If you’re not scrolling the same Instagram feeds as me, you may not have noticed that ritual baths are having a moment. Check out the hashtag (#ritualbath) and you’ll find an array of photogenic tubs filled with rose petals, herbs and slices of citrus fruit, all ready to wash away negativity, cleanse dirty auras and turn those vibes up high. Some are like works of art, surrounded with candles, crystals and whispery plumes of burning sage.
And while I find myself gazing at them in admiration, I always come to the same conclusion… Ain’t nobody got time for that! Or clearing it all up afterwards… I mean, I’ve got enough on my plate picking up the kids’ wet towels and trying to cleanse my inner sanctum of plastic toy ducks.
Don’t get me wrong though… I fricking LOVE a good bath. I’ve always found water seriously soothing (it’s a Pisces thing) and showers have never quite cut it for me. I love the pace change of stepping in to a tub full of water, the multitasking possibilities (face masks, stack of mags, spot of high-risk social media?) and the headspace a bit of horizontal relaxation provides.
Baths, for me, are definitely about more than just washing my hair. When I’m stuck on a feature I’m writing, I’ll always find the answer at the bottom of the tub. Likewise, if I’m feeling tired, rundown, hungover or want to get away from it all (for ‘all’ read: my children…though half the time they just jump in), the first thing I do is turn on a tap.
As lovely those hashtag baths look, I really don’t think a trip to the florist is a prerequisite for upping your bath game to ritual levels. I mean, I’m interested enough to have my eye on a recipe or two – check out the ‘Herbs that Heal’ chapter in Gabriela Herstik’s Craft or have a look at this courtesy of fashion’s favourite healer (so says Vogue) Mama Medicine – but I also think there’s plenty you can do to supercharge bathtime without adding wet leaf retrieval to your To Do list.
If you think about it, most of us already make something of a ritual out of our baths. That hour to yourself with a glass of fizz and only your thoughts for company? Ritual. A long Sunday soak with flickering candles, save-for-best bath oil and the door firmly locked? Definitely ritual. It might not be pretty enough to make the #ritualbath cut but if it leaves you feeling calm, cleansed and ready to face the world, it definitely counts in my book.
Ritual baths tend to feature a combination of salts, essentials oils, flowers, herbs, crystals, candles and cleansing sage/palo santo, but the element that really sets them apart from one where you shave your legs is the intention. All that multitasking I mentioned above? It’s got to go. Forget washing your hair, pumicing your feet or taking selfies for Instagram Stories, to truly benefit from bathtime you need to go all in. Time out…space to breathe…a way to let your mind wander. With that in mind, I’ve created my own ritual bath recipe of sorts. Read on for my favourite ways to submerge in style.
MY RITUAL BATH RECIPE
Pick ‘n’ mix as many or as few as you like…
- Full bathroom remodel. Think artisan tiles, a rollmop bath and gently distressed brass taps… Joking obvs. The whole point is you’re NOT doing this for Instagram likes. Shower curtain mildew? Past its best grout? Avocado corner tub inherited from the last owners? Who cares. As long as there’s a plug and a tap, you’re good to go.
- Lock down. If you’ve got children you need to outsource them. And lock the bathroom door.
- Pleasing products. If it smells divine and moisturises the skin with no effort required on your part then it’s IN. I am obsessed with Magic Organic Apothecary’s Dreamy Mineral Soak (and pretty much every other product they make; pictured above) but whatever you fancy is fabulous. A more luxurious than usual bath oil, perhaps? Or Epsom salts and a sprinkle of lavender essential oil? Just make sure it’s an upgrade on the Radox.
- Scene setting lighting. If you’ve got bathroom dimmers, use them. If you’ve got a massive bathroom window and can bathe as the sun sets in peaceful tranquility …fricking DO IT. And light a scented candle or some incense for added scent appeal (I love everything by Earl of East London).
- Sound therapy. Choose some relaxing music, a guided meditation or a spiritually minded podcast to get you in the zone*. More on my faves of these coming in another post. *Not so in the zone that you fall asleep and drown though please.
- Reading material. You’re not meant to be using this bath to multitask, so ditch the work reports, and you’re meant to be chilling not getting het up, so I’m saying no to that book where the nanny kills the kids, too. But if you’re currently reading something focussed on spirituality, healing or wellness… a solitary chapter isn’t going to kill your vibe… as long as you chill afterwards.
- Refreshments. We’ve covered most of your senses with the whole scented-soft-focus-whale-music vibe so it’s only fair to let your taste buds in on the action. Plus baths can be thirsty work. A vat of coconut water is my bath time go to but I definitely won’t judge if you make it a pina colada.
- Self care. This bath isn’t about leg shaving drudgery so leave your beauty To Do List firmly outside the door. But there is something to be said for slipping in an indulgence you don’t normally have time for. For me that’s always a face mask, specifically this one from Fresh.
Ritual it up…
As far as I’m concerned, a bath is ritual enough if it involves you truly taking time out for yourself but below are some suggestions for upping your ritual bath game as you see fit/feel comfortable…
- Burn, baby, burn. Wave goodbye to negative energy by cleansing your space and self with smoke from burning sage or palo santo before you step in to the bath.
- Good intentions. Set an intention for your bath and repeat like a mantra. This can be anything from an intention to truly relax to an intention to find answers to something that’s been troubling you.
- Added extras. If you’re into crystals then adding them to or around your bath can help up the good vibes factor. Likewise if you’re a tarot fan you could pull a card before your bath to focus on.
- Submerge. Fully immerse yourself in the water (face and all) to fully benefit from its cleansing properties (physical and spiritual).
- Focus. It could be a flickering candle, a tree in your garden or just the feeling of warm water on your skin… focus in on one thing and one thing only as you breathe in and out for five minutes.
- And breathe again… Keep that breathing going. The more you lose track of time the better.
On the banned list
Last but not least, and just to be clear, here’s what’s not going into the bathroom with you!
- Your phone*. End of.
- Razors, hairbrushes or foot files.
- Anything that could be classified as work. Even if work for you is something you love.
- Radios, televisions, ipads or laptops… just in case you thought you could get round the phone thing.
*Other than to play music, podcasts or meditations.
Happy bath time!