LAST UPDATED: 04/02/2019
Bath bombs have exploded onto the beauty scene lately with varieties ranging from simple handcrafted products to outrageous unicorn multi-colored glitter bombs. There is no doubt that bath bombs are fun and colorful, but have you ever stopped to consider whether they’re actually good for you? After all, you may be spending up to 30 minutes or more soaking in these fizzy concoctions. The bad news is that most bath bombs on the market do contain ingredients which may harm your skin and health. The good news is that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath bombs! There are natural and organic bath bombs crafted with botanical extracts, oils, and minerals that will actually benefit your skin. Unfortunately, not all products marketed as “organic” and “all natural” are cut from the same cloth. That’s why we created this simple guide to organic and natural bath bombs. In this guide you’ll find our top five organic bath bombs, DIY bath bomb recipes, and some basic information about bath bomb safety.
First, What Are Bath Bombs? Are Bath Bombs Safe?
Bath bombs are solid shapes made out of a variety of ingredients which dissolve, fizz, and release color and fragrance. The classic foam and fizz of bath bombs comes from a mixture of baking soda and citric acid which react when added to water.
While bath bombs may be fun, they shouldn’t be used without caution. Women are particularly susceptible to UTI’s and yeast infections and must be careful with ingredient choices when it comes to choosing a bath bomb. Harsh soaps and synthetic ingredients can alter the pH balance of your skin and private parts and create an environment encouraging to bad forms of bacteria and yeast. Avoid irritating ingredients such as sodium laureth sulfate, artificial dyes, and fragrances (5). Glitter should also be avoided as it can cause micro-cuts and adds plastic to waterways (1). Even if your bath bombs are free from the above-mentioned ingredient, it is still wise to perform a patch test on your arm before soaking your whole body in a bathtub with a bath bomb. If you have a rash, open sores or irritated skin, then you should exercise caution when soaking in any product for extended periods of time to avoid irritation or infection.
Are Any Bath Bombs Safe to Use? What About Organic Bath Bombs?
Luckily, it’s not all bad news for bath bombs. There are reputable brands who have crafted organic and all-natural bath bombs that do not contain any of the potentially irritating ingredients commonly found in bath bombs. In fact, bath bombs can be very nourishing and moisturizing when ingredients such as shea butter (softening and anti-inflammatory), oils such as coconut, sweet almond, and Epsom salts (relaxes stiff muscles) are used. There are a variety of plant oils and butters (olive oil, coconut oil, safflower seed oil, argan oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, oat oil, pomegranate seed oil, almond oil, and shea butter) that will nourish, renew, and hydrate the skin (2).
The only trouble? All natural and truly organic bath bomb products are hard to come by unless you take the time to make them yourself. That’s why our team sifted through hundreds of bath bomb products to bring you this top list of the five best that we found. These bath bombs are free from parabens, pthalates, artificial fragrances and dyes, glitter, and any other ingredient from our prohibited list. With these bath bombs, you soak in a relaxing bath without a care in the world. Feeling artsy? Want to make your very own unicorn multi-color bath bomb made from organic ingredients? Then try your hand at making your own bath bombs with our DIY Organic Bath Bomb Recipe Guide at the end of this article. Enjoy!
HOMEMADE DIY ORGANIC BATH BOMB RECIPES
To make your own organic bath bomb, all you need is baking soda, cornstarch, citric acid (optional), Epsom salts, liquid oils, and essential oils. Combine the ingredients, pack into a mold and leave to dry and harden for approximately 45 minutes or overnight. That’s the science of making bath bombs, the art is a little more complex. You can add dried plants (like rose petals, lavender, and citrus peels), colors (use a plant based food-grade colorant), and try different shapes. The options are truly endless! When it comes to the best essential oils to use for bath bombs, you can typically just choose scents and properties that suit your needs. Here are some of our favorite essential oils for bath bombs: chamomile and lavender (gentle for sensitive skin), frankincense and geranium (soothing for dry skin), tea tree and lemongrass (helps to fight acne and kill bacteria), eucalyptus and peppermint (clears airways and invigorate senses). To help stoke your creative fires, we’ve put together two easy organic bath bomb recipes you can try at home below.
