Bath Bombs (also known as bath fizzies) are usually one of the first bath and body products people learn to make, because they are very easy to do. The unlimited combinations you can come up with, make bath bombs an ideal selection to add to any product line. Many business get their start crafting bath bombs and grow from there.
Bath bombs, in their simplest form, consist of only two items - Citric Acid and Baking Soda. Citric Acid is used as a preservative, acidifier, and a flavoring agent, in the food industry. It occurs naturally in citrus fruit juices, like lemon juice. By itself, it is just an acid, but when you add it to baking soda, then drop it in water, the magic happens, you get a very frothy, fizzy reaction.
The reason for this is the chemical reaction between the acid and the baking soda (which is a base), it combines to form sodium citrate and in the process, carbon dioxide is released, that is what is coming up out of the water.
The beauty of making bath bombs is that you can make so many different combinations. You can add fragrance oil, essential oils, different salts, and even soothing oils like calendula. You can truly make them your own.
We are going to cover the most basic recipe, but from there, you can add and modify what ever way your heart desires.
Start with the following:
The closer you are to a 1:1 ratio of citric acid and baking soda, the more "fizz" you are going to get. However, since we normally blend in either Epson Salt or Dead Sea Salt, we go under the 1:1. If you are adding additives, like extra salts, subtract it from the amount of Citric Acid, and not the Baking Soda. Baking Soda helps sooth the skin, where as the citric acid can be an irritant.
So, the easiest way to figure out how much to add is to start with 1 cup. Add 1 cup of Baking Soda, then measure into the 1 cup measuring cup all of the extra ingredients. Start by adding a portion of citric, then add any other salts you want, until the cup is full. Then you won't be out of proportion.
We like to use a meat baller (pictured above next to the bowl), because it is easy to scoop up, and pack together and make a perfect ball, but you can use soap molds, or pretty much any shape you want. Just make sure your soap mold, or mold you are choosing doesn't have weird angles or small nooks. We used the Kid's Critters soap mold one holiday, and it was really tough to get the little arms and legs of the critters to stay together, and out of the mold!
Add your baking soda, citric and any salts to a bowl and whisk together well. Be sure to break up any clumps.
Once your dry ingredients are well mixed and no clumps are remaining, add your fragrance oil. Whisk well and distribute the fragrance as much as possible. It will be clumpy, so you need to just keep whisking.
Next, you are going to add a few drops of dye. It is really important to not go overboard with dye. Too much dye can stain the skin, the bath tub, towels, etc. Less is more! You won't see any effect of the dye. Notice in the picture above. We added some purple dye. It looks clumpy and the whole thing looks white. That is fine, just mix it in thoroughly. You will start to see more color, when you add water. Also, thing about the effect in water. Some people have aversions to bathing in weird color water - like red.
When you have everything blended, start spraying the surface with the water bottle as you continue to whisk. Do not over spray, the goal here is to get it to a clumpy stage, not activate the fizz. If your dry ingredients start to fizz, you are adding too much water. You just want to keep gently misting, while mixing. You want to get to the stage that you can pick it up and squeeze and have it hold its shape.
When you get to this stage, press it into your molds, or the meat baller, as tightly as you can. Then set aside to dry. We dry ours, on a rack, on top of waxed paper.
If you are making balls, periodically roll them so they hold their round shape. As soon as they are completely dry, bag them so they are not exposed to the air.
They will pull moisture from the air over time, and get yucky.
Some additional items you can add - Carrier oils, like calendula, vitamin E, olive oil, hazelnut oil, coconut oil, etc. These should be added at the fragrance stage. Some things to keep in mind if you do add them:
- oil will not mix with the bath tub water so it will float on the top, this is fine, but it can make the tub very slick.
- if any botanicals or oils, (i.e. herbs, essential oils and carrier oils) are added to your bath bombs they will float on the bath tub water and cling to skin, this can make it kind of slimy
- you may want to warn your customers that the tub may get slick (warning labels are fine for this)
- depending on how much and what kind of oils you add (fragrance included), your bath bombs can mold over time. The best way to prevent this is to go easy on the oil
Botanicals, like crushed rosemary, peppermint leaves, green tea, lavender, lemon balm, can all be mixed into your bath bombs. Add them at salt phase.
Lastly, test, test test! Who doesn't love a good bath!