People have been taking baths for centuries, but now they’re far more than just a way to get clean. Modern studies have discovered that a hot soak can help promote better sleep, relieve stress, reduce depression and even boost metabolism.
And thanks to the newest bath products on the market, you can easily turn your tub into a spa-like experience.
Forget the harsh, artificially fragranced and sulfate-laden bubble baths of the past. They’ve been been replaced by gentle formulas with clean ingredients that are unlikely to disrupt your pH or cause irritation. Think: mineral-rich salts and skin-softening powders, infused with essential oils, algae, clay and other botanical ingredients.
Keep scrolling to discover the best bath salts and bath soaks (and why I chose them) for your next self-care session.
The Best Bath Salts and Bath Soaks of 2021 (At a Glance)
- Herbivore Calm Ylang Ylang + Vanilla Soaking Salts
- Goop G.Tox Detox 5 Salt Bath Soak
- Indie Lee I-Recover Body Soak
- Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts
- Agent Nateur Holi(Bath) Coconut Milk Bath
- French Girl Mint Sea Soak Enlivening Bath Salts
- Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts
- Odacité Energy Awakening Evergreen Bath Soak
- Salt By Hendrix Soak Infusion
- Pursoma Digital Detox Bath Soak
- African Botanics Kalahari Desert De-Tox Bath Salts
- This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak
- Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak
- Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath
- Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes
- Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath
What to Look for in Bath Salts and Bath Soaks
For the best bath experience, look for skin-friendly products that meet the following criteria:
- High in salts: The whole point of a bath is to relax—so you want a high salt content, which will encourage the uptake of essential minerals (like magnesium).
- Free of sulfates: Not to be confused with magnesium sulfate (a.k.a. Epsom salt), sodium lauryl sulfate and similar detergents are often present to produce a lather. Unfortunately, they can strip natural oils and dry out your skin.
- Low in fragrance: While our bodies usually have a higher tolerance for fragrance than our faces, it’s still best to limit it if possible (since it’s the number one cause of irritation). Avoid salts and soaks with high levels of synthetic fragrance, and choose products with low amounts of essential oils instead.
- Free of dyes and glitter: It goes without saying that dyes and glitter offer nothing beneficial to your skin, and can be irritating or abrasive.
- Low in PUFAs: Oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are unstable and quick to oxidize (go rancid). I avoid products with PUFA oils in the first five ingredients.
The Best Bath Salts and Bath Soaks of 2021 (Reviews)
Herbivore Calm Ylang Ylang + Vanilla Soaking Salts
Herbivore Calm Ylang Ylang + Vanilla Soaking Salts are a fusion of Pacific sea salt, Himalayan pink salt, kaolin clay and my two favourite scents: ylang-ylang and vanilla. Compared to other bath salts, they may take a little more time to dissolve, but they make up for that with the pretty packaging and affordable price.
Goop G.Tox Detox 5 Salt Bath Soak
Goop G.Tox Detox 5 Salt Bath Soak is the creation of Gwyneth Paltrow, who famously takes a bath every single night. This blend is all about cleansing your body (and mind) from the stress and pollution of urban life. It’s creamy, thanks to charcoal and clay, and the five different salts leave you feeling super relaxed. The brand also makes G.Nite for deep sleep; Phys.Ed. for sore muscles; Nurse! for when you’re under the weather; and The Martini for taking the edge off a stressful day.
Indie Lee I-Recover Body Soak
Indie Lee I-Recover Body Soak is a two-in-one soak and scrub that soothes overworked muscles and removes dead skin. Like all the brand’s products, it’s made with only clean ingredients, including Epsom salt, coconut oil, Dead Sea salt and Himalayan salt. You can either dissolve it in a bath, or apply it directly to damp skin as an exfoliant. There’s also a Sleep version to help you wind down.
Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts
If you’re curious about the CBD trend, Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts are a great way to give it a test-drive. Not only do they contain an all-natural mix of salts, sulfur, baking soda, glycerin and essential oils, they’re also spiked with 100 mg of a hemp-derived cannabinoid extract. In a bath, CBD won’t make you high, but its anti-inflammatory properties can help to ease sore, achy muscles.
Agent Nateur Holi(Bath) Coconut Milk Bath
Agent Nateur Holi(Bath) Coconut Milk Bath contains not only coconut milk powder but also salt, magnesium, calendula, chamomile, baking soda and honey. So you’re getting a little bit of everything in this one, with a jasmine, rose and sandalwood scent. Plus, there’s no guessing about how much to add to your bath—it’s already divided into 10 sachets.
