Creating self-care rituals and routines is important for maintaining your overall well-being and keeping your stress levels down. One tried-and-true way to reduce stress is with a long soak in the tub—and bath bombs can aid in your relaxation session by adding moisture to the water that can make your skin feel softer and a little dye and fragrance for a fun-yet-soothing atmosphere. Then, you can dry off with a fluffy towel, put on a robe, and face the world again.
We tested nine of the most popular bath bombs of varying prices. The LifeAround2Angels Bath Bomb Set(available at Amazon) won our Best Overall title for its pleasant but not too fragrant smell, its fun color that did not stain the tub or skin, and its great value. We also chose the Prima Bath Gem Effervescent CBD Mineral Soak for Relaxation & Recovery(available at Sephora) as the Best for Dry Skin because it’s super moisturizing and left the skin feeling smooth and soft.
These are the best bath bombs we tested ranked, in order:
Prima Bath Gem
Capri Blue Volcano
Ouai Chill Pills
Dr. Teal’s Ultra Moisturizing
Inteye Enjoy Your Bath Time
The Body Shop
LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs
The LifeAround2Angels set is our Best Overall pick because it left the best impression without leaving a hole in the wallet: pleasant but not overpowering smells, fun colors, plenty of fizzy frothiness, a moisturizing formula, and a reasonable cost-per-unit if you buy in bulk. You can buy them in gift sets of 12, eight, or four, or buy them individually in two different sizes. (We purchased the popular 12-piece gift set that’s available on Amazon so I would have my pick of fragrances.)
I could smell the various aromas in the box when it arrived, but none were unpleasant or overpowering. Though they come in one big box, the bath bombs are wrapped individually in tissue paper with a sticker that tells you their name, and none of them broke in transit. They looked very pretty with their different colors, all nestled in a bed of raffia. The LifeAround2Angels site claims each bomb is made with “natural ingredients," such as baking soda, citric acid, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, epsom salt, kaolin clay, and cosmetic skin-safe colorants.
Because I had so many scents to choose from, I closed my eyes and picked “Angel,” a blue sphere with a little bit of gold glitter that smelled of flowers. The bath bomb’s size was a little smaller than a golf ball and it fit well in the palm of my hand. As soon as I dropped Angel in the hot tub, it fizzed for about two minutes and the water turned a marine blue. Once the bomb fully dissolved into the water, the flowery scent faded to a mild fragrance and the water felt moisturizing on my skin.
After my bath was over, I emptied the tub and the blue dye gurgled down the drain leaving no stain or residue on my tub, bath pillow, towel, or me. Though it left my skin feeling pretty soft, the fragrance didn’t linger on my skin at all, which I appreciated because I was going to bed and didn’t want anything to distract me from my beauty rest.
I didn’t know what to expect from the Prima Bath Gem. I mean, it’s a cube and most of the other bath bombs are spheres. What trickery is this? But I was not disappointed. My skin is normal (as opposed to oily or dry) for the most part, but ashy is not the look I’m after so I am always looking for new ways to stay lubricated. This bath bomb made the water feel oily, as if I had added some of my essential oils to the water.
The fragrance was more earthy than perfume-y, which makes sense because its ingredients include eucalyptus, meadowfoam seed, and safflower oils, camphor, and lavender, among other things. I unboxed the Rubik’s cube-sized bomb, then dropped it in the hot tub. Lots of fizz! Then, I immediately felt the water change in texture—as the oils dispersed, it felt slick. The eucalyptus cleared my nasal passages and the lavender lulled me into a nap. Luckily I had my pillow and nowhere I needed to be.
When I woke up about 20 minutes later and drained the tub, I noticed the oils left behind residue, as I expected because I’ve added oils to baths before, but a basic cleaning with Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner got rid of the slickness. (And it may not have accumulated as much had I not let it sit so long.) The smell lingered, but wasn’t overpowering. I was also greasy afterward, which was fine with me, but this may be a deterrent for people who haven’t spent their entire life’s existence covered in petroleum jelly, cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and various other emollients in an effort to avoid ashy skin.
I’m Tanya Ballard Brown, a seasoned editor and project manager, and a stand-up comedian. I’m also a lifelong bath enthusiast. When I scroll through real estate listings looking at potential dream homes, I‘m always disappointed if the master bathroom only has a shower. I need a tub—preferably one that is deep and claw-footed, but I’ll settle for my basic standard tub. Because of my predilection, I am forever on the hunt for things to make the bath experience more relaxing and spa-like—bubble baths, bath salts, bath oils, body scrubs, bath pillows, candles and now, bath bombs.
