Ever sit soaking in a bathtub, marveling at the products that make a bath so enjoyable? Bath bombs (otherwise known as bath fizzies) come in a rainbow of colors, scents, and shapes, providing an indulgent bath experience. And, as it turns out, they’re easy to make.
If you’re a creative looking to turn a hobby into a business, bath bombs are also inexpensive to make and sell. A bath bomb business is the perfect low-risk idea for the first-time entrepreneur. There’s a thriving market for at-home spa experiences and room for newcomers if you find your niche.
The US bath bomb market is expected to grow into a $350 million industry by 2025. Bath bombs are so popular, in fact, that there are millions of Instagram photos dedicated solely to these colorful creations.
Here, you’ll learn the process of making bath bombs, sourcing ingredients, and building a profitable business selling bath bombs.
Why start a bath bomb business?
Starting a bath bomb business has a few major benefits—namely, that you can make them in your kitchen with inexpensive ingredients and no machinery.
They’re also hugely popular. Bath bombs have become a worldwide trend in the past few years, and a mainstay in people’s self-care routines. And they’re showing no sign of slowing down: based on Google Trends, queries for “bath bomb” and related terms have steadily increased over that past five years.
In addition to being a lucrative market with surging consumer demand, here are a few other reasons why you should consider making bath bombs and cashing in on this trend:
- Low start-up costs. Since you probably have most of the ingredients you need at home, starting a bath bomb business is extremely inexpensive.
- Don’t need a lot of space. Because bath bombs are small and compact, you can easily store additional inventory in your house without paying for extra storage.
- Easy to customize. We’ll introduce you to a simple bath bomb recipe below that serves as a guideline for creating your own, but you can switch out interesting or unusual ingredients to differentiate your products.
Bath bomb business licensing requirements
From a product standpoint, bath bombs fall under two broad categories: cosmetics and drugs. Navigating what your product falls under can be tricky, but it basically comes down to what claims you’re making about your bath bombs. If you make any claims about mental or physical benefits, then they’re considered a drug. Otherwise, they’re considered a cosmetic product.
Most of the bath bombs we list below are considered cosmetics and are treated like soaps or lotions by governing bodies. If you plan on marketing your bath bombs for their medicinal benefits, your products must be FDA approved for effectiveness as well as safety.
FDA approval can be a costly and time-consuming process, but there are third parties that will take care of the approval process for you for a fee. And with the global wellness industry worth $3.7 trillion, it may be good business sense to invest in this type of bath bomb product.
Requirements vary from country to country, so consult your local government for more information on how to register your cosmetic bath bomb business.
FDA approval can be a costly and time-consuming process, but there are third-parties that will take care of the approval process for you for a fee. Getting audited by the FDA can have serious legal and financial implications—not the hot water you want to find yourself in.
Types of bath bombs
Now that you know this self-care trend has traction, let’s examine the common types of bath bombs that you can consider making, and the target markets you can sell to.
Classic ball bath bombs
Most people are familiar with the classic bath bomb. These products are traditionally spherical in shape and come in a variety of colors and scents. They are considered mass-market products, and have a broad demographic of customers.
Jewel bath bombs
As if the soothing oils and intergalactic waters weren’t luxurious enough, some brands like to spoil their customers even more by adding jewelry to their bath bombs. Popular brands like Charmed Aroma and Fragrant Jewels are well-known for these products, and are a great gift for loved ones. These bath bomb brands typically target women and girls aged 16 to 35.
Glitter bath bombs
For the folks who love baths that are as sparkly as they are relaxing, glitter bath bombs are the answer. The addition of glitter or even crystals into these products has caught the eye of consumers—especially the growing market of consumers who believe that crystals have healing powers.
Once reserved for fringey New Age circles, crystal healing has become a billion-dollar mainstream business. Still, most of these products are sold to urban-dwelling women between the ages of 20 and 35, with a higher-than-average disposable income.
