Sylvia Plath might’ve been famous for her literature, but one of the American poet’s most-quoted soundbites has nothing to do with her verse. In fact, it’s about baths: “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.” Well, neither do we, Sylvia.

No matter how taxing our day has been or how hideous our commute home is, every last trouble we have melts away the moment we dip our toe into a warm bath.

And with the rise of self-care – a very millennial way to describe looking after yourself – bathing has become an elevated ritual, one that calls for various bells and whistles, namely bath oil.

A good oil can upgrade your bathing experience from humdrum to homeopathic.

It can transport you into a realm of relaxation so profound, you might forget you’re simply sitting in a tub of hot water and instead picture yourself soaking in the warm oceans of Indonesia.

But with endless options at your disposal, how can you choose between sandalwood and safflower oil? And what do those names even mean? Let alone smell like?

Fear not, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to bath oils to ensure your next tub session is as peaceful – and comprehensible – as possible.

Aromatherapy Associates deep relax bath & shower oil, 55ml: £49, Aromatherapy Associates

If you could bottle a good night’s sleep, we imagine it would smell something like this. Aromatherapy’s deep relax bath and shower oil induces serenity from the first whiff. The scent was created by the brand’s founder to combat her own insomnia, and it’s not hard to see why it’s so effective. Sandalwood, camomile and vetivert are the primary ingredients at play here, all of which are renowned for their calming properties. It’s strong too, and will fill your entire bathroom, making it smell like the most luxurious of spas. You only need to use a capful, so even though the bottle is on the small side, it should last for roughly 20 baths.

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NEOM Organics real luxury bath & shower drops, 100ml: £40, Neom Organics

This bottle comes with a handy pipette to stop you from overdoing it when you add it to your bath. This unique blend of 24 essential oils is designed to make you feel as relaxed and treated as possible, with safflower oil, vitamin A, vitamin E, jasmine and lavender all in the mix. It has a deeply calming effect and thankfully you don’t need to use very much of it to feel the effect.

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Seed to Skin the bath nectar, 100ml: £88, Liberty London

This oil looks as indulgent as it smells. Housed inside a deep green glass bottle, you could say it’s the genie of bath oils. Scent-wise, it offers a revitalising mix of jasmine, damask oil and neroli , all of which are anti-inflammatory, organic and cruelty-free.  It’s a hero product for the Tuscan-born brand, Seed to Skin, which produces all of its beauty goods in a laboratory at a restored 13th century villa in the heart of Tuscany. It’s not cheap, but its packaging and its romantic backstory warrant the expense.

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Kiss The Moon love after dark bath oil, 100ml: £38, Kiss The Moon

This bath oil has a more subtle scent that some of the other ones listed here. But it still contains plenty of essential oils designed to help soothe your soul, such as rose, frankincense, coconut and jojoba. It’s also deeply moisturising and is a good one to apply after the bath too for some added pre-bedtime indulgence.

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Penhaligon’s bluebell bath oil, 200ml: £45, Penhaligon’s

This bath oil stands out for more reasons than one. For starters, there’s its bright blue hue, perfect for springtime, and its opulent retro-inspired bottle, which makes sense given this is a brand that has been around since 1870. The oil itself is sumptuous and smells like a fresh, well-kept garden, with hints of violet and sweet almond oil.  It’s also intensely moisturising and is easily absorbed by your skin, so you can enjoy feeling as smooth as a dolphin for hours after your bath.

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Espa restorative bath oil, 100ml: £30, Espa

This product smells a little sweeter than your traditional bath oil, and is made from orange, rose geranium and lavender. The additions of sweet almond oil and palmarosa add extra moisture while adding to the pleasantly saccharine scent. You should only need one cap or two to get the full “restorative” effect. Bonus points for its plush spa-like bottle made from glass and stone.

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Elemental Herbology earth balance, 145ml: £28, Elemental Herbology

This oil is part of a five-piece collection inspired by the elements. While each offers different benefits, the earth offering reigns supreme for its balancing but not overpowering combination of lime, cedarwood, mandarin and frankincense, all of which aim to promote mental clarity, which is something we could probably all use a little more of. Its thick texture is deeply nourishing and is perfect for pre and post-bathing, so try applying this before bed and letting it soak in overnight to wake up feeling revived, refreshed and in ownership of impossibly soft skin.

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The verdict: Bath oils

While bath oils will almost always be a luxurious product regardless of brand or scent, the Aromatherapy offering leads the way in terms of relaxation thanks to its divine scent that would calm even the most frazzled of city slickers. It’s a true gem of a product and would make a perfect gift for anyone in need of some solid me-time.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.