She had never seen one before, but the first time Fern laid eyes on a bath bomb at Rainbow Grocery, she was smitten. Was it the scent of rose and sandalwood? A premonition of bathly delights, her intuitive twoness leading her towards destiny?
Or was it because it was pink and shaped like a ball? We all know the answer here.
Since that fateful day, we have been experimenting with bath time fun of all sorts. After an accidental detour through Union Square placed us in close proximity to a Lush store, it was all over.
Lush products are fun, but they are pricey and not always 100% natural. I’ve used them enough in the past to trust their safety, but I still feel uneasy having Fern sit in “fragrance oil” (aka endocrine disruptor) soup. Also, with being at least $5 a pop for one bomb, I knew there had to be a DIY alternative.
So after much internet research and one failed attempt in which the mixture got too wet and began to expand like a science project gone wrong, I bring you…
FERN’S VALENTINE BATH BOMBS
You will need:
~2 C baking soda
~1 C citric acid (find it at your health food store, possibly in bulk)
~30 drops essential oil (we used lavender)
~1 Tb olive oil
~spray bottle filled with water
~fine glitter (we used red and gold)–optional
~food coloring (5-10 drops) or 1 teaspoon non-toxic powder eyeshadow (we used Ben Nye pink)–optional
~rubber or latex gloves if using liquid food coloring–optional
~A mold for forming the bombs. We used a heart shaped chocolate mold, but you could use anything…ice cube tray, plastic easter eggs, etc.
1. Sift the dry ingredients (including powder eyeshadow if using) together in a large bowl. I did this by alternating adding ingredients to my flour sifter and then running them through a second time into another bowl.
2. Add your essential oil to the olive oil in a little bowl. Add to the dry ingredients by sprinkling the drops over the surface, while mixing with your other hand. This is when you would add your food coloring too. We used loose powder eyeshadow for color, so I can’t give you any tips about using liquid food dye…except you probably would want to use gloves so you don’t end up with red or green hands.
Now…here comes the tricky part. The trick is to take it slow and err on the side of caution.
3. Take your spray bottle and give the mixture 2-3 spritzes of water, while mixing with your other hand. You want to end up with a mix that would make a perfect sand castle, and you will need far less water than you imagine. Add up to 6 spritzes, and then stop and test the mixture. Pack it into the mold and then tap gently upside down to release. If it holds its shape without any cracks or bits falling off, you’re set. If it’s still too crumbly, add more water 1 spritz at a time. If at any time you hear fizzing, STOP. Keep mixing and if it’s still making noise, add a little more baking soda and citric acid until it stops.
Trouble shooting: Too crumbly–add a tiny bit more water. Expanding like The Blob–too much water. Add 1/2 C more baking soda and 1/4 cup more citric acid and mix.
The fun part:
4. Take your mold, and sprinkle the inside with the glitter. Pack the mixture as if you were making a sand castle. Tap out lightly onto a cookie sheet covered with wax or parchment paper. Let dry for 12-24 hours before moving.
Plop one into your bath and enjoy the fizz!
A word of delightful warning–if using glitter, expect that your child will look like sparkle pony (or a drag queen) when she/he emerges. If you want to avoid this (we don’t), add some drops of shampoo to the running water after the tub is almost full. The soap will break the surface tension and all that happy glitter will go down the drain. Aw.
Send some to your sweethearts and keep the rest in an airtight container for your own love bath. The essential oils will evaporate, so enjoy them sooner rather than later.