Is a Bath Bomb a Cosmetic?

Bath bombs are hard-packed mixture of dry ingredients which effervesces when wet. They are used to add essential oils, scent, bubbles and color to bathwater.

Recently I emailed the FDA to ask whether a bath bomb was a cosmetic and here was their reply.

The FD&C Act defines cosmetics by their intended use, as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” (FD&C Act, sec. 201(i)). Among the products included in this definition are skin moisturizers, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail polishes, eye and facial makeup, cleansing shampoos, permanent waves, hair colors, and deodorants, as well as any substance intended for use as a component of a cosmetic product. It does not include soap. (To learn what products are considered “soap” for regulatory purposes, see “Soap.” Please verify your product, “bath bomb” fits the aforementioned description, as the regulations regarding these color additives are specific to this category of products.

So where does a bath bomb fit into the above list of what would be considered a “cosmetic?”

Is it rubbed on to the skin?

Is it sprayed, sprinkled or applied to the human body?

Does it cleanse?

Is it beautifying?

Does it promote attractiveness or alter your appearance?

Is it a moisturizer, perfume, face makeup, nail polish?

If we are talking about the traditional bath bomb that one throws into the tub water to color it and add fragrance then I don’t think it comes under the heading of a cosmetic. It is meant to create a fun fizzy bath water but is of no cosmetic value This would be a bath bomb that simply contains baking soda and citric acid.

If you are adding herbs, teas, butters etc to moisturize the skin, combat itchiness, poysorbate 80 as a solubiser then then YES it is cosmetic and cosmetic guidelines regarding pigments you can use apply.

There seems to be a trend where bright colors are popular and many of our customers are using the Lake Dye Pigments. While this may make an exciting looking bath bomb this type of product will dye your bath tub. Many people use polysorbate or a water soluble form of dye to combat this. If it dyes the tub can it get into your pores? My personal preference would be to use natural clays to color or bombs. They have many lovely colors and are packed with healthy minerals. A nicer safer alternative, especially for children.

What do you think? Feel free to comment.

Here are a couple of short articles that may be of interest.




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