Some products become timeless classics connected with a single brand. Beauty products, in particular, have gained such momentum over the years. When it comes to a grand bathing experience the modern way, without the goat’s milk or virgin blood that made certain historical figures infamous, bath bombs are all the rage.
It seems everyone is making a ball of fuzz and bubbles these days, but it all started with the amazing LUSH. The bath bomb was invented in 1989 by the ever-curious founder of LUSH, Mark Constantine, as he admired the fizzing characteristics of the Alka-Seltzer. His experiment of combining baking soda and citric acid gave birth to the latest craze that has taken over social media and every part of the bathing experience. LUSH has also introduced the shower bomb, perfect for the fun-loving young and old in need of a quick pick-me-up in the morning.
If you have decided to give this fun ball a try, make sure to find out what a bath bomb is, the ingredients it’s made of, differences with other bath products, bath bomb benefits, and safety, as we explain it all below.
In this article:
- What Exactly Is a Bath Bomb?
- What Are Bath Bombs Made of?
- Bath Bombs vs. Bath Fizzies vs. Bubble Baths
- Are Bath Bombs Safe?
- Bath Bomb Benefits
What Exactly Is a Bath Bomb?
Also known as bath fizzers or fizzies, bath bombs are palm-sized spheres with a gritty texture, single-use bath products with a fizz that melt the moment they come into contact with water. As they dissipate, these lush bombs release scents, colors, and nourishing powders, making your downtime an incredibly delectable experience. The tub may be stained, though, so beware!
Produced in different colors and shapes, the dry ingredients are meant to have a fizzing reaction when they touch water, especially when thrown into a tub. They are often balls of goodness but may also come in fun shapes and sizes, with a single purpose: to provide a refreshing spa environment with an added twist.
The fizzing reaction is the effect the combination of two major ingredients, baking soda, and citric acid, have. Unique colors and sometimes glitter is released, though we’ll talk about safe bombs for your bath and shower later on. It’s quite the sensory experience, especially when essential oils and rainbow colors are added to the mix. The best bath bombs feature such oils as lavender, soothing the body as well as the mind. The use of butter with the oils adds nourishment and a moisturizing effect, as well.
Just a note, because this question will gnaw at you if you’re unsure – you don’t need a shower after a soak with a bath bomb. However, if you did pick up a version that’s all about colors and glitter and such pizzazz, you can wash it off without the use of soap. It is recommended to sit in a bath bomb bath for no longer than 15 minutes, just until your body starts to prune up.
What Are Bath Bombs Made of?
As mentioned above, the main ingredients are mostly baking soda/sodium bicarbonate and citric acid. To that, many things can be added to add to the potency and benefits of the bomb. In essence, when in water, the sodium bicarbonate reacts with the citric acid and releases what we know as carbon dioxide gas… much like how we intake oxygen and breathe out the dioxide. As the bomb begins to break apart, the scents and colors are released for a psychedelic effect. Move aside bubbles, the fizz is in!
Bombs with Epsom salt are recommended as they soothe the skin. Salts and oils are perfect when using natural bombs, which are the recommended ones for safety’s sake. Natural bombs sometimes contain little surprises, like rose petals, as well.
When it comes to oils, almond is a common ingredient, giving your body a smooth, soft finish. Lavender is perfect for a therapeutic bath. Lemongrass is another go-to for the perfect bath time scents.
To make a bath bomb, the baking soda, essential oils, and bubble mix are needed, with dye pigments, a pinch of citric acid, and often an egg-shaped insert with more of the baking soda mixture in the middle. This is all put into a mold, smashed together and packed nice and tight.
SLSA derived from coconut oils is used in many brands, as it meets certain standards, while the colors used should be drug & cosmetics safe or natural, such as gardenia extract. You’ll find the spheres at most all bath and body locations near you, including online handmade soap shops. In essence, you can easily make a bath bomb in the comfort of your home with ingredients you come across every day.
Every doctor, gynecologist, dermatologist, and expert in the beauty sector will beg you to steer clear of the glitter, or you’ll be shining in places that should never reflect the light thus. Not to mention the possibility of infection. So please be careful!
Bath Bombs vs. Bath Fizzies vs. Bubble Baths
In essence, a bath bomb is like a bubble bath but where a ball is thrown into warm water where it fizzes, bubbles, and explodes. They’re likely to leave a blue or magenta ring in your tub, but the fun of it is worth the hassle of cleaning it up afterwards. I mean, who wouldn’t love to throw a neon-colored, gold-glittered, popping candy bomb into their relaxing soak. If nothing else, it will make you all giddy inside.
So, what are the differences between bath bombs, fizzies, and bubble baths?
As we talk about throughout this article, bath bombs are spheres full of goodies that fizz and dissipate in the water, releasing everything, from strong colors to flower petals, moisturizing oils, and even glitter. They are likely to clog pipes, so be careful with how you use the bombs.
You can certainly wash your hair in it, though if you’ve picked up a non-natural version, there might be color and glitter left in your locks. They’re great for all types of skin and great fun that leaves behind a well-cleansed body and supple skin. Don’t expect any bubbles, though!
