Cleopatra wasn’t the ravishing beauty that Hollywood has made us believe – the Greek historian Plutarch describes her alleged exoticism as “itself neither altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her” – but the legend of her radiant skin is anything but a myth.
To achieve such smooth, supple skin, Cleopatra regularly soaked in milk baths, a luxury befitting only a queen; in today’s economy, milk isn’t cheap, and very few people without claim to a throne, crown, and royal subjects can afford such an indulgence.
But even though a true milk bath is out the question for regular folks like us, the concept – and other all-natural ingredients with properties similar to skin-soothing milk – is not.
At our Sabon boutiques in New York City, we often recreate a miniature “milk bath” for our customers right in front their eyes so they can see and feel our products at work.
First we add a dainty scoop of scented bath salts, and as the water is running we drizzle in our bath foam and milky soap. Then, as the bath rises, we sprinkle about three heaping handfuls of mineral powder into the tub. The reaction is instant. Sabon customers watching the demonstration can see the mineral powder react to the warm water and then feel the creamy consistency of the bath that leaves the whole body moisturized, replenished, and silky.
Our milk bath, however, isn’t just about healthy, glowing, exuberant skin. There are other benefits to this decadent escape that only Cleopatra was privy – until now. Take a look at these six reasons you should enjoy a relaxing bath tonight.
1. Release Tension
When you can’t find a good masseur, a warm milk bath is the next best thing to release the bodily tension that causes soreness, tenderness, and other unwanted aches. The heat increases elasticity in your body, allowing it to relax and loosen up. When you’re ready to get out, gently stretch your muscles to take full advantage of this tension reliever before letting your pains slip down the drain.
2. De-Stress from the Day
It's common knowledge that a long soak in the tub allows you to relax and de-stress after a hard day, but did you know that the de-stressing effect of a warm bath is a scientific fact? A study from Osaka, Japan, confirms that after 60 minutes of bathing, subjects experienced a dramatic reduction in cortisol and chromogranin, two sensitive salivary stress markers. Of course, you may not have the time or stamina to soak for an hour, but if you take a shorter bath make sure that it’s uninterrupted so you can effectively find your happy place.
3. Induce Fatigue
If you have trouble sleeping, perhaps a bath before bedtime will help you drift off to dreamland. Fatigue is a common experience after a hot bath because when you’re in the warm water your body dilates your blood vessels causing less blood to reach your brain. In response, your heart speeds up to try to circulate your blood faster. Basically, this is your body’s attempt to cool itself when your body temperature rises, and the fatigue is nature’s way of telling you that your body needs to rest.
4. Expunge Toxins
Run bath water cool enough to prevent scalding but hot enough to make you sweat and you’ll release toxins from your body via perspiration.
5. Increase Circulation
When you bathe, the rate of nourishing blood cells traveling to damaged tissue increases allowing your blood to circulate more easily.
6. Boost Your Immune System
Not only can the hot bath water potentially kill strains of bacteria that may be lurking on your body, but the stimulation of your vascular and lymph system will decrease the risk of colds and other infections as you wash your troubles away.
Have you tried a Sabon milk bath? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!