Bubble baths are one of the easiest ways to incorporate self care into our lives. “They have both a calming and relaxing effect and can be also helpful for fatigued muscles,” explains Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi. Baths are even backed by science. “There have been multiple studies on the use of relaxation baths, and many cultures incorporate bathing rituals into their routines,” he adds. Take this 2018 study from Japan, for example, which found that regular submersion in 100 degree Fahrenheit water yielded a reduction in stress, fatigue and pain, as well as boosted feelings of overall health.
Cynthia Marie Franco LE, NMT, a skin-care and body therapist who works with Salma Hayek, Amy Poehler, Zoey Deutch and other celebs, is also a fan of bubble baths. “This is a ritual that should not be lost, especially in these times,” she says. “It’s one of the most relaxing timeouts you can give yourself while cleansing your mind, body and spirit.” The best part is that you can concoct your soak depending on your personal preferences. For instance, some people like to use bath bombs, bath oils, CBD bath products, luxury candles and other spa relaxation products on top of bubbles. “The addition of aromatherapy can be very soothing as well,” adds Dr. Rossi.
Step one is to find a frothy formula that works for you. People with sensitive skin “should avoid known triggers (if the patient has been patch tested),” explains Dr. Rossi. If you’re prone to dry skin, opt for a formula made with oils. “That can help impart moisture onto the skin and create a layer that seals in moisture,” Dr. Rossi says. “Ingredients such as fragrances, sulfates, and Cocamidopropyl betaine can also be irritating for those with eczema or allergies,” he adds.
And if drawing a bath for a baby, Dr. Rossi says to avoid bubble bath formulas with fragrances or dyes altogether.
A few words of caution:
- Be sure the water isn’t scolding hot. “You want to have a temperature that is close to body temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit),” Dr. Rossi instructs. “Some people prefer warmer, but too warm may not only dehydrate the skin but also burn,” he warns. FYI: Bubble baths are safe to take if you’re pregnant, but you should aim for a bath temperature under 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure you’re clean. “Soaking in a tub can accumulate skin bacteria if present, and we don’t recommend sitting in stagnant (not clean) water if you have an open wound,” Dr. Rossi explains. And, you may be wondering, do bubble baths cause UTIs or yeast infections? According to Dr. Rossi, “baths don’t cause a UTI, but if the water is contaminated, it may not be suitable to sit and soak there.” The takeaway: Don’t stew in a bath if you’re not clean or currently have a UTI, yeast infection or anything else that could spread.
- Opt for natural, gentle formulas. If you’re prone to UTIs or yeast infections, find a gentle, fragrance-free bubble bath product that’s dermatologist-tested. Bubble baths and other washes can potentially throw off the pH of the vagina, which could cause an imbalance of bacteria or yeast.
How to make the best bubble bath
As far as setting the scene and creating a zen environment, Cynthia has a few pointers:
- Always start by adding bubbles to running water. Her two favorites, below, are by Epicuren and The Organic Pharmacy.
- Incorporate a bath soak. Dr. Rossi likes Natropathica’s magnesium bath flakes. Cynthia also uses magnesium flakes and pure Epsom salts, both of which have therapeutic benefits that will soothe sore muscles.
- Try fresh eucalyptus. “I also like to get fresh eucalyptus leaves for the room, as they release natural oils with the steam,” mentions Cynthia.
- Add candles. “I light some beeswax candles and put some meditative high frequency music on, slip in and soak. After I get out, I apply oils and or lotions and do my skin-care routine,” she explains.
- Soak for at least 20 minutes. “Because I use Epsom, magnesium and sea salts, the therapeutic soak time for this is at least 20 minutes,” adds Cynthia.
- Don’t forget to have a cozy bathrobe at the ready, post bath.
Now that you’re in the mood to relax, keep scrolling to shop the 14 best bubble baths on the market that are editor-approved.
Susanne Kaufmann Mallow Blossom Bubble Bath
At $70, this Susanne Kaufmann formula is the priciest option on our list. But if you’re looking for quality, active ingredients, it’s an investment you’ll appreciate. It’s made with botanical mallow to moisturize and soothe irritated skin, as well as lavender extracts to help calm the mind and chill you out. A little goes a long way, as it quickly turns into a fine, frothy bubble bath foam.
Kai Bathing Bubbles
Kai’s signature gardenia scent has been perfectly captured in this bubble bath. It’s hard to know how the brand does it, but it actually smells as real as a freshly-picked bouquet. The bathing bubbles are enriched with argan and coconut oil to hydrate. Trust us when we say the mix of ingredients will instantly transport you to a tropical vacation far, far away.