French Girl Mint Sea Soak Enlivening Bath Salts
For a refreshing bath experience, there’s French Girl Mint Sea Soak Enlivening Bath Salts. This blend of six salts (Himalayan, Dendritic, Epsom, Dead Sea, French grey and Pacific) is fragranced with peppermint, rosemary and lavender to invigorate your senses. The brand also has a Rose version, which is more calming.
Odacité Energy Awakening Evergreen Bath Soak
Reach for Odacité Energy Awakening Evergreen Bath Soak when you need a pick-me-up. This Ayurveda-inspired blend releases stress and tension with Epsom, Dendritic and Himalayan sea salts. Meanwhile, seaweed binds moisture and eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils create focused energy.
Salt By Hendrix Soak Infusion
If you like the idea of bathing in flower petals, you’ll love Salt By Hendrix Soak Infusion. This Australian-made botanical blend includes Epsom salt, Himalayan pink salt and green tea. The real globosa and myosotis (forget-me-not) flowers make it feel utterly decadent.
Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts
Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts are for anyone who needs some serious TLC. With a high 240 mg concentration of broad-spectrum CBD, they’ll melt away tension and promote a sense of calm. Also in the mix: Epsom and Himalayan salts, arnica, and evergreen and citrus essential oils.
Pursoma Digital Detox Bath Soak
Pursoma Digital Detox Bath Soak offers an escape from digital distractions. It has sea salt to stimulate circulation and ease sore muscles, and French green clay to soften your skin and draw out toxins. You’re meant to soak for 30 minutes, and then relax under a blanket to continue the detox through perspiration.
African Botanics Kalahari Desert De-Tox Bath Salts
African Botanics Kalahari Desert De-Tox Bath Salts are made with a rare, mineral-rich type of salt: Kalahari crystal, harvested from the Kalahari Desert in Africa. They’re laced with caffeine to help minimize cellulite, and seaweed extract and marula oil to hydrate your skin.
This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak
This Works Deep Sleep Bath Soak is all about promoting a deep and restful sleep. So the sea salt is mixed with chamomile and an array of aromatherapeutic oils, including lavender, patchouli and vetiver. There is some synthetic fragrance in here, but it’s less than 1%.
Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak
Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak creates a milky bath experience with the addictive scents of coconut and vanilla. It features dehydrated coconut milk, which is not only fragrant but also moisturizing, and has a high concentration of baking soda (which is actually a type of salt, and is extra-soothing). It leaves skin so soft, you can probably skip body lotion.
Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath
For dehydrated, sunburned or stressed-out skin, Susanne Kaufmann St. John’s Wort Bath is just the ticket. The St. John’s wort extract calms sensitivity, while cocoa butter and milk protein nourish the skin. They’re in a base of sodium bicarbonate (a soothing salt), which also creates a cool fizzing effect when you add it to the water.
Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes
Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes are ideal if you do a lot of working out, yoga or sports. The magnesium flakes are an alternative to Epsom salts, and are made from some of the world’s purest natural magnesium chloride. Sweet birch oil creates a warming sensation and has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain.
Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath
Dr. Singha’s Mustard Bath is the creation of the late Dr. Shyam Singha, a London-based acupuncturist, osteopath and homeopath who was considered one of the most sought-after healers in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. This soak has a cult following among athletes, who swear by it for healing sore muscles post-training. The star ingredient is indeed mustard (in powdered form), along with essential oils and sodium carbonate.
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- Goto, Yasuaki, Hayasaka, Shinya, Kurihara, Shigeo & Nakamura, Yosikazu. (2018). Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2018; 2018: 9521086.
- Naumann, Johannes, Grebe, Julian, Kaifel, Sonja, Weinert, Tomas, Sadaghiani, Catharina & Huber, Roman. (2017). Effects of hyperthermic baths on depression, sleep and heart rate variability in patients with depressive disorder: a randomized clinical pilot trial. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. 2017; 17: 172.
- Hoekstra, S. P., Bishop, N. C., Faulkner, S. H., Bailey, S. J. & Leicht, C. A. (2018). Acute and chronic effects of hot water immersion on inflammation and metabolism in sedentary, overweight adults. Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol. 125, No. 6.
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