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Four Essentials For a Spa-Quality Bath at Home

Illustration for article titled Four Essentials For a Spa-Quality Bath at Home
Photo: Spencer Davis (Unsplash)

The holiday season can mean many things: being with friends and family, a cold that seems to last all winter, endless holiday parties and impending doom of seasonal depression. Despite growing up in New England, where it gets dark at 4 PM and parka season lasts for at least four months, winter still feels cruel and unfair.

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This year, I’m vowing to embrace the season by embracing what the Danes call hygge, which roughly translates to “cozy” and is typically used to describe comfy activities during a hostile winter. I don’t have a fireplace and can’t afford to hit the hydrotherapy spa every week, so taking a bath has quickly become my favorite way to warm up and relax in the dead of winter. It’s also, according to a reiki master I once saw, an excellent way for a water sign like myself to rejuvenate. (Fellow sensitive Scorpios, I see you!)

Whether you’re a winter warrior or not, you deserve to relax. Treat yourself to a DIY, spa-grade bath with these simple items (including a DIY bath pillow) and soak away the stress of the season. (And before you sink in, be sure to properly scrub your tub!)

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GORILLA GRIP Bath Pillow, $16
GORILLA GRIP Bath Pillow, $16
Photo: Amazon

We’ve already endorsed this bath pillow, which is perfect for a nap or just keeping your head dry in the tub. If you’re feeling inspired to do some self care ASAP, or are too cheap for the real deal, I’ve got great news. You can MacGyver one yourself using items you probably already have.

Just stuff a gallon-size Ziploc bag with a hand towel or two and seal the bag. Congrats, you’ve just made your very own bath pillow! It won’t stick to your tub like the Gorilla Grip one, but it will float and costs next-to-nothing.

https://www.amazon.com/Cleanbear-Cotton-Towels-Absorbent-Blue-Grey/dp/B07BNKN8MJ

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Eucalyptus Essential Oil, $9
Lavender Essential Oil, $8
Eucalyptus Essential Oil, $9
Lavender Essential Oil, $8
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

Essential oil evangelists claim these magic oils can cure anything from a migraine to your boring sex life. I like adding a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus to my bathwater, a duo that is at once relaxing and uplifting. Keep the bathroom door shut to seal in the therapeutic steam.

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Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt, $17
Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt, $17
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

I’m a runner, which means I am A) insufferable and B) always sore, so a few cups of epsom salts in the bath are a non-negotiable for me. The combination of magnesium sulfate and hot water soothes sore muscles and can help you unwind after a long day. Why not get the most bang for your buck and invest in an 8-pound tub of epsom salts? I prefer adding essential oils to an unscented variety for a choose-your-own-adventure bath experience, but Dr. Teal’s makes some excellent scented versions if you’re into that.

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LED Tea Light Candles, $14
LED Tea Light Candles, $14
Photo: Amazon
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The last thing you’ll need to complete the ultimate at-home spa experience? Candles, which also happen to be very hygge. Arrange a few tea light candles around your tub, shut off the lights and sink in for a self-care journey like no other. Candles are an excellent lighting hack if your bathroom is crappy like mine. With the lights off, I can forget about my bathroom’s dingy tiled walls and peeling grout around the tub. Worried about setting the bathroom ablaze? No problem—opt for flickering battery-operated tea lights for ambiance without the anxiety.

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