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“Snowballs and confetti” bath bombs

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How to make colored bath bombs?

Winter is coming – and bringing with it a host of other things: snow, boots, snow, red noses, snow, the holiday season, snow… That’s right: snow and cold will soon be a big part of our lives – and we’ll all be looking for the same thing: warmth! So we got to thinking – how does a long hot bath with a festive, fizzy snowball sound?

The great bath bomb mystery

You generally need to add a little moisture to ensure the mixture clumps together (Psssssssst! Psssssssst!). But this must be done slowly and carefully to make sure you add just enough liquid without setting off the fizz reaction! There’s really no way around it: the secret to making a good bath bomb is practice. But bath bombs are really fun to use and make great gifts. So we decided we weren’t going to let the need to add water spoil our fun, and we discovered that it’s possible to replace the water and the moisture-containing ingredients with a mixture of vegetable oils and butters. These ingredients moisten the mixture without making it fizz while leaving your skin soft and moisturized!

*doing the happy dance*

Below, we’ll share an innovative way to colour them.

Basic principles

Dry ingredients

To get that fantastic fizz, you need two basic ingredients:

You can also add a small amount of binding agent – a fine powder that helps bind the citric acid to the coarser-grained baking soda:

Emollients

Instead of water, we use a mixture of butter and oil. Kokum butter is drier to the touch than other butters and keeps well, and jojoba oil is easily absorbed and has a long shelf life. They are thus the ideal emollients for making bath bombs. The melted butter facilitates moulding. Ideally, use a mixture of equal parts of the two emollients.

The scent

Essential oils and aromatic essences are perfect for scenting bath bombs. The oil-based emollients added to this recipe serve to dilute the essential oils, which could irritate your skin if they were added alone to the basic ingredients. So let your creativity run wild! Just be careful when adding cinnamon, black pepper, camphor, ginger, and peppermint essential oils. Your recipe should not include more than 0.5% of these ingredients. Don’t use them at all if you have sensitive skin.

Colorants

Colours are fun, but:

  • Oxides are perfect for colouring soaps, but they can stain the tub if you add them to bath bombs.
  • Liquid colorants for glycerin soaps can be used, but they contain water, so if you add just a bit too much, your bomb could “explode” before it even hits the water.
  • Micas float on the surface of the water and can leave a ring around the tub. But they are great for adding a little sparkle to the surface of the bomb or coming to the rescue of a bath bomb that fizzled (see below).
  • Clay makes a good colorant, but its colours are earthy and limited.

So here’s an even better idea! What if you added multi-coloured confetti to personalize your bath bombs without staining the tub?

Here’s the deal. You colour a certain quantity of glycerin soap (transparent or opaque) with a liquid colorant for glycerin soap. We suggest using intensity level 6 (dark) on our colour intensity scale for glycerin soap. We made seven unscented soaps with all the colours we had in-store. When the bars hardened, we grated them, placing each colour in a separate resealable bag. When it came time to colour our bath bombs, we used colours that suited the scents we chose: mauve and blue for a lavender bath bomb, red and green for a fir bomb, yellow and red for a cherry and almond bomb, and multicoloured for an extra-festive bomb!

The formula

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+ Soap confetti: 7 g per 100 g of mixture

+ As many spritzes of water as needed to achieve the right texture

Moulds

If you’re using our plastic moulds, you’ll need:

– approximately 250 g of the mixture for a large mould

– approximately 75 g of the mixture for a small mould

 

For our scissor-type moulds, use:

– approximately 75 g for the large on

– approximately 50 g for the small one

Tools

Ingredients

1 x 250 g 4 x 75g (300 g)
Baking soda 153 g 183 g
Citric acid 78 g 93 g
Jojoba oil and/or kokum butter 10 g 12 g
Magnesium stearate, corn starch or clay 6 g 7.5 g
Essential oil and/or aromatic essence 3.8 g 4.5 g
Confetti soap 17 g 20 g

A few recipes

Ingredients It’s snowing!
(1×250 g)
It’s a party!
(4x75g)
It’s a Christmas tree!
(2x75g)
Citric acid 78 g 93 g 44 g
Baking soda 153 g 183 g 89 g
Bonding agent 6.2 g 7.5 g 4 g
Emollient(s) 10 g 12 g 7.5 g
Fragrance blend 3.8 g lavender 40/42 EOLavandula officinalis
Confetti soap
  • 10 g of mauve
  • 7 g of blue
2,5 g of each colour (7 colours in all)
  • 5 g fo green
  • 5 g of red

*EO = essential oil, AE = aromatic essence

Steps to follow

Prepare the soap confetti (may be done in advance)

  1. Prepare and sterilize your equipment and workspace.
  2. Cut and weigh the required amount of glycerin soap (from 50 to 75 g. of each colour is enough to make several bath bombs).
  3. Melt the glycerin soap in the double boiler and add the correct amount of colorant using the guide for making glycerin soap and the colouring guide (use intensity level 6).
  4. Pour into the mould of your choice and let harden.mp
  5. Remove the soap from the mould, grate the required amount of confetti, and place it in resealable bags.

