The old-time practice of tossing a handful of common soda into a bath of water acted as a softener quite well, but it usually caused the enamel of the bath to be destroyed. When such strong ingredients are added, whether for vanitys sake or medical reasons, they must always be dissolved first in a separate basin before adding to the bath. There can be no danger then of the crystals, or powder, settling in one part of the bath too long before dissolving.
For the tired business woman, the exhausted traveller, the nerve-strained housewife or worried mother, there is no sedative like a herb bath. It is not only more beneficial, but far cheaper to use herbs in this way:
Make a six-inch square muslin bag, hem it at the top to take a draw string, then fill it with the following: 2 oz. Of lavender flowers. 1 ox of lemon thyme. 1 oz. Of common thyme. 1 oz. Of crushed poppy heads. Sufficient brewers hops to fill up the bag to within two inches from the top when all the ingredients are pressed in.
Draw up the string, wind it round and tie so that the string can be undone to insert more herbs if desired.
To use the Herb Bag
While the bath is rilling with water, tie the bag to the tap and let the bag remain in the water. When ready to get into the bath, remove the herb bag, squeeze it as dry as possible, and hang it up in the open air to dry. It is a good plan to empty the contents after a time and add a fresh supply of lavender, or any other fresh herbs preferred.
A bath of this kind should not be taken for more than about fifteen minutes. The skin must be dried quickly afterwards, and if time for resting can be allowed it will be beneficial, in order to derive the fullest benefit from this wonderful reviver. To take a bath for mere beautys sake, just previous to dressing for a dance, the following is recommended: Have the water only warm, and add to it the following bouquet of dried flower petals, tied up in a muslin bag. 1 oz. Of dried rose, verbena, or freesia petals. & oz. Of lavender flowers or orris root.
The grated rind of a lemon.
This is only a small quantity, but it is fragrant enough to last for one or two baths. The bag must be hung up after use, preferably in the open air, to prevent the contents becoming musty.
Add a little pure Castile soap flakes to the water, and remove the bouquet before getting into the bath.
Ground almonds, mixed with an equal quantity of finely-shredded soap, is the secret bath preparation of one woman to keep her skin as smooth as velvet and ivory white.
Bran is eminently suitable if the skin is dark and inclined to be greasy. To prepare the bran, boil half a pound in a pint and a half of water until the bran becomes quite soft and can be rubbed through a siove or piece of fine net. Strain the water into a basin, add the pulp passed through the sieve, and pour into the bath water.
A bran bag can be made to use in the same way as a herb bag if it is found to suit the skin. Leave the bag in the water until it looks cloudy, then remove it and hang it up to dry. Bran is so cheap, however, that most women take a fresh amount each time.
Oatmeal suits the fair-skinned woman better than bran, and if the skin is delicate, red, or perspires in hot weather, oatmeal will cool it, soothe it, and clean it. No soap is required if oatmeal be used. Ground oats or rolled oats are usually obtainable and very inexpensive.
As a simple means of reducing superfluous flesh, many women find a bath containing Epsom salts helpful. Take the bath only at night, have the water as hot as can be borne, and add only a small quantity, such as is contained in a penny packet of Epsom salts, to try the effect. Do not remain in the water for more than tea to fifteen minutes. Use a coarse towel, and have a good rub down with it and get into bed.
Beware of taking any kind of baths for the purpose of reducing weight if the heart is weak, or the body is not in a normal state of health.
When sea salt baths are ordered, it is by no means necessary to go to the seaside to obtain sea water. Most chemists supply sea salt which, if used as directed, is effective. The skin must always be well rubbed afterwards, and the face should not be touched with the same water, but bathed separately in warm, then cold water.
This is excellent for slcin complaints or cleansing the skin after an illness. Dissolve 1 oz. To 2 oz. Of boracic powder or boracic crystals in one gallon of water, according to the strength required to suit the skin. The water must be hot at first to dissolve the boracic, but let it get cool before using.
It is always advis-able after coming in contact with an infectious patient, or after entering an infected area, to take a disinfectant bath. A hot bath, with carbolic soap, is usually a sufficient safeguard, but, after suffering from an infectious complaint, the bath should contain some recognized disinfectant, to be used as directed.
When the feet become sore, and swell, or perspire too freely, it is advisable to batho them frequently. Two ounces of bi-carbonate of soda, dissolved in two quarts of hot water, makes a suitable bath for the feet.
Another excellent formula is the following: Make a solution with a tablespoonful of permanganate of potash crystals in a pint of water, put in a bottle and cork. Add just suilicient of this solution to a foot bath to make the water a deep pink. It must not be too strong, or the potash will stain the flesh. This solution also acts as a deodorant.
Mustard added to water as hot as can be borne will open the pores of the skin quickly. Always take a mustard bath just before going to bed if a chill is suspected, and use a deep basin to allow the water to come well over the ankles and up. The legs. Soak the feet for five minutes while sitting with a blanket over the knees. Wipe the skin quickly without rinsing and get into bed.
Use 2 ounces of mustard to every 3 gallons of water, and mix the mustard in a cup before adding to the bath.
For delicate skins, or young people, only a heaped teaspoonful of mustard must be used for each gallon of water.
For removing pains in the limbs caused by wet or damp clothes, or over-exercising, a soda bath is often beneficial. Dissolve a good handful of washing soda in a jug of hot water, and add to an ordinary size bath. Do not throw the soda into the water as it is liable, before it has dissolved, to injure the surface of the bath enamel. Bicarbonate of soda can also be used for the purpose instead of ordinary soda.
Do not use soda for baths except as a temporary relief for rheumatism.
Turkish or Vapour Baths
On no account indulge in either of these baths without first consulting a doctor.
To Make Bath Crystals
Obtain 1 lb. Of carbonate of soda crystals, and add a teaspoon ful of oil of lavender, and a tea- spoonful of oil of geranium, or any other perfumed oil preferred. Mix the oils together, or allow a double quantity if only one oil be used.
Choose a large glass jar with a glass lid, such as used for storing sweets, put a layer of the crystals in the bottom, add a few drops of oil, and close the lid. The next day add more cstals and oil, until all the quantities are used. In this way the crystals will become impregnated with the perfumed oils.
To get full value from these home-made bath crystals, it is necessary to keep them sealed tightly for at least three months.
Dusting Powders for the Body
In hot weather, and when desiring to dry the skin quickly, use a dusting powder.
Refined Fullers Earth can be used, but there are many delightful talc powders on the market which suit most skins, and they are just sufficiently scented to be pleasant.
To Protect Chapped Skin
Fair women suffer more than brunettes with chapped skin because the dark womans skin is usually protected by a greater amount of As this complaint usually comes in the winter, care must be taken to wash in soft water and dry the skin very carefully. Although powder may not be used in the ordinary way, a toilet powder such as talc will help to protect the skin, or the hands may be dipped into dry bran.
At night-time after washing, rub the skin with pure olive or almond oil, and wipe off the superfluous grease with soft cleansing tissues before going to bed. In the morning use warm water and camomile lotion, which, when dry will give a thin coating to the skin. This is a soothing as well as a protective lotion.
If chapped flesh is very troublesome, it will be advisable to take mild aperients regularly, and blood-cooling medicines to be prescribed by a doctor.