Few experiences compare to a relaxing bath after a long, stressful day. As you slip your body into the hot water and lay your head back, that feeling can certainly fade any remaining stress away [source]. Learn what to add to a bath so you can upgrade your DIY bath experience with the best bath ingredients for soft skin.
For years I've been infusing baths with Epsom salt and coconut oil, but they're not the only ingredients that target dry skin and achy muscles.
Soaking in warm water opens up pores so nourishing ingredients can better penetrate the skin. So create your own soak with these DIY bath recipe add-ins, then sit back and let the blissful healing begin!
- 12 Best Bath Ingredients
- What To Put In Bath Water To Soften Skin
- 1. Epsom salt
- 2. Oatmeal
- 3. Coconut Oil
- 4. Milk
- 5. Baking Soda
- 6. Honey
- What To Put In a Bath To Relax
- 7. Roses
- 8. Tea
- 9. Essential Oils
- What To Put In a Bath To Detox
- 10. Ginger
- 11. Powdered Charcoal
- 12. Mustard Powder
- No-Fail Softening Bath Soak Formula
12 Best Bath Ingredients
One of the best parts of a bath is the variety. We’ve put together a guide to drawing a better bath and most of the natural bath ingredients you probably already have in your home!
What To Put In Bath Water To Soften Skin
Hot water can dry out your skin if you soak too long, but adding moisturizing ingredients can leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated after a bath. Try these DIY bath recipes with common household ingredients:
1. Epsom salt
Wonderful at easing muscle soreness and relieving tension, Epsom salt can be added to almost any bath salts recipe. It's also a good source of magnesium [source], makes skin soft and smooth, and helps fight bloating.
To use: Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath. Salt will soften skin, but it can also cause dryness so combine it with a couple of tablespoons of carrier oil if dryness is an issue.
If you’re suffering from dry, itchy, or irritated skin, oatmeal is very soothing to add to your bath [source]. If anyone in your house gets poison ivy or sunburn, an oatmeal bath is a great way to treat it.
To use: Add ½ cup of finely ground oatmeal to your bath. You can also put it in a sachet (or cut the foot off of an old pair of pantyhose and tie at the top) to reduce clean up and chance of clogging. Squeeze the sachet while you soak to release the oaty goodness.
3. Coconut Oil
One of the best bath ingredients for soft skin, coconut oil has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties [source]. Adding a small amount of coconut oil to your bathwater can help moisturize the skin. Or, use coconut oil in one of these 101 ways!
To use: Mix a tablespoon or two of coconut oil into running water to moisturize and soften during your bath. It also pairs with Epsom salt really well for a diy detox bath.
Also, I like to use fractionated coconut oil to reduce the chance of clogging. Just be careful when getting out as the oil can make the tub slippery.
No coconut oil? Other bath oils like olive oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil can also be added to your bath for extra moisture.
The lactic acid in milk is both exfoliating and softening for our skin—especially full-fat milk or powdered milk. It's even said to be a great remedy for eczema and sunburn. This milk bath is simple, with only three ingredients.
If you are sensitive to milk, try using coconut milk or goat milk powder. Goat milk's pH level is similar to human skin's, so it's less likely to cause irritation.
To use: Add 1-2 cups full-fat milk or 1 cup powdered milk to your bath water. For really dry skin, you can also add a bit of carrier oil or honey for extra hydration.
5. Baking Soda
Both soothing and detoxifying for your skin, baking soda is a simple ingredient to add to your next bath to relieve dry, red, or irritated skin. Baking soda neutralizes skin acidity to restore its barrier and reduce inflammation. It's also a natural exfoliant and can help fight acne.
To use: Mix in ½-1 cup of bathing soda or get creative and make a fun bath bomb using baking soda.
Moisturizing, anti-aging, and antibacterial [source], honey is an antioxidant powerhouse for our skin! The natural humectant moisturizes and soothes dry skin. This honey bubble bath recipe is just the ticket if you need some extra bubbles.
To use: Mix ½ cup of honey into 2 cups of milk or tea and microwave for 20-30 seconds to warm the honey and help it dissolve. Pour into your bath.
