The Beauty of Bath Salts

Is there anyone who doesn’t like a chance to soak in the tub?

Maybe it doesn’t happen too often, but that just means it should be more special.  Even my son loves a soak after hockey – the warmth and the salts are great for healing muscles and general relaxing.  But is there scientific evidence supporting the use of bath salts?

Bath salts are said to be good for all kinds of things, from treating psoriasis to muscle soreness to arthritis.  There’s evidence for positive effects on the skin, such as cleansing, improving hydration, and decreasing redness (it seems most of the studies are done with Dead Sea salt).  There are claims of the minerals in a sea salt bath being absorbed into the body, and though the amount may be small, it does seem that some absorption does occur (particularly magnesium).  So, let’s just say that bath salts are good for the skin and may treat a variety of skin conditions, as well as helping conditions like sore muscles.  I personally feel that a sea salt bath improves muscle soreness over a warm bath without salts.  It definitely makes my skin softer, and helps heal inflamed spots, like a rash or pimple.

Bath salts are one of those things that I feel I can make so easily myself it’s rarely worth spending money on a brand.  I’m not dissing the brands out there – and I’ve been known to keep some brands around or gift them – but especially if you use them often you may want to make your own.  The other reason I like to make bath salts myself is that I don’t like a lot of oil mixed in with the salts.  This is purely laziness, as I don’t like to have to scrub the tub out very often.

1. Choose your salts.  There are so many to choose from, and you can use a single one or mix them.  A mix is often pretty in a glass container, so nice for a gift or to pretty up your bathroom.  My preference, based largely on simplicity and the nice grain size (I use it as a scrub, too), is plain Dead Sea Salt that I buy in bulk.  Mountain Rose Herbs and SaltWorks carry a variety of salts, and have information about each.

2.  Add essential oils, if you like.  There are oils for energizing, relaxing, detoxing, etc.  My favorite sources for info are Mountain Rose Herbs (you can buy the oils there too) and Hope Gillerman’s Essential Oils Deck.  Add a few to several drops of a single EO or blend per cup of salts, depending on how strong you want the scent.  Lately I’ve been leaving the salt plain, and adding my EO of choice directly to the bath after the salt goes in.  That way I’m not committing to any particular scent in a big batch of salts.  But premixing is a good way to go, too.  My current favorite EO detox blend is a little different each time I make it, but let’s just say this:  5 drops sandalwood, 5 drops helichrysum, 15 drops grapefruit, 15 drops fennel, and 3 drops spearmint.  This will last through several baths.

3.  Add an oil, if you like.  Jojoba, sunflower, or sweet almond are popular.  But you can really use pretty much anything that doesn’t compete with your scent oils.  You can decide your proportion of oil, probably 10-20% of the salt volume.  Just remember the oils make it tougher to clean your tub!

4.  Add any extras.  Maybe crushed seaweed, or dried flowers or herbs.  There may or may not be therapeutic benefits here, but it will make a pretty and nice smelling mix.

Often ½ cup to 1 cup of your mix per bath of comfortably warm water is recommended, but you can play with that as desired.  Sometimes I put in lots of salt.  Sometimes I sit in the tub, stick my legs out of the water, and use the salt as a scrub.  Then when I get back under the water it mixes in so all my skin can benefit.  I especially like to sink down so the salt water gets on my underarms.  This feels very cleansing, and if I have any irritation there the salts help.  If the water is too hot or you are recently shaved, the salt might sting a bit, especially at first, so be careful.

Do you use bath salts?

Comments
21 Responses to “The Beauty of Bath Salts”
  1. anya says:

    the title of this cracked me up. ah the irony. am i the only one who reads the news?! bath salts are the new “it” drug.

  2. Silvy says:

    OH I miss my baths! Love this post. I currently have only a shower, and once I move, I refuse anywhere without my own bathtub. When I had one, I would often bathe instead of shower- run the water and get in when it’s still very low- but hot- and leave the water running as I wash myself. In the end, the tub isn’t full at all (unless you take forever), so not much water wasted. It is so much more soothing than a shower. I usually would just add a few drops of essential oil, like lavender and ylang-ylang, and maybe some salt, but I’m excited to try a salt-scrub-before-bath that turns into bath salt now!

  3. Ally says:

    I totally dig bath salts. Between rock climbing and running, sometimes a nice soak is perfection. My usual suspects are Dead Sea and Pink Himalayan salts, calendula, and arnica. Sometimes I add EO, which is usually some mix of lavender, chamomile, and something citrus. Love having mason jars of homespun bath salts around. Rebecca, I love the addition of helichrysum!

  4. Annette says:

    I never have used bath salts (and don’t take baths, for fun, or otherwise) but Rebecca, you’ve made me want to start!

