There are 101 recipes online with people claiming to have the perfect bath bomb recipes. While we’ve tried all 101, we can certainly tell you that some are better than others. However, when starting out trying the DIY path making bath bombs most people don’t want the fanciest recipe; they want the working recipe. The trick with these popular little luxuries is not the perfect combination of oils and butter, its getting a nice hard bomb that will last without falling apart and fizz nicely when you drop it in the water.
Watch the video below to see these fizz bombs being made. The longer full tutorial of this video along with a printable recipe pdf can be found for free over in the Learning Library.
After a few tries finding recipes online you might start to wonder why everyone’s so called ‘perfect’ recipe seems to fall flat. Well, that’s because bath bomb making isn’t just in the recipe, and what works nicely for some makers doesn’t quite hit the mark with others. Bath bomb ingredients respond to the environment in the room, the temperature, and humidity in the air. This means if you are in a dry arid location you might be able to get away with more moisture in your product, and they might harden faster. However, if you have a humid heavy summer afternoon, like the ones on the Connecticut sea board, you need to hold back on the moisture that you put into the recipe, and you need to put some effort into controlling the environment when you want your bombs to dry out. For example, wait for a dry sunny day instead of a rainy indoor day.
This can make a big difference in the result of your product, and you will start to find out that some of those blue ribbon recipes might just be pretty great after all, in Arizona but not so much in Florida.
Bath Bombs - DIY & Commercial Quality
In fact, getting your bath bomb to hold the right physical properties is really the difference between a commercial quality product, ie: something you can sell at your market table and an item that is clearly a home made DIY Saturday afternoon kids craft project. In fact, while you are making your products you can wrap for your small business, it isn't a bad idea to get the kids involved in this one. Unlike in soap making, bath bombs have no chemicals like lye that need extra safety precautions, nor do they have an chemical preservative in the ingredients list.
The big secret…
So what exactly are you looking for when you go on the search for that perfect bath bomb recipe? Well, frankly, with a bit of practice you will start to tweek your recipe to make it better each time you make your bath bombs. The main idea here is to master the basic recipe and work your way out from there. Bath bombs are pretty basic, and although you can get really creative it doesn’t get you that great product if you don’t master that basic recipe first. If that sounds boring to you it might be because you’ve tried the standard bath bomb recipe to no avail and ended up with a soft crumbly ball that breaks in half when you try to take them out of their shells and set them on your bathroom counter.
No worries, if got a few tips to help with this basic recipe.
First, I know when you’re thinking of bath bomb you’re thinking about those big beautiful bulbs from Lush that cost just near $6 a piece. Yes, those are amazing, and I can’t help myself from buying at least one when I shop there despite the fact that I know they only cost about 40 cents to make and I don’t need to pay $6, but hey it’s all part of the experience.
Well, while you’re trying to master your fizz bomb making at home, you don’t need to make one quite that large starting out. In fact, its much easier to make a better quality fizz bomb when they’re smaller than your fist. They dry quicker, and you will get a better idea on how your recipe holds up faster than waiting the two full days for a baseball sized fizz bomb.
Also, they don’t need to be spheres. Once you are liberated from this sphere shape you realize there are a whole world of bath bomb molds that work great at a size perfect for a smaller bomb. Once you get these perfected you can start making the big glamorous Lush size bombs.
All the main ingredients…
The backbone of this recipe is alkalizing baking soda. It is a necessary complement to the acidic citric acid and part of the fizzing reaction. I order food-grade aluminum free baking soda from here.
The more obscure ingredient in this recipe that a lot of people don’t have on hand is citric acid. It is necessary for the fizzing reaction that makes bath bombs feel like bathing in champagne. I order natural citric acid by the pound from here.
Corn Starch or Arrowroot
Corn starch provides the silky feel that we all love from bath bombs. I usually use organic corn starch powder in this recipe. Arrowroot also works but doesn’t provide quite as silky of a finished product.
Salt, Oil and Liquid
Here is where we get into experimentation. These are the three ingredients that you will begin to tweek once you have the result of your first batch:
- Oil: Pick a simple oil like olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil or get a harder product with cocoa butter or shea butter.
- Salt: Although you can use regular sea salt or pink sea salt we always use ours with epsom salt found in the pharmacy section of Walmart or here.
- Liquid: Basic water works, but I also love using organic witch hazel for some extra skin soothing.
Scents and Colors
This is where the options get endless. Use your favorite essential oils, add dried herbs or make them scent free. We will stick with our dry colorant like a dash of cosmetic mica
- These are easy to make with measuring cups and your hands, but for a fancier and more uniform product, it helps to also have:
- A digital scale to get the proportions exactly right
- Molds- For the easiest version, just form these into balls with your hands, but if you are making as gifts or just want fancier shapes, molds are the way to go. I have these metal round molds and also this variety pack of assorted shapes that the girls love. Cupcake tins also make a pretty good mold.
Bath Bomb Ingredients (This is where it all begins)
- 8 ounces Baking Soda (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces Citric Acid (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Sea Salt or Epsom Salt
- 4 ounces Cornstarch (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons oil a liquid oil (my preference is coconut oil)
- 2 teaspoons witch hazel (or water) plus a little more if needed
- 30-40 drops of Essential oils or powdered dried herbs (ginger is great)
Instructions: How to Make Bath Bombs
- In a large bowl or plastic tub mix the dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, citric acid, and cornstarch) in a large bowl and mix well until combined.
- Next in a separate container, combine the oil, witch hazel and vanilla extract and stir well. Add essential oils if using.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients a few drops at a time. Mix well with hands (wear gloves if you have sensitive skin). Add powdered dried herbs if using.
- Mixture should hold together when squeezed without crumbling. You may need to add slightly more witch hazel if it hasn’t achieved this consistency yet. I recommend using a spray bottle with additional liquid to evenly add.
- Quickly push mixture into molds, greased muffin tins or any other greased container. Press in firmly and leave at least 24 hours (48 is better) or until hardened. It will expand some and this is normal. You can push it down into the mold several times while it is drying to keep it from expanding to much. Using the metal molds will create a stronger and more effective final bath bomb. When dry, remove and store in air tight container or bag.
- Bath bombs are a great way to relax in the tub after a long day of dealing with kids, cooking, and all the other activities that motherhood entails. If you’ve never tried them, I highly encourage it, as it’s one of my favorite things to do at the end of the day.
These bath bombs need to be used within about a month. After some time in exposure to air or humidity the citric acid starts to become inert and won’t fizz as well as freshly dried bath bombs.