As a child, I adamantly tried to turn every bath into a bubble bath. You could find me squeezing shampoo under the running faucet trying to create movie magic-level bubbles in vain. Bubble baths still have a permanent place in my self-care repertoire—but now I reach for products that are a little more sophisticated—because, when you’re a bath person, slipping into a steamy tub always feels luxurious.
But wherever there’s a rose, there’s a thorn. The ingredients responsible for lather and bubbles are surfactants, some of which can be irritating if you have sensitive skin or a condition like eczema, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. Likewise for commonly used ingredients like synthetic dyes and fragrances. Enter: the homemade stuff.
“The advantage of using your own bath additives is that you can control exactly what your skin is coming in contact with,” Dr. Zeichner says. Whipping up homemade bubble bath is almost as simple as running soap under water, and only takes a few ingredients you probably already have around your home.
What you can use for homemade bubble bath base
Dr. Zeichner recommends using a foaming body wash you know you like, since the product is already designed to be gentle on skin. Nix those thoughts of using shampoo (5-year-old me didn’t know a darn thing), which can be irritating after extended exposure. We don’t really have to say this, but shampoo does its best work in your hair—not your body.
If you do use body soap, keep in mind it might already have a scent, which can impact which essential oils you might want to add, for example.
Castile soap is a wonder product. The all-purpose cleaner is so versatile that it can be used on tons of surfaces in your home and on pets, and it’s also safe for our bodies and hair. The biodegradable and nontoxic soap is made of vegetable oils like coconut, olive, and hemp.
Plainly, glycerin is soap without synthetic detergents. The combination of glycerin and castile soap will create the actual bubbles in your bath, which is essential. Glycerin also helps retain moisture, so it lends a helping hand in keeping skin hydrated. Swap glycerin out for coconut oil for the same effect.
Next-level your homemade bubble bath with these extras
Bathing in egg white might sound a little strange, but the addition of one egg white helps keep the bubbles around longer and makes them fluffier. If you make a batch of bubble bath and have leftover product, make sure to stash it in the fridge.
Here’s where the customization comes in. Essential oils will bring your bubble bath to a luxurious, relaxing level with added skin benefits. Add drops to your mixture (see recipe below), but avoid adding oils directly to the bath. Undiluted oils can lead to irritation. Opt for 10 drops of lavender or chamomile oil, and leave not-great-for-skin oils like wintergreen, cinnamon, or oregano to your diffuser.
Adding around ¼ cup of honey to your bubble bath mixture brings added relaxation. Besides its warm aroma, honey also touts benefits like antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and will leave skin feeling velvety.
A simple recipe for homemade bubble bath
- ¼ cup warm distilled water
- ½ cup castile soap
- ¼ cup glycerin (or coconut oil)
- Extras, like essential oils (see above)
- Mix well to combine all ingredients
- Pour ⅛ cup of bubble bath under running water in your tub
- Store extra product in a container for your next bath
Before you get carried away with your homemade bubble bath, steer away from making it part of your nightly routine. Dr. Zeichner recommends limiting your bubble baths to once a week. “While we all like a long, hot bath, our skin does not,” he says. If you’re 30 seconds away from turning into a total prune, the water can strip the skin of its natural oils, drying you out. That goes to say after your soak, moisturize within five minutes to lock in hydration. And, breathe out.
Not all self-care rituals look the same. If a bath isn’t your jam, maybe a before-bed stretching ritual will help ease your mind and your body. Watch the video below for more intel.
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