Are you in on the bath bomb craze???
Bath bombs are an easy way for tired bodies and souls to wind down, relax, and indulge in a bit of pampering at the end of a long day. Depending on the combination of ingredients, they may help detoxify your body, moisturize your skin, soothe sore muscles, or reduce stress.
These colorful, fizzing orbs also make bath time considerably more fun for kids. Mention I have one and my 6-year old will run for the tub without complaining. Certainly better than the usual runaround!
Over the last few of years, bath bombs have become increasingly popular. I feel like I see them almost everywhere I go these days! This weekend alone, my daughter spotted displays of them in the grocery store, Target, AND Bed, Bath & Beyond. And you know she begged for a fancy, sparkly one EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. There may also have been pouting and sad faces involved.
WHY I AVOID MOST BATH BOMBS
Unfortunately, the store-bought versions typically contain a ton of artificial and potentially toxic ingredients, such as artificial dyes and synthetic fragrances… things I definitely don’t want either Gabby or I soaking in!
In addition, some of them can be insanely expensive! Yesterday, I saw a gray one containing activated charcoal for $8 at Bed, Bath & Beyond. $8 for 1… good grief! The ingredients for an entire batch add up to less than that!
So, if you love bath bombs, avoid the yuck and save money by making your own! They make great gifts as well.
HOW TO MAKE GORGEOUS BATHBOMBS
Though bath bombs look fancy, they are actually really simple to make with a few basic ingredients.
They are also a fun project to do with kids, as they neither require precise measurements nor handling harsh chemicals. Plus, you can get super creative! My daughter loves to customize hers by changing up the essential oils, colors, and decorative elements.
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED
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Baking Soda + Citric Acid
These are the essential components necessary to create the fizzing reaction.
Corn Starch or Arrowroot Powder
Corn starch provides a silky feel to the water. Definitely opt for organic cornstarch if you can get it. If you’re avoiding corn, arrowroot powder also works. However, your finished product won’t feel as soft.
Oil, Salt, & Liquid
This is where the customization begins. The combination possibilities are absolutely endless!
- Carrier Oil: Select your favorite one to moisturize and pamper your skin. Some possibilities include jojoba, apricot kernel, almond, avocado, argon, or coconut oil. Some recipes also call for butters, such as mango or shea butter.
- Salt: Choose from Epsom salt, sea salt, or table salt. I typically use Epsom salt for its relaxing and detoxifying properties. To learn more, here’s my post about the benefits of Epsom salt and how to use it in a foot bath.
- Liquid: Typically water, but organic witch hazel is a great option because of its skin-soothing benefits. You could also opt for a hydrosol if you’re looking for specific therapeutic benefits.
Take the therapeutic effect of your bath bombs up a notch by adding in your favorite essential oils, clays, and/or dried fruits, veggies, flowers, herbs, or grains. Some of these also do double duty by adding beautiful color or aroma to your creations. Or opt to leave them scent or color-free.
The calming, relaxing, and stress relieving properties of many essential oils make them a great addition to your bath. Others are ideal for soothing sore, aching muscles or reducing congestion. Pick ones you enjoy the smell of
Essential Oils to Limit or Avoid in Your Bath
There are some essential oils that don’t belong in the tub, as they can irritate the skin or mucus membranes. Avoid using basil, black pepper, cassia, cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, nutmeg, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and wintergreen in your bath bombs.
I also recommend avoiding phototoxic essential oils, especially cold-pressed bergamot and lime, if there is any chance that skin will be exposed to UV radiation within 24 hours following the bath. These are better suited for use in diffusers, inhalers, or diffuser jewelry.
Finally, strong smelling floral oils, such as rose and ylang ylang, may be overpowering or cause headaches when used in baths. Consider limiting the amount of these oils to the equivalent of one drop per bath.
Essential Oils to Use Instead
cardamom, cedarwood, clary sage, copaiba, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, green mandarin, helichrysum, jasmine, juniper berry, lavender, marjoram, melaleuca/tea tree, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, roman chamomile, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, siberian fir, vetiver, wild/sweet orange, ylang ylang
Examples of Essential Oil Combos
- lavender + sweet (wild) orange + ylang ylang
- green mandarin + copaiba + sandalwood
- vetiver + grapefruit
- frankincense + lavender + neroli + ylang ylang
- green mandarin + clary sage + copaiba
- rose + jasmine
- sweet (wild) orange + ylang ylang + patchouli + jasmine + neroli
- lavender + roman chamomile + marjoram + helichrysum (good combo for sore muscles! Or consider other essential oils that are helpful for athletic recovery.)
