I first discovered the power of essential oils when I sniffed a bottle of lavender oil and my raging headache instantly disappeared.
Essential oils are extracted from plants and contain the essence of that plant’s healing powers and scent. Because of their potency, you usually only need a few drops to feel the effects. Over many centuries and across the globe, these essential oils have been used to reduce anxiety, soothe skin irritation, alleviate congestion and more.
There are as many essential oils as there are different kinds of plants. But here are 10 of the best essential oils to try in your bath bombs because of their wonderful scents and powerful healing properties.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using any essential oils. If given permission, consider trying Mother’s Oil from Neal’s Yard Remedies in your bath bombs. With a delightful blend of bergamot, ylang yang and lavender essential oils, Mother’s Oil is specifically formulated to nourish expecting and new moms.
Essential Oils for DIY Bath Bombs
Here are 10 essential oils that I love to use in my homemade bath bombs. They rock in terms of aromatherapeutic benefits:
Cedarwood essential oil comes from the bark, berries and needles of cedar (also called juniper). This essential oil is used to treat acne and dry flaky scalp. Inhaling the scent promotes a sense of grounding and encourages deep sleep.
Many people find chamomile essential oil incredibly soothing on the skin. Use with rashes or eczema or itching skin to reduce irritation. Chamomile is naturally anti-inflammatory.
This amazing oil has been used since ancient times comes from the Blue Gum, which is one of 400 species of eucalyptus. This is a popular ingredient in decongestant vapor rubs and can loosen phlegm. Early research shows that eucalyptus oil can boost the immune system.
Considered a holy oil by the ancient Egyptians, this essential oil gives off a woody scent. It is used in skincare products to soothe dry skin and research is promising that frankincense can reduce pain from arthritis.
Numerous studies show that the scent of lavender oil relieves stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, smelling the essential oil of lavender can lead to a better night’s sleep. Lavender oil can be used to treat wounds, fight fungal infections and reduce hair loss.
When I sniff my bottle of lemongrass oil, I swear I can smell the lemon and the grass, even though it really comes from a tropical plant. Lemongrass oil has a sweet scent that is energizing and clears my head right away. Research shows that it has antibacterial properties and also decreases pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
The essential oil of rose is almost miraculous. Not only does it reduce anxiety, but also it relieves pain from menstrual cramps. (To learn more about how to relieve period cramps by using essential oils in the bath, read this post.) The scent of rose can also stimulate the libido.
For a while there, tea tree oil was the trendiest oil of all time. From shampoos to makeup, you couldn’t escape it. Turns out there’s a good reason. This essential oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat all kinds of skin conditions from dry skin to acne.
This essential oil is distilled from the turmeric root, which is known as Indian Saffron. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years. Curcumin is the natural chemical compound in the turmeric root, and a 2014 study found that its oil provides a similar effect as Prozac to patients suffering with major depressive symptoms. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties.
(If you’re interested in taking a detox turmeric bath, read this post. I’ll walk you through how to take a detox bath with turmeric and explain the amazing benefits.)
This essential oil is extracted from flowers that are native to the Philippines and Indonesia. Research finds that the aroma is a natural stress reducer and can relieve symptoms of anxiety. Ylang Ylang can also reduce blood pressure and heart rate, providing a sedative effect. The oil is often used in cosmetics to treat skin and promote hair growth.
Test Essential Oils Before Adding to Bath Bombs
Mastering how to make bath bombs involves experimenting with many essential oils. This means you want to sniff each one and use each one on your skin.
Patch test essentials oils one at a time by applying 1 or 2 drops to your inner wrist. Wait to see if you display any sensitivity (like a rash or itching) before using in your homemade bath bomb recipe. Also, be sure to note how each essential oil impacts your mood. Test a second time, because sometimes the reaction won’t occur until the oil is placed on the skin repeatedly.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should probably not use any essential oils, but talk to your doctor to confirm. Also, people with chronic illness should consult a physician first.
And last but not least, please note that most essential oils are not designed for oral consumption.
Click the link for much more about how to patch test use essential oils safely in the bathtub.
How Much Essential Oil to Use in Bath Bombs
I like to use about 5 drops of essential oil for each medium-sized DIY bath bomb and up to 10 drops for a large bath bomb. If I use more than that, the bathwater can feel slick. If you do use more than 10 drops per bath bomb, be extra careful getting into and out of the tub, as the bottom of your tub could become slippery. In addition, your skin might feel irritated. However, if I use less than 5-10 drops per bath bomb, I really can’t smell the awesome aromatherapeutic scents. You’ll need to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. More on this in a second.
Where to Buy Essential Oils
You can go into a natural food store and visit the testers for their essential oils. Or, you can order an aromatherapy kit that contains many essential oils. The kit I use is Natrogix by Nirvana. I got it on Amazon and can’t believe how long it has lasted me, considering all the bath salts, bath bombs, bubble bath and sugar scrubs I make. It cost only $30 and has 18 different tester bottles. (This kit contains all of the best essential oils mentioned above except for rose essential oil.)
