Make It Yourself: Rose-scented DIY Bath Bombs
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
You love everything about bath bombs - the remarkable fizz, the colourful water, the post-soak-silkiness of your skin - but you don't like paying a fortune for them? Good news: natural bath bombs are one of the best bath and beauty products to make at home because (the way we're gonna do it, anyway) they're easy, relatively inexpensive, and make a unique bath gift that just about everyone loves. All rightee then: today we're going to tackle making your own bath bombs.
I say 'tackle' because, while many websites would have you believe that bath bombs are child's play, I disagree. I struggled for a long time with bath bombs and still do, because I want to put the best possible ingredients in there, but the best ingredients for your skin don't necessarily play nice together in a bath bomb. A dilemma indeed - and one that we've solved by going flat with the bomb. You don't have to, but for beginners, I highly recommend it - you'll get bath bomb success the very first time, without the discouraging "My bath bomb is too _____" (you fill in the blank: soft, cracked, warty, flattened, puffy, etc. - any or all of which can occur for absolutely no discernible reason. Perhaps it's linked to the phases of the moon).
While the sky's the limit when it comes to scenting and decorating your DIY bath bomb, today we're going to go with a simple rose fragrance, which is beloved by people of all ages.
What you need to make your own amazing bath bombs
Most homemade bath bombs only contain a few ingredients, BUT despite the apparent simplicity of the recipe, I don't recommend messing around with substitutions and variations until you have at least tried a basic bath bomb. Invest in the proper ingredients; they go a long way and you will be assured of success instead of...mess.
To make a nice batch of bath bombs, you will need:
A silicone mold. We will be using simple round soap molds, but any baking mold made of silicone, with depressions in it, will do. You can often find these in the seasonal section of craft stores, superstores and dollar stores, or of course Amazon has a huge selection of silicone baking molds. Silicone molds make it much easier to un-mold your finished bath bombs without breaking them to pieces. If you have a hard candy mold with very small depressions, that's fine, you will just need to use several of your mini bath bombs in the tub at once :)
Citric acid. This is a crystalline powder derived from citrus fruits. It's completely natural and non-toxic despite the connotations the name might evoke! Citric acid is what produces the fizz when it combines with baking soda. It's chemistry 101. You can find citric acid in most bulk stores or online.
Powdered clay or cornstarch. You'll find bath bomb recipes that call for cornstarch, cream of tartar or other types of flours here, but for a spa-quality experience, you want to use real clay. French green clay, bentonite clay, kaolin clay, sea clay or any other type of powdered cosmetic clay you can get your hands on, are all great. We order our clays online at New Directions Aromatics or Candora Soap Ltd.
Oil. While some online bath bomb recipes only call for water, witch hazel, or some form of alcohol to moisten your dry ingredients, the fact is that we like some kind of moisturizing effect in the tub, otherwise what's the point? Skin-loving carrier oils to use include extra-virgin olive, coconut, sweet almond, jojoba and avocado. You may also need a little water as well but this should be used only as a last resort - it's so easy to over-moisten the mixture and get a premature fizzing reaction.
Salt. You can use Epsom salt, sea salts, or a mixture of both. Keep in mind that using salts will attract moisture to your bath bombs, so they will take longer to harden and may look less perfect than the bath bombs at the store, but salt is just so damn good for your skin and body that it's worth it. Just avoid making your bath bombs in a high-humidity environment.
Scent. Here we're going to use a phthalate-free Rose fragrance oil which you can buy online at either of the above-mentioned suppliers; if you want to get pure & fancy, you can also use Rose Absolute, the essential oil - NOW brand makes a good one which we use for our Dead Sea Facial Mud Mask. Bear in mind that though it smells wonderful, it is not strong - it's a 3% dilution in jojoba oil - and it IS expensive. A good all-natural alternative is Geranium essential oil or a rose/geranium blend.
Colour. Of course, colour is optional, but here we're using Rose Kaolin Clay, which is all natural and beautiful, so why not? You can also use food colouring, special bath bomb colorant, soap colours, micas and oxides, or herbal colours to achieve your desired effect. Please note that micas and clays will leave a bathtub ring but it's not permanent - just wipe it away when you're done.
Decoration. In keeping with the rose theme, we'll be using dried rose petals and Himalayan pink salt here, but you could omit these if you don't have them on hand.
The proper ratio for bath bomb ingredients
The essential components of your bath bombs are the baking soda and the citric acid: they literally are the bath bomb, everything else is kind of gravy. You want you use 2x baking soda to 1x citric acid. So, if you are using 8 oz of baking soda, you would use 4 oz of citric acid (this quantity makes about 7 of the bath bomb disks pictured below).
The second most important ratio is the liquid ratio. For 8 oz of baking soda and 4 oz of citric acid, you will want to add 2 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of fragranced oil (essential oils or other fragrances). If you really need to, a maximum of 1 tsp of water (or witch hazel) can be added to make sure your bath bomb mixture sticks together properly.
Optional additives like clay and salts should be used at 0.5. So, baking soda:citric acid:clay = 2:1:0.5. Or, to continue with our example: 8 oz baking soda, 4 oz citric acid, 2 oz clay, 2 oz salt.
Colour is up to you and your tastes - usually, a little goes a long way when it comes to bath bombs!
How to make your own natural bath bombs in 5 easy steps
So simple! So wonderful! So, let's make those bath bombs now.
1. Mix your dry ingredients together in a large, preferably glass bowl. If you're using a dry colorant, such as mica, mix it together with your dry ingredients. Once the powders are well mixed, add the rose petals and mix again, gently.
2. In a separate small bowl or measuring cup, mix wet ingredients (including any fragrances, oils and liquid colorants). Of course oil and water doesn't mix, so do your best. This is where using witch hazel or alcohol will help.
3. Prep your mold if necessary. In this case we are decorating our bath bombs with Himalayan pink salt, so you'll want to sprinkle that into each cavity of the mold now.
4. Slowly pour your liquid mixture into the dry ingredients mixture, a small amount at a time. As you pour, continually 'bury' the liquid with a whisk, mixing constantly with one hand to prevent the contents from reacting and fizzing too much. When all the liquid has been poured, continue vigorously mixing and whisking till you have something resembling fine, damp sand - no lumps or bumps, please.
At this point do NOT get up to wipe someone's bum, swipe through pics on your phone, or make dinner. You may feel like Star Trek's Scotty shrieking 'There's no time!" And this is accurate - once your wet and dry ingredients are mixed, you have literally minutes before it all turns into unusable crusty cement. So hurry up and get on to the next step.
4. Spoon your mixture into the molds and press in extremely firmly with your fingers, the back of a spoon, the bottom of a cup, whatever it takes.
5. Allow to dry at least 8 hours before gently pushing out of the mold onto a sheet of waxed paper. Allow the other side to dry at least 8 more hours before packaging or storing in an airtight glass jar (warning - if you do not wrap them individually the bath bombs may fuse to one another if there is any humidity whatsoever in the air)
Voila! Handmade, gorgeous bath bombs at a fraction of the price. Make it yourself or make it with the kids, keep them for personal use or give as gifts - everyone will fall for these!
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