One of the most asked questions about making bath bombs is what are the best colorants to use? There are many color choices to experiment with when it comes to making bath bombs and adding color. Some of the best choices for bath bombs are colorants that are made especially for bath bombs and cosmetics, but there are natural colors too that work just as well.
No matter what you use to add color and luster to your bath bombs, each colorant will act differently. Some colorants are best added to the dry ingredients, while other water-soluble liquids are best added to the liquid phase.
Some of you might like an extreme vibrant color for your bath bomb. Others might look for a more subtle bath bomb color look using only herbs. And there's some of us that say only natural bath bomb colorants will do. When choosing bath bomb colorants, there are certain things to watch out for. Like will the color stain the tub, or clog the drain? What about the way the colorant works, will it sit on top of the water or disperse throughout? These are things to be mindful of when choosing the perfect colors. And always check your countries guidelines about what you are allowed to use when it comes to making bath bombs to sell.
Another thing you must keep in mind is if the bath bomb colorant comes in a liquid form or powder. You will have to adjust your recipe or formula depending on what you are choosing for your colorants. Too much liquid coloring and your bath bombs will be too soft and can even expand out of the molds. If you use too much of a dry ingredient like powder, mica, or clay to color your bath bombs, well then you run the risk of your bath bomb not packing together right.
I used to own a small bath and body business, and one of my best sellers was bath bombs. I was in over 25 stores and boutiques and I've made thousands of bath bombs over the years so the following information is from my own experience. I sold my company a long time ago but I still adore making bath bombs for friends and family! Once a bath bomb maker, always a bath bomb maker!
So how do you add color to bath bombs and when is the perfect time to incorporate color into a bath bomb?
That depends on what you are using. I'll go into detail on how to use each colorant below. The best time to add some bath bomb colors is during the liquid phase, and then some bath bomb colorants are best added to the dry phase. See our post best bath bomb recipes.
Mica is a group of minerals that can be ground down into a sparkling powder and then coated with FDA colorants or pigments. Micas are a great choice to add color to bath bombs because micas are easy to mix into your bath bomb mixture. You can also use the mica as an extra added touch by sprinkling it into your mold before packing in your bath bomb mixture into the mold. Micas come in a variety of beautiful colors and pigments. They add a soft shimmering Mica sparkle to your bath bomb and bath water. You can also add these shimmering colors to your dry ingredients and oils, either one is fine. For extra shimmer, mix the mica with a bit of alcohol and lightly brush onto the outside of the bath bomb after they are dry and watch the amazing colors really shine! You can make all kinds of different designs this way, ombre designs are especially popular!!!
These Mica Powders by The Soap Shop
This kit comes in 24 beautiful shades of colorful pigments. Don't let the small packets concern you because a little mica goes quite a long way. Less is more when it comes to adding mica powders to your bath bomb mixture. These mica's do contain sparkle so be aware that sparkle will be in your tub and on your skin. For some, that's a match made in heaven, for others, not so much!
AOND Colored Mica Powder
This set of 6 mica colors comes in 20g (0.7ounce sizes). This company states that these mica's will not dye your skin or tub and are gentle and safe for your skin. These shades will create an effect of depth, shine, and shimmer of different shades. If you are using them to decorate the outside of your bath bombs, you can mix a bit with alcohol and brush it on to make unique color combinations and designs.
Extreme Holi Color
So if you have seen these colorants before but are not sure if they work for bath bombs, let me tell you, they sure do! These powders are extreme colors and they are bright and vibrant so if your goal is to have intensely colored bath bombs, these are the colorants that you might want to try. Mix the powder into your dry mixture or into your oils. And have fun experimenting with different mica color combinations! A good place to start with these bath bomb colorants is about 1 tbsp for every cup of baking soda.
This Gold Mica Powder
Prepare yourself. If you want to go for the gold, then this is a must-have! This is a true gold mica color. This mica pigment is a perfect colorant for bath bombs because of it's pearlescent beauty, it's bright and bold and allows light to reflect to create depth and the most gorgeous pearlized effects. The texture is soft and smooth and it will incorporate into your bath bomb mixture or with alcohol easily. This gold mica powder has an extremely high pigment load so you don't need to use very much. Again, a little goes a long way!
