The only thing better than a relaxing, soothing bath is one that also improves your health in the process.
Bathing can help promote better circulation, relax our muscles so that we sleep better and recover more quickly from workouts, encourage mindfulness, and even help break up congestion from common colds and allergies.
A hot bath can’t solve everything, but it does offer a brief respite from the overwhelming. And while you’re in the tub soaking up all that relaxation, you might as well find some things to put in your bath that smell nice and make your skin soft in the process, too.
Adding simple kitchen ingredients to a bath can make your skin glow and feel amazing all over. Natural, food-grade products are typically very gentle and supportive of skin health and the integrity of your skin barrier.
Plus they often have specific therapeutic properties that can help you resolve dry skin, itchiness, rough patches, and more. Many of these products have long histories of use in the bath and are safe even on sensitive skin.
And the big bonus? Kitchen ingredients are free add-ins for a bath.
The Best Things to Put in Your Bath for Soft skin and Relaxation
Before you draw your next bath, we’re setting the record straight. Here are the most rejuvenating and healing ingredients.
If you’re used to having a bowl of this whole-grain powerhouse for breakfast, you’re already well aware of its amazing benefits. But not only it is good to eat, it’s amazing to bathe in — especially during winter.
Oatmeal helps provide soothing relief for dry skin, rashes, sunburn, and other everyday skin irritation due to its healthy fat content. Oats also contain natural cleansers that help keep pores free of impurities and proteins that help skin maintain its natural moisture barrier.
Take 1 to 2 cups of uncooked oats, let them stand in hot water and honey for five minutes, then add them under running water to your tub.
Don’t pour the oats straight into the tub. Otherwise you’ll end up stepping in porridge!
This gooey substance has been used for more than 10,000 years as a topical healing agent all across the world.
It’s an antibacterial substance that helps prevent infection and heal minor skin abrasions. It’s also full of polyphenols — natural antioxidants that help boost the immune system and defend against signs of aging.
Add 2 Tbsps of raw honey to a running bath, soak for 15 minutes, and then add baking soda for your final 15 minutes. This helps rid your body of dead skin cells without causing any irritation.
Pour a cup of olive oil into your bathtub and soak for 10 minutes.
Olive oil is rich in natural fats that hydrate dry skin. (Note: It is not recommended for acne-prone skin, especially if you experience breakouts on your chest or back.) Be careful when you stand up because the bathtub may be slippery.
To level up this routine, you can add the olive oil directly to your skin pre-bath. Just put it on your arms and legs and then do other things like brush your teeth, tweeze your eyebrows, etc. for 15-20 mins.
Then when you get in the bath, it will be in your bathwater to moisturize your skin for even longer. This works especially well for dry spots such as the elbows, ankles, and feet.
Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil
Just add a few drops of organic eucalyptus and tea tree oil to both your bath and your shower, coupled with a deep breathing exercise: inhale to the count of 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8.
The eucalyptus is excellent for lung health, helps to deepen breathing and promotes a healthy respiratory system, and the tea tree oil is a mood booster and helps to also boost the immune system.
Cleopatra was rumored to take baths in milk, and perhaps she was onto something.
Naturally-occurring lactic acid in milk helps you achieve silky-smooth skin with its gentle exfoliating properties. Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) often touted in anti-aging products. The fat in milk will also moisturize skin, even as your bath soak helps to hydrate it.
Add 3 to 4 cups of milk to your bath and stir to disperse.
Just a sniff of this heavenly flowering plant and you already feel more relaxed and refreshed.
Lavender is probably the first thing you think of when you imagine a relaxing bath, and that’s all owed to its ability to calm, soothe, and relieve stress. In ancient times, it was used to treat acne, itching, and irritation, since it works to purify and detoxify skin.
Use around six to eight drops of pure lavender essential oil under running water. Or, add the drops to a capful of milk or Epsom salts before pouring into the water to help disperse the oil more efficiently.
Salts are perhaps the most common ingredient that women dash into their warm bathwater.
Salts not only exfoliate and soften your skin, but also ease sore muscles, help your mind de-stress, and allow your body to relax. Some Mamas even claim that bath salts reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles!
