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There’s nothing more relaxing than taking a hot shower after a long day, am I right? While you might have your favorite body washes and loofahs on stand-by for easy access, the best shower steamers are around the corner waiting to be opened and enjoyed. “Shower steamers, by combining skin application and inhalation via steam, emerge as a remarkable conduit for the benefits of aromatherapy,” says Melike Aktas Atilgan, NAHA certified professional aromatherapist and co-founder of Yoursy. “This dual-action approach addresses emotional and physical relaxation.”
Similar to bath bombs, there are a variety of shower steamers on the market available in different fragrances, many of which are made from essential oils for additional benefits. “The therapeutic properties of 100 percent pure essential oils extend beyond mere fragrances, as inhaling their aromatic essence can help to reduce stress, enhance bodily functions, boost immunity, elevate mood, promote spirituality, enhance focus, memory, and concentration,” Atilgan adds.
After pouring over dozens of customers reviews and meticulously evaluating products, as well as culling ELLE editors for their favorites, we’ve rounded up the 10 best shower steamers to add to your cart. Not only are they great for yourself, but they also can serve as the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for any friends and loved ones who are in need of a self-care moment.
Cold Kicker Shower Steamers
Looking for the best shower steamer? You can’t go wrong with this one from The Herbal Zen that creates a spa-like experience from the comfort of your own home. Made by hand, these editor-approved shower steamers provide a relaxing minty, menthol fragrance made from peppermint and eucalyptus oil—which not only promote stress relief and tranquility but may also help relieve blocked sinuses. Place this steamer in the back of the shower away from water and let it do its magic in seconds.
Sizes: 8 oz.
Amazon rating: 4.6/5 stars
An expert reviewer says: “My shower has long been my happy place, especially after a long, hectic day, and as soon as I pop one of these babies into my tub, I instantly feel my stress levels lowering. The fresh yet soothing aromas help me wind down before bed, and I love that the scents still linger in my tub even when one steamer is on its last leg (FYI, each one can last a few rinse sessions).”—Sam Peters, Hearst Senior Commerce Editor
VapoShower Plus Shower Steamers
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, opt for these non-medicated shower steamers to help relieve congestion and stuffy nasal passages. Courtesy of the same brand who makes Vaporub for colds, these dissolve with shower steam and release a potent aroma of eucalyptus, menthol, and camphor to help you breathe better.
Scents: Eucalyptus, menthol, essential oils
Amazon rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
An ELLE editor says: “As a child my parents would place Vicks vapor rub right under my nose to help clear my sinuses when I was sick. When you place these in your shower, it instantly fills the bathroom with a comforting mix of camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol. When one of my besties got Covid-19, I sent these to her apartment to clear her congestion and she knew she had recovered when she was able to smell the soothing aroma. You don't have to wait until you aren't feeling well to use these—they help my body wind down during my post workout shower. ” — Danielle James, Digital Beauty Director, ELLE
Aromatherapy Essential Oil Lavender Love Shower Steamer
Handcrafted in New Zealand, this shower steamer is made with lavender essential oil to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. You may even notice it’ll help you fall asleep faster with its aromatherapy benefits. Plus, it’s free from parabens, sulfates, and other harmful ingredients so you can feel comfortable using it in the shower when you want to wind down without taking melatonin.
Sizes: 1.76 oz.
Target rating: 4/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “These are lovely. The lavender lasted the entire shower, and didn't smell artificial.”
Calm Me Shower Steamers
When it's the wee hours of the morning and you need to take a shower, opt for this uplifting and energizing shower steamer to help get the job done. Using an invigorating blend of tangerine, orange, and tea tree essential oils, plus menthol, these tiny tablets dissolve into the water and offer soothing scents to get you ready for the day.
Scents: Tangerine, orange, tea tree
Sizes: 1.5 oz.
Saks rating: 5/5 stars
A Saks reviewer says: “Each tab lasted for several showers and filled my bathroom with the calming scent of tangerine. I placed one on the ledge, away from the shower stream where they got an occasional sprinkle from the water which released the scent.”
Breathe Shower Flower
This cute flower-shaped shower steamer releases relaxing peppermint, tea tree, and menthol aromas into the air to provide feelings of calm, peace, and tranquility. They’ll even color the water with vibrant hues that you won’t be able to take your eyes off of.
Scents: Breathe, Rosé, Unwind
Sizes: 2 oz.
Ulta rating: 4/5 stars
An Ulta reviewer says: “The product lasts and the scent easily lingers in the bathroom the next day.”
Essential Oil Shower Steamers
We all experience stress at some point, and taking a warm, refreshing shower can provide much needed relaxation and relief. On top of letting the water glide down your skin, you can use this handmade shower steamer with powerful hints of lemongrass, eucalyptus, and orange to help take a load off both mentally and physically. Each steamer is handmade in Washington State and comes as a pack of three. Additionally, they come in three other targeted scents for different concerns, including soothing sinuses, waking up in the morning, and falling sleep.
Scents: Lemongrass, eucalyptus, orange
Sizes: 4.5 oz.
Uncommon Goods rating: 4.6/5 stars
An Uncommon Goods reviewer says: “These shower steamers were very easy to use and worked great. Made the whole shower area smell incredible. Definitely recommend for anyone looking to ramp up the relaxation factor of your showers.”
