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Saturday, June 04, 2016

DIY Lush Bubble Bar Recipe

Hello everyone! I am so excited to be sharing this post with you today as I've been working on it for a while.

I absolutely love Lush but it can get super expensive when you're a bath lover like I am, so I knew I had to look into making my own bubble bars. I've been pretty into bath bomb and bubble bar DIYs for a long time (you  will know this if you follow me on Twitter or Pinterest) and when I finally started making my own bubble bars I knew I had to perfect the recipe so I could share it with you guys.

Nine times out of ten the results with this recipe are fantastic and I know you will love them. It's so fun to be able to customise the colours and scents of your bath products. This is a long post so lets not waste any more time. Here's the recipe...

DIY Lush Bubble Bar Recipe

Recipe (Makes 12-15)


Dry ingredients:
  • 2 Cups of Baking Soda or Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 2 Cups SLSA - also known as Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate. This is a difficult ingredient to find but you can buy it on Amazon or at Aussie Soap Supplies if you're in Australia.
  • 2/3 Cup Cream of Tartar
  • 2/3 Cup of Corn Flour or Corn Starch (USA)

Liquid Ingredients:
  • 2/3-1 Cup Vegetable Glycerin
  • 2 Tablespoons of Oil - I use Coconut Oil but you can use Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, or whatever else you have, just make sure it's safe for the body.
  • Essential oil or Fragrance oil (optional) - make sure any oils you use are safe for the body.
  • Food colouring (optional) - I like to use Americolor and Wilton gel colourants, but you can use mica powders or liquid colouring too - just be aware liquid colourants change the consistency of the mixture and makes it wetter and stickier to work with.

You will also need gloves, and a face mask (optional: use if you are sensitive to airborne powders, as SLSA is airborne very easily and can cause discomfort around your nose and throat).

Let's get started!


1. The first step is to combine all of your dry ingredients into one large bowl and gently mix them. Do not be too vigorous - I like using a silicone spatula as opposed to a whisk or my hand at this stage. You can sift the ingredients if you have particularly large clumps, but it's not necessary as you will be working the mixture with your hands later anyway which gets rid of any clumps.


2. Next, measure out your Glycerin and Coconut Oil (or oil of your choice). If your oil is in a solid form, pop the mixture in the microwave for no longer than 30 seconds, and then stir to combine them and ensure all the ingredients are in liquid form. If you think it needs longer than 30 seconds to melt, you can put it back in the microwave on 10 second bursts, stirring in-between.


3. You can now add your liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. Again, gently mix with your spatula until you find the mixture isn't coming together anymore, and then switch to mixing with your hand (make sure to wear gloves - disposable gloves work best, especially if you are going to be adding a colourant).

Tip: You can use your stand mixer if you have one which would really speed things up, but I don't have one and I would be concerned about the powders flying into the air. If you're going to use an electric mixer, cover it with a tea towel to avoid that problem.


4. Keep mixing until the texture becomes dough-like and holds it shape. Then what I like to do is separate the mixture into two bowls so I can make two separate logs of bubble bars. You can skip this step if you want all of your bubble bars to be the same scent and colour, but I like to switch it up.


5. Once I've separated the mixture in half, I like to add my scent or essential oils. There's not a precise measurement for this, but I've found it's good to add enough to the point where it's really strong for you to smell once you've added it. If you can barely smell it now, you definitely won't be able to smell it in the bath later. That overwhelming scent when you walk into Lush, is what you want here. Don't go too crazy, add a little bit at first, mix it in, then add more if you feel you need it.


6. After the scent is combined and the mixture is holding it's shape well (add a little bit more glycerin if it is really crumbly and not holding its shape at all), it's time to divide it in half again, and add your colourant(s). I quite like the look of a single colour with white, but you can totally colour the mixture however you like and do as many colours as you want. I prefer to choose just two colours, but three looks great as well.

Tip: If you want to do a rainbow design with lots of colours (more than 3), I recommend skipping Step 5 and using the entire mixture and creating one single log.


