Best Essential Oils For Bath

One of the key ways to build essential oils into your everyday life is by adding them to your bath, but it can be hard to understand why some are safe and others are not. In this article, we’ll look at how to choose the best essential oils for bath time luxury, and healing while staying safe, relaxed, and happy. 

Can I Put Essential Oils In My Bath? 

One of the questions we get asked more than any other is can you put essential oils in a bath? The simple answer is yes, the more accurate answer is usually. 

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what we think the best essential oils for bath treatments are, let’s look at why. A very quick chemistry lesson: 

Essential oils are made up of many different chemical compounds. One specific group, called phenols, are fabulous antibacterials and antimicrobials, but they can give the essential oil a hot quality, like in cinnamon or clove essential oil. We would not want to put this directly onto so much skin. It would most certainly cause skin irritation. Often the chemicals you see in the breakdown of the oils will end in -ol, like euganol, for example. These are powerful healers, but if there are a lot of them in the oil, we wouldn’t want them in the bath. (That’s very oversimplified. Not all phenols are irritant, not all irritants end in -ol, and not every constituent ending in -ol is an irritating phenol. Linalool, for example, would be perfectly fine in a bath. But the example works well enough). 

How Old Should The Best Essential Oils for Bath Tubs Be? 

This sounds such a daft question, doesn’t it? But actually, to avoid disasters, it is vital.

As they age, the chemistry of most essential oils changes. Citrus oils, for example, are rich in monoterpenes, which are tiny molecules that oxidize very quickly. When that happens, they can cause skin sensitization. Do not use old citrus oils in the bath. We would suggest ordering new bottles of citruses every 6 months. (Fairly reliably, most terpenes end in -ene, if you want to check out the chemistry.)

How To Use The Best Essential Oils for Bath Treatments Protocol?

We did the chemistry, now let’s do some physics. 

You will already know this, but it always serves as a good reminder. 

Oils and Water Do Not Mix

That’s obvious, but since essential oils are the oily components of a plant, what happens when you put them into the bath, is you actually put them onto the bath. What that means, of course, is that even though it might seem as though you are diluting them into 50 gallons of water, actually you are not diluting them at all. 

Importantly then, we still use oils that are very gentle, and ideally, we will still dilute them into a carrier. 

Carrier oils still float on the surface of the water, as the essential oils do, but they will spread more and be safer because now they have been diluted too. Later in the article, we’ll look at essential oils and bath salt combinations, but to be clear, essential oils don’t mix with salt either. The oils are not absorbed and so they still need a carrier of some description. In the context of being on the Vineveda website, we would say carrier oil, but actually both honey and milk make lovely carriers for the bath too (as long as you use them immediately, of course!)

How Does Putting Essential Oils In The Bath Work?

Essential Oils Enter the Body in a Variety of Ways

Through The Skin

Take a look at your arm. See all those little hairs? Every hair has its root in a follicle that is attached to a pore. Those pores are tiny doorways into the body. 

The skin is our largest organ. It has several functions, to house our internal organs and to protect them. The skin protects us from infection, and it regulates water loss. Obviously, it allows us to sweat. Which is evidence that the skin is a semipermeable organ. It lets fluid in, and it lets fluids out. 

The molecules of an essential oil are tiny enough to be able to pass through the skin, in a process called osmosis. Each pore and hair follicle is rich with tiny capillaries that move the oil through the skin and into the bloodstream so it can circulate around the body to where it needs them. 

Twenty Minutes is Key

Research shows that it takes the oils nineteen minutes to penetrate through the skin. Any less than twenty minutes wastes a great deal of the potential of the essential oils. 

Clearly too, as an organ, the skin requires care and nourishment. Essential oils also affect the condition of the skin. 

Releasing The Muscles

Whilst the essential oils of course do enter the muscles, really it's the warmth of the water that is key here. It relaxes the muscles allowing them to release and let go. 

Inhaled into The Brain to Calm The Mind

The warmth of the water causes the molecules to enter the airspace so they can be inhaled. They travel up the nose, at the top of which is a layer of tissue that has over 10,000 receptors, all of which recognize different things about the fragrances they perceive. Messages go from these receptors to a part of the brain called the limbic system that modulates feelings, emotions, and memories. 

