Bubble Bar Update

I decided over a month ago to try to formulate some solid bubble bars. The kind you crumble into the bath water for super luxurious bubbles and great fragrance and leave your skin soft – not dry and irritated. My first attempt was a disaster! I had the great idea to add some borax to the mix for extra water softening. Well, that created a volcano!

First attempt at solid bubble bars

I kept stirring it down until it finally stopped growing and let the girls use it in their bath. It smelled like strawberries, and they enjoyed the bubbles!

The next attempt was better. It was actually solid! The only problem was that it ended up being too dry, so it was cracked. I tested this one myself and ended up with TONS of bubbles that lasted for a long time.

Dry, solid bubble bars

However, now that this batch has sat around for several weeks, it is as solid as a ROCK and the colors have faded considerably.

The next two attempts yielded softer results – too soft. Several weeks later they are finally pretty solid. I used water soluble colors for these batches as well, and they have also faded quite a bit.

Lavender and Honey Almond bubble bars

At this point, Hubby suggested that I try using a cookie press to make them look better. So I ordered one from Amazon, and it arrived the day before Thanksgiving! By Thursday night, I was ready to try it out. I tweaked my recipe just a bit to see if I could find a happy medium of hardness. I am using some really mild surfactants, plus baking soda, cream of tartar, arrowroot powder, and cetyl esters for an extra silky feel on the skin. I also decided to use micas for color so that they won’t fade as much over time. And I added a just a tad more fragrance, using a sample I had never used before. Oh. My. Word. Those first bubble bath “cookies” that I made with the cookie press were so strong, I ended up throwing them out – no photos even! The house stunk and I was getting a headache! But the good news was, they were reasonably hard by the next morning!

So Friday morning, I decided it was time to get into production mode. These are the three kinds I came up with:

Sugar Cookie Bubble Bath Confection

Smells like a vanilla cookie – comes in 5 different colors, each sprinkled with glitter.

Candy Cane Bubble Bath Confection

Made with peppermint essential oil and sprinkled with red & green glitter.

Sweet Dreams Bubble Bath Confection

Soothing blend of lavender, patchouli, palmarosa and ylang ylang essential oils and sprinkled with glitter of course! Two of these got smashed, or fell apart, so I let the girls try them out in their bath last night. I took a photo of the tub, so you can see how many bubbles you get with just two:

Two bubble bath confections make a good amount of bubbles!

This is probably the minimum amount that you would want. I would use more for a truly luxurious bath! Even my older daughter who gets excema in the winter months hasn’t had any flare-ups from testing my bubble bath – which is great news since she loves bubble baths, and all the store-bought brands definitely cause flare-ups!

At this point, the Candy Cane batch is the only one showing signs of being hard enough to ship. The other two are still a bit spongy and I would worry about them breaking in transit. If all else fails, I will just sell these batches locally and try to find time to re-formulate new batches for shipping. Any words of wisdom in the area of packaging and formulating are greatly appreciated!

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  1. Hi Amy! I had a test batch that just didn’t want to dry. It sat on the counter for 3 days and was still fragile. Popped them into a food dehydrator on some parchment for the night on lowest setting and they were hard as bricks come morning. If you have one, it might be worth investigating how it might help yours.

  2. Great! my daughter loves taking bubble baths and I hate making bubble soap for her, can’t wait for them to be ready so I can buy some

  3. Bubble bars are a nightmare … I think they’re so utterly tweakable than you will everntually get the right formulation but it seems to take forever to get there. I will be getting back into them next year I think.

  4. Well, I’ve come up with a packaging idea, and I’m going to take some to the Federal Reserve Bank employee Holiday Mart the next two days. Can’t wait to see what they think!

  5. I’m excited to see how these turn out, the cookie press idea was genius! My favorite bubble bars used to be from Future Prim, but she tweaked her recipe and started using the laureth sulfates so I can’t use them anymore. Sometimes depending on the sulfacants you use can determine how hard or soft they end up being.

  6. @Meghan – Yes, I noticed that! The cream of tartar seems to make them harder as well, so I’ve been using that as the primary “powder” next to the baking soda.

  7. LOL! I had to laugh when I saw this post. I have been dying to make Bubble Bars but the first 7 batches I made were either too hard to crumble or they never got hard. And – get this – I made three batches at once on the same day (using a different recipe on each) and when I mixed the leftover part of one batch into another, I got a great batch! But I didn’t write it down and couldn’t recreate it. Grrrr 🙁

    For the last couple of months, I have been so busy making soap that I haven’t had a chance to try again. I do intend to start experimenting again after the holidays though.

    I love the texture of the Lush Bubble Bars so that’s what I’ll be aiming for. They weren’t hard as a brick, they were just the right texture to crumble into bath water.

    I’m envious that you seem to have found a workable recipe so quickly. Good for you though!

  8. All of these look great. I’ve not been successful-after several attempts. Maybe I’ll pick it back up after the new year-but you did a great job-even with the “failures.”

  9. Hi,
    I was just wondering if you have had any issues with them being oily or anything like they still feel a little wet even after leaving them to set for over several days

  10. You have no idea how to use a bubble bar you don’t crumble it!! YOU HOLD IT UNDER THE TAP!!!!!!! Omg ppl these days

  11. Wow, Bethany… You are passionate about those bubble bars, eh? Seems to me that “ppl these days” could use a bubble bar any which way they want to. Crumble, hold under water, put in a stocking and tie to faucet…. Calm. Down.

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