Same recipe, same colourant, similar fragrance oils, same fractionated coconut oil, same molds. Why did the one on the right work out and the one on the right is making me sad with its powderiness?
It's all about the climate!
I became aware of this issue back in 2006 shortly after I started making products. I made a batch of that started to fizz and grow out of the molds only a few minutes after I'd packed them so tightly. After reading and researching, I learned this premature fizzing caused by too much water in the air - the humidity - and that it would be best to save bath bombs for a drier time of year. Well, that wasn't an option as I'm an impatient bugger and want to make things now now now!, plus there's really no such thing as a "less humid time" in this near rainforest place I live, so I adapted my bath bomb recipe to be all about the oils and not the water, and it works well...most of the time.
We have been experiencing a really dry spell of loads of snow and really cold weather for the last four weeks - which is not normal for us in southwestern B.C. - and the day we made our bath bombs at our youth program, the relative humidity was at 27%, the lowest it's been in three months! The kids who used their liquid colourants with reckless abandon were the ones who had the most successful batches because they added the bit of water to the mix that would normally come from the atmosphere.
As a note, you can save the crumbly bath bombs by spraying them with witch hazel or alcohol then pressing them into the molds again. Or you can throw about 50 grams of the mixture into 100 grams of Epsom salts and call it a fizzing bath salt! For a foaming, fizzing, salty experience you can add 20 grams or so of SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate), too.
I've noticed Raymond's and my hair is almost completely straight, and I've stopped using my anti-frizz spray as there's no frizz to eliminate! My body wash and facial cleanser feel a bit drying, and my lips are getting chapped quite a lot. I've noticed my lotions packed with humectants don't feel as "bouncy" as they would normally, they feel like they're absorbing way too quickly, and I don't feel I'm getting all the moisturizing and hydrating I should. Thanks, lack of humidity!
Humidity affects so many things, so it's not surprising it affects our products and the way we perceive them. Things rust quicker in more humid environments, which is why we see more airplane storage facilities in Arizona and fewer in places like Vancouver, B.C. Humidity is the reason we see those little "DO NOT EAT" silica packages in our shoes or new electronic devices, and it's why Crazy Glue more effective in Florida, Hawaii, and Vancouver Island. "The cyanoacrylate glue hardens very quickly when trapped between two surfaces. The reaction is caused by the condensed water vapour on the surfaces (namely the hydroxyl ions in water). The water comes from the surrounding air, so obviously the air humidity is a factor that may affect bonding capabilities, or cause them to differ from application to application." (Reference)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Whereabouts do you live in the world? What's your humidity like? What have you noticed with your products, and how do you adapt recipes to meet your needs? Are there other impacts you've noticed - for instance, you can't make sugar candy recipes well - from humidity or lack thereof? Please comment below!