Shaped or themed bath bombs
Other brands have chosen to think outside the box (or ball) by designing products in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Whether they’re intended as favors for a bridal or baby shower, a gift for a pastry lover, or fun bathtime for kiddos, there’s likely a themed product out there to meet any shopper’s niche demands. And from hearts to doughnuts to chill pills to Pokeballs, the only limit on the shape of your bath bomb is your imagination.
Aromatherapy bath bombs
These bath bombs have been formulated with therapeutic grade essential oils. Distilled from the leaves, flowers, and seeds of plants, essential oils are used in bath bombs to target various physical and emotional ailments, like stress, dry skin, and digestive issues.
With the global wellness industry worth $3.7 trillion, it may make good business sense to invest in this type of bath bomb product. These bath bomb products have the broadest appeal in terms of demographics and the most profit potential.
Since aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that claims to have therapeutic benefits, the use of essential oils classifies these products as a drug, not a cosmetic. In this case, if you plan on marketing your bath bombs for their medicinal benefits, your products must be FDA approved for effectiveness as well as safety. We strongly urge you to not bypass this step.
How to make bath bombs to sell
Once you’ve settled on what type of bath bomb you want to make, it’s time to start making them.
Gather your ingredients and supplies
Bath bombs are surprisingly easy to make and require only a few essential items. While you can switch out some of these ingredients to customize your bath bombs, the basic recipe for one batch of bath bombs calls for:
- 1 cup baking soda
- ½ cup citric acid
- ½ cup Epsom salt
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¾ tsp water
- 2 tsp essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, rose, orange, and lemongrass are popular for the bath)
- 2 tsp carrier oil (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, olive, or even baby oil)
- 2 tsp of shea butter for an extra moisturizing “butter” bath bomb
- A few drops of food coloring (make sure it doesn’t stain)
- Optional: dried flowers, sugar cake decorations, sparkles, crystals, etc.
💡Tip: If you prefer unique shapes, you can opt to purchase silicone molds that are used for baking or for ice. These hold up well during the creation process, are easily cleaned, and silicone trays help you create multiple products in one batch.
How to make bath bombs: Step-by-step instructions
It’s time to mix up your ingredients! Essentially, you just need to combine the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then slowly combine them into a single bowl.
1. Mix dry ingredients
With the exception of the citric acid, mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Mix wet ingredients
In another mixing bowl, pour all of the liquid ingredients and blend.
3. Whisk wet and dry together
Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk to meld together. Slowly add in the citric acid and continue blending. You’ll probably notice a slight fizzing reaction because of the citric acid. No need to panic—this is normal.
4. Mold and freeze
Pack the mixture into your chosen molds very tightly. You can overfill the molds slightly and use a spoon or glass to press the mixture in as tightly as possible.
5. Unmold and store
Immediately loosen the bombs from their molds onto wax paper and let them dry overnight. Alternatively, you can pack the mixture with your favorite mold and place it in your freezer for an hour. After freezing, remove the bath bombs from the molds and ta-da!
If you choose to let them air dry, give the bath bombs a day or two to set completely before using them or wrapping them up. If you don’t plan to sell them right away, store them in airtight containers like plastic or glass Tupperware. Fresher bombs fizz and bubble more when dropped in a bath, so proper storage is integral to keep your inventory at its highest level of quality.
Note: Because bath bombs are crumbly in texture, molds with intricate designs and small pieces could break off. Testing and experimentation will help you figure out the best molds to use to achieve your desired results.
Sourcing ingredients 101
Now that you’ve perfected making bath bombs, it’s time to figure out your bath bomb formulations. Luckily for you, most of the ingredients you need can be bought at your local grocery store or in bulk online.
Questions to ask when choosing ingredients and formulations
Long soaks in hot water open up our pores, which allows more ingredients to absorb into the skin. But this also means more ingredients can absorb into your bloodstream. Because of this, you’ll also want to research your ingredients and your suppliers thoroughly—especially if you’re using essential oils.
Whether you’re re-creating popular bath bomb recipes or coming up with your own unique blends, you want to be sure you’re making truthful claims on your packaging, and that the ingredients you’re using are safe. Here’s what to consider when sourcing ingredients:
- Are the ingredients skin care grade and/or approved for use in skin care in your country? For example, coconut oil may be sold in both food-grade or skin-care-grade versions.
