Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to basics: Bath melts

If you have some butters around and still have some supplies left over from making bath bombs, why not try making some bath melts? These are like bath bombs in that they contain the citric acid and baking soda necessary to make them break apart (with little to no fizzing), but they contain the butters to offer moisturizing loveliness in the tub.

This recipe is rated E for everyone, and is fantastic for beginners, those who don't wish to use preservatives, or those who are seeking an all natural product. The shelf life of this product is dependent upon the shelf life of your oils.

1 part citric acid
2 parts cocoa or shea butter
3 parts baking soda

16% citric acid
32% cocoa or shea or mango butter
48% baking soda
1 to 2% fragrance oil

Note: The cocoa butter melts will be harder than the mango or shea butter melts. 

Melt the cocoa or shea butter in a heat proof container in a double boiler until liquid. Remove from the double boiler, then add the baking soda and citric acid and stir well. Add oil soluble colouring* (for instance, powdered chocolate colouring or micas), and fragrance oil. Pour into molds and let set. If you can set them in the fridge, all the better: They'll be harder sooner, and, if you're using all cocoa butter, they will get a lovely shine that makes them look even more chocolate-y.

*Water soluble colourings simply won't work in a bath melt! It will turn into little balls of goop and look just terrible! And do not use ultramarine colours - they will give off the most horrible stench! 

These won't really emulsify in the tub well, so you might want to add a light emulsifier like polysorbate 20, polysorbate 80, cromollient SCE, or another high HLB emulsifier to help the oils disperse through the bathtub.

16% citric acid
32% cocoa or shea or mango butter
45% baking soda
5% liquid emulsifier (like polysorbate 80) or e-wax or Polawax
1 to 2% fragrance oil

You definitely want to make small bath melts - silicone ice cube trays to the rescue - as anything over about 30 grams can take forever to melt in a bath! And it's fun to give someone a variety pack with different, yet complementary, fragrances they can mix and match in the tub.

Join me tomorrow for fun with bath oil recipes!


kontakt said...

Interesting. What kind of pH do you end up with?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I don't know - I've never thought to test it. The amount I'm adding to my bath is so small - perhaps a 15 to 30 gram bath melt - the citric acid won't have that great an effect on the bath water. If I were making 200 gram bath melts, I'd probably stop to think about it, but that would take hours to melt in the bath!

SylettSoap said...

I just made a batch using the polysorbate 80 and they began to puff up.Is there a way to keep this from happening?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

A batch of bath melts?

Rosemarie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosemarie said...

Hey Susan love your site, so helpful. I was wondering about tweaking this recipe to meet my preferences. Is there a basic ratio of oils:polysorbate 80. I would like to up the butter and lower the sodium bicarbonate to 30% but am unsure about how much emulsifier to use then.

Kelly said...

Is the mixture pipe-able, as in the photo?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rosemarie. Sorry I missed your comment! I don't know - just play with the amounts to see what you like. You can leave the emulsifier out entirely, if you wish.

Hi Kelly. No, the piped out part is a bath melt/bath bomb whipped icing made with SCI. Sorry!

Kelly said...

Ah, no worries! Are you willing to share your recipe? Been trying to do something very similar but failing miserably!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I've already shared the recipe on the blog somewhere - I think under icing? Oh, here it is! Enjoy it!

Kelly said...

Thank you SO much!

Beth said...

Hi Susan, I was wondering if pink clay could easily be incorporated into the mixture?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Beth. I don't know if you could incorporate pink clay into the product. You can incorporate baking soda and bath salts and citric acid into the product, so you could probably incorporate pink clay! Why would you want to incorporate pink clay into the product? Just curious!

Anonymous said...

Love your site and thanks for sharing. About this recipe you say 1 or 2% PO or EO, is this the percentage of the totall wheight of all the ingredients, or only 1 or 2% of totall weight of the butters.

Thanks, Tania from The Netherlands.

Brandi Yates said...

