When I think of baths, I generally think of children, the elderly, couples, and the English. Who takes baths?! I mean, seriously—none of my friends take baths. My brain puts baths in the same category as yoga: it’d be ‘nice’ to relax for an hour...but I just want a 10-minute, high-impact workout; get in, get out. Showers are my cardio.
This is not to shit on baths—they sound amazing, and totally tap in to the “take time for yourself” idea. But it just seems like such a production. And it all starts with the tub. I've seen a lot of claw foot tubs in my day...that don't belong to me. Beautiful tubs made from porcelain and marble and the tears and dreams of unicorns. I’m pretty sure the tub in my apartment is...plastic? It’s old, not in a good way, and let’s say...not altogether ‘aspirational.’
I’d never wanted to sit in my tub, no matter how clean it was, until the actress Phoebe Tonkin told me about Epsom salt baths. This was not the first time I’d heard of Epsom salt baths—Liv Tyler speaks pretty passionately about them—but there was something about Phoebe’s particular recipe that enticed me. It was:
-half a box (2 lb) of Epsom salts (Liv uses a full 4 lb box)
-a big scoop—half a cup, let’s say—of coconut oil
-a few drops of essential oil (your choice)
The salt, found not in the food aisle but upstairs, in the wellness section, of Whole Foods, is an inorganic compound comprised of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. It is said to soothe sore muscles, alleviate aches and pains, and generally detoxify the skin. All for $7.99! Coconut oil is a thing of wonder for moisturizing your skin (we’ve covered this), and essential oil is nature’s Chanel n°5.
In the past three weeks, I’ve been through 6 boxes of Epsom salts, two jars of coconut oil, and a bottle of Aura Cacia “Sensual” essential oil. Here’s why:
When it’s cold out, which it is now in New York, baths are just about the only things that warm you up. In fact, you get hot, too hot, and then you get out and have a giant glass of water and pass out in your bed for the best night’s sleep of your life. But let’s back up: first, you need to fake it till you make it, bathroom style—turn it into a “spa.” Install a dimmer so the lights can come down. De-clutter your countertops. Pick up some flowers from the corner store—even one or two stems of something will do. Light a candle. Clean your tub. These are things that will keep your bathroom spa-like all the time, not just during baths. Then, when it’s time for the bath, bring a Jawbone Jambox mini (mine’s blue) into the bathroom and sync up Big Youth radio on Pandora—reggae is soothing. Mix up a steamy hot Phoebe Tonkin-style bath and soak until you don’t want to soak anymore; I usually last about 20 minutes. You emerge, like Venus from the sea, serene and dewy.
It makes me feel like a sexy English baby with an old soul, every time.