Do you want to learn how to make bath bombs but are intimidated by the amount of information and recipes available?

Don’t be concerned! We’ve got your back!
We’re giving our favorite fail-safe bath bomb recipe, as well as a ton of information, useful hints, and handy tricks to ensure your bath bombs are a bubbly success right away!

What’s a Bath bomb?

In your tub, a bath bomb is a bubbly blast of effervescent fun and color! Many bath bombs contain a range of oils and butters that nourish and hydrate the skin in addition to adding bubbles, color, froth, and fizz to your bath time. To improve the health benefits and detoxifying capabilities of the bath bombs, essential oils, clays, and salts can be added. It’s like having a luxury spa experience in the comfort of your own home!

Bath Bomb Ingredients

If you want your bath bombs to be a success, you must understand how each bath bomb ingredient contributes to the overall formula. Bath bombs can be finicky to prepare at times, but with a little know-how, you’ll be able to alter your formula to fit your climate and environment every time for fail-proof bath bombs!

Baking soda, citric acid, and a liquid binder can be used to make simple bath bombs, but we’ve discovered that the best bath bombs have a few more ingredients. This detailed list will assist you in determining which ingredients are essential and which can be eliminated if desired.

Note: Not all of the ingredients listed below are used in our Best Bath Bomb Recipe below, but for your own future recipe creation and development, these are invaluable to know! 

BAKING SODA

The major ingredient in bath bombs is sodium bicarbonate, sometimes known as baking soda. When mixed with water and citric acid, baking soda is classified as a “weak base,” resulting in an effervescent fizzing acid-base chemical reaction. Baking soda softens bath water and leaves skin feeling silky smooth and soft.

CITRIC ACID

The second most important element in bath bombs is citric acid. When coupled with baking soda and water, it is a naturally occurring “weak acid” generated from citrus fruits that enhances the fizzing reaction.

CORNSTARCH

Cornstarch is a typical “filler ingredient” used in bath bombs as a hardening agent and to increase volume. However, if you use too much cornstarch, it will limit the fizzing and overall effect of your bath bombs, so don’t use too much!

CREAM OF TARTAR AND/OR CLAYS

Bath bombs are typically hardened with clays and/or cream of tartar. We recommend white kaolin clay as an excellent hardening agent if you like to utilize clay.

SODIUM LAURYL SULFOACETATE (SLSA)

SLSA is a surfactant made from coconut and palm oil that produces sumptuous and rich foamy bubbles during the chemical reaction.

SALTS

For their alleged health benefits, salts are widely used in bath bomb recipes. Epsom salt is the most often used salt, and it is said to relieve muscle pain and improve overall well-being. Because of its purifying effects, pink Himalayan salt and sea salt are frequently utilized in bath bomb recipes.

NOTE: Salts are known to attract water and can sometimes initiate the fizzing process early, thus they should only be used in limited amounts. The greatest results and smoothest surface on your finished bath bombs come from grinding coarse salts to a fine powder.

OILS

Oils are utilized to help bind the bath bomb mixture together and give moisture to the recipe. Oils have moisturizing properties that soothe and moisturise skin, and different types of oil provide additional advantages to the bath bombs, such as antioxidant and anti-aging effects. Coconut, sweet almond, avocado, grapeseed, and jojoba are the most often utilized oils.
Bath bombs containing oils should be avoided because they can make your bathtub slick!

BUTTERS

Butters also give moisture to your bath bombs, making them feel silky and smooth on your skin. Additionally, some butters may aid in the hardening of bath bombs. Cocoa, shea, avocado, coffee, and mango butters are all popular. Bath bombs containing butters should be avoided because they can make your bathtub slick!

FRAGRANCE OILS AND ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils, which are sourced from plants, can add aroma as well as health benefits to your bath bombs. Fragrance oils are primarily synthetically made, and while they do not have the same amount of stated health advantages as essential oils, they are generally less expensive and come in a far wider range of aromas.

COLORANTS

Cosmetic micas are my first option for bath bomb coloring. Micas have a terrible reputation for not being as brilliantly colored or pigmented as other forms of colorants, but finding the appropriate sources is all it takes! (Note: Mad Micas has some incredible and incredibly vivid neon hues!) Other colorant possibilities include FDA-approved lakes and bath bomb-approved colours, which must be “bloomed” into the baking soda before used. Food coloring should not be used in bath bombs since it can discolor your bathtub and skin.

