Every year around the holidays I send out boxes of gifts to my family and friends. The treasures within are a mixture of edible and natural crafts made by local artisans as well as a few handmade gifts by me. This yearly ritual started when I was very young as I’ve long been craft-inspired and my dad raised me to know that thoughtful handmade gifts are always best.
Many of the DIY recipes I share with you here during the holidays are in the packages I send. These natural bath bombs or bath fizzies are no exception (sorry, spoiler to my friends and family reading this!).
For nine years I lived without running water and so baths were an infrequent luxury. I’ve now lived with hot running water for two years and I still get giddy for bathtime (which this time of year is almost nightly!).
For a long time I didn’t use anything but Epsom salts and sea salts in the tub. But after a while I wanted some scent. At first I bought some natural bath salt blends. What I especially loved was how silky one particular product made the water feel.
I then started to buy bath bombs. Sometimes these made the water silky and sometimes they didn’t. They were always expensive though, especially considering how frequently I like to take a bath.
Seeing the thousands of DIY bath bomb recipes out there, I decided to start experimenting to see if I could come up with the perfect seasonal recipe – and that is exactly what I have to share with you today.
How They Work
Bath bombs or bath fizzies are a combination of simple and natural ingredients that have a chemical reaction when they hit water. Remember the baking soda and vinegar volcanos that are popular with school-aged science fairs? This is essentially that! In this recipe the baking soda and citric acid (instead of vinegar) create carbon dioxide bubbles when they hit the bath water.
The cornstarch makes the water feel silky and smooth as does the additional oil.
Epsom salts are commonly used to relieve muscle aches and pains. They form the base of the recipe, but I’m not sure that this limited amount will give you noticeable benefits. When I am sore, I add at least a quart of Epsom salts to the bathtub. If desired, you can use both a bath bomb and more Epsom salts in your bath.
As the snow begins to cover the ground, my gaze is often elevated to the evergreen trees all around me. This is the perfect time of year to celebrate the many gifts of trees! Christmas trees, holiday wreaths and swags and pine-scented products fill the month of December! It’s with this in mind that I’ve created these Evergreen-Scented Bath Bombs.
For the optional needles in this recipe, you can use practically any evergreen needles, with a few cautions. While most evergreen needles are safe to use, the needles from the yew tree (Taxus spp.) are not. Be sure to know the identity of your needles to make sure they are safe. If you would like to use the needles from your Christmas tree or holiday wreath, check with your supplier to make sure the trees or boughs weren’t sprayed with any strange chemicals.
You can vary the amounts and kinds of evergreen essential oils you use. I created the blend in this recipe using what I happened to have on hand.
I’ve also made this with various hydrosols. Witch hazel is often used for DIY bath bombs but I’ve also had success using many others, including Douglas-fir hydrosol and lavender hydrosol.
Gift idea: In the past I’ve shared recipes with you for Evergreen Lip Balm, Evergreen Body Butter, and an Evergreen Moisturizing Salt Scrub – these would all combine to make a lovely seasonal gift basket!
Evergreen-Scented Bath Bombs
These winter months offer the chance to slow down and sink into self-care and introspection. This recipe invites you to relax into a hot bath scented with the resinous aromas of evergreens. Start the bath water, put on your favorite music, light a candle, sink into the restorative water, drop in your bath bomb, and breathe.
Tip: You can buy molds specific for making bath bombs, but rather than buy something new with such limited use, I chose to use a 1/3 measuring cup.
What you’ll need…
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup citric acid
- 1/2 cup Epsom salt
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 25 drops fir needle essential oil (Abies balsamea)
- 15 drops black spruce essential oil (Picea mariana)
- 15 drops scotch pine essential oil (Pinus sylvestris)
- Witch hazel (or other hydrosol) in a spritzer bottle
- Evergreen needles (optional)
- Blend the baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salts and cornstarch together in a large bowl. Stir well and break up any clumps within the mixture.
- In a small bowl blend together the olive oil and essential oils.
- Drizzle them onto the previous dry mixture. Stir well.
- Now you need to moisten your salt mixture without getting it too wet. Spray the witch hazel around the bowl, pausing to stir every 10-15 sprays or so. (If an area in your bowl gets too moistened, it will start fizzing; stir it in to stop the reaction.)
- After stirring, take a clump of it in your hand. The mixture is ready when it forms a molded clump in your hands, basically the consistency of damp sand.
- Once you have the desired consistency, immediately start pressing it into molds. If using evergreen needles, place a couple in the center of your measuring cup. Less is better here as lots of needles can be a bother to clean up after your bath. Pack the measuring cup with the mixture. Use the heel of your hand to pack it in firmly and to create a relatively level space at the top.
- Once it’s packed in the mold, you can tap it out onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper. The first time I did this, the mold crumbled. I added a bit more witch hazel to the mixture and then slightly tweaked my tapping technique. By the third one, I was getting a perfectly shaped fizzy. Which is all to say that if it doesn’t work the first time, just keep playing with it and it’ll come to you. Any crumbled fizzies can be repacked into the mold. Sometime I need to remoisten the mixture before finishing making the fizzies.
- You can use these right away but they will easily crumble. For best packaging results, let them dry out for 24 hours.
Yield: 6 (1/3 cup) bath bombs
Another festive option is to use red alaea salt from Mountain Rose Herbs in place of the evergreen needles. For the photo below, I added two tablespoons of red alaea salt to the base dry mixture and then sprinkled some fresh salt in the measuring cup for the top portion.
If you aren’t feeling the evergreen vibe this year, the base recipe can easily be varied to suit your tastes. I’ve also made these by substituting 45 drops of lavender essential oils and using a small pinch of lavender flowers. One batch I used rose petals and rose geranium essential oil. The options for variations are endless!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What herbal gifts are you making this year?
What do you like to make with evergreens?
Let me know in the comments below.