Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mercredi: The Art of Beauty

Casting around for something nice to give to Mom this Sunday that won’t break the bank and has a handmade feel?  Or are you just looking to relax after a long, hard day?  Either way, allow me to offer the following suggestions, which are among my favorite at-home spa treatments.

I am a sucker for the relaxing scent of lavender combined with the brain-stimulating properties of rosemary.  There’s something about that combination that, for me at least, gets the head right where it needs to be to start the creative juices flowing.  A bath steeped with these herbs is the perfect way to unwind and clear the mind.

For this bath, all you really need is a muslin square large enough to hold your herbs.  You can then tie it up with string and use it like a big teabag in your tub.  If you’re planning on giving this herbal bath as a gift, consider something prettier like those fancy organza gift bags they sell at craft stores.  Alternatively, you could decorate your muslin square with embroidery or other waterproof decorations, and/or tie it up with a fancy ribbon.

Dried herbs for these bags can be as simple as lavender and rosemary alone, or you might add other fragrant herbs such as bay leaves, dried orange or lemon peel or whole cloves.  If you’d like to soften the water a little as well, add a handful of rolled oats.  They won’t add much scent, so you don’t have to worry about them overpowering the herbs you’ve chosen.  Remember to use dried herbs, about a tablespoon or so of the scents you most want to accentuate, as they tend to be more fragrant when steeped than fresh leaves.

The completed herbal bath bags can be stored in an airtight container for up to six months.  To use, just tie the bag to your faucet so that the hot water runs over them as you fill the bath.  Then untie them and let them float in the water while you relax and soak all that tension away.  You can get a nice burst of scent by squeezing the bag and then dropping it back into the water to soak again.

If you only have access to a shower, you can still enjoy the benefits of rosemary and lavender (or any other skin-friendly) aromatherapy.  I’ll first refer you to the post on dry brushing a while back; sprinkle your long-handled brush’s bristles with about two drops each of lavender and rosemary essential oil.  Complete your dry brushing ritual as you normally would and then step into a hot shower.  The aroma is fantastic and you’ll enjoy the benefits of dry brushing, too (just remember to thoroughly clean your brush afterward).  A votre santé ~

Header: Ad for Cannon towels via Mid-Century


Timmy! said...

Nice and relaxing, Pauline!

That's got to be refreshing...

Is it just me or does the tub in that picture look strangely short?

Pauline said...

It does but I think that's one of those optical tricks caused by a combination of the angle at which the picture was taken and that awesome bath caddy.