bath bombs, oils, and salts
stress and worry are integral components of today's hectic lifestyle.
now and then, everyone needs to unwind, and nothing facilitates this
"unwinding" like a soak in a luxurious hot, fragrant, therapeutic bath.|
the instructions below are for making some of the preparations that turn a tub of hot water into a relaxing, sensual experience. these preparations fall into three groups: "bath bombs" (aka bath fizzies), "bath oils", and "bath salts".
|• bath bombs -- [ click to see additional notes on bath bombs ]|
know as "fizzies") these are like giant alka seltzers for the bath.
just toss one in a tub of running water. the reaction of the citric acid
with the baking soda causes it to effervesce and, in the process,
disperse whatever its components into the bath and release fragrance
into the air.|
variation I represents the most basic recipe and produces a bomb with a robust fizz.
by using a "rounded" tbs. for the "part" in this variation, you get approximately a 1/3 cup volume bomb. if you're making many bombs, you can make up a larger portion, but only spritz and mold one bomb at a time.
variation II (which is the variation i prefer and use) is an expansion on the basic recipe adding the sls for its emulsifying properties. the addition of the sls, however, tends to hinder the fizzing ...the bomb foams as it dissolves rather than effervesces. also, i don't use epsom salt in my bombs, but i've listed it here (and in variation III) to show the relative quantity.
* sls (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate) is a derivative of sodium laureth sulfate, (which is surfactant commonly used in soaps, shampoos, etc.) ...but is milder. the fizzing action of the bomb [and the running water] cause the sls to create a layer of foam, which helps hold onto the fragrance. being an emulsifier, it tends to eliminate scum and tub ring which can occur when adding oils to a bath or when using handmade soap, (which usually doesn't contain a surfactant).
by using a "level" tsp. for the "part" in this variation, you get approximately a 1/3 cup volume bomb. as with variation I, if you're making many bombs, you can make up a larger portion, but only spritz and mold one bomb at a time.
variation III seems to be the most prevalent bomb recipe using cornstarch as a binder, with oil (and optionally a little water) for moistening, with or without the addition of sls (for the reasons mentioned above). this recipe requires 24 to 48 hours drying time.
if a colored bomb is desired, start by adding the color to a small amount of the baking soda and blend in completely. (if colorant is water soluable, it'll color the water.)
foaming bath crystals are simply the above recipes (any variation) with the omission of all liquid elements, (except the fragrance, of course), and leaving the product in loose granular form.
|• bath oils|
|turkey red oil
(also known as sulfated castor oil) is the only suitable oil for this
application as it is itself water-dispersible and acts as an emulsifying
agent for the other oils so the mixture disperses in the water instead
of floating on top ...and won't coat your skin or the tub.|
the ratio of oil to fragrance varies (depending on fragrance strength and amount of oil desired in bath).
start with approximately 64 drops fragrance per 1 cup of turkey red oil. use 1 tbs. in the bath. then, depending upon whether you prefer more or less oil in your bath, or any adjustment to the fragrance strength, add more or less fragrance to the oil.
for test batches, use minimum quantities: for every 4 drops fragrance use 1 tbs. oil.
(fyi: 16 tbs. = 1 cup.)
the following are some blends formulated for their synergistic effect.
|• bath salts|
note 1 - use 1 [level] tsp. unit (for "part") to make 1/3 cup (1 application).
note 2 - you can use any "therapeutic" salt you want. this recipe call for equal parts of epsom salts and dead sea salts.
note 3- when adding milk [to any bath product], whole milk (or non-fat milk‡) is good; buttermilk is better; goat's milk is best. cost and availability will dictate which you choose to use. although the milkfat may add some emollience to the product, it's the protein [in the milk] that makes it such a great addition.
‡(there is a school of thought that suggests it's best to use a non-fat version of any milk, since the fat separates in the presence of the salt, resulting in a "wet" mixture, and also in time [the fat] can go rancid. either or both of these situations can adversely impact the product's shelf life.)
note 4 - [in basic recipe] baking soda can be substituted for the borax.
note 5 - sls (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate) is a derivative of sodium laureth sulfate, (which is surfactant commonly used in soaps, shampoos, etc.) ...but is milder. the action of the running water causes the sls to create a layer of foam, which helps hold onto the fragrance. being an emulsifier, it tends to eliminate scum and tub ring which can occur when adding oils to a bath or when using handmade soap, (which usually doesn't contain a surfactant).
note 6 - for optimum results when adding essential and/or fragrance oils to bath salts, add your scent directly to dendritic salt. because of its physical structure, dendritic salt absorbs and holds onto the sent longer. add the scented dendritic salt to the remainder of the salts, and then blend this with the other ingredients in your bath salt mixture. use [approximately] 1 part dendritic salt for every 10 parts [other] salts. if you don't have [or choose not to use] dendritic salt, simply follow the above instructions and add the scent to the finished product.
note 7: many people, as well as some suppliers, (who should know better), use the term "borax" and "boric acid" synonymously. this is grossly incorrect.
borax is "sodium borate", a crystalline mineral salt mined from the earth, (available at your grocers as "20 mule-team borax").
"boric acid", (a highly diluted form of which is commonly used as an antiseptic eyewash), is a compound, mainly [commercially] produced from the steam and vapors of the volcanic region of tuscany. it can also be produced by treating sodium borate with sulphuric acid. they are not interchangeable so don't confuse one with the other.