Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Back to basics: Bath bombs

Bath bombs seem like a really simple concept - a little citric acid, a little baking soda, some fragrance oil, and you have a wonderful acid-base reaction in the tub that brings happiness to the bather. But they can cause such headaches to even the most seasoned bath and body creator!

As a point of interest, this is where my bath and body creation journey began. I found a recipe for bath bombs on the 'net. I made them and they worked. Yay! This is a picture of the first batch. The second time - they worked. Huzzah! The third time - nope. Nothing. Just wet, goopy stuff in my hands. I went on a search to find out why, found the Dish forum, and the rest is history. Thank you, failed bath bombs for leading me to this wonderful hobby/obsession!

This recipe is rated E for everyone, but is especially fantastic for beginners, those who don't wish to use preservatives, or those who don't have a scale. The shelf life of this product is dependent upon the shelf life of your oil. I suggest using an oil with a 6 month or greater life span. 

RECIPE FOR BATH BOMBS BY WEIGHT
120 grams baking soda
60 grams citric acid
13 grams oil of choice
4 grams fragrance oil

I've deleted the volume measurements for this recipe. I don't want to encourage you to use volume measurements for bath & body products as it's a highly inaccurate way to make things!

You'll notice I have a 2:1 ratio of baking soda to citric acid. Some people like a 3:1 ratio. You might also see bath bomb recipes with cornstarch - I find they make the water too soft. These are both personal preferences. 


Mix the powdered parts together very well and make sure there aren't any big hunks of baking soda or citric acid in the mix. Add your oil and fragrance oil and drip the colour into the oils. Mix really well - it might fizz a bit. This is normal. Press into the moulds very hard - pack a layer as hard as you can, then pack the next layer, until you've reached the top - and wait at least 45 minutes before removing. If you live in a high humidity area, wait longer.

We don't use water in a bath bomb - this can set them off fizzing before they hit the bath tub and that's a bad thing. But sometimes you can't help it! Between the water based colourants (like Labcolours or food colouring) and the water in the atmosphere (humidity), some water will get near your bath bombs. Some people use witch hazel to keep their bath bombs together; I use the oils and fragrance oil to keep my bath bombs packed tightly. Again, this is a personal preference.

I like to use silicone ice cube trays as my moulds as they make the bath bombs easier to remove. This does mean I end up making very small ones and I don't have a huge selection of shapes, but it does mean I experience fewer failed bath bombs even in my high humidity climate. You can also use good plastic chocolate moulds, but never ever use them for food again. Those little hearts in the picture above are from a chocolate mould, whereas the suns, flowers, and pineapples are from ice cube trays. Summer is the best time of year to find these trays, although you can find them at Ikea all year round.

A variation: Sometimes I'll put dried flower petals in the bottom the molds - rose or lavender are nice - and press the bath bomb mixture into them. It looks pretty.

Another variation: Sometimes I put my fragrance oil into 3% Natrabath and mix it well before adding it to the bath bomb mixture. It can help if you're finding you have too much liquid in the mix, and it helps disperse the fragrance through the bath.

Which oil to choose? I like to use a light oil that has a long shelf life like sunflower or soy bean oil (I usually choose soy bean oil as it has a long shelf life and is inexpensive). You can use one of the butters as well - they tend to make your bath bombs harder and they have nice long shelf lives.

What's the problem with high humidity? It can set the fizzing of the bath bomb off before its time, while they are sitting in their moulds! I had this happen when it was 88% humidity in the house. Or they can become all warty and weird! This is why humidity is not our friend, and why we don't include things like olive oil or glycerin - they are humectants, and draw water from the atmosphere to our bath bombs!

I've found another trick to making bath bombs in high humidity areas - the bath cupcake! Observe its cuteness. Awwww! But it also holds a great secret. The cupcake liner and icing hide possible wartiness caused by high humidity so all mistakes are under a layer of adorableness!