The release of clear, sparkling bubbles from a fizzy is rather different than that of a bomb. There are no colors here, no glitter, no crazy fun. The water will be softened, as with both bombs and bubble baths, but there is no foam or mounds of bubbles to wade through.
The fizz is stronger than that of a bomb, however, and the enticing scents will cling to your skin for an uplifting home spa bath. They are full of oil and extracts, much like the bomb, and are great for moisturizing the skin. A tamer version that does its job and still gives you the giddiness of a fizzing bath and all the amazing features of the other two!
Whereas bath bombs and fizzies will fizz and foam and spread color in your tub, as well as glitter if you want something more fun, the tried and true bubble bath is all about creating mounds and mounds of bubbles! They are great for kids and adults alike. They are made of soap and cleanse the body while offering a relaxing embrace. The water is softened, and the bubbles begin to dissipate after some time. They certainly won’t clog your pipes, however, if you’re worried about side effects.
Are Bath Bombs Safe?
Depending on the quality and brand of the bombs, safety might come into play. After all, you’re soaking in water that is full of fizz, color, and glitter. Your nether regions are submerged in this concoction. Yeast infections are something to worry about on a good day, let alone when there are strange ingredients in your bath.
Of course, most bombs are perfectly safe. But there are certain things one has to take into consideration:
- Strong colors and fragrances might be from ingredients that cause unpleasant skin reactions, such as itch or redness.
- Sparkles are awesome, but they may not go down the drain so well and stick to your body instead.
- Some bath bombs have been known to affect the pH of your vagina, causing irritation and yeast growth. If it includes cocoa butter, steer clear.
- Not all ingredients are good for you. If you see witch hazel on the list, you may wish to avoid, if you already suffer from dry skin.
- It’s best not to combine a bath bomb with Epsom salt with bath salts as it might possibly lead to a magnesium overdose. It’s rare, but it’s better safe than sorry.
- Make sure the ingredients do not include aldehydes and phthalates, as the former has been linked to allergies, liver disease, and embryo toxicity, while the latter decreases hormone levels and sperm quality and has been linked to obesity, ovarian aging, and some forms of cancer.
- Natural bath bombs do not contain synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes, or skin-drying ingredients.
A patch test is always a good idea before throwing the bomb into your tub. The best way to do this is to rub the bomb on the inner part of your arms, the area near the crux of your elbow, and wait up to 2 days to see if any irritation occurs. It’s best to pick up versions that are dye- and fragrance-free. Though, safe-to-use colors might come in handy for lifting your mood and soothing frayed nerves.
Baths, in general, might be a problem, but if you’re one to enjoy a good soak from time to time and common irritants, such as limonene, linalool, and alpha-isomethyl, don’t come into play here, and as long as you’ve checked the ingredients for anything else that might react badly with your skin, bombs away!
Bath Bomb Benefits
Aside from these little grenades being super fun, there are many benefits to using bath bombs, as touched upon in the ingredients section above. Some might even say the benefits are enormous!
As mentioned above, the use of certain salts and essential oils can have soothing, moisturizing, and downright healing effects. Here are some things to put your mind at ease:
- Bath bombs can calm your mind and lift your mood on the worst of days. The fragrance, especially when essential oils are used, will certainly influence your mood. The colors in safe bombs are also uplifting, especially if they’re strong or create a galaxy of stars in your tub.
- They will pamper your skin, cleansing and softening, moisturizing, and bringing out your natural softness and a youthful glow.
- Natural bath bombs won’t irritate or cause allergies, but always do a patch test. On the contrary, the moisturizing effects allow you to indulge your skin in some extra pampering, leaving it soft and supple, feeling velvety and strong at once.
- They soothe body aches after a long and busy day, with essential oils, such as clove, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint working overtime in relieving the stress on your limbs.
- A good bath is the perfect weapon against insomnia, and a fizzing relaxant in your tub with all the scents and colors is bound to unwind you enough for a great night’s sleep. Chamomile essential oils are especially good at inducing calm.
- Aromatherapy has long been a great destresser, calming the mind, healing muscle pains, and ridding yourself of anxiety. Natural scents will do much in bringing your body out of its slump. The scents from the bath bombs will linger on your skin, as well, giving you the pick-me-up needed for the day ahead if you choose to bathe early in the morning. Citrus scents will wake you up, while lavender will ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Funny enough, bath bombs are a great way to detox your body from the outside, as they attack body odor, strengthen blood vessels, and clean up your abused limbs. Between the sodium bicarbonate and the citric acid, the rejuvenating enzymes create results one cannot help but love, no matter how plain of a bomb you choose to go with.
More than anything, bath bombs create a calm and relaxing atmosphere, bringing one joy and rejuvenating from the inside out. It’s a little spa in the comfort of your home. You can’t go wrong with that! It’s an indulgence you will want to enjoy thoroughly the moment you find some time to spare.
Photos via Lush, Instagram