Essential oil molecules start to affect the mind almost immediately, but particularly after around 5 minutes. 

Can You Use Essential Oils in The Shower?

Again, this is a double-edged answer. If an essential oil is safe in the bath, it will be safe in the shower too. The fragrance of the essential oils are wonderful invigorators, and the molecules will have time to activate the mind, but not to absorb through the skin, which is why essential oils are so much more beneficial for a bath. Obviously too, in the shower, they will keep getting washed off.

8 Best Essential Oils For Relaxing Bath Times

Here’s a sneaky peek at some of our favorites for relaxing and why. Clearly, this would also be your list of the best essential oils for bath bombs too. PS we have a post about how to make bath bombs if you are feeling creative!

1. Lavender Essential Oil


The original and the best, lavender is blissfully relaxing and has analgesic properties making it wonderful for aches and pains. It is a great oil to help you sleep and to relax after a stressful day. However, it does come with a warning. Those of you who have learned about how to use essential oils for dry skin will know that lavender essential oil tells the body to stop producing sebum, the oily substance that moisturizes the skin. If you use lavender essential oil too often, your skin will inevitably dry out. 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

2. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

So beautifully relaxing and calming. It is wonderful for itchy or sore skins too. 

Safety: Not suitable for use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

3. Geranium Essential Oil

Somehow, Geranium essential oil seems to have an affinity with money problems. Lie back in the water and just feel the troubles lift off your shoulders. It also has hormonal properties so makes a great choice if you are suffering from PMT or menopausal mood swings. 

Geranium is also a wonderful oil for the skin, so used in the bath it is great for very dry and flaky skins, nourishing them and bringing elasticity back to the tissues. 

Safety: Use only after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

4. Clary Sage Essential Oil

If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome or have any kind of cramps, including menstrual or stomach cramps, clary sage is one of the best essential oils for bath time. 

It does come with a warning though. Historically, clary sage flowers were added to British beers to make them more cheaply. You would get tremendously drunk very quickly, which sounds great, but you would wake up feeling like you had an axe in your head. Clary sage and wine can lead to hallucinations and the hangover the next day is never good. So, if you have had a drink to wind down at the end of an evening, perhaps give the clary sage essential oil a miss. 

Safety: Clary Sage essential oil is not safe for use during the first 37 weeks of pregnancy, and even then, only in very small amounts.

5. Patchouli Essential Oil

So calming and reassuring, patchouli is fantastic if there are relationship difficulties, in particular sexual ones. That kind of difficulty can often manifest as lower back pain too, so again patchouli can be one of the best essential oils for bath treatments then. It has this wonderful way of bringing stress down from the mind and grounding it into the physical body, so if you find yourself with floaty thoughts, inability to concentrate, snapping at people a lot, patchouli will bring your mind and body back together making you feel a whole lot more reasonable. 

Interestingly, unlike those citrus oils, we talked about earlier, patchouli essential oil is like a fine wine. It gets better and smoother with age. For this reason, it’s one of the few oils that even a person who only uses very small amounts of essential oils should buy in bulk. The longer you have that bottle of Patchouli oil, the more likely it will be to become one of your best oils for bath treatments, but also for massage, creams, and lotions or even just inhaling too. 

Safety: Safe for use after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

6. Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiver is very like Patchouli in action. Deeply rich, and aphrodisiac, it smothers you to sleep. Just be careful you don’t nod off in the bath with this one. It’s a common side effect! 

Vetiver is incredibly grounding if you feel very anxious or worried about something and tends to be a great oil to choose if you are afraid to go to sleep.

Safety: As ever, vetiver is not suitable in those delicate first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

7. Mandarin Essential Oil

This is one of the few citrus essential oils you can happily use in the bath. Most are quite irritant, however mandarin is so gentle, so upbeat, and positive, it makes a great choice if you have had the miseries for a few days. Mandarin is refreshing, so blend it with lavender and Roman Chamomile, and Boy, will you sleep! 

