Essential oils in bath

(Pampering Guide!) Using Essential Oils in a Bath with Easy SPA Recipes

Taking a bath is often a moment of peace and relaxation. For some people, it may be the only moment they have. If you add a few essential oils to your bath, they can enhance your experience. There are lots of benefits to both Aromatherapy and hydrotherapy. Keep reading to know more about them.

In this post, you’ll be reading about:

  • A short intro and description about the way essential oils can help your mood, health, and skin.
  • A list with some of the best aromatic oils to use in your bath water. I’ll tell you which oils to use for different kinds of needs.
  • How to use these essences in a bath. It’s one of the most important things to know because when they’re used wrong, they can be harmful.
  • Steps to prepare an unforgettable bath for your total relaxation.
  • A few simple tips to enhance your bath experience.
  • Aromatherapy recipes to try when you feel down, you have a cold, you are stressed, etc.
  • An F.A.Q. section with all the answers related to the subject. While it may seem simple to prepare a SPA bath at home, it isn’t. There are lots of people who ask pertinent questions about using their oils in a bathtub. I will answer some of the most common ones in the last part of the post.
  • Last but not least, some safety tips so you can always enjoy a therapeutic bath right at home.


Best Essential Oils in a Bath – How to Use Them, Steps for an Aromatic Bath, Tips & Recipes


Baths have a long history and tradition in all cultures. In the old days, there were two types of bath. The Russian one, which focused on steam (banya), and the Turkish baths, which focused on water (hamam).


The latter had many variations, which became very popular, first in the British Empire and then in Western Europe.


Some of the more common water-based therapies today are hydrotherapy and balneotherapy. The latter uses only mineral springs.


In Germany, there’s a type of medicine called anthroposophic medicine. This is a therapeutic system that uses water to optimize health and well-being.


One of the methods is called the “oil-dispersion bath”. With this, I assume you can already see the connection to our topic.


But, can you put essential oils in your bath water, you say? Yes, you can.


Using essential oils in bath combines two different therapies: water-based and aroma-based. Aroma-based ingredients are intensely studied today.


They are plant extracts that one day may give us new medicines. Aromatic oils are concentrated liquids with therapeutic effects on the mind and body.


They can help you relax and unwind, breathe and sleep better, or they can help you get the skin you want. I will tell you a lot more about their benefits in the F.A.Q. section.


Essential Oils in Bath


Best Essential Oils in Bath (What to Use)

What you choose to use in your SPA bath depends on mood, needs, and preferences.


One day, you may simply look for something to relax. Another day, you might need something to help you breathe easier and lower the fever.


These situations can be endless, but luckily, we have over a hundred essential oils to choose from. It’s true that some of them are not for bath use. I will tell you more about them in the safety section.


According to the criteria of the German Anthroposophy (GA), in a bath, you can use the following oils: 


  • Essential oils extracted from plant roots, to strengthen the nervous system.
  • Essential oils extracted from fruit seeds, to support the heart.
  • Essential oils extracted from flowers (petals, blossoms, etc.), to stimulate the metabolic system.
  • Carrier oils extracted from fruits (kernels, pulp, etc.), to improve circulation.


Of course, we also have essential oils extracted from resin, bark, and leaves or twigs.


The GA system is just a form of a holistic therapy. This means that it doesn’t have the approval of too many doctors or researchers. However, the above-mentioned could serve as a guide in choosing your essential oils for a bath.


