My life’s work is perfecting the art and science of taking an incredible bath. So naturally, one of the most frequent questions I get is about how to make a bubble bath more bubbly.
To make a more bubbly bath, your bubble bath should include a surfactant. This is the ingredient that allows water molecules to stretch and form bubbles. You also need to force air into the soapy water molecules. More air yields a bubblier bubble bath. Pour bubble bath into the bathtub underneath the tub spout as the water fills the tub. The pressure of the water sends air into the bubbles.
Let’s take a quick look at the science of bubbles, and then I’ll recommend a DIY bubble bath recipe, along with my favorite, most bubbly store-bought bubble baths. After that, I’ll reveal my secret technique for how to make the most bubbly bubble bath of all time.
The Science of Bubbles
You need a few basic ingredients to create a bubble: soap, water and air. A bubble basically consists of a very thin layer of water trapped between two layers of soap. The soap-water-soap sandwich creates the surface of a bubble.
What Are Surfactants?
But in order for the bubble to form a spherical shape, you need to add one more ingredient to the soap and water. It’s called a surfactant. The surfactant is a chemical agent that adds stretchiness to the surface of the water molecules, so they can expand into a bubble shape.
There are several ingredients that you can use as surfactants. Two popular choices sound the same but they’re quite different. An artificial surfactant ingredient goes by the name Sulfo Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), while a natural surfactant ingredient goes by the name Sulfo Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa).
It’s easy to mix the two up just because they sound so similar. But don’t!
SLS is much cheaper to come by, so it’s often added to store-bought bubble baths.
However, the more expensive surfactant, SLSa, is a natural ingredient, derived from coconuts and palm oil. It’s a superior, phosphate-free, nontoxic and makes awesome bubbles without irritating your skin.
Other surfactants used in bubble bath, bubble bars and bath bombs include: Decyl glucoside, made from fruit and vegetable sugars; PEG 40 castor oil also known as POE 40 Hydrogenated Castor oil; and sodium cocoyl isethionate, also called SCI.
For more about bubble bath ingredients and preservatives, read my post Does Bubble Bath Expire? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes!
What About the Air in Bubbles?
In the center of any bubble is a pocket of air. The more air you add into your soap solution, the more bubbles—and the larger bubbles—you can create.
Think about blowing a bubble in a piece of gum. First, you chew the gum to get it soft and stretchy. Then you blow air into it. The more air you blow, the bigger the bubble.
There are plenty of ways to “blow” more air into your bubble bath solution than simply pouring it into the bathwater. If you add your bubble bath right under the tub spout as your bath fills, the pressure of the water on the bubble bath solution forces air into your bubbles. You’ll end up with a more bubbly bubble bath by adding your product to the bath this way.
At the end of this post, I’ll show you the best way in the world to get the bubbliest bubble bath of all time, by forcing even more air into the soap and water solution. But now, let’s take a look at a DIY bubble bath you can very easily make with just a few ingredients.
DIY Bubble Bath Recipe – Rosy Bubbles
I love this recipe because it smells good and makes lots of long-lasting bubbles. Plus I can whip it up in less than 5 minutes. Here’s all you need:
- Hot Water, 4 cups
- SLSa, 6 Tbsp
- Coconut Oil, 6 Tbsp
- Red Soap Dye, 15-20 drops
- Rose Essential Oil, 15-20 drops
- Mason Jar with Tight-Fitting Lid
It’s important to add the ingredients in the order listed. Use a whisk to blend each ingredient into the mixture.
- Heat the water to almost a boil in microwave or stove-top.
- Dissolve the SLSA into the hot water, mixing with the whisk.
- Melt down coconut oil on burner or else microwave the coconut oil for about 30 seconds.
- Add rose essential oil to coconut oil. Whisk.
- Whisk oil mixture into SLSA mixture.
- Add soap dye. Whisk again.
- Pour liquid into mason jars with tight-fitting lids and shake well.
- Optional: For a creamy consistency, refrigerate bubble bath in containers 1 hour and then shake vigorously. (Keep an eye on the clock: Do not refrigerate longer or mixture will solidify.)
Store in air-tight jar up to 3 months in a dark, cool location.
You may want to open windows or put on face mask while making this recipe, because SLSa is a very fine powder. When you scoop it up, it can send up plumes of powder that make you cough.
For longer-lasting bubble bath, you’ll need to add a preservative. Read about bubble bath preservatives here.
Once you make Rosy Bubbles and see how pretty it looks, you’ll want to gift some to your favorite bath taker. But be sure to keep some for yourself, too!
Warning: If you have small children, this bubble bath can look to them like a tasty fruit punch. Keep it far out of reach!