Shower Steamers Aromatherapy
Gift giving season is right around the corner, and you can’t go wrong with a collection of shower steamers for that special someone in your life. This six-pack has six different tablets that are designed fizzle on the side of the shower and provide therapeutic fragrances like vanilla, lavender, and grapefruit to engage the senses. And infused with real flower petals, they offer an even prettier presentation, too.
Scents: Vanilla, lavender, peppermint, menthol, eucalyptus, watermelon, grapefruit
Sizes: 1.4 oz.
Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “They smell so good and the entire bathroom smells like them for almost a full day after showering. A few of the scents definitely help as well if you’re feeling stuffy,and the other ones are just nice to use for a more relaxing shower.”
It can be hard to relax and unwind, but these shower steamers can help. Choose from one of 15 fragrances, such as soothing rose, chamomile, or jasmine, and let the tiny tablets do the work for you. Or, need a morning pick-me-up? There are zingier scents available, too, like coffee and cocoa orange—plus a combo pack of scents to fit both moods. Free from talc, SLS, and parabens, you can rest assured you’re inhaling only the best ingredients while washing off dirt and debris.
Scents: Floral Rose, lavender, citrus grove, fresh tea tree, fresh eucalyptus
Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “Firstly, the aromatherapy scents are simply divine. Each steamer releases a burst of fragrance that fills the entire bathroom, creating a spa-like atmosphere. The variety of scents in the set is fantastic, allowing me to choose a different one each day depending on my mood.”
Bath & Body Works might be known for their holiday candles, but they also have an extensive aromatherapy collection which includes shower steamers. Featuring notes of calming eucalyptus and refreshing spearmint, these dermatologist-tested shower favorites are to be placed on the floor outside of a direct stream of water and inhaled for the best results.
Scents: Eucalyptus, spearmint
Sizes: 4.8 0z.
Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “I use this whole line of products each night to take away the stress of the day. I also take bath salts and put them in little muslin bags and have them in all the drawers at home.”
Shower Steamers Aromatherapy
Treat yourself to these spa-like shower steamers made from lavender and rosemary essential oils to soothe and calm the body and mind. The steamers provide long-lasting benefits and remain potent for the duration of your entire shower, and then some.
Scents: Lavender rosemary
Amazon rating: 4.3/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer says: “The steamer provided effective relief for my sinuses, and I felt rejuvenated after each use. It’s a wonderful addition to my shower routine, helping me relax and breathe more easily.”
What are shower steamers?
Similar to bath bombs, shower steamers are dissolvable tablets with very concentrated ingredients to create different relaxing scents in your shower. “The ingredients react with the steam from hot water to disperse the essential oils or fragrance oils into the air to create soothing and relaxing environments or uplifting and energizing feelings depending on the scent,” says aromatherapy expert Michelle Johnson. In general, most shower steamers use ingredients such as baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch or powdered clay, emulsifiers and essential oils.
What are the benefits of shower steamers?
There are many benefits to using shower steamers, especially when they have essential oils in them. “When aromatherapy is used, essential oils are dispersed into the air and can help relax you after a stressful day, wake up really early in the morning, or support your immune system when you’re sick,” says Johnson.
Additionally, shower steamers can benefit the skin. “Essential oil molecules, mingling with the steam, reach the skin, offering relief for muscular tension and addressing skin issues,” says Atilgan. She adds, “The holistic impact extends to the nervous and lymphatic systems, providing comprehensive support for overall well-being.”
How long do shower steamers last?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how long shower steamers last. “The duration of a shower steamer’s aromatic performance generally spans between five to seven minutes,” says Atilgan. “The longevity is influenced by factors such as the steamer’s size and the quantity of water employed during the shower.”
Johnson adds the best way to ensure shower steamers last longer is to keep them out of direct contact with water. By putting them on a shelf away from the shower head, the hot steam can activate the ingredients in the steamers and release the essential oils without dissolving as quickly.
What should you look for in shower steamers?
It’s important to keep an eye on the ingredients list when purchasing shower steamers. According to Johnson, shower steamers should not have synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens or artificial dyes. “All of these ingredients have been shown in clinical studies to impact hormone health and can cause serious health problems,” she adds. Additionally, if a shower steamer contains essential oils from undisclosed sources, Johnson says there is a strong chance those essential oils are laced with synthetic fragrances, so you’ll want to steer clear.
How should you pick the best essential oils for your needs?
There are a few different scents that can help with a variety of issues, whether that’s difficulty sleeping or anxiety and nearly everything in between. “If you are looking for a relaxing experience, choose floral scents such as lavender, rose, ylang ylang, and jasmine,” says Johnson. She continues, “If you are looking for an uplifting and energizing experience, choose scents like peppermint. If you are sick and are wanting some respiratory relief, choose scents such as eucalyptus and tea tree.”
Meet The Experts
Melike Aktas Atilgan, NAHA is a certified professional aromatherapist and co-founder of Yoursy.
Michelle Johnson is a certified aromatherapist, and owner and founder of Amperstand Essential Oils.
Why Trust ELLE Beauty?
As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, ELLE.com is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. Casey Clark is a freelance writer from New York City who specializes in beauty, fashion, and mental health. She has written for Allure, StyleCaster, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and numerous other online publications.
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