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A tub full of bubbles is the perfect tonic at the end of a long day. A bath is a relaxing way to wind down, release tension, and shut out the world.

However, store-bought bubble baths often include ingredients that aren’t ideal for people with sensitive skin or those who choose to avoid harsh chemicals.

That said, you want to choose bath products that are labeled for sensitive skin if you have skin concerns. Homemade soap products may not be the best choice if you have sensitive skin.

If you don’t have sensitive skin issues, making your own natural version is fairly simple. Read on to find out how.

First and foremost, baths can be a relaxing form of self-care.

Warm water helps to relax muscles and calm the mind. In fact, one study found that participants who took baths reported better physical and mental health than those who took showers.

Studies show that hot water baths can improve circulation and vascular function and promote sleep.

Bubbles are made up of two layers of soap molecules that surround a thin layer of water molecules.

For a truly bubbly bath, you’re best off adding the mix you’ve created into the stream of running water straight from the tap.

The stronger the water pressure, the bigger the bubbles. Bubbles can improve a bath by keeping it warmer for longer by trapping and insulating the warm water.

Taking a bath is a safe activity, in general. But it’s important to make sure you keep the water temperature at a comfortable level — not too hot or too cold.

When it comes to the bubble bath itself, homemade formulas are your best bet if you’re concerned about ingredients. To avoid skin sensitivities or possible allergic reactions, stick to mild soap products and ingredients.

It’s a good idea to test the individual ingredient on a small patch of skin and wait 48 hours for any reactions before filling your tub.

Some ingredients can cause irritation to sensitive areas, like the genitals. Irritation to the vagina may lead to a urinary tract infection in adults and children, though evidence is mixed.

Research shows that an optimum bath temperature for healthy adults is somewhere between 104 to 109°F (40 to 43°C). If you’re pregnant, an older adult, or have a health condition, lower temperatures are recommended. Talk with your doctor.

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All bubble bath recipes are centered on the same core ingredients:

  • water
  • soap
  • glycerin or coconut oil

You’ll need the approximate measurements below for one bath:

  • 1/4 cup warm, distilled water
  • 1/2 cup liquid soap
  • 1/4 cup glycerin or coconut oil

Simply mix all three to create your own concoction.

Glycerin is a soap additive that is sometimes difficult to obtain but is an effective moisturizing agent. Coconut oil is a good replacement to moisturize the skin.

Store-bought bubble baths often contain sodium laureth sulfate, an ingredient known to irritate sensitive skin. Making your own bubble bath is a great way to avoid this ingredient.

Make sure you choose a liquid soap that’s designed for sensitive skin. Ideally, it would be best to choose a liquid soap you’ve used previously without any reactions.

Castile soap is a great option. Formulated with hemp, olive, and jojoba oils, it’s biodegradable, nontoxic, and vegan.

Technically, yes! You can swap out the liquid soap for your choice of shampoo.

Normally, liquid soap or shower gel is formulated with similar ingredients to shampoo. Both decrease the surface tension of the water, which allows bubbles to form.

Choosing between liquid soap and shampoo just comes down to availability and preference for ingredients and scents.

Making a bubble bath can be a fun activity to do with kids. Bubble baths for kids can be based on the same ingredient list suggested above.

Just make sure any additional ingredients you use are safe for sensitive skin. This is especially important if your child has any skin issues or allergies.

To make bath time more fun, you can add things like lavender blossoms or other flower petals.

The best thing about creating your own bubble bath? You can make it just to your liking. Once you have the original recipe, you can add a whole host of ingredients to jazz it up.

Essential oils

Adding mild and skin-safe essential oils like lavender or chamomile is the simplest way to scent your bubble bath.

Simply add four to five drops to a carrier oil of your choice, then add to your soap mix before pouring into your tub.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils.

It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils. Be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

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Other oils

Try adding jojoba, almond, or vitamin E oil for an extra skin-nourishing boost.

