Bath Math

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Don’t let the Instagrams fool ya, kids—baths are no longer the relaxing refuge from the cruel, cold world you thought they were. We’ve been bamboozled, every single last one of us, it seems. You see, the art of bath taking seems so carefree and easy…until you’re just about ready to turn on the faucet. You reach for the knob and all of a sudden, the self-doubt floods in: Is it going to be too hot? Too cold? When was the last time I even cleaned this thing? Is this tub actually big enough to hold me and all that water? Do I need to shower first? Second? I spent $30 on those pretty pink salts but would a box of Morton’s table salt do the same damn thing? Stop it! You’re spiraling! It’s OK—I’ve been there too.

At this point, if you haven't talked yourself out of that bath idea, you're going to want to think about your goals. What do you want to get out of this bath? If you need to get clean, take a shower. But if you’re sick, dry and scaly, stressed out, sore, or just a shameless lover of luxury, there’s a bath for you. You just need to find the products that warrant it. As such, here are a few easy-peasy recipes to follow—bath math if you will. Get it right and Instagram, as ever, will be very impressed.

If you’re sick…

Oh you poor thing. Hydrate, rest, and take care of that stuffy nose with three capfuls of up to half a bag of . (Go crazy on the soak if you're a real eucalyptus nut like me.) The minty fumes will bust right through that built-up mucus in no time. And the Dr. Teals will help relax any achy muscles. The final perk? Very little clean up necessary after this bath. Get back in bed, sicko.

If you’re dry and scaly…

Pair one part with two parts with real live rosebuds in it. The Mustela oil is for babies, so you know it's non-irritating but effective. Plus chic in that way baby stuff is always kind of chic—like you know something adults don't. Moving on to the second ingredient, Follain's wonderful collab with Rica is as luxurious as anything—and as close as you can get to taking a bath full of milk without anyone calling you Whoopi Goldberg.

If you’re allergic to everything…

Or if you have the chicken pox. That's when you break out the . It's like making a big ol' soothing bowl of oatmeal—but with you in it! Add a few drops of if you tend to get rashy—it's also for babies, which we've already established is a sure bet.

If you need a vacation…

Whip up an ice cold blended marg and fill the tub with two parts and three parts . The pink salt you can get from anywhere (pro-tip: check TJ Maxx in the kitchen department), but the Palermo jar is particularly souvenir-looking. The coconut bath soak on the other hand—very worth it. Tropical and delicious smelling, while also coating your body in a nice veil of soothing hydration. Sans a coconut oil slip-and-slide situation.

If you're sore...

And the sick bath wasn't attractive to you, try adding one part two parts one more part for good measure. You worked out—you deserve something lavish. The reasoning: Arnica will soothe what ails you, while the healing bath will relax with spa scents (more eucalyptus, can you tell it's my favorite). The magnesium flakes aren't messing around either. Work hard, play hard.

If you're hungover...

Maybe try a cold shower? But if a bath is your cup of tea, try brewing it like one. Steep one packet of with a few scoops of . If you don't sweat out everything unholy, you're doing it wrong.

If you're feeling lucky...

Get yourself an adult bath bomb. This looks fun. Float on, my friends.

—Emily Ferber

Photo via ITG.