Are you fantasizing about bath bombs that fizz, release incredible aromas, or provide health benefits with essential oils.
Making bath bombs is most definitely a science—you’ve got to balance those ingredients just right. It’s also an art–one that can save you money and get your creative juices flowing.
Here’s what we’ll dive into in this post:
Basic Bath Bomb Ingredients
Bath Bomb Molds
Important Bath Bomb Basics
Easy DIY Basic Bath Bomb Recipe for Beginners
Beginner Bath Bombs with a Twist
More Tips & Tricks for Beginners
Ready to Level Up?
Basic Bath Bomb Ingredients
I could just tell you the basic bath bomb recipe and send you on your way. But by understanding what each ingredient contributes to the success of your bath bomb will give you the information you’ll need to improvise your own bath bomb recipe later on. To quickly order all the ingredients and tools you’ll need for the bath bomb recipes in this post, click here.
And as you read through this list of ingredients, try to picture what each one does:
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking powder has a high pH. On its own, baking soda isn’t good for your skin. But in a bath bomb, the baking soda reacts with the low pH citric acid and the bathwater. This immediately neutralizes the pH. The alkalinity in baking soda makes the water feel silky. Plus, baking soda is reported to help with a number of health problems.
This ingredient in a bath bomb is used to carry the more potent, concentrated essential oils to your skin. The vegetable oil in a bath bomb recipe could be coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or any other plant-based oil. These oils are lightly scented and generally moisturizing.
Citric acid gives a citrus-y, sour flavor to candy and other foods. Because it has a low pH, when it mixes with baking powder and water, it releases carbon dioxide. This acid (citric acid) + base (baking powder) + water = amazing fizziness!
Cornstarch slows down the rate at which the bath bomb dissolves. A bath bomb without cornstarch might fizz away into your bathwater in a matter of seconds. With the cornstarch, the reaction takes several minutes.
Cream of Tartar
A small amount provides extra fizz and also helps bath bombs harden.
This type of oil is extracted from a plant and contains the essence of the plant’s aroma. It’s created using a distillation process and is quite potent in terms of its effect and scent. You’ll want to patch test essential oils on your skin before using to be sure you don’t have a reaction. Different essential oils are believed to cause different effects. For example, lavender is said to decrease anxiety, while ginseng is good to ramp up energy.
This ingredient breaks down into its component parts in the water—magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium taken orally can relax the muscles, and in the water, many feel it absorbs through the skin and does the same. (Science has yet to prove the effect.)
This is made from a ground mineral with added colorant. It’s a way to add bright colors to your bath bombs without using a liquid dye. A dry colorant is easier to work with because it won’t cause your mixture to react before the bath bomb gets wet. To make an all-natural basic bath bomb, simply be sure that your colorant is natural and you’re good to go.
This helps the ingredients in the bath bomb recipe stick together.
Bath Bomb Molds
There are several types and shapes of molds available for bath bombs.
- Plastic Ornaments – You can buy these sphere-shaped molds at the craft stores, and fill them with candies or glitter, or hang them on a Christmas tree. However, they also work well for bath bombs. The great advantage of these is they make pretty containers if you are gifting your bath bombs. (More on gift wrapping later.) Personally, I find these the easiest molds to use.
- Stainless Steel – These come in a variety of shapes, from spheres to hearts to seashells, and in a variety of sizes. The less intricate the mold, the easier it is to remove the finished product without any crumbling. For this reason, we suggest you start with a sphere.
Important Bath Bomb Basics
You wouldn’t compete in the Olympics for gymnastics before you knew how to somersault, right? Well, the same goes for bath bombs.
If you master this basic recipe for how to make bath bombs, you’ll have the skill required to do all kinds of twists and turns later on. (And later on, could be the same day…just after you’ve tried the original recipe.) Later, you can add flowers, stripes, and extra fizz. For now, though, try your hand at making the beginner bath bomb.
While making the basic bath bomb recipe isn’t rocket science, I’ve found that it is definitely science. Most people need to experiment a bit before getting it right.
With that said, here are two of the most important things to understand deep down at a soul level before you start mixing any ingredients:
It’s Critical to Get the Right Consistency!
The hardest part about getting the basic bath bomb recipe down is understanding what the consistency of the mixture should be. You’re going for the feel of wet sand. You want the mixture to clump together like a ball in your fist.
So, the key is to add your liquid last and add it slowly.
You will spritz the mixture with witch hazel, just 1-2 spritzes at a time, checking constantly if the mixture is at the right consistency. Once it is, pack your molds. Put the molds on a tray and leave them alone to dry.
Also, wear rubber gloves and mix by hand. When I say “mix,” I mean scoop up a pile of the mixture and rub it between your open palms. But once you’ve added the liquids, you don’t want to over-mix.
For much more about how to achieve the perfect consistency, read Expanding or Crumbling Bath Bombs? Here’s Help.
Let Your Bath Bombs Dry At Least 6 Hours!
Trust me, I know that it’s hard to resist the temptation to check on your baby bath bombs while they are drying. DON’T! Leave them all alone for at least 6 hours, and overnight is really much better. While they might look dry on the outside, on the inside they can be wet. This will cause them to crumble when you remove the mold.
Easy DIY Bath Bomb Recipe for Beginners
This recipe makes 4 medium bath bombs or 2 large bath bombs. (It will vary depending on the size of your molds.)
