How to make Bath Salts with Essential Oils


First of all, it’s really important to know that essential oils are hydrophobic, meaning they don’t mix with water. Because essential oils are extremely concentrated, they should never be used undiluted on the skin, even if you just want to add a few drops of essential oil to the bath, they need to be diluted first (check out How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath for full details).

The same principle goes for making bath salts, the essential oils must be diluted first. Adding them to salt is not enough because when you add the mix to the bath water, the salt ‘melts’, leaving undiluted essential oils floating on top of the bath water and in direct contact with your skin. So, first add the essential oils to a fatty base oil such as olive or almond oil, this can then be mixed in with the bath salts – when added to the bath the salt will melt and you will be left with essential oils dispersed in the base oil, which will give the added benefit of nourishing your skin*.

Bath Salt Recipe (the basic components that you can tweak to your taste):

  • Salt – 200 grams,
  • Base/Carrier Oil – 10 grams (or ml if simpler to measure) of any nut/seed/fruit oil e.g. almond/sunflower/olive oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops (choose 1 or several essential oils to use but ensure the ‘total’ number of drops is 5).
    • pour the base oil into a jug, then add the drops of essential oil and stir,
    • pour the salt into a large bowl, add the blend of base and essential oil and mix thoroughly,
    • add a hand full of the salt mix to the bath, do so once the water is run and you are ready to step in (if you add it while the water is still running, the essential oils in the mix will evaporate with the steam).

Muscle Relaxing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Epsom Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – arnica (macerated in olive oil),
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – lavender, black pepper &/or chamomile.

Skin Soothing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Dead Sea Salt** – 200 grams,
  • Base Oil – 10 grams – calendula (macerated in olive oil), apricot &/or. camellia,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – chamomile, lavender &/or neroli (orange blossom).

Refreshing Bath Salt Recipe:

  • Salt (your choice, see below**) – 200 grams,
  • Oil – 10 grams – your choice eg. olive, almond, apricot oil,
  • Essential Oil – 5 drops – rosemary, mandarin &/or coriander seed.

Tip: If you want to add flowers & petals to your bath salts, (e.g. rose, lavender, chamomile) sprinkle a few spoonfuls into the mix, enough for your desired visual effect. Note, that it can make the bath more difficult to clean afterwards, so wrapping all the salts/flowers/oils into a muslin cloth and tying them up with string will mean you don’t need to collect all the petals after your bath.

* Caution, due to the base oil the bath can be slippery so be careful not to slip!

** Epsom Salt is more suitable for muscle aches & pains. Dead Sea Salt is more suitable for soothing the skin – I usually use a mix of both in my blends to get the benefits of both.

How to Make a Bath and Massage Oil Blend

I have come up with a few favourite bath and massage oil blends over the years and I like to make a bottle up so it is ready to use when I’m in the mood.

You can make your own blend up with the following instructions or use the recipes I have shared below:

100ml Bath & Massage Oil Blend Recipe

  • 100ml of your choice of vegetable oil (eg. almond, apricot, or simply olive oil from your kitchen!)
  • 40 drops or 2ml of your choice of essential oil/s
  • ~these can be one or a combination of oils, but keep the totals to 100ml for the vegetable oil and  2ml (40 drops) for the essential oil.

 

Directions: If the vegetable oil you have is in  a 100ml bottle, then you can simply add the essential oil(s) to this and give it a shake to disperse evenly.  You may need to pour a tiny amount of the vegetable oil out first to allow room for the essential oils.  If you have a larger container of vegetable oil you can either adjust the amount of essential oil you add (eg. double if you have a 200ml container), or measure out the 100ml in a kitchen measuring jug, add the essential oils and stir, and then pour into a 100ml bottle or container.  Ensure the container you use is completely dry, as if the oil blend mixes with any water it will go off.  You can usually buy empty bottles at chemists, department stores, or Muji in London, or you could try antique shops for some elegant glass containers.

Use: Add 1-2 tea-spoons in the bath (add just before you step in for maximum benefits).  See ‘Essential Oils in the Bath’ blog post for more on using your bath blend.

