bathing- home made, home aid
Of all the beauty rituals, bathing is perhaps the one that most combines the meditative and the worldly, the secular and the spiritual. Here are some secret formulas for you.
The best way to keep skin healthy is to alternate using bubble baths and milk baths, while using bath oils and herbal baths, which are just as scented and relaxing. These following formulas have the extra benefits of being super body smoothers and simple to make.
This bath, with its hint of bubbles, and its citrus aroma, is excellent for winding down before bed.
2 Thsp. light safflower oil.
1/2 cup unscented pure castile shampoo.
4 drops lemon essential oil.
4 drops grapefruit essential oil.
4 drops lime essential oil.
Mix the ingredients together in a stoppered bottle and leave them for two or three days to blend. When ready for your bath, shake the bottle slightly and pour one- third of the amount under the tap of running water.
When the tub is full, slip in and soak, enjoying the smoothing aroma of the citrus fruits and their calming properties.
Cleo's Milk Bath
Cleopatra of Egypt was also an admirer of bathing and is known to have taken milk baths to soothe her skin. Milk baths were popular in the ancient world and can easily be duplicated today.
1 quart whole milk.
Add whole milk to a tub of warm, bath temperature water and swirl it around. If this is too rich for your blood, you can dilute it a bit further. Milk is soothing and a great treatment for rough or sensitive skin.
Glorious Grenada Bath Oil
Grenada, in the Caribbean, is known as the spice island. Simple setting foot on this island, you notice the scents of cinnamon, clove, and bay wafting to you on a tropical breeze. Whether you
make it to Grenada or not, the scent of the island can be as close as your spice rack.
1/4 cup sesame oil.
2 sticks cinnamon
6 whole cloves.
large bay leaf, crumbled.
1 dash nutmeg.
Place all the ingredients in a stoppered bottle and allow them to steep for at least one week.
When ready to use, strain the spices out with a metal strainer and pour the oil into the tub.
This recipe makes enough for one bath, but as the recipe improves with age, you may wish to make a larger amount at one time.
Please note: the sesame oil called here and in other recipes is not the nutty-flavored sesame oil used in Chinese cooking, but rather the sesame oil that can be found in health food stores. It's clear and virtually odorless but has great emollient properties.
Mogul Princess Bath Oil
The scent of sandalwood evokes the courts of Mogul India as no other fragrance can. In the Rajasthan palaces at Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur, carved sandalwood chests and furniture scent the air with a fragrance that has lasted for centuries.
3 Tbsp. sesame oil.
5 drops sandalwood essential oil.
2 drops amber oil.
1 drop patchouli oil.
Mix the ingredients together in a stoppered bottle and allow them to sit overnight. When ready for the bath, pour the mixture into the tub. Then, sit back and enjoy the luxury of the bath.
Bath salts offer yet another option for the confirmed bather. Anyone who knows a dancer or anyone who depends on her legs all day knows about Epsom salts. They're the classic bath salt. However, even they take on a more restful aura when they're mixed up with a few drops of relaxing pine oil.
1/2 cup Epsom salts.
5 drops of pine oil.
Add the Epsom salts to the bath as the tub is filling. When it is almost full, add the pine oil and turn the taps on full to mix it well. Sink in and feel your tense muscles loosen up. The pine oil is stimulating and invigorating.
Close your eyes and pretend that you're floating in a pine-edged pool in the middle of a primeval forest.
Bath Herbs and Botanicals
Infusing herbs and other items in the bathwater allows for even more variation in bathing. Bath bags are a useful way to infuse herbs into the bathwater. Actually, bath bags are just a fancy name for large muslin tea bags that allow the herbs and spices to permeate the water with their fragrance and their soothing properties. Lavender is natural. It has a wonderful fresh scent that is used in aromathrapy as a calming and soothing fragrance. Bergamot brings freshness and clarity, while sprig or two of rosemary adds a fantastic perfume to the water and can soothe arthritic joints. Needless to say, there is nothing quite like the fragrance of highly scented rose petals. In fact, if you're feeling particularly down, forget the bath bag and simply sprinkle some fragrant rose petals directly into the tub. They'll be a pain to clean out at the end of the bath, but by that time you'll be calm and relaxed.
