There's nothing like a hot bath to soak away the stresses of the day or to pamper yourself before that all-important date. Most bath connoisseurs go the extra step to add bath salts or bubbles to their ritual. Unfortunately, a lot of bath products contain some rather suspect ingredients (think parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances. . ., but there are tons of DIY remedies for this problem, and homemade bath bombs are not only fun, they leave your skin feeling soft and rejuvenated.
Bath bombs work a lot like those volcano projects you built in grade school, the ones where you added vinegar to baking soda for an explosive, fizzy reaction?except the acid in bath bombs is lot more body-friendly, and there's no mess to clean up at the end of the day. They combine baking soda and citric acid powder, which react only once you drop the bomb into water. In the bath, the bombs bounce around, fizzing and releasing essential oils into the water and air, making your bath a fun and luxuriously custom affair.
You can get bath bombs at a lot of drugstores, and many companies produce some great nearly-natural bath bombs. But they're fairly easy to make, and if you have a scent or skin sensitivity, this is the perfect solution for you.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
Citric acid (fine)
Molds (max. diameter 2 inches)
Rubber gloves (optional)
How to Make Your Own Bath Bombs:
To make bath bombs, blend one part citric acid and two parts sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). If you love sea salts or Epsom salts in your bath, you can also add one part of either salt, just be sure it's a fine grain. Make sure these dry ingredients are blended well, otherwise your bath bomb may be a dud.
Once the dry ingredients are blended, add in your essential oils for scent. Essential oils are derived from plants, so many people who are sensitive or allergic to synthetic scents can handle the real thing. If you have pollen allergies, steer clear of oils from flowers and opt instead for herbs. There is no limit on your creativity here. You can add just one oil, such as lavender, or a personal blend, such as rosemary and mint.
The next step is a bit tricky. Using a spray bottle, spray witch hazel into the mixture while blending continuously. As soon as the mixture starts to stick together when you press down on it, you need to get it into the molds.
Most bath bombs are spherical, but you can also use rubber ice-cube molds to make more festive shapes like hearts, four-leaf clovers and even Santa Claus. Be sure to firmly pack the mixture in the ice-cube molds.
Making a sphere is a little more effort, but absolutely worth it if you're gifting the bath bombs. Simply pack the mixture into two dome molds, heaping extra mixture on top, then squeeze the open ends of the molds together to create a sphere (don't worry if some of the mixture spills out at the seam?spillage means the mixture is dense enough so that the bath bomb won't crumble when it hits the water).
After a few minutes, gently tap the bombs out of the molds and allow bath bombs to dry on a towel for at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Wrap bath bombs in plain tissue paper and store in a plastic, airtight container until you're ready to use them. Don't store the bombs in metal containers, and don't rest them on metal between baths, as the ingredients will react with the container.
Each bath bomb should last at least a couple of baths, if not more—it really just depends on the size of the bomb...and how long you soak in the tub!
Cara Smusiak writes on behalf of NaturallySavvy.com about how to live a more natural, organic and green lifestyle.
For tons of great tips on greening your personal care items, watch Detox Your Home with Sara Snow: Bathrooms.