Aromatherapy: Making Soap and Shower Gel

Have you ever wished you could make soap specially formulated for your own skin type that would literally wash away problems such as eczema or acne? Or even a relaxing shower gel to help you unwind after a hard day? As with many other types of aromatherapy beauty products, making your own soap is far easier than you might have thought.

Wash and go

Bathroom routines play a big part in your wellbeing. After a hard day at work, there's nothing better than sinking into a warm bath and soaking away the stresses of the day. A brisk morning shower is also an essential ritual, cleansing away the night's sleep and refreshing yourself for the day ahead. The products you use during these rituals can make all the difference.

Bathroom benefits
You can add aromatherapy oils to bath and shower products to tone and moisturise, act as natural deodorants, exfoliate dead skin cells and simply help you to relax by relieving muscle tension.

wet skin in aromatherapy effective oil uptake

Choosing your Base Products

The base ingredients you keep on hand to make your soaps can be as personally tailored as your choice of oils.

Glycerin base
Pure glycerin, which forms the base of most soaps, can be bought from aromatherapy suppliers, chemists or beauty stores. Some supermarkets sell pure glycerin soap, which will do just as well.

Wheatgerm Oil
This is a good ingredient for home-made soaps as it is rich in vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps to keep the skin in good condition.

Aloe vera
As well as solid soaps, you can make effective gels to help tone your skin. Aloe vera offer a good unfragranced gel base - use in a ration of 50ml aloe vera to 10 drops of essential oils.

Exfoliating scrubs
To get the benefits of exfoliation as well as cleansing, add a few teaspoons of rosemary seeds, poppy seeds, vanilla pods or cornmeal to your recipes.

Commercial soaps
There's nothing to stop you adding a few drops of oil to shop-bought soaps and gels too. Simply substitute them for the specialist products mentioned in the recipes given below.

Bathing water
Essential oils can be added directly to your bath water, or dissolved first in vegetable oil, or even full-fat milk. Add 7 to 10 drops and make sure they are well dispersed by giving them a good swish around.

Sponge or flannel
Sprinkle 4 to 6 drops of oil on a wet flannel or sponge in the shower. The steam will carry its aroma, helping you to receive its full benefits.

Home-made Aromatherapy Soap

Add your favourite oils, specific to your skin type, into a bar of soap to customise it exclusively to your needs.

  • Your first step in making your own aromatherapy soap is to buy a tub of glycerin soap base from a specialise supplier - if you can't find one, a bar of pure glycerin soap will do.
  • Melt 250g of glycerin in a non-stick pot over a very low heat (around gas mark 3) until it is totally liquidised.
  • Mix in 30-40 drops of your chosen essential oils, plus any herbs or flowers you desire, and then pour into a container to set (a small margarine tub is a good substitute if you can't find a proper mould).
  • After an hour, the soap should have set and is ready to use. You can cit it into smaller bars if you wish, and give some to friends as gifts.
aromatherapy soaps

Aromatherapy soaps often don't produce as much lather as shop-bought ones, but don't let this put you off. The foam will feel nice, but its effects in helping you to keep clean are actually minimal.

By making your own soaps you know exactly what ingredients you are using on your own skin.

Exfoliating Soaps

Using an exfoliating facial scrub or soap bar to rub off dead skin cells will work wonders in helping your skin to feel refreshed as well as clean. Exfoliating soaps prevent dull and uneven skin tones by removing build-up of dead skin cells. Exfoliating products are often called scrubs, but you should take care only to gently rub when using them on your face.

Normal - Dry Skin

  • 20 drops lavender
  • 10 drops rose
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 250g glycerin base

Normal - Greasy Skin

  • 30 drops tea tree
  • 2 teaspoons oatmeal
  • 250g glycerin base

Cleansing gels

As well as soaps, you can make fragrant and effective aromatherapy gels to help your skin tone and soothe problem areas such as dry, flaky skin.

Soothing Bath Gel

  • 10 drops peppermint
  • 4 drops tea tree
  • 50ml aloe vera

Gel for Sunburn & Blisters

  • 15 drops lavender oil
  • 50ml aloe vera
aromatherapy aloe vera gel

Oils to Use

Sunburn/damaged skin

  • Tea tree
  • Chamomile
  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender


  • Bergamot
  • Neroli
  • Cypress
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender


  • Bergamot
  • Peppermint
  • Grapefruit


  • Sandalwood
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Rose
  • Wheatgerm
  • Ylang ylang
  • Chamomile