Monday, February 22, 2010

Bath time … for Mama

My maternal grandmother may have driven her daughters a bit nuts with her vanity, but she never had a hair out of place, her lips were expertly drawn, and her skin was always powdered to perfection. Her beauty was her pride and driving force as she raised and educated five children in post Korean-War Seoul -- all the while, sewing and knitting their clothes by hand. In my grandmother's fashion, no matter what happens with A in the morning, I put myself together in one way or another before I head out the door. But just because you start the day "fresh off the shelf" doesn't mean you're going to come home looking or feeling that way. And that's when you indulge in a long, warm, bath.

I grew up traveling and spending a lot of time in Japan and Korea where the bath/spa culture is huge and historic. Soaking and/or immersing yourself in very hot water for long periods is considered something that should be done if not daily (Japan), then at least weekly (Korea). The hot bath, which customarily you would do in the evening, is where you 'remove the day,' cleanse yourself of toxins, and stimulate blood flow.

A relaxing soak of at least 15-20 minutes is extraordinarily restorative. We spend so much time bathing our kids and letting them have fun in the tub that it's easy to overlook the importance of being in there yourself. Set it up as your at-home spa treatment -- schedule it like you would a massage. Make sure you won't have any interruptions: turn your phone off, have the kids in bed. Then, draw your bath to a temperature of your liking. You can add a couple of drops of bath oil (like Neutrogena Body Oil , $11, or Bamford Baby & Massage Oil, $56) to help seal the moisture into your skin. But, I usually prefer plain hot water, which in and of itself will hydrate skin, not to mention soothe any aching or tense areas of your body.

Give yourself time to decompress, and relish in the tranquility.

Lovely Bath 1-2-3:

1) If you prefer a bubbly soak, I always enjoy the aroma of Philip B. bath products. Try his Thai Tea Mind & Body Wash ($35: 12 oz.).

2) Candles do add a luxe element to a home bath. Here is a scented candle set by Kai Fragrance ($40), that reminds me of Hawaiian Ginger leis.

3) One of my new, favorite bath towels is the traditional Turkish Pestemal ($25). It's lightweight -- the baby's heavy enough -- absorbent, and dries quickly.

-- N.C.

Disclaimer: Nuy Cho has no affiliation to any of the beauty companies mentioned on


marni said...

I am more of a shower person, but will sometimes take a bath. Shu Uemura`s "Pleasure of Japanese Bath" oil is very nice!!!!

Nikki said...

When I was pregnant, I was so huge and uncomfortable and needed to soak. However, we only have a shower. A big shower, but still just a shower. So I bought the biggest storage plastic tub I could find from kmart and filled that with warm water every night. I felt a little silly, (especially when I was climbing in and out of them at the store trying them out) but it worked.

Veronika said...

I love this post and want one of those towels. Baths for mom are highly under-rated. Thanks Nuy!

Natasha Rao said...

What would you recommend for women who are preggers to use on their face to fight acne?