Here are some more of the best essential oils to use in a SPA bath:


  • Relaxation – Sweet Orange, Chamomile, Lavender, Ylang, Ylang, Melissa, Neroli, Sweet Marjoram
  • Sleep – Valerian, Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Bergamot, Sweet Marjoram, Sandalwood, Vetiver
  • Soothing – Petitgrain, Neroli, Lavender, Sandalwood, Rose, Douglas Fir, Cedarwood, Rosewood
  • Allergy relief – Lavender, Chamomile, Basil, Juniper, Cinnamon, Pine, Cypress, Thyme (ct. linalool), Sweet Marjoram, Rose
  • Stimulant and revitalizing – Pine, Juniper, Fir, Cedarwood, Ravintsara, Frankincense, Jasmine
  • Muscle pain – Rosemary (ct. camphor), Eucalyptus, Juniper berry
  • Slimming and anti-cellulite – Grapefruit, Juniper berry, Rose Geranium, Cypress
  • Menstrual pain and menopause – Clary Sage, Sage, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Chamomile
  • Detoxifying – Palmarosa, Carrot, Lemon, Grapefruit, Rosemary ct. Verbenone, Celery, Lemon Myrtle, Lemongrass
  • Clarity and focus – Rosemary, Basil, Lemon, Orange, Green Mandarin, Eucalyptus, Vetiver, Cedarwood
  • Aphrodisiac – Rose, Neroli, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Jasmine


Now you know what essential oils are good for a detox bath. You also know what will help you sleep better tonight or relax and unwind tomorrow, after work.


Using these essential oils in a bath, you’ll feel a lot better when you get out. However, it’s important not to use large quantities of these essences.


Also, it’s important to know that not all essential oils can be used in a bath. The ones that can’t be used this way have a strong potential of irritating and burning the skin.


Others, used on large skin areas, can drop the body temperature and cause hypothermia. Such is the case of Peppermint and other oils rich in menthol.


What Essential Oils Not to Use in a Bath?


  • Clove bud
  • Cinnamon (Cassia & bark)
  • Oregano
  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Carrot
  • Mountain Savory
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme (all chemotypes except linalool)
  • Wintergreen
  • Birch
  • Ginger
  • Black Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Bay
  • Etc.


Other essential oils can be too rich and overwhelm your sense of smell. That could cause nausea, headaches or vomiting.


Some of those oils are Rose, Jasmine, Rose Geranium, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang, etc. You should use only a drop or two for each bath.


As you can see, you can put Lavender and some Eucalyptus oil types in your bath water. But you can’t actually use Peppermint oil in the bath.


For the many doTERRA fans out there! In case you were wondering what Doterra oil is good for baths, it can be any of the above-mentioned oils. doTERRA doesn’t make special essential oils for a bath.


How to Use Essential Oils in Bath

A bathtub filled with water and some essential oils. That’s all you need (mostly) to enjoy a relaxing or therapeutic bath. It may sound simple at first, but in fact, there are things you can’t do, that you probably don’t even suspect.


Even though they’re not true oils, essential oil compounds are heavier than the water molecules. Thus, essential oils float above it, which also means that they don’t mix either.


How do you add essential oils to the bath water? Is it before the tub fills or after? How much and often can you use them? Let’s take them one by one.


  • Essential oils must be mixed with a substance that disperses in the water but doesn’t melt and dissolve in it.


Essential Oils in Bath (Aloe Vera jelly for dispersion)


For that, you can use:

  • Aloe Vera jelly (my favorite).
  • Shampoo.
  • Shower gel.
  • Liquid soap.
  • Bubble bath.
  • INCI Tapioca starch (1 – 50% concentration).


You can also use:

  • Solubol (1:1 and up to 1:8 ratio) 
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Polysorbate 80


For large amounts of essential oils used or used too often, you must not use:

  • Cornstarch.
  • Clay.
  • Baking soda.
  • Salts (of any kind).
  • Milk (of any kind).
  • Glycerin.
  • Witch hazel.


These are all substances that dissolve completely and disperse in the water. This means that the oil molecules will remain loose, gather at the surface and float.


When you get into the water, they’ll be drawn to your skin and hang on to it (undiluted). Your skin has natural oils (sebum) that attract other lipids like essential oils.


Undiluted oils can sensitize, irritate or burn the skin. This is why you need to mix these essences with a carrier first.


In my personal experience, I’ve also used salt and milk. But, I’ve added only 5 – 6 drops of an aromatic oil that I knew I had no problems with.


