I've had never been a bath person. I don't even think I really liked bathtime that much as a kid. I distinctly remember enjoying the bubbles for a very short time, then asking my parents to take me out. I'm weird; I know.
So when I saw so many of my friends and random people I follow in Instagram rave about the self-care ritual that is a good soak in a tub, I thought, Uh huh, and remained unconvinced. Baths were never a calming, stress-relieving, or even enjoyable experience for me. When given the choice between a bath or shower, I always took the shower. It was quicker and just as effective, cleanliness-wise.
Case in point: I took a 30th birthday trip to Thailand with my sister last year, and one of our hotels had the most amazing outdoor tub. (There was privacy.) Soaking in a tub outdoors in a villa? I mean, it had to be done. But it took forever to fill said tub, and then when it was filled, the water was scalding hot, so I had to wait until it cooled down. After about an hour and a half of prepping the tub and putting in bath salts, I spent a whopping 10 minutes in it. I just sat there, unsure of how to relax or zone out.
I know it's not a bath problem; it's a me problem. I have trouble really relaxing when things are supposed to be, you know, relaxing. Other adjacent activities include massages, meditation, manicures and pedicures… This needs to be discussed in therapy one day, but right now we're here to talk about baths and how I grew to tolerate them.
After seeing everyone enjoy baths, I decided to give it a try again. I was spending more time at home and looking for new ways to relieve stress aside from my go-tos of talking to my mom or friends on the phone, exercise, watching Netflix, or drinking wine. I had gotten some samples of bath products like soaks and bombs and salts, so I added them to my experiment.
And now, this is where I admit I was wrong about baths being pointless. The right products made all the difference and upgraded my bathing experience. I had no idea that to create the most soothing bathtime, you had to curate the right list of products. A lavender soak to help you get closer to dreamland? Yes, I loved it. Bath bombs that made my skin feel buttery soft? Sign me up for that every night. A candle that set the mood and made me feel like I was bathing in some Instagram influencer's self-care post? #Mood.
I can't say I'm a bath evangelist just yet, but I do appreciate a nice soak from time to time with my favorite products. So if you're on the fence about baths like I once was, or even if you're a frequent bather, I rounded up some of my favorite bathtime products, others that are on my wish list, and some from my Who What Wear colleagues—all organized into the five categories of products I tried. Take a look below.
Dr. Teal's Epsom salts were one of the first bath products I tried in my experiment, and I became obsessed. The lavender one is perfect for your nighttime routine. It made me feel so relaxed and relieved any tension.
Herbivore's bath soak was another product that made me rethink my anti-bath stance. Not only was it calming, but the coconut milk powder left my skin feeling so soft and moisturized.
I'm adding this soak to my "to-try" list. The Saint-John's-wort and milk protein are supposed to soothe, nourish, and provide some anti-inflammation help.
We're big fans of Lord Jones's CBD products, so I'm also putting this one on my wish list. I already use the brand's body lotion weekly, and I'm hoping these bath salts will be a part of my bath routine. They're formulated with CBD, Epsom and pink Himalayan salts, natural flower petals, and essential oils for the most soothing and refreshing experience.
Another calming soak, this contains scents for rose and ylang-ylang for some simple self-care. Plus, the Himalayan salt can help exfoliate.
This gel does it all. It's a shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath. We love a multitasking product! Plus, it leaves a sweet scent.
Everyone in the family can use this bubble bath, as it's meant for kids and adults. The formula is gentle, tear-free, and plant-based.
One of the ingredients in this bubble bath is mallow extract, which has anti-inflammatory properties and soothes dry skin. It also contains juniper berry oil to boost the immune system and detoxify.
I love Kai's lotions and body washes, so I decided to try the brand's bathing bubbles, and I wasn't disappointed. It contains argan oil and coconut to leave your skin moisturized, and the scent makes you feel like you're on a tropical island.
Aveeno's a great drugstore brand for people with sensitive skin. As someone with that skin type, I keep a bunch of its products in my rotation. The shower and bath oil contains ingredients that nourish and refresh skin without leaving it oily.
The White Company's bath oil is another one I tried in my experiment, and I was a big fan. All you need is a couple of drops, and it will leave your skin feeling soft. The scent features notes of peppermint, geranium, eucalyptus, lavender, neroli, and cedarwood.
If you take baths or showers in the morning, Aromatherapy Associates' Revive oil will leave you feeling energized. It has a blend of grapefruit, rosemary, and juniper essential oils.
Made with Atlantic kelp, plankton extracts, and microalgae oil, this natural, plant-based formula leaves your skin moisturized and your mind calm.
Ouai's chill pills are on my wish list, and it's partially because I think the pill-shaped bath bombs are just cute and oh so literal. But it's not just about appearances—ingredients like jojoba, safflower, and hemp seed oils work to calm and smooth skin texture.
Fur's bath drops contain the brand's signature oil (which is used to soften hair and prevent ingrown hairs), plus other essential oils to give you the silkiest skin. It also works to reduce any redness or irritation.
Ulta's bath bomb contains Epsom salts to draw out toxins and impurities, while the coconut oil nourishes the skin. Plus, the citrus and mint scent is so reviving.
With ingredients like lychee, grapefruit, and lotus flower, you'd think these were more like a delicious cocktail than bath cubes. But you won't be disappointed. The cubes will exfoliate and smooth skin.
Drop this effervescent cube into your bath for some self-care after a long day at work. Ingredients include citric acid, aloe, milk, spirulina, and mandarin orange and thyme essential oils.
You're going to need a candle to set the mood. This one from Jo Malone gives off a scent that makes you feel like you're by the ocean.
This tray is on my to-buy list because the ledges in my bathtub are a bit uneven, so where else am I going to put my glass of wine, book, and candle? It expands and has so many compartments.
And because I believe you can't have too many candles in life, this one from Otherland is another option for your bathtime. It has scents of California fig, ivy greens, and summer dew.