Tub truffles for everyone! Hurray! These don’t just smell divine and nourish/soften skin: they also help insulate you against the cold by coating your skin with delicious cocoa butter and sweet almond oil! Stay cozy! xoxo Kristina
Tub Truffles – Melting Aromatherapy “Candy” for the Bath
What are tub truffles?
Tub truffles are tiny “bath candies” designed to add fragrance and skin-nourishing oils to your bath. We call them “tub truffles” because they smell like chocolate (thanks to the cocoa butter) and look like candy, especially when they have been molded into special shapes.
What are tub truffles made out of?
Tub truffles are made with organic, unrefined cocoa butter, sweet almond oil, and bath-appropriate essential oils in a fitting dilution. When added to the hot water of a bath, the truffles melt away, imparting both the butter/oil and the essential oils into the bath water to soften, hydrate, and nourish skin while adding luxurious texture and fragrance to the bath water.
Why should I use essential oils to fragrance my tub truffles?
Essential oils —when responsibly sourced, thoughtfully derived, and appropriately used—are powerful tools for facilitating wellness of body, mind, and spirit. Many carry significant therapeutic properties that often impact multiple body systems. In addition, essential oils have energetic associations that can significantly impact our mind and emotional body. Besides, who wants or needs more chemically-derived synthetics on their skin? Blech.
Wee Words of Caution
Since these really do look and smell like candy it’s imperative that you label them appropriately and keep them out of the reach of children! Seriously. They aren’t edible. Don’t make it possible for anyone to get confused, especially if you keep them in your fridge.
Also, DON’T substitute with harsh or skin-sensitizing essential oils. (I know, I know, you wanted to use Peppermint. But you can’t. Because it burns lady-parts, mm-kay? ‘Nuff said.)
Cocoa Butter is a solid fat made from the fermented, washed, dried, and roasted seed of the cocoa tree; it melts readily when heated or even warmed. Cocoa Butter is a solid fat.
Considered to be skin-protecting, it contains as much as 5IU of Vitamin E per ounce and is rich in natural antioxidants. Cocoa Butter lubricates, softens, moisturizes, and improves skin flexibility. It conveniently smells a LOT like chocolate!
Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil is a natural, vegetable-derived extract that dates back to ancient times. It nourishes and revives the skin without clogging pores. Easily absorbed, it is an excellent moisturizer; it is high in Vitamins E and D.
Recommended Essential Oils
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense essential oil is steam distilled from a resin. Among its therapeutic properties, it provides mild relief for both pain and inflammation, stimulates the immune system, and encourages cell-regeneration and skin-healing to name just a few. Frankincense is excellent for dry skin, mature skin, and in the reduction of scar tissue.
Energetically, Frankincense encourages emotional healing, quiets the mind, and supports reflection and introspection. It has been used in religious rites and meditation or worship for thousands of years; it is magically aligned with spirituality and meditation.
Frankincense’s fragrance is described as earthy, resinous, warm, and radiant.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender essential oil is well known and beloved. It is steam distilled from the flowers of the lavender plant. Lavender is recognized as having over fifteen therapeutic properties. For our purposes, we’ll be most interested in its sedative, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and skin-healing properties. Lavender both reduces emotional tension and helps resolve physical pain.
Energetically, Lavender is calming, nurturing, and soothing, particularly to those overcome by panic. It is said to bring a calm composure. Magically, Lavender is aligned with peace, love, tranquility, and platonic love.
Lavender is easily recognizable—and often adulterated! Be sure you are using true, pure Lavender essential oil to get its natural, fresh, herbaceous, and sweet scent.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Myrrh essential oil is steam distilled from resin. Myrrh is most celebrated for its skin-healing, anti-inflammatory, and energetic properties. It is considered to be warming and drying to the system overall, but helps restore balance to dry skin when combined with a nourishing carrier. It is also a powerful decongestant.
