Here is the recipe of the “Magic Powder Bubble Bath” 😀
It is great for kids (it’s easier to convince them at taking a bath 😉 ) and it is also little easier to use and make than the Bubble Bars!
The recipe is very similar:
Sodium Bicarbonate 30
Citric Acid 25
Cocamidopropyl Betaine 10 (this is liquid and even if water in this recipe is not the best thing… we cannot avoid this ingredient: it is the one which makes the SLSA milder in our formulation).
Powder Colorant (I have used Micas in this case but you could also use food colorant powders if you have any – they will color the water much more than mixas do. Avoid ultramarines as they don’t behave well with citric acid and they will make your mixture smell bad and spoil)
Fragrance Oil (enough :D)
1) mix very well the sodium bicarbonate and the citric acid into a bowl.
2) in another bowl mix the SLSA, the cornstarch and the cocamidopropyl betaine; wait at least 10 minutes until the water of the cocamidopropyl betaine has evaporated at least a little bit (if you can resist… wait some more 😀 ).
3) Mix the two phases together.
4) Add the colorant and the fragrance oil. Mix.
I made two different ones: one in green and one in pink 😀
5) Spread out to dry, then put them in a container with a scoop 😀
TADAAA done. Extra easy and simple!
No wonder my niece is always happy to come to take a bath at her aunt… 😀 ahahah!
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42 thoughts on “Magic Powder Bubble Bath”
Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just
your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all. However think of if you added some
great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is
excellent but with images and video clips, this site could definitely be one of the most beneficial in
its niche. Wonderful blog!
Thank you very much for this comment 😀
Yes you are right! Thank you 😉
Unless you’ve added content since this comment (it’s been a minute) I have to disagree with the commenter. I’m a fairly new reader, but have been sifting through your recipes for several weeks now and think you have plenty of graphics! Sometimes it’s the graphic that has gotten me through the directions.I’m not new (but not seasoned either) in making my own skincare and outside of product sale sites, yours is the first that actually has made sense…just saying. I have been making my own bath “fizz” without the bar or the bomb for years, but they seriously have lacked the suds…afraid they go a little flat. The silly part is that I am a frequent flyer at making cosmetics and it never occurred to me to add the Cocamidopropyl Betaine.
My question is, do you have any special storage instructions? I’m concerned that the added moisture might activate some of the fizz factor. It seems like I read that you can’t use a glass storage container because of a pressure build. I’ve not had an issue in the past, but I’ve not used the Coco Betaine before…..any issues?
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Oh I had to change my reply because I thought the post was on the Bubble Bar recipe! 🙂
The comment above actually helped me because before this post, even though the “main picture” might look cute, I had never taken pictures of the processes 🙂 therefore in case of a cream, for example, there were no picture of the “step by step” process 🙂
After this comment I thought it was actually important to take pictures of those as well 🙂
About the storage… I kept this powder in a glass jar but it didn’t have a too tight lid.
I made this recipe quite many times but to be honest it never lasted enough to get “old”.
I think the longest it lasted was a month and I believe in the end the fizz was a little “lost”, but that’s also because I kept the jar in the bathroom right on the edge of the bath tub… so, a lot of humidity! 😀
I would suggest you don’t make TOO MUCH that you would have to store it for a too long time. 🙂
Hi. I would like to make this powdered bubble bath for my Grandsons but don’t understand the measurements of your ingredients. Are they in grams?
Hello Pamela! 😀
Yes they are in grams!
Sorry if I didn’t specify it but all the recipes on this blog are in grams and sometimes I forget to write it 😉
Let me know if your grandsons like it! 😀
Thanks hon. Can’t wait to get started and I will let you know how they like it 🙂
Great idea using cornstarch as an adsorbent for the cocamidopropyl betaine solution. And I guess it was moist enough to uniformly disperse, but cling to, the other dry ingredients. Before I read this article, I thought you’d actually have a HARDER time making a uniform powder than tablets for this.
Henkel had an experimental spray-dried (but hygroscopic and gummy) cocamidopropyl betaine that I got a sample of years ago and mashed up with disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate powder to make a tablet.
Well thank you 🙂
I had actually seen corn starch used in many “fizzy powders” which didn’t contain any surfactant… but when I first attempted to make this powder bubble bath I realized that (of course) citric and bicarbonate were reacting too much with the water contained in the c.betaine… so I decided to separate the making in two phases and that’s all 😀
I never ever found powder “disodium laurel sulfosuccinate”! The only powder-surfactants I can find are SLS or SLSA.