POLYSORBATE 80

If you use colorants in your bath bomb recipes, especially micas, a small bit of Polysorbate 80 will assist the color disperse evenly throughout the water and avoid any discoloration or rings from forming around the bathtub.

WITCH HAZEL

The most common liquid binder for bath bombs is witch hazel, but you can also use a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol (note: depending on your environment, using alcohol as a binder may result in “dustier” and more crumbly bath bombs). To get the mixture to the right consistency and assist bind the elements together, a small amount is applied using a fine-misting spray bottle.

STEP-BY-STEP DIY BATH BOMB TUTORIAL

Now, it’s time to learn how to make bath bombs! This easy-to-follow tutorial and recipe will have you creating professional-looking bath bombs in no time!

Begin by sifting the baking soda into a large bowl using a large mesh strainer. Use the back of a spoon to break up any clumps, if necessary. In a second smaller bowl, sift the citric acid, and set aside for later.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (minus the citric acid) to the baking soda bowl and mix well.

I like to use my stand mixer to help make sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, but a good old fashioned spoon works just as well – it just takes a little longer and requires a little more effort!

In a small container, stir together all of the liquid ingredients. Stirring constantly, slowly add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until thouroughly combined. Stir quickly to ensure that the mixture doesn’t start to prematurely activate when you introduce the liquids! 

Lightly spray the mixture with 2-3 spritzes of witch hazel (or a mixture of water + isopropyl alcohol) and mix well.

Test to see if the mixture is the proper consistency – it should feel just slightly damp and sort of like kinetic sand. You don’t want it to be TOO wet!

If the mixture is the proper moldable consistency, it will hold together after being squeezed and then lightly dropped back into the bowl. If the mixture is too dry, spray with 1-2 more sprays of witch hazel, stir, and test again. Repeat as necessary until the mixture reaches the proper consistency.

Gently pack the bath bomb mixture into both halves of the mold, generously overfilling each side of the mold.

Press both halves of the mold firmly together and gently brush away any excess mixture.

When unmolding round bath bombs, I like to remove half of the mold at a time and rest the bath bomb in the remaining half of the mold while the other side dries. This step ensures that the bottoms of your bath bombs stay rounded and don’t flatten out.

Flip the mold to the opposite side of the bath bomb after an hour and then unmold completely after 2 hours. Allow to dry completely for 24–48 hours.

Note: I prefer to dry my DIY bath bombs on egg crate foam to help keep their rounded shape and to allow air to circulate freely around the bath bomb to help it thoroughly dry. This photo shows halfway unmolded bath bombs, but I also use the egg crate for drying once they have been completely unmolded as well!

THE BEST BATH BOMB RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 cups Citric Acid
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar or White Kaolin Clay
  • 2 Tbsp Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA)
  • 1/2 tsp Cosmetic Mica Colorant, optional
  • 2 Tbsp Oil of Choice (we recommend Sweet Almond Oil)
  • 1 Tbsp Polysorbate 80, if using colorant
  • Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil, optional (see notes)
  • Witch Hazel, in a fine-mist spray bottle
  • 2 1/2″ Round Metal Bath Bomb Molds

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the baking soda, cream of tartar (or kaolin clay), SLSA. Stir in mica colorant if desired until completely combined.
  2. In a small container, combine the oil, fragrance/essential oil, and Polysorbate 80 (if using).
  3. Stirring constantly, slowly mix the liquids into the dry ingredients until they are completely combined.
  4. Add citric acid to the mixture and stir until it is fully incorporated.
  5. Test to see if the mixture is a moldable consistency – it should feel like slightly damp sand and hold together when squeezed in your hand. If the mixture is not quite wet enough to mold, spritz two to three times with a spray bottle of witch hazel and mix well. Repeat as necessary until the proper consistency is reached.
  6. Fill both halves of the bath bomb mold with the bath bomb mixture, making sure to overfill both sides of the mold just a bit. Press both halves of the mold firmly together.
  7. Carefully release the bath bomb from the mold (tap the mold lightly with a wooden spoon if needed) and allow it to dry completely for 24-48 hours depending on the temperature and humidity of your location.

Notes:

The amount of fragrance oil and/or essential oil that will need to be added to your bath bomb mixture will vary widely depending on what you are using. Generally, fragrance oil can be added by the 1/2 teaspoon until the desired amount of fragrance is reached. Essential oils are often far more potent than fragrance oil, so we recommend adding 15-20 drops of essential oil to each recipe to start and then adding more in 5 drop increments until the desired level of fragrance is achieved.