Safety: Use only after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

8. Valerian Essential Oil

The biggest gun of them all is if you are very stressed or cannot sleep. Its constituents work on the same receptors as benzodiazepines work on, making you feel groggy and very out of it. One thing to be aware of though, is that whoever said that aromatherapy is always about nice smelling stuff, never went near a bottle of valerian. It is one of the best essential oils for bath treatment, not least because you wouldn’t want it with you in the bedroom. There is something very unsexy about smelling as if you are wearing the socks a tramp is now sick of. The smell is not pretty but blended with geranium or mandarin essential oil, it can become passable at least!

Safety: Not advised for use during pregnancy. Do not mix with tranquilizing drugs or alcohol. 

Can You Use Essential Oils for Detox?

Not all baths need to be relaxing, of course. Sometimes you may want to make a more therapeutic bath to detoxify the system in some way. A common use would be for when you have a cold, or if you are simply looking to flush out the system.

We often get asked about essential oils for detoxification, but if we are honest, you can’t really expect the body to do a full detox with only essential oils alone. Their action is too incremental. They need to be supported by things like juicing, or acupressure, maybe colonic irrigation. 

But using essential oils to detox weekly in the bath is a great way to just clear things and give your body a bit of a boost. 

The Best Essential Oils For Detox Bath Support

9. Fennel Essential Oil

This is a great oil if you feel sluggish. Fennel essential oil is digestive, so if you are struggling with constipation or indigestion, using this essential oil in the bath can be a great tonic. It has a powerful action on the lymphatic system, so you could consider using it as part of a cellulite regime, as well as if you are feeling bloated. 

Unusually, it has an estrogenic action, so it can be great if you feel hormonal. 

Safety: Fennel essential oil has several safety considerations including for pregnancy and if you are taking blood thinners. Please check the full safety on the Vinevida Fennel Essential Oil product listing before using it, just to be on the safe side. 

10. Juniper Essential Oil

Again, detoxifying to the lymphatic system, but also to the joints. This is a great choice for a detox bath if you have been struggling with aches and pains or if you want to unwind after hard activity. 

Juniper essential oil tends to be one of the best essential oils for bath treatments to use after you have been at the gym...even more so if it’s been a while! 

Safety: Not suitable for use in pregnancy or if you have a kidney disorder.

11. Cypress Essential Oil

It’s getting a bit boring to say detoxifying again, but that’s true. Cypress has great action on sleep as well, so if you have been struggling to get any shut-eye because you feel bloated and uncomfortable, this might be a great option for you.

Strangely, it also has a detoxifying action on the subtle bodies, which sounds a bit woo-woo, but if you work in an electrical store, or on computers a lot, you might recognize how the static can feel like it clings to you, making you feel a bit fuzzy, headache-y, nauseous or disoriented. This is often easily fixed using cypress oil. 

Safety: Cypress is safe to use after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

12. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Stuffy noses, coughs, and general sluggishness. 

Safety: Not suitable for children under the age of 6. One of the main constituents 1,8 cineole can slow respiration, so would be inappropriate. Choose frankincense or niaouli essential oils as safer alternatives.

13. Pine Essential Oil

Conifer oils have a very different feeling in the bath to flowers and herbs. They open the airways and detoxify the joints. Imagine an advert that shows someone getting up in the morning after they have been staying in a log cabin for a few nights. They bathed in a hot tub and feasted under the stars. In the morning, they climb out of bed, go out onto the porch, stretch, and breathe in the fragrance of the forest. Nature and man, they are one. This is the feeling of the conifer oils. 

They will make your nose run, gee things up a bit on the digestive front, but it’s that spiritual awakening as if your aura has been detoxified of all the work niggles and irritations that are so powerful.

It’s lovely. 

Safety: Really, the guidelines for pine essential oil is that it is safe after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, but we would also say go very light on your dilutions. One drop of pine essential oil in baths is enough. 

14. Fir Needle Essential Oil

There’s not much more to say about fir essential oil in the bath, than pine, to be fair, but consider that the oil takes on the energy of the place it comes from. It carries its story, so Siberian Fir essential oil comes from a tree that knows how to tackle the cold, for example. Different conifers have the power to take your mind to a whole host of beautiful places. 

