Best bubble bath, oils and salts for spa-like bathing in your home

Soak away the day with the best bubble baths and most indulgent bathing potions around

Six of the best bubble bath salts and oils
(Image credit: Future)

The best bubble bath is so much more than just a beauty product. In fact, most bathing productsfrom foaming gels to aromatic oils and soothing bath saltsdon't really have much to do with how you look. The best bubble baths and other bathtime lotions and potions are all about how you feel. 

That's not to say a gorgeous bath time buy can't be part of your skincare routine. If you pick something with the right ingredients and drop it into a steamy bath of course it'll do it's thing on your skin, whether that that thing is nourishing ashy limbs, skin smoothing, or simply scenting you from top to toe in beautiful flower fragrance

But with that said, it's also fair to say that most of us take a bath for it's mental and physical benefits, rather than that on our appearance. We want to relax as part of a pampering routine, recover after exercise, soothe aches like lower back pain or simply grab a quiet hour alone as a foil to the noise and chaos of daily life. 

Whatever the reason you want to lock the bathroom door, light a candle and draw yourself a bath, the best bubble bath will enhance that intended effect and then some. From energising foams to sleep-enhancing salts and skin nourishing oils, these are the grown-up bathing buys we rate. 

The best bubble baths, oils and salts, as chosen by our experts

L'Occitane Shea Bubble Bath

(Image credit: L'Occitane)

1. L'Occitane Shea Bubble Bath

The best bubble bath overall

Specifications
RRP: $39/£27
Size: 500ml
Type: Foaming liquid
Mood: Comforting
Reasons to buy
+Nourishing ingredients+Luxurious bubbles+Beautiful fragrance +Sustainable
Reasons to avoid
-Not for tight budgets

If we had to sum this product up in one word, it would be comforting—and who doesn't want a bit of luxury comfort, come bathtime? The beautiful, sweet and warming shea fragrance completely fills the bathroom and the senses. A little goes a long way—just a couple of capfuls is enough for a pleasingly bubbly experience, while the noticeably velvety foam sticks around for an unusually long time. 

The inclusion of said shea butter ensures you'll step out of the bath with nourished and lightly scented skin. The fact that it is sustainably and ethically sourced shea will also be of comfort to the ethically-minded beauty consumer, as is the recyclable bottle, which also happens to look ultra chic on the edge of your bathtub. 

Dr Teals Foaming Bath Soothe & Sleep

(Image credit: Dr Teals)

2. Dr Teals Foaming Bath Soothe & Sleep

Best budget bubble bath

Specifications
RRP: $4.87/£8.99
Size: 1 litre
Type: Foaming gel
Mood: De-stress
Reasons to buy
+Soothing essential oils +Contains epsom salts +Excellent value
Reasons to avoid
-Unglamorous packaging

This is not the sort of bubble bath you put on prominent display to induce shelf-envy from your guests then never actually use. It's more likely to be the bubble bath you keep on constant supply in your bathroom cupboard and whip out every time you crank the hot water tap because it works an absolute treat. 

As well as snooze-inducing aromatic lavender extract it packs in muscle-soothing mineral magnesium via epsom salts. A capful or two creates a pretty generous bubble effect while the addition of moisturising glycerin helps skin feel soft after a good old soak. The bubbles don't last quite as long as pricier products, but with the bargain price point for 1L you can always chuck a bit more in during your midway hot water top-up. 

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath

(Image credit: Laura Mercier)

3. Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath

Best luxury bubble bath

Specifications
RRP: $64/£41
Size: 300g
Type: Foaming cream
Mood: Calming
Reasons to buy
+Delicious aroma+Beautiful packaging+Moisturising ingredients
Reasons to avoid
-May be too sweet for some

Many Beauty Editors have been known to call this creamy bubble bath their guilty pleasure. Why guilty? Expense aside, it is decadently sweet. Sweeter than any fragrance 'experts' are really supposed to be into. Basically, it's cake in a jar. But fragrance snobbery has no place in our bathroom and we would defy anyone to swirl that adorable little wooden honey dipper into their bath and not feel immediate happiness. 

Fragrance aside this also has a beautifully creamy texture, and is rammed with skin loving ingredients like sweet almond and oat proteins plus Vitamin B5. The lather it creates is of the luxuriously fine variety and—let's be honest—it'll look great in your bathroom. 

