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How To Take a Bath For Max Relaxation

Knowing how to take a bath can make all the difference in how relaxing and skin-pampering the experience is. Here, find a simple 7-step routine.

After a long day, a bath is just what you need. Fill the tub, add some suds, and sink your body into the water. Your limbs instantly feel looser, and a relaxed mind doesn’t follow too far behind. Of course, if you’re a shower devotee rather than a backer of bubble baths, this may seem far-fetched. But the facts are, the soothing benefits of bathing are well-researched. One study found that after taking a bath, 80% of participants reported feelings of warmth, relaxation, relief from fatigue, and refreshment.

With all of that said, not just any bath will do. While how to take a bath obviously isn’t regulated by a slew of rules, there are tips and products that can elevate the whole experience. By following the right bathtime routine, you can maximize the calmness and also get clean. Here, we’re answering common questions for those who are coming over from the shower side and sharing the Kiehl’s-approved way to bathe, complete with our best bath essentials.

Do Baths Actually Clean You?

If you’re thinking that baths are surely an inferior way to get clean, you wouldn’t be the first to come to us with this concern. Because you soak in the same water that you cleanse your hair and body in, it’s actually a fairly common assumption. But we prefer to look to expert research, rather than relying on speculation. And as it turns out, reputable sources confirm that both bathing and showering offer the benefit of cleanliness.

Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-To-Foam Body Cleanser

What’s key is that you incorporate a good body cleanser into your bath routine. Filling your tub with bath bombs and bubble baths, while nice, isn’t sufficient. We recommend stocking your bathroom with Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-To-Foam Body Cleanser. This oil-based cleanser contains castor oil and grape seed oil, and is formulated for all skin types. It has a silky texture that leaves skin feeling supple, moisturized, and nourished, and it doesn’t hurt that it has a decadent vanilla and almond fragrance.

How Do You Take a Bath Properly?

Slip into a water-filled tub, and there’s no doubt what you’re doing qualifies as taking a bath. However, there’s a bit more to doing it correctly. Below, learn how to take a bath the right way.

1. Draw Your Bath

Perfecting the water temperature is the first important move you’ll make. While it’s true that a steaming hot bath feels nice in the moment, especially on cold winter days, it’s actually not what we recommend. Turning the tap too high can have adverse effects, including drying out your skin. You want to come out of your bath with soft, hydrated skin, which is why it’s better to bathe in warm water. Adjust the water until you find the right temperature, then fill up the tub.

2. Create Some Bubbles

If you’re taking a bath strictly for practical, cleansing purposes, you may be able to forgo bubbles. But when your goal is to relax, suds are nothing short of a necessity. Bath bombs are popular for this reason, as are all sorts of bubble bath products. Our favorite is Lavender Foaming-Relaxing Bath. Take your bath to the next level by adding two to three capfuls to the running water. You’ll see it foam into a luxurious bath, but the benefits aren’t just visual. The formula is infused with moisturizing and conditioning ingredients, like aloe vera and glycerin, and lavender essential oil for a soothing, relaxing experience.

3. Hop In

There isn’t much to this step—go ahead and get into the water.

4. Apply a Mask—Then Relax

Before you close your eyes and kick back, take the opportunity to show your skin a little TLC. Smooth a thick layer of Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask over your face. The face mask, which is formulated with avocado oil and avocado fruit extract, conditions skin and leaves it feeling soft and hydrated after each use. After 15 minutes, you can rinse it off with warm water, gently massaging your skin in circular motions as you do so.

Don’t forget, your lips deserve a treat, too. Give them the same attention with a lip mask. Buttermask For Lips is the perfect option. It nourishes your lips with intense hydration, thanks to a formula that includes fairly traded coconut oil and wild mango butter. Apply a generous layer, then leave it be to work its magic.

Once you’ve applied your masks, it’s time to enjoy. Lean your head back and relish the feel of the warm water. Add a soothing playlist into the mix, and then you’ll really have the right idea.

5. Cleanse and Exfoliate

We spoke about cleansing earlier, and this is where it should fall in your bath routine. Let your skin soak for a bit first, then cleanse. Apply the body cleansing oil to wet skin and massage it into a lather before rinsing. You can also exfoliate afterward. If you take baths daily, you don’t need to scrub your skin every day. But using a body scrub once or twice a week can be a skin-smoothing gamechanger. We recommend opting for the lavender-scented Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub. It’s made with an effective exfoliating blend and comforting chamomile. The scrub exfoliates skin without over-drying, and the result is skin that’s velvety smooth and primed for moisture.

6. Rinse Off

Bathtime is almost over, but it’s important to rinse off before leaving the tub. Wash away any lingering body scrub or cleanser and any suds that are sticking to your skin. While you don’t have to, some people like to turn on the shower at the end of a bath for a quick rinse with fresh H2O.

7. Lock In Moisture

When your skin is wet, there’s moisture sitting on its surface. And you have the opportunity to trap that moisture. Climb out of the bathtub, and instead of grabbing a towel and wiping away every last water droplet, gently pat your skin, so it’s not soaking wet but is still damp. This is exactly how you want your skin to be when applying body lotions or oils in order to lock in the most moisture. To pamper your skin, try layering a dry body oil on under another body moisturizer.

Pair Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil with our classic Creme de Corps (a Kiehl’s classic since the 1980s). Both formulas contain olive-derived squalane, which is a Kiehl’s signature ingredient, and help soften the skin. The body oil nourishes skin with hydration and leaves it residue-free, while the lotion moisturizes dry skin and helps improve its texture. You can also use Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter for an extra luxurious experience. It has an indulgent, air-whipped texture that absorbs quickly to provide rich, 24-hour hydration.

Start by spritzing damp skin with the oil, then massage either body moisturizer on top. Give it a few minutes to absorb before getting dressed—you don’t want all the nourishment to end up on your clothes instead of your skin.

For extra dry spots, we also recommend Intensive Treatment and Moisturizer For Dry or Callused Areas. This treatment with cocoa and shea butters can be used to soothe and soften very dry skin and calluses. Apply it wherever needed and massage gently. If there’s any excess product, let it sit for as long as possible, then blot it away.

How Long Do You Take a Bath?

The amount of time you should stay in the bath is largely up to you. According to one study, there was no difference between five-minute and 20-minute baths in terms of skin hydration. So, if you’re in a rush, you can be in and out in five, or you can take your time and really relax.

Now that you’ve mastered how to take a bath, make sure you’re up to snuff on showering. Here’s How To Shower The Right Way.


I. Goto, Yasuaki et al. “Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM vol. 2018 9521086. 7 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/9521086
II. Stender, I M et al. “Effects of oil and water baths on the hydration state of the epidermis.” Clinical and experimental dermatology vol. 15,3 (1990): 206-9. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2230.1990.tb02073
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