So if you're having trouble with your bath bombs, why not try making bath cupcakes? Using the same recipe, just get a small cupcake pan and line them with some lovely and colourful cupcake cups? While you're letting them sit for about 45 minutes, prepare a batch of Royal Icing (use the type with meringue powder and add a titch - up to 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar for extra stiffness). Pipe it on to your cupcake (I like to use a 1M piping tip - I used a smaller one in this picture and I think it's too busy) and you have yourself an adorable bath bomb that not only hides any problems but makes your giftee go all squee on you! You can scent and colour the royal icing, but I like to leave it plain because the sugariness smells delightful!

The Soap Queen (aka Anne-Marie from Brambleberry) has posted another video tutorial on making these adorable cupcakes! Talk about awesome or what?

A few points of interest...
  • If you use a vanilla based fragrance oil, it can turn your bath bombs a brownish colour. If you simply must use that fragrance oil either use a vanilla stabilizer or make your bath bombs brown. 
  • If you have the choice between powdered citric acid and granular citric acid, go for the powdered: It's easier to use. 
  • If you have the choice between anhydrous and hydrous citric acid, go with the anhydrous. 
  • And if you have the choice of baking sodas, I find there really is a difference in using Arm & Hammer Baking soda over the house brands. The house brands tend to be a little coarser for some reason. 
  • Package these in a cute little cellophane bag with a ribbon or a lovely little box. You can mix and match colours and complementary fragrances. 
  • Store in an airtight container - not a plastic storage or sandwich bag or you will lose your scent - so you don't lose the fragrance or have your oils go rancid on you. A big glass container is a great storage device! 
Join me tomorrow for more fun with basics as we make bath melts.

80 comments:

Tara said...

I use Everclear (95% ethanol) or denatured alcohol when I make my bath bombs. They don't start the fizzing reaction and are helpful when you need more moisture in your recipe :-)

Topcat said...

I love how you write Susan! :)

I first started formulating by making bath bombs and they worked perfectly! The next batch I made failed and I never made another....I think it is time to do this again - thanks :D

Janet said...

Funny enough I live in BC too and have used glycerine for years in my bath bombes, haven't had a batch fizz off on me yet. I have had them refuse to stick together but a little water always seems to fix it.

TheSoapGallery said...

I would love to know how to keep them floating like Lush's and not settle to the bottom :) I know they float when they are fresh..but after a while they sink :(

Magia said...

Lush put cream of tartar and cocamide dea in a lot of them. This certainly helps create a bit of a foam, rather than just fizz (I started doing this and had some lovely pink swirls the other day!) I don't know whether that makes a difference to how much they float!

Having said that... I'd probably keep that to myself and just use a more basic recipe in a workshop!

Kat said...

I made a recipe which included a small amount of borax (mixed into the wet ingredients, not dissolved, then drizzled into the dry mix). They were really nice in the tub, though the bombs themselves developed a large crack in the middle (I'm not sure if this was caused by the addition of borax or not). I'm wondering what your thoughts are on this. What's the benefit of using borax and is it safe?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kat. What's the purpose of adding borax? I'm thinking it's to enhance the fizzing reaction between the acid and alkaline, but I've never seen borax included in a bath bomb recipe. I think it's safe - a titch isn't a bad thing and we find it in all kinds of products - but I don't think it's the reason for the cracking. That tends to be about not enough liquid in the product or too much humidity or about another million reasons. Bath bombs are much trickier than we think!

M said...

I live in Malaysia where it is humid all year round and my attempts at making bath bombs were absolute disasters! The first attempt, the bath bombs could be heard quietly fizzing in their moulds and became all warty. When I tried tossing them in water, they were so rock solid and hardly fizzed!

For the second attempt, the bath bombs were dry and fell apart after unmoulding. I covered the mould with saran wrap to prevent the first problem - maybe they didn't get dry enough? They wouldn't fizz either, just sank to the bottom of the tub although some leftover loose mixture from when I was packing the stuff into the mould did fizz when I was washing out the bowl. Can the bath bomb mixture go flat?

It's very discouraging and I don't know what I should do. I hope you can advise how I can go about this. I don't use witch hazel either as it is very expensive so I add on more oil to get the mixture clumpy.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi M. I hate to say it but you might not be able to make bath bombs where you live. Our summers get very humid, and I can't count the times I've heard them fizzing and getting warty while I'm waiting for them to dry. The solution? Not making them in the summer. I know it's not what you want to hear, but it sounds like there is no solution to your issues with them in your climate. Sorry I can't be more helpful!

