Experimenting: Bath Bombs and Bubble Bath

I’ve been asked many many times to teach a bath bomb class.  When I teach a class I teach it as a way for students to learn about the ingredients, why you use them, what they do, recipes to try, and experimenting in the class.  It is a comprehensive class that includes a lot of information. So you can image it takes a lot of work to put a class like that together initially.

One of my goals was to do that this winter (during my sort of kind of down time).  This meant exploring new/different recipes and creating some of my own.  To do that I had to do a some testing in my studio!  I forget how much I like to experiment!  I don’t do it often enough (or more accurately I don’t have time to do it as much as I’d like).

I tested over a dozen different recipes for bath bombs, bubble bath bombs, and solid bubble bath.  It was fun!  And I learned a lot.  The best part was I finally go to play around with a few new ingredients I’ve been wanting to!  Here’s some of the results of that process!

BATH BOMBS

I have a recipe I use, but it’s a bit complicated and you REALLY need a mixer to make them, and they’re expensive (more so that most people would want to pay to make them at home).  I wanted a simplified recipe that worked well if mixing by and and still created a nice bath bomb.  I played around with three different recipes and a couple different ways of “mixing” the ingredients. This is right after I made the bath bombs.  The yellow ones did not stay round for long and activated some as well.

Recipe 1: There’s a base recipe I’ve seen all over that I used for this one with a small alteration to it.  They worked well.  They were relatively easy to make.  I could mix them with my hands or a mixer and they worked.  They took a good 24 hours to harden (and still softer than my standard recipe even after 24 hours, but they got hard and have a nice fizz).

Recipe 2: So, I learned a valuable lesson with this recipe: What DOES NOT work! Ha! These were soooooo wet.  It didn’t matter how much cornstarch I added to them they just where not having anything to do with me.

Recipe 3: I think these are my favorite, but they’re also the most expensive “cost” wise to make.  They too worked well though and create a nice bath bomb.  I like these and Recipe 1 and I think they’ll be good ones to use for teaching.

BUBBLE BATH BOMBS

These were interesting to play with.  I’d seen all sorts of varying information on ingredients to use, getting foam vs. bubbles, how well the performed or didn’t…  I learned a few things with these experiments…especially when it came to using liquid surfactants in my recipe.  As you can see some clearly didn’t work, others I managed to salvage with some on the spot recipe changes, and some worked great.

Recipe 1: This one was probably my favorite of the recipes, but it’s also the most expensive ingredient wise.  It gave me little trouble though and the “foam” or “bubbles” aren’t bad.

Recipe 2: Yeah…everything about this one didn’t work.  First off, the surfactant didn’t behave at all like I was expecting it too and even my on the spot alterations couldn’t save it.  I’m pretty sure I figured out which two ingredients didn’t like each other.  I might experiment again with alterations just to see how altering amounts of the two ingredients that didn’t play nice together would work.

An hour later that have completely fallen apart!

No staying power with these bubbles! That was disappointing.

Recipe 3: This one I expected to have similar results as recipe 2 and so I altered the recipe a bit before I even started making it.  I still had to do even more on the fly altering.  It allowed me to make the bath bombs, but I’m not sure how they’ll harden or how well they’ll bubble.

Recipe 4: By the time I got to this recipe I’d done enough trouble shooting that I was able to alter the recipe and it worked.  It wasn’t as easy to make the balls as recipe 1 but the initial results were far better than recipe 2 or 3.  It fizzed and bubble well and the bubbles had staying power.

SOLID BUBBLE BATH

What I wanted to see with these were which bubbled best.  I had three different surfactants I was experimenting with: SLSA, CocoBetaine, and CocoFoam

These are “soft solids” that you can crumble under running water to created your bubble bath.  I like the solid bubble bath and don’t think I’d ever make liquid bubble bath.  Though I’ll never say never!

Recipe 1:

Recipe 2:

You can see that I had some pieces left that didn’t crumble.  Part of the reason for this is I was just using one hand while recording with the other so it made crumbling harder.  Another reason these recipes did get pretty hard.  I think it will break down and dissolve in the water (it was already really soft when I touched the pieces in the water).  This happened for recipe 2 and 3.

Recipe 3:

Bubbles make me smile!  I tested one other recipe (very different from these that isn’t pictured.  It wasn’t a recipe of my own creation, but I wanted to see how it compared to these and what I thought of it).

As you can see I had a lot of fun testing out my recipes.  I also have a very comprehensive handout out coming in at 24 pages to accompany these recipes.  I’m ready for classes to start!

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