DIY bath bombs for less than $1 each using ingredients you already have in your cupboard! Make great (cheap!) gifts for friends and coworkers.
DIY Bath Bombs for Less Than $1
So most of us LOVE (or at least are aware of) the delightful, I-just-want-to-live-in-there-forever scent that wafts down the street from Lush bath and body stores. It’s heaven in your nose. And most of us also love their famous bath bombs, but feel like we’ll need to go without food for the week to balance our budget when we treat ourselves to one. So a couple of years ago I actually looked up the ingredients for bath bombs and thought “I can totally do this!”
So I did. For a fraction of the price.
And now you can DIY bath bombs too! It’s really not that difficult. (But don’t tell!) 😉
You’ll have to scrounge a couple of items you probably don’t normally have in your cupboard at home (e.g. citric acid – the stuff that makes them fizz!), and it can be a bit intense on the fingers. But once you get the hang of it, you can make double batches all at once and have your DIY bath bombs ready for weeks’ or months’ worth of luxurious tub soaks. Ahhhh…….
They also make fantastic gifts – they’re inexpensive and much appreciated! I make a big batch of these every Christmas for my Mum’s best friend, who is obsessed with both baths and lavender, so I make hers pure 100% lavenderlicious. Wrap a few up in a cellophane bag and tie it with some nice ribbon and ta-da!
You’ll notice a lot of varying recipes online for these, but I have honed mine pretty carefully so that they are ultra-moisturizing and 100% natural if you skip the food colouring or use natural food colouring. They have a high epsom salt content which contains magnesium to soothe your muscles and tissues, baking soda to alkalize and balance your pH, and mine don’t contain corn starch.
Unfortunately, corn starch is often used as a cheap filler for bath fizzies, but I avoid it because there is a lot of anecdotal and other evidence that corn starch can cause bacterial imbalances in women’s delicate regions and lead to unpleasant yeast infections. And the last thing you want is a souvenir yeast infection from what you thought was a relaxing, luxurious bath, right? So it’s up to you, but I would avoid the recipes that call for corn starch and stick to this one instead.
I also have a rather funny story about this here bath bomb recipe…. I worked at perfecting it so carefully because I wanted to contribute to my best friend’s wedding in England (I was her Maid of Honour). I thought ‘Hey! I can make cute little heart-shaped bath fizzies for the wedding favours!’. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA.
Did I consider how long it would take to make 80 of them? No. Did I think about how far in advance I would need to start, if I didn’t want to fork out for several molds all at once so they could dry in batches? Nuh-uh. But I did get them all made. With twisted, gnarly-ass, sore fingers I finally wrapped them all up in plastic wrap, popped each of them in a cute tulle drawstring bag and made pretty tags for them with a poem about my friend’s wedding (aww….).
And then I wrapped them all up super tight in a postal box with enough bubble wrap to fill my entire fridge and literally, actually, kicked the box across the room, Ace Ventura styles, to see if the bubble wrap would keep them from breaking because I knew the postal service would be treating the box with the same brand of gentleness and respect.
I cut open the tape on the box and checked it out and not a single one was broken. Yay! I thought I was so clever. Skipped off to the post office 8 weeks (8 weeks!) before the wedding and paid $120 CAD to ship them to England (I also didn’t consider how much they would weigh, but by this point I was already invested and determined).
And then they never arrived. They got to England a week after my friend’s wedding. I gnashed my teeth but there was nothing to be done about it, so I at least got to incorporate some funny lines into my MoH speech about the wedding favours being shipped over to England from Canada in a two-man canoe, and at our last update we were told they were somewhere near where the Titanic sank and might get to England in time for my friend’s first wedding anniversary.
So what did I learn? Don’t make 80 DIY bath bombs at once and don’t trust the local postal service with anything particularly important.
And now, back to our regular programming:
What you’ll need:
1.5 cups baking soda (.85)
3/4 cup Epsom salt (I get mine for cheap at my local bulk store) (.90)
1/2 cup citric acid (also from the bulk store) (.95)
1/4 cup Shea butter (this is what makes them oh-so-moisturizing for my dry Canadian skin) (.78)
10 tsp Sweet almond, avocado, or some other light body oil (.96)
2 tsp of essential oil (I personally like mine just pure lavender, but blend to your taste) (.26)
A mold – You can buy bath bomb molds online and they do make it a bit easier to get the bath bomb out once it’s dry, but I actually just find it kind of cute to use a heart-shaped muffin tin, which also happens to perfectly fit enough mix for 5 large bath bombs. Specific bath bomb molds can sometimes be a little pricey for what they are, so I found my $4 muffin tin was a cheaper option. But it’s up to you!
What you do:
1) Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl
2) Add the oils a bit at a time, blending as you go (add food colouring here if you wish)
3) Whisk again to blend as thoroughly as you can with the whisk
4) Then take a large soup spoon and mix the crap out of it, pressing any lumps against the side of the bowl to smooth out the mixture. Take some time to do this thoroughly – you don’t want any lumps of oil in the mix
Optional: add about 10 drops of food colouring either with step 2, or blend it in lightly after step 4 so that there are still some ‘streaks’ of colour for a cool effect
5) Spoon some mix into the mold – enough to fill it about 1/3 – 1/2 way. With your fingers (you may want to trim your nails for this!), press the mixture hard into the bottom of the mold – press press PRESS that shit down! You want the mold packed as tightly as you possibly can so the bath bomb is a) easier to remove and b) doesn’t fall apart easily after you’ve removed it or in the process of removal. Layer more mixture onto the packed down stuff and repeat, pressing as hard as you can. You have to guide it and work with it a bit, but you will get the feel of it and the process will speed up. Repeat with the other molds.
6) Now you need to let them dry. I’ve experimented with how long this actually takes, and I generally air on the side of caution to avoid ruining them. So I like to give them 5-7 days. It will depend a bit on your climate – if you live in a more humid climate you might want to store them somewhere like a closet to protect them a bit from the humidity while they dry.
7) Pop ‘em out! Easier said than done, sometimes, but I find it works well for my mold if I turn it over onto a soft surface like a couch or bed covered with a towel. I bend the pan a little bit and tap the bottom of the mold with the heel of my hand until they fall out. If you purchased specific bath bomb molds, the process is easier. If you are using a muffin tin mold, the soft surface and towel gives them a soft landing and prevents them from chipping or breaking when they drop out.
Your cheap and fancy new DIY bath bombs can be used right away or stored for several months. Because you will likely be storing them in a humid bathroom, I recommend placing them in some form of sealed jar. I scrounged mine at a second hand shop for .50 cents, but you could also use a large pickle jar with a tight lid.
Total cost = $4.70, and my batch makes 5 very large bath bombs with the mold I use, which works out to .94 cents per bath bomb! Compare that to the $6-8 they cost in fancy stores and you’re laughing, my Pennywise darlings!
As always, if you run into trouble or have any questions, please leave me a message below. Happy bath time!
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