Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bombs Away!

Nothing jazzes up a plain old tub of water like a colorful, fizzy, smelly bath bomb. I used to buy them every once in a while from Lush, as a treat for my boys. They love the cheap thrill that comes from watching the baking soda/citric acid combo bubble up in the water; to them it looks like some kind of chemistry experiment gone awry-one that might impart upon the bather amazing and unexpected super powers. In reality they just make the boys smell like they spent the night trapped in a brothel, which I always found to be an unfortunate side effect of the bath bomb experience.

Fortunately, bath bombs are very easy to make, and most of the ingredients required can be purchased in your local grocery and/or drugstore. Citric acid might be the exception. I bought mine online from Brambleberry, which is also where I buy my supplies for making cold process soap. My challenge in making the batch shown here was finding a natural colorant. Every recipe I've seen for bath bombs calls for regular food coloring, but my family recently started the Feingold diet, which excludes (among other things) artificial colors of any kind. So I decided to try using beet juice as my colorant, which resulted in the bombs you see above.

With my ingredients at the ready, I adapted the "Water Softening Fizzy" recipe from the Teachsoap website, substituting the beet juice for the water. I used avocado oil where the author used grapeseed and almond oils, and I used just one teaspoon of lavender oil rather than the two teaspoons the recipe called for.

First I thoroughly mixed my dry ingredients (1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup corn starch) together. Be sure to mix them slowly and carefully to avoid kicking up a lot of dust.

I put my remaining ingredients (2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado oil, 3/4 tablespoon beet juice, 1 teaspoon lavender oil, 1/2 teaspoon of Borax) into another bowl.

I mixed these together well til they created a nice emulsion.

I don't have a photo of the next step because it required two hands, and Henry is never around with my camera when you need him. While pouring the liquid into the dry ingredients with one hand, I used the other to squish everything together. I knew I was done when the mixture was uniformly pink.

For a mold I just used my 1/3 measuring cup, which yielded exactly five bombs. I packed the mixture into the cup tightly, then turned it upside down onto a lined cookie sheet and tapped it out.

Lastly, I spritzed the bombs with a light but all around misting of witch hazel. I'll leave them to dry overnight, and tomorrow I'll flip them and spritz the other side. The witch hazel somehow forms a protective seal that prevents the bombs from cracking or crumbling. I'm glad I cut the amount of essential oil in half, because, as much as I love lavender, the scent is plenty strong.

And here they are once more, looking like delicious confections. Which means I better stick them high up on a shelf to dry, where little candy thieves won't be able to find them.