While a glass of wine, a good book, or a plethora of bubbles can be the perfect addition to a hot bath, a more colorful and exciting option can be a bath bomb. Often molded into a small sphere that fits in the palm of your hand (although you can find them in fun shapes, too!), a bath bomb will instantly begin to fizz and disintegrate once it hits the water, unleashing a pleasant aroma and filling your bath with a pop of color.
Bath bombs can add a little zest and fun to a soothing self-care ritual, but they typically cost $5-$15 each, which can add up quickly. Fortunately, you don't have to spend your hard-earned money on this delightful indulgence if you choose to make your own bath bombs at home. The process is pretty simple (it takes just about 20 minutes, plus a day or two of drying time) and can be a relaxing and creative activity, as you can customize them with the scents and colors you like best. With this basic recipe, creating bath bombs should be pretty easy, and you'll be sudsing in a colorful, scented bath in no time.
Ready to take your soak to the next level? Keep reading for a simple, customizable, affordable DIY bath bomb recipe.
How to Make Your Own Bath Bombs
Bath Bomb Recipe Ingredients and Materials
Almost all bath bomb recipes call for the same ingredients and measurements, with a few occasional exceptions. The key to great bath bombs is citric acid, which isn't hard to find online.
There are, of course, alternatives for those with sensitive skin. Citric acid, for instance, can be swapped for lemon juice, cream of tartar, buttermilk powder, or a mix of baking powder and apple cider vinegar. Food coloring could also cause a reaction—so if you're sensitive, just don't use any (or try a natural variety). Most of the other ingredients, including oils and cornstarch, are frequently used to treat sensitive skin (but avoid if you notice a negative reaction). If you have sensitive skin, or skin prone to eczema, it is best to avoid any products with fragrances. Additionally, although alpha hydroxy acids are great chemical exfoliators, they can also be irritating for sensitive skin.
Citric acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid extracted from citrus fruits. It promotes exfoliation, acts as a natural astringent, and is a good source of antioxidants.
If you'd rather not shop online and prefer the IRL approach, you may be able to purchase citric acid from your local pharmacy. Here's everything you'll need for the perfect bath bomb:
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid (as an alternative, use the same amount of either lemon juice, cream of tartar, buttermilk powder, or 1/4 cup each of baking powder and apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 cup Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 tbsp. water
- 2 tsp. essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, rose, orange, and lemongrass are popular for the bath)
- 2 tbsp. oil (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, olive, or even baby oil)
- A few drops of food coloring
- A mold of your choice, such as regular or mini-muffin tins, candy pans, or round plastic molds specifically for bath bombs
- Optional: dried flowers or sugar cake decorations, like flowers or stars
Bath Bomb Instructions
Step 1: With the exception of the citric acid, mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Pour all of the liquid ingredients into a jar with a top. Close the jar and shake it vigorously.
Step 3: Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and use your hands to combine and meld together. At this point, add the citric acid. You'll probably notice a slight fizzing reaction because of the citric acid. No need to panic, as this is normal.
The mixture should be a bit crumbly (similar to the consistency of wet beach sand). Whatever you do, don't add water at this stage, or the bath bomb will fizz prematurely and be ruined.
Step 4: Mash the mixture into your chosen molds very tightly. You can overfill the molds slightly and use a spoon or glass to press the mixture in as tightly as possible. Immediately loosen the bombs from their molds onto wax paper and let them dry overnight.
Step 5: Give the bath bombs a day or two to completely dry before using them or wrapping them up as gifts.
Step 6: Pop one in the bathtub, enjoy the burst of colors and fizz and inhale the released aromas. Turn on some of your favorite music or a podcast to accompany you while you soak, or simply slide into the bath and enjoy all of your hard work.
Packing Your Bath Bombs
These bath bombs make perfect gifts (for others or yourself—self-care is important!). You can put both large or small ones in cellophane gift bags (like the ones you'd typically buy for cookies) or stack smaller ones in a wide-mouth mason jar. Make a few batches using different colors and add various essential oils for an array of scents if you'd like some variety. Bath bombs typically last about six months as long as they are packaged well in airtight jars, Tupperware containers, or sealed plastic bags and stored in a dry environment like a cupboard. Storing them in the bathroom or out in the open air isn’t ideal as steam and moisture cause the citric acid to lose its potency and your bath bomb will not initiate the fizzy effervescence you’re after.