No matter the time of year, or even the time of day, it’s always the perfect time to turn to a soothing health ritual perfected in ancient Rome: Sanitas per aquam, “health through water.”
A life of beauty begins with the basics. Clean skin, a revived spirit, and a good night’s sleep. The energy at the heart of la dolce vita is fueled by the simple earthy rituals tested over time in the place where beauty is born. In a country nestled among four seas – the Adriatic on the east, the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean on the west and the Ionian on the south – laced with rivers and lakes, fountains and canals -- water is close to the Italian heart, connected to fertility, prosperity, beauty, and health.
Beginning in the second century B.C., the people of Rome translated that belief in “Health through water” into bathing. They believed that diet, exercise, relaxation, massage and a good soak were the keys to excellent health and vitality, and this philosophy helps explain why still today, Italians are among the world’s healthiest people. The Roman baths of antiquity were public places of ritual and ceremony. They were also, apparently, a lot of fun. Men and women separately gathered at the baths to visit with friends, anoint themselves with oils, and soak up the steam. Some of the largest bath houses had gyms, libraries, and lecture halls, with entertainment provided by musicians, jugglers, and poets. One Roman Emperor loved the immersive experience so much he visited the baths eight times a day!
This luxurious tradition is a far cry from our modern approach to the bath. Too often, we treat bathing like an obligation instead of a joy. Can you even remember the experience of your last weekday morning shower? Nope, didn’t think so. It’s just a habit you dash through on the way to your first blessed cup of coffee.
But it is important to pause, retreat, and give yourself the gift of time and healing: The perfect Italian bath. It’s essential to your health, both physical and mental. And it’s time to elevate your ritual.
Today’s perfect bath is in the classic Italian spirit, but without the crowds. With the help of our Italian heritage beauty brands – some centuries old -- we preserve the ceremony and recreate the experience of soaking in healing waters. Bath time is an occasion to shut the door on everything and everyone demanding your attention and claim a little private time to focus on rebuilding your own strength and energy. (OK, there may be times you want to invite a special partner to join you if the water’s warm enough…but that’s a blog post for a different day!) This recipe is about you. Just you. And it starts with a magical combination of ingredients – soothing home fragrance, elegant bath soaps, healing bath salts, and masks for exfoliating and reviving your tired skin. All our products are authentically Italian, made from ingredients sourced from the regions where the creators live, work, and raise their families.
Here are our recommendations for creating the perfect, indulgent Italian beauty bath in the 21st century:
1. Prepare the room with a relaxing fragrance.
Bathrooms are the ideal place for a warm home fragrance because the bathroom is often the last stop before bed. With notes of sandalwood, citrus, pepper, or sea spray, home fragrance immediately transports you into a different place where you can start to calm and relax in preparation for a restful night. Fragrance is key to transforming even the most hectic home into a soothing spa. And while the scent sweetens the air, stow away the plastic tub toys and clear the toothpaste tubes, shavers, and baby wipes off the counter. Dim the lights, set out your best fluffy, cushy towels, and retreat to the healing aromas of the Italian countryside – summer-tinged citrus, a sun-soaked beach, acres of wild ginger and woodland strawberry. (Recommendations: Carthusia Mediterraneo Diffuser, Acqua Dell Elba Isola d'Elba room spray, La Magnolia Home Fragrance Diffuser)
2. Prepare the water with salts.
As the hot water is running, add the bath salts. Then ease into the silky, perfumed water and let your muscles ease away the tensions of the day and the season. The tradition of soaking in salted water dates back to at least 2700 B.C., and bath salts mirror the gentle healing of coastal waters believed to sooth ailments ranging from sore muscles to acne and arthritis. As you breathe in the aromas from your fragrant room and soaking tub, you’re triggering the parts of your brain that promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Native Italian companies produce bath salts from all over the country, capitalizing on Italy’s geographic diversity and rich variety of climates and terrain. (Recommendations: Saponificio Varesino Pure Mineral Aloe Vera Salts, Farmacia Arte dei Medici e Speziali Bath Salts, Ortigia Sicilia Fico D'India Bath Salts)
3. Sink in, close eyes, do nothing.
4. When ready, refresh with the perfect bath soap.
Bath soap for the tub should be fragrant, cleansing, moisturizing, and leave you feeling silky and refreshed. Your tight, dry winter skin will luxuriate in the moisturizing lather as it softens and soothes. Our elegant soap collections are also visually beautiful, a reminder that small, simple delights are part of what makes every-day rituals meaningful and worthwhile. (Our favorites include: Perlier Honey Miel Bath & Shower Cream, Skin & Co Organic Rosemary & Verbena Body Gel, Tuttotondo Uva Fragola Shower Gel)
5. Treat your skin.
Now that you’re relaxed and clean, it’s the perfect time to treat your skin to a mask. Masks hydrate and stimulate, and they also provide specific beauty benefits for skin of different types and ages. (Our favorites: Borghese Advanced Fango Active Purifying Mud Mask, Terra Biocare by B&C Ripura, Perlier Royal Elixir Extraordinary Face Mask).
6. The optional slough.
Have time to go the extra mile? Indulge in whole body exfoliation to reveal the softest skin. While facial masks are popular, skin treatments and exfoliants are as magical for your shoulders, arms and décolletage as they are for your face – refreshing, brightening, and awakening your skin by cleaning away the tired, dull cells that hide your inner glow. (Suggested products: Tuttotondo Spritz Veneziano Exfoliating Body Scrub, Skin & Co Umbrian Truffle Exfoliating Gel, Acca Kappa Sisal Scrubber Mitt)
Wrap it up.
When you emerge from your perfect Italian bath ritual, you should feel sparkly, warm, and ready for rest. Drink a glass of water, curl up, and dream about repeating this recipe every day – your gift to you.