Name something better than a good old soak after a cold, gloomy day. Nope? Didn’t think so. The ultimate way to relax and unwind, if there was ever the time to spend some much-needed time in the tub, January is it. Self-care at its best, bathing not only allows you to switch off from the world (or binge-watch Netflix, but hey, that’s your call) but armed with the right products and tools, it can be a totally transformative experience from the inside out. According to a recent study, enjoying a regular bath can also lower your risk of heart disease!

‘’Baths are such a great form of self-care. It is a well-deserved moment of rest as well as relief for the back and joints”, agrees natural beauty queen Susanne Kaufmann. “The wonderful thing about bathing is that you can personalise your bath depending on what your physical and/or mental needs are. You will need a different type of bath product if your skin is dry, for example, compared with if your muscles are tense. It is such a brilliant opportunity to give your body what it needs, and give your mind a moment to rest, and re-set.”

So, on that note, Hip & Healthy is here to lend a helping hand with product picks and expert tips to ensure you have the perfect bath, every time.

Set the Mood

It’s no good labouring over the perfect bath and investing in various lotions and potions if the mood’s all wrong, which is why everything from lighting to ambience plays a key part in the perfect soak. First things first, and that’s turn those lights down. No one has ever felt relaxed under a full voltage glare. If your bathroom lights are on a dimmer, happy days, turn them down to a level that feels comfortable for you. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with a candle or two (or 10) dotted around your tub and bathroom. And they look great if you’re going to sneak a pic for Insta…

Candles also offer double-whammy benefits because they don’t only help set the mood and create that instant spa-like vibe, but many boast calming, relaxing scents to help you sink further into a state of zoned-out bliss. And to ensure this experience is as stress-free as possible (we are talking about baths, after all), we’ve done the hard work for you and picked three of our favourite calming flames.

The Perfect Temperature

Too hot and you end up sweating whilst you soak, and too cold and you’ll be out of the tub in a not-so-hot minute. Getting the temperature of you bath right is vital when it comes to mastering the art of bathing, and there are a few tips and tricks to help ensure you nail it, every time. “When I begin to draw my bath, I use a bath thermometer to ensure my bath is at the perfect temperature. For me that’s around 39C but everyone has their own preference (usually between 37-41C)”, advises Lush Retail Director, Claire Constantine. Easily available to buy online, popping a bath thermometer in whilst your water pours ensures no sudden surprises when you go to get in – burning feet or lukewarm water included.

The only thing that gets in the way of maintaining the perfect temperature is that overflow, which – whilst obviously important – can be quite annoying when you’re trying to top up the water or keep your bath deliciously full. The good news is you can buy an overflow cover to stop your water levels from sinking. You’re welcome.

Create A Mood

The world is your oyster when it comes to creating a mood and adding extra touches to make your bath the best it can be. From flowers to foliage, playlists to podcasts, there’s so much more you can do to elevate your bathing routine. “Before I run my bath I go out into the garden and pick a handful of flowers to sit on my bath bridge – it’s a lovely way to add an element of nature to the room and they instantly lift my mood”, recommends Constantine. Or why not try sprinkling fresh petals into the water for instant spa vibes?

If you prefer to bathe in silence, you do you, but adding some soothing sounds or uplifting music can totally transform your time in the tub. With thousands of “relaxing music” or “spa sounds” playlists on YouTube and Spotify, the options really are endless. The clever folk over at Lush have even just launched the new ‘Adventures in Bathing’ range, which features six nourishing bath bombs and curated playlists to go with each one, making it even easier to create the perfect mood.

Pick the Products

From oils to salts, bath bombs to bubble baths, picking the right products for your bath might seem like a daunting task. But if you really want to add some extra beauty benefits, your muscles need some relief, or your skin is crying out for extra hydration, there are some key types we recommend.

1) Sprinkle some salt. Well, we say sprinkle, but we really mean pour a whole load of it in there. Especially when it comes to Epsom salts. Brimming with magnesium, they help do everything from releasing toxins and detoxifying the body to soothing dry, stressed-out skin, reducing stress, easing inflammation and muscle pain, and promoting a better night’s sleep. A great addition to your evening soak or post-workout bath. 

2) Add an oil. A generous drizzle of bath oil will disperse through your bath water and leave your skin with a hydrated sheen, as well as scenting your tub with a long-lasting, uplifting fragrance. You’ll be stepping out with soft, smooth skin in no time.

3) Make it a milk. Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in milk to enhance her complexion and maintain her youth. Don’t worry, you don’t actually need to add any dairy, as a ready-made milk bath will help you enjoy a creamy, skin-softening soak without the curdling. 

4) Drop a bomb. Offering so much more than some fun fizz to your tub, bath bombs are a great way to add some beautifying extras and some colourful magic. Depending on which one you opt for, they can come with dried flowers, hydrating plant butters, detoxifying salts, and soothing scents to help you sleep.

Top tip: Remember – now’s all the perfect time to get multitasking, so whack on a face mask or treat your tresses to a deep-conditioning treatment, too.

Extra Add-Ons

So, you’ve nailed the lighting and you’ve got your bath water temperature just how you like it. Your product of choice has been added, your candles have been lit, and you may even have some music on in the background. Whilst it may seem you’ve ticked every bath box, there are a few extra add-ons you might want to consider. Firstly, there’s the wonder that is a bath pillow. Preventing you from resting your head against a cold, tiled wall or bath rim and from getting your hair wet, they boast suction cups that stick onto the back of your tub and will keep your head and neck supported and comfortable.

Then there’s the age-old favourite bath tray, which aside from looking super chic, will hold your cup of herbal tea (slash glass of red), a book to read, or even your laptop if time in the tub = catching up on Selling Sunset. An essential if you plan on spending a while in your bathroom, which – if you’ve taken all of our top tips on board – you’ll most definitely be doing.

words by Frankie Rozwadoeska