Some formulations look a lot more complicated than they really are. Take this one from cult emollient Olverum bath oil.
Isopropyl Myristate, Pinus (Pine Oil), Arachis hypogea (Groundnut oil), Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin Oil), Limonene, Linalool, Citrus limonum (Lemon oil), Eukalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus oil), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary oil), Citral, Litsea cubeba (Exotic Verbena), Fragrance, Lavendula augustifolia (Lavender oil), Juniperus communis (Juniper oil), Geraniol, Coumarin.
It looks pretty complicated at first sight. And at second sight. But there are few things that are cluttering up the list. For a start there are the so called allergens from the essential oils and the fragrance that we are obliged to list on packs so people who are sensitive to them can avoid them. We can also dispense with the latin names for the oils. And while we are at it, lets drop the groundnut oil which I am sure is there simply as a carrier for one of the essential oils. This leaves us with –
Isopropyl Myristate, Pine Oil, Lavandin Oil,Lemon oil, Eucalyptus oil, Rosemary oil, Exotic Verbena, Fragrance, Lavender oil, Juniper oil
So that is much clearer. Isopropyl Myristate is a branched ester with a delightfully lubricious skin feel. This is commonly used in bath oils to give a good skin feel. It is normally blended with other oils, but in Oliverum it is used on its own. This isn’t the cheapest way to make a bath oil. Nor, to be frank, is it the cleverest. But it seems to do the trick because this bath oil has small but rather fanatical following who really appreciate it. It also contains some rather medicinal smelling essential oils which left to themselves would probably smell wholesome but a bit harsh. The trick is that they have included a fragrance which rounds off the overall nose impact to make it refreshing and pleasant.
Soaking in the bath with a nice bath oil is one of life’s pleasures. The claim on the pack is that it aids recovery from the mental and physical stresses of the day. This isn’t a claim that really lends itself to rigorous scientific examination, but I’m prepared to believe it.