An enchanted bath ritual with Modern Alchemy from ESPA
As the nights draw in and the air takes on a sharp autumnal tang, nothing is more comforting than soaking in a richly scented spa bath. Time to escape the world and all its worries, and to indulge in a little protective magic.
We love a spa ritual and we love Hallowe’en (and anything a bit witchy) so ESPA’s Modern Alchemy collection could not have come at a better time. Inspired by ayurvedic healing, Chinese medicine and shamanic practices, this holistic collection has all your self-care and sensual bases covered with a sprinkle of sorcery. The black-jarred products in elegant gift boxes come with tiny spell booklets outlining the ritual and meditations that can enhance your product’s potency.
You can go online and discover the right product and meditation ritual for your mood by choosing your Yantra card – Yantra are mystical diagrams from Hindu astrology and tantric traditions with supposed occult powers. Click on the one you are drawn to and your ritual will be revealed.
First, I ran a bath and lit a Espa Restorative Candle (£26) – this is a lovely hand-poured soy wax candle that slowly builds its warming, orange and rose fragrance. It is a shame in some ways there isn’t a Modern Alchemy candle, but perhaps it would distract from the aromatherapeutic benefits of the products.
As I was feeling the wear of the day, I rubbed the The Cleansing Milk (200ml, £38) onto my dry skin, a soft creamy milk containing moisture-locking cactus and anti-inflammatory turmeric before sinking into the bathwater.
Next, I sprinkled some of the The Grounding Crystals (180g, £35) into the warm water. The scent from the jar was smoky and tangy, a mix of bonfire and incense, warm ginger and zingy vetiver. It contains pink and purple granules – pink salt from the Himalayas containing 84 mineral elements, Epsom salt used to re-energize, amber extract, traditionally used to fight stress and tiredness as well as heal the skin. Plus, rich and earthy essential oils sandalwood, ginger, ylang ylang and vetiver.
The surprise ingredient is papery pink Helichrysum petals, known for anti-ageing and healing properties. These float around in your bath once the salts have dissolved and are easy to flush away. There aren’t so many that you can’t brush them off your skin, and they create a dramatic effect in candlelight.
In the booklet enclosed is a ritual to “ground and balance your emotions and cleanse your energy”. You slip into the bath, sit up straight and breathe deeply, imagining your spine is a tree and that you are filled with a colour of your choice, then finishing with a knee hug before sinking back into the deliciously healing waters.
If you are the kind of person who likes to read in the bath, the perfect accompaniment to this enchanting bathing ritual would be Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic, which tells you how to unleash your creative goddess (it has lines like “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all”), or even better for Hallowe’en, Daisy Johnson’s gothic haunted house tale, Sisters.
After 20 minutes of wallowing, I emerged, skin pillowy soft, feeling stress-free and clear headed, the perfect state for journaling.
After drying off, I lay on my bed and followed the instructions for The Anointing Oil (100ml, £65), which you can also add to your running bathwater using the pipette. It has a similar essential oil blend as the crystals, but more concentrated – deliciously smoky and tangy, rather sexy. You can rub it all over your body as I did after the bath and lay inhaling and absorbing the aromas. You can also dab a little on your wrists and decolletage so you can inhale it throughout the day -- or night to conjure more interesting dreams.