Bath Bombs

How to Make Natural Evergreen Bath Bombs

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.

Bath Bombs

Evergreen Inspired

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!

Bath Bombs

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
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 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)
  1. 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.

Bath Bombs

  1. In a small bowl blend together the olive oil and essential oils.

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  1. Drizzle them onto the previous dry mixture. Stir well.

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  1. 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.)

Bath Bombs

  1. 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.

Bath Bombs

  1. 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.

Bath Bombs

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  1. 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.

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  1. 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

Bath Bombs

Optional Variations

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.

Bath Bombs

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.

  1. I would highly recommend using organic cornstarch. After listening to Robin Wall Kimmerer read from her podcast In Emergence Magazine on growing corn, it is time to honour Maize and stop buying GMO corn =) We can make a better home for our future generations.

    • I was just gonna suggest that – thank you!

  2. Dear Rosalee, Thank you for your lovely recipe. I just wrote an article for The Herbal Academy on using essential oils SAFELY in the bath (to be published Jan 2019). I wish everyone who reads this to know that you have prepared an article that lines up with current safety knowledge, with your inclusion of the olive oil in your recipe and dissolving the EOs in the olive oil before mixing everything together. Thank you for providing a safe, as well as aromatically beautiful recipe for us! Well done!

    • I’m curious about the safety issues you mention regarding essential oils and baths. Could you say a bit more about this? Thanks!

  3. Can you substitute arrow root for the cornstarch?

    • Yes, I do this often.

    • You can also buy GMO-free cornstarch at health food stores (and probably other places, too).

  4. Mmmm, I feel better just from reading about these bath bombs – can’t wait to give them a try! Thank you for sharing this recipe. If using a 1/3 measuring cup, about how many bath bombs will this recipe make? Thanks again!

    • Just found the Yield of 6, at the bottom:)

  5. I’m making your orange and artichoke bitters for Christmas. It is beautiful and delicious!

  6. As I’m allergic to corn, I’m wondering if I can use arrowroot instead, as I do with cooking. And I’m guessing you could use different fragrance combos–like lavender, etc.?

  7. Oh, I see the comment now that someone else uses arrowroot. THanks,

  8. Funny, today I have been measuring out ingredients for my own bath fizzes tonight so I can make them with my kids for gifts. It really is a great gift, and a good reminder to take a little bit more time to care for yourself during the busy times of life.
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  9. We make a white pine and star anise cough syrup that tastes lovely and does the job of stopping the cough

    • Would you share your recipe for cough syrup. Thanks

  10. Love the idea of a Christmas Bomb. I make soap using coconut oil, olive oil and of course lye. I’m wondering if I can use some epsom salts in my recipe. I’m tempted to make a small batch to see what happens. I have used EO balsam in my soap. Also EO lavender with dried blossoms. Wonderful soap. Even my husband loved it because of the nice, gentle scratch while showering.

  11. OK I’m all over these…just curious if the abundance of evergreen tree needles in our yard can be mashed and oil-infused? I’ve infused olive oil with wilted fresh herbs a lot successfully ….thank you!

    • Yes, you can do that. Take a peek at the lip balm recipe right below this one. 😃

  12. Unfortunately, I do not have a bathtub but, I am going to make these for gifts.

  13. Thank you very much for this recipe

  14. Just happened to be sipping on homemade chai tea as I was reading the recipe for Glogg. Can hardly wait to make bath bombs for Christmas gifts. Going to make lavender first. Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. How long do these last on the shelf before losing their potency?

    • All the ingredients except the EOs are shelf-stable and potent for a long time. The EOs will lose their scent over time. It will really depend on the packaging you choose. A glass Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid will maintain the freshness the longest. I’d wait 24 hours before putting them in there. Enjoy!

  16. Fun recipe; thank you! I will experiment with my students and family. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes, inspiration, and sharings!

  17. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful recipes. I have made my own laundry soap and bath soap. The idea of pine scent sounds so good. I am going to try your lip balm and bath fizzies.

  18. I purchased two of the Wildcraft games, one for me and one to play with my grandchildren. I played with my 4 year old grandson and my 11 year old granddaughter. They both truly enjoyed the game as did I. I am excited to go on walks after a few more games and find the plants in the game!

  19. Can I double the baking soda instead of using cornstarch?

  20. Hi Rosalee
    I made these today, they looked good and I thought the consistency was about right. But a while after I set them to dry they started fizzing by themselves (and several hours later I can still hear them !) I’m wondering what has activated them , really didn’t use much hydrosol, if anything they were a bit crumbly … any ideas ?

  21. Can I just mix it all without the witch hazel, store it airtight and then just scoop some out to a bath when needed? No need to get consistency right nor my tapping technique!

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