Ok, it’s time… time for the conversation you all know we need to have. We have touched on it a few times in past posts and always joked about not letting others know etc. But today is different. Today we are going to embrace it head on. Today is the day we discuss the man-bath. More importantly, today is the day we discuss the best bath oils for men! Men that like a bath, men that come home after a hard day’s work and shout “I need a bath”… Well maybe no one does that, but you get the picture.
I have never been a bath person myself. I would run it, hop in, get bored after 30 seconds and hop out again. I used to try them after sport every now and then with some Epsom salts and found them quite beneficial, but in general, not so much. More recently, as the use of essential oils and other natural ingredients has increased in the man versus oils household, I have noticed Nic has been taking a few more herself. Then the other weekend I came home from a hard day’s fishing and as I walked in the door – tired, weary and fish less, Nic was running yet another bath. I hopped in and in true Chandler Bing style I was hooked. And the mansperiments started….
Why take a bath?
As it turns out, there are actually a number of health benefits to taking a hot bath – especially for us males of the species who tend to avoid a good bath like the plague. Apart from actually feeling really good, here are some of these benefits:
- Improved mood – baths are good stress relievers and calmers leading to more relaxed you
- Improved sleep – see above – less stress and calmer mind means better sleep
- Muscle pain relief – hot water is very good as a relaxant and for increased blood circulation leading to soothed muscles and joints
- Man-cold relief – Steam and hot water… always a good thing for a cold
- Skin care – a good soak can be very good for the skin to reduce inflammation and toxins as well as the removal of dead skin cells. You may not think you need this, but your skin really does.
And for the environmentally conscious, a bath uses waaaayyyy less water than a shower.
Essential oils for the bath
Ok, let’s start with the oils, mainly because that is what we have been using in the bath. I like my bath warm – hot (not hot enough that the old tushie goes red) and any of the oils we have tried have made the bath feel not too bad. I will say that there is a definite difference to the feel of the water when the oils are in there… I don’t know… It just feels ‘smoother’… And, if I am being honest, it is mainly about the smell of it all and I did enjoy the lingering aroma on the skin after the bath was over – it actually stays for a while…
So how have I chosen which oils to use? There is much scientific research into the anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant and astringent properties of essential oils that would lead to them supposedly being good in a bath. But in the end I just wanted to be practical about how the bath felt for me. So firstly I did some research on which oils should and shouldn’t be used in the bath. ‘Hot’ oils (cinnamon, clove, oregano, thyme lemongrass etc.) and citrus oils are generally considered too strong to use for this purpose. Although having said that, I did find a few recipes that use Lemon and lemongrass. I would probably want to avoid any of my muscle soreness oils (Panaway, Wintergreen, Peppermint) due to their mentholly affects – again, found recipes with peppermint. So you know what, I avoided most of these and went with some that I like the smell of (and some that Nic chose for me too).
Note: I have added the oils to the bath directly – usually about 15 drops – it is not a big bath, however some of the posts I have read suggest mixing the essential oil with a carrier oil to ensure better integration with the bath water…
And luckily for me. No man bits were burnt during the course of this mansperiment.. Oh, and I make no apologies for my less-than-manly descriptions of some of these solutions… Anyway, here are my favourites!
Of course Lavender gets the first run, although this time it is worth it. Lavender is quite florally and strong out of the bottle but in the bath it just seems to ‘melt’ in. Highly recommended on its own – an improvement however was to mix it with Cedarwood with Rosemary a close second.
It is just something about the hint of apple in a bath… it doesn’t sound like it should work but it gets a big manly thumbs up from me. This one in my opinion is best on its own as I didn’t really like any of the aromas once it was mixed with a second oil.
This one has a woody or grassy scent that becomes very manly in a nice warm bath. It is good on its own but even better when mixed with Lemongrass – which is supposedly a ‘hot’ oil but felt fine. I used the usual 15 drops of vetiver but only 10 of lemongrass which may have made a difference here.
Blue Cypress oil was a very recent purchase and the first time I have used it in anger which is why I chose it. I am glad I did. In the bottle is smells almost like, well zinc cream but in the bath it was one of the most soothing I came across which is good because I am struggling to find another reason you would use this oil. It also smelled really good with a little vetiver – in fact it is my favourite.
I wasn’t going to even try this one as it is considered a ‘hot’ oil, but after it worked so well with the Vetiver that I thought I would try it on its own. It is really not too bad. I only used 10 drops but I really like the aroma and it did fell like it was getting ‘into’ the skin. Really not bad… Try it with Rosemary as well.
In light of my success with Lemongrass and its effects on the skin, I thought I would try some citrus. Lemon and Lime scared me a bit so I decided to try one that is a little softer – Bergamot. Like the apple hints of the Roman Chamomile, the citrus undertones of the Bergamot were really good (sounds like I am describing snooty wines, not a bath). This is another favourite. I really couldn’t find much that went too well with this in the bath so I just leave it on its own but feel free to experiment as always.
Others worth a try
The oils listed above were my favourites, but I have tried some others that were good, but just not quite there for me:
- Cedarwood – Good when mixed with Lavender and possibly Bergamot but not on its own, the woodiness (is that a word?) is almost overbearing in hot water.
- Frankincense – See above re Cedarwood. Not horrible with Blue Cypress but not a favourite
- Northern Light Black Spruce – This one hurt as it is my absolute favourite oil. But just a bit overpowering to the eyes. Maybe try with a few less drops.
- Rosemary – Actually not too bad. I have often commented that the scent of this one out of the bottle is something that takes some getting used to but in the bath it is not too bad. Probably good enough to make the top list.
So whilst I was in the bath mood, I thought I would also try a bath bomb. My daughters used to use these all the time and all I remember is having to yell at them to come and clean all of the residue up when they were finished. I mean there was glitter, salt and some sort of filmy substance everywhere. I used to ask them what the attraction was… “They feel sooooo goood” was always the response.
So, in the interests of providing a well-rounded mansperiment, I tried one. Hmmm… there are ‘bits’ everywhere and that ‘film’ has started forming on top of the water – even though the one I tried was made from ‘all natural ingredients’. The effervescence that I love so much about bath salts (see next section) just wasn’t there either. I know they are popular and there are shops out there that sell them by the truckload, but I just can’t see the attraction here – especially when it was me who was being yelled at to come back and clean up the bath.
Salts for the bath
As much as I don’t like bath bombs, I LOVE bath salts – in fact probably more than essential oils in the bath. Have a look back at the benefits listed in the Why take a bath? section of this post and I promise you that using bath salts will deliver on them all! I like Radox natural salt mix myself, but Epsom salts and Pink Himalayan rock salt is also good.
I feel the need to write more about bath salts, but to be honest, I really can’t. They are awesome – Get some!
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself with the bath bomb… Let me know below if you are game to try it…
So, there you have it. All I can say is put down your inhibitions and get into a bath – even if it just once a week. There are so many benefits for your mind and body that you owe it to yourself – just go easy on the Kenny G! Myself, however, I have had so many baths in the past few weeks that I am going to shrivel away so I am going for a shower… chat to you soon.
Until next time
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