I can see why, though, someone may get serious skin reactions if they added more. More oils can make your bath even more aromatic and the effects can be stronger. However, for this, you’ll need to stay a little while in the bathtub.


  • It’s best to add your oil blend to the bath water after the tub fills.


The temperature of the water should be around 37 C (98.6 F). This is enough to create steam, to help the oil molecules rise so you can inhale them.


If you add the oils earlier, you risk losing much of their properties and concentration because they evaporate fast.


  • How much and how often can you use essential oils in a bath?


You can use essential oils in a bath 2 – 3 times a week. A safe dosage would be somewhere between 5 – 20 drops of essential oils per ½ ounce (15 ml) of emulsifier base.  


Essential Oils in Bath (Steps to Prepare Your Bath)


Steps to Prepare Your Aromatherapy Bath

We’re finally getting practical here. I know you’re dying to start running that water and prepare your own SPA recipe.


Before we get to that part, here are the steps necessary to prepare an amazing bath at home.


Step 1

  • Decide what you’re in the mood for and then choose your essential oil. Use the list I gave you with essential oils to use in a bath. Listen to what your body needs and help it get it.
  • You can mix more than one essential oil but not more than 4. Too many oils can overwhelm your senses and your immune system.


Step 2

  • Now we know you can’t add your oils to the water as they are (pure & undiluted). You’ll need to mix them with a bit of carrier oil first. This mixture won’t mix with the water either, because they’re all oils. The carrier helps to dilute the potency of the essential oils and prevent possible skin problems.
  • Since your oils won’t mix with the water, you’ll need to use an emulsifier or another dispersant. It can be something store-bought like Polysorbate 20, or something more natural. You can go for the Aloe jelly or Tapioca starch. Of course, there is always the simplest choice of using shampoo or bubble bath, etc.


Step 3

  • Start running the water at body temperature. Once the tub is filled, add the oil mixture in and stir it with something other than your hand.
  • You can sit there 10 – 40 minutes and enjoy your moment of relaxation.


Step 4

  • Light up some candles for the atmosphere.
  • Place a few squares of dark chocolate close by, a glass of wine, water, etc.


Step 5

  • Once you’re done, wrap yourself in dry and warm clothes. Tuck yourself in warm blankets for at least half an hour. The bath warmth will saturate your body and strengthen the immune system. That can also help to kill viruses faster.


Tips for an Enhanced Bath Experience

There are many things you can do to enhance your bath experience. Basically, you can add whatever you like, as long as it can disperse the oils too.


You can also read, listen to music, eat some chocolate, check your social media, etc. Anything that relaxes you.


Here’s a quick reminder of all the things you can do to have a great bath time:


  • Check to see if your towels are all clean. The fluffier the towel, the better the feeling afterward.
  • Make sure you’ve got all the tools close by gels, shampoo, razors, etc.
  • Prepare some relaxing music.
  • Burn some Aromatherapy candles. The best ones are made of soy wax or beeswax, and their fragrance comes from essential oils. If the oil is “fragrance”, then it’s synthetic, thus it doesn’t have any therapeutic effects.
  • If you plan on soaking in for a longer time (30 – 40 mins), set a tall glass of fresh water aside. Add some cucumber or lemon slices for a better taste and refreshment.
  • Use flower petals, citrus rinds, cones, etc. for decor and scent as well. You can find them ready made as potpourri, or you can make them yourself. You only need a nice little sachet or herb bag filled with your favorites. Dip the sachet into the bath water. Of course, the petals and herbs can be sprinkled on top of the water too.
  • You can pour a few drops of essential oils for a bath on the petals too. Just keep in mind the possibility of skin irritation.
  • For a tonic and stimulant effect, you should take your aromatic bath in the morning. For problems like stress or insomnia, you can take your SPA bath with at least 20 minutes before dinner. Your last meal should be taken 2 – 3 hours before going to bed.