Anonymous said...

I use water in my bath bombs and I can actually throw the end result at a wall and the bomb doesnt break. It will also fizz in the bath so much that you get an average of 3-4" deep of foam.
I also sometimes deliberately "activate" the citric acid just so I can play with it and hand mould the bath bombs...those ones perform like a bubble bar without any SLSa etc

Anonymous said...

@M try a different recipe, use cream of Tartar instead of citric acid and add magnesium sulphate ( epsom salts)
Cream of tartar is slower to react than citric acid and the magnesium sulphate seems to help keep a bomb together and maintain fizz.
I live in auckland NZ and altho not as humid as where you are we often get 95% humidity. If you have an airing cupboard putting bombs in there to dry out helps as there is less moisture in teh air...same as the oven

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. I get the idea of using cream of tartar, but wouldn't that be unbelievably expensive? I can get a kilogram of citric acid - or more - for the same prices as maybe 100 grams of cream of tartar!

Anonymous said...

Epsom Salts?

denise said...

There is a great recipe provided by one of the members of the Soaper's Retreat Facebook group that has Epsom Salts in it (Doreen Short Fish). This recipe is fantastic and makes your skin feel great. I could never make bath bombs until I used this recipe. Look under documents on the group page.

Kathy Davidson said...

I just tried my first attempt at bath fizzies. Unfortunately before I found your blog! I made bath blobs instead! I didn't even think I had used enough water to pack them into the molds. I left the room for a few minutes, and that were blobs! Can't wait to try some of the recommendations here.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kathy! Water is not your friend when making bath bombs! I definitely suggest using something other than a water soluble ingredient, which is why I use oils!

Riley said...

Strange question, but I have been researching this a ton and cannot seem to find an answer, and this blog has been so helpful to me. So I thought I might ask here even though this post is older!

Can I substitute potassium bicarbonate for sodium bicarbonate? I'm making bath bombs for a friend, and she has high blood pressure, and I don't want to give her something made with sodium bicarbonate because I'm worried about the sodium content....

If not, is there some other option for a scented bath? I'm think Epsom salts are obviously out too. I did consider bath tea, but she likes sweet scents so I'd like to be able to use FOs, not just EO

Vanessa Grubbs said...

thank you so much for posting a recipe that is so easy and does not require cornstarch. I made this and filled 2 molds (strawberries and skulls) they are now drying and my kids will have a fun little surprise tomorrow morning!!!

Birgit said...

Is there a way to make it bubble by adding SLSa? Although, you wouldn't really need the fizz then, so could you just replace the citric acid with SLSa?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Bridget! Check out these posts from the Soap Queen. I've used her recipes in the past and they were great. She uses SLS - you can use SLSA.

Solid bubble bath
Bath cupcakes that can be modified with SLS

Moj sapun... said...

I found many available bath bomb recipes on intranet but I made my very first bath bombs following this one without any modification. It was really grate that you shared recipe by volume so that it was really easy to be followed. I made this with my daughter. We had great fun and bath bombs turned out grate!

Best regards,

Gordana

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I was wondering if you could tell me why storing bath bombs in a plastic bag would cause them to lose their scent.
I have plastic containers as well as really big zip bags but now I'm not sure what I should be doing with them.
Thanks,
Erin

Me said...

Hi Susan,
I was wondering if you could tell me why storing bath bombs in a plastic bag would cause them to lose their scent.
I have plastic containers as well as really big zip bags but now I'm not sure what I should be doing with them.
Thanks,
Erin

Anonymous said...

Hi. I made bath boms yesterday using red food colouring and when they dried out they were solid but have went a grey colour :( can u help? I made mine with water could this be the issue? Heather

Amanda Applegate said...

Anything made with fragrance oil or essential oil should only be stored in polypropylene #5, the 5 is on the bottom of the container inside the recycle symbol, or in cello bags. Ziplocks, saran wrap or anything of that nature will pull the scent out of whatever you make. Etsy has a store named 'intheclear' that sells them. Never use polystyrene.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Heather. Are you using food colouring from the grocery store? It sounds like they are reacting to the pH.