I perused web reviews and beauty sites to find the most popular, highly rated bath bombs and landed on the nine in this list.
To test, I took nine baths. (It was for science!) Each time, I filled my tub up with roughly the same amount of water at the same temperature and then plopped each bath bomb into the water. I jotted down my thoughts right after the bath, noting the feel, fizz, aromas, and other qualities of each bomb. We determined that the best way to judge them was to focus on their commonalities. If a product came in a set, I chose one fragrance to try, more or less at random. For each product, I answered questions about its key attributes:
Performance: Did the bath bomb break down entirely? Change the texture of the water? Fizz or bubble, and if so how much or how long? Did it stain the tub? How long did it take for it to dissolve?
Fragrance: How does the bath bomb smell? Was the smell overpowering? Did the smell linger on my skin?
Feel: How did the bath bomb feel on my skin?
Special features: Did they have any? Were they useful?
I then teamed up with Reviewed’s senior scientist, Julia MacDougall, to score and weigh the results of my tests on a calibrated rubric.
What Should You Know About Bath Bombs
When shopping for bath bombs, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, they can moisturize your skin, but they don’t clean your body. You need soap for that.
When you’re purchasing a bath bomb, you’ll want to eyeball those ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you don’t recognize something, google it. You want to make sure you aren’t about to toss something into your bath water that could irritate your skin or other bits of your body.
Most are scented, but they vary in fragrance intensity, so even people with the most sensitive noses should be able to find one that works, but it may take trying a few. Keep in mind that some scents, such as lavender, are soothing, while others, such as peppermint, can make you more alert. You may decide to choose your fragrance based on how you want to feel.
Some have added dyes, glitter, petals, seeds, or even CBD in them, which may or may not appeal to you. Also, most don’t bubble or foam—they fizz. If you want bubbles, you should look for a bubble bath.
Finally, don’t assume that the most expensive bath bomb is high quality. And check the per-unit cost for a set before buying a bunch of individual bombs. The bath bombs gift set may actually be a better deal, like in the case of our top pick. Nobody is trying to go broke buying bath bombs.
Other Bath Bombs We Tested
Capri Blue Volcano Bath Bomb
I wanted to try the Capri Blue bath bomb because the brand’s “Volcano” candle is my favorite fragrance ever. It’s a mix of tropical fruits and citrus and I never even burn them because I don’t want to use them up.
The single bath bomb is about the size of a tennis ball, and as I unboxed it, I inhaled—ooh la la! It smelled so good!—then tossed it in the water and jumped in after it. The fragrance is strong with this one (ingredients include coconut oil, shea butter, gardenia Florida fruit extract, citral, limonene, and linalool), which I love, but it may be too much for people with sensitive noses. Aside from the expected fizz, of which there was a moderate amount, the Capri Blue had no dyes or flower petals or any other bells and whistles. It rested on the laurels of its signature fragrance. It dissolved quickly into the water and left no residue on me or the tub, but the smell lingered on my skin and in the bathroom. The many fans of the “Volcano” fragrance, myself included, may consider that a feature rather than a bug.
I am basically a child trapped in a GenX body, so of course I had to try Da Bomb Bath Bombs, each of which have a small trinket inside. Jumps up and down while clapping. I picked “Unicorn,” which they describe as a rainbow sherbet bath fizzer.
I popped it out of its pack, gave it a sniff—mild but pleasant, like a berry popsicle—tossed it in the water, and waited for the magic to happen. It fizzed a lot, but the water didn’t change colors as I’d expected it to because of the bomb’s swirly pink and blue exterior. Instead, the water stayed clear.
I turned away for a minute and when I turned back, my brief disappointment about the color disappeared because there was a little unicorn ring in my tub. My brain is a sieve so I had already forgotten about the whole “fun surprise inside” feature of this bath bomb and, for a split second, wondered how a unicorn ring got to the bottom of my tub. But I caught up pretty quickly, slipped the ring on my finger, and have been wearing it ever since. If you have a kid, are a kid, or are a kid at heart like me, you might bathe your way through all of these bombs to get other goodies … not that I am thinking of doing that or anything.
Once my bath was over, there was no residue in the tub and no lingering smell. The ingredient list (sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, PEG-8, fragrance, blue 1 lake, red 27 Al lake) isn’t as long for this one and it doesn’t include the oils many of the others do. My skin also didn’t feel very moisturized, especially compared to how it felt after I soaked with the Prima, our pick for dry skin. It was, however, a big bath bomb (about the size of a baseball) so it dispersed well throughout the water and I felt like I was getting my money’s worth. Plus, unicorn ring. This one was fun, the surprise was a nice twist, and I have another in my cart right now.