Olverum Bath Oil

(Image credit: Olverum)

4. Olverum Bath Oil

Best bath oil

Specifications
RRP: $55/£36.50
Size: 125ml
Type: Oil
Mood: Energising
Reasons to buy
+Unique invigorating aroma+Luxurious ingredients+Beautiful bottle
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

No list of the best bath products should be without Olverum Bath Oil. This cult German bathing elixir is almost 100 years old (it was created in 1931) but everything from the bottle to the bracing essential oil aroma feels completely perfect for right now. 

Said aroma is made with top-shelf essential oils and plant extracts of Siberian fir needle, eucalyptus, rosemary and various citrusses.The quality of the ingredients is reflected in the price, which could be off-putting to some. But just a couple of drops in a hot steamy bath is enough to fill the room with a fresh, walk-through-a-Scandi-forest aroma that is at once stimulating and grounding. Combine it with a few deep, slow breaths for the full invigorating experience. 

Soak Sunday Cleo's Paradise Botanical Bath Soak

(Image credit: Soak Sunday)

5. Soak Sunday Cleo's Paradise Botanical Bath Soak

Best bath soak

Specifications
RRP: $20/£14
Size: 280g
Type: Powder
Mood: Soothing
Reasons to buy
+Subtle fragrance+Luxe look+100% natural ingredients+Recyclable packaging
Reasons to avoid
-No bubbles

Soak Sunday is a lovely, new-ish brand dedicated to all things bathing and body, and this is our top pick of their collection. It's a bath soak, so made up of various dry ingredients like salts, dried flowers and oatmeal, which does mean you aren't going to get any bubble action. Hopefully that's not a dealbreaker, as this is a gorgeous product that punches well above it's modest price tag. 

It looks and smells ultra-luxurious, and would make a beautiful, nicely-priced gift for anyone in your life who loves a good old soak in the tub. The scent is calming and lightly sweet from chamomile flower and coconut milk, and the oils and oatmeal in the formula are softening and soothing, so would suit sensitive skin. If this particular aroma doesn't float your boat, the brand also offers classic rose and energising basil and ginger varieties. There's something for everyone. 

Weleda Rosemary Invigorating Bath Milk

(Image credit: Weleda)

6. Weleda Rosemary Invigorating Bath Milk

Best bath milk

Specifications
RRP: $21.80/£15.75
Size: 200ml
Type: Milk
Mood: Energising
Reasons to buy
+Fresh herby fragrance+Natural essential oils+Very good value 
Reasons to avoid
-Not for winding down

There's a pervasive myth out there that baths always have to be soothing or relaxing, but actually, given the right aromatics a nice long soak can be incredibly invigorating too. This simple and well-formulated herbal milk bath is just that, offering a jolt to the senses and a moment of mental clarity when needed. 

The texture is a thin, milky fluid that's easy to pour under the taps but also quite easy to pour a little too much of—so tip that bottle with caution. The scent is clean, herbal and bracing as advertised and the silky oil-based formula softens skin as you soak. Like everything Weleda does this is excellent value and thoughtfully made with natural ingredients and recyclable packaging. 

Aroma Active Laboratories Sleep Salt Soak

(Image credit: Aroma active)

7. Aroma Active Laboratories Sleep Salt Soak

Best bath salts

Specifications
RRP: £15
Size: 500g
Type: Salts
Mood: Relaxing
Reasons to buy
+Sleep-inducing formula+Effective aromatherapy blend+Excellent value
Reasons to avoid
-Only available in the UK

Another product on our list that proves you don't have to spend a lot to get plenty back from your bath product. Despite looking and smelling like the sort of ultra-fancy cult bathing elixir that'll set you back half a tonne, these sustainably packaged salts are a democratically-priced drugstore buy. 

As the name suggests, this aromatherapy blend is composed to help you wind down before bed, and the powerful lavandin, valerian and woody scent certainly does that. As baths themselves have also been shown to induce sleep (as body temperature changes trigger the release of melatonin) chucking a handful of these in will only supercharge that effect. The magnesium in the epsom salt carrier is also said to help soothe aches and pains, and honestly, just breathing in this calming aroma was enough to make our shoulders drop about three inches. 