And thanks for the answer, Amanda! That was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks sor much for the info Amanda. I had no idea.

Erin

Jamal Owens said...

I miss the good ole bath and bubble days. It's cool that this kind of stuff is making a comeback because taking baths are so relaxing. I'll have to see about looking into this stuff for when I got on vacation next week.

http://www.treazuresgalore.com/default.asp?dept_id=10010

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Really, Jamal. What a joke! You come to my site looking for free advertising for something we are making better ourselves? I would normally take your ad down, but I think I'll have more fun mocking it! I mean seriously, Treazures Galore? Who uses "z" in place of "s" any more. You're not an 80's hair metal band for God's sake! And "Galore?" When you could buy your entire site in the express lane, that's not galore to anyone! Please re-think your shop name. It's embarassing to everone involved.

To anyone considering clicking on the above link, don't. Rather than spending your time and money on inexpensive items with some kind of ingredients in them - they don't list the ingredients on the site - try making your own. It's super easy, and it means you don't have to deal with sleazy merchants who employ spammers for advertising!

Me said...

LOL Great post Susan!!
There was no way I was going to give her the satisfaction of clicking on her link. Although, after reading your post I kind of wanted to, just to see how lame it was ;)
Seriously, how pathetic!!!

Erin

Me said...

Hi Susan,
I did a little bit of scoping and this 'Jamal' has a bunch of posts on other blogs with links to all kinds of different websites/companies; lawyers, window blinds. Anything really. Clearly a spammer/hack who is either doing this on his own or offers some really lame service of getting websites ranked higher!! The owner may not even know his tactics and how he goes about doing it. Yikes!

Erin

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Erin! I took at look at his/her Google+ and it is just spam? What's up with that? I hope the owner of the shop knows this is going on! I mean, would someone just do this to random companies in the hopes of getting some kind of job?

Esther Tobin said...

Just for making me laugh this wintry morn with this informative and humorous post on bath bombs (haven't heard "huzzah" in a while, and I nearly spat my morning tea), ima go buy your book on facial formulating. Also, NICE response to the 80s spammer.

indulgence said...

Hello,,just recently started making cupcake both bombs,I love how they look and smell but my meringue tops keep coming gaway from the bomb, Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Indulgence. You could stick them down with a little extra royal icing or some melted soap.

Nora said...

Hi,

I would now if I can use Food Fragrance or Flavor instead of synthetic Fragrance or Essential Oil?

Thank you very much :)

Nora

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nora. Can you be more specific?

Anonymous said...

Hi I just wondered can you use food colouring to colour bath bombs and if so how would you label that correctly and legally? Also I understand you need an assessment to legally sell bath bombs but just wanted to know if it's legally possible to use food colouring or not?
Kind regards

Rachel C said...

Hello. I thought I would share some of what I have learned when it comes to making bath bombs (BB) or shower tabs (ST).
1. Aesthetically the size of your citric acid granules matter. Larger granules can make the surface of BB and STs look and feel rough like sand paper.
2. I prefer molds with stability. I love silicone molds but I find that some of them bend out of shape easily when trying to pack them full of the BB/Sts mixture. I have a lot of rectangular STs that look like they ate a circle.
3. If you are using any water based ingredient add it to the baking soda first. Do not make it too wet, just enough that it sticks together. Then add the citric acid. You will notice that the mixture breaks down even more and seems to become more moist (everyone's not so favorite word, sorry). I have never had any fizzing with this method.
4.Last but not least you always have the option of baking them and then back scenting them. (this is a no fail option.) They come out hard as a rock without any interference from humidity and you may be able to reverse minor issues from adding a bit to much liquid. Depending on how low your oven goes you may be able to add fragrance oil with your mixture. If you use essential oils in your BB and STs there is no point in adding them before baking due to the flash point. Once they have baked, spray or use droppers to cover the surface of your BB or STs with your fragrance oil.
Hope that this helps some of you out there and saves you from months of failed batches and a closet full of wonky shower tabs and bath bombs.
Rachel

Maxine Whigham said...