What To Put In a Bath To Relax
To use: Add ½ cup fresh, organic rose petals for skin-soothing benefits. Or try a rose milk bath next time you need a little indulgence.
Adding a few tea bags to your bath is an easy recipe for reviving skin. Loaded with antioxidants, green tea is a perfect choice for helping your skin fight the effects of the environment and aging [source], and chamomile tea is a great before-bed relaxer [source] for a calming and soothing experience. Try peppermint tea to break up congestion.
To use: Make a tub tea by steeping 3 tablespoon loose tea (or 3 tea bags) in 2 cups of boiling water. Once cool, remove the leaves and pour the tea into a warm bath. You can also add the tea bags to the tub and let it steep while you soak.
9. Essential Oils
The perfect way to tailor your bath for your needs, this guide to essential oils for gorgeous skin is the key.
Noted as one of the most relaxing herbs [source], lavender would be the perfect choice to wind down and ensure a good night’s sleep. Lavender essential oil can be used in your next soak or try one of these essential oils after a long day:
- Eucalyptus to help with congestion
- Peppermint for an energy boost
- Rose or frankincense to soothe dry skin
- Grapefruit to banish bloat
- Geranium to nix PMS
- Chamomile to de-stress
- Sandalwood to promote relaxation
To use: You can add essential oils to bath salts for their aromatherapy benefits. If you want to add them to your bath, they will need to be diluted in a carrier oil or emulsifier first. All the instructions you need to do that can be found here.
What To Put In a Bath To Detox
If you’re battling headaches or need a good detox, a ginger bath is just the ingredient you’ll need. It causes toxins to be released through sweat and will leave you feeling cleansed. It also helps you sweat out aches from a cold or flu, and clears up chest and nasal congestion [source].
To use: Combine 3 tablespoon of ginger (freshly grated or ground) with 1 cup of Epsom salt and add to your bath. Note that ginger can cause sensitive skin to react, so test it on your skin first.
11. Powdered Charcoal
Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to pull out toxins and acne-causing bacteria. So if you're battling acne on your back or butt charcoal can help clear out blemish-prone skin. Charcoal can get messy though so use with care and wash the tub after soaking.
To use: Add 2 tablespoon powdered charcoal to a cup of Epsom salt or powdered milk. You can put it in a sachet for less cleanup or use a charcoal bath bomb instead.
12. Mustard Powder
Mustard is the perfect soothing soak for congestion, muscle aches, or when you feel a cold coming on. The powder's warming properties open skin's pores and stimulate sweat glands to get rid of toxins.
To use: Add ¼ cup of mustard powder (or whip up your own mustard bath mix) to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes.
No-Fail Softening Bath Soak Formula
Creating a softening bath soak at home is easy and can be customized to your preferences. Here's a simple formula you can follow using some of the ingredients mentioned:
- 1-2 cups of Epsom salt or baking soda (for softening and muscle relaxation)
- ½ to 1 cup of baking soda (if not used above), milk, oatmeal or tea (for soothing and exfoliating)
- 2-4 tablespoons of your preferred oil (e.g., coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil) or honey (for added moisture)
- 2 tablespoon of a detox ingredient (if desired)
- A few drops of your favorite essential oil (for softening and aromatherapy)
- Dried herbs or flower petals (for an extra touch of luxury and fragrance)
1. Start by running warm water into your bathtub.
2. Combine Epsom salt or baking soda with your detox ingredient, if using. While the water is running, add it to the bathwater. Stir it with your hand to help it dissolve.
3. Next, add your exfoliating ingredient (baking soda, milk, oatmeal or tea) to the water and mix it in as well.
4. If you'd like to add a pleasant scent, combine a few drops of your preferred essential oil into your chosen moisturizing ingredient (oil or honey). Pour into the bath after it's full and the water is turned off.
5. Stir the water to disperse the oil. Be careful when adding oils, as they can make the bathtub slippery.
6. Once the ingredients are well mixed, step into the bath and soak for 15-30 minutes. You can relax and enjoy the soothing properties of the bath soak.
7. After your bath, gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and apply a body moisturizer to lock in the softness.
Feel free to adjust the quantities of these ingredients based on your preferences and the size of your bathtub. Enjoy your homemade bath soak for soft and smooth skin!
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice, and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.823