Normally, I am opposed to superfluous days of nationally acknowledged niche-celebration. National Hairball Awareness Day? Meh. National Tooth Fairy Day? Why? National Maple Syrup Day? Like I need a reason.
But National Bathtub Party Day is something that, as a genuine bubble bath enthusiast, I can get excited about. Granted, I am not the xo-resident bathtub submersion expert. That illustrious title has to go to Rachel over at xoVain.
Still, I'm no novice.
I'm not unfamiliar with wrinkly fingers and toes or rings around the tub from technicolor bathwater stains. I know how to have a bathtub party (maximum capacity: me) and after years of in-the-field research, I have the science of a sumptuous, soothing soak down to an art.
There are three main factors for a truly exceptional bathtub experience: the soothe — products that hydrate and condition your skin, the suds — bubbles and bombs, and the salts — epsom variety soaks to pamper sore muscles. These are my picks for products that excel in all three categories and meet the high standards of the SSS Bathtub Experience:
The Salts: SheaMoisture Soaks, $11
Lying in a porcelain basin of hot water at awkward angles is not, in itself, relaxing. Since my hunter-jumper days, when I fell regularly on my ass and sported gnarly bruises, I have been a firm believer in the benefits of soaking in epsom salts. Unlike other bath salts I've tried over the years, SheaMoisture's soaks don't dry out my already dryness-prone skin.
Hydration is an essential aspect of any half hour or more bath experience. For $11, SheaMoisture soaks available at Target and online, offer maximum moisture and muscle relaxation at an affordable price.
Unlike essential oil based bath salts, SheaMoisture soaks don't lose their scent as they dissolve. The Lavender and Wild Orchid is the sweetest scent, while the others have a lighter, earthier smell that blend well with scented bath oils or bubbles.
My Extensive Research Shows: An hour in the tub with a strong mineral soak is the equivalent of two Advil and a glass of water.
The Suds: Lush Bath Bombs and Bubble Bars, ($5-$9)
I am a huge fan of all things Lush, but this article isn't about sustainability, cruelty-free and vegan products, fair trade, or excellent puns. No, my friends — this article is about bubbles and when it comes to bubbles, nothing beats Lush.
While the bath bombs and bubble bars in the gallery below have strong scents (ranging from lemony to pine to bubble gum sweet) before you toss them into water, once they bob around for a short time the smell disperses into something nice and subtle.
Lush Bath Bomb + Bubble Bar Suds Experience
The real strength of Lush bath bombs and bubble bars is their hydrating effect on skin, not the special effects in the tub (although those are, obviously, epic). Every bomb and bar adds an extra burst of conditioning goodness to water.
My Extensive Research Shows: Long-lasting and visually stunning, Lush Bath Bombs are top of the line suds.
The Soothe: Laura Mercier Honey Bath, ($45)
Are you a minimalist, who prefers a simple, clean foam to a flashy firecracker explosion of bubbles? If so, look no further.
Laura Mercier Honey Bath comes in three light scents — Almond Coconut, Fresh Fig Honey, and Crème Brûlée that make ordinary tap water silky-soft while packing a surprising amount of bubble-a-bility. Plus, each one comes with this neat honey bath dispersing honeycomb doodad:
Balking at the price tag? The great thing about this product is that it doesn't take a ton to create a ton of bubbles. I go through standard bubblebath foam and oil products at a surprising rate, but it only takes a dollop of honey bath to get a full tub of soothing foam (and that's including one or two water refills).
My Extensive Research Shows: With a hydrating bath oil or honey, you don't need to slather on body butter once you emerge from the tub.
Have you kicked it by candlelight in the bath with any of these products? Care to challenge the SSS Bathtub Experience system for maximum bath relaxation? Have a preferred cocktail that you balance on the edge of the tub while you read or update Disqus or exfoliate?
Let's chat about it in the comments (as soon as I get out of the tub). Until then, stay hydrated, stay relaxed, and stay in the tub until someone you love has to use the bathroom.