Not many of us actually have baths on a regular basis, but when we do, we really go for it with candles, face masks, scrubs, a book and a locked bathroom door for some serious, soul-soothing downtime. Add in the mix one of these beautiful oils and you're all set for some spa-like, dedicated pampering. We spent some serious time in the tub testing a range of oils to see if they lived up to claims to relax, calm, invigorate or whatever it is that they promised. We took into account scents, bottles and value for money too.
1. Miller Harris Rose Silence Bath Oil: £38 for 250ml, Fabled
Dry sensitive and irritated skin needs a little TLC by the end of the winter and this delicate floral oil does a very good job on cracked, excema-prone, or just very dry skin. It's also paraben and lanolin free, which makes it great for sensitive skin. The oil turns into a nourishing milk when it hits the water and is packed with skin-quenchers: vitamins A and E, argan, moringa and sweet almond oils. It leaves the bathroom with a heavenly spa-like scent too.
2. Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath and Shower Oil: £45 for 55ml, Space NK
Kick-start the day with this multi-tasking bath and shower oil that packs a citrus punch (grapefruit, rosemary and juniper essential oils) to beat morning sluggishness. If you're not naturally an early riser and need all the help you can get before leaving the house, then this is the oil for you. Either pour a capful under running water for a pick-me-up bath, or apply all over the body before showering and then stand under the hot water as you rinse and inhale the energy-boosting aroma. I'm at my worst first thing and this really does work for pepping up my morning mood.
3. Neom Perfect Night's Sleep Bath & Shower Drops: £40 for 100ml, All Beauty
Work stress, divorce, moving house, changing jobs and new babies can all wreak havoc with our sleeping patterns. If you're suffering at night and need a little something extra to get your beauty sleep quota, then this is the answer. Either add three-four drops to running bath water and sink in for a soporific soak, or apply a full pipette to your décolletage, take a shower and allow the oil to spread. The easy-to-use pipette system, means there's nothing wasted – you take out exactly how much you need - and no oily drips down the side of the bottle making it slippery to hold. Among the 19 therapeutic essential oils, lavender, basil and sweet jasmine are some of nature's finest calmers. Skin-nourishing oils and vitamins A and E ensure this treats the skin as well as the mind.
4. Dr Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Bath Essence: £16.50 for 100ml, Feel Unique
A serious pick-me-up to beat the winter blues, this citrus-packed offering is perfect for a spring energy boost after months of grey skies and cold weather. Open the bottle and inhale the incredible citrus hit, pour under running water and then soak up the scent of Sicilian lemon groves. This will blow away any cobwebs and lethargy, and deliver some serious get up and go. (Best used in morning baths, if you don't want get up and go in the evening!) The lemon peel oil and lemon essential oil also make great skin toners, so you're helping to combat cellulite at the same time.
5. Molton Brown Rose Absolute Sumptuous Bathing Oil: £39 for 200ml, Molton Brown
A chunky glass bottle with a rose-red base gives this a soft pink glow from the base up and looks beautiful on a bathroom shelf. This is an old fashioned rose scent -but the little kick of blackcurrant and geranium give it a modern edge so it doesn't smell like your granny's bath products.
6. Espa Detoxifying Bath Oil: £29 for 100ml, Liberty London
Take advantage of a long hot soak on cold winter and spring evenings with a good detoxifying oil. Choose one that will boost circulation, stimulate lymphatic drainage (poor drainage is responsible for sluggish systems, poor skin tone and cellulite) and banish toxins. Nature's detoxifiers included in this oil are purifying cypress, stimulating juniper berry and energising grapefruit. And the sweet almond oil adds nourishment for soft, supple skin.
7. Jo Malone Orange Blossom Bath Oil: £42 for 250ml, John Lewis
As white florals go, orange blossom is arguably the loveliest. Not as heady as tuberose, or as rich as jasmine, nor as gentle as lily of the valley, just a delightfully crisp fresh fruity floral that also goes by the name of neroli. Sweet almond, avocado and jojoba seed oils ensure this is skin-softening nourishment at its most luxurious. From the cream, ribboned box to the black tissue paper, a Jo Malone purchase or gift is always a real treat and this bath oil is no exception.
8. Beatitude Patience Bath Oil: £25 for 50ml, Beatitude
Busy work life, small children at home, a rigorous daily commute - whatever your stresses, most people's daily lives need an injection of patience. Unwind in the evening in the tub behind a locked door with a good book, some candles and a little bottle of this multi-award-winning revitaliser. The therapeutic, stimulating blend of rosemary, lavender, ginger and juniper berry releases tensions, detoxes the body and mind and rescues tired muscles. It’s a great one for a long, hot soak in the bath apres-ski, or after sport or gardening too. Trained under Geraldine Howard (Aromatherapy Associates founder), Rebecca O'Connor has learnt aromatherapy from the very best and we found this100 per cent natural blend really effective.
9. Neal's Yard Remedies Rose & Pomegranate Bath Oil: £15 for 100ml, Neal’s Yard Remedies
Finding balance in life is always a juggling act, but this inexpensive anti-oxidant-rich oil will bring calm and serenity to the end of a chaotic day. The blend includes calming damask rose, anxiety-fighting patchouli leaf, relaxing cedar-wood and mood boosting bergamot with an omega-packed base of nourishing pomegranate and apricot oils. It leaves skin with a lovely glow – but no greasy bath tub.
10. Crabtree & Evelyn Jojoba Oil Conditioning Bath & Massage Oil: £15 for 200ml, Crabtree & Evelyn
If you're anywhere near as clumsy as me, these glass bottles will be filling you with dread. Smashed glass on hard bathroom tiles (combined with oil that spreads fast) is something I never want to clear up again. If packaging is paramount, then this multi-tasker in a plastic bottle – as is Miller Harris and Jo Malone – would be wise to be your oil of choice. It's a simple Jojoba oil, so no fancy additions, just the finest golden-hued jojoba oil for the ultimate in nourishment in the bath or during a massage. It’s great value for money too.
The Verdict: Bath oils
For a revitalising morning boost, you can't beat Dr Hauschka's lemon-packed oil or Aromatherapy Associate's Revive Bath Oil. Neom hits the spot if you're suffering with insomnia or just need some extra wind down time before bed. But Miller Harris gets the top spot for creating a deeply relaxing, nourishing and luxurious oil that works wonders on post-winter skin.
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