DIY giving

Fizzy cocoa-butter bath bombs


I don’t know what it is about the holidays that gets Canadians swapping bath products left, right and centre. Either it’s a subtle suggestion that we need to bathe more often, or just our way of encouraging each other to stay in from the cold. A set of bath bombs/oils/bubble bath is also way cheaper than getting your mother/lover/friend a gift certificate to the spa.

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Trouble is, the store-bought stuff tends to be loaded with synthetic perfumes that – no joy to the world – contain heavy, hormone-disrupting phthalates. Stay away from the whole chemically preserved scene and make your own fun ‘n’ fizzy soakers quicker than you can say, “Calgon, take me away.”

STEP 1 In a large bowl, thoroughly mix 1 cup skin-soothing baking soda with ½ cup silky cornstarch (preferably organic) and ½ cup snap-crackle-‘n’-pop-inducing citric acid powder. (I got mine at a bulk store, but you should be able to score some from most health stores.) You could add ½ cup Epsom salts if you like, too. As long as your baking soda to citric acid ratio is 2 to 1, you should get good fizzy action come tub time.

STEP 2 In a separate bowl, melt 1 tsp deliciously nourishing cocoa butter (or fair trade/organic shea butter). If you’re into coconut scents, melt a good teaspoon of coconut oil in there, too. Otherwise, add 1 tsp of either almond, olive, apricot, avocado or grapeseed oil. Once it’s all blended, feel free to add a few drops of organic vanilla extract or a half-dozen drops of the organic essential oil of your choosing (lavender’s a good one for bath time). Stir in 1 tbsp water.

STEP 3 Stir wet ingredients into the dry ones with a fork or whisk. Get rid of clumps by rubbing the swoon-worthy mix in your hands like you’re trying to start a fire. Keep going until all the bigger clumps are gone.

STEP 4 Very lightly mist the top of your mixture with water from a spray bottle. It’ll start fizzing on the spot, so quickly stir in the water with your fork. Repeat sparingly until your powdery mix is still dry but can form a ball in your fist. Be careful not to overdo it. If you do, you’ll have an Chia-Pet-style ever-growing bowl o’ mess on your hands. (That’s why it’s smart to start with this smaller recipe first, and then double it once you get the knack.)

STEP 5 Squeeze your heavenly bath mix into moulds. Since I didn’t have those fancy bath bomb ones they sell online, I squished the powder into not-too-fancy cookie moulds, as well as some cupcake moulds. Get creative. Sprinkle some cocoa powder, shredded coconut or dried flowers on top.

STEP 6 Go watch a movie and let ’em dry for a few hours. Then wrap ’em up in a re-gifted box and, voila, you’ve checked a couple of names off your holiday list.

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