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Bath bombs are the world’s newest old “thing”. Etsy is chock full of these fizzy little nuggets of goodness in all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes. (I love the look of these Tardis bombs, for example.) I don’t know about you all, but even though I LOVE bath bombs I can’t justify spending obscene amount of money at Lush on a regular basis, and I have an issue buying bath products from unknown sellers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 110% about supporting small businesses and individual producers over mass market, but I want to know what is going to be coming in contact with my bath water and therefore my skin and other *cough* sensitive places. A lot of sellers don’t like to release their recipes (for obvious reasons) but this is kind of an issue for me because I do have very sensitive skin.
So what’s a girl to do? Deny myself the decadent pleasure of a bath bomb? NO! Never! Instead, I decided to make them myself. I made a couple of testers, found a recipe that works for me… and then I upgraded. Here is where the fun really starts. I went on Amazon and found some super fun, super geeky cupcake molds (links below) and started making a ton of bath bombs for myself and my friends.
At one point I considered starting an Etsy shop of my own, but that didn’t sound like the right fit in the end. So now I’m giving you guys my recipe and some tips I’ve found through MANY trials and errors so that you can buy them or make them, whichever suits you best. Most of the ingredients I’ve listed below can be found in their generic form at your local grocery store. However, I prefer the brands I’ve linked to because I’ve found that they don’t irritate my skin. There are also some other things to look out for with ingredients, like ensuring that you have a food coloring that won't bleed, separate or harden. I've listed brands I use where I think it matters but feel free to adjust for your personal tastes and don't be afraid to engage in some trial and error.
Before we start I’d like to offer some friendly advice curated from many failed attempts…
- Pro Tip 1: Read the recipe first. Seriously. Once your hands are in this you will not really want to stop and get your bearings because things get messy.
- Pro Tip 2: If you have a spray bottle… use it. The ingredients react to liquid (if you’ve done it right) and too much added at once will make them fizz prematurely.
- Pro Tip 3: Silicone molds work pretty well once you get used to them and they are easier to turn out… but metal or hard plastic molds are the best because they allow you to compress the bath bomb without any warping or give. Sadly, most of the fun molds you find for cupcakes or candy (which is pretty much the size you’ll want) are silicone. I’d make a practice batch using a standard metal cupcake tin, just to get the hang of it, before you move on to silicone.
Pro Tip 4: KISS: Keep it simple, sweetie. I got to a point where I started using food coloring and soap coloring to actually draw on and color in parts of the bath bomb. We're talking about hours of work… just so I could drop it in water. Not worth it. Combine colors all you want, but Iron Man does not need every detail of his suit colored in perfectly. He doesn’t care (because he is a bath bomb) and neither should you unless you're using this creation as a form of art therapy.
- Pro Tip 5: You can totally add dried herbs and flowers to your bath bomb. I encourage it. Just be prepared to really clean your tub after. No lie. The stick in all the nooks and crannies. I know this tip isn’t related to the recipe but… it’s a real issue.
- Pro Tip 6: Okay, last piece of advice before we get to the good stuff. Food coloring works just as well as soap coloring. Sometimes better. But less is more. Really. If you use too much the bath bomb looks strange and it also has the potential to stain your tub if you buy crappy coloring. I tend to try and stick with the vegetable based food coloring because it seems to leaves less behind.
Bangin' Bath Bomb Recipe
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup food grade citric acid
- 1/2 cup epsom salt or Dead Sea Salt (fine grained is very important if you want them to be smooth). I personally prefer Minera Dead Sea Salt for this application because I have such senstive skin and it helps to relieve eczema and acne (as well as psoriasis, if that's an issue for you). Minera has not been mineral depleted or blended with other salts, which is a concern with a lot of salts marketed as Dead Sea Salts.
- 1/2 cup corn starch I always make sure I'm using a gluten-free, non-GMO, organic corn starch to ensure that it doesn't irritate my skin.
- 2 tbsp sweet almond oil
- 1/2 tbsp vitamin E or avocado oil
- 3/4 tbsp water
- 2 tsp essential oil of your choosing (I really like peppermint for some reason)
- Note: You can use epsom salts that already have a scent, in which case skip this step (or not) and add extra water to equal the amount of essential oil you would’ve used
- Food coloring (optional)
- Mixing bowls- One large and one small. I prefer stainless steel bowls with non-slip bottoms because I really need stability once I start mixing.
- Large spoon or whisk
- Metal, hard plastic, or silicone mold (see below for some fun ones)
- Spray bottle with extra water (optional but recommended)
- In the large bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Use a large spoon, whisk, or hands to make sure it is evenly mixed and blended. (if you are using dried floral elements, add them here as well)
- In the small bowl, combine wet ingredients. If you are adding food coloring, add a few drops at a time and mix until you get the desired color. The color of the wet mix should be a few shades darker than the result you desire for the bath bomb.
VERY SLOWLY add the wet mixture to the dry. Combine quickly as you add it or else the mixture will start to react and fizz. I personally like to add a small amount to one corner of the bowl, mix with a whisk or my hand, and repeat till all liquid has been added. If you have someone to help, you can ask them to drizzle the wet mixture in as you rapidly combine. (Don't, however, do what Mum did and try to use a food processor. Bad scene, people. Just a very bad scene.)
- The texture of the mixture should now resemble wet sand. It shouldn’t be overly wet, but if you grab and a handful and compress it in your palm it should hold shape. If it isn’t holding shape when you compress it in your hand, take your spray bottle and add a small amount of water at a time (mixing as you go like before) until the appropriate texture is achieved.
- Grab your mold and start to pack the mixture in. Really pack it tightly because you want every corner of the mold to be filled. Also, air breaks down the integrity of the mixture over time, so if you save it for a couple weeks and it isn’t packed tightly it has the potential to fizz less.
- Once your mold are full and packed tightly, set them up on a counter or other flat surface to cure for 12 or so hours. After that you can pop them out and use at will!
Voila! Enjoy your lovely soak!
But wait…what about the molds that make all of this so much fun for we fan-ish people?! Oh, there are so many. Mum and I have actually discussed carrying our own line of molds because despite the many wonderful molds that can be found, we still have gaping holes in our geeky mold wish list. We haven't done it yet so here's a list of things we like to get you started.
Gloriously Geeky Molds for Bath Bombs
This list is quite small and meant to be a starting place for ideas. Once you begin exploring, you'll soon find out just how much variety is available to suit your personal tastes.
Batman Logo mold
Brain-shaped mold (yes…a mold shaped like YOUR BRAIN!)
Star Wars mold set
Mickey Mouse mold
Lego Lovers mold set
Sugar Skull mold
Skull and Crossbones mold
Crossed Pistol mold
Mermaid Tail mold