The bath bomb was invented in 1989 by Lush Cosmetics co-founder Mo Constantine. Working from her shed in Dorset, Constantine was inspired to create her 'Aqua Sizzlers' (which would later become 'Bath Bombs') after becoming intrigued by Alka-Seltzer tablets.
The concept of a bath bomb is to add emollients and softeners into your bath in a unique and interesting way. By compactly combining a variety of dry ingredients, with the addition of colours and fragrances/essential oils, to transform your bath time experience into an aromatic paradise. The craft of bath bomb making has evolved over the years with it becoming more of an art and a wonderful way of explore the properties of different cosmetics and toiletry ingredients.
Making your own bath bombs is very simple and uses very safe ingredients, which makes it a perfect product to make with the children. These days bath bombs, fizz, dissolve, foam, turn to slime, create rainbows and so much more! Experimenting with a variety of ingredients to create an array of different effects, all to leave your skin moisturised and replenished, while having fun at the same time!
The heart of everyone bath bomb recipe is a simple chemical reaction. A basic bath bomb recipe consists of bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, colour and fragrance, with a 3% fragrance limit (3g per 100ml); however, the more ingredients you add the more you get from your bath bomb! It goes without saying a bath bomb isn't really worth it without releasing a beautiful aroma, but there is so much more you can add. Here is a list of products you can add to create unique characteristics of your bath bomb creations...
Butters & Oils
Butters and oils serve multiple purposes in a bath bomb recipe. Shea butter, cocoa butter, avocado oil, sunflower oil etc are wonderful moisturisers for the skin and will make your bath feel luxurious. Melted butters and liquid oils also help to moisten your mixture for moulding, without setting off your reaction. When the butters cool to room temperature, they also harden your bath bombs. Cocoa butter helps create a harder recipe than other butters, but mango and shea butters are also wonderful choices to create that luxurious feel in your bath water. Remember to stick to the advised quantities in the recipe, you don't want to create an over oily recipes that leaves you feeling greasy. But you do want to find the correct balance to moisturise and nourish your skin.
There are hundreds of powders out there that create all kinds of characteristics in a bath bomb. Even from natural colourants such as clays, to cream of tartar to harden your recipe. Cream of tartar also reacts with the citric acid in your recipe to increase your fizz. Other hardeners include cornstarch, tapioca starch and kaolin clay. By adding a surfactant into your formulation such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, you can create a wonderful foaming layer which also helps add emphasis your fragrance as it holds the aroma for longer. Another wonderful foaming ingredient is milk powder, as well as soothing the skin and sharing its wonderful properties, it also adds foam to your bath. The final ingredient we want to mention is Sodium Alignate, this unique ingredient reacts with water and transform to a jelly consistency. Turning your bath water into slime! The more you use the more slimy it becomes!
Colours & Glitters
These days one of the main purposes of a bath bomb is to create bath art. The more colour combinations and affects you can create the more wow factor your bombs have! With the idea of embedments being used more and more as a means of changing the colour mid fizz, adding surprise and character to your creations. Also the fun and vibrant colours are an attractive prospect for children, helping parents tackle bath time with a bit of excitement!
You can adapt your colours to create a variety of effects, from neutral colours for relaxation to a colour array to create a bath rainbow. To reduce the risk of bath ring, and the endless hours scrubbing to remove the colour residue there are certain colours recommended for bath bombs. Water soluble liquid colours work well as they already work with water-based products. Coated micas are another pigment that works well, they differ from regular mica in that their coating allows the mica to freely suspend in water. Unlike regular mica which tends to float on top and then cling to surfaces of the the bath itself and your skin. This ability to stay in the water and then wash away makes them particularly suitable for adding deep and rich colour to Bath Bombs.
Glitters are another amazing addition to your bath bomb. Although a bit more restrictive, as there is nothing worse than sitting in a lovely warm bath with what feels like sand beneath your bum! You also have to remember that due to the new law, certain glitters cannot be used in wash away products. We would recommend using a biodegradable glitter such as Bio-Glitter or a mica-based glitter alternative. These add just the right amount of sparkle and character without causing other issues.
It is important to note that with worn bath surfaces, tiny mica particles may still become trapped in surface irregularities, so when this is the case, thorough cleaning should remove them.
Our final addition to mention is dried botanicals, from petals to powders. You can use many fruit powders to add colours and additional fragrance to your bath bomb creations. You can also add petals from a variety of wonderful flowers to add character and delicate details which will float beautifully in your bath tub. With the added extra of their natural aroma to enhance your bath bomb fragrance.
The list could go on; with all the amazing products you could add to your bath bombs. Creating a silky feel in your bath to the additional properties from bath salts. This is just a basic list of some of the wonderful possibilities you can create when formulating your bath bomb recipes.