This one is for all my Practical Magic girlies

When you were a little kid, did you pretend to throw together a handful of rose petals and a strand of your crush’s hair into a bubbling pot while reciting the exact right words to conjure everlasting true love? Just me? 

I may have gotten over that crush, but I haven’t grown out of the idea of creating magic out of everyday ingredients blended with good vibes and pure intention. 

Baths are magical. 

When my eczema started to flare up a few years ago, I thought baths were magical, but not like Hogwarts-magic. After trying every cream, balm, and salve under the sun, nothing, absolutely nothing could soothe my irritated skin like a tepid oatmeal bath. Something as simple as a breakfast grain I bought in bulk for under $5. Who knew?

Over time, I played around with different herbs and created a personal skin-soothing recipe: oatmeal to calm irritation, lavender for the scent, and chamomile to relax. 

I found these reusable bath-tea bags; previously, I had been scattering the whole grains and dried flowers into the tub like a goblin. While the skin flare-ups come and go, my little DIY sachets are perfect anytime I’m looking for a little skin softening TLC. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I started to think about it, each of those oatmeal sachets was like a little spell I was conjuring up to heal my skin and calm my soul. I’d climb into the bath with the intention of finding a little respite from the itching, mentally chill out, and treat the rash. Half an hour later, I’d emerge a little closer to healing. 

While it may not have the satisfaction of immediate results, like in the movies, there’s something to be said for intention plus practical repetition generating results over time. 

What is it about baths, specifically, that feel so transformative? We go from dirty to clean at the most fundamental level. If we throw in some herbs and citrus slices, therapeutic soaks can help with all kinds of ailments like sore muscles and dry skin. With the addition of intention, baths can become the conduit between our current selves and the self we wish to become.

Botanical baths are nothing new, of course. Nearly every culture at anytime in history has embraced the healing and beautifying effects of an infused soak. Cleopatra’s evening wind-down bath is infamous, the honey and milk recipe surviving millennia. And our Instagram feeds are stuffed with mountainside spa tubs loaded with fruits and flowers. 

Perhaps what is newly re-emerging is the thinking that a bath can be so much more than just hygienic and therapeutic. It can also be magic.

Make Magic

You don’t need a first class ticket to Thailand to start reaping the benefits of your homespun spells. You can buy pre-made soaks if you prefer to leave the blending to the professionals. If you’re feeling a little industrious and don’t mind a trip to your local grocery store and herbalist, DIY is the way to go. 

You’ll need a few things to get started:

  • A tie top muslin bag. I like these reusable bags.

  • Some handy ingredients like:

    • Lavender for relaxing

    • Oatmeal for soothing skin

    • Dried (or fresh) flowers for fragrance 

    • Mineral Salt for joints and muscles

  • A bathtub. In lieu of a tub, grab a portable basin and treat yourself to a foot soak.

  • Optional: a shower cap to keep your locks protected

  • Purpose in mind, even if it’s a loose concept of feeling sexy or less stressed

You can start creating your own custom blends, or check out a few recipes for inspiration

Hot Tip 1: Keep the bathwater at a comfortably toasty temperature. If it’s too hot, you risk sweating and becoming dehydrated. 

Hot Tip 2: As with any personal ritual, set aside that hour just for you. Bonus if you can leave screens behind. The beauty of the bath is creating the space for magic to happen. Stay focused and present.