Do you have a blog with your recipes? 🙂
Not exactly a blog, not exactly recipes, but my link supplied here goes to the page where I tell my story, including a link to the now-expired patent, which has sample formulas. I do have a general recipes index page, http://users.bestweb.net/~robgood/recipe/index.html that I haven’t maintained in a while but should get back to some day.
Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate (sometimes abbr. SLSS) acts fairly similarly to sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, but is slightly milder according to some tests. For reasons I don’t know, hobby suppliers haven’t chosen to supply it in small quantities the way they have with SLSA. For liquid products, diammonium lauryl sulfosuccinate (NLSS or ALSS) is used, along with ethoxylated versions in sodium salts. In my limited experimentation, the sulfosuccinate seemed to make a more lathery, small-bubble foam than the sulfoacetate, but the sulfoacetate may make a faster “flash” foam for grownups who don’t want to splash the bath.
Similarly, cocamidopropyl betaine is the most widely used alkamidopropyl betaine & is therefore supplied in small quantities. However, lauramidopropyl betaine is a little bubblier, palmitamidopropyl betaine is a little creamier & more skin-softening, and I’ve found mixtures of lauramidoropyl & palmitamidopropyl betaines to be superior all around to cocamidopropyl betaine. The Bisset-Mao patent used for a brief while for Ivory Dishwashing Liquid used the name cetamidopropyl betaine for palmitamidopropyl betaine. It was found superior at smoothing out skin by removing flakes from both humans & pigs. I met Don Bisset years later at a conference on photobiology (of interest to his company for making sunscreen).
I worked a lot with free samples from the manufacturers of ingredients, at a time they were more interested in working with home experimenters that way.
Hi. I just though about trying to make babble powder instead of a bubble bar and was wondering how I would do it. ( I haven’t made any bubble bar or bath bombs yet, but just like the idea of bubble powder). Thank you a million for posting this, I’ll be trying it tomorrow.
Good luck then! 🙂
And let me know 🙂 (or give me a link to your blog if you post it 😉 )
Hi there! Thanks for the article! I have made a few versions of bubble bars but find them time consuming with a toddler around. I love the idea of having a bubble powder around. Bubble bath is the only way I can get my littles in the tub! I also did not know Cocomidapropal 10 helped make the already mild Slsa a more gentile ingredient. I will be trying this recipe very soon!
Mixing surfactants always makes them milder. A surf mixture compared to a single surf in the same quantity is always milder. Anionic and amphoteric in particular 🙂
Yes the powder simply allows to not waste time into shaping it.
Try to make the betaine evaporate a little before you mix the ingredients together 🙂
EDIT: let’s not say “always” but in this case CAPB makes the formula milder.
“Always”? I don’t think you can rightly say that. We have examples where the mixture is milder, sometimes very much so, than an equal amount of the individual surfactants, but I don’t think that establishes a principle. I haven’t done extensive testing, but my experience is that lauryl sulfate & soap combine to make a mixture that’s more irritating than either.
I am not talking about soap. I am only talking about surfactants and that’s my “go to” rule even if the surfactant is “the milder in the world” (some suppliers call some surfs like this).
Maybe nowadays there is a surfactant which is really mild on its own, but chemically speaking the best option is to mix them (anionics, amphoteric, nonionics).
(Last I checked, soap was a surfactant.)
And there is no chemical difference between a soap and a synthetic surfactant?
But please don’t use sarcasm: if you know better please explain. 🙂
The thing is that whichever book I have read on surfactants, never included soap in the picture.
I have also read there that mixing anionic with amphoteric and nonionic would make the combination milder.
If you’d asked the authors of those books whether soaps were surfactants, they’d say of course. They just didn’t mention them as such in their books. Taken for granted. Sorry about the tone, I guess the snarkiness came thru. But “Last I checked” does have some seriousness behind it, because I’m always being ambushed by changes in terminology, such as in pharmacology, so that it seems I have to keep changing my words to keep saying the same thing over time. Don’t try looking up “surfactant” in Index Medicus (National Library of Medicine), US, because it assumes that means only pulmonary surfactant; the unabbreviated “surface-active agent” is required there.
