There is nothing quite like retreating into a quiet, solitary (or not!) bath. A relaxing, calming bath is a wonderful way to de-stress and just hit pause.
Not only that but a lovely warm bath at the end of a chilly day can also be good for your muscles, joints, bones, and overall wellness.
The steam, warm temperature, and gentle pressure on your body from the water can help you to breathe more easily, and some people find that baths can help them with tired muscles.
Then, of course, baths are a great way to cleanse and moisturise. So why not throw in some soothing smells and bubbles for a truly indulgent experience?
What's the difference between bath bombs and bath salts?
Bath bombs are fizzy, colourful, and entertaining balls of fun that you drop into the bath and watch as they effervesce.
Hard-packed combinations of dry ingredients, bath bombs often come with scents, oils, or colouring.
Bath bombs were invented as recently as 1989 by Mo Constantine, who took her inspiration from Alka-Seltzer tablets. The key ingredients which cause the fizzy effect are citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, which are generally not themselves considered skin irritants.
Bath salts, on the other hand, are water-soluble minerals which you can add to your bath.
They tend to put on less of a show, but they are also aimed more at cleansing. Mostly, they are trying to mimic the soothing properties of natural mineral baths or hot springs. But, fragrances and colours are likewise often added to them for an enhanced experience.
Natural and organic bath bomb options
Containing essential oils, soaps, and flavours, there’s no limit to the bath bombs you can try out.
Sometimes, one of the best way to get natural bath bombs is to make them yourself. Using a combination of baking soda, citric acid, corn starch or arrowroot, plus your favourite essential oils and simple oils (almond oil is a good one), you can mix the oils into the baking soda, then add the dry ingredients. Then simply add the resulting mixture into moulds and leave for at least 24 hours.
You can play with citrus flavours, cupcake shapes, add in some eco-friendly, biodegradable glitter (though consider bath drainage logistics when you do), and use delicious ingredients like cocoa butter, and smells such as lavender.
Alternatively, there are a range of natural and organic bath bomb products.
Key things to know about Epsom salt
Epsom salt, otherwise known as magnesium sulphate, is often found in minerals and in the water from some springs.
It is usually obtained directly from dry lake beds, and it is widely used in both bath bombs and salts. Interestingly, it can also be used in agriculture for soils that are deficient in magnesium.
Epsom salt is particularly popular in foot baths to soothe sore feet. It can also prevent the prune effect (temporary skin wrinkling) you get when you stay in a bath for a while.
How much Epsom salts should I use?
How much should you use? For a full standard-sized tub, use one to two cups of bath salts. For a foot soak, use around half a cup in a large basin of warm water, and give it a good stir.
Alternatively, the packaging will recommend an amount. Avoid using Epsom salt in whirlpools or tubs with jets unless the manufacturer gives the go ahead.
If you’re using Epsom salt to help with aching muscles, keep that part of your body submerged for at least 12 minutes.
You can also use bath salts in the shower. Mix a cup of Epsom salt or bath salts with a third of a cup of almond or coconut oil. Add an essential oil if you like. Then apply some of this scrub to your body with your hands, and rinse afterwards. Store the rest in an airtight container for use later on.
Other bath and spa salt possibilities
There are all sorts of interesting variants of the basic bath bomb and bath salts.
You might like to consider Magnesium Spa Flakes which are pure magnesium, for example.
They are great for that at-home spa experience, as they soften the bath water and promote skin health and total relaxation.
You can also get Himalayan salt which is packed with over 80 minerals, including magnesium. Just dissolve around half a cup of the salt in warm bath.