Erica inquires…I saw the following question over at the Soap Making Forum: “what are the benefits of bath bombs? like, what’s each ingredient good for?” Sounds like a good topic for the Beautiful Brains!
The Right Brain responds:
Thanks for the heads up on the Soap Making Forum, Erica, it’s a very interesting website and they raised a great question. To get an answer let’s start by taking a look at how bath bombs work.
Building a bath bomb
The key ingredients in a bath bomb are sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, essential oils, and color. They may also contain some miscellaneous goodies.
Basically, these things are just one giant wad of fizzy materials. The technology is simple: sodium bicarbonate is reacted with acid to generate carbon dioxide gas. (The same chemistry is used in old school fire extinguishers and in Alka Seltzer tablets.) As long as you keep the bomb dry, they chemicals won’t react. But as soon as you drop in bomb in the tub, the water quickly breaks it apart (usually within 2 minutes) and the reaction begins. The dissolved gas forms bubbles around tiny nucleation sites like the bottom of the bath tub or the hairs on your legs and give your a tingly, tickling sensation. (Yes that’s right for an extra fizzy experience, take your bath before you shave your legs!)
Bath bomb benefits
So what do these ingredients do for you? Experientially a lot – the bubbles give your skin a tingly treat and the essential oils add to the experience by energizing or relaxing you. But functionally, bath bombs provide minimal skin benefits. If they contain certain kinds of salts there is evidence that they may have a therapeutic effect on skin conditions like psoriasis. But while some websites claim that bicarb has a cleansing effect or that the salts soften the water and increase moisturization, in reality soaking in these chemicals don’t enhance cleansing or skin conditioning.
The Top 5 Bath Bombs
If you’re looking for cleansing or moisturization, you’ll need a body was or lotion. But if you’re looking for a relaxing bath experience, bombs are the way to go. Here are some of our favorites:
- Moon’s Harvest’s Chocolate Covered Cherry has to be seen to be believed.
- Lush’s Too Drunk Emotibomb is the most, uh, unconventional bomb we’ve seen.
- Fizzy Baker’s Raspberry Cupcake is literally a baked good for your bathtub.
- SpaGlo’s Cucumber Melon is wonderful if you’re a fan of Bath and Bodyworks.
- Jane Inc.’s Fresh Flowers has the absolute cutest packaging. And for the thrifty shopper we’ll throw in one more: Home Body makes a bath bomb line that’s about half the price of everyone else’s!
How do YOU like to relax in the tub? Do you use bath bombs or other kinds of products? Leave a comment and share your bath beliefs with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.