Bath Bomb Recipe

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jennyannlowe

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I have been researching bath bomb recipes. I have not made any yet and I’m not ready to….right now I’m trying to work out the ingredients. There seems to be so many variations out there, many different ingredients that can be used.

Below is a list of ingredients that I have seen in recipes. Which of these would you use and why? No, I’m not trying to add them all….I am curious about which of these should always be added and which could I exclude. There are so many recipes out there and I find that information from you guys is far more accurate.

Citric Acid – Obviously a requirement!
Sodium Bicarbonate – Required
Cornstarch – Good for skin and helps keep it buoyant? I see most recipes call for this. If someone here doesn’t use it….why not?
Epsom Salt – I see about 50% of recipes call for it….Should I keep it in recipe?
SLSA – I see that the more professional recipes call for it….to add bubbles. I will keep it in recipe.
Poly 80 – Same thing here, that pros use it. I understand it’s to help emulsify the ingredients so they don’t stick to the rim of tub? Keep it?
Clay – Bentonite or Kaolin – is this to fix the scent as well as good for the skin? Keep it? And should I use Bentonite or Kaolin?
Shea or Cocoa butter – which would you use and does it matter if it’s deodorized?
Witch Hazel – to spritz with – I bought a bottle at Walmart, does it matter what kind? Or brand?
Oil – to bind – which is most commonly used? Olive? Almond? Jojoba? Grapeseed?
Cream of Tartar – to stabilize bubbles? Keep it on recipe?
Borax – does anyone here use this? What is the purpose other than cleansing?
Glycerin – Is this just for skin softening? Or binding?
Oatmeal Powder
Honey Powder
Milk Powders – if so, what kind?
Kelp Powder – I actually have some, I saw it only on one recipe, would it not turn bath green?
Vitamin E Oil – To bind? Skin softening? Use it? How much?

Colorant – I don’t want to go crazy with colorant, but maybe a light tint. Which would be the best method to use? Here are the colorants I have:

Powders: Mica, oxides, pigments
Liquid colorant in little bottles…the brand says “ FUN “ Colors, or colorants, something
Natural Colorants
Liquid Food coloring
Gel icing colors (12 colors)

Tools – Should I put the dry mixture through my coffee grinder AND sift it? The finer grain, the better?

Scent – In general is it better to use Essential oils because of the beneficial properties? Or are B&B approved fragrances ok?

Molds – I need to get some molds. Should I get the traditional clear plastic kind? I saw a website that recommended getting a dozen 57 mm clear plastic molds from Oriental Trading. What type is the best in general to use?

I really appreciate any advice you guys can give me! Thank you in advance very much!

jenny
 

dixiedragon

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Following this post! I've never made bathbombs. I've got all the stuff...just haven't made the plunge. My plan is to follow the directions on this site:
http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/bathbombs/
I like the fact that this is a small batch, enough to try.

BTW, you may be able to find citric acid locally at an Indian grocery. It's pretty small amounts, but if you just want a bit to try, vs ordering 5 pounds and paying shipping, that might help you.
 

earlene

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I buy citric acid in the grocery store in the canning supplies area.

Are you planning to have help making these bath bombs? If it's just you, one or two molds is fine. You mold it, then remove it and place it on a paper towel to finish drying out.

For molds, a melon baller or meat baller like this one works great.

I have also used small individual soap molds, but as I said, just long enough to form the shape, them remove and set on paper towels to dry.
 
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snappyllama

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Bath Bombs are pretty much like soap. A simple recipe is fine, but folks like to tweak recipes to make them their own. This is just what I personally like though there are so many options out there...

Poly 80: I always use this since I bind with butters. It makes a huge difference in tub cleaniness plus I like the way it makes the water feel and there is no oil slick on top of the water - or me.
Butters: I like Mango Butter since it makes a hard bomb and Cocoa Butter makes me break out. I only keep deodorized butters on hand so that's what I use.
SLSA: I always use this for the bubbles it makes.
Fragrances: I use my fragrance oils (it's a great way to use up small amounts or sample sizes).
Clays: I don't bother with them. They negatively impact my bubbles.
Cornstarch: I don't bother with it. With butters+Poly80, my water feels soft enough for me. I don't care if my bombs sink. :)
Epson Salt: I use this mainly as sprinkles on top to add interest (just put some in the mold before the rest of the mixture- it looks like ice crystals). I think it makes uneven coloring when I put them in with the mixture.

I don't really bother with other additives, but that's totally up to you! I'd worry about excess glycerin making a sticky ball though. I tried Cream of Tartar , but it's pricey and I don't think it had any real impact. I save it for bubble bars.


I don't use an witch hazel to bind - my butter works fine without it. If I didn't want to use oils, I'd find a witch hazel without added water since water causes the reaction.

