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Coconut rose body scrub

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 15 min
Yields: 2 pots of about 125 ml each

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Not to toot my own horn, but I love, love, love this scrub! The combination of the Himalayan pink salt, coconut oil and rose petals leaves my skin feeling so smooth and clean, and yet also extremely soft and moisturised. And I love that I can use this and not have to worry about having to moisturise afterwards. Like most mums, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the bathroom! I’m really amazed (and grateful) at how effective scrubs are and how simple and quick they are to make. I never used to use scrubs until I made the coffee scrub earlier this year, and now I can’t live shower without them!

Salt scrubs work by exfoliate your skin by removing the dead skin cells from the outer layer. This leaves your skin smooth, but without added oils, your skin would also feel tight and dry. Think of after swimming in the sea. The salt draws the moisture out of your skin. The coconut oil in the scrub will moisturise your skin, while the salt exfoliates, and the combination of the two is why your skin will feel so soft after using.

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ONE: Combine the Himalayan pink salt, one tablespoon of glycerin, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. If the coconut oil is hard, melt it for a couple of seconds in the microwave. The glycerin is added to help emulsify the scrub when you rub it on your skin and make it more effective.

TWO: Add 5 drops of your favourite rose fragrance or essential oil and give it another good stir. I used Rose Anatolia oil, which smells absolutely divine!

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THREE: Sprinkle through some rose petals for decoration and fragrance. Both the salt and the glycerin will help preserve the colour, so unlike in soap, where the rose petals turn brown, these will keep their colour!

Scoop the mixture in a nice decorative pot and place the lid on. Because it will be used in the shower, look for a plastic or glass pot without a metal lid, or something that will not rust.

Regarding preservatives or the lack of it, both the salt and the glycerin are considered preservatives and will prevent mould and fungi, despite water coming in contact with it.

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Coconut rose scrub

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • one cup of fine Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 5 drops of rose oil
  • rose petals
  • 2 pots approx. 125 ml volume each

Directions

  1. Combine the salt, glycerin, coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. If the coconut oil is hard, melt it for a few seconds in the microwave before adding.
  2. Add 5 drops of rose oil and give it another good stir.
  3. Sprinkle through some rose petals and then scoop into pots. Enjoy!

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Easter egg bath bombs

Difficulty: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 5-6 eggs

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Here’s another alternative to sugary sweet treats at Easter. Don’t get me wrong, we do lots of chocolate and hot cross buns and other sweets, but sometimes it does get a bit too much, and kids love fizzy bath bombs or a fun little soap (check out these Easter treats).

The Easter egg bath bombs are quick and easy to make, even for children, and you don’t need a lot of ingredients. The baking soda and citric acid you can get from your supermarket (although it’s cheaper to buy them in bulk from Pure Nature), and you probably already have some essential oils or fragrance, and micas at home from your other projects. The only other (optional but highly recommended) ingredient is polysorbate 80, and emulsifier.

To make the Easter egg shapes, I used these plastic egg shells that I found at Look Sharp, but I’m sure craft stores probably stock these around Easter as well. I think they’re used as some kind of hanging decorations, but they work perfect as bath bomb molds. I paid $3 for 6, so they’re not very expensive either.

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The following instructions are for one lot of eggs, approximately 5 or 6. I made a different lot for each colour, 5 in total. That’s a lot of eggs. If you don’t want that many eggs, you can split the batch into two or three before you add the mica and then colour each portion a different colour.

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ONE: Add one cup of baking soda and a half cup of citric acid to a bowl. Wearing disposable gloves and using your hands, mix thoroughly and break up any clumps.

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TWO: Next, add one tablespoon of sweet almond oil (alternatively use another vegetable oil, such as rice bran oil), and half a tablespoon of polysorbate 80. And again mix thoroughly.

Polysorbate 80 is a natural vegetable sourced emulsifier, which helps disperse the oil and the mica in the bath water, instead of floating on the surface and leaving greasy colour rings on the sides of the bath tub. It’s not a necessary ingredient to make bath bombs, and if you don’t have it, you can leave it out, but I find it does make the bath bombs better.

