Last Updated on June 10, 2020
Are bath bombs safe to use? Make sure your bath bomb doesn’t contain chemicals hazardous to your health! Here’s what you need to know to make safer choices.
This is a guest post by Kayla Mackie, Product Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org.
Are bath bombs safe to use?
Have photos of rainbow-colored bathtubs been flooding your Instagram feed lately? Here’s what you need to know—
the good , the bad and the ugly of trendy bath bombs.
These magical fizzies promise to make your bath into a spa-like experience. The never-ending variety of scents, colors and add-ins keep us coming back for more — to the detriment of our bank accounts.
After awhile I wised up and did some research on how to make my own bath bombs. After all, it had become my beloved bath time ritual. Imagine my dismay when I learned how dangerous the ingredients in those bath bombs were!
Human carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and artificial dyes are just a few toxic ingredients hidden in many of these gorgeous, sparkly bath bombs. So much for my relaxing baths!
Ingredients to avoid in bath bombs
♦ Fragrance: Ingredient labels will have terms like “fragrance,” “fragrance oils,” “fragrance oil blend” or a similar phrase. After taking a look at the list of chemicals fragrances are made of below, you’ll start to wonder why the FDA isn’t required to have companies list these harsh chemicals.
- Phthalates: Linked to cancer, neurological issues, fertility, and endocrine problems
- Benzene derivatives: Human carcinogen, hormone disruption, reduced immune response
- Aldehydes: Respiratory allergies, liver disease, embryo toxicity, diabetes/hypertension, sclerosing peritonitis, cerebral ischemia/neurodegenerative diseases, and other aging-associated diseases
♦ Artificial Dyes: Synthetic colors like D&C Red 33, a dye derived from coal tar or petroleum, which is a known human carcinogen.
♦ Talc: Not as common as other bath bomb ingredients, it’s found in plenty of commercial brand bath products and has recently been linked to ovarian cancer.
♦ Parabens: Preservative elements that keep the product from expiring too soon. If you know some bath bomb hoarders out there who keep a stock pile, you may want to alert them. Parabens are endocrine system disruptors and can trigger allergic reactions.
♦ Glitter: Glitter is made of tiny plastic particles and has been added to the list of dangerous sources of ocean plastic pollution. Like microbeads, the glitter we send down the drain is polluting our oceans and ultimately winding up in our food supply.
Although this is a short list of some of the shocking ingredients found in bath bombs, they are the most important and easiest to avoid.
How to make a relaxing bath safe, without harmful chemicals
♦ For a fragrance fix, essential oil diffusers are a great option. Not only do they provide a phenomenal smell, they can offer several calming remedies, especially for a relaxing bath experience. You can also add a few drops of soothing essential oils directly to the water.
♦ Epsom salts not only make your muscles feel better, you get a nice dose of that all-important magnesium, which will help you relax and provides numerous other health benefits. (Read more about why you want to get plenty of magnesium here. Here’s how to make absurdly easy DIY bath salts.)
♦ Is it the mound of bubbles that entices you? There are plenty of natural DIY bubble recipes online. This one by Mama Natural even contains essential oils in the recipe and is great for children!
♦ For an array of rainbow colors, there are safer options to consider than tinting your skin (and bathtub). Try including some fresh rose petals and mint. Not only will your bath look like a garden, these herbs are known to rejuvenate your skin while relaxing the body. They also add some fresh scent to your soak!
♦ Try making your own healthy bath bombs from soothing and safe ingredients! Here are a couple recipes to get you started:
- Natural Bath Bomb recipe from There’s an EO for That! Just add your favorite essential oils.
- DIY Lavender Bath Bombs from Happy Mothering. The lavender will leave you relaxed hours after the soak sesh. (see links below for ingredients and tools)
- Heart shaped DIY bath bomb from Fit as a Mama Bear
Not a DIYer? You can get premade bath bombs made from these same safe ingredients. Read the ingredient list and be sure they’re things you won’t mind soaking in.
So put on some music, add some natural soothers to the bath water, and enjoy that relaxing soak in the tub secure in the knowledge that you’re not exposing yourself to harmful ingredients.
Kayla Mackie is the Product Safety Investigator for ConsumerSafety.org. She has a passion for helping others and aims to provide consumers with the information they need to make smart choices about products.
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Disclaimer: Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice. This post draws on numerous health sources, some of which are linked above. Please consult them for more information and a licensed professional for personalized recommendations.
Photo credits: gefrorene_wand, 821292
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.
Ive been looking to purchase bath bombs and have noticed almost every single bath bomb brand which includes the BIG name brands do not even include all their ingredients. Ive found numerous on amazon that give you the basic known ingredients and then use the term “etc” and who knows what “etc” means. Very scary out there in the world of bath bombs. The effects may not show themselves until long after you’ve been soaking in them for years. Not sure why Amazon, the FDA does not have more aggressive regulations and fines. If the company does not state every single ingredient in order to made a decision of value I would not purchase. Good read. Thank you.
I know, it’s so sad that the FDA does so little to protect consumers. It shouldn’t be so hard to make safe choices!