The good news about glitter is that there are eco-friendly options! We are happy to see that many crafters are going the eco-glitter route to color their bath bombs, and more and more companies are making eco-glitter so that it's more accessible to crafters. It's nice to see this change happening so quickly! When you have a moment, check out our LUSH article. They only use eco-friendly glitter in their products! Bath bombs ingredients do go right down the drain so it's important to use non-plastic glitter. So we are not even going to suggest anything but eco-friendly options.
Crafters that use eco-glitter can also use it as part of their marketing. Customers appreciate when they see companies put in extra effort to show that they care about our environment. If you visit a craft show and there are several vendors selling bath bombs and you have a sign saying that you only use Eco- glitter, well I know what choice I would be making that day. Here's a printable sign that you can display at your craft show and show your customers that you love the environment just as much as they do!
Add glitter to either the dry ingredients or sprinkle it into the bath bomb mold before molding up the bath bomb.
Biodegradable Holo Glitter
This eco-glitter is biodegradable, all natural and is eco-friendly! Get your sparkle on because this company donates a portion of their proceeds to ocean conservation efforts! So what is eco glitter made from anyway? This particular brand is sourced from cellulose found in Eucalyptus trees, so it degrades naturally! This glitter comes in several colors to add to your bath bombs like aquamarine, blue lagoon, coral, violet and silver.
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an oxide and a mica?? Well, an oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom and one other element in its chemical makeup. The oxides that are used for cosmetics are made in a lab so that they don't contain the impurities like lead. Oxides that are made in a lab have the same chemical structure as the oxides found in the earth but without the impurities. Oxides normally come in a powder form to be mixed into your bath bomb recipes and formulas. They are very concentrated so they provide extreme color with just a little bit.
Have you ever used a bath bomb that had a rotten egg smell? Yuck! Well, that smell comes from certain oxides. Oxides can be used for bath bomb colorants but be aware that the blue shades can have less than appealing aromas! Also, the darker oxides will certainly leave a ring on the tub. Oxides are pretty heavy and can leave streaks so be aware of that! Some like to add polysorbate which helps disperse the oxides into the water. With so many color choices for bath bombs, I personally, pass on using oxides for bath bombs and only use oxides for soapmaking. But it's totally up to personal preference. Do you use oxides in your bath bombs? Leave a comment below and let me know how it works for you.
Liquid bath bomb colorants are a very popular choice because the colors are bright and vibrant and they are easy to use. The colors disperse easily in the liquid phase and in the dry phase too, and you only need a bit to make your bath bombs colorful and pretty.
This set of 18 Bath Bomb Colorants
This set of liquid colorants for bath products comes in 18 pretty colors but you can get even more out of this set by blending your own bath bomb colors too! These are FDA approved. One of the reasons why this set is great for beginners is because they are water soluble so these colors are super easy to blend into your bath bombs in either the liquid phase or dry phase. When you are using this set, just add a bit at a time so that you don't overdo it! The colors are highly pigmented.
About Food Coloring
Some of you might be wondering if you can color your bath bombs with food coloring? Well, the short answer is yes. As long as you incorporate the food coloring into your bath bomb mixture properly and you are careful not to use too much, yes you can use food coloring to add color to your bath bombs.
BUT be careful because food coloring may not disperse like colors that are specifically made for cosmetics, so this can lead to staining on your skin and also on the tub! And if you are selling your bath bombs, food coloring is not on the approved list of cosmetic uses in most countries so just be aware of that. But if you are having a bit of fun around the house and only have food coloring, go for it!
Adding natural clays to color your bath bombs takes it up a few notches! Clays are gentle on the skin and used in many cosmetics because they contain a variety of skin loving minerals like magnesium calcium and zinc. The amount of clay that you actually use in a bath bomb might not be enough for the detox effects that clays are known for, but they make superb colorants for those who love a natural experience. Even though you only use a little bit, you absolutely do notice a difference on your skin if you compare a bath bomb without clays and one with clays. A bath bomb that has clay in it leaves your skin silky, plain and simple! I for one love clays in bath bombs and when I was selling mine in stores, those ones always sold out first. Clays also help to hold your bath bombs together!
