New Path To Health Workshop

This past Friday, I was sponsored by the Hampshire College Community Health Collaborative‘s New Path to Health series to give a workshop for the community – this time scheduled one week before our Holiday Bazaar to potentially give attendees some inspiration for their own creations.  The well-attended workshop focused on bath bombs.  [A similar workshop in April was an invitation to talk about my book and we made basic lotion.]  While I didn’t have time to discuss Mindful Beauty Is In Your Hands this past Friday, a few participants were interested and asked to look it over.  Thank you for the support. ♥

Rambling IntroBasic RecipeBasic InstructionsBath Bomb Resources

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Rambling Intro 🙂

Bath bombs, as it turns out, are not a universally known concept.  A few participants were unaware of what they were and what to expect.  Queue the fun times! Seriously though, while they are messy to make – there are few other bath products that you can make yourself so easily and quickly and with so few ingredients AND have a “blast” doing so at the same time.  Ahem.  Sorry.  But there was laughter and giggling!!  And I should have taken pictures (*slaps forehead*) because the before and after of the table top alone would have you chuckling.  You’d have thought we were 8 year olds making brownies.  It was that messy.  And that much fun.

And, of course, finding out they got to take their bath bombs home was the highlight.  I’m always amused at this moment – what do they think, I’m using them as cheap labor so I can have tons of bath bombs to enjoy later?  Hmmm – then again.

Due to a lack of time, we had to split the large group into two groups and have each do a batch.  One group used a gardenia floral water I brought as their water source and their scent.  Nice idea!  Their batch looked really good at first but when they went to press them into molds, it was clear that the mixture was already starting to fizz up rather considerably.  Ah!  It was fun to watch though – especially since we were putting the mixture into muffin tins, so they looked just like rising muffins, albeit white ones.

The premature fizzing action is, as you’ll see later from the recipe, due to excess water.  It doesn’t take much. And this was in large part because the spray bottles weren’t working for some odd reason.   I had forgotten to bring my spray bottles so grabbed some cheap new ones on my way through the store getting other supplies.  Bad idea apparently.  But in the end they did manage to take home recognizable bath bombs once they’d dried out a bit – and I am hopeful they will still have significant fizzing action left in them for later.

The 2nd group did a rose scented batch that turned out much better, still slightly too wet but they all held together quite nicely and dried out as we cleaned up.  Both groups added glycerin (vegetable) to their water for its emollient (skin-softening) properties.  Kudos to them for their creative leaps.

And now – a basis for your own creative leaps…

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Basic Recipe:

2 cups baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

1 cup citric acid

2 tsp oil (eg. almond oil)

1 tsp essential oil (SKIN-SAFE)

Water in a spray bottle (can add glycerin and/or use scented water, eg. rose water or other floral waters)

Bentonite clay can be added to preserve the dryness of the bath bomb for longer but isn’t as easy to obtain…

And there are hundreds of variations on the internet – really and truly.

YIELD: Depends on the size of your mold!  This yielded ~ 16 bath bombs made in standard muffin tins.

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Basic instructions:

Mix baking soda and citric acid together in a bowl with the oils, and hand blend.  [NOTE: consider wearing a dust mask at this stage because both dry ingredients are very dusty!]

Spray a small amount of water onto the mixture and continue kneading until you have a crumbly pastry dough-like texture that holds together but isn’t wet.

Make sure it isn’t wet otherwise you’ll over-activate the citric acid – which is the point but not at this stage! 🙂  It will fizz, but just knead until you get a moldable mixture.

When it’s moldable – then you need to pack your mixture into your molds.  What can you use for a mold?  Many options:

– you can just use your hands!  Gives a rough-looking shape but works just fine.

– you can use pretty much anything that allows you to pack your mixture in and then after a few seconds get it out again.  So measuring cups, cupcake molds (with or without liners), ornament molds from craft stores, muffin trays, etc.

Just be sure to pack the mixture in tight.  For a two-sided mold, first pack in a bit loosely on both sides to the top, then add a bit more to one side and squish the two sides together really tight.  This will give you a nice spherical shape with a seam – really pretty.

Let it sit for about 5-10 seconds before removing the bomb from the mold, carefully.

Your bath bomb is ready to use!

