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Water Dispersible Bath Oil

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Water Dispersible Bath Oil

Water Dispersible Bath Oil

David Fisher
My favorite time of the year is that transition time when the weather turns chilly for the first time after a long hot spell. It's time for hot tea, warm sweaters and hot baths. We soap (and candle) makers know the benefits of moisturizing oils on your skin, and the power of fragrance and essential oils on the mood. What a better time to combine them than in a tub of piping hot water?

But what about the oily ring? Or the slipperiness? You're right - just adding a mix of oil and essential oil to your bath would indeed just float on the top of the water. Not a problem if you've just added a little bit of oil, like in fizzy bath bombs, but if you're using very much, or adding the oil directly to your bath, it doesn't disperse into the bath water very well.

Disperse? That sounds like the job of an emulsifier. An emulsifier is a substance (in this case, a liquid) that helps two other liquids (oil and water) mix together and stay mixed. Think salad dressing...or lotion...or even hollandaise sauce - o.k., well not in the bath tub.

So...to make a bath oil dispersible, you have to add an emulsifier. My favorite is Polysorbate 80. (You can also substitute Polysorbate 20...espeically if you're going to use it for room or linen sprays as well - poly 20 is best for those.)

Figure your recipe using about 20% Polysorbate 80 or 20, and 80% bath oil. Figure in 3-5% fragrance or essential oil...and you've got your recipe.

For example:

  • 2 ounces of Polysorbate 80 or 20
  • 8 ounces of sweet almond oil
  • .5 ounce of lavender essential oil (or any other fragrance or essential oil blend you like)
  1. Measure the Polysorbate 80/20 into the bottle.
  2. Add the fragrance/essential oil and mix gently.
  3. Add the almond oil and mix gently.
That's it! You'll be amazed at how the Polysorbate 80 & 20 makes the oil disperse into the water.


  1. It may separate a bit after it has set for a while, so you'll need to mix it gently before each use.
  2. To get true aromatherapy benefits, you'll need to use pure essential oils
  3. If you're going to keep the oil for longer than a few months, add some vitamin E or Rosemary Oleoresin to the oil as an antioxidant. About 1-2% of the total amount of oil is fine. (For example, if you had 8 ounces in the recipe .08 - .16 ounce of either (yes, just a tiny amount) will help keep the oils fresh)
  4. I used sweet almond oil in this recipe - you can use any light oil. Other good ones would be apricot, fractionated coconut, jojoba, sunflower. Grapeseed is good too, and light, but has a characteristic nutty odor that may not mix well with your scent.
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