Since the dawn of time, royal ladies have indulged in fancy baths. Take Cleopatra, who’s legend to have soaked in tubs with donkey’s milk or Marie Antoinette whose fragrance-spiked waters must have smelled nothing short of heavenly. Or, of course, modern-day majesty like Beyonce whose $20K champagne soak brought out the feels in all of us.
While these luxe options are in no short supply, the great thing about baths is that you actually don’t need a lot to have a relaxing experience. Bath and shower bombs, for instance, tend to come in below $5, and by tapping common pantry ingredients, you can soak in luxury without having the price tag to show for it. Ahead, five household items you can throw into your tub, that also happen to be really good for your skin. Okay, so we don’t technically have royal blood, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fake it, right? Yas, queen!
Keep scrolling for 5 pantry items to toss in your next bath.
Thanks to the natural antioxidants and polyphenols in green tea (one of the richest sources in the world), throwing five to 10 tea bags in your bath water helps to detox your skin and fight things like back-ne. “The polyphenols in tea provide anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is approximately 20 to 45 percent polyphenols by weight, of which 60 to 80 percent are catechins, such as EGCG, which are antioxidant,” says Debbi Burnes, skincare expert and founder of Sumbody.
Bathe like our ancestors when you add milk to your Sunday-evening soak—after all, it was good enough for Cleopatra. “Milk is used for its lactic acid, essential fatty acid, vitamins, enzymes and proteins. I prefer goat milk over cows milk for skin. The fat molecules in goat milk are much smaller than cows milk making it easier for your skin to utilize,” Burnes explains. “The lactic acid removes your dead skin cells, the essential fatty acids replace moisture loss and the vitamin such as A along with the proteins help maintain healthy collagen.” Try adding two cups into your water to soften and brighten skin. Or, take a note from the queen’s book and give donkey’s milk a go.
“Olive oil day is filled with anti-aging antioxidants. It is also one of the few natural sources of the super hydrating squalene,” Burnes shares. “It stops the overproduction of oil, keep skin properly hydrated, is used for eczema and psoriasis. Not only does it maintain a proper moisture balance but it aids in elasticity and to heal severe chapped and cracked skin.” Plus, oils have the ability to penetrate and absorb into the skin, so drop 3 tablespoons of olive oil into your next bath. And know this: The oil-soaked waters make for a moisturizing alternative to shaving cream.”
While we don’t condone wasting a $20,000 bottle of champagne on a bath (not even for the ‘gram), bathing in sake is much nicer to wallets and skin. Sake baths are a Japanese tradition, and are said to leave skin softer and brighter because of the kojic acid found in this rice wine. “It’s super rich in and enzymes and has over 20 amino acids that are result of the fermentation process. Because of this it gently exfoliates skin and feeds it with vitamins minerals and proteins,” Burnes says. “It restores lackluster and gives your glow back.” Pour an (inexpensive) bottle of sake into a hot bath for a relaxing soak—and yes, it still makes for a pretty good Instagram.
Speaking of queens, Madonna is a big fan of bathing in basil, as evidenced by an Instagram featuring a tub filled with greenery. The leaves are likely tapped for their bright, herbal scent that comes as a result of steeping it in water. While the aromatics are quite lovely, and enough of an experience on their own, Burnes says that she sees basil also used to treat acne, but that it doesn’t hold as much skin-potency as other baths. So, if you’re going for the scent, have at it.
By the way, showers are getting pretty upgraded as well: Here are the shower bombs that you need to know about ASAP; and these are the shower plants to buy rn.
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