Epicuren Discovery Rosemary Lave
Many times, shower gels can double as bubble baths. Enter one of Cynthia’s absolute favorites by Epicuren. “The smell is so good, and the formula has real rosemary essential oils that do not strip your skin,” she notes. Since it’s organic and natural, it’s gentle enough for all skin types. The gel formula comes in two sizes: a 2.5-ounce bottle if you want to test it out, or a 16-ounce version if you want to stock up.
The Organic Pharmacy Lemon & Eucalyptus Shower Gel
Another highly-rated pick from Cynthia is this lemon eucalyptus blend from The Organic Pharmacy. The scent has a very spa-like vibe to it. “It’s incredibly uplifting and also has coconut, calendula, rosehip oil and olive oil, so it’s very soothing and cleanses without drying the skin,” she explains. It’s an incredibly gentle option for all skin types.
Bathorium Bubble Elixir
Bathorium is one of our new go-to bathtime brands. Everything it makes is extremely luxurious, and the entire line is made specifically for bathtime. Its stunning scent profiles are far from average, including in this cucumber lemongrass elixir. It combines the hydrating benefits of dewy cucumbers with the zingy scent of fresh lemongrass. Coconut milk and coconut pulp add an additional boost of moisture.
Neom Bedtime Hero Bath Foam
This essential oil-driven bath foam lives up to its name. It’s brought to you by Neom, a wildly popular UK scent brand. This nighttime blend contains 11 of the purest possible essential oils including chamomile, ylang-ylang and cedarwood. The beautifully unique scent pairing will have you relaxing and ready to doze off in no time.
Babyganics Bubble Bath
An Amazon Choice bestseller, this bubble bath for sensitive skin is made without any fragrances or dyes and is tear-free — making it also a great choice for babies. Even more, the plant-derived, certified organic formula from Babyganic comes as a two-pack from Amazon and will hardly cost you, priced at under $20.
Dr Teal’s Ultra Moisturizing Foaming Bath
Every Dr. Teal’s foaming bath gel works wonders, but we’re partial to this avocado oil-infused formula, particularly for those with chronically dry skin. In addition to naturally nourishing and hydrating avocado, it contains aromatic notes of energizing citrus. The bubbles are stacked and long-lasting. Since it’s a cheap find at under $10, you can feel free to use it liberally and regularly.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Foaming Shower Gel
It doesn’t get any more exquisite than Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle foaming shower gel. It’s the same iconic sexy fragrance you know and love, in bath form. It combines fresh orange with grasse jasmine and may rose and is topped off with hints of patchouli and vetiver grass. It lathers into a rich creamy foam that you can enjoy in the shower or tub.
Philosophy Amazing Grace Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath
Amazing Grace has long been Philosophy’s bestselling scent. It’s feminine and floral, with notes of bergamot and delicate muguet blossoms. Amazingly, it’s airy and light and sticks around well after bathtime. Bonus: The multi-tasking product is not only a bath and shower gel, but it can also be used as a shampoo.
The Honest Company Gently Nourishing Sweet Almond Bubble Bath
Jessica Alba’s natural care line has earned a steady reputation in the clean beauty world. Every scent is fresh (and the brand even carries some fragrance-free options), but this crowd-favorite, sweet almond bubble bath makes our list. Like the rest of the brand’s formulas, this natural bubble bath is tear-free and made with nourishing organic natural oils, so you can rest easy knowing you can soak in peace.
Avon Senses Peppermint Delight Bundle
One of the best things we’ve ever bought from Avon (aka America’s favorite heritage brand) is, hands down, its bubble bath. Although the label has no shortage of scent options, like cherry blossom or orange and honeysuckle, we can’t help but be partial to their limited-edition peppermint holiday scent. The 24-ounce bottle is generously sized, and comes with some other skin-care goodies from the line with this affordably priced bundle sold on Etsy. Did we mention that the foam to product ratio is exceptionally high?
Dermalogica Conditioning Body Wash
This purifying Dermalogica wash is made with essential oils — eucalyptus, lavender and sandalwood — that’ll instantly uplift your senses. Orange peel oil helps boost skin radiance and vitamin E deeply hydrates to cleanse and purify without stripping your skin’s natural moisture. Drop a few capfuls in a warm bath and find yourself surrounded by luscious, sudsy bubbles.
Vitabath Lavender Chamomile Bubble Bath
A surefire way to destress is with a calming blend of scents. This lavender chamomile blend just so happens to be Vitabath’s number one bestseller. The rich bubbly formula is enhanced with Vitamins A, B3, C, E and Pro-Vitamin 5B, all which help to bring dry skin back to life. Just a small pour is all you need.