For nearly nine years, I lived in a perfectly comfortable but unimpressive New York apartment that had a teeny-weeny bathroom, including a half-size shower tub. Baths were out of the question, a special treat reserved for the occasional hotel stay or a trip to my parents’ house. Cut to a few months ago: I moved into a new place, and although it’s much tinier, the bathroom fits a full-size tub. And I'll be honest, it’s a revelation.
I now take baths weekly and pretend, just for a few minutes, as I live in a fancy hotel. In addition to the tub itself, I’ve learned that a few amenities make the experience even more luxurious. Some are a given, like bath oil, while others became part of my routine as I went. So I thought I would share the things keeping me zen in the hopes it might help spread a little extra relaxation. Whether you incorporate one product or a few, they’ll make your bathing experience exceptionally more chill. Trust me.
No joke: Half the reason I wanted a bath at all was to be able to use bath salts. These smell incredible and feel great on sore muscles.
To be honest, I wasn’t much of a bath bomb person before I tried these CBD-infused cubes from Kristen Bell’s line (must we always add dried flowers or glitter?). But between the no-frills smaller size, gingery fragrance, and soothing CBD, consider me a convert.
While I’m generally a bath salts person, I’m coming around to the bubble bath—especially when there’s lavender involved. To make sure I get the most bang for my buck, I like to go for a two-in-one body wash and bubble bath like this one from SheaMoisture.
Finally, we have bath oil: the fanciest of the bunch, in my opinion. Not only does this oil smell like perfume—literally, it's made by Jo Malone—but it's also made with almond, jojoba seed and avocado oils so you leave the bath moisturized (and maybe a little slippery, be careful stepping out of the tub).
Choosing the right “bath candle” has been a journey, let me tell you. But my current fave is this lovely scent from Boy Smells, which is a fresh twist on their cult-fave Kush scent.
If you prefer not to use a candle or simply like essential oils, the Vitruvi diffuser adds ambience and gentle fragrance. Plus, it fits in as pretty bathroom decor when you're not using it.
A bath is an amazing time to catch up on masking, but if you plan on spending more than 15 or so minutes in the tub, make sure you use a moisturizing formula rather than something with exfoliating ingredients that could be too harsh if left on too long. This calming mask from Caudalie can be worn overnight, so it’s safe to keep on for the length of your soak.
If you’re masking—or even if you aren’t—a headband to keep your hair back will seriously come in handy. This cutie one from Lunya is made from luxe Turkish cotton, and it has a velcro strap for a perfect fit.
Now we’re getting into the good stuff: If you take regular baths, a pillow is a must. Just attach it to your tub at the height of your choosing, sit back, and forget neck strain ever existed.
File under: Instagram made me buy it. Did I need a bath caddy? Probably not, but it’s genuinely useful, and since I would personally never trust myself with a wine glass in the tub, the metal design suits my needs.
Once you’re all settled in your bath, there’s that feeling of “what now?” I know some people set up Netflix next to the tub (or their baby monitors, less relaxing but probably more urgent). But again, I don’t trust myself—which is why I like to bring a book. Right now, I’m finally reading Luster, and couldn’t recommend it more.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned about baths: You have to keep the vibes going when you get out or you risk undoing all that precious relaxation. I like to slip into this super-soft robe from Parachute. I’m obsessed with the texture, which is the perfect blend of cozy and lightweight, and adds to the hotel spa mood of it all.