This Kaolin clay is 100% natural and safe and is often used in bath bombs to give an extra touch of luxury and a healthy mineral boost. The texture of Kaolin clay is light and fine and the active ingredients are iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, zinc, and minerals. Kaolin clay is found in warm regions around the world and is also known as China clay. This is a great choice for those who want your bath bomb colorants to look super white.
Rhassoul clays is a favorite bath bomb colorant because it's a light brown to beige color, so if you were making coffee or mocha bath bombs, this will turn them a light (very very light brown color). Rhassoul clay is rich in magnesium, silica, potassium, and calcium which are all really great for your skin. This clay is a great choice for all skin types. It's known for being very gentle on the skin.
This Activated Charcoal
Do you know those extreme black charcoal bath bombs that are so popular right now? Well, those are made from activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is going to turn your bath water, jet black! And beware because these make a huge mess when making them and using them from what I have heard! I personally have not tried this yet but it's on my list of tutorials so when I do, I'll be sure to post an update. If any of you use this or have used it, please leave a comment! For now, you might want to check out some tutorials on YouTube before going ahead with the Black Bomb but I wanted to put this out there because there are lots of questions about how to get your bath bombs black so this is what people use. To help with the clumping and streaking on your tub, you might want to grab some polysorbate to help disperse the charcoal but beware that this is very very black! Use at your own risk.
One of the reasons why I love to add salt to bath bombs is that it is so extremely pretty! This is how I use salt: first, I make up the bath bomb ingredients and then I get my molds prepared with the salt. I sprinkle some salt into the bath bomb mold and then really pack the bath bomb mixture into it. Then when they are unmolded, there's a pretty layer of salt on the top that looks absolutely gorgeous! I love that look so much! Don't go to overboard though or your bath bomb will fall apart on the top. But since we are talking about added salt to bath bombs for coloring, another reason why I love to use salt mostly for accents is because then I can splurge on really different an exotic salts. There are so many salts to choose from but here are my favorites.
This Sea Salt Sampler
This is a splurge but remember, these are only for added accents so you just need a tiny bit. This set of 16 salts are unrefined and although sea salts are well known for their mineral content, if you are using them for bath bomb colorants, the effects aren't really going to be there in the tub so keep that in mind. But for extra bling and extreme luxury, yes! This salt set features salts from Cyprus, France, Hawaii, Australia and more and you can certainly let your customers know they are getting a real treat indeed. In fact, brag about how you found the perfect salt from Peru to accent your bath bombs! Yesssss!
Himalayan Pink Salt
Himalayan pink salt is an old favorite because it's so versatile and not as expensive as gourmet salts so I tend to use quite a bit to add extra texture in my bath bombs. When you add in extra salt, it makes your bath bombs a bit harder so I really like that about this kind of salt, plus it's super fine so it blends into the baking soda perfectly. I love the soft pink color. Hey! If I keep talking like this, I might not finish this article because a bath is sounding pretty good at this point!
Herbs and florals add that kind of natural feeling that you just don't get from anything else. I personally love little lavender flowers and rose petals floating around me when I'm enjoying a bath bomb bath. There's just something so romantic about that don't you think? And as long as they are small enough pieces, you really don't have to worry about them going down the drain. Now, if you are at all concerned about this, or you don't like floaty things in your bath water you can always buy some muslin bags like these ones here on Amazon to keep everything in. This is also a good idea to have on hand at your craft shows for your customers too! You can give them away as gifts, or sell them next to your herbal bath bombs. Everyone is different which makes us unique and wonderful! So be sure to have options for ALL your customers, and remember, they may be buying as a gift and muslin bags make gorgeous packaging ideas.
These Dried Samples
Dried French Lavender
And I just had to show you these dried lavender buds for adding extra color to your bath bombs because lavender is my favorite! These lavender buds come from France (ooh la la!) and they are just one of those staples that I use all the time. Whenever I'm taking a bath with a bath bomb that has lavender flowers, I love to squish them between my fingers and inhale their fragrant aroma.
We hope you found this article helpful. And after writing this article, guess where I'm heading tonight! Straight for the tub! Check out our other article about choosing the best bath bomb molds too.
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