- Is the food coloring or soap dye you’re using FDA approved? Is it stain-free?
- Do you care about natural ingredients? How will you ensure that the suppliers’ claims are legitimate?
- Do you care about being eco-conscious? Are the ingredients you’re choosing biodegradable or will they clog up pipes?
- What preservatives will you use, if any? How will this affect shelf life?
- Will your products make organic claims? Be sure that the supplier possesses the appropriate certifications.These will differ from country to country.
- What are the labeling laws in your country and the countries where you ship?
- Are any ingredients or oils known as common allergens? For example, many people develop hives or blisters when exposed to bergamot oil.
These are just a few questions to help you get started. If you’re coming up with your own formulations, the learning curve will be steeper as you navigate how certain ingredients or additives behave together—especially if you’re using essential oils for aromatherapy bombs. In this case, you can hire a third-party to help you with the research and development process.
Choosing the right supplier of essential oils
All your ingredients should be sourced with care, but it’s essential oils that you should be most discerning about. Not all oils are created with purity in mind and they’re not regulated by the FDA, so you need to be your own advocate when it comes to sourcing the good stuff.
Oils from disreputable sources may be cut with fillers, processed with chemicals, or just filled with “fragrance oils” that don’t have any plant benefits.
Here are a few things to look for when buying essential oils:
- Dark bottles. Since light and heat can damage oil, a quality supplier will sell their essential oils in a tightly sealed dark (usually amber) glass bottle. Never buy essential oil sold in a plastic bottle.
- Plant name. It should clearly state the common and the Latin name of the plant used to make the oil as well as what plant parts were used, how it was extracted (distillation or expression), and how it was grown (a.k.a. organic, wild-crafted, traditional).
- Source. If the label doesn’t outright mention country of origin, you might see a “lot#,” which you can then look up.
If you plan on buying essential oils in bulk from wholesale suppliers, you have to be thorough with your research. Here are a few tips to help you assess an essential oil supplier:
- Check for certification and references. If you go the organic route, check for certification specific to your country. For US suppliers, look for a “USDA certified” label.
- Don’t fall for low prices. It’s natural to want to choose the most inexpensive product when you’re buying wholesale, but if the price is much lower than competitors, this is a sign you’re probably paying for fragrance oils with no medicinal benefits.
- Talk to aromatherapy practitioners. These professionals can suggest oils, suppliers, and even help you come up with the most effective formulation for your bath bombs.
📚 Read more: How To Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for a Product
How to start a bath bomb business
Once you’ve mastered your formulations, it’s time to start selling bath bombs online. First, you’ll have to think through how you’re going to handle areas like production, inventory management, and customer service. You want to nail down all the logistics before you launch your bath bomb business.
Build an online bath bombs store
Once that’s all sorted out, your next step is to set up your store on Shopify. It takes only a minute to sign up for a free trial, and we’ll give you some time to play around before you commit.
You’ll want to choose a Shopify theme that puts photos first and displays your colorful bath bombs directly on the homepage. We suggest themes designed for beauty brands like Sense, Broadcast, or Prestige.
Finally, you want to make sure your product photos really pop. Bath bombs are extremely photogenic, so you’ll want to show off their colors, textures, and shapes with high-quality photography. And since the real magic of bath bombs is in their activation, also consider including videos of your products in action on your product pages.
📚 Read more:
Labeling, packaging, and shipping bath bombs
Bath bombs are delicate and have a tendency to crumble if they’re not in the right conditions, so when you’re ready to package and ship your products, make sure you have the following:
- Shrink wrap
- Product labels and/or stickers
- Tissue paper or recyclable paper crinkle filler
- Boxes for shipping
Now, there are three things to keep in mind when labeling, packaging, and shipping your bath bombs:
- Avoid moisture. Any amount of moisture will make a bath bomb do what it does best—activate. Tightly wrapping the bath bomb will lock the moisture out.
- Be transparent in your labeling. No matter where you are, legal requirements ask that you list out all of the ingredients in your bath bombs— and full transparency will go a long way with your customers.