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THREE: Add 1/2 teaspoon fragrance or essential oil blend. Because I’m making these for children, I’m using slightly less fragrance than I usually would. Make sure that the fragrance or essential oil is safe to use in bath products and for children. Safe essential oils are sweet orange, pink grapefruit and lavender essential oil. Alternatively, Candlescience fragrances has some great skin-safe fragrances that are popular with kids, such as watermelon, fruit slices, mango and tangerine, and strawberry shortcake.

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FOUR: Lastly, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of mica to the mixture and using your hand, mix it thoroughly until all the colour is evenly distributed throughout. The micas I’m using here are shimmer green, coral reef, silken violet and sweetheart rose from Pure Nature.

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FIVE: Check the mixture. 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 a little water on it and work the moisture into the mixture with your hands. You want the mixture to be just moist 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 two halves of the eggs and squeeze them together. Then carefully remove one half, and even more carefully tip the bath bomb into your hand.

SEVEN: Place them on a sheet of baking paper and allow them to fully dry out overnight. Anywhere dry and out of the way. I just left mine on the kitchen counter until the next morning.

If you are making more than one colour, repeat steps 1 to 7 for each colour.

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EIGHT: The following day, place the eggs in an egg carton, or wrap them in cling foil, or package them in cellophane bags. Ideally they should be wrapped as the humid climate of New Zealand will make your bath bombs quickly lose their fizziness.

Easter egg bath bombs

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon polysorbate 80
  • mica in your desired colour
  • 1/2 teaspoon essential oil or fragrance
  • spray bottle with water

Directions

  1. Add baking soda and citric acid in a large bowl and mix to combine. Wearing gloves, use your fingers to break up any clumps.
  2. Add the sweet almond oil  and polysorbate 80 and mix it into the dry ingredients.
  3. Add your chosen fragrance or essential oil.
  4. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of mica and mix well so that all the colour and fragrance is dispersed throughout the mixture.
  5. Check your 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!
  6. Once you have the right consistency,  scoop the bath bomb mixture into the two halves of the egg mold and press them together firmly.
  7. Carefully remove one half and then tip the egg gently onto your palm.
  8. Place the eggs on a sheet of baking paper, and allow them to fully dry out overnight.
  9. The following day,  place them in egg cartons or wrap them in cling foil, or package them in cellophane bags. Ideally, they should be wrapped as the humid climate of New Zealand will make your bath bombs quickly lose their fizziness.

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Bubble bars

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 10 bars

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I love, love, love bubble bars! They’re fun, smell delicious and…. BUBBLES! Lots of bubbles! Need I say anything more?

These bubble bars are created especially with the humid climate in mind! To make them, you will need quite few ingredients, but let me assure you, it’ll be worth it! All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature, except for the corn starch, which you can get from any supermarket.

The fragrance I’m using for these bubble bars is Jamaica Me Crazy from Candlescience, a deliciously fruity tropical blend, and perfect for these fun bubble bars!

ONE: First add all your dry ingredients to the bowl: baking soda, citric acid, SLSa, kaolin powder, corn starch and cream of tartar. Be careful when adding the SLSa, which is a very fine powder. Avoid breathing it in as it can be irritating to your lungs. I will usually work outdoors and upwind when using SLSa, or alternatively, I will tie a scarf or cloth around my face to prevent breathing it in.

The baking soda and citric acid are what will create a fizz in your bath. Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa), not to be confused with the sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), adds the bubbles to your bath. It is a mild and gentle skin cleanser, and considered skin safe. Both the kaolin clay and cream of tartar add hardness to the bar, and the corn starch acts as a skin softener.

Wearing gloves, mix the dry ingredients and break up any clumps.

