The Charcoal Bath Bomb: How you to can make this Amazing Black Bath Bomb

the very dark black, charcoal bath bomb

The still popular and probably forever popular, black bath bomb with activated charcoal, is what the discussion is for today. This particular type of bath bomb became iconic on Instagram a while back (heck it even has it's on IG page) but one of the first to make a black bath bomb was none other then LUSH, the "king" or "queen" of bath bomb products.

I find this is one of the more difficult bath bombs to DIY and to get just right. The activated charcoal is a cool thought, but in reality, you have to use quite a bit to get it to disperse and truly create a "black bath". The other ingredients really can add to the ability for it to disperse if used correctly, so it's hard to get just right.

activated charcoal facemasks

Activated charcoal toothpaste

activated charcoal cold process soaps

Activated charcoal is one of the ingredients we are finding in many skin cleansers, face masks, and oral products today. According to Allure, activated charcoal adds an ability to absorb toxins and pollutants and it actually has been used in hospitals to help treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses.

With seemingly everyone today trying to look younger, you can see why getting ride of toxins, excess oils in or on your skin may be something everyone would flock too. The bottom line is, I think time will tell as to whether activated charcoal actually has that many added benefits when added to skin products. However, what better way to test out the benefits of charcoal then with a black bath bomb, right!
What we do know is that activated charcoal is safe to use in the way of bath bombs, so let's discuss how this process is done. Like with making any bath bombs as a beginner, the process is not always perfect the first time around.

You will learn tips and tricks as you make more batches as to how to get the perfect consistency with the results you want to see when you place the bath bomb in your tub.
So let's discuss some of the ingredients in our black bath bomb with activated charcoal. We are going to discuss how to actually make these dark bath bombs with the activated charcoal, if you are looking to make simple black bath bombs, this may not be the recipe for you.

What we will discuss today is how to make black bath bombs with activated charcoal along with help from another ingredients to really get that deep black look with the benefits of the charcoal.

charcoal powder

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Baking Soda - 2 Cups (250 grams)
  • Citric Acid - 1.5 Cups (100 grams)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA - This makes the foam) - 2 TBSP.
  • Kaolin Clay - 1 TBSP. (3 grams)
  • Corn Starch - 1/2 TBSP. (5 grams)
  • Sweet Almond Oil - 1 tsp. (5 grams)
  • Polysorbate 80 - 2 TBSP.
  • Fragrance of Choice - 20 grams or try essential oils for your aroma like sandalwood, or rosemary
  • Activated Charcoal Powder 4 tsp.
  • Black gel food coloring - 5 drops (make sure to use polysorbate 80 with food coloring in the tub.)
  • Water/Alcohol Mix in a spray bottle
  • Mixing Bowl (2)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Whisk
  • Mask, gloves, eye cover
  • Bath Bomb Mold (round mold or skull mold)

     Wow! Looking at all these ingredients and supplies, it's probably easy to see why many people prefer to buy these rather then to DIY them.

Before we make our charcoal bath bomb mixture, let's focus on a few ingredients that we adjusted as far as the ratio's because of the added charcoal compared with our foaming or fizzing bath bombs.

Citric Acid

So with this bath bomb in particular we want to create more of a fizz. More fizz in our experiments  =  better dispersion of the charcoal throughout the water.

Polysorbate 80

We increased the amount of Polysorbate 80. Polysorbate 80 helps to emulsify oils in bath water. So with ingredients like mica powder, polysorbate 80 is always used as it helps to keep the powders and such from sticking to the tub and makes them disperse better in water. In this instance, it helps to disperse the activated charcoal in the water and also helps it to not cling to the sides of the tub.

Corn Starch

The other change we made was decreasing the corn starch in this bath bomb. Corn starch tends to help slow the reaction between baking soda and citric acid, and we really did not want that to occur because again we wanted a stronger reaction in the tub, and ingredients like SLSA also seem to slow the reaction time down.

Check out some other cool bath bombs:


The Black Bath Bomb w/ Activated Charcoal

- Measure out all ingredients before starting the steps below -

Step 1

Mix dry ingredients. This includes your baking soda, citric acid, SLSA, corn starch, & kaolin clay. Always use fine grain ingredients. If you have lumps, rub the mixture in between your hands and fingers to help break-up.

Step 2

Next, mix your wet ingredients (sweet almond oil, fragrance of choice, polysorbate 80, & food coloring) in another bowl.


Add your coloring to the Polysorbate 80 first to help blend.

Step 3

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and start mixing using your hands (with gloves) or an automated mixer.

Step 4

Once you've mixed the wet and dry ingredients, add your activated charcoal. There is really no exact science to how much activated charcoal, but the bigger the batch you make with more charcoal the more Polysorbate 80 you need to add to help disperse the color.


Activated charcoal can be a really fun ingredient, but it can also be very messy as well as get into the air fairly easily. Handle gently and wear a mask and gloves.

Step 5

Most likely, your mixture will still be to dry to be able to stay together in a mold, so we need to add water slowly.

Step 6

Start adding your water/alcohol mixture 3-5 sprays at a time, and mix immediately upon spraying.

Step 7

Squeeze the mixture in you hand. At the moment you can squeeze a handful of mixture and it does not stick to your hand and passes the "drop test", you're ready to go.

The drop test it when you take a handful of mixture, squeeze it together and drop it from 8-10 inches above the bowl, if it stays together you're ready to mold.

Step 8

Overfill each side of your mold, and then press them together. Tap the top and bottom of the mold and remove your bath bomb.

Step 9

Let dry 24-48 hours, in low humidity and on soft egg foam.


There are mixed reviews on the use of food coloring in bath bombs. Usually the lighter the food coloring or pigment used, it tends not stain the tub, specially with the use of polysorbate 80. However, if you use a large amount of black pigment or food coloring it can certainly leave a ring and bad stain.

Use sparingly or you can test a small amount and see how it does in one batch. The added coloring makes your water very dark, instead of the grayish color you may achieve with only activated charcoal. In this recipe we only add five drops of pigment.

You can also head over to the Soap Queen, where they have a cool experiment with activated charcoal vs. liquid black iron oxide.

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoy your black bath bombs with activated charcoal. As always we thank you for coming and hope to see you again soon. Be sure to share our posts on social media and other outlets that you enjoy sharing fun information!

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