Hello

I am new at this bath bomb making and getting so annoyed. I can make a perfect bath bomb til I add the essential oils, then I find the next morning they are cracked. I have tried changing my recipe and looking at the internet adding barely any water and nothing is working. Any suggestions? I ordered witch hazel cause i heard that would help.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Have you tried my recipe?

diva said...

Hello everyone ....I need someine to help me..it's monsoon here and the humidity is around 85% ...I have made bath bombs before with success but now my first batch was a blob ): ..it didn't dry even after 2 days and it released water...the second batch I made ..started fizzing within 10mins of taking out of the mold...I then put them in oven...and tried one after sometime...it did fizz and wasn't a disappointment but I wanna know will they start fizzing once I take them out and store them in plastic container..I need to make them in large quantity but should I go ahead with it or continue after monsoon ):

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diva! It's hard to make bath bombs in high humidity. Wait out monsoon season and try again.

Anonymous said...

I am wondering, do you need to do anything to the molds before you pack the fizzie mixture into them? I have used molds with bubble bath bars and they always seems to stick. Should I spray them with witch hazel? dust them with baking soda? I hate making a batch of blobs because they won't release from the mold :)

Anonymous said...

I have had great success making bath fizzys until recently, I would make them they would be solid and then they would turn back to powder. I did not make bath bomb for 3 weeks, and now that the humidity level is down I made more let them sit for 3 days before wrapping, keeping my fingers crossed. Would humidity cause them to go back to powder?

Julie said...

I made some bath bombs recently but one of my last two batched failed...It was too soft...I will try this recipe! Thanks for all the tips!

Laura said...

Hi Susan, what a great topic!
I made BB with corn starch, herbs, coconut oil, little water & EO ( next batch will be your recipe ;) They dried nice and hard in the sun. I wrapped them tightly with kitchen standard plastic wrap. A day later they're a little swollen, still together, but not as hard as it was. Darn! No fizzing happened that I could observe. Can I assume all the ingredients are ok and have not reacted? Can I dry them out again on low temp? Should I compact them a little before that? Thank YOU and anybody that can advise!
Laura

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi everyone! Where are all you bath fizzy people coming from? This is a fairly old post, and it's weird to get so many comments in a short period of time on it. I'd love to know where you found this link!

Hi Anonymous. Please put your name on comments or I shall delete them. Please read my policy on them. Going back to powder means that you don't have enough binder in the mix and they can't stay in their shape. Consider using some oil to hold them together. Witch hazel and other water based things will evaporate and stop holding your bath bombs together.

Hi Laura. I don't know what to suggest. The only way to know if they'll work is to take one out and use it! If they are damp, it means that the reaction has started, so you can't just smash them up and start again or dry them out because if the reaction has happened, there's no fizz.

Anonymous said...

I found you on GOOGLE! I tried this method today and my bath bombs did not fizz

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You followed my recipe exactly as it is written above and it didn't work? Can you give more details? I really can't help you without them. I have made at least a hundred batches or more with this recipe and have never failed. I would like to help you troubleshoot this.

Barb said...

Hi Susan,

I've had your page pinned in my favorites for years and check back for updates and new tips, and I've been a Disher since 2002.

Today however, I came across your blog post link on Pinterest under Bath Bombs. The link: https://www.pinterest.com/wilkie91/bath-bombs/ I went to there looking for new BB wrapping ideas and there you were. I clicked on it as a trusted source for info. This could be where folks are finding you. Funny how trends and interest ebb and flow.

Barb D. aka Honey at the Dish



annabella said...

hi susan, i foud your ink when i ws enquiring on google s to why cornstarch is used, i really couldnt find a valid reason and didnt want to waste time and ingredients, i always go to you - my first place to enquire on anything technical as well.

its coming up christmas time and because i make soaps and cosmetics my friends presented me with a challenge for bath bombs, of all things, so am lying in bed researching.

by the way, thanks, you are awsome and a brainiac on all things i love making.

annie - australia

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Annie! Thank you for your kind words. I'm blushing!

I've written a response in today's Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is that I don't consider it essential for making bath bombs. But I've asked for others to chime in and share why they do use it!

emily dachtler said...

