The art of the bath: how to run a scientifically-proven perfect soak

In partnership with philosophy

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Everyone wants their bath to be the ultimate relaxing experience. Here’s how to nail yours…

At some point in your journey towards adulthood bathtime morphs from necessary evil to indulgent treat.

These days baths are a fully-rounded experience. 

They require the perfect temperature - not so cold you develop goosebumps and not so hot you feel lightheaded - and the sweet spot of relaxing scents, lighting and music to melt away your stress. 

In the pursuit of the perfect soak we’ve looked to science to find out how to run the perfect bath. Here’s how to get it right…

The temperature

When you’re having a soak there’s nothing worse than getting the temperature off and ending up in a tepid bath. 

Alternatively, you don’t want to end up drying out your skin with a scorching bath you can barely dip your big toe in. 

The ideal temperature should mirror your body temperature, which is around 37°C. 

If you don’t have a thermometer knocking around your bathroom you should be able to tell if you’re at the right temperature by dipping your elbow in the water for five seconds. 

If it feels warm but not hot you’re probably at body temperature. 

The scents

When it comes to your relaxation session you want to make sure you’re choosing the optimum aromas. 

Scientific studies have found that the smell of rose can help you to feel more relaxed and calm - the perfect accompaniment for bathtime.

Pick a scented range like philosophy’s refreshing bath scents that triple up as shower gel, bubble bath and even shampoo, and pick from scents including Ballet Rose, Amazing Grace, Nude Rose and Pure Grace and let the relaxing aromas take you to peak levels of zen.

Scent also has been proven to jog memory and emotions, so if you’re in the mood to lean into some festive spirit you can even try the Christmas range of flavours including Snow Angel and Sugar Plum Fairy.

The music

There’s a reason why baths lend themselves more to dulcet tones than drum and bass. 

According to the British Academy of Sound Therapy the ideal music for relaxation starts at around 60 beats per minute and eventually slows to 50, allowing your heartbeat to slow down and mirror it.

You also want to pick music that doesn’t have a repeating melody (stay clear of killer choruses) to avoid your brain staying alert trying to predict what’s coming next.

If you want a song scientifically proven to aid relaxation British band Marconi Union developed the song ‘Weightless’ with the help of sound therapists to lower stress levels and heart rate.  

The bubbles

What bath is complete without bubbles?

But it turns out bubbles aren’t just a tool to make your soak infinitely more indulgent, they also play an important role in prolonging your bath bliss.

Scientists at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University found that a generous layer of bubbles helps keep your bath water warm for longer, which means less time spent turning the hot tap on and off.

The lighting

There’s no use running the perfect bath only to recline in harsh bathroom lighting. 

Plus, who wants a noisy extractor fan killing their peace?

For the ultimate calming experience opt for dim, warm light which has been proven to increase the likelihood of being in a relaxed and positive mood. 

Safely dot some candles around your bathroom and let them enhance your bathtime experience.

The soak time

While the temptation to relocate to your bath for the foreseeable future is real, soaking for too long can be counter productive.

Aim to spend no more than half an hour in the bath to make sure you don’t strip your skin of moisture. 

If you’re looking to use your soak as a sleep aid, experts suggest taking your bath one to two hours before bed to improve your ‘temperature circadian rhythm’ and help you drift off.

philosophy is the wellbeing beauty brand inspiring you to look, live and feel your best. For the perfect bath,  shop their body range now.

philosophy is the official partner of Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2020.

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