Written & Photographed by Holly J. Coley, The Upstate Edit
If I could give one beauty tip, it would be this: take baths. True, that’s not as quick as chugging water or slathering your face in sunscreen, but there’s something to be said about hydrotherapy and its transformative powers.
If you caught the op-ed by Buzzfeed reporter Anne Helen Petersen about millennial burnout, you know we’re a stressed-out generation. In fact, according to a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association, we’re a chronically stressed nation with three out of four people experiencing some form of negative symptom per month. When it comes to maintaining your looks, nothing will put the kibosh faster on them than stress. It’s linked to high blood pressure, a poor immune system, weight gain and even a weak libido. It’s also been shown to prevent cellular turnover, which is fancy science speak for saying it promotes aging. That’s why it’s imperative to learn the art of relaxing—and that’s where bath time comes in.
Hydrotherapy has been used for centuries to treat muscle tension and relieve anxiety. I try to draw a bath as often as I can, and not just because it allows for R&R but because it nicely lends itself to additional medicinal treatments. Hence the headline for this story.
Store-bought bath bombs are colorful, aromatic and make water as fizzy as a glass of Alka-Seltzer. They’re also filled with ingredients you don’t want to soak in. If you check the label, you’ll most likely find artificial dyes and fragrances (skin irritants), endocrine-disrupting parabens and even borax (yes, the roach killer). Fortunately, bath bombs can be made easily and naturally at home.
This involves a basic recipe of baking soda (for cleansing), oil (to soften skin), salt, citric acid (what causes the fizz) and essential oil. I’ve developed this specific formula to soothe sore muscles and detoxify the system, which is why I recommend using Epsom salt. Its naturally occurring magnesium eases muscle tension and is great for menstrual cramps, sore joints or constipation. This DIY also makes use of specifically peppermint essential oil, which has been shown to improve tension headaches and respiratory function. Trust me, once you try one of these beauties, you won’t want to leave your tub.
Crafting Tips: To avoid the citric acid prematurely activating, introduce wet ingredients by the teaspoon. To color bath bombs, use two to five drops of vegetable-based food dye or mica powder. █
2. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.
3. Whisking continuously, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
4. Once mixture becomes the consistency of wet sand, scoop into molds and close. If you are using decorative flowers (as pictured), place into bottom of mold before adding bomb mixture.
5. Allow bombs to set for 24 hours in the fridge.
6. To use, fill tub with warm water and add bomb. It will fizzle and release ingredients for a luxurious bath!