Myrrh is prized for its ability to bring stillness and transcendent peace, as well as its capacity to connect the spiritual to the physical. Not surprisingly, it has been used in conjunction with meditation for thousands of years—it is magically aligned with spirituality and meditation, as well as spiritual celebration.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
Neroli essential oil comes from steam-distillation of the blossoms of the bitter orange tree. Neroli is prized by aromatherapists for its vast therapeutic properties and user-friendliness. When not overdone, Neroli has an astonishingly positive effect in most people. It offers powerful support for the body and the nervous system: restorative to skin, antispasmodic, and antibacterial for the body and antidepressant, sedative, and calming to the nervous system.
Energetically, Neroli is effective and restoring optimism and helping people to overcome deep gloom; it is especially indicated for individuals looking to overcome trauma or shock. Not surprisingly, it is aligned with renewal and reassurance. Magically, it is aligned with purification and joy. Floral, citrus, exotic, and sensual, Neroli is excellent when used in soaps, creams, massage oils, and lotions so long as not too much is used—it tends to be both strong and expensive! Just a few drops will usually do the trick…
Rose (Rosa damascena) otto
Few essential oils are more celebrated or familiar than that of the ubiquitous rose. Rose petals are distilled in one of two ways: either with chemical solvents, creating Rose absolute, or through steam distillation, which yields less of the more expensive oil known as Rose otto. Rose is most often used in preparations for the skin because it is so nourishing for skin cells. It is also considered to be antidepressant, antifungal, astringent, and calming to the nervous system among other therapeutic properties.
Energetically, Rose is renowned for easing grief, cooling anger, healing the heart, and lifting up feelings of love. Not surprisingly, Rose is magically aligned with love, peace, beauty, and romance. It is particularly powerful in restoring self-love where an individual has suffered the loss of a significant loved one. Aromatically, Rose is familiar to most: floral, sweet, heady, and rich. Very little of the oil is needed to impart the scent or benefit in a blend.
Sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum)
Sandalwood is among the most precious essential oils thanks to its rare source, low distillation yield, and frequent use in the aromatherapy and perfume communities. Chips of wood from the tree (which is typically cut down completely) are steam distilled to yield the precious oil. Sandalwood alleviates inflammation, contracts and tightens skin, calms the nervous system, decongests, and supports both skin and wound healing, among other things.
Beloved for its association with meditation and facilitating inner peace, Sandalwood encourages acceptance of that which we cannot change; it reduces anger and aggressive behavior while providing energetic protection. Magically, too, Sandalwood aligns with spirituality, healing, and meditation. The fragrance is earthy, woody, radiant, and warm.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Sweet Orange has a bright, sunny, uplifting fragrance that betrays its use as an antidepressant and mood lifter. Cold pressed from the rind of Sweet Oranges, it is especially beloved by aromatherapists in belly blends for settling digestive issues. Sweet Orange brings a host of therapeutic properties including pain and inflammation relief. Often leveraged for its antimicrobial properties, it is both antibacterial and antiviral. The antispasmodic and digestive aid properties make it so effective in belly blends, particularly for irritable bowel syndrome. Sweet oranges stimulates the energy centers, the immune centers, and positive thinking, too; it is considered an overall tonic and skin penetration enhancer, making it a valuable partner with other oils in many blends.
Energetically, Sweet Orange brings fresh perspective by clearing old energy, encouraging optimism, and soothing criticism and perfectionism. These associations line up perfectly with the joyful, purifying, and high-energy magical associations for Sweet Orange. As you might expect, Sweet Orange’s fragrance is citrusy, fresh, fruity, and sweet.
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) absolute
Vanilla remains one of the best-known—and most beloved—fragrances and flavors in the world. Sourced from the precious bean (fruit) of the Vanilla orchid, native to Mexico, its procurement is complicated, delicate, and time-consuming. In order to meet demand, Vanilla “farmers” have staff waiting patiently to hand-pollinate the flower in the 24-hour window available before the opportunity to encourage fruit has passed; Vanilla plants have less than 1% chance of producing fruit if left to their own devices. Vanilla absolute is distilled through solvent extraction–we don’t recommend using more than 4-5 drops total in this recipe. To avoid chemical solvents altogether, you can plan ahead and soak vanilla beans in your sweet almond oil to infuse the fragrance. (Trust me, you’ll want to use enough vanilla beans and sweet almond oil to yield more than two tablespoons–you’ll fall in love with the infused oil!)
