed Relax Room Candle but Dr Barbara Kubicka, author of The Bath Project, takes it a step further. "The first thing many think of are candles and aromas,” she tells us. “However, I personally love surrounding my bath with plants, transporting me to a distant natural haven. Complementing it with your preferred relaxing tunes or meditation can be the finishing touch.”

How hot is too hot?

Usually I crave a bath when I’m feeling cold which can result in me running water that resembles hot lava instead of a warming embrace - fine for the first five minutes but unbearable for much longer than that.

DISCOVER: Inside a Beauty Editor's shower: everything our beauty experts use on repeat 

For the most part, the temperature of your bath comes down to personal preference but be mindful of the fact that warmer water is better for relaxation, while cooler temperatures help to increase blood flow making you feel more energised.

“Temperature is a great way to optimise your bath according to the sensation you are looking for,” explains bathing expert and brand founder, Susanne Kauffman. “A cold plunge has many proven health benefits, awakens the senses and is good for circulation. Meanwhile, a warm bath is a wonderful way to relax in the evening, taking in the steam and oxygenating the blood, allowing you to breathe deeper and slower, helping you find a deep sense of calm and prepare the body for sleep.”

Enjoy the fragrance of fresh fruit slices© Anastasiia Krivenok
Enjoy the fragrance of fresh fruit slices

Bath cocktailing

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more relaxing than being enveloped by a blanket of rich, foamy bubbles (L'Occitane Shea Bubble Bath is my go-to), but last year my eyes were opened to the benefits of adding natural ingredients into your bath, much like you would if you’re trying to jazz up your drinking water.

“Cypress has been a cherished material for Japanese bathtubs for centuries,” explains Nami Onodera, Japanese skincare brand Tatcha’s Executive Director of Culture. “By adding Hinoki (Cypress) wood balls to the water, you can immerse yourself in the beautiful aroma.” If you can’t get your hands on these little wooden spheres, consider adding slices of lemon, yuzu or apple to your bath for a citrusy fragrance. She even suggests playing a natural soundtrack, such as a waterfall or a trickling river, to help transport yourself to the wild.

READ: What's on a beauty editor's bedside table? The supplements, sleep spray and night creams you need 

A few drops of essential oils can also be a welcome addition, just make sure not to add more than three to six drops to avoid irritation. Susanne recommends hydrating essential oils such as arnica, pomegranate or marigold or mountain pine and spruce needle to help ease away stress and promote relaxation.

Winding down 

Finish your self-care session with a rich moisturiser© Maria Korneeva
Finish your self-care session with a rich moisturiser

If possible, I like my bath to be the last thing I do before I hop into bed. As with most self-care rituals, what you do after counts. Nami recommends “Drinking cold barley tea, relaxing, sitting in a massage chair, getting some fresh air and wearing comfortable cotton nightwear” to carry the relaxing energy into the rest of your evening. To lock the moisture into my skin I make sure I slather on a layer of moisturiser before slipping between the sheets.

Try Tatcha’s Hinoki Body Oil  or the Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter for maximum hydration without any greasy residue.

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