We may spend most of our time talking about designer garms and fresh kicks, but we know there’s a whole lot more to looking good than what you’re packing in your closet. Groom Service is your no-BS guide in how to look, smell, and feel better. This week we’re asking you to luxuriate in the bath — because you deserve it.
There’s a misconception that we all grow out of bathing — in baths, that is — and that we have to shower forever once we’re of a certain age. While showers aren’t appropriate for small children, it’s a tragedy that we abandon the tub as soon as we graduate.
Baths are functional in more ways than one. Sure, you’ll get clean, and yeah, bubbles are fun, but they work even better than showers when it comes to relaxing the mind and body. Baths take extra time — generally the reason we opt for showers in our day-to-day — so by slowing down, soaking up the warmth, and appreciating the calm, your mind and body benefit tenfold.
Here are five reasons, tied to that theory, why you should take the time to enjoy a bath more often. If you’re killing time scrolling through Instagram every day anyway, why not do it from the comfort of the tub? Just be careful not to drop your phone.
A bath doubles as aromatherapy
On its own, a bath calms the mind and nerves, but you can magnify its power with the inclusion of some ultra-soothing aromatics. Certain scents such as lavender, pine, eucalyptus, or lemon can boost your mood and productivity, just by way of inhalation. It’s the same as smelling a cologne, herbal tea, or candle.
Speaking of candles, they can boost a bath’s restorative effects even more. Light one nearby and you’ll magnify the therapeutic powers of your bath, turning it into an hour-long spa.
And triples as muscle therapy
A combination of warm water, hydrating aromatic oils, and soothing salts can make a bath one of the best remedies for inflammation and swelling. Pour some soaking salts under the warm running tap and your body will relax just as much as your mind. This is sometimes considered an old wives’ tale, but it’s a method employed by physical therapists and spas — so stock up.
It’s best to use salts in tandem with a bath oil or follow the salt soak with an all-over lotion, as the salt can dry out the skin.
Baths are an easy way to incorporate high-level skincare
Given you’re relaxing in the tub for 20 or 30 minutes — or more, no one’s judging — you can capitalize on the idle time to throw in an additional skincare treatment or two while you read, listen to music, or zone out to Netflix.
We’re talking about an exfoliating treatment, detoxifying mask, or deep-moisture mask — anything that requires approximately 10 to 20 minutes’ wear. This is just one more way to turn your bathroom into a full-blown spa retreat. The only thing missing are a few bamboo chutes in the corner — although maybe you have these, who knows?
They also improve sleep
If you take a hot bath before bed, it will raise your body temperature just enough to act as a natural sleep aid. The same can be said of a shower, but baths offer more of a soothing, eased-in approach.
It’s not actually the increased body warmth that triggers your sleep rhythm, though. It’s because your body is working double time to lower the temperature by dropping your heart rate gradually. This is what makes you sleepy.
So, time your bath just right — 30 minutes to an hour before you sleep — and you can slide into bed at the exact moment your body is readying itself to turn down for the night. Better yet, take a bath with some lavender oil dropped in to magnify the calming effects on the mind. A calmed mind is also a recipe for a restful night’s sleep.
It’s the simplest way to wash while keeping your hair dry
For whatever reason, you might need to wash without getting your hair wet. Maybe it’s too good a hair day, your locks are freshly dyed, or your hair gets curly or just too unruly after a soaking. Likewise, perhaps you’ve got a fresh cast on your leg or arm, or you’ve got an ear infection and need to avoid water in the ears.
For any of these reasons (or more), a bath is simply the most practical way to isolate some part of your body from moisture while washing, thwarting even the smallest risk of water getting somewhere it doesn’t belong. As stressful as that might sound, you’ll still get to enjoy all the other aforementioned benefits, so…