TWO: Add the liquid ingredients, glycerin, decyl-glucoside, polysorbate 80, coconut oil and fragrance, and knead everything together to a dough. Glycerin is the ingredient, which helps create this dough like consistency, coco-glucoside is a foam booster, and polysorbate 80 is an emulsifier, helping to mix the oils and mica into the water and preventing oil streaks on the water surface and colour rims on the bath tub.

THREE: Separate the dough into three roughly equal portions, and add 1/2 teaspoon of mica to each portion. Knead until the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the dough, which can take a little while.

The micas I’m using are from Pure Nature and are called Coral Reef (orange), Juicy Pink and Shimmer Green. They also work well in cold process soap.

FOUR: To put the loaf together, first place the green dough on a sheet of baking paper and flatten it slightly with your hand. Place the pink dough on top and flatten it out to the same size as the underlying green dough. And lastly, place the orange dough on top and again, flatten it to the size of the other two doughs.

FIVE: Place another sheet of baking paper on top and roll the dough out to a sheet of about 1-2 cm thickness. The baking paper will avoid the dough sticking to the rolling pin.

SIX: Once you have flattened the dough to the desired thickness, carefully roll it up into a log. You can see in the pictures that I am using the baking paper to help roll the dough.

Once you have rolled the dough into a log, smooth it out with your hands, and because the bottom will most likely still be sticking to the baking paper, carefully roll the log over.

SEVEN: Use a sharp knife, cut the log into 10 equal bars. Place the bars on a sheet of baking paper, and lightly flatten each bar with the palm of your hand.

EIGHT: Leave the bars to dry out overnight. Turn them over and let them dry for another day. Check their hardness, if they are still soft, you will need to let them dry for longer, turning them over each day.

Because of the high humidity here in New Zealand, bubble bars will take longer to harden than usual. It is not unusual for me to have them drying for several days up to a week.

To use them, crumble the bubble bar under running water and watch it make lots and lots of bubbles in your bath!

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Bubble bars

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Make sure you work in a well-ventilated area!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1 cup SLSa
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup kaolin clay
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 1 teaspoon decyl-glucoside
  • 1 tablespoon polysorbate 80
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 teaspoons fragrance
  • 1/2 teaspoon green mica
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange mica
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink mica

Directions

  1. Combine the baking soda, citric acid, SLSa, corn starch, kaolin clay and cream of tartar in a bowl, and mix it, using your hands, breaking up any clumps. Be careful of the SLSa, which is a very fine powder, and try not to breathe it in.
  2. Add the liquid ingredients (glycerin, decyl-glucoside, polysorbate 80, coconut oil, fragrance) and, still using your hands, knead it together to a dough.
  3. Separate the dough to approximately 3 equal portions.
  4. To each portion add a different colour mica, and knead well until the colour is evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
  5. Spread out a sheet of baking paper and place your green dough on it. Flatten it a little with your hand. Place the pink dough on top and flatten it out to the size of the green. Lastly, add the orange dough and flatten that out as well to match the other two.
  6. Place another sheet of baking paper over the dough, and using a rolling pin, roll it to a fairly thin rectangle sheet, approximately 1-2 cm thick. The baking paper will help avoid the dough sticking to the rolling pin.
  7. Carefully roll up the sheet of dough into a log.
  8. Using a knife, cut the log into bars. Place the bars on to a sheet of baking paper and gently flatten them a little with the palm of your hand.
  9. Leave the bars to dry overnight, then carefully turn them over and dry them for another day. Check if they are solid enough. If not, let them dry for another few days, keep turning them each day.

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Coffee scrub

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins
Yields: 3 pots (120 ml each)

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Last Christmas I was given a little pot of coffee scrub and I totally loved it. Body scrubs are exfoliants for the skin, which remove dead skin cells through polishing, leaving the skin looking and feeling soft and smooth. The mechanical exfoliation (as opposed to chemical exfoliation, see further below) also increases circulation and blood flow to the skin, which has an boosting effect on skin cell renewal and rejuvenation.