Colorants: I either use mica (use very sparingly) or LaBomb Colorants since I can get a deep hue with that without premature fizzing or tub staining. I'd stay away from oxide and pigments because I worry about staining. The trick here is to add the color to the powder if powdery or oils/water if a liquid colorant.

Molds: I've tried various stainless steel ones, but my favorite is still clear plastic Christmas ornaments. They just seem the easiest to unmold.

Procedure: I weigh everything. I sift in my bicarb and citric acid to make sure all clumps are removed. Then I carefully measure in my SLSA while wearing a mask (that stuff goes airborne) and work it together with my hands for a minute to help weight it down. Then I sift it all together. Then I add my wet ingredients and fully mix it by rubbing the mixture with my hands. I do this all by hand. When I've tried to use a mixer, my balls weren't as dense or as well incorporated - I had problems with breakage and inconsistent coloring.
 
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galaxyMLP

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I have been researching bath bomb recipes. I have not made any yet and I’m not ready to….right now I’m trying to work out the ingredients. There seems to be so many variations out there, many different ingredients that can be used.
I'll try to put down what I know. I've been making bath bombs for about 2 months now. I don't know that much but I'll share what I know. I don't sell them but I just shared a bunch with all the mothers I knew for Mother's Day. I really loved the ones I've made so far.

Cornstarch – Good for skin and helps keep it buoyant? I see most recipes call for this. If someone here doesn’t use it….why not?
Some people use arrowroot in place. It helps "bulk up" the bath bomb, keep it buoyant and some like the skin feel. There are also some that don't use cornstarch because they're worried about "GMO".

Epsom Salt – I see about 50% of recipes call for it….Should I keep it in recipe?
Salts can help condition the water further. Since you're already creating a bunch of sodium citrate I don't see why adding Epsom salts would make a huge difference. You'd also have to be careful as some people can't use Epsom salts.

SLSA – I see that the more professional recipes call for it….to add bubbles. I will keep it in recipe.
Exactly, this add bubbles. Some people even use SLS although many choose to use SLSA as it is said to be less irritating.

Poly 80 – Same thing here, that pros use it. I understand it’s to help emulsify the ingredients so they don’t stick to the rim of tub? Keep it?
If you just use liquid (water soluble) dyes and don't add very much oil into your mix, you don't need polysorbate 80. You need it with micas or bombs with high amounts of oil.

Clay – Bentonite or Kaolin – is this to fix the scent as well as good for the skin? Keep it? And should I use Bentonite or Kaolin?
I don't see the point of adding clay. I think some might consider it a "selling point".

Shea or Cocoa butter – which would you use and does it matter if it’s deodorized?
You'll be able to smell the oils in the bomb so I would go deodorized. However, I enjoy using coconut oil instead and I really love it since it melts easily in lukewarm water and is inexpensive to find refined.

Witch Hazel – to spritz with – I bought a bottle at Walmart, does it matter what kind? Or brand?
I don't think brand matters. You can also substitute isopropyl alcohol for this. Most witch hazel contains 14% alcohol anyway.

Oil – to bind – which is most commonly used? Olive? Almond? Jojoba? Grapeseed?
I just use coconut oil.

Cream of Tartar – to stabilize bubbles? Keep it on recipe?
I forget why this is used. I believe it does help stabilize fizz.

Borax – does anyone here use this? What is the purpose other than cleansing?
Borax is a water softener but it doesn't make sense to add it since sodium citrate, salt and citric acid in the bombs already soften the water.

Glycerin – Is this just for skin softening? Or binding?
In foaming bombs this helps the bubbles last longer. It's also a humectant but I doubt it does much in a full tub of water!

Oatmeal Powder
Colloidal oats are said to condition and smooth the skin. My mom had us take oatmeal baths as a kid when I had chicken pocks. I bet it's the same principal.

Honey Powder
I wouldn't add sugars but I think it's added since honey is supposed to be good for you.

Milk Powders – if so, what kind?
I add goats milk instead of SLSA to get a foaming bomb. It's not as fluffy but it feels amazingly conditioning on the skin!

Kelp Powder – I actually have some, I saw it only on one recipe, would it not turn bath green?
Color? Selling point? Goes with a sea theme? Otherwise I don't think I'd add it.

Vitamin E Oil – To bind? Skin softening? Use it? How much?
I would blend it with the melted butters/oils you add to the batch to help extend the bomb shelf life but I don't think it's necessary. However, vit e is very good for the skin!

Colorant – I don’t want to go crazy with colorant, but maybe a light tint. Which would be the best method to use? Here are the colorants I have:
Powders: Mica, oxides, pigments
Liquid colorant in little bottles…the brand says “ FUN “ Colors, or colorants, something
Natural Colorants
Liquid Food coloring
Gel icing colors (12 colors)

No food colors or dyes. I make mine for personal use and gifts and they are in colored but have different botanicals based on scent. I've tried natural powders and it's nice but they stick to soap scum in the tub. Same with micas. Adding polysorbate 80 will help but it will still stick if you don't have a spotless tub!