DRIED, POWDERED PLANT MATERIAL
- Flowers, such as rose petals, lavender, chamomile, or calendula
- Fruits, such as orange peels, strawberries, or apples
- Plantain leaves (put these “weeds” in your lawn to good use!)
- Herbs, such as ginger
- Activated charcoal
Here is an example of dried powdered plantain, orange peel, and rose petals. They made beautifully colored, amazing smelling bath bombs!
Clays are natural minerals from the earth with the power to safely absorb excess oils and draw toxins from the skin. They also clean away dirt, provide exfoliation, increase circulation, and reduce swelling. They are typically used for face masks and scrubs. However, when we were detoxifying my daughter, we used bentonite clay and diatomaceous earth (not exclusively a clay, but has clay in it) as part of her daily protocol.
Depending where the clay originates, the mineral composition and absorption levels will vary. This impacts which skin types will benefit from it most.
- Kaolin clay: Comes in white, yellow, red, rose, and pink. White is the best for sensitive skin, as it’s the gentlest and least absorbent, good for mild exfoliation. Yellow is for sensitive to normal skin, as it is more absorbent, exfoliating, and circulation-boosting than white. Red is for oily and acne-prone skin; it is the most absorbent and detoxifying of all the colors. Pink is a blend of white and red kaolin clays that is gentler than red, but more absorbent than white alone.
- French green clay: Also known as "illite clay." Good for oily and combination skin. Good for cleansing, exfoliating, pulling oils and toxins from the skin, pore-tightening, stimulating circulation, and reducing inflammation.
- Bentonite clay (sodium bentonite): Very absorbent and helpful for drawing out toxins. Great for oily skin and acne. Has tightening abilities. The United States is the largest producer of bentonite clay, much of it coming from Wyoming.
NOTE: With clay, you only need a small amount to get a color punch! Using this red clay resulted in varying shades of orange bath bombs, depending on how much clay we added.
WHAT SHAPE WILL YOU MAKE?
If you’re super low tech, form your bath bombs into balls with your hands or cut out shapes with cookie cutters. If you are making gifts or want them to look like the ones from the store, molds are the way to go.
Molds come in various shapes, sized, and materials. Stainless steel molds will create a stronger bath bomb that holds together better and fizzes more. I have round ones from Healthy Home Helper that come in three sizes.
MY CURRENT RECIPE
I have been tinkering with this recipe for some time. Here’s the combination I’m currently using.
How To Make
1. Combine dry ingredients (baking soda, Epsom salt, citric acid, and cornstarch) in a large bowl. Mix until combined, breaking up any chunks.
2. If using for therapeutic benefit or coloring, add clay or powdered fruits/veggies/herbs/flowers, mixing well to distribute.
3. Add the carrier oil and essential oils to the dry ingredients. Mix well to distribute the oils throughout the dry ingredients.
4. Spray water, witch hazel, or hydrosol onto the mixture a bit at a time (I love this ultra-fine continuous mist sprayer for this purpose.). Quickly incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients with your hands.
5. Continue spraying and mixing until the mixture holds together when squeezed without crumbling. It should have the consistency of wet sand.
6. Quickly push heaping scoops of the mixture into molds. Press the two halves together. While pressing together, remove excess mixture and twist the mold in both directions. [NOTE: If you want decorations on top, add those into one half of the mold before pushing in the mixture.]
7. Twist off one half of the mold. Carefully place the bath bomb in the palm of your hand and remove the second half of the mold.
8. Place on a tray and allow to sit for at least 24 hours or until hardened.
9. When dry, store in airtight container or bag.
That’s all there is to it! Ready to get started? If you experiment with this recipe, please come back and let me know how it went. And how you customized it to fit your tastes!
If you've made bath bombs before, what is your favorite combination? Share it with me below!
Not wanting to make your own bath bombs? I love this awesome non-toxic gift set by Beauty by Earth! Looking for a vibrant community to cheer you on as you integrate other healthy changes into your home? Hop over and join Simplified Natural Living, my Facebook group dedicated to helping on-the-go women just like you. We're excited to welcome you! And make lots of other fun things together!