After a long, stressful day, nothing feels better than a relaxing soak. And adding a bath bomb to the water can take one of life’s little luxuries to the next level. The spheres are made of a blend of soothing oils and delightful scents that fizz and dissolve in warm water, leaving skin silky and smooth. Now, that’s self care!
The best part? Making your own bath bombs is easy. All you need are a few basic ingredients and our step-by-step guide below. And don’t miss the expert tips from Good Housekeeping‘s Health and Beauty Reviews Analyst, Chiara Butler.
This project is also ideal for kids (with supervision) — imagine all the fun they’ll have choosing different colors to make their bath bomb pop, not to mention the scented oils, eye-catching accents (think rose petals, orange peels, dried flowers) and shapes (otherwise known as molds) that’ll make their fizzy mixture unique. Just keep in mind that it takes up to four hours for the bath bomb to fully harden.
What You’ll Need
How to Make a Bath Bomb
- Pour the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch and Epsom salt (if using) into a bowl. Whisk the ingredients until fully combined.
- Pour the essential oil, emollient oil and food coloring into the other bowl. Mix the ingredients together until the food coloring is fully incorporated.
- Slowly pour the oil mixture (from step 2) into the dry ingredients (from step 1). When the oil is all in, keep whisking and add drops of water in between.
- If you decide to add decorative accents, like rose petals or orange peels, to your bath bombs, drop them into the bottom of the mold. Then, tightly mash your mixture into the molds.
Take note: When pressed in your hand, make sure the mixture clumps together. It shouldn’t be too wet and should be able to keep its shape. Mix quickly as the water will make your blend fizz.
5. Leave your bath bombs in the molds for two to four hours before removal. Now you’re ready to admire your new creations as they fizz away in your tub!
When making bath bombs, what ingredients should I avoid?
First things first: According to Butler, it’s advised to supervise children when handling essential oils or when adding them yourself. “Essential oils can potentially cause allergic contact dermatitis, which is when skin becomes irritated due to contact with an allergen,” she says. Some oils to be wary of include tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, sandalwood oil and clove oil. Consider diluting your essential oils in a carrier oil, like coconut oil, sweet almond oil or argan oil. “Even citrus oils such as lemon and bergamot can cause a photo-toxic reaction on skin in the presence of sunlight,” Butler notes.
Do you have any concerns about baking soda and cornstarch?
“Baking soda and cornstarch are generally very safe ingredients to use in a bath bomb,” says Butler. This includes handling them while they are dry and when they dissolve in the tub. “Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a relatively weak base that creates a mild alkaline solution in water,” she says. “In a typical bath bomb recipe, the concentration of baking soda in the water will be very low.”
What are the benefits of including citric acid?
Using this ingredient is how the real fun begins! Butler notes: “When dropped in the tub, citric acid reacts with the baking soda in the bath bomb and releases carbon dioxide, which creates a fun, fizzy effect!”
Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work.