Essential Oils in Bath


Simple SPA Essential Oil Bath Recipes

Now, for the most fun part: blending and mixing essential oils in a bath! I’ve prepared all sorts of Aromatherapy recipes for you to try in your next bath.


Remember not to mix more than 4 or 5 essential oils per blend. You could overwhelm the immune system and your senses.


(Recipe) Essential Oils in a Bath for Sore Muscles

You’ll need:

  • Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
  • Juniper essential oil: 4 drops
  • Rosemary (ct camphor) essential oil: 4 drops
  • Sweet Almond oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Aloe vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Mix all the ingredients together and give them a good stir before use. You can add all the mixture into your bathwater, or you can add half of the amount.


This will last you for two uses if you keep it refrigerated. Depending on the cause of your muscle pain, you can use the blend 2 – 4 times a week.


(Recipe) Essential Oils in a Bath for Sun Burnt Skin

You’ll need:

  • Lavender essential oil: 10 drops
  • Rose essential oil: 3 drops
  • Non-smelling carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Follow the same steps as above. Stir the mixture into the water with a loofah or something else other than your hand. Step in and massage your skin gently with the water/oils. This recipe can help with mild burns like those caused by sun overexposure.


(Recipe) Essential Oils in a Bath for Colds & the Flu

You’ll need:

  • Eucalyptus radiata essential oil: 5 drops
  • Cedarwood essential oil: 3 drops
  • Lemon essential oil: 5 drops
  • Carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Massage your joints and chest gently with the water that’s filled with oil molecules. Breathe deeply for as long as you can and relax in the hot water. It’s important to stay warm after the bath so the heat can help your body fight the virus.


Eucalyptus Essential Oil Bath Recipe

You’ll need:

  • Eucalyptus radiata or globulus oil: 3 drops
  • Douglas Fir essential oil: 7 drops
  • Orange essential oil: 5 drops
  • Carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Use half of this essential oil bath recipe, especially in the winter. The smell is refreshing and uplifting, and it can improve your breathing.


Essential Oils in Bath


Aphrodisiac SPA Essential Oils Bath Recipe

You’ll need:

  • Ylang Ylang essential oil: 3 drops
  • Jasmine essential oil: 1 drop
  • Lime essential oil: 6 drops
  • Carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Essential Oil SPA Bath Recipe to Improve Circulation

You’ll need:

  • Helichrysum essential oil: 3 drops
  • Cistus essential oil: 3 drops
  • Patchouli essential oil: 4 drops
  • Carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Massage your legs with the bathwater/oil mixture and keep them raised while you’re soaking in. You can continue with a topically applied blend.


Calming & Relaxing SPA Bath Recipe

You’ll need:

  • Petitgrain essential oil: 5 drops
  • Roman Chamomile essential oil: 3 drops
  • Sweet Orange essential oil: 5 drops
  • Carrier oil: 1 tbsp.
  • Aloe Vera jelly: 1 Oz (30ml)


Inhale deeply and relax your mind and body while in the bathtub. You can then go to bed or simply stay wrapped up in warm clothes/blankets to take in all the benefits of the therapy.


Safety note! Use all your Aloe Vera jelly blends fresh. You can store it for a week in the refrigerator but more can cause it to spoil and contaminate the contents.


Adding Essential Oils to a Bath (F.A.Q.), plus Safety Tips


There are a few questions left unanswered so far, so I thought of compiling them into this section of F.A.Q.


Feel free to ask me anything you think it could add to this article or you’re simply curious about.


1) What are the general benefits of a bath?


I was telling you about hydrotherapy. It’s a kind of therapy with water that makes us feel better, physically and mentally.


Cold baths are very stimulating for the body, but hot baths are even more beneficial. Hot doesn’t mean temperatures your body can’t stand.


37C (98.6 F) is the body’s normal temperature, which means the water is very good at this temperature too.


Lower temperatures like 35 C (95 F) can help tumors to thrive for example. Half a degree lower and your immune system becomes weaker. The water temperature can be higher than the body temperature too (40 C/104).