Oatmeal Bath Baggies
Oatmeal is internationally known for its skin-embracing properties. It soothes and can also be used as a delicate abrasive to scrub away impurities and slough the skin. It is particularly good for oily skin.
1/2 yard fine muslin.
3/4 pound oatmeal.
Sew four or five small rectangular bags about 2 inches by 3 inches out of muslin.
Leave one end of each bag open, fill each of the bags with oatmeal, then sew it closed. When you get ready to bathe, hold a bag under the tap of the running water, allowing the water to run through the bag. The oatmeal will mix with the water as it flows into the tub, softening the water. The bag will keep the oatmeal from clogging your tub, so you'll get all the benefits of the oatmeal without your bathtub looking like your porridge bowl. Alternately, you can make the bags slightly larger so you can use the filled bag as a scrubber. You'll be removing the impurities from your skin as you scrub and soak.
If you live near a store that sells botanical products or have a yard or a window garden where you can grow herbs like lavender, lemon grass, and rose geranium, they too make for a wonderful bath. You can use the herbs in a bath bag or use one of the following methods:
Method 1. Pour one cup of boiling water over two tablespoons of the plant product to be used. (You can also use this method with solid botanicals such as strawberry and cucumbers. Puree them first in a blender, then pour the water over them. If using dry herbs, crumble them.) Let the mixture steep for 15 to 20 minutes; then strain out the liquid and pour into your bath.
Method 2. Place the plant product to be used in one cup of cider vinegar. Let the mixture steep overnight. Then strain, and pour the liquid into the tub. Oil Baths Women around the world have found that an oil bath from time to time promotes beautiful skin. As I traveled around the world and visited with various women of color, I found that the method changed only slightly: The only real difference in oil baths was the type of oil used. You can try these baths before soaking in a warm tub, or if you're fortunate enough to have a health club with a steam bath, the following baths are great ways to get the best benefits from it.
West African Oil Bath
Mothers in Senegal and Mali rub their newborn babies with shea butter (which is called Karite in French-speaking Africa, to form their features and to ensure they have strong limbs. Then they use the shea butter on themselves. Shea butter can sometimes be found in health stores.
1/4 cup melted Karite or shea butter (more if necessary).
Note: Karite butter melts very rapidly. Do not attempt to melt it in a microwave. Watch it closely as you melt it in a stove.
Wash with hot water, using your usual soap and scrubber to make sure that you have cleansed the skin thoroughly. Take half of the melted shea butter and vigorously rub it over your legs and torso, massaging away aches and pains and molding muscles and joints. Take the remaining butter and massage it into your arms, hands, and neck. Don't worry if it gets into your hair- it promotes hair growth as well. Spend some time working the oil into the vertebrate of your spinal column and your back muscles as though you were rubbing in soap. If you're not limber enough, don't despair; have your lover rub it in for you.
Finally, rinse off the excess oil under a warm to hot shower. Continue again to massage your entire body and, at the end of the massage, gently massage your face with your fingers, which will still be slightly oily. Take a final rinse with cool to cold water; then pat dry with a towel and go straight to bed. You'll awaken to find that your skin is smooth, as if massaged by a thousand angels.
Indian Oil Bath
Africa is not the only continent to have discovered the multiple benefits of a beautifying and relaxing oil bath.
Interestingly, in almost all cases, the oil used for bathing is also the primary cooking oil of the region: olive oil in the Mediterranean and gingelly oil in India. Women of color throughout the world have traditionally
found multiple uses for the ingredients and items that they have on hand.
In India, and many other Asian countries, many women take oil baths regularly to keep their skin soft and silky. In India, the traditional oil of preference is gingelly or sesame oil.
1/2 cup sesame oil (see above note on sesame oil)
Once a week, rub the sesame oil all over your body. Massage the body completely to rub the oil in. Then sit on a towel-covered chair in your bathroom or bedroom and read from your favorite book while the oil is absorbed. Dab off any drips so that you don't ruin the carpet or the furniture. When you've waited for about half an hour, draw yourself a warm bath and get into it with your favorite scrubber. Scrub yourself while you soak and remove the remnants of the oil. When you emerge from the bath, your skin will be silky, soft, and well moisturized.
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