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How To Use Essential Oils In The Shower: Expert Tips + 6 Options To Try

Natural Oils In Bottles On Board
Image by Martí Sans / Stocksy
August 20, 2020
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Essential oils in the shower can be a transformative experience—just a few drops, and you've got yourself a spa-grade shower. It's a DIY diffuser, if you will: The shower steam is able to lift the oil, surrounding you in the invigorating aroma as you rinse and repeat. But where exactly do you place those droppers in the shower? And how do you make sure they don't vaporize too quickly?

Here's how to use essential oils for the best shower-time experience. Drop, rinse, soothe.

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How to use essential oils in the shower. 

A quick scour online provides no shortage of tricks and tips for implementing essential oils into your shower routine. Some say to bring a bowl of water with you, dropping in the oil, and placing it away from the spray. Others swear by saturating a damp washcloth and setting it aside. But according to natural skin care expert Sarah Villafranco, M.D., founder of Osmia Organics, there's a much simpler route to take. 

"My favorite trick is to drop about five drops of essential oil on the shower floor, in the corners where the water flow is minimal," she says. "They will vaporize slowly from the warm, moist environment rather than getting washed down the drain right away." If you have a bathtub-shower combo, she mentions you can drop the oils on the corners of the tub. Just be careful stepping out, once all is said and done: The oils might make the tub slippery! 

The key here is to make sure you're dropping the oils where there's no direct water flow—that way, the oils won't swirl down the drain faster than you can say ahhh. If you're at all worried about them sliding into the splash zone, Villafranco says you can sprinkle the oils on the shower wall, away from where you lather up. Regardless, the steam should lift the volatile oils and hold them in the air as you rinse. 

6 best essential oils for your shower.

"The basics, like lavender, peppermint, and grapefruit, are all excellent in the shower," explains Villafranco. For their sensorial appeal, sure, but also because of their aromatherapy benefits: Lavender is great for promoting sleep1 and managing stress2; peppermint can help increase alertness3 (for those of you partial to a morning rinse); and citrus oils, like grapefruit, have antimicrobial properties that can manage airborne germs4

For more specific shower bliss, Villafranco has her own favorites: "If I'm tired, I like black spruce," she says (it has an invigorating scent). "For a headache, I love to use basil5." And let's not forget about eucalyptus; along with its refreshing, spa-like aroma, the essential oil has promising anti-inflammatory and antifungal benefits—it may even ease sore throats and coughs.

Feel free to test and see what's best for you; of course, what works for you might not work for everyone. And if you do have any underlying health conditions (like asthma, heart disease, or seizure disorders, Villafranco mentions), you should chat with your doctor or a professional aromatherapist before incorporating any essential oils into your shower routine. 

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The takeaway.

With the help of Villafranco, you can turn your bathroom into an instant spa. Her final tip? A little goes a long way: "Using too much oil is common in the shower—be sure to use only about five drops so you don't inhale too much of it." You don't have to be too meticulous about measurements (so long as you use a high-quality oil); just be aware that a few drops are enough to transform your entire shower experience. Plus, you know, blowing through essential oils can get expensive. 

Nonetheless, there are a bunch of oil options to choose from to truly elevate your shower experience. Grab your favorite pipette, step into the steam, and thank us later.

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