Basic Bath Bomb Recipe

Lush Bath Bombs
Lush Bath Bombs. Brammers (talk) / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Why spend $6 or more on a store-bought bath bomb when you make your own bath bombs for pennies apiece?

In my research for the perfect bath bomb recipe, I learned pretty quickly that making bath bombs is pretty simple. In fact, almost all the recipes called for the same ingredients and in the same measurements (for the most part). Some people love the big fat bath bombs, while others prefer the smaller more delicate bombs pressed into cupcake tins or candy molds.

The hardest part of making bath bombs is finding citric acid, which really isn't hard if you go online. I bought mine online from The Chemistry Store because it came highly recommended during my research. You can also buy citric acid from Amazon.com (yay!). If online isn't your thing, you may be able to purchase citric acid from your pharmacy.

I have been a fan of the bath bombs from the Canadian company Lush since the first time I visited their original store in Vancouver, BC. The Lush bath bombs were decadent and never disappointed. And I have to say that this recipe could stand up to the Lush bath bombs in a test.

These make perfect gifts. You can put both large or small ones in cellophane gift bags -- the type you buy for cookies at kitchen stores (buy from Amazon.com), or stack smaller ones in a wide-mouth Mason jar (buy from Amazon.com). Make a few batches using different colors and add various essential oils for scents if you really want to go all out.

Not interested in gathering the materials? The Bath Bomb Co. sells a wonderful bath bomb kit that would make a great gift for the crafty person who's also into baths. Buy from Amazon.com.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking soda 
  • 1/2 cup citric acid 
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp. water
  • 2 tsp. essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, rose are all popular for the bath)
  • 2 tsp. oil (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut olive or even baby oil. Canola oil won't compete with your essential oil fragrance)
  • A few drops of food coloring.
  • Optional: You can add in dried flowers or sugar cake decorations like flowers or stars to your mix.

You'll need a mold of some sort. You have a few options:

  1. The traditional large bath bombs are made with round plastic molds that snap together. Find these at craft stores or online.
  2. I love these silicone bath bomb molds that come in a variety of shapes including flowers, leaves, and hearts. Buy from Amazon.
  3. For a unique mold, use cupcake tins or candy pans.
  4. I used mini muffin molds because I had them on hand. This worked very well and I liked the way they looked stacked together and placed in a jar. I prefer them to the huge bath bombs you find at Lush, which are really just insanely big. Plus, you can use 2 or 3 in your bath and have more than one fizzing spot. Fun!

    Recipe

    Mix the dry ingredients EXCEPT for the citric acid: salt, baking soda, and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. 

    In a jar, pour the liquids: water, oils, and food coloring. Put a top on the jar and shake vigorously.

    Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and use your hands to combine it well.

    At this point, add the citric acid. You'll probably notice a slight fizzing reaction because of the citric acid. This is normal. I choose to add the citric acid in at the end because there's less chance you'll get a pre-fizzing bath bomb but some people mix it into the dry ingredients with no issue.

    The mixture should be a bit crumbly, kind of like a pie crust or wet sand at the beach. Whatever you do, don't add water at this stage or your bath bomb will basically ignite on you. When I tried this the first time, I added a teaspoon of water to make the mixture less crumbly and my mixture pre-fizzed and was ruined.

    Mash the mixture into your molds very tightly. I like to overfill and then use a spoon or a glass to press it in as tightly as possible. Immediately loosen the bombs from their molds onto wax paper and let them dry overnight.

    Some recipes I've read recommend leaving the bombs in their molds for 6 hours before removing them. I haven't tried this.  

    Give them another day or 2 to completely dry before using them or wrapping them up as gifts.

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