Bath bombs are something that I’ve wanted to try making ever since the days when Lush was a big deal. Even though I rarely take baths, I like the idea of a scented, fancy-schmancy fizzy bath. But when I investigated how to make them, I was intimidated by the ingredient list, especially the citric acid. It sounded like something that would be difficult to find. Then I noticed that my local grocery stores (New Seasons, Whole Foods, and even Fred Meyer) have it right in the bulk spices sections. And aside from the essential oils, everything else should be available in any grocery store these days.
So after buying all of the ingredients I needed, I figured I’d just follow one of the many tutorials I’d bookmarked online, and then I’d have bath bombs. Easier said than done when you live in a place that currently has 100% humidity. Water, in the bath or in the air, is the key ingredient to set off the fizzing reaction. Like NotMartha (who lives in damp Seattle), I had trouble keeping my bath bombs from slowly fizzing away while still in their molds. I tried a couple of recipes until I finally stumbled on this one at the top of the page, which I adapted to work for me. The key is that there is no liquid added other than the food coloring and essential oils. If you live in a dry climate you might need to use a different recipe with more water (I tried these: one, two, three), but this recipe was successful for me.
I molded my bath bombs in a heart ice cube tray (from Ikea several years ago, but you can still buy one here), a heart cookie cutter, and a heart candy mold (the same one I used for these peanut butter wasabi ginger filled chocolates). If you want the traditional round shape instead, you can mold your bombs in fillable plastic ornaments (they also had them at Michaels before the holidays).
Makes 3-4 small bombs.
1/4 c baking soda
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp citric acid
2 Tbsp Epsom salts, finely ground in a spice grinder
5 tsp coconut oil (DO NOT melt)
4-6 drops essential oil
4-6 drops food coloring
Mix cornstarch, baking soda, citric acic, and Epsom salts with a whisk. Mix in the coconut oil (remember NOT to melt) until mixed together well. I found a fork or my hands worked best for mixing at this step. Add essential oil and food coloring, and mix well.
I didn’t need to add anything else to my mixture, but if the mixture isn’t sticky enough, add a drop of water and quickly mix. Continue adding water dropwise until the mixture will stick to itself when squeezed. Press into molds as firmly as possible. Let dry for a few hours, then remove from mold and let dry throughly in a warm location. This can take a couple of days, depending on dryness or wetness of your area. You can tell by touch.
A note on colors: If you want to mix food colors to make non-primary colors, mix them first before adding to the dry ingredients.
Put the bombs in a pretty jar and give them away with instructions for the receiver to pamper themselves. Or a dumb Valentine’s Day pun like, “You’re da (bath) bomb!” These would make a great Valentine’s Day gift even for someone you’re not romantically involved with. Moms, friends, sisters, or anyone you know who deserves a luxurious bath. Out of the two of us, my husband Steven is much more likely to enjoy a bath (sometimes with a glass of whiskey in hand, to keep it manly), so he’ll no doubt be testing out my supply of bath bombs.
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