  5. Ny says:

    I have used bath salts when they came in sample packs, but I’ve never purchased them. I get the huge bag of Epson salts from the pharmacy and use that in my baths and it works really well. I can add a carrier oil to help soften my skin and EOs for scent/mood if I want and it’s really easy and affordable, not just for special occasions :)

  6. Charley says:

    Yes!! Never bought a pre made mix or anything, I buy Epsom salts for the magnesium sulphate, I find it helps with my skin which suffers from a joyful mix of eczema and acne, nearly always add some Himalayan salt which I usually have kicking around for cooking. Current favourite EO is Red Mandarin which I just find endlessly soothing and uplifting, usually with a drop of lavender or sandalwood. I like to do Abhyanga before I get in the bath, usually with a light sunflower oil or jojoba plus whichever EO feels right at the time. So good. Bathing is really important for me, especially when I’m stressed or tired the ritual is so comforting. I have a particularly lovely bath where I live right now, it makes the world of difference I’ll miss it so much when I leave.

  7. chloe says:

    On a different note, has anyone tried stuff from the Honest Company? I just ordered a sample pack for $5. I’m not really a big fan of Jessica Alba, who owns this, but I am always on the lookout for good products that are decently priced. I need to look further into the ingredients and pricing, but wondering if anyone can recommend or not.

  8. Emma B says:

    I love taking long, warm baths. Especially during Canadian winters, it’s essential to my well-being. I started using Epsom salts after reading Dr Northrup’s book, because it’s supposed to help mood and emotional stability. I could never handle mainstream bath products; with all the fragrance and chemicals, it’s just asking for a yeast infection. I really never thought of adding moisturising or essential oils to my baths. This is genius!

  9. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @anya, ha! Yes, I’m aware, but I’m not going to let the crazy face-eating people in the news steal the original meaning.

  10. Tricia says:

    Loving Level Naturals’ bath bombs!!! Anyone ever heard of them? http://levelnaturals.com/product-category/bath-bomb/page/1/ They contain epsom salts. I got these as a gift a couple of months ago and actually thought they were kind of small in comparison to other one’s I’ve tried. I used to be addicted to LUSH bath bombs(then found out all the fragrance they have in them- bad!). The Level bath bombs are awesome though! All good, natural ingredients and pure essential oils. They leave my skin feeling so soft and smooth after and totally relaxed. I also found these at Integrity Botanicals. http://integritybotanicals.com/body-care/Bath-Essentials/Bath-Bombs/Bath-Bombs-6-Pack-Variety I just purchased from them and love that you can make your own variety pack. Jasmine Rose is one of my fav’s- it has tiny flower petals that float in the water and makes me totally feel like I’m at a spa!

  11. Katy says:

    This is so timely, I’ve just started looking for a place to buy Dead Sea salt. Thank you.

    I love a warm soak. I shower if I feel dirty, but a warm bath just relaxes me. I love the feeling of getting in between the sheets after a soak. Usually I use a generous handful of Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender oil. Feels/smells heavenly without making my tub a nightmare to clean afterwards.

  12. Akaleistar says:

    Love bath salts!

  13. Beth says:

    I have two kids and a messy husband so I never do any thing that means more house work like putting oil in my bathtub, but I do love my epsom salt baths. A serious life saver when I’m dancing and I come home home feeling like my muscles are made of beef jerky, an epsom salt bath can help me feel human again.

  14. Maggie says:

    Take it from me, ADD CLAY to your bath! A tablespoon or two of powdered bentonite clay while the bath is running makes your water and skin incredibly soft. After a bath, my boyfriend is always commenting on how smooth my skin is, and I don’t even apply lotion after!

  15. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Maggie, totally agree on the clay. When I have time, I do a clay mask on my face, chest, upper back…and when it dries I get in the tub and splash it off with the salt water, then sit in the tub. Definitely makes for soft skin – but I have to say, there’s a mess to clean up too!

  16. Anna says:

    I LOVE bath salts. The bathtub is my refuge; if I wake up feeling anxious, I immediately go for a bath with some great bath salts I’ve made. I love adding neroli or patchouli to my salts.

    Adding EOs into bath salts makes it so they disperse evenly in the water, rather than sitting in one big oil pool on top of the water, which will inevitably float toward you and, depending on the oil, maybe cause chemical burns!

  17. Love salt baths! They are also great for clearing your energy field from a stressful day. I take at least 4 sea salt baths a week with 2 cups of salt. I add in Rose or Lavender EO or both as well as Zweena Pure Organic Argan Oil (http://zweenabodycare.com/products-page/hair/pure-organic-argan-oil/) that comes direct from the Berber women’s fair trade co-ops in Morocco. The Argan Oil makes my skin so incredibly soft and moisturized.

  18. Mary says:

    My 20 yo son snickered when I told him I was going to buy some bath salts. Kids these days!

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