Thursday, May 4, 2017
I Gave This "Bath" Stuff Another Try
My brother mastered the perfect relaxing bath years ago. Several times a week, he finishes off a long work day with a tub full of hot water, several burning candles, and one of his favorite TV shows playing on his phone. He'll stay in the tub for an hour, occasionally turning on the spigot to heat up the water, but otherwise doing as little as possible. He is, essentially, a Bath Master.
Me? Not so much. The last time I tried taking a "relaxing bath," I made the water in the hotel bath tub way too hot and damn near boiled myself. (Actually, I just got really faint and light-headed, but you get the idea.) I can't wear my glasses in the tub, so watching a TV show or reading a book is out of the question. I don't like shampooing my hair under the faucet while I avoid dipping my face in the bubble bath-laden water below. I fidget. Really, a nightly shower, followed by my skincare routine, is just a better fit for me.
But because so many people extol the virtues of a hot bath, I figured I'd give it another shot. And because I'm a cheap bitch, I got my supplies at the drugstore.
First, we have the staples: my favorite dry shampoo, the Unscented Not Your Mother's Clean Freak, and my Glossier headband. I knew if I skipped washing my hair, I could fuss less. Then I went to the store and picked up epsom salts, since I've heard about them for years, but have never actually tried them; the Dr. Teal's Ultra Moisturizing Mineral Soak seemed like the best fit for my lizard skin. I also purchased the St. Ives Oatmeal and Shea Butter Body Lotion, which I've always enjoyed because of its lightweight texture and soft scent. Last, but not least, I grabbed the 7th Heaven Finger Masques I'd received free from Influenster to keep my hands occupied.
The one not-so-cheap item I utilized in this spa night was my beloved Byredo Bibliotheque candle. I'm still a bit bummed that they're seemingly discontinuing these smaller-sized candles, but I eventually decided that I loved it enough to spend $80 + tax on the big mama size. Bibliotheque is a rich mixture of peach, vanilla, vaguely powdery florals, and musk with some patchouli for texture. It's worth it.
Also, notice the soft orange glow in the room? I wish I could say I had fancy spa low lights, but really, I'd taken my desk lamp in to the bathroom and set it on the floor so I could see. My brother says he often takes his baths in near total darkness, with only the candles to light his way, but I'm too freaked out by the dark to do that. (Please tell me I'm not the only adult who can't do the dark.)
Finally, I needed a beverage and some entertainment. Somehow, my family managed to run out of wine, my most recent batch of iced coffee isn't done brewing yet, and I wasn't in the mood for iced tea. So I went with lemon water instead. For +5 Basic Bitch points, I drank it out of a mason jar. Then I found a podcast that interested me and kept my phone next to a clean hand towel, just in case.
I was ready.
I started the bath with the epsom salts. As instructed, I emptied about half of the bag in to the tub while the water ran. To prevent my previous Cooking My Undoubtedly Tasty Self disaster, I switched between very warm and tepid water until the bath was filled. I stepped in to the tub and was immediately impressed by how soft the water felt...
...but I was not too thrilled to feel some of the epsom salt granules under my feet. They eventually evaporated when I got in the tub and moved the water around a bit, but ergh. We weren't off to a good start. And sure enough, it took me a few minutes to get truly comfortable; my tub is an inch or so too short for me to stretch out my legs entirely, and getting the finger masks on was a bit more fiddly than I expected.
Within ten minutes, though, I was definitely relaxing. I was soaking in souped-up water, moisturizing my neglected cuticles, and listening to Megan Phelps-Roper's account of growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church. The bathroom smelled of Byredo Bibliotheque, and I was only a little anxious about the possibility of the candle falling off of the sink, rolling across the bathroom still-lit, and catching my hair on fire, because that's the sort of stupid nightmare scenario I often dream up. Really, it was...nice. I ended up soaking for most of the podcast, only vaguely aware of time passing me by.
The clean-up, I admit, was not my favorite. As Sam Harris finished his conversation with Roper, I fished finger masks out of the draining bath water and took a full three minutes moving the warm candle so the wax wouldn't spill. I loved rubbing lotion in to my epsom-soaked skin, though--that's something I'd highly recommend. And while I definitely think a wine buzz would've improved the experience tenfold, I still felt soothed.
Am I ever going to become a bath master like my brother? Doubtful. My bag of epsom salts is still half full, and it'll probably stay that way for a couple of weeks. Frankly, I'm just too lazy to do all of that set-up on a regular basis; I'd rather take my five minute shower and crawl in to bed with a book. But am I going to enjoy an occasional bath from here on out? Definitely. And when damn near everything you need to take a nice bath costs $5? Yeah, I'm worth it.