Hey this may seem like a really silly question to those of you who have made bath bombs before but can you use bio oil instead of vegetable or soy bean oil?? X

Ale said...

Hi Susan ! Can I use ascorbic acid instead of citric acid ? Thank you !

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Emily and Ale! I've answered your questions in Sunday, January 10th's Weekend Wonderings. The short answers are that you can use any oil you wish, although this seems like an expensive option that won't do anything for your skin, and that you can't use ascorbic acid instead of citric acid!

Hayley McHendry said...

I have only tried about 3 recipes for bath bombs without success. My question is how does the oil hold everything together? I see how it makes it stick initially, but do they really get hard? I made bubble bars recently and the wetting agent in those is glycerin. But like oil, it doesn't dry, so they never firmed up (that was a very expensive failure). I had to pick apart the colored section's and add loads more of the dry ingredients. They feel like maybe they will firm up, but they no longer have the right texture. Anyhow, the waste of ingredients is killing me! I'm not even a huge fan of bath bombs, but I've had people ask for them.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Hayley! Have you tried this one? Mine is different in that I don't rely on witch hazel, which can evaporate, to keep them together.

The oil in this recipe definitely makes it stick together. The great thing about oil is that it doesn't evaporate, so they stay together really well. They do get very hard - I'm afraid I can't show you in pictures how hard they are, but they will last for years. (The oil will go rancid before that, but they'll still look great!) I have been using this recipe since 2008 with many many youth programs as well as in my own workshop, and I will guarantee that if you follow this recipe the way it is written - you can increase the oil by 4 grams or so - and pack them well into the molds, then let them in their molds for at least one hour for small ones and overnight for large ones, they will turn out. I have made thousands of them wth great success.

Glycerin does dry and evaporates, but it general absorbs water from the atmosphere, making your bath bombs or other products wetter than they should be. I wouldn't use much glycerin in a bubble bar because that's just asking for trouble. I'm not reallyl sure why so many recipes call for it when there are much better ingredients you could use to wet as well as bubble.

If you try my recipe, please let me know. I mean it when I say that if you follow this recipe exactly, they will work!

Wayne Smith said...

Hello,

I have an unusual question. I am working on a school project with my kids and we want to create a bath bomb that will dissolve as quickly as possible. We are "hiding" a small item inside a bath bomb and want to "reveal" it as quickly as possible once the bath bomb is submerged. Any idea on how to make a bath bomb "fizzle out" fast? Should I increase the backing soda to citric acid 3 to 1 instead of 2 to 1?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Wayne! This isn't an unusual question! These sound like charm bombs, and you would want to keep the ratio the same as that will make the reaction faster. Increasing the baking soda is throwing the ratio out of whack, and won't speed it up.

Wayne Smith said...

Susan, Thanks very much for the advice!! To be clear, are you saying that I should keep the standard "recipe" the same with a ratio of 2 parts baking soda to 1 part citric acid? Or, do you mean to reduce the ratio to 1 part baking soda to 1 part citric acid?

Thanks so much
Wayne

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Wayne. Follow the recipe as is. Make them small and you'll find the charm inside quicker than if you made a large one. Let us know how it goes! Visit the page again and share your experiences!

Enniati Rusli said...

Just made some using a recipe from another site and they are fizzing in their moulds right now :( i live in Singapore where it's really humid. I'm going to try again using no water. i wonder if i can microwave them to get rid of moisture.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Enniati! Don't use water soluble anything in a bath bomb! Use only oil based things and you'll do better. It's hard in a humid climate. And don't put them in the microwave! That's just a bad idea. Some people put them in a low temperature oven for a while. Maybe that'll work?

Mo Ho said...

Hello, First, I want to say thank you so much for all the valuable information you share on this blog. And, I also have a question. I followed the recipe that you posted here, and I made some bath bombs yesterday. They are cracking :( I used 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1tsp red clay for color, 2 tbs coconut oil, 1tsp FO. What did I do wrong? Why are they cracking?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

What happens if you don't use the clay? What type of citric acid did you use? What's the humidity where you are? I guess I'm just wondering what would happen if you followed the recipe exactly as written? I'm afraid it's hard for me to troubleshoot the recipe when you've made big alterations to it.

