There’s nothing like sinking into a fragrant tub or stepping into a shower scented with all your favorite things to make you feel pampered. But sometimes it’s tricky to find just that right fragrance for your mood or the moment, or maybe you have sensitive skin and can’t use a lot of commercially available bath bombs, bath salts, sugar/salt scrubs or bubble baths. That’s when DIY bath products come to the rescue! You have complete control over the ingredients, the fragrances, colors and amounts you make.
Besides that level of control, DIY bath products have another fantastic benefit: they cost pennies on the dollar compared to a lot of the retail versions. Commonly available bath bombs range from $3 to $11 each! You can make your own for a fraction of that cost, even with the cost of reusable molds. Read on for instructions to make your own versions of several products to make bath time blissful.
Essential oils are key to making your own products. So what scents do you want to use? DoTerra, Young Living and other companies sell all kinds of high-quality essential oils. Make sure that whatever oil you use is safe for topical use. Many companies sell blends that are specific to relaxation, energizing, fighting congestion, soothing skin and more. Those are great! But if you want to play mixologist try these:
- Orange, lemon, rosemary – energizing and uplifting
- Lavender, vanilla and frankincense – relaxing, helps with sleep
- Eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree – helps clear congestion
- Cedarwood, wild orange, ylang ylang, patchouli – calming
- Rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang – romantic
Bath or Shower Bombs
Bath bombs fizz when they hit the water, thanks to a combination of citric acid and baking soda. Their lovely fragrances, often meant to relax, soothe or energize, can be created from basic essential oils. They’re crazy easy to make at home too. You can buy kits online that may be as simple as a few sizes of reusable molds to ones that include dyes, lots of shaped molds (hearts, seashells) or deluxe kits of molds plus dyes, shrink wrap to protect your bath bombs, gift packaging and more.
Molds might be stainless steel, plastic or silicone, and they’re a requirement – the rest is optional and depends on your levels of energy and ambition. A kit of basic round molds, all one size or varied, is just a few dollars and can be used many times.
What’s in a bath bomb? It depends. Most basic recipes include baking soda, citric acid and cornstarch, plus essential oils for fragrance and water to dampen the mixture so you can shape it. Citric acid is the hardest ingredient to obtain – not all grocery stores carry it. If they do, it is likely to be in the canning section. If your store doesn’t carry it, there are tons of online options, including Amazon.
Here’s the basic recipe – it’s super easy to multiply as needed:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
½ cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons oil: olive, coconut, sweet almond
Food coloring (optional)
Mix baking soda, citric acid and cornstarch. Drop essential oils (8-10 drops total), oil and a few drops of food coloring in to the dry ingredients and stir well to distribute evenly. (If you’re making a big batch, a stand mixer on low speed is helpful.)
Spray the mixture with water and stir. Repeat until the dry ingredients look like WET sand and clump together easily. Pack tightly into molds. Let dry a couple of hours. Pop out and let rest up to 3 days to dry. You can store them in zippered plastic bags or decorative jars. For shower bombs, pack the mix into flat silicone molds or cupcake liners in a cupcake tin and let dry completely in the mold.
Some directions for shower bombs say to bake them. The directions are a bit different when baking – you’ll want to apply the essential oils after baking because the heat will destroy them. You can store them plain and add whichever oil suits your fancy before your shower.
There’s almost nothing easier than making your own scented bath salts. Just get a large glass or stainless steel bowl (don’t use plastic! It will absorb your oils) and combine the following:
3 cups Epsom salt
2 cups coarse sea salt
30-60 drops total of your favorite essential oils
1 cup baking soda
Mix the salts first, then add the oil and mix again. Finally, mix in the baking soda. Use a metal spoon if possible. Store in glass jars – plastic will absorb the fragrance! If you like, add in a few drops of food coloring with the salt, before the oil, and mix well to distribute the color evenly. Start with a few drops and add more if desired. You can always add more, but it’s harder to deal with too much color. If you like, you can also add dried herbs or flowers to make the salts prettier!
There are two secrets to getting long-lasting bubbles in your homemade bubble bath: either egg white or glycerin. The egg white versions need to be made fresh for each bath – they won’t keep. The glycerin version will store well because there’s nothing perishable in it. Both versions use mild liquid soap of some kind. If you choose a liquid soap that is free of dyes and perfumes, you can scent and tint it to your liking.
Sugar or Salt Scrub
Both sugar and salt are great natural exfoliants. Mixed with oil and essential oils, they make scrubs that moisturize while sloughing off dry skin. Make sure to clean your tub or shower after use! It’s important to note that sugar scrubs are likely better for people with sensitive skin and on delicate skin like the face and lips.
Coconut oil is a great ingredient for scrubs and does all kinds of lovely things to your skin. Some coconut oils have a stronger natural fragrance than others, so check carefully if you plan to scent it yourself. (Of course, natural coconut oil mixed with orange and lemon could be lovely!) Almond oil and olive oil are also popular for homemade scrubs.
For a super easy sugar scrub that will have you wanting to eat it – and you can! – combine equal parts coconut oil and brown sugar and add vanilla to your liking. This is great for flaky skin – massage in and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing off in warm water.
If you make scrubs to store, make sure to stir before each use. The salt and sugar, especially salt, can settle to the bottom of your storage container.
We all love a nice spa experience without having to leave home. Making your own scented bath products provides that for a tiny fraction of the cost and lets you customize your blends and get as creative as you want. Get mixing and then let the fragrance take you away.