DIY Fizzy Bath Bombs For Your Filthy Hot Bods

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On March 14, we want our readers to stay in together as part of Autostraddle’s International Staycation Spectacular! Follow along with everyone’s hotel parties, spa days, and indoor picnics around the world with the hashtag #StaycationSpectacular, and join us on the day of for the A+ livestream!

Hello, beasts! I hope you’re getting amped for your staycations. My plans for the day include making a cheese plate, watching House of Cards, deep conditioning my hair, and taking a long, decadent bath in the blood of my enemies.

Just kidding on that last one. But a fancy bath is definitely on the agenda, and since I haven’t gone Gone Girl on anyone lately, there will be liberal use of bath bombs. Because when I staycation, I really mean it. I sit and I steam and I stay. Bath bombs. Go hard.

In preparation for some truly sumptuous soaking, I’ve been trying out different fizzy bath bomb recipes for the past month. After numerous trials, I’ve perfected my optimal mix. It has milk for moisturization. Lavender to aid relaxation. Corn starch to make the water nice and silky. Epsom salt to relieve sore muscles. Shea butter to smooth dry elbows and heels. Almond oil for shiny hair. Coconut oil for soft skin. And, oh yeah, look how soothing the fizzy bubbles are!

That’s right, they’re obscenely soothing. Bath bombs are the perfect treat to pamper your hot, filthy bod. Or filthy hot bod? Look, I don’t know your life.

(A note for fellow nerds: The fizzing comes from an acid-base reaction. Remember as a kid when you made the classic baking soda and vinegar “volcano” for science fair? That’s the same principle at work in bath bombs. I’m just using citric acid instead of vinegar here.)

Anyway, if you’re all ready to get started, we’re going to do this in two parts. First I’ll give you the exact recipe I use, then I’ll teach you how to make your own custom recipe. Because is there anything more badass than customized luxury bath goods? I mean, maybe, but just go with it.

Bombs away!

Badass Moisturizing Lavender Bath Bombs

ingredients for Laura's moisturizing lavender bath bomb



  • 2 bowls
  • 1 spray bottle
  • measuring cups & spoons
  • microwave
  • a mold (I used this fancy mooncake mold, but ice cube trays and muffin tins are also great)


bath bomb wet dry ingredients

Wet ingredients to the left. Dry ingredients to the right.

  1. Mix dry ingredients (1/4 cup citric acid, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/8 cup powdered milk, 1/8 cup epsom salt, 1/8 cup corn starch) in one bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Mix shea butter, coconut oil and almond oil (1 tsp each) in another bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir until well combined.

    ingredients for bath bombs combine wet and dry ingredients

    Quick! Stir stir stir.

  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Mix.

    bath bombs add lavender oil

    Other essential oils I love in bath bombs: spearmint, peppermint, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and tangerine. One time I tried lemongrass and it made me smell like potpourri. Which was… alright? I guess?

  4. Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Mix well.
  5. Put a small amount of water (I used 100 ml) in your spray bottle. Add food coloring (4 drops of blue, 3 drops of red). Put the top on and shake to combine.
    Warning: food coloring will stain your skin if you put it directly on your body. Don’t do that. But a few drops diluted by an entire bathtub full of water is just fine.

    bath bombs

    Tip: if you’re impatient and know you won’t want to wait for it to dry later on, you can add a little bit of alcohol to your colored water mix. It makes it dry quicker.

  6. Spray the colored water over your ingredients while mixing. You only want to do a little at a time, so the chemical reaction doesn’t start. If you hear the mixture fizzing, it’s too moist. Stir, or quickly add more dry ingredients.
    bath bombs

    Honestly, this is slightly too much water. My music was up too loud and I didn’t hear when it started fizzing.

    Keep going until your mixture is about as damp as you’d need sand to be in order to mold a good sandcastle. Check the consistency of your mixture by picking some up in your hands and squishing it to make a ball. Keep spritzing and stirring until you can make a ball that stays clumped together (rather than immediately crumbling apart).


