Once upon a time, I was a collector of fancy purses and sky-high heels, but these days find me sleuthing-out as many of the most calming, potent, and essential oil-spiked bath salts I can get my mitts on. I don’t sleep well in the best of times, and these are most definitely not the best of times.
“Now more than ever, a good night’s sleep is so important to help our immune system combat all the stresses in our day-to-day lives,” says Stacy Haase, CEO of EiR NYC, a culty bath and body line that originated in Montauk’s surfing community and recently added a Dream Deep Night Serum alongside its relaxing Post Session Salts. “So many of us are struggling with restless nights, whether it’s because our mind is racing and we can’t fall asleep, or because we wake up throughout the night due to achy, tight muscles.”
“Nightly self-care rituals can really help with getting better quality sleep.”
If there’s an upside to the global pandemic, it’s this: we’ve all become better stewards of our wellness and self-care rituals. For me, that’s meant both a commitment to meditation (facilitated by Tamara Levitt’s addictive “Daily Calm” guided musings) and many an evening spent in the tub. If I’ve had a bath steeped in my favorite “sleeping salts,” I’m all but guaranteed a great night’s rest.
I think you’d benefit from some of these ready-made brews too, as well as a special DIY recipe created just for Insider’s Guide to Spas by essential oils guru Ixchel Leigh. Make them part of your nightly “you time” and wake up happy.
Kneipp Dream Away Valerian & Hops Mineral Bath Salt
It doesn’t get much cooler than this holistic German brand, which was founded in Bavaria in 1891 by priest and “water doctor” Sebastian Kneipp. Famed for his hydrotherapy treatments, Kneipp insisted on the purest, most potent plant-based ingredients for his products. Thus, it’s hardly surprising that they’re brilliant at enhancing our baths—especially this formula. According to Kneipp, the medicinal use of valerian and hops for relaxation dates back to ancient Rome, and the unique structure of Dream Away’s salt crystals make them a magnet for essential oils. Be forewarned: dump in as much of this stuff as I do, and your bath water will be positively Smurf blue. kneipp.com
Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts
If you spot this at the Standard Hotel in Miami Beach or one of the four funky Bunkhouse properties, know that you’re in for a deeply relaxing experience. That’s because every scoop contains 20mg of Lord Jones’s signature broad spectrum phytocannabinoid-rich, hemp-derived CBD, alongside pink Himalayan salt, arnica and calendula petals, and other help-you-drift-off ingredients. Even if you’re not a “CBD person,” this brew, handmade in small batches and spiked with aromatic evergreen and citrus, is a formidable wellness-enhancer. lordjones.com
This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak
Be it a pillow spray, night oil, rollerball or salts, it’s safe to say This Works has cornered the market on obsessed-over snooze remedies. “We’ve been investing in the science of sleep since 2004,” the website informs us. “Our award-winning natural sleep solutions have been through six independent user trials with over 900 participants, as well as clinical and fMRI brain-imaging studies, so you can be confident This Works is more than our name: it’s our promise.” If that’s not enough to lure you in, how about the anxiety-reducing Deep Sleep fragrance enhancing these lush salts? Lavender, vetiver, and chamomile . . . aaaah. thisworks.com
EiR NYC Post Session Salts
“A warm bath is a great way to relax before bed,” says Haase. “EiR’s arnica-infused Epsom salts help soothe tense muscles and draw out toxins, while bergamot and ginger help soothe the mind to help the body relax.” If you’re up for a two-step unwinding process, Haase recommends applying EiR’s new Dream Deep serum—spiked with “blissful” myrrh and petit grain—to your face and pulse points après bath and just before bed. “Nightly self-care rituals can really help with getting better quality sleep.” Indeed. eirnyc.com
ESPA The Grounding Crystals
The name alone, “Grounding Crystals,” was sufficient to entice me, but once I learned more about this heady, physically stunning concoction, I had to give it a go. As part of ESPA’s Modern Alchemy collection, it pulls inspiration from Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and shamanism, and includes such exotic ingredients as amber extract for balancing emotions and releasing negative energy. Anchored by a skin-softening salt blend and laced with ylang ylang and sandalwood, it’s a mind-body, one-two punch designed to purify and nourish. espa.com
Ixchel Leigh Essential Oil Sleeping Salts
As the founder of Artisan Parfums and author of Aromatic Alchemy: Recipes for Transformation, Ixchel Leigh has an essential oil trick or two up her sleeve. And when asked for an easy aromatic blend to help for sounder slumber, she was happy to oblige. “Keep it in a glass jar with a tight lid,” Leigh urges. Will do.
Ixchel’s Sound Slumber Recipe for Our Readers
2 cups Epsom salts
5 drops Roman Chamomile
3 drops Rose Geranium
3 drops Sweet Marjoram
4 drops Lavender
Directions: Place the Epsom salts in the jar. Add the essential oils. Stir with a wooden stick. Keep lid on tightly so the essential oils won’t evaporate.
Uses: Leigh’s salts’ recipe can be used a number of different ways.
For bathing: Add ¼ cup to the tub and “agitate” to dissolve. “Soak your body for about 20 minutes,” says Leigh. “And keep the lights low to help your body begin to wind down from its active state.”
For a traditional “smelling” salt vibe: When you want to fall asleep, simply “open the lid and sniff.”
For a room diffuser effect: Place the jar next to your bed with the lid off. Replace it tightly when you wake up, rested and ready to tackle your day.
To learn more about Leigh and her work, go to artisanparfums.com.
Dana Wood is the Contributing Beauty Editor at InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She has been writing about beauty and wellness for decades, and no matter how many times she taps the words “hyaluronic acid” or “healing modalities” into her keyboard, it never gets old. Dana spent a total of 20 years at Condé Nast, serving as Beauty Director for W, Cookie, and Brides. A transplanted New Yorker, Dana now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her peak spa experience? Dana says it’s impossible to decide between the Coco-Mango Body Buff at the Driftwood Spa at Jakes in Treasure Beach, Jamaica, The Land of Beautiful Waters Anti-Aging Facial at Four Seasons Nevis, and the 80-minute 5 Senses massage at the Spa by JW in Marco Island, Florida.