From Kitchen to Bath

By Elizabeth Marglin

Next time you crave that Calgon effect, skip spendy bath products and raid your pantry and fridge for fresh, nontoxic, tub-ready goods. We consulted Lina Hanson, natural beauty expert and author of Eco-Beautiful (Rodale Books, 2008), to round up some favorite ingredients.

Milk: The alpha hydroxy acids in milk exfoliate, while protein nourishes and hydrates. Pour 1 quart into your tub, and soak for at least 20 minutes to allow milk to penetrate.
Olive oil: Full of antioxidants and vitamin E, olive oil ranks among the best skin softeners. Add a few tablespoons to your bath, plus a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.
Oats: This breakfast staple contains a unique antioxidant, avenanthramide, linked to healthy circulation, which may explain why oats soothe inflamed skin. Place 2 cups of quick oats in cheesecloth, close with a twist tie, wet the bundle, and squeeze to release the milky essence.
Green tea: A detoxifier par excellence, green tea is full of antioxidant polyphenols that help prevent skin-cell damage. Add 10 bags to your bath.
Cinnamon: Research suggests the smell of antiseptic, antifungal cinnamon boosts cognition and memory. Add 5 sticks or 1/4 cup ground cinnamon wrapped in cheesecloth to bathwater, and inhale the vapors.