These pretty blue nuggets of fizzy, pine-scented goodness are the perfect accompaniment to a hot bath on a cold winter day. They’ll tumble in the bath water, fizzing away and releasing a fresh, wintery scent blend of pine, fir, and vanilla along with skin-softening ingredients like Epsom salts and baking soda. These Winter Wonderland Bath Bombs are also the last Winter Wonderland recipe of the season as we come close to wrapping up my Holiday gift idea recipes!
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Bath bombs are basically a dry version of that baking soda and vinegar volcano we all made as kids. The baking soda part stays the same, and for the acid we’re using citric acid, which has the bonus of smelling much nicer than vinegar (citric acid doesn’t really smell like anything) in addition to being dry. We’ll mix the baking soda and citric acid together with some good-for-skin things like Epsom salts and safflower oil, add some colour and essential oils, and then use the smallest amount of liquid possible to hold them together. Too much and they’ll react with themselves before they hit the bath, so it’s important to be as sparing as possible.
You can use water in a mister bottle if that’s all you’ve got, but I highly recommend using witch hazel instead. I find the mixture reacts less with witch hazel, and the finished formed bath bombs dry out much faster as well—double bonus! Water or witch hazel, you’ll definitely want that mister—it makes it possible to add teensy amounts of moisture to the dry mixture and get that teensy amount very well dispersed from the get go.
In order to incorporate the oils as well as possible, I like to blend them with some of the baking soda in a blender or food processor before we do anything else. I’ve got a mini food processor that I picked up at Value Village for a couple dollars that I use for projects like this, but your normal blender or food processor will work—some detergent and hot water will easily clear out any remnants of the mixture, as long as you’re using essential oils. I’ve found fragrance oils to be darn near impossible to get out of things, especially plastic things, which could mean your next batch of spinach dip smells weirdly like trees and perfume. So, if that’s your thing I highly recommend getting a DIY-only mixer. Because of the quantities we’re working with, your DIY-only coffee grinder isn’t a great choice here; with a full 15mL/tablespoon of liquid, I would be worried about that seeping down into the motor of the grinder and ruining it.
With bath bombs it’s always very tempting to add all kinds of colours and herbs and glitter and stuff… but one must remember that all of that will either be going down the drain, or getting scrubbed out of the tub! For that reason, water soluble stuff is a great option as it’ll dissolve in your bath water and wash down the drain with little to no fuss. For pigment, I used a touch of indigo root, which is potent enough that we don’t need much, so there’s fairly little clean up to worry about. I’ve included an emulsifier (olivem 300) to help the safflower oil fully emulsify with your bath water so you don’t have to worry about oil slicks. I did put some wintery glitter in mine, a la LUSH, but it can make a bit of a tub mess, so that’s totally optional. It is pretty awesome for the littler ladies, though!
Once everything comes together you’ve got a great Christmas gift that smells like a forest with a hint of vanilla. They’re lovely in a hot bath on a cold day, and I think you’ll like these Winter Wonderland Bath Bombs.
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Winter Wonderland Bath Bombs
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup citric acid (USA / Canada)
3/4 cup Epsom salts
2 tsp olivem 300 or Polysorbate 20 or Turkey Red Oil
1 tsp safflower oil (You can substitute another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed)
Measure the baking soda, olivem300, safflower oil, indigo root, and essential oils into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a uniform mixture.
Transfer the blue baking soda mixture into a large, wide bowl and whisk in the citric acid, Epsom salts, and white glitter until the mixture is uniform.
Now it’s time to add just enough liquid to get the mixture to hold together in a mold. Not too much, though, or it will react in the bowl/mold, not in your bath. That’s why we’re using a mister (it’ll spread the moisture better) and witch hazel (the reaction isn’t as vigorous when you use witch hazel, plus the bath bombs dry faster).
So, spread your mixture out in your bowl so you have as much surface area as possible, and spritz. Then quickly stir/whisk thoroughly. Repeat until you can grab a clump of the mixture and it will just hold together after a firm squeeze.
Once the mixture will hold together, firmly pack it into a mold of your choice (I like a ¼ cup measuring cup), and then tap it out onto a sheet of wax paper. Let dry overnight, turning once.
To use, drop in a hot bath and enjoy! This recipe will make about 8 quarter-cup bath bombs.