The strategy of mixing different classes of surfactants to reduce irritancy (among other objects) is well known, but unpredictable. Who would’ve guessed, for instance, that mixing dianionic with monoanionic surfactants (at least some of them) achieves something of the same effect? That was done in the 1980s with laureth sulfosuccinate and the higher-foaming laureth sulfate, showing that with an appropriate ratio you could get the foaminess of the sulfate with the mildness of the sulfosuccinate, and the strategy was then used in formulating Calgon Muppets-branded and Sesame Street children’s bubble baths, and eventually Mr. Bubble liquid. Similar work has gone into mixing surfactants to eliminate eye sting from baby shampoos. Check out Pierre Verunica’s patent — http://www.google.com/patents/US4426310 :
“As is evident from the prior art, to make a shampoo composition of low eye irritation properties it is not enough merely to mix together a plurality of types of surface active agents. As has been shown by the present inventor’s experimentation and as is deduced from the art, to obtain a satisfactorily mild shampoo, relatively limited proportions of particular types of surfactants should be employed and sometimes minor changes in the type of one component of such a shampoo or in the proportion of one such component present may mean the difference between an acceptable irritation-free product and one which causes pain to a baby or child, whose hair is being shampooed, when an aqueous solution of the shampoo accidentally comes into contact with his or her eyes.”
Of course someone in a patent description is going to puff up the novelty of the invention a bit, but it’s still true that it’s a trial-and-error process. It’s a good guess to start with that mixing different types of surfactants will reduce irritancy, but it’s never a sure thing.
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Thank you for the explanation! 🙂
This is as good a place as any to ask, what ever happened to commercial foaming bath products in powder or granule form? Not that they’ve disappeared entirely, but they’re MUCH less prominent than they used to be, more so than I think is justified by their overall technical disadvantages. As befits the name above, there is something magic about dissolving a powder to get an effect like that, a psychologic advantage that doesn’t seem to be there when you start with a solution that you just have to dilute. Somehow solid turning into liquid + gas is more exciting than just mixing a liquid, which might already be slightly sudsy as you pour it, into water. Even dissolving a tablet doesn’t quite have the same magic, because people are so used to dissolving soap from a bar to make lather. There are drawbacks, but also some other benefits, from powder & granular formulation that we could discuss here, but I just wanted to broach the topic.
I don’t know for sure, but maybe people wouldn’t give too much value to it.
I have seen a few people selling this kind of powder, but I think that nowadays people are mostly into Bubble Bars which don’t fizz almost at all but can be made into any cool form and so on.
Just thinking, but maybe it has to do with higher manufacturing costs compared to bubble bath or bubble bars?
And maybe the perception of suh a product is of something “less valuable” than a liquid shiny bubble bath or a wonderfully shaped and colored bar.
Just an idea.
I don’t think granular products have a higher manufacturing cost than liquids or tablets, at least once the volume is high enough for the mass market. The containers can be as cheap as unlined cardboard boxes, although liners can be added fairly inexpensively. The shipping’s cheaper when you’re not paying for the weight of water. They don’t need preservatives. They don’t need to be pressed, or to be kept away from shocks that would tend to break tablets. There are reasons that detergents were prevalent in powder form long before liquids or tablets.
It was similar with bubble baths at first, partly because people were accustomed to bath salts, just as people were accustomed to soap powder for laundry. However, people were accustomed to perfumed toiletries as liquids too (such as bath oil), so both forms appeared fairly early. But then around 1960, powdered bubble bath became a common supermarket item, after Charlie Eaton, noticing how his son would use his mother’s expensive bubble bath (probably a perfumed liquid, but possibly powder or beads) and wanting to make an everyday household product like that, went to a local maker of laundry detergent, and they came up with Bub, kicking off the trend of low-priced family-use bubble bath with little or no perfume. These were formulated close to the high-sudsing laundry detergents of the time, just as finer powders minus the corrosion inhibitors and without fluorescent brighteners, bleaches, etc. Bub led to Matey, Mr. Bubble, and many store brands. For ladies there was the more expensive & perfumey Calgon bubble bath. The only supermarket-sold family-use liquid of the type was Colgate’s Soaky, whose gimmick was the packaging: bottles shaped as toy figures.
However, a lot of the better formulas are impracticable as powders or even tablets, so as the harsher products based on sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate faded away, so did the powder form of delivery. The liquids that succeeded them were modeled on hand dishwashing detergent liquids Still, there are some foaming surfactants whose solubility is low enough that they’re convenient to formulate only in dry form. They still make Calgon bubble bath powders, which as far as I know never used alkylbenzene sulfonates.
The way the product’s marketed probably also has something to do with the relative appeal of powders vs. liquids or tablets. The box is just made for supermarket shelves, because you can get so much labeling on them facing the aisle. Some used cartoons, while others showed models of children or adults using the product. On the other hand, fancier packaging in bottles or jars is more attractive on display in the bathroom, and you don’t even want to keep a box of powder where the environment is damp or where it’ll be handled by wet hands.
