Until this past fall, I was convinced there were two types of people in this world: people who take bath and people who take showers. And the lines were very rarely crossed. I myself preferred to take showers, my mind always too preoccupied and racing to even think of spending so much time lying motionless in a pool of water. I was all about getting in and out. Bar of soap, hot water, towel, done. Yes, I was most definitely a shower person, until I injured myself at the gym several months ago. I’m still not sure what, exactly, I did.
But I do know that it hurt like hell and, afterwards, I ascended and descended any set of stairs as if I were 90 years old (and yes, I went to the doctor where I learned what I already knew: I have bad knees — laughably! hilariously! bad — and I pushed myself too hard). When this happened, suddenly the idea of immersing myself in piping hot water infused with salts and oils didn’t sound too bad. In fact, it sounded sort of like something that I would enjoy. And so I went to the other side.
I became, at least occasionally, a bath person. And once you become a bath person. You begin to look for exciting things to put in the bath. Things like salts and oils and other things, which is what led me to this particular project. Bath bombs.
For the past several months I’ve been using this mix to relieve post-workout muscle soreness — it’s fantastic and smells amazing but, after recently being introduced to arnica oil, it was time to try something new. If you’re unfamiliar, arnica, which is part of the daisy family, has been used medicinally and as a cosmetic for centuries. Prized for its healing properties, arnica is commonly used by athletes today to relieve swelling, reduce pain and inflammation, heal bruises, and ease joints. The majority of arnica’s pain-relieving properties can be attributed to what’s called thymol derivatives. Thymol derivatives dilate subcutaneous blood capillaries, moving blood and fluid from the injured area.
Arnica also stimulates white blood cells, which help to process congested blood and move it and extra fluid away from injured joints and tissue. Distilled in other oils, it can be applied topically as a massage oil or added to a bath, or you could get adventurous and whip up a batch of the bath bombs below. Filled with healing arnica; detoxing bentonite clay; baking soda, which dissolves dirt and sweat to clear pores; skin clearing citric acid; muscle-relaxing Epsom salts; and a trio of moisturizing oils, these bath bombs are the perfect post-gym ritual to soothe body and mind.
After-Gym Bath Bombs
- 4 oz baking soda
- 4 oz citric acid
- 8 oz Epsom salt
- 1 tbsp bentonite clay
- 4-5 tbsp oils of choice (I recommend jojoba, apricot, sweet almond, and/or avocado)
- 3 tbsp arnica oil
- 15 drops essential oil of choice (I used bergamot, which mixes well with the arnica)
Tools: Large mixing bowl; bath bomb mold, plastic ornament mold.
Note: straight arnica oil can be toxic — please use arnica oil distilled in another oil.
In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together all ingredients until it’s the texture of wet sand. If it’s too dry, add more oil. If it’s too wet, add more baking soda.
Press the mixture firmly into your mold. I used a clear ornament mold, but you can also use a special bath bomb mold, available at most craft supply stores. A meatball mold also happens to be the perfect size.
Pop the molds in the freezer to harden, then remove bath bombs from the molds and transfer to a jar. When you’re ready to use, fill your tub with water and add a bath bomb. Pat skin dry when done to reap the benefits from the oils and arnica.
What’s your after-gym ritual?
Head over to Bubbly Belle to order some of our one-of-a-kind bath bombs.