Chemistry of a Bath Bomb

Bath bombs have quickly become a huge craze in skin care. Convenient, affordable, and let’s face it- just plain fun, these little orbs have taken the world by storm. They come in so many different colors with all kinds of different ingredients and scents, it’s hard to choose between them all!! But what is the chemistry that is at work when you put one of these little beauties into your tub? The chemistry lies in an acid-base reaction.

pH is a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions. A higher concentration of hydrogen ions means a stronger acid and a lower pH value. A lower concentration means a more alkaline ingredient and a higher pH. A strong acid like hydrochloric acid has a high concentration of hydrogen ions, so its pH measures near or at 1. A strong base like sodium hydroxide has very few hydrogen ions, so its pH measures near or at 14. Most ingredients used in skin care and bath products are weak acids, like citric acid, AHAs or salicylic acid; or weak bases, like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), triethanolamine or decyl glucoside.

Bath bombs incorporate a weak acid – citric acid with a pH of 3.2 – and a weak base – baking soda with a pH of 8 to 9. Once they are dropped into the water, they react to release carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, which gives that wonderful fizzing that they are known for.

Since this reaction requires water, it is important to keep them away from moisture before using them. Storing them in an air-tight container in a cabinet may help protect them from the humidity and steam of a bathroom. And using liquid ingredients like witch hazel and essential oils sparingly will help keep the bath bomb in tact.

Lush Cosmetics has been an obsession of mine (and many of you as well, I’m sure) and they have such a wide variety of fun, colorful and fragrant bath bombs that are sure to turn your bathtub into an art canvas. If you are unable to make it into a Lush store or prefer something different, there are many other great options out there! (affiliate link) I hope this was an enlightening and fun look into the relaxing fun of bath time!

Anatomy of a Bath Bomb

NOTE: Hi Friends!!! Sorry for the long period of silence, I was taking some time off during the holidays to be with family and to relax a little before kicking things into high gear for the New Year! I am looking forward to some new changes to The Chemical Makeup this year! I decided to start those fun changes by creating infographics once in a while like the one above. It’s my very first one, so excuse some of the poor choices I may have made 😉 but if you’d like of these, please feel free to comment below with other info you’d like to see in this form 🙂 I also plan to start branching out to other topics in chemistry including another one of my loves: FOOD! 😀 So look for posts about food chemistry coming to The Chemical Makeup soon. Thanks for making my first month with the Chemical Makeup an awesome one and I hope to hear more from all of you in the new year!!

Until next time, keep a scientific eye on the world and a happy thought in your head!!


❤ Julie

One comment

  1. Cheers to bath bombs . It’s been very popular now a days about these bath bombs . It sounds very interesting & impressive to me how it works in the water giving fizzing /bubbles & wonderful fragrance in the bath . I tried the body conditioner & soap & I love it . Made my skin so soft & smooth. I will definitely try the bath bombs . I think these products are excellent for the skin especially on winter time that your skin is so dry . I would recommend the LUSH products because they have a lot of selections that you can pick . They all made of fresh handmade body cosmetics with different fresh scents. Thank you for the infographics. It’s cool & interesting .


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