But if you want to store it – you’ll want to let it dry out while also keeping it from soaking up moisture from the air.  So pack it and others together in plastic tub lined with a cloth towel and/or shredded newspapers and leave them be overnight.  Then you can wrap them up and package them with ribbons and gift tags.  There’s a TON of resources on the ‘net about making gift tags and how to package your crafts.  Another post will outline a few of these.

So that’s the rundown on bath bombs.  Bottom line is – they’re very easy and perfect for getting creative and making your own recipes.  The only required ingredients are baking soda, citric acid and water.

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Bath Bomb Resources

I have to lead with these because they are just SO CUTE.  You’ll see what I mean.

Cupcake Bath Bombs

Even more basic than this rundown with an even more advanced guide if you sign up for her mailing list:

Excellent Living Guide (to get the guide, she wants you to sign up to her mailing list – you’ll need to do this twice – worth doing if you are really into bath bombs though)

Citric acid is a main ingredient but, as I found out this past Friday, it isn’t the easiest to find last minute in the Pioneer Valley.  It is _very_ easy to get online and it was easy to get at one of our local natural food stores but I guess they stopped carrying it.  Fair enough.  But, here’s an eHow that goes over both all the places you can look for citric acid and some really neat alternatives:

How to Make Bath Bombs Without Citric Acid

The following two online stores are sources I rely on for ingredients (not just for bath bombs!) and information. As an added bonus, they seem like really good people and I’ve had very positive customer service interactions with them.  I post these links (wholly unsolicited) just to give you an idea of who is out there and to give you a starting point, please do your own research!  🙂

From Nature With Love

Mountain Rose Herbs

~Be Well & Remember to Breathe (deeply…mindfully)~

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Winter Dry Skin – Part 1/2

Photo Credit: Scott Robinson

It’s wintertime and that means some of us are suffering from dry, possibly even cracked skin.

Our hands seem to get it the worse, mostly because they are exposed to the elements and suffer from countless washings throughout the day.  The temperature outside is never the same as it is inside and to make matters even more exciting, we have weather patterns that bring us 60 degree weather one day and a below freezing cold snap before the week is out*.  All these drastic fluctuations of temperature only put added strain on our skin.

The main factor behind the phenomenon of winter dry skin though is humidity, or rather, a lack of it.  The amount of moisture in the air is relatively lower during the colder months than it is during the rest of the year.  And inside our homes and offices, heating systems dry out the air even more.

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=dry+skin&iid=3247124″ src=”b/1/9/d/Elephant_Grooming_89a2.jpg?adImageId=8729397&imageId=3247124″ width=”234″ height=”294″ /]
So unless we have people looking after us like these guys looking after the elephants above at the London Zoo, folks who can keep us constantly hydrated… then it is up to us to be mindful of the condition of our skin and be ever vigilant about keep our skin cells well hydrated both from the inside and from the outside.

*As in that’s our weather today… this week.  Here in the Northeast.  It sounds like it’s equally as thrilling, if different, elsewhere in the nation if my Facebook news feed is any gauge.  🙂

Winter Dry Skin – Part 2/2

Internal hydration simply means drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The exact number of glasses of water that are best is a ongoing debate but I think everyone can agree on 6-8 glasses/day. The more important thing to focus on though is actually drinking enough water on a daily basis. For example: carry a water bottle with you, take a detour past the water cooler, or make tea. Make a habit out of it. Your body … your skin will love you for it.

Click on photo for Creative Commons license information...

If your skin does become cracked and/or irritated… take care of it right away, in order to avoid infections and to speed healing. This means disinfecting cuts and using bandaids when necessary to keep out dirt and germs. And, most importantly, remember that prevention is key.

Find a moisturizer that works for you. Avoid lotions with one of the following alcohols as the main ingredient: (isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol 40, ethanol = ethyl alcohol = denatured alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol) as they can be drying. For more intense moisturizing use creams or oils, leaving your skin slightly damp before use for best effect. And avoid harsh soaps. Keep in mind that well hydrated skin is less injury prone and heals more quickly.

Note: roll over pictures for photo credits…they have been offered under either a Creative Commons or the morgueFile Free license and have been attributed whether that was requested/required or not.  Click on the individual photo to learn more.