Energize your mornings with these DIY aromatherapy shower steamers (also called shower bombs) featuring natural ingredients & essential oils to wake you up.
This recipe was inspired by newsletter subscriber, Melody.
She makes sinus bombs for the shower when her family has colds and also wanted to make some “wake up” bombs, but wasn’t sure which essential oils would go well in those.
Shower bombs (also called shower steamers) are made similar to bath bombs, only you put them at the far corner of your shower so they slowly dissolve and release their aroma while you wash up.
Unlike a bath bomb recipe, you don’t want to put oil or a melted butter in them to help them hold together, or you’ll end up with a slippery shower floor.
Because of this restriction, they might be a little more finicky to make, so if your first ones don’t turn out, check below for some troubleshooting tips and keep practicing until you get the feel for them.
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Essential Oils That Energize or Increase Alertness
Here are a few essential oils you might consider using in your shower steamers. Use high quality oils from your favorite supplier. (Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to place for aroma-therapeutic projects like this one.)
For more essential oil ideas and information, I recommend the book, The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness. It’s full of excellent information and is one of my most oft-used books.
It’s also the reference I used, along with information gleaned from PubMed, to select the list of essential oils below:
Lemon (Citrus limon) – enhances positive mood (study), clears sluggishness
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – increases alertness (study), promotes mental clarity
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – mental stimulant, encourages positivity
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – increases alertness and thinking processes (study), stimulating
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) – aids concentration and clears the mind, antimicrobial properties (study)
Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – refreshing (study), lifts lethargy & depression
Orange (Citrus sinensis) – promotes happiness, may help prevent fatigue (study)
Ingredients for Energizing Shower Steamers
- 1 cup baking soda (check local grocery stores)
- 1/2 cup citric acid (I use THIS GMO-free kind)
- 1 tablespoon white kaolin or other clay (*see notes)
- small spritz bottle containing witch hazel
- around 1 teaspoon (5 ml) essential oil(s), see list above and blend ideas below
Notes & Tips
Substitute 1 to 2 teaspoons of naturally colored clay for the white clay, if you’d like to add a soft color to your shower steamers.
Some clays, such as yellow and purple Brazilian, will only need around 1 teaspoon, while others, such as French green and Cambrian blue clays require 2+ teaspoons to be more visible.
Just make sure you have a total of 1 tablespoon clay to give the shower bombs some structure and help make them sturdier.
Bramble Berry is an excellent source of natural colored clays.
Directions to Make
Stir the baking soda, citric acid and clay together, working out any clumps with your fingers.
Sprinkle the essential oil over the mixture and work in thoroughly with gloved hands. (Gloves are recommended due to the higher-than-normal amount of essential oils.)
Spritz the mixture with several sprays of witch hazel, while stirring with a whisk or your hands, checking the mix periodically.
When it can squeeze together in a ball without easily crumbling, you’re ready to press the mixture into a mold.
You’ll get best results with a firm mold, such as a 1/4 measuring cup, half a bath bomb mold or a hard plastic mold (like Milky Way molds).
For those types of molds, press the mixture in firmly, then turn out onto parchment paper or wax paper.
The decorative shower steamer at the very top of this recipe post was made with a flexible silicone mold (THIS ONE) but they’re trickier to get to turn out right and won’t always show up the design well.
For those, press the mixture firmly into the mold then allow to dry for several hours before removing.
Directions to Use
Place the shower steamer at the far edge of your shower or tub where they won’t be directly under the water spray.
As you shower, they’ll start melting and fizzing, releasing the scent of the essential oil.
These have a fairly high amount of essential oil and aren’t recommended for using as bath bombs; so stick to these for showers only.
If you find the scent fades or isn’t quite strong enough, add a few extra drops of essential oil to the dried shower bomb right before using.
A Few Essential Oil Blend Ideas
To get you started, here are three ideas for essential oil blends to try.
Refreshing Double Mint – 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) peppermint essential oil + 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) spearmint essential oil
Zesty Citrus – 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) orange essential oil + 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) grapefruit essential oil
Rosemary Focus – 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) rosemary essential oil + 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) bergamot essential oil
As you can tell by the photo above, it took quite a few test batches to get a recipe that held together well.
See the super crumbly ones turning into a pile of powder?
That happened when I used less clay in the recipe and not enough witch hazel. They started out looking great, but dried to a crumbly mess.
The ones with cracks are where I added too much liquid and they expanded.
They’ll still work fine as a shower steamer, they just won’t look as pretty.
You might also notice some wart-like bumps on the surface of your shower steamers.
That’s usually from the essential oil not being blended in enough and/or too much liquid in that portion of the mixture. Be sure to mix really well, working the mixture with gloved hands.
Using a spritz bottle to incorporate the liquid makes these types of projects so much easier to make.
Also note that my house is very warm and dry this time of year because of our wood stove. (Indoor temps hover between 75 to 80 degrees F and humidity is very low.) You may need to adjust ingredient amounts depending on your climate.