No Secrets Body Jelly in Scent Four

(Image credit: No Secrets)

8. No Secrets Body Jelly in Scent Four

The best bath jelly

Specifications
RRP: £35
Size: 200ml
Type: Jelly to oil
Mood: Grounding
Reasons to buy
+Very nourishing for skin+Calming aroma +100% natural ingredients
Reasons to avoid
-Takes a bit more effort-Not available in the US

Here's something a bit different. An aromatic gel formula made with natural seed and essential oils. The idea is that you apply it to dry skin before stepping into the bath, thus allowing the oils to deeply nourish the skin and melt into the water at once. 

The benefits of this method are a deep nourishment of the skin without the barrier of water in the way, and the opportunity to give yourself a lovely warming massage thus upping the chill factor on your bath. The drawback is obvious—it's a bit more effort to rub a product into your skin than it is drop it under a tap. It's well worth it though, for lasting sheeny skin softness and the beautiful geranium, lavender, neroli and patchouli fragrance that fills the room and lingers on limbs. 


How to pick the best bubble bath product for you 

As we tend to bathe for mood-boosting effects, it makes sense to choose your bathing product based on how you want to feel. "Having an aromatherapeutic bath is a self-caring and self-appreciation ritual," says Weleda Skincare Expert Elizabeth King. "It can help bring clarity, revitalisation and energy as well as help you to let go, restore a sense of equilibrium and bring about inner calm." For a relaxing bath, seek out soothing scents like lavender, the warm hug of vanilla and coconut or comforting florals like rose and geranium. Conversely if you are looking for an energy boosting or revitalising bath, fresh aromas of citrus, herbs like rosemary or peppermint will suit. 

The type and texture of product you use comes down to personal preference. You might love the grown-up sophistication of an oil, which usually have chic packaging and natural-leaning formulas. "Bath oil has the ability to be a really ‘clean’ product in any natural beauty range because it is simply oil—or a blend of oils—with perhaps some fragrance," agrees Lorna Veale, founder of clean beauty brand No Secrets. Bath salts can bring extra wellness boost to the party, as the mineral magnesium in epsom salts is said to soothe muscle aches and pains, as well as irritated skin. It's worth saying that scientific evidence of these benefits is inconclusive, but anecdotally, many are devoted. 

Cream and milk bath products are another popular choice for anyone who wants a hit of skin nourishment and doesn't mind forgoing some bubble action in return. For many bathers, however, you just can't beat the fun factor and nostalgic pleasure of a bubbly product. If you do like to get your lather on, watch out for formulas with high levels of synthetic fragrance and chemical foaming agents, which can be drying on more sensitive skin types. The best bubble baths have balanced ingredients lists with nourishing oils and natural emollients to condition the skin. 

Finally, one product that is generally a no-no in most expert's eyes is that other childhood favourite, the bath bomb. "Nothing should fizz in the bath," says Lorna. "Bath Bombs main ingredients are bicarb of soda and citric acid, which are totally skin stripping and are actually more appropriate as natural cleaning alternative rather than a skin treatment!" There are some exceptions to this, so if you are bath bomb loyal, check the ingredients list before you set it loose in your bathwater. 

How to take a bath that boosts your mood

Lorna Veale's tips for getting the most out of your bath 

  1. Rinse your bath
    "The first thing to do when having a bath is to make sure it is ‘clean’ from any cleaning products that you may have used. Most have warnings on the side like toxic or corrosive. You don’t want to sit in a bath with them swimming around. Rinse your bath with hot water to make sure there is no residue of these products.”  
  2. Find the right temperature
    "Give yourself 20 minutes in the bath and a little time to relax and gather yourself afterwards. Your water should be between 36-38 degrees celsius, and the room should be 25-30 degrees celsius ideally."
  3. Grab a book
    "The temptation to catch-up on your weekly binge on Netflix should be avoided! Taking a book or magazine into the bathroom with you is also a great way to relax and take yourself into a different world for a while."
  4. And breathe
    "To help you float away, try breathing in through the nose for five seconds and out through the mouth for five seconds, increasing to ten seconds for each, and continuing for two minutes. Finally, try to complete your ritual slowly, perhaps by using the softest towel to pat yourself dry." 



womanandhome thanks Lorna Veale and Elizabeth King for their time and expertise

Fiona McKim

As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more beauty products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)

Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism). 


In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a features writer at publications including Junior and Prima Baby, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.

When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park. 


Come to think of it, the hot dinners and beauty products are probably about even.