Much of the association with Vanilla rests in energetic properties that are drawn down directly from its lore, namely that the rare fruit and unique fragrance impart exotic, romantic, and hopeful energies to any endeavor. Prized as an aphrodisiac, Vanilla aligns with love, romance, sex, and raising energy.
Recommended Essential Oil Pairings for Tub Truffles
Sandalwood & Rose • Lavender & Vanilla • Sweet Orange & Neroli
Frankincense & Myrrh
Tub Truffles – Master Recipe
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) Organic, Unrefined Cocoa Butter*
- 2T Organic, Unrefined Sweet Almond Oil
- Total of 10-15 drops (depending on the oils) of your essential oil/essential oil blend
*Some cocoa butter is sold in solid blocks or bricks, some is sold grated or in “chunks”. If you don’t have chips (or a reliable means to cut and weigh your cocoa butter block to 2 ounces), you can grate it by hand with the large side of a metal cheese grate so that it can be packed into the ¼ cup measure instead. Just be aware, it will melt quickly at your touch!
- Pyrex (or other heatproof) measuring cup
- Large frying pan or wide, low-sided pot
- Bamboo skewer or popsicle stick
- Small candy- or soap-molds (you can also use ice cube trays!)
- Small cutting board, tray, or cookie sheet (handy if using silicone molds)
- Measure two (2) ounces of Cocoa Butter (or pack grated Cocoa Butter into a 1/4 cup measure until it is level with the top)
- Place the Cocoa Butter in the heatproof measuring cup.
- Place the frying pan or wide-mouth pot on the stove and fill with 1” of hot water—you’ll be using this like the bottom of a double-boiler.
- Place the heatproof cup in the water in the frying pan/pot.
- Turn the burner on low.
- Stir the mixture in the measuring cup with the bamboo skewer or popsicle stick every couple of minutes—continue until the Cocoa Butter is just melted (about 5-10 minutes).
- Add 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil to the melted cocoa butter and stir together.
- Turn off the stove and carefully remove the measuring cup from the pan/pot. Place the measuring cup on a towel or secure trivet on a counter-top or table.
- Allow the mixture to cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add 10-20 drops of your chosen essential oil or blend and stir. (See below for ideas…)
- If using silicone or other flexible molds, place the mold on a small tray that you can use to transfer the mold to the freezer or fridge—they can be wobbly and spill otherwise.
- Pour the mixture into individual candy or soap molds.
- Carefully place the molds with the bath melt mixture in the fridge or freezer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the bath melts have solidified all the way through. (If using the freezer, don’t leave them in too long or they’ll split/crack!)
- Remove the solidified bath melts from the fridge/freezer and pop them out of their molds. If desired, wrap with colored foil squares or tissue paper while still cold.
- NOTE: Just like they melt in the warmth of the bath, they will melt quickly in your hot little hands! You’ll want to keep them cool–and definitely away from heat!–both before and after you pack them. We leave ours individually wrapped in foil in a sealed bag in the fridge.
- Store your bath melts in a cold/cool location.
- To use the bath melts, place one or two (depending on the size of the bath melts and the desired strength of aroma) in a hot bath and enjoy! The bath melts will quickly melt in the warm water delivering a beautiful aroma and coating your skin with the nourishing cocoa butter and almond oil.
You—and your tub!—will be coated with delicious sweet almond oil and cocoa butter after you soak. This is a good thing for your skin–and will help keep you warm!–but be careful getting out of your tub, as the surface will be slippery! You’ll want to clean the tub—or, at a minimum—wipe it down after you soak to remove some of the oil.
Several brilliant works informed this blog post, including Scott Cunningham’s Magical Aromatherapy (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2012) and Gabriel Mojay’s Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997).
In addition, my education through Andrea Butje’s Aromatherapy Certification Program at the Aromahead Institute contributed tremendously to my knowledge of essential oils in general and many of these oils in particular.
Sources for Materials
Aromatics International Organic, Unrefined Cocoa Butter, Wild-Crafted/Unsprayed Essential Oils w/GC/MS reports
Mountain Rose Herbs Organic, Unrefined Cocoa Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Essential Oils
Wilton Silicone Molds
Brambleberry Molds, Butters