Try epsom salt or a lavender scented salt for the most relaxing bath. Add 1-2 cups of salts to warm bath water and stir until dissolved. Relax and soak for at least 15 minutes.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This liquid is like magic in a bottle! The benefits are too long to list, making it an obvious ingredient for your baths.
Apple cider vinegar can reduce discomfort due to sunburn, remove toxins from your body, remove dead skin cells, and tone your skin.
Add one cup of apple cider vinegar to your warm bath water and mix to combine. Soak for 5-10 minutes.
Make sure you buy a high quality organic brand since you will be soaking in it.
Rosemary eases stress, increases circulation, decreases inflammation, boosts mood, and helps to increase focus and concentrate.
Add a few sprigs to your bath and couple it with the same deep breathing exercises (as was mentioned above) to deepen breathing and help to boost lung health.
You can also use it in oil form to rejuvenate and bring clarity. You’ll want to go light on it since it’s extremely pungent. Try to add lavender oil for relaxation and calm. If mixing the two, use two parts lavender and one part rosemary.
Cut lemons, oranges, grapefruits, or the citrus fruits of your choosing into thin slices and add them to the bath for an invigorating, stress-zapping mood boost (and Instagram opportunity).
If you’re all about taking a bath that makes you feel great and is aromatic, too, consider soaking in some tea.
Green tea has been shown to soothe skin and reduce redness associated with sun damage and has lots of antioxidants. Try using chamomile and lavender teas in the bath for they have calming aromas and soothing skin benefits.
For your bath, you’ll use more tea than you would for a single-serve brew. Try 1/4 cup. And for ease of use, be sure to contain loose leaf tea in a paper tea bag or tea ball so you won’t be picking petals off of your skin afterward.
For maximum benefits, keep the tea in the bath while you soak rather than removing it after a few minutes as you would a drinkable tea. Now that’s what we call steeping.
You’ve heard it before: Coconut oil cures just about anything, and there may be some truth to it — at least when it comes to your bath.
Not only does it encourage soft, supple skin, but it also offers antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal benefits. This is because it contains saturated fats that keep skin smooth and moisturized.
It’s also a natural source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant commonly found in anti-aging skincare. Its proteins repair and keep skin looking firm, healthy, and youthful.
Just grab a tablespoon from your kitchen cabinet. For a nice exfoliating bath, combine about ½ cup coconut oil and ½ cup sugar to make your own DIY body scrub.
You already cook with it and ingest it in the form of cake or bread — and now you know you can also add it into your bath.
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, this household item is found in most bath products because it’s a natural exfoliator that helps keep areas like knees, elbows, and heels soft, smooth, and free of buildup. Cue the long-overdue foot soak!
Mix 4 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda in with a warm bath, and allow it to dissolve before soaking for about 10 to 20 minutes.
Need we say more? If you’re like most gals, you’ll never turn your nose up at the opportunity to get close to this romantic flower.
But it’s more than just stunning — it has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Rose is also moisturizing and refreshing to the skin and can keep acne and redness at bay.
Make your own DIY rose milk bath by adding four to six drops of rose essential oil, 1 ½ cups of powdered milk, ½ cup of Epsom salt, and ¼ cup (or more) or dried rose petals. Mix it all into a warm bath and just relax.
Ginger bears antibacterial properties and helps you sweat, therefore removing toxins and increasing your core body temperature.
Sweat out your cold, flu, or head congestion in a ginger bath. Feel warm to your bones on a chilly day with a ginger bath.
Grate ½ cup of fresh ginger, or use 1 teaspoon of dried ginger. Mix in your bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. Either use steeped ginger tea or organic fresh ginger root.
Adding a few cinnamon sticks to your bath can be revitalizing and uplifting, too.
Since we can’t get outdoors much these days, making your tub smell like a garden isn’t the worst idea. Plus, basil has anti-inflammatory properties, which is always a plus.
You deserve a break — take a bath! Relax, sit back, and feel the tension slip away as these natural bath ingredients heal and restore your body!