Bath bombs have taken the at-home spa to the next level. No longer just about just Epsom salt, a great bath bomb can transform your water with technicolor swirls and essential oils that can ease stress, energize you, and make your bathroom smell like a spa. Thankfully, the majority of bath bombs you’ll find on the market are not only cruelty-free, but also vegan.
About Animal Testing
Traditionally, cosmetic animal testing has been used to ensure that a product is safe for human use. According to Cruelty Free International, a nonprofit that lobbies for a global ban on animal testing, these tests are not only unethical but also ineffective. Animals used in cosmetic tests—rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and mice—are bred solely for experimentation. They are kept caged in sterile environments, deprived of natural animal behaviors, and killed after testing. Tests may involve forcing animals to inhale or have cosmetic ingredients rubbed on their skin.
The findings of cosmetic animal tests may not accurately reflect how a certain product will affect humans. This is because animals are so different from us.
So, what are the alternatives? In recent years, a number of tests have become more readily available for labs. These include in-vitro methods (testing compounds on human cell cultures), human tissue samples, and human volunteers. Companies may also use ingredients whose safety has already been proven.
Industry-wide bureaucracy is a barrier to switching over to cruelty-free methods. Many companies will not adopt non-animal methods unless legally required to do so. But, Cruelty Free International is working to change the industry. It led a 20-year campaign that led to the European Union’s ban on cosmetic animal testing in 2013. It also worked with Chinese authorities to end the country’s testing policy for most cosmetic products.
UK-based brand Lush has long been outspoken about using animal-free alternatives to testing.
Are Bath Bombs Safe for the Environment?
Many bath bombs contain glitter, which can make you feel like royalty, but, it’s not great for the environment. Conventional glitters often contain microplastics or PET (polyethylene terephthalate), both of which can find their way into the oceans and marine animals. Glitter has caught some negative press for being bad for the environment because of its use of microplastics, sparking calls for a global glitter ban.
Alice Horton, a research ecologist for the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, told The Guardian that “there is currently no evidence specifically on glitter being bad for the environment.” But, “it is likely that studies on glitter would show similar results to those on other microplastics.”
While any reduction in plastic use counts, glitter represents only a tiny portion of pollution compared to packaging for food and drink. Glitter also need not be made from microplastics nor mica, a shimmery mineral commonly used in cosmetics that has been linked to child labor. Glitter can be made from eco-friendly, more ethical alternatives including plant cellulose, lab-made mica, or by pressuring companies to join the Responsible Mica Initiative.
Cruelty-Free Bath Products
There are other ways to enhance your bath. You could keep it traditional and add a scoop of soaking salts or a milky bath soak, like Herbivore Botanicals’ Coconut Milk Bath Soak. You could also throw in a bath melt, a type of solid bath oil, or surround yourself with fluffy bubbles using a bar or liquid bubble bath. Don’t feel beholden to using just one product or one bath bomb (pro-tip: you can cut bath bombs in half). Many bath enthusiasts mix and match their products to match their mood.
Vegan Bath Bombs
Ready to take the plunge? Here are seven cruelty-free and vegan bath bomb sets that make great gifts you friends, family, partners, or yourself—nothing wrong with treating yourself.
1. Dr. Hempster
Treat yourself to some me-time with these vegan bath bombs infused with calming lavender and refreshing eucalyptus oil. Dr. Hempster bath bombs are rich in coconut, hemp, and vitamin E oil to sooth even the driest winter skin.
2. Pure Scentum
These hand-rolled vegan bath bombs from Pure Scentum are made with sea salt, shea butter, vitamin A cream, safflower oil, and coconut oil to hydrate dry skin. This set comes with six fragrances ranging from cool cucumber and mint to fruity and floral.
3. Beauty By Earth
This organic bath bomb gift set from Beauty By Earth is fit for royalty. Made from earth-friendly, pampering ingredients such as shea butter and essential oils, these fizzies will leave the skin feeling moisturized. Plus, there are six scents to suit every mood, from Bedtime Ritual and Just Relax to Muscle Relief and Get Well Soon.
4. Earth Vibes
This set of six vegan bath bombs from Earth Vibes features six scents infused with essential oils — peppermint, aloe, lavender, rose, shea butter, and mango. In addition to that, each bath bomb is made with shea butter oil, vitamin A, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E for a luxurious bath.
5. Refugee Bath Co.
Made using cocoa butter and packaged in eco-friendly materials, this set of 12 bath bombs from the Refugee Bath Co. is the perfect gift for those who want their money to support a good cause. The Washington-based brand hires people who have been experienced war, famine, and life in refugee camps. Refugee assistance programs receive a portion of every sale.
6. Bella and Bear
This set from Bella and Bear features four deluxe-size vegan bath bombs—double the size of your average bath fizz. It comes with four subtle scents that will leave your bathroom smelling amazing: Lemongrass, Peony Rose, Lavender, and Eucalyptus. They’re also suitable for sensitive skin.
7. Divine Botanics
With skin-soothing ingredients like organic coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils, this Divine Botanics bath bomb gift set is perfect for pampering yourself. You can also pair it with bath salts for the ultimate at-home spa experience.