Consider too, how a fir tree knows how to manage light. It has to compete with so many other trees, yet it finds a way to rise above the rest, to get just enough to sustain it. If you are exhausted by competition at work, again, fir essential oil in the bath can be wonderful. 

The conifers are the sentries of the planet. They were the very first trees to evolve. They help us all to breathe, and they have a watchfulness about them. If you can feel the effects of being hypervigilant, in your body, clenched jaw, tight shoulders, and fists, again, fir essential oil in the bath will help. 

Safety: Again, the guidelines for fir essential oil is that it is safe after the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, but we would also say go very light on your dilutions. One drop of fir essential oil in baths is enough.

15. Tea Tree Essential Oil

A couple of drops of tea tree oil in the bath if you feel a bit under the weather is always a good plan, especially in this day and age when there are so many viruses around. Antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibiotic, tea tree is one of the best essential oils for bath detoxification of the physical body (as opposed to how the others work well for emotional and mental healing too.)

Safety: Not safe for use in the first sixteen weeks of pregnancy.

Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combination

Using essential oils in bath gifts makes a lovely treat, and one of the most gorgeous is surely in bath salts. What lovelier thing to give someone than delicious relaxation? Clearly, these combinations can also work as ideas for essential oils for bath bombs too. 

A great tip is that one of the main reasons people struggle to relax these days is we don’t get enough magnesium. Magnesium takes part in over 300 processes in the body, but mostly calming activities. Naturally, it forms in fruit and vegetables as they ripen on the plant, however, these days we pick produce before it has a chance to ripen so it does not spoil in the long supermarket supply chain. Consequently, very few of us get enough of the mineral that switches our mind off to go to sleep, reduces anxiety, lifts mood, etc. 

Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, and one of the easiest ways to supplement is to add Epsom Salts to your bathwater. That said, any kind of salt works and they all have their own properties. We love sea salt but choose ones that have been milled down small enough to dissolve quickly because there is nothing relaxing about sitting on a sharp pointy rock! 

DIY RECIPES: Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations

Remember that we still need to add our essential oils to some kind of carrier oil. If you make small amounts, you’ll end up with a claggy lump, which is fine to add to your own water, but it's not great for a gift. I suggest using a cup of your salt mix each time when you are making gifts, but of course, if this is for you to use at home, you can just as safely use less. 

For ease, none of these would be safe to use in the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

Relaxing Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations

Remember the golden rule though. Don’t use lavender essential oil in baths too often or it will dry your skin. Switch it up a bit with some of these other combinations.

Our 3 Best Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations For Relaxation


Our 3 Best Essential Oils for Bath Salt Combinations for Sleep

Dreaming Legs

This one is designed for people with restless leg syndrome. Clary Sage is one of the best essential oils for bat therapies anyway but combined with the magnesium salts it is magical. The only issue is that clary sage is not safe during the first 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Our 3 Best Essential oils for Bath salts Combinations For Hormonal Balance 


Safety: Clary sage would make this inadvisable for use in pregnancy, and not great for perimenopause. If the change is heading your way, scroll down two recipes and use the Chasteberry one instead.

Oncoming Change

Our 3 Best Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations for Detox


Safety: This would not be safe to use if you are pregnant or have a kidney condition. 


Safety: This would not be safe to use if you are pregnant or have a kidney condition. 


Our 3 Best Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations for Colds

Deep Breathing

Our 3 Best Romantic Essential Oils for Bath Salts Combinations

Exquisitely Jasmine
Exotic Fruitiness

Our Best Essential Oils for Bath Salt Combinations for Postpartum Care

Maternal Bond


One of the best essential oils for bath tips I can give you is that if it smells of lemon it’s probably going to sting! Otherwise, follow our guide carefully and you’ll find using essential oils in the bath becomes the easiest way to take care of yourself. It's a great ritual to have, and we love it. Take notice of how old your oils are and always clean the oils off your bath as soon as you get out of it. Essential oils attract dirt leaving vile scurf marks that are impossible to get off and ensure that any oiliness has gone from the bottom of the bath to keep the next unsuspecting person safe too. 


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