I am a huge fan of bath fizzies. A couple of years ago, I didn't even know what these were until I stumbled across LUSH cosmetics on the Pearl St Mall in Boulder. You can smell a distinct perfumed scent wafting out to the street which drew me in like the pied piper. It is there where the heavens opened up, a ray of sunshine beamed out of the sky, and lo and behold......I met my first bath fizzie. It was love at first sight. I bought a couple for my kids to entice them to take a bath and it was a homerun! There are so many variations on these (for example, different scents, colors, even surprises inside). Here's the problem......these things can be costly. I decided to try to make them myself and yet another family tradition was born. At first, my kids were the only ones using these but one night, I decided to try one myself and I became hooked. They all contain some type of an oil which leaves your skin so soft. Many contain epsom salts which are a soothing muscle relaxer and then there are a multitude of scents you can add for whatever type of mood you are in. I always make these around the holidays to give as gifts. They are fairly inexpensive to make and customize to your liking.
Mint and chocolate have a special significance to me. Growing up, we always had Andes Candies hanging around during the holidays. They were in a special drawer in the dining room and were usually placed on a small tray for a little palette cleanser after dinner but I can remember sneaking as many as I could before I got caught and reprimanded. As a kid they seemed fancy with their shiny green wrapper and were synonymous with the excitement of the holidays. In honor of that (and because I had some left over cocoa butter from the last project:) I decided to create some holiday mint chocolate bath Fizzies! Want to try it? It's so quick and easy! Here's how:
First, gather up all your ingredients:
For this recipe you will need:
Baking Soda and Citric Acid. These are the ingredients that have a chemical reaction when wetted and put the "fizzie" in bath fizzie.
Epsom Salt or some type of mineral salt. Epsom salt is a compound of magnesium and sulfate which reportedly has many health benefits such as a muscle relaxer, inflammation reducer, and toxin flusher. Who knows? I just know it feels great to take a bath in it! This is easily found in any grocery store and or pharmacy and is very inexpensive.
Cocoa Butter (or any type of suitable oil such as Coconut or Shea Butter Oil). This is fantastic for the skin, especially in the dry winter weather. Also, it adds a rich chocolate scent to enhance the cocoa essential oil and balance out the peppermint. You can find cocoa butter online and most grocery stores now carry coconut oil. You could even use olive oil. I've read that you can get sticks of pure cocoa butter locally (With a quick online search, I found them at Walgreens and some dollar general stores so if you have run out of time to order online, there is still time to get these locally.) If you are going to use the cocoa butter, you want the 100%, NOT the cremes or anything that has a mix of other things in it.
Cocoa and Peppermint Essential Oil. Cocoa is known for its high level of antioxidants and smelling it can produce serotonin in the brain. I'm no doctor but smelling chocolate definitely makes me hap-hap-happy! Peppermint oil has been known to clear the sinuses, improve GI problems and make you have better concentration. There are many places to purchase essential oils. I love to peruse Rebecca's Apothecary but there are plenty of places that carry these (both local stores and online).
Witch Hazel. This is used to dampen the dried mixture before placing it into the molds. It is also supposed to be great for your skin. Any grocery and or pharmacy usually has this.
Corn Starch. This is an optional ingredient. It is used as a filler and will slow down the reaction of the citric acid and baking soda. I used 1/4 cup of it for my first batch and then eliminated it for my second batch. I preferred the second batch so I did not include it in my recipe. I included it to give you the option of experimenting. It's a matter of personal preference.
Some kind of soap mold of muffin tin. I have soap making molds since I make these so often but you do not need special equipment. You can just use a muffin tray if that is what you have at home. If you have the silicone kind, they are great to use because they are flexible and it is easy to get the mixture out the the mold but a regular old muffin tin works fine, too.
Spray bottle with a mist option. You will want an empty spray bottle to pour the witch hazel into.
You can also add colors (some people use food coloring or Mica). I decided to go au natural.
Another fun surprise element is to add a small waterproof toy to be buried inside. Kids LOVE these. So do adults....we gave them as teacher gifts one year and everyone LOVED them. People who were not even bath takers were converted. Just be sure to warn the recipient (little toys can be choking hazards.....can not help my mothering instincts!.)
You may want to consider testing a small amount to make sure you have no skin sensitivities. I like to list the ingredients if I am giving these as a gift. One other important thing you must also note, and this one is really IMPORTANT: These make the tub slippery due to the oils so it's a good idea to let the recipient know so there are no unfortunate tub-slipping accidents.
O.K, Let's get started by mixing the dry ingredients together with the whisk. Mix one cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of citric acid, and 1/2 cup of epsom salt.
Next, I melted two tablespoons of the cocoa butter in a pyrex in the microwave. It might be better to melt over a double boiler because I always wonder if the microwave changes the chemical make-up but because my enthusiasm to get started usually trumps rationality, I went the microwave route. I started with a minute and then 30 second intervals until it was all melted.
At this point I added the oils. I used 10 drops of each. If you are using coconut oil you may want to consider using more cocoa drops as the peppermint can be quite strong. Whisk the drops into the oil, then slowly mix this into the dry mixture, a little at a time. I found it worked best to just use my hands to ensure even distribution. I would recommend using gloves for this part. I just dug right in (the enthusiasm thing again....) and my hands were a little scratched up the next day. The oil is really hot it you microwave it, so be careful when dipping your hand in to mix it. Once the wet and dry mixture is all evenly combined, grab the spray bottle of witch hazel.
This part can be a little tricky. I know it is tempting to spray the heck out of this but you want to be very conservative here and not add too much. Just a few spritzes of mist. The reason for the mist setting on your spray bottle is that you do not want to start the chemical reaction. If you over-wet this mixture it will not be the right consistency. These can be fussy and I have had many batches that crumbled. I still enjoy the crumbled batches in my bath so it won't go to waste but if you are giving them as gifts, it's nice to have the pretty mold shape. The mixture should be the consistency of slightly damp sand. Just enough so it sticks together in your hand.
Once they are this moldable texture start packing them into your soap mold or muffin tin. Pack them down pretty tightly.
I waited a couple of hours and then turned over the mold onto a cooling rack. If you want to really be safe, wait for 24 hours. I live in a very dry climate which may speed up the drying process but if you make these enough, you get a feel for when it's ready.
Perfecto! Aren't they pretty? The whole house smells like mint chocolate. I like to wrap these tightly in saran wrap to keep the little crumbs from escaping and to hold in the smell. There are all kinds of pretty ways to present these. I created some tags for you use. You can punch a hole in the top, add ribbon and tie it around whatever you choose! There is plenty of room on the back for adding a special note, ingredients, or whatever your heart desires.
Thanks for stopping by. Get yourself a warm cup of somethin' and make some homemade gifts your friends and family will LOVE! When you're all done, relax with a luscious mint chocolate bath!