    It’s okay if there are still white spots.

  7. Scoop the mixture into your molds. Pack it down tightly.


    Use the back of a spoon to get more leverage when you’re packing the mixture into the mold. You can also use your fingers.

  8. Put your mold in the freezer to set. Drying time varies depending on how much moisture you added, but I generally leave mine for at least half an hour. If you’re patient enough to leave it overnight, that’s even better. The dryer and harder the ingredients are, the better they’ll hold their shape.
  9. When the bombs are done drying, pop them out of the mold. If you’ve done it too soon and they’re still moist, just crumble it up, remold, and wait a little longer. You can add more corn starch to the mixture if you think you really went overboard with the water. Or, if you didn’t add enough water, just crumble it up, spritz some more in, and put it back in the mold to try again. Keep in mind that a crumbly bath bomb will still work; it’s just not as pretty.

    laura's lavender moisturizing bath bombs

    See? I left the blue one in overnight. On the green and purple ones I was too impatient to wait that long, so they got a little crumbly.

  10. Put one or two in your bath and watch them fizz away. As you’re steeping, take some time to reflect on your life and feel good about all the decisions you’ve made that have gotten you to this point.

Choose Your Own Adventure Bath Bomb

Remember when I said earlier that I’d teach you how to make your own bath bomb recipe? Of course you do, starshine, and that time has now come. Here’s what you need to know.

Magic Bath Bomb Ratio:

  • 1 part acid
  • 2 parts base
  • 1 part powdered ingredients
  • 10-20% binding agent
  • Color, scent, floaty things as desired

As long as your concoction more or less follows this ratio, your bath bomb is going to turn out just splendidly. The stakes are very low here, so play around, have fun, and see which combinations you like the best!

To get you started, here’s a list of possibilities.

Acid (select one):

Base (select one):

Powdered Ingredients (use as many as you like, as long as the total follows the ratio):

Binding Agent (select one):

  • Water
  • Tea, floral water, male tears, rainwater you’ve personally collected from the heavens via champagne flute, etc.
  • Cocoa butter, mango butter or shea butter (just melt it first, and be aware that the final mixture tends to comes out more crumbly)

Color, Scent, Floaty Things (go wild):

Again, these are just some possibilities. Dream big, and if you come up with something awesome, let me know.

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Laura Mandanas

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 210 articles for us.


    • Turned out to be a parent-solo endeavor, as Kid is napping to recuperate from her Big Prom Adventure last night. (Which was all kinds of friendly fun, as anticipated.)

      We did go out together for a slice of pie, though. That was nice.

  1. This is perfect. I have an unhealthy love for bath stuff, and it would be so neat to actually make it myself (because I am seriously NOT paying for those Lush ones). This kind of reminds me of making your own Play-doh, sort of, except the finished product would be a lot better and not make your hands really gross. Just me? Okay.

    I am also adopting the phrase about going Gone Girl on people. Just let me know how you’d like to be credited.

    • Hah! You have my full permission to make this a thing. My girlfriend and I watched last weekend and we were just like

      • Okay, you have now made me realize there is probably a whole world of ESPN gifs out there that I haven’t explored, so there goes my day.



        Yes, it does appear I can spend the rest of the day watching Spurrier throw his visor.

  2. Laura, these look bomb as hell. I am going to make SO MANY and feel so good about myself, thank yooouuu

    • Hooray! I definitely recommend starting with a simple mold, at least for the first batch. It took me numerous trial runs to get all those ridges to come out in the mold I chose.

  3. Ahhh I love baths and bath bombs and so NOT handy but I fully intend to forward this to a partner who will hopefully make them for me (us).

  4. Thanks for the recipe and suggestion – I made these last night and can’t wait to try them out tonight!
    (There’s no way that I’d have the patience to wait three days, but there’ll be plenty left for staycation…)

    Warning: If you include real lavender flowers, be prepared for the buds to look like bugs in the bomb “batter” :(

    (Damn that’s some satisfying accidental assonance there…)

Comments are closed.