How to use essential oils in the shower
From Roman baths to hot mineral springs, water has been used therapeutically by different cultures around the world since ancient times. Today the use of water for health purposes is known as hydrotherapy, with some of the most common forms of treatment being saunas, therapeutic baths, compresses, floatation tanks and even colonic irrigation.
With most of these treatment options unavailable during lockdown, bathing at home is a great way to enjoy the many benefits that water can bring - and of course you can also combine your at-home hydrotherapy with essential oils to super charge the effects. But what if you don’t have a bath, or the time or inclination to languish around in the bathtub?
Many of the benefits of bathing can still be gained from showering, and showering is actually thought to be better for your skin as you’re exposed to less water. Too much water can strip your skin of its natural oils and damage its protective layer, which can cause dryness and irritation.
And what’s more you can still benefit from using essential oils in the shower, even though you’re not having a soak.
Read on for ideas on how you can easily and effectively use your aromatherapy oils to enjoy an aromatic shower experience ! Or, if bathing is still your preferred thing, read Nicole's article on blends for the bath!)
Diffusing essential oils in the shower
You obviously can’t use your electrical diffuser in the bathroom or shower, but there are still lots of ways that you fill the room with the therapeutic scent of your chosen essential oils.
Many people recommend popping a few drops of your chosen essential oils onto the shower floor, but this doesn’t give a long-lasting effect as the oils are quickly washed away.
Another simple tip is to pop 10-12 drops of your oil onto a sponge, face cloth or even a cotton pad and place it somewhere within the shower where it won’t be directly hit by the water.
If you wanted to take this a stage further, you could diffuse your oils in lovely little Tea or Spice Infuser which can be sourced online. Simply mix your oils into some Dead Sea Salt, pour into your infuser and hang off the shower bar or shower head. It's also possible to buy diffusers that are specifically designed for the shower. We saw some lovely Lava stone disks on Etsy.
Our final recommendation, if you’re feeling creative, is to make your own shower steamers. These are similar to a bath bomb and can be made with a few simple ingredients. Place them on the shower floor away from the direct flow of water so they can’t easily wash away and enjoy the scent as they slowly melt.
To make your own aromatherapy shower steamers
Mix 1 cup of Sodium Bicarbonate with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water. Add approx. 25 drops of essential oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Using gloves or a spoon pack the mixture into a silicon mould and allow to set. Store in an airtight container and use within 7 days.
Applying the oils to your skin
One of the most obvious ways to incorporate oils into your shower is to mix them with a fragrance-free Bath & Shower Gel (see some of our recommended blends below).
Another lovely tip is to combine your oils with a carrier oil and massage into your skin before getting into the shower. You’ll not only be able to enjoy the aroma, but the therapeutic oils will also have more time to be absorbed into your skin. Massage your shower oil into your upper chest and shoulders to get the full benefit from the aroma. Cup your hands around your nose and take a few deep breaths before entering the shower.
If you have a bit more time for pampering you could make up more of the shower oil blend and mix with some crushed Dead Sea Salt for a moisturising, exfoliating body scrub.
Don't forget that essential oils are also great for your hair and can be added into your shampoo and conditioner. Read our haircare blog for more information.
After shower care
After you’ve enjoyed your spa-like shower you can prolong its effects and nourish your skin with an aromatherapy body oil or lotion. Mix your chosen oils with a carrier oil or try our fragrance-free Moisturising Lotion and apply while your skin is still warm and damp to seal in moisture.
You may not need to do this if you’ve used a shower oil or body scrub, as your skin may feel sufficiently moisturised.
Choosing your oils
So now you know how to use them, all you need to do is choose your oils. You may just have a favourite scent that you want to enjoy, or you might have a particular therapeutic objective such as boosting your energy, helping with a headache, relieving congestion, or soothing stress and anxiety. Once you’ve decided what you effect you want to achieve you can then choose the most suitable oils. For example, you might want stimulating, uplifting oils to start your day and soothing sedative oils at night to aid relaxation and sleep. You can use a single oil or a blend of oil.
Essential oil blends for the shower
We have suggested some synergistic shower blends below. These can be mixed into 15ml of shower gel, carrier oil or moisturising lotion. You can also use the same blends for diffusing and for making shower steamers, scaling up the quantities as required.
Decongesting: 4 drops Bergamot, 2 drops Rosemary, 2 drops Tea Tree and 1 drop Eucalyptus
Detoxifying: 3 drops Mandarin, 3 drops Geranium, 2 drops Fennel
Enlivening: 3 drops Lime, 2 drops Mandarin, 2 drops Grapefruit
Immunity Boosting: 3 drops Lemongrass, 3 drops Grapefruit, 2 drops Rosewood
Head Clearing: Peppermint is one of the best oils for headaches and is also wonderfully energising – simply diffuse a few drops to enjoy its powerful, stimulating scent.
Mood Boosting: 4 drops Lavender, 2 drops Bergamot, 1 drop Rose
Restful Sleep: 5 drops Marjoram, 3 drops Lavender, 2 drops Neroli