How to Use Rosy Bubbles:
Shake your bubble bath container well. Then pour ¼ to ½ cup of Rosy Bubbles under your tub spout as your bath fills. Enjoy!
My Favorite Store-Bought Bubble Baths
These days, you don’t get a lot of good news, so it’s my great pleasure to tell you some: My current absolute favorite bubble baths for making tons of bubbles are both completely awesome and really inexpensive (under $15) as far as bubble bath goes.
Deep Steep Rosemary Mint Bubble Bath
First of all, can you imagine how incredible this bubble bath smells? I mean, if you like the scents of rosemary and mint, then you’ll totally love this to pieces.
Second of all, while it doesn’t contain yucky stuff like parabens and sulfates, it does contain ingredients that your skin will drink like argan oil, shea butter and aloe. Your skin will feel soft and silky after the bath.
Third, and most important for our purposes, this bubble bath gives off one stunning looking bubble. Well, actually millions. They are the type that glint with different colors and pile up on top of each other in perfectly formed bubbly mounds.
You can get Deep Steep Rosemary Mint Bubble Bath here on Amazon.
Alpen Secrets Foaming Milk Bath With Lavender
Okay, this one is not called a “bubble bath” but a “foaming bath.” I think it’s because the bubbles it makes are super tiny, so when you get a bazillion of them, they make a thick, luxurious foam.
But trust me, folks, what you have here are multitudes of miniature bubbles in all their glorious beauty.
I once sat down with a medical aesthetician named Ann Webb to talk to her about how to hydrate your skin in the tub. (You can read Ann’s expert advice here.) Anyway, I wish I had known about Alpen Secrets Foaming Milk Bath with Lavender at the time, because I would have urged her to study it, dissect it, and reveal to me exactly what are Alpen’s secrets!
While I would love the recipe for this foaming bath, all I know is that it’s paraben-free. And it’s made with lavender, goat milk, vitamin E and aloe vera. And it makes the greatest, smoothest, most decadent teeny bubbles.
The Secret to the Bubbliest Bubble Bath Ever
Alpen isn’t the only one with a secret. I have one, too. I have truly uncovered the secret to the bubbliest bubble bath of all time. Don’t believe me? Watch the video below and prepare to be amazed!
The Serene Life Electric Bubble Bath Mat is honestly the most fun product you could ever buy—and it’s super practical, too. It will literally turn your bathtub into a jacuzzi. It attaches to the bottom of your slightly wet tub with dozens of suction cups.
Then you turn on the power, and about 50 jets force tiny bubbles up from the mat onto your back. If your back, hip or thighs hurt, prepare for an amazing full-body massage.
Now, can you imagine what happens when you add bubble bath under the spout of your running tub while you turn on the electric bubble bath mat? Let’s just say it’s pure awesomeness.
The first time I did this, I didn’t realize what would happen. I added some bubble bath and turned on the electric bath mat. Then I went into the kitchen to get a snack. A few minutes later, my dog Athena started barking wildly.
At first, I ignored her and continued to pile bananas on top of my bread and Nutella. But when Athena kept barking, I put down my sandwich to see what’s happening on the other side of the house.
I traced the barks to the bathroom and lo and behold, Athena was as amazed as me. What we found were floor to ceiling bubbles!
My son, who was 15 at the time, thought it was super cool, too! So we both put on our bathing suits and stood in the sky-high bubbles together.
I have since learned to put in less bubble bath when using the electric bath mat at the same time. But I often let the bubbles rise a few feet above the surface of the bathwater, only because it’s way too fun to take a bath inside a cave of bubbles!
Try A Turkish Bath: All Bubbles, Hardly Any Water
Have you ever heard about a Turkish bath? It uses mostly bubbles and hardly any water. Plus, it has lots of incredible benefits like detoxification, decreased muscle pain and improved sleep.
Once you know how to make a great bubble bath, you’re all set to recreate the joys of the Turkish Bathhouse, or hammam, right in your own home. To read all about how to do this, see my post How to Get Tremendous Turkish Bath Benefits at Home. If you’d love an adventure in bubbles, this is the bath experience for you!
Best Gift for Bath Lovers
Looking to send a super special gift to a bath lover? How about a subscription bath box! Your recipient will receive a box full of 6-10 amazing (yes, I mean it!) bath products from indie shops, including bubble bath, bubble bars and bath bombs. Get a quarterly or monthly subscription and send your love in a box!
So How Do You Make a Bubbly Bubble Bath?
Use what you know about bubbles to create the bubbliest bubble bath of them all time! Add a surfactant to any DIY project and then air pressure. Once you have your bubbliest bubble bath, savor it, giggle in it, and enjoy!