The Best Essential Oils for Your Bath

A comforting bath detoxifies, relaxes muscles, restores the body and pampers the skin as you soak. And with a few drops of the right essential oils, an otherwise average bath becomes a spa treatment tailored to the needs of your body and mind. To find out what oils are best for the bath, I asked essential oil expert Robin Block of Wyndmere Naturals to talk about the essential oils that are best for bath time. Pick your favorites and follow the instructions below for a rewarding beauty ritual after a long day.

  • Rose “If I had to pick only one oil, I’d probably choose rose oil,” says Block. “It’s calming but gently uplifting and it helps with anxiety or nervous tension.” Rose oil supports all skin types, so even those with dry, sensitive skin will benefit from its restorative effects.
  • Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Rosewood “Any oils that come from tree bark are incredibly soothing and grounding,” says Block. “Many people like to use these individually, rather than blend them together.” Sandalwood in particular is prized for its fragrance, as well as its calming properties.
  • Neroli Another one of Block’s favorite oils for the bath, neroli, which is extracted from orange blossom flowers, calms the mind and uplifts the spirit. “We’re often starved for uplifting scents in the winter,” she says. Neroli is a gentle sedative that encourages sleep and reduces anxiety. Think of this oil as the antidote to a stressful day at the office.
  • Vetiver “In India, vetiver is called the oil of tranquility,” says Block. Vetiver, distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant, is also a humectant oil that brings moisture to skin dried by cold air and indoor heat.
  • Lavender Known as the quintessential oil for calm, lavender is a favorite for nighttime baths and the treatment of insomnia. Lavender also supports damaged, stressed or irritated skin– so settle in for a good soak.
  • Roman or German Chamomile Chamomile is known for its gentle, calming properties, making it an excellent essential oil to add to a tension-reducing bath before bed.  Add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a chamomile tea bag and let it soak in your bath for extra benefits, suggests Block.
  • Ylang Ylang or Jasmine Not quite ready to hit the hay? Ylang ylang and jasmine essential oils are stimulants and aphrodisiacs that uplift your mood while soothing your body. A bath scented with these exotic oils, which blend especially well together, is also beneficial to dry skin.

After filling your bath, wait a few minutes for the water to reach a warm temperature; never get into a bath that’s steaming or scalding. “As much as we love hot baths, they strip the natural oils from skin,” says Block. Sprinkle a few drops of your chosen essential oil (or essential oil blend, since most oils mix well with others) into a cup of whole milk or a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add this diluted mixture to your bath water and stir to blend. Add essential oils directly to hot water and they will evaporate quickly, along with their therapeutic benefits. Or, as an antidote to sore muscles, mix a few drops of essential oils into two cups of Epsom salts and dissolve into your bath.

When choosing essential oils for your winter bath, look for an indication that the oils are 100% pure and therapeutic grade. Brands like Wyndmere Naturals, Young Living, doTERRA and Aura Cacia are known for the purity of their oils.

Want the benefits of essential oils without mixing your own? Try these natural and organic bath products to scent your soak:

This Works Bath and Shower Oil Try Deep Calm, a blend of vetiver, lavender and chamomile certain to relax, or Energy Bank, an awakening combination of ylang ylang, patchouli and geranium.

Dr. Hauschka Aromatherapy Bath Kit A collection of trial sizes of Dr. Hauschka’s rosemary, spruce, sage, lemon and lavender bath oils. Sample them all to find your favorite.

Joyful Bath Co. Refreshing Bath Salts I love the pretty array of bath salt/essential oil blends from Joyful Bath Co.  Try the Mellow Yellow salts, with eucalyptus, thyme, wintergreen and rosemary essential oils, for an invigorating and circulation-boosting bath.

Skinny Skinny Organic Bath Salts Choose from arnica & rosemary, lavender, grapefruit & ylang ylang, jasmine & green tea or lavender & eucalyptus scented salt blends to suit your mood.