Make the bath bombs

  1. Prepare and sterilize your equipment and workspace.
  2. Put on your mask and gloves.
  3. Weigh the citric acid, baking soda, and corn starch (or clay). Whisk together in a large stainless steel bowl.
  4. Weigh the kokum butter and melt slowly without overheating.
  5. In another bowl, weigh and blend the essential oils and/or aromatic essences, jojoba oil, and melted kokum butter.
  6. Add approximately half of the liquid ingredients (jojoba oil, kokum butter, and scents) to the solid ingredients (citric acid, baking soda, corn starch or clay). Mix well with the whisk. Crush the lumps with a fork.3-etape5
  7. Add the remaining liquid ingredients.
  8. You can remove the mask, but keep the gloves on. Blend the mixture with your hands.6-etape7
  9. If the mixture seems to crumble when you try to squeeze it together, spray three or four times with the water and mix well. Repeat as many times as necessary until you can form a fairly solid ball in your hands.8-etape8
  10. Add the soap confetti and mix with the whisk.
  11. Place in the moulds according to the following instructions.

Place in the moulds

For plastic moulds

  1. Place a large amount of the mixture in each half of the mould, without pressing, and allowing it to overflow the sides. This should make small mounds.18-rempl-plastique-etape1
  2. While holding them over the bowl, quickly press the two halves of the mould together, pressing firmly for about thirty seconds.19-rempl-plastique-etape2
  3. Remove one of the two halves by lifting upward.
  4. Use any available tool to scrape the extra mixture from the edge of mould.21-rempl-plastique-etape4
  5. Press the two halves of the mould together again and lift off the top half.
  6. Leave the bomb in the half-mould for at least five minutes.
  7. Gently remove the bomb while turning the mould in your hand. Place the ball on a plate in a cool, dry place and let dry for twenty-four hours.25-rempl-plast-etape6
  8. Place the bomb in an airtight container and use within a few months. The longer you wait, the more the moisture in the air will reduce the potential fizziness of the bath bomb.

For scissor-type moulds

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on the inside of the mould.12-rempl-ciseau-etape1
  2. Put the open scissors in the bowl and place a large amount of the mixture in the two halves of the mould.13-rempl-ciseau-etape2
  3. Close the scissors, pressing and placing your fingers on each half of the mould. The mixture should not overflow between the two halves.14-rempl-ciseau-etape3
  4. Carefully open the scissors, holding them so that one of the two halves is on top (press gently in the hole to prevent the top half from sticking to the metal).
  5. Gently remove the bomb while turning the mould in your hand. Place the ball on a plate in a cool, dry place and let dry for twenty-four hours.16-rempl-ciseau-etape5
  6. Place the bomb in an airtight container and use within a few months. The longer you wait, the more the moisture in the air will reduce the potential fizziness of the bath bomb.

Wrap and give. Organza bags make nice gift bags for bath bombs.

Results of our experiments

To satisfy our own curiosity, after testing our bath bomb formula, we decided to run some additional tests. Here’s what we discovered!

  • We all know that oil and water don’t mix: oil floats on water. To mix them, you need to add an emulsifier. This bath bomb recipe contains oil, which will be added to a large amount of bath water without an emulsifier. So you can guess what will happen: the oil will float on the surface of the water. On the one hand, you’ll love the intense moisturizing effect of the oil; but on the other, the tub will be slippery after your bath and need rinsing. So please be careful!
  • To make the oils more water soluble, we tried replacing 2- 3% of the emollients called for in the recipe with sucragel, a glycerin-based liquid emulsifier. The problem is that sucragel contains water – only small amounts, but enough to cause the mixture to absorb water and “swell,” as well as to be difficult to mould. Unfortunately, sucragel does not seem to be a suitable emulsifier for use in bath bombs.
  • EWhen we poured a little of our mixture containing soap confetti into a bowl of hot water, we noticed that it created foam – lots of fizzy foam! Unfortunately, even a large bath bomb doesn’t contain enough soap chips to make the bath water foamy. So we wondered whether adding coco betaine or decyl glucoside, two foaming agents, would make a bath bomb that both fizzed and foamed! Result: since they also contain water, the bombs immediately swelled up and were difficult to mould. We therefore suggest that if you have your heart set on bubbles, you should throw a bath bomb in your bubble bath!

What to do with leftovers or “less than successful” attempts

The world of home-made cosmetics is extraordinary, but we often have questions that can only be answered through trial and error. Failed recipes can be great learning experiences, but we hate to waste ingredients and often look for ways to make the most of them. In this case, we rescued failed recipes in the following ways:

    • If your mixture is too watery, or you have leftover salt, add one part coarse sea salt or Epsom salt to one or two parts of the mixture (1:1 or 1:2). Add more confetti soap if desired. Place in a pretty transparent jar with a small scoop. Add a few scoops of the fizzy, moisturizing bath salts to a hot tub.
    • If your bath bomb doesn’t look quite how you intended, you can camouflage its shortcomings by covering it with glitter! First, dry the ball for at least twenty-four hours. In a bowl, mix 1 teaspoon each of baking soda, magnesium stearate (or corn starch), and the mica colorant of your choice. Working by eye, adjust the blend so that it has just the right amount of sparkle. Lightly mist the ball with rubbing alcohol and roll it in the mixture. And that’s it!! When the ball dissolves, the mica will disperse on the surface of the water, and you will be slightly more sparkly when you step out of the tub! Perfect for New Year’s Eve!

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