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What essential oils can you put in a bath?

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Pick the wrong bottle and you could end up irritating your skin .

You run a bath, add a few drops of essential oils, then get in, right? Wrong. Yes, essential oils can dial up your bath, adding stress-relieving, mind-soothing, muscle-relaxing power, but chances are you’ve been doing it all wrong.

Those potent vials are powerful stuff, and using the wrong ones in the wrong way can turn your tranquil tub time into a torture session (if you’ve ever peppered your bath with peppermint, you know exactly what we’re talking about).

So, we’re here to tell you how to do it right — Suzanne Teachey, herbalist and owner of Nectar Apothecary in Prescott, Arizona, offers a few simple tricks to transform your soak, plus three essential oil combos to target all your tub-time goals. Not only will you get the most out of your essential oils, your bath time will go from good to GLOR-I-OUS.

Never add essential oils directly into your bath water.

“When it comes to putting essential oils in the bath, remember — oil and water don’t mix, which is to say the essential oils are not water soluble,” warns Teachey. Translation: When you climb into the tub, the small drops of oil can adhere to your skin (and tender nether regions!) just as if you’d applied the undiluted oil directly your skin, which can irritate and burn. Ouch!

Always combine essential oils with a carrier oil first.

You don’t want essential oils just to sit on top of the water; you want them dispersed throughout. The best way to do that is combine essential oils in a carrier oil first, like coconut, olive, sunflower, or jojoba. “For a single bath, three to 12 drops of essential oil in a tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil is sufficient to create a very aromatic, therapeutic bath,” says Teachey, who suggests stirring the bath before climbing in to help circulate oils.

Don’t use just any essential oils.

Just because you love a particular scent doesn’t mean you should dump it into your bath. “Even if you use a carrier oil, be extra cautious with oils known to irritate the skin and mucous-membranes,” warns Teachey, who says to avoid cinnamon, clove, oregano, savory, spearmint, thyme (except linalool type), and wintergreen in the bath. Better skin-loving bets: Lavender, chamomile, and rose.

Add essential oils after running the water.

While it may be tempting to trickle essential oils into your tub when running your bath, wait. “The hot running water will cause the essential oils to escape the bath and scent the bathroom instead,” says Teachey. To get the most from your aromatherapy bath, fill the tub and turn off the water first before adding essential oils for full aromatic effect.

1. Mood Boost Bath

Uplift and energize with this revitalizing combo that can also boost concentration and focus.

5 drops lemon

3 drops rosemary

2 drops thyme linalool

*Combine with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil before adding to bath.

2. Muscle-Soothing Bath

Target tired, overworked muscles with this trio that may dial up circulation and dial down pain.

5 drops marjoram (also called sweet marjoram)

4 drops lemongrass

3 drops lavender

*Combine with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of carrier oil before adding to bath.

3. Relaxation Bath

This calming and relaxing combo can reduce stress and get you ready for bed.

5 drops lavender

4 drops chamomile (German or Roman)

3 drops frankincense

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