Mo Ho said...

I used Anhydrous citric acid. The humidity is between 55 and 60 in the house, ans I let them air dry. I doubled the recipe because I have the aluminum 2.75" mold, and it gave me 2 nice big bath bombs and one half one. I added the clay, so I can have the color and the benefit of the clay in one ingredient. I didn't think it would make a difference, and now, I know that was a mistake. I will redo the bombs without color or clay today. I am still curious. How would I modify the recipe if I want to add the clay, and some polysorbate 80? Thank you!

Mo Ho said...

I made the bath bombs today morning, and I can already see some cracks:( I used 240g baking soda, 120g citric acid, 26 coconut oil, 8g FO (lilac). Please help.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mo Ho! Before you modify any recipes, make it exactly as the writer intended, that way you know what the product is supposed to be like. Having said that, I don't know why you're getting cracks. I've been using and sharing this recipe for almost nine years and I'm not sure why it would crack like that. I don't use coconut oil in my recipe: I use liquid oils in mine and in my classes. Perhaps the adding ccconut oil is making them too hard?

I'm terribly sorry that I don't have more information to help out here, but I generally don't

What is the purpose in adding polysorbate 80? What will it bring to the product or the user?

Anonymous said...

please please help i have tryed so much and wasted heaps my bath bombs keep failing, apart cracking they look great when i do them but just break in half or crumble whats the best recipe pleassse help im in nz so maybe dont have some reciepe items thank bothered bath bomber

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Have you tried this recipe?

Maria Seabrook said...

Hi Susan, I have just found you on google.. Searching for Guar Gum in Bath Bombs.

I have a recipe for bath bombs using corn starch, when looking for it I found guar gum which someone said was better but I can't find any reference of it being used in bath bombs. It is a binding agent I can see but not sure how it would work?

Regards

Maria

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Maria. You wouldn't use guar gum in a bath bomb as it's a water soluble ingredient that needs water to do its magic. You don't want water in a bath bomb as it would set off the fizz when you're making it! The guar gum would get its water when the bath bomb gets into the tub, which is when you don't want it to bind things together.

The short answer is that guar gum is a pointless addition to a bath bomb as it simply wouldn't work.

Kaitee said...

Hi Susan! You mention in the recipe you can use butters to make them very hard. What butter are you talking about? Would unfiltered african shay butter work? If so, are you heating them up first to use it? I noticed the butter is already pretty hard. Thank you!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Maria! I've gone into greater detail than this comment in Today's Weekend Wonderings. What a great question!

Maggie's Muse said...

Happy Memorial Weekend, Susan. I get to formulate since school is on holiday. WOO! I am considering using cyclomethicone in my bomb recipe. My theory is that it may facilitate even dispersion of the oil. I think it might decrease the reaction until the cyclomethicone evaporates. What is your opinion?

Thanks for sharing your scienc-y knowledge!
Debi

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Maggie's Muse. I think your logic is sound, but cyclomethicone might be an expensive addition to a bath bomb? If you want to disperse the oil, consider an inexpensive solubilizer like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or polysorbate 80. The cyclomethicone may disperse the oil, but it won't solubilize itin the water.

Let me know what you decide to do, and come back to share your thoughts. It's a great idea!

Laura Crocker said...

Just to help for the person using coconut oil. You can get cold pressed coconut oil as well as liquid coconut oil. If you are using the cold pressed you will notice that often at typical room temperature cold pressed is in a solid form which when used in your bath bombs will make them much harder than if you used the liquid form . So the cold pressed could very well be the reason you ultimately getting cracks.

k a y l a r e a d s said...

Hi Susan, I found your blog while searching for bath bomb recipes. Love your blog as well as your bath bomb recipe , made it once and worked amazing! I would like to add food coloring this time around and was wondering how much I should add as its not listed on your ingredients list. Would 3 grams be okay?

Thanks,

Kayla

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kayla! You can totally add colouring - I think I go into that in the instructions? - but 3 grams is far too much. I'm talking one or two drops, mix, then see what you think. Water based colourants can set off the fizz too early, and that ruins bath bombs. Just try a drop at a time to start!