Surviving Nemo With Japanese Bath Salts

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Winter Storm Nemo may be wreaking havoc on New York Fashion Week, but I found solace last night by getting cozy in a steaming hot bath. Although I’m really missing the 70- (or even 60-!) degree weather in Los Angeles right now, one of the benefits of being at my New York City apartment is my amazing bathtub. There’s nothing better than soaking away all that snowstorm cold in a whirlpool swirl. Unless you have a packet of Japanese bath salts too—then it’s really a party.

I first discovered Japanese bath salts when I was in Tokyo on assignment for Marie Claire. I was writing a story about Japanese beauty secrets and apparently hot baths are #1 on the list (another tip was not eating sushi while dieting because they think it’s too fattening). These steaming baths stimulate the metabolism, boost circulation, and get skin glowing. Apparently, the more you sweat during your bath, the better (so long as you don’t pass out—just remember to stay hydrated). Note the pink sweat droplets on this pouch’s blonde bather (above). Are those vampire teeth?

To maximize bath time benefits, Japanese have hundreds—no, thousands—of bath salt varieties that come in single-serving packets. There are ones that mimic the minerals found in a natural hot spring (you can even get blends that are specific to famous hot springs in different regions of Japan) and fiery ones that turn your bath water bright orange and really rev up your metabolism. My packet last night (above) contained hot pink bath salts that turned my bath water a gorgeous lilac and smelled like grape Hi-Chews. LOVE! The bubbles were more like a milky foam than giant frothy orbs, but they left my skin super soft and rosy pink (not dyed, just blushing from all the blood flow).

My friend Hiroko (who’s in town for New York Fashion Week) brought me these salts direct from Tokyo, but you can find similar foil packets at most Japanese markets and specialty stores (not necessarily at Sanrio, but definitely at those random shops that sell everything from genius Japanese kitchen tools to mechanical pencils, beauty supplies, and candy).