Bath bombs have come a long way. The chemistry behind them is simple enough. Citric acid and sodium bicarbonate react together to release carbon dioxide which makes it fizz when you add them to a bath. A simple if unsophisticated pleasure. I don’t know who first thought of the idea but I first became aware of them back in the eighties. They were a craft thing mainly then, turning up at village fêtes and the like. They are still a mainstay of the people who like making their own fun – and very imaginative a lot of them are.
I think the first company who made a big thing of them was Lush. They are certainly still a big part of their offering. But the popularity of bath bombs means that Bomb Cosmetics can now get by making nothing but bath bombs.
They have taken what used to be a bit of a jokey and fun item and turned it into a line of products that are quite diverse and have the same kind of NPD approach that big cosmetic launches get. Concepts, formulation developments, swanky packaging etc.
So this gives us the Chocolate Ballotin Assortment, a set of bath bombs designed to look and smell like chocolates and packed in a ribbon tied box. It is quite a neat idea, particularly this time of year when we are all looking for an unusual gift idea. I didn’t know what a ballotin was so I looked it up. I always think something that you have never heard of before gives a product a certain allure. It turned out to be simply the name for those boxes that chocolates are often sold in, and into which these bath bombs have been put.
There is actually a bit of a potential issue with this product that comes up sometimes. There is a law that forbids passing non-foods off as food. Clearly Bomb Cosmetics have no intention of suggesting that their bath bombs are actually chocolates, and no doubt they have taken care to make sure they are on the right side of the Food Imitations (Safety) Regulations 1989. The meaty bit of this law is pretty strident.
You must not supply manufactured goods that imitate food in terms of their form, odour, colour, appearance, packaging, labelling or volume/size and which may cause death or injury if bitten into, sucked or swallowed.
So novelty bath bombs are at risk of falling foul of it. A lot of bath bombs are made into all sorts of creative forms, including things like cakes and bits of fruit as well as chocolates. Somehow I can’t imagine even the most officious of officials regarding it as remotely worthwhile pursuing a company that makes these kinds of things over this. Nobody is likely to actually eat a bath bomb, even if they they’d just got them as a Christmas present and they’ve already been at the sherry. We are quite adept at spotting whether or not something is edible.
But even so when you are considering the safety of a product you are about to launch you need to think things through rather more carefully than you do in everyday life. If you aspire to shift a million units, you have to take one in a million chances into account. So the risk of somebody eating a bath bomb by mistake will have been weighed up carefully. I think they made the right decision, but it is easier to decide these things on other people’s behalf than when you are actually putting yourself on the chopping block. Someone somewhere might well have had to think deeply about it.
Anyway, they have definitely come up with a fun product that I think will be heading towards stockings around the country over the next few weeks.