DIY ORGANIC BATH BOMBS – WITH CITRIC ACID
Method: Combine the baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch and Epsom salts in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil and essential oils and stir thoroughly to combine. Smell the mixture and add more oils if the intensity is not to your preference. Press the mixture into muffin pans or molds of your choice, making sure to pack it very firmly so it holds together. If you’d like to add embellishments like dried rose pelts, you can place a few at the bottom of the mold before adding and pressing the powder. Leave overnight before turning out of the mold. Wrap in kraft paper or wax paper until you are ready to use.
DIY ORGANIC BATH BOMBS – WITHOUT CITRIC ACID
Method: Combine the baking soda, epsom salts, cream of tartar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add coconut oil and essential oils and stir thoroughly to combine. Smell the mixture and add more oils if the intensity is not to your preference. Press the mixture into muffin pans or molds of your choice, making sure to pack it very firmly so it holds together. If you’d like to add embellishments like dried rose pelts, you can place a few at the bottom of the mold before adding and pressing the powder. Leave overnight before turning out of the mold. Wrap in kraft paper or wax paper until you are ready to use.
Q: Can bath bombs cause yeast infections?
A: Bath bombs made with synthetic ingredients, harsh soaps, and artificial fragrances may cause yeast infections. This happens when the pH of the body and the bacteria balance are disrupted. If you want to avoid the risk of yeast infections, be sure to look for a bath bomb made from a reputable natural brand and made with non-irritating ingredients.
Q: Can bath bombs increase your risk of urinary tract infections?
A: Soaking for long periods of time in any product may increase the risk of urinary tract infections (also known as UTIs) which are commonly marked by a painful, stinging sensation while urinating. There’s no reason to skip bathing altogether, but it’s good common practice to use a pH balanced soap, which reduces the risk of throwing your urinary tract out of balance. The risk is also reduced when gentle, organic bath products ingredients are used.
Q: Are Bath Bombs Good For Your Skin?
A: Conventional bath bombs made with harsh soaps and fragrances can strip the skin of moisture and cause irritation. The artificial and potentially toxic ingredients in conventional bath bombs include phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and synthetic fragrances; all of which are known skin irritants (3). Bath bombs made with organic, natural, and nourishing ingredients (like coconut oil, shea butter, epsom salts) can be beneficial for the skin.
Q: What Are The Dangers of Bath Bombs?
A: Urinary tract infections (UTIs), yeast infections, allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, and rashes are common dangers of bath bombs. This is not surprising considering that your whole body (including sensitive areas) are fully immersed in the product. Those dazzling displays of rainbow color, or the scent that has you floating in marshmallow heaven? Most likely thanks to a cocktail of toxic ingredients like fragrance, and artificial dyes that serve no purpose to your health.
Q: What’s the Purpose of Citric Acid in Bath Bombs?
A: Citric acid increases the fizziness of the bath bomb when combined with baking soda and water. Citric acid has also been shown to be a useful and effective ingredient for increased cell renewal, hydration, and epidermal thickening in sun-damaged skin (4).
Q: Can Bath Bombs Dry Out Your Skin?
A:If you use a bath bomb which contains harsh ingredients such as sodium laureth sulfate, detergents, and fragrances you may experience dry skin (3). Natural oils, butters, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid will do the opposite, they’ll help to lock moisture into the skin and leave it looking more hydrated.
Q: How Do You Make Organic Bath Bombs?
A: To make your own organic bath bomb, all you need is baking soda, cornstarch, citric acid (optional), Epsom salts, liquid oils, and essential oils. Combine the ingredients, pack into a mold and leave to dry and harden for approximately 45 minutes or overnight. We’ve put together two easy organic bath bomb recipes you can try at home below.
1. (2013) Life in the “Plastisphere”: Microbial Communities on Plastic Marine Debris; Environmental Science & Technology. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es401288x
2. (2018) Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
3. (2014) Chemicals that should disappear from cosmetics. https://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2014/01/chemicals-should-disappear-cosmetics
4. (1997) Citric acid increases viable epidermal thickness and glycosaminoglycan content of sun-damaged skin: Dermatologic Surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9256916
5. (2012) Living in Color: The Potential Dangers of Artificial Dyes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2012/08/27/living-in-color-the-potential-dangers-of-artificial-dyes/