How To Take A Bath Like Cleopatra

Looking to bathe like royalty? Read on.

By Simone Sydel3 min read
Pexels/Vladimir Konoplev

Historically believed to be the recipe for beauty, milk baths have been a popular way to keep the skin soft, smooth, and bright since ancient times.

This luxurious ritual was once only enjoyed by the wealthy elite, such as Cleopatra and the Roman Empress Poppaea, who were known for their legendary beauty, but it has now become an at-home skincare treatment that anyone can access and benefit from.

So, whether you want to pamper yourself or simply try out a new beauty routine that might improve your skin's health and appearance over time, here's everything you need to know about taking a bath like a queen.

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The Secret Behind Cleopatra's Legendary Beauty

Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, is not only a figure shrouded in political intrigue and historic conquests but also an eternal style and beauty icon.

While many debates still surround her real appearance, there's no denying that the Queen of the Nile had a mesmerizing charm. But beyond her ability to captivate with her personality, intelligence, and astute political maneuverings, which have fascinated historians for centuries, it's her timeless beauty secrets that continue to captivate beauty enthusiasts around the globe.

Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Her beauty regimen, particularly her iconic milk baths, has transcended the sands of time, making her a perpetual symbol of glamour and sophistication. This queen didn't just rule Egypt – she ruled the realm of majestic self-care, setting a bar for what it means to pamper yourself royally.

Glow Like a Goddess: Exfoliate with Ancient Scrubs

We have gathered here today to discuss how to bathe like the iconic queen, but let's first review some important prep steps that even Cleopatra didn't neglect. Before easing into her luxurious, aromatic bath, Cleopatra embraced the profound benefits of exfoliation, a step essential for attaining a flawless complexion. 

In keeping with her tradition of using natural ingredients, you can create a gentle yet effective scrub reminiscent of ancient beauty recipes by blending together almond or olive oil and a bit of fine sea salt. Rub on the mixture to manually slough off dead skin cells and boost circulation for a soft and radiant glow.

For an aromatic touch reminiscent of Cleopatra's love for indulgence, infuse the mixture with a few drops of frankincense or myrrh essential oil, both revered for their rejuvenating and healing properties. This blend not only exudes a scent that transports you back to the times of Ancient Egypt but also leaves the skin smooth, revitalized, and ready to absorb the nourishing benefits of the time-honored bathing ritual that follows.

Product to Try: Sabon Delicate Jasmine Dead Sea Salt Exfoliating Body Scrub, $38

Milk and Honey: The Cleopatra Bath Experience

The legendary milk and honey bath, a staple of Cleopatra's beauty regimen, is an indulgent self-care technique that stimulates the senses and also boasts numerous skin benefits derived from the unique properties of the two main ingredients.

Milk, particularly goat milk, which is believed to have been Cleopatra's personal choice, is rich in lactic acid. Lactic acid acts as a gentle exfoliant to slough off dead, dry, and flaky skin cells and reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion from underneath. It’s also a humectant, which means it attracts moisture toward the skin's uppermost layers to keep it soft and plump and maintain its natural elasticity.

The second main ingredient, honey, is known for its natural antibacterial and healing properties, and it plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin free from inflammatory conditions and infections. Honey’s antioxidant and humectant properties encourage cellular health and moisture retention to ward off unwanted and premature signs of skin aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.

Together, these two ingredients create a potent combination that not only nourishes and revitalizes the skin but also provides a soothing, luxurious bathing experience reminiscent of ancient royalty. To benefit from their skin-rejuvenating properties, simply make a mixture of equal parts milk and honey and add it to your bathwater for a rejuvenating soak. Or, if you want something with a little extra oomph to it, try a premade mixture with lemon and vanilla!

Product to Try: Milk + Honey Lemon, Vanilla Milk Bath No.05, $32

Aromatic Additions: Essential Oils and Herbs

In addition to milk and honey, Cleopatra bathed in a special mixture of oils from plants such as rose and lavender and herbs like calendula and fenugreek to further enhance her bathing experience and promote relaxation, youth, and beauty.

These essential oils and herbs provide a calming aroma and can also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant effects on the skin. For example, rose oil is known for its skin-softening effect, while lavender, which exudes an intoxicating scent once diluted in warm water, is great for soothing irritated skin, warding off pathogens, and promoting relaxation.

To enhance your bathing experience, add fresh rose petals and lavender sprigs or mix a few drops of essential oils from these plants into your milk and honey bath mixture to evenly distribute their properties and create a spa-like atmosphere at home.

Product to Try: ULTA Beauty Rest & Repeat Essential Oil Set, $25

Creating Your Own Cleopatra Bath at Home

Now, while the bath routine in itself is pretty straightforward and consists of a minimal ingredient list, you can always take it a step further and enhance the experience by adding to it. This can be done by uplifting the atmosphere with candles, soft music, and a cup of herbal tea or a glass of wine to complete the ambiance.

On the other hand, if you’re an avid reader, you can always choose an audio version of your favorite book to accompany you during this indulgent and revitalizing experience and let your mind wander into another world while your body soaks up the nourishing properties of the healing blend.

When all is done, don't forget to slather yourself in skin-nourishing lotions and oils. Then, take inspiration from Cleopatra's love for luxurious jewelry and silk and don your most exquisite robe or loungewear while basking in the afterglow of your goddess-like bath.

Product to Try: Voluspa Candle Trio Set, $84

Closing Thoughts

Cleopatra's charm, intelligence, and political prowess may have been her claim to fame, but her indulgent yet effective beauty regimen is what continues to inspire beauty enthusiasts around the world, solidifying this elusive figure's place in history as a timeless icon of beauty and self-care.

Besides making you feel like a queen, using natural ingredients and simple practices rooted in tradition can sometimes be the best beauty routine. They also come with the bonus of providing a sense of connection to our past and its rich history.

So go ahead, indulge in a Cleopatra-like bath experience, and embrace your inner goddess with this ancient beauty ritual fit for modern-day royalty.

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