9 Soothing and Affordable Self-Care Products I Keep Stocked in My Bathroom, Starting at $4.59

published Mar 16, 2021
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Credit: Lana Kenney

At any given moment throughout the day, I am just wishing I was in a bathtub.  Slipping into warm, scented water is like a cue to my brain, a signal saying “Right now, I’m going to shut out the outside world and its stressors.”

A warm bath gives me the space I need to notice myself — how my body feels, how the days’ events have impacted my mood. It’s guaranteed time during the day where everything is calming; with the perfect scents, sensations, and atmosphere.

Baths can do it all, from relieving stress or muscle aches to providing a few moments of utter relaxation. These are some of the best-reviewed, most popular, and most calming products to go to when you’re looking to use a bath as stress-relief:

A Soothing Bubble Bath

This Honest Company Lavender Bubble Bath is hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin. It also produces a good amount of bubbles. If you’re looking for a light product, this will do the trick. The suggested amount is two to three capfuls, and I find that it does the job. I’m not alone, either: One Target reviewer praised the formula’s “Long-lasting bubbles and subtle scent,” which they added, “ wasn’t overpowering.” 

Essential Oils

Essential oils are great bath products if used correctly. Make sure to add a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil like rosehip, argan, olive, coconut, almond, or jojoba oil, and then drop that combo in your bath. Experts recommend you start with three to six drops of essential oil per six teaspoons carrier oil. 

As for the scent, there are plenty of options to choose from. Licensed beauty esthetician Kristyn Larae of Organic Wellness Center in Claremont, California, says that she recommends tea tree oil as a relaxing scent. Plus, used topically, there’s some evidence that it may help improve some kinds of acne. Who doesn’t love a product that works double-duty in their bathroom? 

An Epsom Salt Bath Mix

I love this product, which features a heavier scent than the Honest Company formula (which I like) plus Epsom salts. As a result, you’ll get fewer bubbles than a traditional bubble bath, but I still recommend having it on hand after a rough day and using it generously. I pour in about two to three capfuls slowly under the tap as the water is running, and find that it gives me a decent amount of foam. “Generous size bottle with a great scent. I’d rate the bubble creation at a 3/5 though,” says one Target reviewer.

A Scalp Massager

“Everyone loves a head massage, but this product also keeps your scalp healthier by sloughing off any unwanted build-up allowing your hair to grow,” Sephora Collection National Artist Helen Phillips says of a scalp massager. She’s a fan of the Sephora Collection in-house brand, which has lots of positive reviews. You can also try the Maxsoft Hair Scalp massager, an AmazonChoice winner. Reviewers note that constant use seemed to help with dry-scalp issues, as well as felt amazing. “I cannot explain how good this feels when you’re using it! It relaxes you and for sure is better than just using your fingertips to shampoo your hair,” says one Amazon reviewer. (If you have a pre-existing condition like dandruff, it might be better to ask a dermatologist before purchasing.) 

A Silicone Face Mask

Single-use sheet masks are popular, but they can be wasteful — why not make your go-to serum or moisturizer do double-duty? These silicone face masks keep any lotion or potion from evaporating too quickly from your skin, and are made from washable food-grade silicone. The design also means you can place the mask over a traditional fiber sheet mask to keep it from slipping down your face.

A Bath Tray

I get it, you’re a working person. Where’s the time to bathe? If you absolutely cannot spare 30 minutes to yourself, invest in this bath tray as a way to multi-task. Reviewers say there’s plenty of room for a phone and a drink, so you can knock out a few tasks as you soak. It’s easily stored, and is made from bamboo to help prevent mildew.  Consider adding extra candles, crystals, or other visually-pleasing items on your tray to complete whichever vibe you’re trying to achieve. 

Safety-Minded LED Candles

A commonly overlooked part of the bath experience is the visual experience — and I firmly believe that a bath is a perfect opportunity to turn your bathroom into a home spa. Set these Vont candles around the perimeter of your bathroom, dim the lights, and add a meditative quality to your bath. These LED candles have an average rating of 4.6 from more than 10,000 reviews on Amazon. Reviews rave about the brightness of the lights, the long battery life, and the hassle-free nature of LED lights.

A Soothing Candle

Of course, I also love a candle that smells good! People rave about this candle from the Mrs. Meyer’s brand. It’s a soy candle, which will burn cleanly if you follow proper candle maintenance. Their lavender scent is super popular if you want to amp up the relaxation. (What can I say? I like lavender!) 

Dried Rose Petals

These dried flower petals are a bestseller on Etsy, and are known for their strong scent. (One reviewer remarked that they could smell the petals through the plastic bag they were packaged in). If these dried flowers aren’t your thing, you can just as easily drop in some petals from the next bouquet you purchase. The purpose is the smell, of course, but also for the aesthetic appeal. It’s an extra step that makes your bath look romantic, grand, and luxurious. (Use a strainer to get the petals out of the bath before you drain it, to avoid unnecessary clogs.)