Use Carrier Oils with Essential Oils
Carrier oils are plant-based oils that contain a mild scent. Carrier oils dilute potent essential oils and disperse them through bathwater. A cold-pressed carrier oil is made with a modern steel press without heat. As the steel press extracts the oil from fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds, the oil retains the nutritional value and aroma of the source.
Benefits of 5 Carrier Oils
Now we’re going to look at carrier oils and examine the similarities and differences between them. Many carrier oils have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences:
“Skin, the largest organ of the body, functions as the necessary interface between the internal and the external environment. Thus, it continuously protects the body from noxious stimuli, e.g., microorganisms, ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, allergens, and irritants.”
When you use a homemade bath bomb in your tub, you expose your whole body to healing carrier oils and essential oils that can do much more for you beyond softening your skin. Let’s take a look at the properties of some popular carrier oils that you can use in your bath bombs:
Sweet Almond Oil
I drink almond milk and eat almond butter. I know that almonds are great for you. But what about almond oil? Once I looked into this, I found that almond oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties. It might help eliminate scars and improve skin tone. And great news! (At least for me.) Almond oil may even reduce sun damage to skin.
Avacado oil contains essential fatty acids that help your skin absorb other nutrients. A study with rats finds that avocado oil accelerates the healing of wounds, by increasing collagen and decreasing inflammation. Use avocado oil to soothe redness from acne and treat eczema and psoriasis. Adding avocado oil to your bath bombs can prevent dry skin that otherwise might result from soaking in hot bathwater.
The lauric acid in coconut oil has antimicrobial properties. This can reduce skin inflammation and fight off the bacteria that cause inflammatory acne. However, if you’re making a bath bomb for someone with oily skin, you may want to choose another carrier oil because coconut oil can cause breakouts.
Grape Seed Oil
This oil is being studied for its antioxidant properties and the possibility of reducing wrinkles. Grape seed oil contains Vitamin E, which helps your skin cells hold onto moisture.
Extracted from the nut of a desert plant found in North America, jojoba oil is a popular ingredient in bath bombs. It’s no wonder! Jojoba oil provides a wealth of skin benefits. Not only does it improve the skin’s elasticity, but also it stimulates your body to create more collagen. All of this combines to give jojoba oil anti-aging properties. If that’s not enough, jojoba oil is a humectant. This means it seals the moisture into your skin without making it look greasy.
Why Use Butters in Bath Bombs
You can also melt down shea butter or cocoa butter to use in your bath bombs. While these will still hydrate the bather’s skin, other health properties associated with these butters might be destroyed in the heating process. One other advantage of a butter, though, is that it will help to harden your bath bomb as it dries.
How to Mix Essential Oils with Carrier Oils
It’s important not to use too much carrier oil, so that you’ll still smell the essential oils in your bath bombs, but the bottom of your tub won’t get greasy and too slippery. However, if you use too little carrier oil, the essential oils won’t disperse evenly throughout your bathwater. Here’s the general rule for adding carrier oils to essential oils for homemade bath bombs:
For adults, make a 3% dilution, using 20 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil.
For children, make a .5%-1% dilution, using 3-6 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil
How Long DIY Bath Bombs Last
In general, DIY bath bombs with essential oils will last the shelf life of the essential oil which should be a minimum of a year. After that there’s a risk that the essential oil in the bath bomb could cause skin irritation. You can find out much more about when bath bombs expire in this post.
DIY Bath Bomb Recipes with Best Essential Oils
Here are some of DIY bath bomb recipes I created that use my favorite essential oils and carrier oils from the list above. These bath bombs are named for the four seasons and are designed to give you what you most need during that time:
This DIY bath bomb recreates the magic of a glittery snowfall right in your own tub. It contains shea butter to nourish dry skin, and the essential oils of peppermint and eucalyptus, which have decongesting properties.
Flowers in bloom decorate this gorgeous bath bomb! I used red globe amaranth and strawflower but you can use whatever makes you ready for a new season of rebirth. The carrier oil in this recipe is, again, sweet almond oil, while the essential oil of rose ushers in a feeling of romance and renewal.
This bath bomb turns your tub into a bubbly ocean on a sunny summer day. It even drops a small sea creature onto your “ocean” floor. The sweet almond oil gives off the light, sweet summer scent. Plus, this carrier oil will reduce sun damage if you stay on the beach too long! This DIY bath bomb also uses Ylang-Ylang essential oil, which is a stress reliever and will contribute to your fun in the sea.
As summer ends and a new school year begins, it’s often hard to adjust to a new schedule. But the Fall Asleep bath bomb helps me get my zzzs, so that I can awaken feeling rested. I just drop one in a very warm tub. Then I soak for 20 minutes before reading in bed. The carrier oil in this bath bomb recipe is avocado oil which soothes my skin. The lavender essential oil is utterly relaxing.
Essential Oils for Bath Bombs
Ultimately, the best essential oils for your bath bombs are the ones that you love smelling the most while benefiting from their specific healing properties. Also, look for essential oils labeled “pure” to help to ensure that you get the real deal and not imitation oils.