Just remember that oils will make your bath slippery, so take extra care when getting in and out. It’s also a good idea to clean the tub afterward to prevent falls.


For a sweet and soothing bath, try adding a 1/4 cup of honey to the mix.

Not only will it provide a sweet aroma, but honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Egg whites

Many popular home and beauty blogs suggest adding one egg white to a basic bubble bath mix to increase the bubbles, although there isn’t scientific evidence to back this up.

Just remember to keep any leftover bubble bath mix in the fridge if you choose to save it for later. Otherwise, it will spoil.

Aloe vera

With its moisturizing and cooling properties, aloe vera can be a major skin soother.

Adding it to your bath within a bubble mix is a great way to reap its benefits. This can be an especially good option for mild sunburn.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is a natural ingredient that can give your bath a decadent and creamy feel.

Although coconut isn’t technically a nut, some people may be allergic. Be sure to test a small area of skin before pouring coconut milk into your bath.

Flower petals

For a pretty and fragrant soak, try adding dried flower petals to your mix. Then sit back and enjoy the sensory experience.

Many flowers also offer health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and calming properties. You can blend different combinations of flowers and herbs to make your own bath tea.

Some good options are:


Add a cup of magnesium flakes or Epsom salts to your bubble bath mix or straight into the tub to help with sore muscles. Research shows magnesium can help with hydration and inflammation.

Creamy honey bath

This recipe combines the scents of almond oil, honey, and vanilla for a sweet experience.

  • 1/4 cup sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup liquid castile soap
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract

Find the full recipe here.

Calming sleepytime bubble bath

This bath combines vanilla and chamomile to calm and soothe.

  • 1 cup mild liquid body soap
  • 1/4 cup pure vegetable glycerin or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. chamomile essential oil diluted in a carrier oil

Find the full recipe here.

Kid-friendly bubble bath

This simple bubble bath is safe and mild for sensitive skin.

Mix all ingredients and pour about 1 cup of the bubble bath under running water. Store in a resealable container.

Deep sleep bubble bath

This bubble bath is designed to help you sleep soundly.

  • 1 cup clear, unscented dish soap
  • 2/3 cup liquid glycerin or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2–3 drops lavender essential oil diluted in a carrier oil
  • sprinkle of dried lavender

Find the full recipe here.

Cooling bath soak

This bubble bath helps cool and soothe achy muscles with peppermint, chamomile, and Epsom salt.

  • 2 1/2 cups Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup body wash
  • 1 peppermint tea bag
  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • up to 10 drops of a skin-safe essential oil of your choice diluted in a carrier oil

Find the full recipe here.

Unicorn bubble bars

This is another great option to make with the kids. Use a cookie cutter in a unicorn shape to prep your bath ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup bubble bath (see recipes above)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • soap colorant (pink, blue, and purple)
  • parchment paper or freezer paper
  • gloves
  • unicorn cookie cutter

Find the full recipe here.

Tropical bubble bath

This bath features the scent of the tropics with coconut and lemongrass.

  • 1/4 cup warm distilled water
  • 1/2 cup liquid soap
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2–5 drops lemongrass essential oil diluted in a carrier oil

Mix all ingredients and pour about 1 cup of bubble bath under running water. Store in a resealable container.

Romantic bubble bath

  • 1/4 cup warm distilled water
  • 1/2 cup liquid soap
  • 1/4 cup glycerin or coconut oil
  • 2–5 drops of rose essential oil diluted in a carrier oil
  • dried rose petals

Mix all ingredients and pour about 1 cup of bubble bath under running water. Store in a resealable container.

Homemade bubble baths can give your skin a break from harsh ingredients commonly found in store-bought options. It may even be easier on your wallet.

Making your own bath time concoction is a fun way to experiment with different ingredients and scents, and baths are a great option to relax, improve circulation, and sleep more deeply.

Elizabeth Bennett is a British journalist covering beauty, health, and wellness. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Refinery 29, Marie Claire, and Women’s Health.