Tools – Should I put the dry mixture through my coffee grinder AND sift it? The finer grain, the better?
I mix mine with gloves by hand. You would see big clumps and it will all dissolve anyway. You aren't having someone rubbing this stuff all over them. No need to overthink it.

Scent – In general is it better to use Essential oils because of the beneficial properties? Or are B&B approved fragrances ok?
Both are ok. I've read conflicting info on how much you can add for EOs/FOs. I stick to a max of 3% unless the "wash off" product usage rate is less than that of course.

Molds – I need to get some molds.
I have a little stainless bath bomb mold that has handles and you just squeeze together. It's pretty small and if I made more I would probably get a bigger stainless mold that doesn't have handles.

I've recently read about modified tapioca starch (trade name natrosorb) that can hold a lot of oil in it and stop the bombs from leaving a ring in the tub or feeling oily but they still leave your skin feeling conditioned.

Hope that helps!
 

Barbsbreakingbath

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I'll answer to a few things I know
Clays are supposed to make a harder bath bomb. Don't substitute pink or red clay for white kaolin. It looks beautiful but makes an UNHOLY mess in the tub (ask me how I know)
Epsom salts can dry out your bomb and cause cracking
I like goats milk powder and colloidal oats. The bombs I've made with those ingredients stay together really well.
I use WSP powder bath bomb colors. Unless you plan to start a bath bomb factory, the tiny sample packs are all you need.Never had a staining problem.
Suggestion-Bath bombs are some of the most idiosyncratic of all the products you can make at home. Lotions run a close second. For your first go around, you may want to use a muffin tin or a shot glass. They are much easier to use. The round bombs can be difficult to make and very prone to cracking, crumbling, and splitting in half. You may want to get a few batches under your belt and see if you need to tweak your recipe before you try those. My experience has been that the round 16 mm Christmas tree ornaments do the best job. They are thicker than the larger size ones and the bombs seem to hold together better . Also if you can find an egg crate foam pad that's the best thing to put your bath bombs on to dry.
 
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jennyannlowe

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I don't really bother with other additives, but that's totally up to you! I'd worry about excess glycerin making a sticky ball though. I tried Cream of Tartar , but it's pricey and I don't think it had any real impact. I save it for bubble bars..
Can you explain the difference between a bubble bar and a bath bomb?
 

TBandCW

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Can you explain the difference between a bubble bar and a bath bomb?
Bubble bar is bubble bath. Bath bombs are fizzies, I don't add any SLS to my bath bombs. My clients will buy bubble bath if they want bubbles. Plus it is super expensive lately!

I made many bath bomb experiments till I came up with a simple recipe that sells like hotcakes! You don't need to get too crazy with the ingredients. Figure out what you and your testers like and start experimenting. Lots of failures before success!
 

mzimm

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Gosh snappyllama and galaxyMLP, you guys are da Bomb! (pun fully intended)
I've been fiddling around with bath bombs for months, and here now with your posts I've been saved many, many more months of fiddling and experimenting! I know I'm still going to have to see what works for me in my environment, but at least now I've got some direction. Thanks so much for taking the time.
 

jennyannlowe

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I see that most people who use butters to bind their bath bombs use cocoa or mango....is there a reason? Is Shea ok? I have non- deodorized cocoa (the kind that Is like powdery crumbly rocks) and refined Shea. Which would you try first?

I can melt the cocoa....but its not refined.

I went through the trouble of ordering poly 80 and SLSA. Should I wait and order deodorized cocoa?
 

dixiedragon

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I have never made a bath bomb so I have no idea if the deodorization affects anything other than scent. Since you have it on hand, I'd give it a try! Choose an FO that will go well with the chocolate scent - or maybe no FO at all.

ETA: I only used deodorized cocoa butter for lip balm flavors that don't work with chocolate. For example, Peppermint EO covers up any chocolate scent just fine, but my Sangria flavor oil combined with chocolate smells weird to me.
 
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chela1261

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So happy I stumbled upon this post! I was looking on how to make linen sprays but always wanted to do bath bombs. I've made a couple but they always crack. Snappyllama and galaxy.........what great information and very helpful
Thank you and thanks to jennyannlowe for posting!
 

earlene

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I see that most people who use butters to bind their bath bombs use cocoa or mango....is there a reason? Is Shea ok? I have non- deodorized cocoa (the kind that Is like powdery crumbly rocks) and refined Shea. Which would you try first?

I can melt the cocoa....but its not refined.

I went through the trouble of ordering poly 80 and SLSA. Should I wait and order deodorized cocoa?
I have used jojoba oil. I have used almond oil. I haven't used shea, but I wouldn't hesitate to do so because it feels so good on the skin. If you are hesitant, why not try a small batch using each one.
 
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