Prepare to be converted into a full-time bather. 

By Hana Hong
May 12, 2020
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I used to hate baths. Like, truly despise them. When I was a kid, my mom would try to force me into a bath for a few minutes to calm my super-hyper, erratic self down. I’d dread the sound of the water running because I knew what was coming: me, bored out of mind, confined to a pool of my own filth doing absolutely nothing.

All this changed as I grew older and discovered the soothing, de-stressing experience that comes from a quick dip. Whiling away the hours with a good soak became a therapeutic oasis, and with the right products, I realized that it could be transformed from a basic cleansing to a full-blown spa session. We’re not talking about those cheap bubble baths you remember as a kid; this bathroom repertoire is upgraded with elevated oils, salts, elixirs, and fragrances that will whisk you away into a haven of self-care. In a time where everyone can use a bit of escapism, these are the steps you need to turn your ordinary bathroom into a spa-worthy soak. Just sit back, turn on your favorite spa radio channel (yes, that’s a thing), and bathe your cares away.

1
Guru Nanda Tower Diffuser 

Your sense of smell is what differentiates a mediocre bath from a great one, so you want to make sure your nose is fully pleased. My go-to device is the Guru Nanda Tower Diffuser, which is an open-top humidifier/essential oil aromatherapy diffuser that fills my entire bathroom with my favorite scents. You operate it as you would a normal humidifier, but I add around 10 drops of my favorite essential oils before diffusing my aromatic concoction into the air. It also comes with a remote control option, so you can control the functions from the tub without having to lug your dripping body out of the water.

To buy: $80; gurunanda.com.

2
Diptyque Candle 

The most important element needed to optimize the bath experience, other than water, is the lighting. There’s nothing (I repeat, nothing) worse than taking a bath in white light. You want the lighting to be dark enough to set the vibe but bright enough so you can see your soothing surroundings (think calming hygge). Not all lights come with a dimmer switch, so I prefer to turn the lights off entirely and light up some candles. Any wax candle will do the trick, but I love Diptyque’s Baies candle if I want to feel extra fancy. 

To buy: $36; nordstrom.com

3
Luxury Spa Bath Pillow

Unless your tub is ergonomically customized to mold your body frame perfectly, sitting in it for over 10 minutes is bound to feel a bit uncomfortable. Solution: Lay out a bath pillow that will have you lingering in the tub for even longer than you usually do. My favorite from Bed Bath & Beyond is designed to cushion your back, shoulders, neck, and tailbone, so you can bathe in the utmost comfort.

To buy: $20; bedbathandbeyond.com.

4
Lush Sex Bomb Bath Bomb

You're probably familiar with the Lush bath bomb hype, and I can confirm that it’s well deserved. Each plastic-free bubble bath comes in the form of a solid ball that dissolves in water to create bath art. My favorite is the Sex Bomb, which has a seductive jasmine scent (a powerful aphrodisiac!) and turns my tub into a swirling pink wonderland. 

To buy: $8; lush.com.

5
Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soothe & Sleep Lavender Soaking Solution

This drugstore salt solution serves luxury-level quality. My stiff neck and sore back don't stand a chance against these Epsom salts, and at five bucks a bag, you really can’t beat the price. The lavender scent is subtle but calming.

To buy: $5; target.com.

6
Kai Bathing Bubbles

There’s just something so soothing about the feeling of tiny bubbles floating around you. This cult-favorite gardenia formula has a creamy undertone and frothy texture that translates well into the water, and most importantly, the bubbles are extremely satisfying to pop. 

To buy: $34; dermstore.com.

7
Herbivore Botanicals Calming Bath Salts

The pale pink color of these Himalayan bath salts alone is soothing, but the calming combination of ylang ylang (this maintains the oil balance of your skin) and vanilla oil certainly helps too. 

To buy: $18; nordstrom.com.

8
Dr Teal's Calming Green Tea Bath Tea

Have you ever wanted to bathe in your daily cup of tea? Just one tea bag of Dr Teal’s is all you need. This calming green tea concoction is mixed with dried herbs and flowers, soothing oatmeal, epsom salts, and essential oils to brew your bath into one big cup of green tea.

To buy: $8; target.com.

9
Fur Bath Drops

These shiny balls hold the brand's signature fur oil, along with a blend of softening botanical oils  and waxes (like red seaweed, clary sage, and jojoba oil) that envelop skin in a silky, calming layer of hydration. When dropped into the tub, it gently dissolves all those nourishing ingredients into your bath water.

To buy: $34; dermstore.com.

10
Ouai Chill Pills

Sometimes, you just really need to take a chill pill. Ouai made it literal (and buyable) with these bath bombs that crumble in running water. Pop a few of these into your bath to chill out. The jojoba, safflower, and hemp seed oils will calm inflamed skin, while jasmine and rose floral scents calms the mind. 

To buy: $30; sephora.com.

11
Aromatherapy Associates Forest Therapy Bath & Shower Oil

Shirin-yoku is a Japanese practice that involves spending time in nature to improve your overall well-being. There’s something to that—I usually feel a lot better after spending time surrounded by greenery. Inspired by the Japanese art of forest bathing, this blend of evergreen pink pepper, cypress, and juniper berry gets you there without having to step outside your door.

To buy: $73; thedetoxmarket.com.

12
Gardner Bamboo Bath Caddy

Gone are the days where I had nothing to do in the bath. This eco-friendly, bacteria-resistant bamboo bath caddy comes with adjustable-length sides and cutout grooves to fit over the sides of your tub. It features a slotted cup holder to hold a glass of wine, a side shelf for holding everything from candles to your cell phone, and a book holder wrapped in water-resistant covering to prop up your read of choice.

To buy: $28; wayfair.com.

13
Olay Body Exfoliating Powder With Pitaya & Cranberry

The age-old debate: should you shower before or after bathing? I'm on the post-bath team all the way—a post-bath shower will help you rinse off any oils and gunk that may linger on your body. Olay’s exfoliating powder gently scrubs away dead skin cells to achieve a natural, healthy glow, and infuses your skin with pitaya and cranberry extracts to let you leave the tub feeling hydrated, not stripped. 

To buy: $8; target.com.