How to make bath bombs without witch hazel

Written by marguerite lance
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How to make bath bombs without witch hazel
Witch hazel is not necessary when making bath bombs. (loofah and bath bomb image by Gina Smith from

Bath bombs are round, hard balls made up of components like citric acid, Epsom salts, baking soda, cornflour and essential oils. When placed in a bathtub full of water, they fizz, bubble and tickle the skin, releasing the scent of whichever essential oil they were infused with.
Bath bombs' outsides are often spritzed with witch hazel in order to help create a hard, crusty shell; however, some people prefer not to use witch hazel due to allergies or because they simply don't have any on hand. Nevertheless, it's possible to create the crusty exterior through other means.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon borax
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • 2/3 cup Epsom salts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, grapeseed oil or almond oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons essential oil
  • 3 drops food colouring (optional)
  • Dust mask
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Strainer or sifter
  • Coffee or spice grinder
  • Rubber, latex or silicon gloves (if using food colouring)
  • Ice cream scoop, round soap moulds or medium-sized snap-together Christmas ornaments
  • Baking tray
  • Wax or parchment paper

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  1. 1

    Put on the dust mask. Put on the gloves, if desired.

  2. 2

    Mix 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp borax, 2 tsp essential oil and a few drops of food colouring (optional) in a mixing bowl.

  3. 3

    Process the Epsom salts in a spice or coffee grinder until the salts are very fine and similar in consistency to the baking soda and cornstarch.

  4. 4

    Strain or sift 2/3 cup Epsom salts, 2 cups baking soda, 1 cup cornstarch and 1 cup citric acid into a mixing bowl to ensure it is of even consistency and is as smooth as possible.

  5. 5

    Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour the wet ingredient mixture into the well with one hand while completely combining the dry and wet ingredients together with the other hand.

  6. 6

    Preheat the oven to 93.3 degrees Celsius.

  7. 7

    Cover the baking tray with wax or parchment paper.

  8. 8

    Scoop out a scoopful of the mixture with the ice cream scoop and release the mixture into your hands. Pack the mixture together with your hands as if you were making a snowball. If you are using soap moulds or Christmas ornaments, densely pack some of the mixture into each side of the mould or ornament and then snap the mould or ornament together.

  9. 9

    Place the bath bomb balls you've formed with your hands onto the baking tray. If you have used a mould or Christmas ornament, unsnap the mould or ornament and remove one half of the mould or ornament. Place a hand over the exposed half of the bath bomb. Rotate your hands and the bath bomb 180 degrees so that the bath bomb will gently drop from the other half of the mould or Christmas ornament and into your hand. Be as careful and as gentle as possible during this step because the bath bombs are very fragile. If the bath bomb crumbles, repack and try again. Repeat this step until all the mixture has been formed into bath bombs and placed on the baking tray.

  10. 10

    Place the bath bombs in your preheated oven for three to four hours.

  11. 11

    Remove the bath bombs and package as desired.

Tips and warnings

  • This recipe makes approximately 12 plum-sized bath bombs, perhaps more or less depending on the size of the balls formed.
  • Any fragrance used will filter through the house as the bath bombs bake.

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