7. Mix in your colourants as evenly as possible - it's easiest to do with your hands as it breaks up the clumps of colour much better than any mixer or spatula will.

Tip: Stick to complementary colours and looking at the colour wheel. Colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel most likely aren't going to look good together (avoid blue/orange, purple/yellow, green/red, etc). I like to avoid yellow as it makes the bath look like urine, and red as it looks like blood, which isn't very pleasant. Greens, blues, purples and pinks tend to work great, but obviously you can be as creative as you want here.


8. The next step is the trickiest one, and that is to start rolling! To prepare your log for rolling, lay down your first colour on a piece of baking paper (freezer and parchment paper also work - they all do the same job) and flatten it with a rolling pin or fondant roller (or wine bottle, whatever you've got on hand!). Try to shape it into a square or rectangle shape, as it will make rolling easier. When you are happy with the thickness and size of your shape, add your second colour on top and roll it out again. If the sides look rough, use the baking paper to fold over the edges to neaten them up, then roll with the rolling pin again to even it out.

Tip: Fold over the edges of the mixture whenever they get a little bit frayed - it will make rolling a lot easier!


9. Once you have an even square or rectangle, it's time to roll baby! All you want to do is fold the mixture up on itself and use the baking paper to smooth it out.

Don't worry if crumbs come off during the rolling process, or if your ends seem a bit loose, once you have rolled the log you can add any bits of mixture back on, and can neaten up the ends. Be patient when rolling - make sure you compress the log as well as you can. When working with the dough, the heat from your hands will melt the mixture and make it a bit easier to work with. This can be a good or bad thing depending on how wet or dry your mixture is, but I find it to be a good thing.


10. Once you are happy with the size of your log and are confident that it is compressed well enough, you can start cutting. About one inch sections should be perfect if you are wanting to get around 14 bubble bars (7 if you chose to split the batch and make two logs like I do).

This mixture is actually a little dry as you can see with the cracks. I made pink bubble bars afterwards and added a bit more glycerin to the mixture before rolling which really helped the mixture stay together.

12. Place your bubble bars, place them on a clean sheet of baking paper on a tray and allow them to dry. I recommend putting them somewhere dry and warm - away from direct sunlight or humidity if possible, as the sun can make the colour fade, and the humidity will make them take longer to dry. The hardest part about making bubble bars is waiting for them to dry - it requires a lot of patience and you have to resist the urge to poke them all the time. The end pieces usually don't look as impressive as the rest, so I usually poke those to see if they have hardened yet.

Musk Stick (pink and burgundy) & Wild Berries (blue and purple) scented

And that's it! To use the bubble bar you just crumble it under the running water of your bathtub.

DIY Lush Bubble Bar - Electric Lemonade Cocktail scented, Electic Green & Electric Blue colouring from Americolor
Electric Lemonade Cocktail

There are lots of recipes out there (I've tested loads of them) and this is the one that works best for me. It's not a sticky mixture (unless you use liquid colourants) which is great as it doesn't stick to the baking paper and dries faster. You can expect these to take up to 5 days to completely harden, but it depends on your environment. We're heading into winter at the moment so yours may or may not take longer depending on your climate.

'Sleep' essential oil blend

A few extra notes:
  • Check out my 'Bath Time' Pinterest board for some Bubble Bar scent and design ideas.
  • Don't be scared that the food colouring will leave marks on your bath - it's very, very unlikely and I've never had an issue. If there is any residue left once you've drained the bath, you can easily cleanse it away with some soap and water.
  • It's the water pressure that creates the bubbles so it is not necessary to use the entire bubble bar for one bath. Depending on the size you can use a half or a quarter of the bubble bar and that should be plenty. 
  • Once they have dried out and are completely hard, store in an air tight container or plastic zip lock bag in a non-humid climate.
  • Depending on the colourant you use, over time the colours may bleed or fade. It's not a huge deal and shouldn't affect the way the bubble bar works in the water.
  • If you need some extra instructions or are better with visuals, I recommend watching a video tutorial

Please let me know if you try out this recipe or already make your own Bubble Bars and what scents or colours you use! ♥

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