The white, oblong-shaped Ouai Chill Pills come in a big jar and are much larger than any actual pill, as one of them covers most of the palm of my hand. I dropped only one in the water, as directed, and it fizzed strongly for about two minutes before resolving to flat, still water. The water itself didn’t change in appearance, which didn’t surprise me, as the pills are white. I didn’t notice a change in texture either.
The smell was soothing (ingredients include jojoba seed, safflower seed, and hemp seed oils) and that made for a relaxing bath. There was no residue left on my skin or the tub post-soak, but the aroma lingered for at least an hour afterward, which I enjoyed but it may bother smell-sensitive people.
The cost for a jar of six “pills” may seem pricey, but after doing the math, I found that the cost per bath is less than what you’d typically pay for an individually sold bath bomb from other brands, including ones on this list.
Dr. Teal’s bath bombs may not be fancy—they are white and come in a plastic resealable bag—but that’s fine. The five lavender-scented bombs fizzed a good amount, but there were no swirly colors or unicorn-y surprises inside, and the water didn’t change or soften. It smelled good and felt more moisturizing than all of the bombs on this list other than the Prima. If you have dry skin and are on a budget, this may be all you need from a bath bomb. Dr. Teal’s left my tub the way it found it and the smell didn’t follow me out of the bathroom.
The Inteye bath bombs came with a set of six boxes and each box was filled with six golf ball-sized bombs, making a good value per unit.
Of the options, I chose the purple and green one labeled “Good Night” because I was taking my bath right before bed that day, and they all smelled equally pleasing, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong. The one I chose had lavender essential oil in it (other ingredients include grapeseed and coconut oil, along with shea and cocoa butters), which provided a tranquil aroma. The Inteye performed fine, but felt lackluster: It fizzed a little, turned the water slightly purple, and smelled nice, but it didn’t moisturize my skin. The bomb didn’t leave any residue behind on my tub or my body and the scent didn’t hang around long. This is not a bad option, but there are better picks on this list.
Lush is arguably known best for its bath bombs, so I had to add one to the list. I chose “Butterball” because it contains cocoa butter, a skincare ingredient I use often (other ingredients include synthetic musk and ylang ylang oil). It came in the mail wrapped in tissue and tucked in a bag as if I had purchased it at the store.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like the way this bath bomb smelled. In hindsight, I realized I don’t like the way cocoa butter smells, which never stopped me from using it and certainly didn’t keep me from tossing it into the water. Butterball frothed a generous amount but didn’t make the water feel any more moisturizing than any of the others on this list. After I toweled off, however, my skin felt super soft, so perhaps it was stealth? It didn’t leave me feeling as buttery as the Prima Bath Gem did, though. Like many others I tested, there was no stain or debris in my tub after it drained. And, thankfully, the aroma I didn’t like didn’t linger.
Before opening The Body Shop’s Moringa Bath Bubble, I read an article about how moringa oil helps with dry, thinning hair because it is ultra-moisturizing. I figured that if it’s great for moisturizing hair, then my skin would feel as soft and supple as a newborn babe’s after bathing in it. Right?
Here’s the deal: This heart-shaped bath bomb is little but mighty. I plopped it in the tub without reading the directions (which were teeny tiny even with my reading glasses on) and it sat there halfheartedly fizzing. Then I read the directions, which say to run some water directly over it, and watched as it continued with the lackluster fizzing. An hour later, when I was ready to hop out of the tub, it was still subtly fizzing, having not yet fully dissolved. I got out of the tub because a super-soft but pruny-skinned body was not my goal. The heart-shaped Moringa was still there, just smaller. It’s supposed to be for one-time use, but I still have it and plan to plop it into another bath soon.
Moringa had a lovely floral fragrance and the water got a little muddy but didn’t really turn colors. I was moisturized, as promised, though Prima still wins for best buttery skin post-bath. Later, I looked on The Body Shop’s website to find the ingredients, but moringa was the only thing listed. Still, for the price, this is not a bad option—there are just others on this list I enjoyed more.
Tanya Ballard Brown is a seasoned journalist and project manager as well as a neophyte comedian who likes to try things. She has reviewed books, movies and television shows, and now Ballard Brown is reviewing all (ok, maybe some) of the things. She does this work so you don't have to.
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