The year is 1989 - it’s springtime in the southern English county of Dorset, and Mo Constantine is creating a product that will change the world of bathing forever. Working in her garden shed, she presses together citric acid, sodium bicarb and a blend of essential oils into a small press - the bath bomb is born.
Thirty years on, the bath bomb has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon, and is an established addition to any bathing ritual. From show stopping kaleidoscopes of colour, whizzing wonders that brighten and uplift and softening soothers that help calm and relax, bath bombs have delighted and inspired millions, fought for peace and change, and bought about a cosmetic revolution from which there’s no turning back.
“Everything you see today with the bath bombs has been evolved considerably from scratch” explains Mo - co founder and inventor of the bath bomb. “It’s madness really”.
So, what inspired the first Bath Bomb? Apart from wanting a product to elevate bath time without irritating sensitive skin, inspiration came in the unlikely form of antacid pill Alka Seltzer. This famous brand-name hangover tablet would erupt into bubbles once dropped into a glass of water. Intrigued, Mo couldn’t resist heading to her local pharmacists to find out more. “After a bit of experimenting we realised what you could do and made our first solid thing. It was really quite fun!”
In tribute to the fizzing tablets that inspired her, Mo’s first Aqua Sizzlers were pressed into that same shape and infused with calming French Lavender. The resulting bath bomb helped to soften the water and relax the body and mind.
Mo began to experiment with different shapes, sizes and colours to create an exciting range of fizzers and foamers with her husband and co-founder Mark Constantine.
“We were up and down the high street, buying different shaped jelly moulds, anything.” she remembers. “In the garden center, Mark was saying ‘What are you looking at, why have you got that pond mould upside down?’, and I’m just looking at its contours thinking I can probably press something in that!”
However exciting their shape or colour, the benefits on the body and mind provided by bath bombs remained a core element of their creation. Their effervescent nature proved a perfect carrier for essential oils into bath water, so Mark and Mo began to explore infusing different oils to bring different benefits to the bath.
During this time, firm favourites such as Avobath and Butterball were born. By infusing the bath bomb mix with a range of select essential oils and moisturizing butters and oils such as olive oil and cocoa butter, the benefits of aromatherapy and hydrating ingredients were combined and left the mind calm and the skin deliciously soft.
In 1995, the launch of Lush allowed the founders and inventors to make waves with more creative freedom than ever before, alongside the chance to really focus on the ethics and issues close to their hearts. Concerned with its environmental impact, the decision was made to strip back the packaging that enveloped the bath bombs. Mo says: “There was only one course to take, and that was to make the bath bombs more beautiful and naked.”
By doing so, the bath bomb itself could be transformed into a work of art. Mo looked for new ways to turn her ballistic creations into masterpieces: adding glitter and coloured sea salt to catch the bathers’ eye before it had even gone into the water.
So what’s next? “The inspiration is ongoing” Mo explains, “Someone asks you ‘where did you get your inspiration?’ and I always want to say it was in that dusty corner where you haven't looked for years!”
Mo’s bath bombs have inspired millions, but none more so than son Jack Constantine - Lush digital director. Jack and his siblings were brought up around Mo’s exciting prototypes, and witnessed first-hand the magical concoctions she would bring out from her garden shed. So, when Jack turned to bath bomb invention, it was Mo’s guiding hand and secret tips and tricks that would inspire a new generation of technicolour bath bombs. With multi-layered rainbow sensations, jelly-forming creations, and the first ever bath bomb concept store in Harajuku, Japan - the bath bomb has stood the test of time, and its evolution shows no sign of slowing down.
30 years on, Mo’s first bath bombs have lead to an innovation in bathing across the globe. Want to celebrate the bath bomb’s birthday with us? Find your next bathtub adventure right here. Join the bathing revolution and share your unique bath bomb story using #WeTheBathers.