Will they come out if I use regualr ice cube trays?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Put them in the freezer to cool very quickly so they'll shrink off the sides. I use a normal plastic ice cube tray at times, and I've had no problems. But I hate to say that you won't have problems as you know I'll be proven wrong at some point! :-)

playhookie said...

I've made this twice now - the first time using cocoa butter which set very nicely, and the second with mango butter, which had to stay in the fridge as they went soggy at room temp (which was rather high as it was summer time). I used ewax as the emulsifier which was really straightforward.
Both times, they have made lovely bath melts which don't get stuck to the rim of the bath, melting and dispersing properly. The mixture did need to be stirred before pouring into each of my mini moulds as it would settle otherwise. Fragrance wise, I would have liked a stronger perfume, but perhaps I'm a bit used to the levels of fragrance lush use...

Tanya said...

Hi Susan! I love your posts - they are so very informative - thank you so much. I was wondering whether sulphonated castor oil could be used instead of the liquid emulsifier as a dispersant for the oils/butters? If so, what % would you recommend? Likewise in bath bombs. x

K said...

Oh, that little bit of Polawax made a huge difference. Such a lovely result. Thank-you!

Anonymous said...

I made a couple batches of these the other night. The second batch began to swell/puff like a previous poster said. I then realized that my double boiler had been going for about an hour, making my kitchen quite humid. Something to watch out for, people :).


J.L.B said...

So the first recipe, without the emulsifier, still dissolves in warm water, right?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi J.L.B! Yes, they'll melt!

Lisa said...

Hello Susan,

would a liquid emulsifier like Sorbitan Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate, Dilauryl Citrate (HLB 11) be ok for the emulsified bath melts? Or should I use something like ritamulse or olivem 1000?
Do you know if the bath melts get affected by humidity in the air like bath bombs?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lisa! No, my bath melts haven't been affected by humidity and I live in a really humid part of Canada! I'd suggest using an all in one emulsifier like Ritamulse or Olivem 1000 or Polawax or e-wax (and so on!) as they aren't as expensive or hard to find as the others you mention! You don't need anything fancy here!

Lisa said...

ok, thank you Susan! I will definitely try to make them!! :)

Bethany said...

Hi Swift - maybe you can help me with this? A mystery!

I just made some melts - and somehow they started reacting/puffing up and foaming. I thought that only happens with water present? I used:

cocoa butter
coconut oil
baking soda
epsom salt
sea salt

And FO of course but they started foaming up before I added it. So is this normal? I was expecting more of something that resembled a truffle or sandy chocolate in texture.

Rosemarie said...

Hi Bethany , hope I'm not butting, only I had this problem when I first made mine. The only remedy that worked for me was letting my oils cool as low as I could before mixing with dry ingredients and then setting the melts quickly in the freezer.

Hope my experience helps some, good luck :)

Bethany said...

No not butting at all :) I did use my oils hot, so I'll give that a try next time. it's odd! I put them in ice cube trays, about 2/3 full, and they all rose up like miniature puffy little loaves of bread.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Bethany and Rosemarie! I love that you're sharing and helping each other! I never consider that butting in - it's called being part of the community! Woo! Love this!

I agree with Rosemarie. It generally happens to me when my oils and butters are too hot. It can also happen if it's too humid outside. I live in a part of BC that's humid all the time, and my bath bombs and melts are always doing this!

Jenna Griffin said...

HI! I'm trying to make up my own recipe for bath melts and was trying to learn more about the emulsifiers. I am using ewax, do i melt it down with the cocoa butter or what ? This might sound like a common sense question, i just don't want to do it wrong and waste my ingredients. thanks!

Dorothy Cote said...

Hi! Probably a silly question but I was wondering if you could use essential oils instead of fragrance oils in this recipe? And if so at what percentage?

Thanks I'm really enjoying your blog/e-books and learning how to make/formulate my own products :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Dorothy! Sure!