The Ultimate Guide to Taking a Spa-Worthy Bath

As temperatures outside start to nosedive, 'tis the season for cozy self-indulgence—and that includes seriously upping our bath game. This fall, we plan on borrowing bathing inspiration from Instagram, which means landing somewhere between borderline-extra and shamelessly extravagant. Candles, wineglasses, errant flower petals, pink bathwater—nothing is too much. (You deserve it, okay?)

That said, while your ideal bath is ultimately up to you, there are a few pointers to keep in mind to make the most of your "me" time. Keep scrolling to find out how to take the perfect bath every time.

Get the Temperature Right

You obviously don't want the water to be scalding, but try to aim for a temperature that's as hot as you can comfortably bear. Not only is the steam great for your skin, but the toasty temps also get your heart pumping—that means you're essentially doing cardio without actually doing cardio. (Studies show that an hour-long bath can torch about 126 calories—that's the equivalent of a 30-minute walk.)

Buff Your Skin Before Getting In

To prep your skin for optimal soakage, consider buffing your body with a dry brush. In addition to removing dead skin cells, you'll also stimulate lymph flow, boost circulation, and essentially switch your body into detox mode.

Set the Mood

Queue up your "chill" Spotify playlist, light some candles, and do whatever else you need to do to feel very, very far away from life's demands, if only for the next half-hour.

Add the Goods

Bath oils, salts, clay powder, bubbles, or all the above—the choice is yours. If you're feeling extra indulgent, toss in some dried flower petals or a colored bath bomb for a truly IG-worthy experience. (The Millennial Pink craze has even tainted our bathwater at this point.)

But also know that you don't have to spend big for a luxurious experience. We're huge fans of Dr. Teal's Epsom salts, which are as soothing as they are wallet-friendly. (The lavender aroma might as well be Xanax.) Or you might customize your bath's scent by adding a few drops of different essential oils. Play around!

Get Comfy

There's nothing more counterproductive to a relaxing bath than a sore neck, so be sure to bolster yourself with either a designated bath pillow or a small, rolled-up towel. Then, do whatever you need to cozy up for the next several minutes: Grab a good book, keep a glass of water (or wine) within arm's reach, and after snapping a cursory photo of your setup, turn off your phone. Chances are you won't feel totally relaxed until you're actually unplugged.

Hydrate Immediately After Stepping Out

You'll want to sip on some water right after your bath, but be sure to give your skin a nice drink as well: By applying oil or a body lotion while your skin is still slightly wet, you'll lock in all that extra moisture. Try slathering yourself in your moisturizer of choice within a minute of stepping out of the tub. Your skin will likely be pretty slick after you're through, so wrap yourself in a bathrobe and let it all soak in for several few minutes before putting on real clothes.

Next up: Learn about six morning rituals that can ease your anxiety.