Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 large or 12 small bath bombs
Bath bombs are pure balls of fizzy fun at bath time. Not only that, bath bombs can have positive effects on your skin, body and mood. Depending on what ingredients you add, they can either be skin soothing, relaxing, invigorating or detoxifying. Here is a simple basic bath bomb tutorial for you to try.
There are two main ingredients in bath bombs that are responsible for the fizzy reaction that you see when the bath bomb comes in contact with water. The first is baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, which is commonly used in baking. In bath bombs, this naturally occurring salt has a soothing effect on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory and acid-neutralising properties, and it is often used to relieve itchy skin. Citric acid is the other ingredient necessary in bath bombs. It is a naturally occurring acid found in fruits and vegetables, and it is often used as a natural preservative in the food and cosmetic industry. When we combine baking soda with citric acid and add this to water, it produces a chemical reaction which creates the fun fizzy effect of bath bombs. Both ingredients can be found in the baking aisle of your supermarket.
ONE: The basic bath bomb has a ratio of 2 parts of baking soda to 1 part of citric acid. Combine 2 cups baking soda to 1 cup citric acid in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. I like to use my hands to mix and break up any clumps, which is why I recommend wearing disposable gloves.
TWO: Next, add the oils or butters to the bath bomb mixture. This will help improve the skin conditioning and moisturising qualities of the bath bomb. You can use any vegetable oil or butter. For example shea butter is especially conditioning to your skin, coconut oil moisturises and sunflower oil is full of vitamin E, essential for healthy skin. I’m using coconut oil here (1 tablespoon).
THREE: Once the oil is completely incorporated into the mixture, you can add your essential oil or fragrance. Make sure that you use skin-safe essential oils and fragrances, because some can be irritating to your skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. As a rule of thumb, I use 3 ml of essential oil to every 1 cup baking soda/1/2 cup citric acid mixture. For this particular recipe, I’m using 3 ml of lemon essential oil. Again, mix well with your hands to distribute the oils throughout the mixture.
You have the option to leave your bath bombs white, or you can use micas and dyes to colour them. There are special bath bomb colourants that you can buy, but you can also use simple food colouring like I am doing here.
FOUR: This is the part where you will be very glad that you are wearing gloves! Add the food colouring. Start with a couple of drops and mix. If you feel it needs more colour, you can add a few more drops. Keep mixing and adding until you reach the shade of colour you like and the colour is evenly dispersed. As you can see in the photograph the food colouring will make the bath bomb mixture fizz. This is because food colouring is water-based, so you will need to work quickly. To get this shade of pastel yellow, I’ve added 4 drops of yellow food colouring.
FIVE: The consistency of the bath bomb mixture should be so that when you squeeze the mixture in your fist it holds its shape when you open your hand. If necessary spritz some water on it and work the moisture into the mixture with your hands. You want the mixture to be wet enough so that the mixture sticks together and doesn’t crumble apart, but be careful if you spritz too much, the mixture will begin to fizz prematurely and ruin your bath bombs!
SIX: Once you have the right consistency, scoop the bath bomb mixture into the muffin tray and press firmly to produce a smooth flat top.
SEVEN: Then carefully remove the bath bombs from the muffin tray and place them on a sheet of baking paper. Allow them to fully dry out overnight.
EIGHT: The following day, wrap them in glad wrap or package them in cellophane bags. Keep them wrapped as the humid climate of New Zealand will make your bath bombs quickly lose their fizziness.
Here are some alligator bath bombs I made with the left over mixture:
Basic Bath Bomb
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1 cup citric acid
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (coconut oil, rice bran oil, etc)
- food colouring of your choice
- 3 ml essential oil
- spray bottle with water
- disposable gloves
- muffin tray (or other mold)
- Add baking soda and citric acid in a large bowl and mix to combine. Wearing gloves, use your fingers to break up any clumps.
- Now add the oil and stir it into the dry ingredients.
- Once the oil is completely incorporated, you can mix in the essential oil of your choice.
- Next, add 3-4 drops of food colouring. Again, use your hands to break up the drops of color. (This is the point when you are glad you are wearing gloves!) Mix well so that all the colour and fragrance is dispersed throughout the mixture.
- If necessary, spritz the bath bombs with a little water. The bath bomb mixture should be wet enough so that when you squeeze the mixture in your fist it holds its shape when you open your hand. You want to spray enough so that the mixture sticks together and doesn’t crumble apart, but if you spray too much, the mixture will begin to fizz prematurely and ruin your bath bombs!
- Once you have the right consistency, scoop the bath bomb mixture into the muffin tray and press carefully to produce a smooth flat top.
- Carefully remove the bath bombs from the muffin tray and place them on a sheet of baking paper. Allow them to fully dry out overnight.
- The following day, wrap them in glad wrap or package them in cellophane bags. Keep them wrapped as the humid climate of New Zealand will make your bath bombs quickly lose their fizziness.
Where you can get your supplies from
- baking soda: supermarket, bulk foods store
- citric acid: supermarket, bulk foods store
- food colouring: supermarket
- vegetable oil: supermarket
- essential oil: Pure Nature, Go Native
- muffin tray: the Warehouse, supermarket
- spray bottle: the Warehouse, supermarket, plastic stores
- disposable gloves: supermarket