Monday, March 24, 2014

Luxury Baths in a Bottle!

I've never been a big "bath person", but one of the perks of our new house is a nice big bath tub. Since it seemed like a pity to let it sit there unused, I thought I'd give the bath thing a go. After doing some intense research (you know, Pinterest style) I found all sorts of recipes for bath salts and bath soaks. Although it seems nice to make all that, I've got plenty of projects on my plate right now and wanted something simpler, and this is what I came up with...

Luxury Baths in a Bottle!

If you want to take a relaxing, skin-nourishing bath without lots of chemicals (which are pretty much every store-bought bath product), you need to look no further than the following basic ingredients: baking soda, milk, salt, and oatmeal. If you really want a treat then add in some essential oils too.

You can find lots of recipes for specialized bath salts and other concoctions on Pinterest, but for the most part, the good ones all utilize some combination of those ingredients. So I decided to just make some Bath Bottles instead. Here they are:

As pretty as they were in glass, I later opted for plastic containers because they're easier and safer to use with wet, slippery hands. (If you decide to make these, I share my free, printable labels at the end of this post!) Here they are:

To use them, simply grab what you need. Here's what each one is good for...

Baking Soda is known to draw toxins out of the skin while leaving it soft and smooth. It can relieve itching, irritated skin and is even great for bug bites, poison ivy and sumac! To use, add a cup to your bath water.
If you've got the container of baking soda handy, you can also use it to make a simple facial scrub- just put a bit in your hand and add enough water to make a paste. (You could even do this while bathing.) It gently exfoliates the skin and leaves it feeling great!!

Dried Milk is a real treat to the skin because it's full of nourishing vitamins and minerals! Skin is left smoother and more resilient. Fresh milk is great, but dried milk is handier to keep near the tub. Milk is a natural pro-biotic and rich in lactic acid which is excellent for softening, brightening, and exfoliating the skin. Milk baths are also great to sooth sunburns. To use, add 1/2 - 1 cup of dried Buttermilk Powder, Whole Milk Powder, or Goat's Milk Powder to your bath water. (Just make sure it's full fat!) It even makes some foamy bubbles when used with the tub jets on.
  • Buttermilk is used to treat age spots and it tightens the skin. It does have a slightly wangy smell so pairing it with essential oils is a good choice. For fabulous, glowing skin and a favorite facial mask, mix the powdered buttermilk with honey and an egg. Honey is both exfoliating and moisturizing and the eggs help to further tighten the skin.
  • Whole Milk Powder is full of vitamins and minerals that nourish the skin, and has minimal aroma.
  • Powdered Goat's Milk can also be used, though I haven't tried it yet.
  • To Top it off... add 1/2 cup of raw honey too! Now you can take a milk and honey bath like Cleopatra!

Bath Salt is what you want when you need to relieve sore muscles, joint stiffness, soothe achy legs, feet, or back pain, or simply to aid relaxation.
  • Epson Salt reduces swelling and eases muscle tension. It's made through a chemical process and composed of magnesium. 
  • Dead Sea Salt is my bath salt preference because it has the same properties as Epson Salt with added benefits. It's 100% natural (made by evaporating sea salt and is composed of iodine, potassium, and magnesium) and unlike Epson Salt, it contains many minerals from the ocean that stimulate circulation, heal and condition the skin. Dead Sea Salts have been said to speed up healing for nicks, cuts and wounds as well as reducing inflammation, itchiness, and acne. This is also a great choice for those suffering from psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, arthritis pain, and breathing problems.

Oatmeal is great for everyone's skin, whether it's dry, itchy, oily, aging, or acne-prone. It softens and soothes the skin so well that many doctors recommend the Aveeno soothing bath (Look on the bottle... there is only one active ingredient, and that is oatmeal!) Here are two methods of taking an oatmeal bath using simply oatmeal...
  • Oat Blend - Simply  place a few cups of old-fashioned, uncooked rolled oats in the blender, and blend for several minutes until the oatmeal is a fine powder. This is what I did, and put it into the bath bottle. If you make ground oatmeal, you can also use it for a facial scrub! Just combine one part baking soda to two parts ground oatmeal, then add enough water to make a paste. 
  • Non-Blending Method - Although I haven't done it, a non-blending method of taking an oatmeal bath is to fill a thin sock or stocking with 1/2 to 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal and tie it tightly at the top. Simply place it in the bath water with you, squeezing every so often which will release the oatmeal water. Before leaving the tub you can scrub your body lightly with the sock if you like. The only downside to this method is having to clean out the sock; just turn it inside out, scrape out oatmeal, rinse, and wash it.

Essential Oils are a great way to customize a bath and make it smell nice too. You can choose oils based on what your needs are- something to relax, de-stress, help with soreness, or just smell good.

Essential Oils are used when making bath salt recipes, but I figure that keeping the salt and oils separate until bath time is simpler (no bath-salt making process), keeps the oils at their freshest (not exposed to light or air during bath-salt-making), and is more versatile b/c I can change up which oils I use depending on what I want that day. Here are a couple of favorites...
  • Lavender for relaxation, reducing inflammation, relieving stress and tension.
  • Lemon (or fresh squeezed Lemon!) for a refreshing, healing bath (see Lemon Juice notes below)
  • Peace & Calming for relaxation
  • Pan Away or Relieve It for sore muscles

Handy Containers & Free Labels
For Your Bath Products

If you'd like to make some bath bottles of your own, I'd recommend skipping the pretty glass bottles and going with the plastic ones. I found these handy little pour containers at Dollar General, and then made cute little labels for them. You can download and use my container labels for free if you'd like. Here's how they look:

If you'd like to make these, click here to view or download my bath bottle labels.  It is a two-page PDF file that you can print for free. Page 1 has the labels I used and page 2 doesn't have words written on it, so you can make other labels if you'd like.

A Couple More Skin Treats
You Can Add To Your Bath
Green Tea has has some powerful minerals in it, some of which have anti-aging benefits and can help balance, replenish, and detoxify your skin. To use, just add 5-10 green tea bags to your bath water.

Honey is a great addition to milk baths, as I mentioned before. It soothes, softens, moisturizes, and detoxifies skin. To use, just add up to a cup of honey to your bath. Remember to buy RAW, unpasteurized honey! Processed honey doesn't have the natural healing properties that raw honey does.

Olive Oil has a rejuvenating effect on the skin, and it supports skin collagen which keeps it looking youthful and supple. Regular oil baths have been said to be particularly helpful after giving birth to help regain strength and shrink the uterus back to its normal size. To use, just pour a few glugs (or 3-4 TBSP) into bath water.

Lemon Juice (either fresh squeezed or from a bottle) is healing and refreshing to tired skin, and is especially nice in the summer time. It cools the skin and can even help tighten large pores!

Ginger is especially nice for a warm, toasty bath during cold weather. It can be soothing to sore muscles and even help sweat out colds and congestion.

Cinnamon Sticks are another great addition to bath water during cold weather, as both cinnamon and ginger can raise the body temperature. It helps detoxify (particularly after an illness) and cleanse the body, and is a natural mood-elevator.

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