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Maybe more than manufacturing it is the cost of the product itself. A liquid bubble bath would cost way less compared to the same amount of powder (because of the content of water which lowers the costs). The formula would have to go through preservative testing but I think that on a large scale this could not have such a big impact.
I also think people are ready to spend 6 or 7 dollars on a good looking bubble bar but I guess they wouldn’t be ready to spend the same on some colored powder.
Maybe this is why not many people are investing in this kind of product. I don’t know! 🙂
I’m sure you’re right about the bubble bars. Many are very artsy-craftsy products, but low volume items, like decorated cakes, saved for special occasions. Others incorporate bits of stuff that couldn’t be supplied in loose powders except as single use packets because they’d sift to the top or bottom of a box- or jarful.
Whats the shelf life of this powded? And tge best place to store it?
Hello Dareen! To know the shelf life it should be tested and tests cost.
However, for this exact formula, I would say few weeks.
It is better stored in an air tight jar as humidity obviously spoils it 🙂
As long as it’s dry enough to scoop as shown in the pictures, something like that will never spoil. Even if it gets slightly lumpy from humidity, its water activity will be so low that it won’t support the growth of microbes. If it’s in a box or open container, store it where you’d store powdered detergent, salt, sugar, flour, etc. If it’s in a closed jar, store it close to where you’d use it. Sunlight getting on it won’t hurt it — nothing light-reactive in there.
That’s exactly why I said a few weeks: I stored it in an air tight jar but with use few drops of water fell inside and the powder obviously wouldn’t fizz anymore… Which was the aim of the whole formula.
I just noticed something else in your description. You said the cocamidopropyl betaine makes the mixture milder than if sodium lauryl sulfoacetate were the only surfactant used in it. But there’s an additional reason. Cocamidopropyl betaine will make the foam last longer. It’s a foaming agent in its own right, but it’s also a foam stabilizer for other surfactants. That way you need less total surfactant in a bath to keep foam on it for a desired time, resulting in bath water less “soapy”, less grease-cutting, than it would be if only the SLSA were used to make that duration of foam; that’s part of what makes the mixture milder in practice.
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Hello, Thank you so very much for all the work, effort and instruction you both have provided. I would love to be able to learn more from you Robert (I’m assuming you don’t have your own blog!?!?) If you would be so kind as to communicate with me directly that would be amazing. My email is this username @gmail.com
I’m trying to get a better understanding of the component breakdown so that I can begin to better understand what item in each recipe creates which type of reaction or benefit outside of the normal standard ingredients, example cocoa butter is great for skin lol.
See if the Wayback Machine (archive.org) has the Surfactants Virtual Library. That was the best lookup resource I ever knew of.
I’m trying the recipe now… is the 2nd phase supposed to be a gummy mixture- like play dough ? I’m leaving it to sit so the water can evaporate a little but wondering if I did it right? Do you have to mash it into 1st phase instead of just mix?
I didn’t understand the last question, but it shouldn’t be like play dough! In which form is your SLSA?
I made some of this bubble bath powder and after I put it in the jar, it grew. I took the lid off and let it sit and in the morning it was up over the edge of the jar. I guess I didn’t wait long enough for it to dry. How long should it sit out and dry before you put it in containers?
Yes it means it reacted with the water so it wasn’t dry enough.
It depends how dry the place where you live is: could take 30 minutes or few hours 🙂
How do you dry the powder out. I’ve had mine drying for 3 days. With heating in. Also sat in a warm dryer and in an oven on very very low with door open. Nothing seems to work
The general air might be too humid for the powder. Where I used to live when I made this powder initially was generally a quite dry place. I live now in a humid area and the powder will dry initially (if I use low ventilated oven) but then will get humid in the following days anyway, because of the humidity in the air.
Not sure why yours wouldn’t dry even with the oven though! Cause the ventilated oven always works for me.
The only seriously hygroscopic ingredient in there is the cocamidopropyl betaine, and unfortunately all the good substitutes for it would also be hygroscopic. The only ways I could think of handling it to get it drier would involve first making a very fine powder and then agglomerating it, which would require equipment like a mill or spray dryer or vacuum oven and a tumbler.
What condition is yours in after you subject it to the over — stuck to the plate?
For the measurements, are the liquids in grams or ml?
I can’t find the mesurments for the recipe?