How to Recreate the Bath Bomb Ambience in Your College Shower

I’ll be honest, after a semester of showering with flip-flops, sinking into a hot bath is one of the first things I want to do when I return home for break. Baths and all that they entail —  candles, bubbles, dim lighting, a good book, and maybe even a glass of wine — are definitely my favorite form of self-care. For me, an ideal bath includes a Lush bath bomb ($8), Alaffia bubble bath ($15), and a sheet mask ($6) with at least 30 minutes to luxuriate in the warm water as I rub soapy bubbles into my legs and flip through various magazines. But if you don’t have access to a bath or the time to sit and soak in the warm water and bubbles, taking a long, relaxing shower can achieve the same effects. 

With just a few steps and accessories, you can achieve a shower experience so luxurious that you’ll forget about the mysterious stains and large clumps of hair backing up the drain in your dorm’s showers. If you focus instead on the privilege of hot weather and some time to yourself, taking a relaxing shower is the perfect way to improve Zoom fatigue and second-semester senior stress. Here are five steps to take to recreate that bath bomb mood in your shower.

Related: 4 Ways Your College Lifestyle is Ruining Your Skin (& How to Fix It)
  1. 1. Set the mood with a designated time, fragrance and music

    woman in white robe holding skincare product

    Before you even step into the shower stall, schedule a specific time in your daily schedule that you will dedicate to this act of self-care. Whether you have to write this out in pencil in your agenda or not, it’s important to be in the headspace of relaxation to help your thoughts remain in the present, rather than spiraling to the 10-page essay you have to write by the end of the week. On a regular day, you may take a quick five to 10-minute shower, but consider extending your time today (although be cognizant of using up the hot water).

    Gather your bathrobe and clean towels, and consider a soothing playlist on Spotify and a spritz of Rose Water & Ivy or Lavender Vanilla room spray ($9) in the vicinity of the shower. Not to mention, Lush even has a line of shower bombs ($4) that explode when placed under the showerhead. 

    Consider as well the temperature you want for your shower. While a warm or even hot shower can make you feel like you’ve escaped to a sauna for the day, don’t discredit a cold shower. In fact, a colder shower releases endorphins and can boost your overall mood, which may just cure your screen fatigue. 

  2. 2. Start with a leave-in hair mask before you shampoo

    container next to flowers

    After you step into the shower, but before your head hits the water, consider introducing a weekly hair mask into your shower routine. Over winter break, I fell in love with this Moroccan Oil Dry Scalp Treatment ($38). Although this particular product is pricey, you don’t need a lot of it – so the small bottle will last a long time.

    Lush also has a wide range of hair masks that are less expensive. Although I haven’t personally tried one of their treatments, I have my eye on their H’Suan Wen Hua hair treatment ($23) for nourishing hydration. 

    Once you’ve done your hair mask, you can move into the less exciting routine of shampooing and conditioning your hair. I like to begin my shower with hair care, so I can leave my conditioner on the tips of my hair while I wash my face and body.

  3. 3. Next up is skincare, but take your time

    woman applying lotion

    As someone who struggles with acne and oily skin, taking the time to thoroughly wash my face with a cleanser, indulge in a weekly facial scrub or even do a sulfur mask ($52) after I exit the shower is self-care within itself. Regardless of your skin type, it’s important to not skip the cleansing step. I like to let the warm/hot water steam my face before going through my skincare steps. Even if you just do a basic cleanse, focusing on making circles on your cheeks and t-zone can create the sense of a massage, and if you dare to close your eyes, it’s almost like you’re getting a facial.

  4. 4.  Go beyond a body wash and experiment with body scrubs

    Body lotion

    Now it’s time to clean all of the remaining surfaces on your body, and don’t be stingy! Beyond a basic body wash, I recommend experimenting with other products such as a body scrub. My favorite is the Almond Milk & Honey Gently Exfoliating Cream Scrub ($24) by the Body Shop. I’ve bought this product again and again, and I love to use it to rub away dry skin on my legs and elbows. I’ll also scrub my legs prior to shaving (although I’m in the party who believes shaving is by no means a moment of self-care, but rather a chore).

    Regardless of the season my legs are always dry, so using a body scrub is paramount to my routine. But I will say that taking the time to slowly rub the product into your thighs and calves is like getting a low-grade massage for no cost.

  5. 5. Towel off and return to the landmass

    Towel and bra hanging in shower

    After completing your shower routine, continue the slow-moving message by toweling off with a fresh, fluffy towel, and maybe using the Almond Milk & Honey Body Butter ($21) to moisturize. From there, proceed with your typical morning or nighttime skincare routine, but this time with a refreshed state of mind.

While a luxurious bath with your favorite candle may be what you're craving throughout the semester, don’t underestimate the power of a good shower. Not to mention, it's a faster way to soak your body in your favorite products, and take a much-needed break from staring at your laptop.

Just a heads up — this article may contain affiliate links. While a purchase through affiliate links doesn't impact the price you pay, Her Campus Media may receive a small commission. All products' prices and availability are accurate as of publication.