Let’s be real, if I could live in my bathtub I probably would. It soothes my aches and pains and just makes me feel great. Have you seen the Truman Show? You know, that film where Jim Carrey’s entire life is a reality TV show? In the film, there’s a character that watches the show who always seems to be in the tub. That’s me, that’s the life I want!
I’m using a 50/50 surfactant ratio for this bubble bath recipe. This may seem like a lot of surfactant, especially when compared to many of my diy shower gels or body washes I’ve made in the past. But as it’s going to be diluted in a bath full of water, so it’s not really an issue.
I’m using cocamidopropyl betaine because it has an amazing flash foaming ability and is mild on your skin. It has some great cleansing and conditioning values as well, but it’s a thin surfactant so you don’t get that nice thick bubble bath texture and the bubbles don’t last as long. So we need to use another surfactant to boost its power.
Lauryl glucoside has some brilliant foaming capacity and adds body to the bubble bath. As with all of the surfactants in this recipe, it’s totally accepted in natural skincare.
Lauryl glucoside can come in different forms depending on where it comes from and how it’s been stored. If its liquid then you can use it as it is, if it’s crystallized or in the form of a paste, then you’ll need to melt it first.
Decyl glucoside is similar to its lauryl glucoside cousin, due to its mildness and ability to thicken your bubble bath. It also produces long-lasting foaming bubbles and has some good solubilizing power. This will help the essential oil blend with your water-based ingredients.
Cosmetic Gum And Humectant
We are using xanthan gum to thicken the bubble bath in this recipe. While our co-surfactants will lend some thickness to our bubble bath, it still isn’t quite enough. And because we cannot just add xanthan gum to the recipe on its own, we’ll be using glycerine to help dissolve it first.
The glycerine also offers some excellent moisturizing properties to your bath, leaving your skin feeling soft and moisturized afterward. Glycerine is a humectant, which means it draws moisture to itself. This helps to keep skin moist and supple.
The Essential Oils
The essential oils give this homemade bubble bath a wonderful minty scent with a hint of exotic ylang-ylang. That’s not all they do, of course.
Peppermint essential oil can clear the mind and help with any aches and pains you may have. The ylang-ylang is great at lift your mood, too. Everything you need for a relaxing pamper session in the tub.
- Glucoside surfactants are mild but have a high PH so this will need to be adjusted before and after adding the preservative. We can do this naturally by adding a few drops of lactic acid or with a citric acid dilution. See step 6.
- As this product contains water we will need to use a preservative to protect it from microbial growth. A broad-spectrum, water-based, high PH tolerant preservative is best for a soap-based rise off product like this bubble bath. Liquid Germall Plus at 0.5% or Plantaserve P (Saliguard PCG) are both excellent choices as they can tolerate a PH level of around 8 or 10.
- Using the preservative your homemade bubble bath should last around 9 months
How To Make Bubble Bath
- 80 grams Distilled Water
- 40 grams Cocamidopropyl Betaine
- 40 grams Lauryl Glucoside (In UK buy from Naturally Thinking)
- 20 grams Decyl Glucoside (In UK buy from Naturally Thinking)
- 20 grams Glycerine
- 2 grams Xanthan Gum
- 1 gram Peppermint Essential Oil
- 0.4 grams Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
- 1 gram Preservative (Water-based, high PH tolerant, eg Liquid Germall Plus or Plantaserve P)
- 8 oz PET Plastic Bottle
- PH Modifier (Lactic Acid, or a dilution of Citric Acid )
- Spoon or Spatula
- Combine your glycerine and your xanthan gum. Xanthan gum works as our thickener in this recipe. Without it, you will have a super runny liquid that isn't at all easy to use.It's important to combine the glycerine and xanthan. This is because your cosmetic gum cannot be added directly to your liquid soap, otherwise you are left with an end product that has lumps of unmixed xanthan gum… Trust me this isn't a good look.
- Now we can weigh out surfactant. If the Lauryl glucoside is paste-like or crystalized, weigh this out first then warm it until it has melted. I do this in the microwave it only takes a couple of seconds (literally). Then, add them all together. If you are using any essential oils, you'll need to add them to the surfactant now.While surfactants are great for producing lovely bubbles, They will also act as a solubilizer for any ingredients that are not water-soluble. As we're not producing an emulsion (like in a lotion) or using lye to bring about a chemical reaction, your essential oils will separate from your liquid soap without doing this.When you add anything to your surfactant, it's important to mix it in very slowly. While you are unlikely to produce lots of bubbles at this point, it is still possible to bring about foaming with vigorous stirring. So be careful and stir gently.
- Next, add your surfactant (or surfactant/essential oil mixture) to the glycerine and xanthan. Stir it in well, but gently for the same reason we just discussed.
- Its time to add our distilled water. Pour this very slowly and stir gently as you do. It's more important to stir gently now than at any other point. When surfactants are exposed to water, they will foam much more easily.
- As your stir, your liquid soap will begin to resemble… well, liquid soap! Once it has achieved this level of thickness and all of your ingredients are thoroughly combined, you can go ahead and add any liquid soap dye you wish to use.
- Now we can test the PH of the product to ensure that it is an effective range. You’re looking for a PH of between 4-6. If, when testing, you find it is outside this range, we can make use of a PH modifier to alter the acidity of the product. If it is too high (which it normally is) you can bring it down adding a few drops of lactic acid. Or you can also bring it down with a little diluted citric acid solution. Mix 10% citric acid with 90% distilled water. If you are unsure how much PH modifier to add, only add a very small amount (say a drop of lactic acid or citric acid) and then test the PH of the product again. Repeat this until you reach an appropriate PH of between 4-6. The first time you do this, you may feel that you are using too many ph strips but expericance will reduce this going forward.
- Now its time to add the preservative. Once you have added the preservative and blended it in, you will need to retest the PH and bring it down if needed as you did in step 6. This may seem a bit of a pain but its best to get it right and you will develop a sense of how much Ph modifier to add with experience.
- Last but not least, you can transfer it to a PET plastic bottle that has an airtight lid. I like to use a pump bottle for something like hand soap or body wash. However, a pouring bottle might be best for something like a bubble bath.If you have used essential oils in your recipe then it is vitally important that the bottle is made of PET plastic. This is because essential oils will rapidly degrade ordinary plastic, which causes the plastic to leach into your product. While you can use glass or aluminum bottles, I find that PET plastic works well here as you can squeeze the bottle if needed.
So, that’s how to make a bubble bath at home, as you can see, it’s way easier than you might think! I just love how many bubbles I get when using this in the tub. It also smells amazing, soothing my mind, and lifting my mood.
You can totally customise this recipe until your hearts content. Don’t like this color? Change the liquid soap dye.