Are there any two more relaxing words than “bubble bath”? Children like bubble baths because they can play with the bubbles, but parents like it because it encourages them to take their bath. Let’s not let them know that adults like bubble baths for many other reasons. Did you know that bubbles insulate bathwater, which keeps it warmer for a longer period of time?
Phoenix is full of shops and boutiques that sell bubble path products and the internet is full of ideas on what to put in the water, from a calming soak to an old-fashioned bubble bath to a detox bath, so we’re not going to go into that. What we’re talking about now is how to set the scene for an epic bubble bath that soaks away all the cares of your day as you relax in your Phoenix apartment home.
If you take the time to prepare, you’ll enjoy your bath all the more. You could fix your favorite snack or drink and place it near the tub within easy reach, but far enough away that it won’t get dumped in the bathtub. Perhaps you want to get a cool glass of water or, if you prefer, your favorite wine.
Getting that bath glow
Candles – yes, of course candles! Arrange them around the tub for a relaxing glow. You may choose a scented candle or, if your preferred bathwater tonic includes scents, unscented candles. Be sure to make sure nothing around the candle is flammable – you want candlelight, not a bonfire! Better yet, use battery-powered candles (some float and some submerge!).
Details count. Find an attractive lighter rather than plain, old matches to light your candles. In the same token, get an elegant candle snuffer, which not only makes extinguishing the candles safer, it’s just classier. Keep an eye on the candles, to make sure they’re burning down safely.
You could dress up your candles by putting them in glass jars or on a metallic or mirrored tray, which not only keeps them away from flammable objects as towels, tissues or paper cups, but the candlelight gives off a great, reflective glow. Make sure your candles are secure on whatever surface they are on, from a candlestick holder to a decorative tray. Use candlestick adhesive to hold the candle in place.
Arrange the candles attractively, perhaps grouping various sizes and heights together along with a few votive candles in small holders, coasters, plates, vanity trays or mirrors. In small bathrooms, putting candles on a mirrored surface in front of a mirror magnifies the effect.
Grab that book you’re reading or the one you’ve been meaning to start to occupy yourself. You might consider taking a shower first, which keeps the bathwater cleaner. Don’t forget to gather fluffy, cotton towels (blot yourself dry afterward) and your pajamas or favorite robe so you don’t have to make a cold, wet dash after your warm bath.
You’re taking care of yourself, right? Put some cotton pads or cucumber slices in ice-cold water, which you can put over your eyes while you’re soaking and remove any puffiness around your eyes. Or get a facial mask ready.
Don’t forget to get some body lotion or moisturizer such as cocoa butter to apply after your bath. Prepare some hot water in the kitchen to make yourself a relaxing cup of tea or a lemony drink to extend your serenity.
Ambiance – yes, it’s all about atmosphere, too. Think about the times you’ve treated yourself (or, better yet, someone else has!) to a spa day. You may not have noticed the soothing lighting and sounds, which help set the mood for a relaxing experience. You can do that at home, too. These days, you can get LED lightbulbs that emit colors, which can change the aura of your bathroom with a click of a remote.
Then add sounds. You may choose music – experts recommend slow songs, about 90 beats per minute or fewer, with a 4/4 beat, featuring pianos and strings. Or you may want ambient sounds such as rain, waves or forest sounds. There are a variety of apps that you can play on your laptop, phone or tablet. Consider getting some wireless, waterproof speakers that are designed for the bathroom.
Get in, the water’s fine!
Without getting too technical and taking all the magic out of a calming bath, the bathwater itself shouldn’t be too hot, but warm enough that it retains a good heat for 20 minutes or so. In general, the water should be between 90 degrees and 105 degrees F. But before you run the bath, here’s something that will help: Boil two pots of water on the stove, then slowly pour the water into the tub so the surface warms up. That way, when you run the water, the tub itself won’t cool down the water.
The bathroom’s air temperature also should be considered. Once you start filling the tub, keep the bathroom door shut, which also signals everyone else in your apartment home to leave you alone. Steam will build up and warm the room, which keeps the water warmer longer. Or you could use a small space heater to prepare the room for your bath.
Another tip to keep the water warmer longer is to get put some stones in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, then drop them into the bathwater (just don’t sit on them, ouch!).
The next time you’re out shopping, keep a lookout for things that will help create a relaxing bath such as a waterproof bath pillow, wine glass holder or mountable koozie, submersible waterproof “candles,” waterproof speakers or perhaps an underwater disco light! You could also buy (or make for yourself) a bath caddy or tray that you could use to hold your book, glass of wine, etc.
Making showers special
OK, so not everyone is a fan of baths, or perhaps your apartment doesn’t have a tub. No worries! Showers can be just as relaxing as baths. Many of the things that you can do to create a great atmosphere for a bubble bath also apply to bathrooms for showers.
But there are other things that you can do to make your shower more special. Start with a detoxing massage with a dry brush, which removes dead skin cells, eases inflammation and also battles cellulite. Start with your feet and legs, moving the brush in strong strokes toward your heart, then move up toward the arms. Your skin will thank you and you’ll feel invigorated and exfoliated.
You’ve heard of bath bombs, but did you know about shower melts? You place them near the drain and as the shower pours down on you, aromas will rise to fill your shower. The internet is full of ideas for how to make your own or you can buy them readily.
Choose a gentle hydrating body wash and let it soak into the skin you’ve already exfoliated. This is what’s great about showers: Unlike baths, you can wash away the soap from your body.
After your shower, pat dry then apply a body oil to lock in moisture. How luxurious!
Another way to enhance your shower is to drape some lavender from the showerhead, which activates with the heat and steam from the shower, releasing its calming aurora. Lemongrass and eucalyptus also are popular to make showers more refreshing.
Enhancing your experience
Whether you fancy baths or showers – or both! – placing live plants in your bathroom is another way to enhance your bathing experience. Get plants that thrive on moisture and don’t need a lot of sunlight such as orchids, ivy and philodendron (which doesn’t even need soil!). Or you may decorate with fake plants – choose green, ivy-type plants over flowers.
Think about getting some attractive glass or plastic containers to use for your soaps, shampoo and conditioner. If you prefer a bar of soap, get a decorative dish to display it.
Other tips to enhance your bathing experience include:
- Meditating or daydreaming about something you enjoy or picturing all of your troubles going down the drain
- Heating the towels and your pajamas or robe in the dryer to make them warm and fluffy
- Make sure everything is ready before you get into the bath or shower so you don’t have to leave it to grab soap, shampoo or that yummy glass of wine
- If you like the water very hot, remember it dries out your skin and hair, so try not to stay in past 20 minutes or so and use moisturizer afterward
- Massage your scalp, as they do in salons, while you shampoo to invigorate your skin and help erase stress
- Give yourself a facial massage: Close your eyes and use smooth, circular motions across your face. If you’re especially stressed, focus on your eyes, forehead and temples
Après bath or shower: Make that relaxed feeling last by smoothing lavender-scented body butter on your skin, pull on a comfy robe or pajamas after patting your skin dry, give yourself a pedicure, sip on a hot cup of chamomile tea, take a nap, watch a favorite movie – anything that makes you smile. Enjoy!