- Bath bomb molds
- Spray bottle for witch hazel
- Protective gloves
- Mixing bowl
- Spoon or whisk for mixing liquids together
A quick word about the molds: If this is your first bath bomb adventure, use the spherical stainless steel molds or the clear, plastic ornament molds. If you use molds with intricate designs, the bath bomb is more likely to break when you take it out, so let’s save the fancy molds for later.
- 2 cups baking soda
- 1/4 cup Epsom salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp powdered mica for color (any color you like)
- 1 cup citric acid
- 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
- 15 drops essential oil (any scent you like)
- 3 tbsp carrier oil (sweet almond, melted coconut, or jojoba)
- witch hazel
- Mix together in a mixing bowl the baking soda, Epsom salt, cornstarch and powdered mica and corn starch.
- Add the citric acid and mix well with your hands.
- In a separate bowl, combine the essential oil and the carrier oil. Mix well with a spoon.
- Now pour the liquid into the dry mixture. Work quickly and mix well with your hands. Rub the mixture between your open palms.
- Make a ball with the mixture in your fist. If it does not hold together like a snowball, then spritz 1-2 times with witch hazel. Mix again. Test consistency. Spritz again. Repeat until the mixture holds.
- Pack mixture tightly into each half of the bath bomb mold. Very slightly overfill. This will help the two halves of the mold stick together.
- Put the mold together and leave in a safe place to dry. The bath bombs will be dry in 4-6 hours but they will harden more, and become less likely to break, if you can leave them alone overnight.
- To remove the bath bombs from the mold, lightly tap on the outside of the mold with a spoon.
- Store in a moisture-free tupperware with a lid or a glass jar with a lid. Or, drop in the tub and enjoy!
Beginner Bath Bombs With a Twist
Congratulations! If you’ve mastered the basic bath bomb recipe for beginners, you’re ready to learn how to add your own personality and creativity to the process. Sounds fun, right? It is!
Here are additional ingredients that you can add to your DIY bath bombs:
Shimmer adds excitement to any bath bomb. And while we don’t want to add microplastics to the ocean, now there are plant-based, biodegradable glitter products available. Hooray!
Put some dried petals or whole buds in your bath bombs to add scent and beauty.
Expandable Capsule Toys
These are foam toys that come inside a capsule that’s an inch long. When added to water, the gel capsule dissolves and the toy inside grows. These are great to put in the middle of your bath bomb to surprise and delight a child.
Melt down a square to create a mini-soap to insert into your DIY bath bomb.
Liquid Soap Dye
Add a few drops to your melted glycerin soap and then pour in a mini-silicone mold to make a sweet shape for your bath bomb.
Mini-Silicone Soap Molds
You may want to insert a small flourish made of soap on the top of your bath bomb. To do this, you can melt Glycerin soap, add color with liquid soap dye, and then pour it into a mini-mold.
Nonfat Milk Powder
Add to any bath bomb recipe for extra foam.
Oatmeal is a natural skin soother and aids with rashy, itchy skin. Blend oatmeal into a fine powder and add to a bath bomb as needed.
Pop Rocks Candy
Place Pop Rocks Candy in your bath bomb for an extra explosive experience.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA)
This will give any bath bomb frothy bubbles. Derived from coconut and palm oils, this ingredient creates a foamy lather.
Consider adding any kitchen spices to your bath bombs for both scent and texture. Try fennel, ginger or clove.
Add a teaspoon of Vanilla Absolut, Grapefruit Absolut or Oak Absolut for a unique and wonderful scent.
More Tips & Tricks for Beginners
As you become more comfortable making bath bombs, check out these additional resources that can help you up your DIY bath bomb skills
Learn how essential oils and carrier oils can change the healing properties and scents of your bath bombs. This post will introduce you to my favorite essential oils. I’ll explain the benefits of each and how to safely use them in your bath bomb creations.
Did you know that you can make your bath bombs bubble. This post will show you how! And what could be more fun? Really!
I’ll leave you with one last bath bomb trick: How to make embeds. An embed is a little mini-bath bomb you plant inside a regular bath bomb to turn it into a spinning, fizzing whirling dervish! This post explains how to make and place the embed in your bath bomb for maximum awesomeness.
Now that you’re no longer a beginner, it’s time to gift your bath bombs to the world! But that can often bring up a host of problems: How can you wrap bath bombs while magnifying their beauty? How can you transport them without breakage? I’ve got you covered in this post.
Find out how long until your DIY bath bomb begins to lose its ability to fizz. And how long until the essential oils begin to oxidize and potentially irritate your skin.
Ready to Level Up?
Once you feel ready to up your game, try one of these DIY bath bomb recipes that are inspired by the four seasons. These DIY bath bomb recipes will help you level up your skills.
The first recipe I’d like you to try is Winter Wonderland. It uses a mini-snowflake mold and shea butter (for dry winter skin).
This is such a hopeful bath bomb full of the promise of spring. A two-tone pink and white bath bomb with a rose scent, and real dried flowers.
Who doesn’t love a summer swim in the sea? This bubble bath bomb will make you feel like you’re surfing the waves under a glittery sun! Enjoy the sea creatures, too.
When the weather turns cool, we want to get cozy under the covers. Bathing in lavender, oatmeal and shea butter, the Fall Asleep bath bomb will lull you into the sweetest dreams.
Go Forth and Make Bath Bombs
Congratulations! You are now bath bomb artist of the finest caliber. Relish your freedom to create. Make bath bombs to heal yourself and others. Mix your colors, dried flowers, glitter, and oils to design new bath bombs that have never been dreamed of before. Go forth and share your gifts with the world!