In other words, hot baths can help your body maintain its optimal shape.


When you sit in warm water and inhale essential oils, your body de-tenses and relaxes. With this state comes a lower level of cortisol and a high enough body temperature.


Sweating is another way of detoxifying your body and pores. Heated water or the steam can make you sweat profusely. This is why you need to have a glass of water close by. In a steaming bath, you dehydrate very fast.


You can take an essential oil bath to:

  • Feel energized and refreshed.
  • Remove stress.
  • Soothe anxiety.
  • Improve sleep.
  • Strengthen the immune system.
  • Improve the aspect of your skin.
  • Etc.


Essential Oils in Bath


2) What are the benefits of using essential oils in a bath?

The benefits of using essential oils in a bath are many and diverse. They can enter your body in two ways: the nose and the skin.


Inhalation ensures you get about 50 – 70% of oil compounds in your body and the skin can absorb about 20% of the oil molecules.


The oil can enter the bloodstream and get to the liver and kidneys. Until then, the oil molecules will first pass through the pores.


When you inhale essential oils in a bath, they will affect your nervous system and brain too. That’s how they can change your mood, relieve pain, etc.


Essential oils can help improve, soothe or treat:

  • Respiratory problems.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Mild fever.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Joint pain.
  • Sunburns.
  • Wounds.
  • Blisters.
  • Itching.
  • Etc.


3) What happens when you add essential oils to a hot bath?

The moment you add an essential oil to hot bathwater, the steam will disperse the oil molecules into the air.


The steam acts like a diffuser. That’s when you inhale the oils and start feeling their effects.


The effects may be felt in a matter of seconds or minutes. The oil molecules reach your brain the moment you recognize you’re smelling something.


Essential Oils in Bath (Pampering Guide)


4) When is an aromatic bath needed?

Finding the right time for a SPA bath at home can be tricky, but not difficult.


Their therapeutic effects are always welcomed and your body and mind are almost always in need of something.


Basically, you can use essential oils in a bath whenever you feel like it. Here are a few ideas on what to use them for:


  • Trouble breathing and respiratory infections.
  • Nervous problems.
  • Fatigue and stress.
  • Pain.
  • Heavy legs syndrome.
  • Cellulite.
  • Dry skin.
  • Itching and blisters.
  • Etc.


5) Can essential oils, through a bath, promote skin detoxification?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Essential oils can indeed promote skin detoxification, but so can hot water.


Together, they make a great combination and a sure way to have a clearer and glowing skin.


Detoxification is done through many mechanisms of action:


All these benefits are promoted by the active oil molecules and the hot steam.


Safety Tips for Using Essential Oils in a Bath

Now, they may be natural, but many essential oils can actually cause more harm. If you want to use them safely and avoid complications, take a look at the following tips:


  • First, always make sure you’re not allergic to an essence. Test it on a small skin patch with a few hours – a day before using the oil in a bath.
  • Hot baths are not recommended to people with heart and circulation problems. The heat dilates the blood vessels very much.
  • Because of the high body temperature, some people may not sleep well after a hot bath.
  • Leave the citrus essential oils for the evening baths. Most of them are phototoxic, which means you can’t go out in the sun with them on the skin. They will attract more UV rays and burn the skin.
  • Avoid getting the oil mixture into your eyes, mouth, nose, etc.
  • Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with diabetes and other serious illnesses should also seek medical advice first.
  • The tub may be slippery after using carrier oils. Baking soda can rinse that grease off very fast.
  • Use only high-quality essential oils in a bath and add them only at the end, when the tub is full.



Pampering is always nice. I’d even go as far as saying it’s quite important in the life of a modern woman.


The sense of beauty, health, and wellbeing it gives you can charge your batteries for a whole week. So, even if you use essential oils in a bath once a week, you’ll still reap a lot of benefits.


Do you have a favorite pampering program or ritual? What do you normally do while taking an aromatic SPA bath?


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