Coffee grounds have become a popular additive in body scrubs lately, and not without reason. Coffee, or actually the caffeine in the coffee, is said to boost fat metabolism and tighten the skin, and the use of caffeine in skin care is not new, and there are many products containing caffeine, such as cellulite creams, anti-acing creams etc.

Me being me, I had to check out the ingredients in my coffee scrub and saw that it only had coffee, salt, oils and fragrance in it. Actually quite simple and very surprisingly very natural. And easy to make yourself, I thought. However, I did make some changes to what I think is an even better version of the standard DIY coffee scrub that you can find on the web.

Some scrubs contain salt and some sugar. I decided to go with sugar for this scrub, because sugar crystals are generally more gentle on the skin than salt, and I wanted to make a gentle scrub that I could use every time I shower. As an exfoliant, sugar also has the added benefit of containing glycol acid, also knowns as AHA in cosmetic and skin care, which removes dead skin cells by dissolving the ‘glue’ holding them (chemical exfoliation) and leaving your skin look radiant and rejuvenated. AHA is very popular in facial skin care. And lastly, sugar is also natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin, unlike salt, which detoxifies and leaves your skin feeling dry and dehydrated.

I also added liquid soap to the scrub, because when I used the other scrub, it left my skin a little too greasy for my taste and I ended up washing my skin with soap afterwards. The idea for this scrub is that it’s an all-in-one: scrub, wash and moisturise. There’s only a little bit of liquid soap in the scrub, just enough to remove the excess oil and still leave your skin well-moisturised.

Just a heads up: this is coffee, so you do need to rinse down the walls of your shower afterwards!

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ONE: Measure out the sugar, coffee and coconut oil into a bowl and, using a spoon, mix everything together.

TWO: Add one tablespoon of liquid soap, I’m using liquid castile soap, to the mix, and give it another good stir.

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THREE: The coffee scrub I was given had this faint coconut scent to it, which I really loved, so I tested out some of the coconut fragrances I had, and found that the Island Coconut fragrance from Candlescience was a perfect match to the full-bodied coffee aroma. I only added 1 teaspoon, because I wanted to compliment the coffee and not overpower it with coconut fragrance.

If you want a completely natural coffee scrub, you can either leave out the coconut fragrance, or add an essential oil. I can imagine sweet orange or cinnamon would go well with coffee!

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THREE: After one final stir, scoop the scrub into your pots. There should be enough to fill three 120 ml pots.

To use: scoop a little of the scrub in your hands and rub in circular motions over wet skin. Wash off.

Coffee body scrub

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon liquid castile soap
  • optional: 1 teaspoon island coconut fragrance from Candlescience
  • 3x 120ml pots

Directions

  1. Measure out the sugar, coffee grounds and coconut oil into a bowl. If the coconut oil is solid, melt it first in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
  2. Use a spoon to mix everything together.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap and stir.
  4. Optional: add 1 teaspoon of island coconut fragrance and give it all a final good stir.
  5. Scoop the scrub into the pots and voila!

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Skully’s secret bath bombs

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Yields: 12 mini bath bombs

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These bath bombs have a hidden secret. They might look plain and unscented, but place them in water and they’ll reveal a colourful surprise and release a delicious fragrance of sweet orange, pumpkin pie and spice. Check out the video at the end of this post!

I made these bath bombs as an alternative to sweets for trick-or-treaters at Halloween. I’ve noticed the last couple of years, that there are more and more parents concerned about the amount of sugar their children consume, so I wanted to offer them a sweet-free option. These are mini sized bath bombs, made with the smaller bath bomb mold from Pure Nature, and they’re just the perfect size for kids.

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ONE: Combine 2/3 baking soda and 1/2 citric acid in a bowl.

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TWO: Add a teaspoon of orange saffron mica, and wearing gloves, mix everything together with your hands, making sure you break up any clumps in the mixture.