- Pack your products tightly. Finally, you’ll want to make sure your bath bombs can’t roll around in the box and bang up against each other. If they do, they’re more likely to break and crumble once your customer unwraps them.
📚 Read more:
Marketing for bath bomb businesses
Competing for attention in the beauty industry is challenging for emerging bath bomb businesses. The type of brand you develop will impact your upfront costs, your prices, your target audience, and your marketing strategy.
Still, there are some general tips and advice for getting more eyeballs on your bath bomb products. For one thing, bath bombs were made for social selling, so channels like Instagram and Facebook Shops and TikTok are going to be key for you.
Marketing ideas for bath your bomb business
You can use a variety of digital marketing tactics to drive traffic to your online store and specific product pages. Try some of the methods and tips below:
- Co-market with a complementary brand. Look to partner with other brands that align with your values. Consider creating a bundle of products to sell as a self-care package via social media, leveraging each other’s customer base.
- Influencer marketing. If you choose to partner with an influencer, opt for local, lesser-known creators with smaller but engaged audiences who will be affordable to work with.
- Giveaways and contests. Everyone likes free stuff. But giveaways aren’t just great for the winner—they’re an opportunity for you to grow your bath bomb business. With a little bit of product as a prize and some marketing effort, an online giveaway can help your business acquire new customers.
- User-generated content. While your customers are almost definitely going to document their bath bomb experience anyway, encourage them to document it and tag it with your brand or a branded hashtag. This way, their followers can easily find you and become your customers, too.
- Push holiday sales and promotions. Bath bombs make excellent gifts. Get creative with colors and scents around the holidays, and play up seasonal motifs.
📚 Read more:
Selling bath bombs IRL
You don’t need to limit yourself to selling online—many makers also successfully sell IRL, too. Selling in person allows you to access a new audience and receive live feedback of your products.
In particular, market booths and pop-up shops give you the opportunity to have a temporary retail location without committing to high storefront rents and long leases. And selling alongside other talented crafters and DIY masters can serve up some serious inspiration for future products as well.
Why sell bath bombs in person
- Get a live product testing ground. You’ll hear direct feedback and questions from your customers. Addressing their concerns live gives merchants invaluable insights on how to improve products or answer customer pain points.
- Introduce yourself to potential wholesale clients. Other retailers attend markets and fairs on the prowl for new products for their stores. This is an ideal opportunity for smaller beauty merchants to connect for wholesale deals.
- Build an email subscriber list and/or social following from connections you meet at the fair, market, or festival.
- Connect with fellow entrepreneurs, makers, and business owners. It’s never a bad idea to build your network.
While selling offline may sound a bit intimidating, it’s simple to handle transactions while on-the-go by using a mobile point-of-sale system like Shopify POS. It syncs with your online store so your sales, inventory, and customer data is all up-to-date without any manual work on your end.
Scaling your bath bomb business
The greatest thing about starting your own bath bomb business is how easy it is to expand your product line after your initial success. For budding beauty entrepreneurs, consider expanding from selling bath bombs to creating skin care, tinctures, soaps, and so many other lucrative products.
You can upsell your existing customers based on the scents they buy often, create treatment-centric care packages, and grow your business to new heights.
Now that you have a viable business idea and guidance on how to execute it, you can work toward building a long-term, sustainable income in the bath bomb industry.
Feature illustration by Alice Mollon
Step by step illustrations by Brenda Wisniowski
Selling bath bombs FAQ
Are bath bomb businesses profitable?
Yes, selling your own bath bombs can be profitable! When selling bath bombs, you’ll want to spend time on your pricing strategy to ensure that your retail price covers your costs and accounts for margin (or profit).
Do you need FDA approval to sell bath bombs?
You don’t necessarily need Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval if you’re making homemade bath bombs for cosmetic purposes. However, if your products make any therapeutic claims, you may require a license.
What are some good bath bomb business names?
Whether you’re selling luxury bath bombs or green bath bombs, your business name should reflect your brand and be appealing to your target customer. Brainstorm words that describe your brand and products, or use a business name generator.