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Prefer Showers? Here’s Why (and How) You Should Take a Bath

Couple soaking in a hot bath together to relax at the end of the day
oneinchpunch/Shutterstock

Today, people opt for showers far more often than they choose baths. It’s easy to see why: showers are quick, easy, and practical. But a bath can do so much more.

Baths aren’t just about getting clean. They’re about relaxing, feeling good, and letting go of whatever problems have plagued you during the day. Showers are a necessity, but baths are a luxury (that anyone can afford).

Want to take your bath to the next level? With these easy bathtime hacks, you can target specific issues and come out of the tub feeling even better.

For Sore Muscles

Whether it’s from a workout or just a hard day at work, a bath is one of the tried-and-true ways to relieve muscle soreness.

Science confirms that it works: studies have shown that warming the muscles after exercise aids in recovery. But for even more relief, try adding relaxing ingredients to the tub.

Many people swear by Epsom salts for soreness. Just add one to two cups to a tub of warm water and let it dissolve before getting in.

Not only is a hot bath good for sore muscles, but there’s really interesting research emerging that soaking in a hot tub produces a similar anti-inflammatory response to exercise.  Studies in both Finland and the United States have found positive heart-health outcomes resulting from passive heating like sauna use and hot baths, including a lowered risk of strokes and lower blood pressure.

For Soft Skin

Whether you need to soothe irritated skin, or just want to feel soft to the touch, you can easily achieve it in the bath.

Plant-derived oils, like coconut, olive, and jojoba, have powerful moisturizing properties. That’s why they’re often found in lotions and other moisturizing products. Add the oils straight to your bath to get those softening effects.

If your skin feels itchy or irritated, try adding oatmeal to your tub. It actually protects the skin from further irritation, as well as soothing it at the moment.

Finally, honey is another great natural moisturizer. Don’t worry—when you add it to water, it becomes softening rather than sticky.

You can also mix and match these ingredients for a DIY silky-skin soak. The amounts are up to you, but a little usually goes a long way. Try a cup or two of cooked oatmeal, a couple of tablespoons of honey, and about a cup of oil.

For Sensual Vibes

A bath is a great way to get in touch with your sensual vibes, whether you’re alone or partnered. For this bath, think about invigorating every sense.

Get your eyes inspired (and relaxed!) by bathing in the flattering light of candles. Work your sense of smell too, with scented candles or bath products. Try gourmand scents like caramel or vanilla, or any fragrance you love.

Woman soaking in the bathtub reading a book
RossHelen/Shutterstock

Involve your taste buds by bringing your favorite drink or snacks into the bath with you. Try wine or kombucha, fresh fruits, cheese, or whatever sounds good! A bathtub tray puts things in easy reach.

For your ears, grab some (waterproof) speakers and put on a playlist that makes you feel great—the genre doesn’t matter. Or, if you’re a reader, put on an e-book or bring an old-fashioned paperback with you. Want an ebook reader that can survive a splash or two? Our colleagues at Review Geek had nothing but good things to say about the water-resistant Kindle Oasis.

The sense of touch is arguably the most important when taking a bath. Get your feels on with a luxe bubble bath, and use a bath pillow to get even more comfortable.

Don’t have every item listed here? You can still have a sensual time—just work with whatever you have that will pique your senses. For example, even a simple bath with some coconut oil added and a few candles will do the trick.

For De-stressing

Sometimes, a bath is the best way to calm down after a stressful day. Taking this time for yourself can go a long way toward helping you unwind.

First, make sure your bathroom is clean and uncluttered. Clutter can make people feel more stressed, while a clean, organized environment promotes relaxation.

To make your bath more relaxing, use products with a calming scent, like lavender. Help yourself forget your troubles by dimming the lights and putting on some chill music. You can also try meditating to release stress.

If you don’t meditate much (or ever), use a guided meditation app to walk you through it. Taking a few deep breaths once you’re in the water will also help you release tension.

For Clear Skin

If you suffer from body acne, you can target the issue with the right bath products.

Honey doesn’t just make your skin soft: it also combats acne, since it’s a natural antibacterial. Add some to your bath and watch your skin clear up.

You can also add detoxifying clay to the bath to help get your pores clear. Mix a half-cup of bentonite clay into a paste with water and add it to your bath, or apply it straight on your skin as a purifying mask (let it dry, then wash it off for the best results).

A bath is also great for clearing the skin on your face. The steam from the hot water softens any impurities clogging your pores, so they’re easier to wash off. After your bath, wash your face and apply a face mask or your favorite skincare products—your skin will get cleaner, and the products will penetrate better.

Other Tips for the Best Bath Ever

Even if you don’t have a specific goal in mind, you can still have a great bath. Add these tips for more luxe bath fun.

Apply Hair Treatments

The bath is the perfect time to apply a hair mask or deep conditioner since you’re sitting still long enough for it to penetrate well.

You can even use the same natural oils and honey that you used in your softening bath to give your hair a moisturizing treatment!

Try Dry Brushing

A dry brush has stiff bristles and a long handle. It exfoliates your skin, gets you glowing, and can make a bath feel like a spa experience. Just use the brush to massage your body in slow circles all over before getting in the tub.

Buy Great Towels

Getting out of the bath feels that much better when you have a fluffy, absorbent towel to step into. You’ll also use your towels each time you take a shower, so it’s a splurge that feels justifiable. For bonus points, pick out a super-soft bathrobe, too.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a Seattle-based writer and editor with a Master's in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph's University. Her work has appeared in publications like Racked, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and Rum Punch Press. She was awarded a 2017 Writing Between the Vines residency.  Read Full Bio »

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