YAY!!! Our first DIY post!! Are you excited, cause I am!!!
Bath Bombs have been the bane of my personal product line. I’ve had bowls of fizzy goop and beautiful bombs that never “go off”. To say it was frustrating would be an understatement. After the second failed attempt I began researching what makes a bath bomb “tick”. (I’m lovin these puns) After several more attempts I finally found a recipe that worked for me! (Cue the fanfare!!!!)
For those who want to know what I’ve learned please read on (PSA- A LOT of Chemistry vocabulary). If you just want the recipe jump on down and enjoy!!
The Science Behind the Bomb
Bath Bombs are made with two key ingredients Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) and Citric Acid. Both are naturally occurring compounds. However, you may want to research the manufacturing processes for your choice brands as these have raised some eyebrows recently.
On its own Baking Soda is a crystal that we typically grind into powder. It is safe and nontoxic. Depending on our needs we can get it in fine or coarse grit. This grit makes it a gentle abrasive that can be used to clean teeth, tile, toilets, fruits, vegetables, and even your face! Seriously, just Google “things to scrub with Baking Soda”.
It’s uses are pretty much endless. This is due greatly to it’s amphoteric nature (it can react to both acids and bases). Sodium Bicarbonate has a pH of about 8.1 (7 is neutral) so when it comes into contact with slight acids or bases it is able to stabilize the mixture. This makes it useful for cleaning pools, fish tanks, and enhancing homemade laundry detergent! It’s alkalizing (acid neutralizing) properties allow us to even use it in antacids! This alkalinity is how it is able to eliminate odors. It does not mask or absorb them but, actually chemically neutralizes the acidic scent compounds.
For our purposes the Baking Soda will slightly ionize the water in the tub. Thus creating a base solution for the Citric Acid to react with.
Citric Acid is the second key ingredient. It naturally occurs during the fermentation of aging fruits and vegetables, mainly citrus fruits (they contain up to 8% citric acid). We all produce citric acid in the citric acid cycle that is a key metabolic pathway that connects carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism (this is why citrus can boost your metabolism). It also has a natural crystalline structure. It’s pH is around 2.2
Citric Acid also has a wide variety of uses. Because it is one of the stronger edible acids it is added mainly to our food and drink as a flavoring and preservative agent. They use it as an acidity regulator as well. This means that it is mixed with a base and together they keep the pH at a nearly constant value. This is important because Bacteria are unable to thrive in the higher pH. It is also included in the alpha-hydroxy group of acids which for dermal applications means treating acne, uv damage and wrinkling. It also amplifies the effectiveness of antioxidants such a absorbic acid (vitamin C) and vitamin E which inhibit the oxidation of other molecules caused by free radicals (a highly reactive molecule). This leads to damaging chain reactions. Vitamin C is believed to terminate these chain reactions. Citric Acid’s cleansing and chelating (complexing) properties also make it effective at removing heavy metal deposits in hard water and removing water deposits in showers.
Now for the science behind the fizz. Baking Soda and Citric Acid react with one another, water in this instance is our catalyst. By dissolving each compound and allowing their ions to collide with one another a chemical reaction takes place. Carbon Dioxide is formed and rises through the water to the surface. These bubbles cause the trademark fizz that we all love.
So, assuming that you are in a relatively warm bath for at least 20 minutes we can say that a bath bomb has these potential benefits (some will be lesser than others):
- Improves Skin Texture and Tone
- Clears pores, and exfoliates (with a loofah or washrag)
- Fortifies blood vessels and repairs damaged skin
- Improves complexion
- reduces odor (feet, armpits, etc)
- enhances collagen production
- A rich source of Vitamin C (an antioxidant)
- Detoxes and alkalizes the body
- Helps to prevent fungi, bacteria and parasites on the nails and skin
- Reduces muscle pain and fatigue
Isn’t that great?
Prep and Plan
You will want to add something to these bombs to slow down these reactions. Corn Starch, Arrowroot powder, and Cream of Tartar will all help with this as well as make the bomb harder.
Then for liquid, water will work just fine. If you are looking for some other great benefits you could also use Witch Hazel.
From here you can really just add what you want!
- Oils (Olive, Almond, Sunflower, Coconut, etc.)
- Salts (Epsom Salt, Sea Salt, Non Iodized Table Salt, etc.)
- Essential Oils
- Dried herbs and flowers
- Vanilla, Cocoa powder, Skin safe Mica powder, etc.
My advice is decide in advance what you would like to make and get everything together.
- A few mixing bowls
- A whisk, mixer or wooden spoon
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Spray bottle or medicine dropper
- Molds (Bath Bomb Molds, Cupcake tins, Soap Molds, Ice Trays, etc.)
- Airtight Container
- Digital Kitchen scale
- Gloves (if you have sensitive skin)
- 1 cup (8 oz) Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) Citric Acid
- 1/4-1/2 cup (2-4 oz) Cornstarch (the total of your dry fillers should equal about 4ozs)
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 3 tsp Witch Hazel (or Water)
This is your base. From here add as you would like!
I add essential oils, epsom salt and dried rose petals. My recipe looks like this:
Rose Lueur (Rose Glow)
- 1 cup (8 oz) Baking Soda
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) Citric Acid
- 1/4 (2 oz) Cornstarch
- 1/4 (2 oz) Epsom Salt
- 2 tbsp Sunflower Oil
- 3 tsp Witch Hazel
- 20-30 drops of JOY Essential Oil (Young Living)
- 1-3 tbsp Dried Rose Petals
- Blend all dry ingredients in a bowl
- Blend wet ingredients in a another bowl (pour into spray bottle if using)
- Add wet ingredients to dry a little at a time. If the mixture becomes too wet it will begin to fizz so it is best to add in small quantities and mix as you go.
- Once the mixture has the consistency of wet sand begin to shape the bombs to your desired size, either by hand or in a mold of your choosing.**
- Allow the bath bombs to dry for approximately 24hrs in their molds. They will expand a little, this is normal. You can press them down to keep the expansion under control.
- Take them out and let dry for another 24hrs.**
- When they have dried, remove them and place in an airtight container.
- To use, drop the bath bomb in the bath, lay back and enjoy!!
- To store, place in airtight container. It is best to use them within a few weeks as the baking soda sits, it becomes less effective, however, storing them in the refrigerator can extend their shelf life to about 3 weeks.
**In more humid climates you may not use all of your wet mixture. We are looking for the wet sand consistancy, as long as you reach this your bath bombs should do fine!
**In more humid climates it is recommended that you oven dry your bath bombs. Preheat the oven to 175 °F and turn it OFF. Let the bath bombs sit in the oven for about 45 minutes with the door closed. THIS MEANS YOUR MOLD WILL NEED TO BE OVEN SAFE. Take them out and after they have cooled, remove them from thier molds.
Welp, that’s it. A WHOLE LOT of science in a tiny little package. I hope this will help you avoid the mistakes I made!!
Crossing My Fingers!!!
Let me know in the comments some of the DIY mishaps you’ve had!
FYI…. Young Living has both Lavender and Stress Away bath bombs available!!! If you’d like to get some just contact me!!