Turkish Delight Bath and Massage oil Blend ~ Nurturing, relaxing and refreshing.

  • 100ml Argan oil
  • Rose essential oil, 10 drops
  • Black Pepper essential oil, 10 drops
  • Cardamom essential oil, 10 drops
  • Sandalwood essential oil, 10

Vanilla Orange Bath and Massage oil Blend ~Soothes and eases tension, and great for the skin.

  • 100ml Almond oil
  • Benzoin oil, 20 drops (this is usually quite a thick oil so you will need to shake well for it to mix evenly)
  • Orange essential oil, 10 drops
  • Neroli 10 drops

Each recipe above gives you a blend strength of 2%, which is appropriate for most skin types.  I would recommend dropping this blend strength to 1% (20 drops/100ml) for children, elderly and those with  sensitive skin.

These blends should last for 12 to 18 months, but keep them in a cool dark place to ensure they stay fresh because the oils are sensitive to heat and light (so a bathroom cupboard would be suitable, but not a sunny windowsill or shelf above a radiator).

They can also be used as a massage oil directly on the skin, or for moisturising  after taking a shower, you should notice it makes it easier to apply the oil to slightly damp skin and you also seem to use less of it.

As I cover more of the properties and effects of different essential oils, you will develop more of an idea on how to mix a blend up for specific purposes, in the mean time, please feel free to ask any questions or advise on making your own blends.

How to Use Essential Oils in the Bath

Using essential oils in the bath can be a deeply relaxing and nurturing experience.  One important point to be aware of is that the oils must be diluted before you add them, this is because they are very potent and can irritate the skin in their undiluted form.  I have heard many stories from clients who have sprinkled drops of essential oil straight into the bath and experienced anything from tingling sensations to nasty skin reactions and even left unable to use that particular oil again due to developing sensitivity.  Even though you may be adding the drops of essential oil to an entire bath full of water, the drops do not actually mix with water (because they are hydrophobic), and will stay in droplets on the surface of the water, clinging to your skin as you enter, which is just like putting undiluted essential oil onto your skin.

To dilute the oil you must mix it with a carrier oil (a fatty oil pressed from a nut, kernel, seed or fruit eg. almond, apricot, sunflower or olive). A tea spoon of olive oil would work just fine (Click here for more carrier oil options).  To make it easier to prepare I often pour a tea spoon of olive oil into an egg cup add and then add the essential oils to this.  I would suggest adding between 3 and 6 drops of essential oil depending on the oils you use and how strong you want the scent/blend.  To start with, you could use 4 drops of lavender.  You can use more than one essential oil, but keep the total number of drops used between 3 and 6.  So you may like to mix 2 drops of Orange with your 2 drops of Lavender and perhaps a drop of Black Pepper (so 5 in total).  This would make a relaxing, warming bath blend, great for aches and pains at the end of the day. Give the mixture a little stir so the essential oils are evenly blended in the olive oil.

Now that your blend is ready – WAIT! – wait until the bath is run, the temperature is appropriate for you and everything else is prepared, e.g. towels warmed, candles lit etc. (how ever you like to set the scene).  Just before you’re ready to step in, pour the oil blend into the bath and give it a little swoosh to help it disperse, then lay back and enjoy.  Adding them at this moment ensures you enjoy all the wonderful benefits of the oil especially the scent.  If you were to add them as you start running the water (as I would with bath bubbles) the heat and steam created would evaporate a lot of the essential oils and by the time you lay in the water there would be little left to appreciate.  After bathing notice how nourished your skin feels, just a tea spoon of oil manages to envelope your whole body leaving it soft and smooth.

Simple Bath Blend Recipe:

  • 1 tea-spoon Olive Oil,
  • 3-6 drops of Essential Oil, eg. 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Orange, 1 drop Black pepper.
  • Mix together and pour into the bath just before entering.

CAUTION: Be careful not to slip as you step out of the bath, as the olive oil can make it a little slippery.

For more tips on how to make a bath & massage oil blend click here.

To buy essential oils for your bath click here.