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THREE: Add 1 teaspoon of polysorbate 80. This is an optional step,  although the mica won’t stain the bath tub, it can leave a ring of colour along the sides of the tub. Mica doesn’t easily mix with water and the polysorbate 80 helps disperse the mica in the water.

FOUR: For these bath bombs, I combined pumpkin pie fragrance from Candlescience and sweet orange essential oil to create a blend that reminded me of Halloween and trick-or-treating: warm and fruity with spice overtones. Add 1 teaspoon of each to the bath bomb mixture. And again, wearing gloves, mix everything with your hands.

FIVE: Spray with a little water, if necessary, until you reach the right consistency. I made this a little wetter than usual, because I will need to be able to form them into balls with my hands. I tried using a little meat ball former, but I found that I couldn’t remove the balls properly and they kept breaking up. So instead, I decided it would be quicker and easier to mold them by hand. Be careful, though, that you don’t over-wet the mixture!

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SIX: Form 12 little balls using up all of your bath bomb mixture. The easiest way is to grab a handful of mixture and squeeze it in your hand. Then carefully release and start firming it up in the ball of your hand. Leave them to dry for several hours or overnight.

I’m sorry I couldn’t take any pictures, because I was using both my hands and they were covered in orange bath bomb mixture.

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SEVEN: When the little orange balls are dry and hard,  you can prepare the unfragranced white bath bomb mixture. Combine 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of citric acid in a bowl.

EIGHT: Spritz with water until you have the right consistency. Wear gloves (unlike me), especially if you have painted nails, because the bath bomb mixture will eat your polish. I’m wearing Jamberry wraps, which can withstand the chemicals of the bath bomb mixture. (Yes, I love my colourful Jamberry wraps!)

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NINE: To assemble the bath bomb, check out the image above. Add a little bit of white bath bomb mixture in one half mold, add the orange ball, and fill the sides up with more white mixture. Loosely fill a second half mold and squeeze the two filled molds together. Remove one mold (sometimes you need to tap the mold lightly to let it release the bath bomb), and carefully place it bath bomb side down and lift the other mold off.

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TEN: Form all 12 bath bombs and then place them somewhere to dry out and harden. Leave them for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

ELEVEN: Once your bath bombs have dried and hardened, it’s time to paint them. Mix 1 teaspoon of dark violet purple mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. Using a paint brush, paint a skull face on your bath bombs. Leave them to dry for a couple of hours and then wrap them up in cling foil or cello bags to prevent them getting moist.

Happy trick-or-treating!

Skully's secret bath bombs

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • polysorbate 80
  • orange saffron mica
  • dark violet purple mica
  • pumpkin pie fragrance from Candlescience
  • sweet orange essential oil
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • set of small bath bomb molds

Directions

  1. combine 2/3 cup baking soda and 1/3 cup citric acid in a bowl
  2. add 1 teaspoon of orange saffron mica and (wearing gloves) mix thoroughly
  3. add 1 teaspoon of polysorbate 80
  4. add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie fragrance
  5. add 1 teaspoon of orange essential oil
  6. mix everything using your hands (wear gloves)
  7. spray with a little water if the bath bomb mixture is not the right consistency
  8. using your hands, form 12 small balls, carefully firming and squeezing them so they hold shape (this is the trickiest part)
  9. leave to dry overnight or for several hours
  10. in a bowl add 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup citric acid
  11. mix and spray with a little water until the bath bomb mixture is the right consistency
  12. add a little of the bath bomb mixture to one bath bomb half mold
  13. place one of the orange balls, which should now be dry, in the centre of the mold
  14. fill the mold around the ball with more mixture
  15. add bath bomb mixture to the other half mold and then squeeze the two halves together
  16. carefully remove the bath bomb from the mold and form the remaining 11 bath bombs
  17. leave the bath bombs to dry overnight or for at least 3 hours
  18. mix 1 teaspoon of dark purple mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol
  19. with a thin paint brush, paint skull faces on the bath bombs and leave to dry
  20. wrap bath bombs in cling foil or cello bags to keep them from getting moist