Using essential oils in a bath is simple… but don’t overlook safety.
Do you remember learning in school that oil and water don’t mix?
This is true for essential oils and water, too.
Bath water doesn’t make a good carrier…
… because essential oils won’t dilute into it.
This means your essential oils will just float on the surface of your bath… until they’re drawn to another oily substance—the lipids in your skin.
At that point, the essential oils will be touching your skin undiluted, and might lead to skin irritation (especially if your skin is also exposed to hot bath water, or you’ve used a decadent exfoliating scrub).
A safe way to use essential oils in a bath is to dilute them in a carrier.
Here are 3 ways to use essential oils in a bath while protecting your skin.
- Carrier Oil
Dilute 5 drops of essential oil in ½ oz (15 ml) of carrier oil, and add that to your bath. Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) or avocado oil (Persea gratissima) are great choices. The carrier oil will float on top of the bath water, and the essential oils will be safely diluted in it.
- Shower Gel
Use a natural, homemade shower gel (like this one!). Add 5 drops of essential oils to about 15 ml of the shower gel. The gel will disperse through the bath water, taking the essential oils with it and creating a protective layer for your skin. (Side note… using shower gel is easier to clean up than carrier oil!) In this recipe its the solubol/dispersant that protects the skin! You can also add Castile soap to this gel recipe!
- Bath Salt (Salt + Carrier)
Make your own bath salts. Add about a ½ oz (15 ml) of jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) to about 1 oz (28 g) of natural salt. I like using pink salt, but you can use any natural salt you like. Add 5 drops of essential oil to the jojoba, then stir gently into the salt with a glass stirring rod or the handle of a stainless steel spoon to distribute evenly through the salt.
Use the whole jar in your bath!
Note: Carrier oils can make the bathtub slippery. Another option is to use Castile soap to disperse the essential oils in the bath water.
If you prefer to use Castile soap, simply add the essential oils to 1 tablespoon of Castile soap. Castile soap can sometimes cause the salt to harden, so we recommend adding the salt directly to the bath water.
Learn more safe ways to use essential oils every day in our FREE online class:
Introduction to Essential Oils. You’ll discover more bath blends, as well as how to make inhalers, foam soap, massage oil, and even lip balm!
What essential oils are safe to use in a bath?
I love using essential oils that are gentle and skin-friendly. Some of my favorites are:
- Cedarwood essential oil (Juniperus virginiana)
- Frankincense essential oil (Boswellia carterii)
- Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Patchouli essential oil (Pogostemon cablin)
- Roman chamomile essential oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
How many drops should you use?
I suggest using 5 drops of essential oil per bath.
For some essential oils, using too many drops in your bath could get overwhelming and lead to a headache. Some of the heavier florals fall into this category, like Rose (Rosa × damascena), Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), and Geranium (Pelargonium × asperum).
I also suggest not to use very potent minty or spicy essential oils in a bath. For example, Peppermint (Mentha × piperita), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) all have the potential to irritate skin when combined with hot water.