Bath salts are a classic bath product with more potential than you may realize. Though a basic bath salt can be constructed quite easily, without the use of special equipment or expensive ingredients, they can also be enhanced with specialty ingredients to create new twists on an old concept.
Why Bath Salts Work
Salt water has long been prescribed as a cure for what ails you. Physicians have been known to advise patients to bathe in the sea, or routinely take salt baths at home in order to alleviate skin conditions, improve circulation, or as a general restorative. Many natural salts contain healthful minerals such as calcium, magnesium, or potassium. Salt baths are also credited for their cleansing and detoxifying properties.
How to Make Bath Salts
Making a bath salt can be as simple as pouring your favorite kind of salt into a jar and telling the user to pop it in their bath tub. Of course, Bath Salts are much more interesting with the use of Additives. Additives can be used to add color, aroma, and even beneficial properties to your Bath Salts. To create a Bath Salt with all the bells and whistles, use the following formula:
Salt + Aromatic Additive + Color Additive + Beneficial Additives = Bath Salt
We’ll discuss the proportions as we explore each kind of Additive.
The most classic salts to use in the bath are Epsom Salt and Sea Salt. However, there are many more options available. The type of salt you choose for your recipe should depend on its appearance, grain size, and the salts properties. You can also blend salts together to enhance the appearance or properties of your Bath Salts.
- Bolivian Pink Salt: This beautiful, pure salt has been harvested from ancient salt beds located beneath the Andes Mountains. Rich in beneficial minerals, this naturally rosy colored salt makes both a beautiful and beneficial addition to bath salts. Our Bolivian Pink Salt is available in both Fine and Coarse grain sizes, the latter being the most popular for use in Bath Salts.
- Dead Sea Salt -The Dead Sea yields some of the most mineral rich salt found on Earth. Supposedly, bathing in the Dead Sea can have restorative benefits. These benefits are most likely due to the high mineral content present in the salt and clay of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea Salts offered at FromNatureWithLove.com are harvested directly from the Dead Sea, and are available in Fine, Medium, and Coarse Grain Sizes. Our Dead Sea Salts have a lovely, almost translucent appearance, making them a wonderful choice for bath salts. Both the Medium and Coarse grain size would be ideal for this application.
- Dendritic Salt – Usually used as an additive, Dendritic Salt is special because of its unique structure. Grains of Dendritic Salt resemble tiny stars, this special shape allows Dendritic Salt to cover more surface area, meaning that it can retain fragrance better than other salts. Adding Dendiritic Salt to your Bath Salt recipe can help stabilize the aroma, color, and texture of your recipe. It can also help to keep your salt from becoming clumpy over time. To incorporate Dendritic Salt into your Bath Salt recipe, try adding it at around 5% of your total recipe. Aromatic Additives such as Essential Oils or Fragrance Oils should be added directly to the Dendritic Salt before being mixed with the other recipe ingredients.
- Epsom Salt -Also known as Magnesium Sulfate, Epsom Salt has a knack for improving circulation. This makes Epsom Salt a great choice for basic bath salts, foot soaks, medicinal baths, and sore muscle soaks. Unlike natural salts, Epsom Salt has a consistent, bright white appearance, making it very easy to color and scent to taste.
- Icelandic Geothermal Brine – This bright white, finely grained brine has a consistency similar to sand. Icelandic Geothermal Brine is an extremely pure salt that is high in silica, but surprisingly low in sodium. It’s fine texture dissolves instantly in water, leaving the bath feeling silky and soft. Icelandic Geothermal Brine looks lovely when tinted and layered in multiple colors. This technique can create beautiful displays when presented in clear glass bottles and containers.
- Sea Salt -Grains of Natural Sea Salt can vary in size, color, and shape, giving them a very organic appearance. Naturally rich in beneficial minerals, but far less expensive than specialty salts, Sea Salts remain one of the most popular main ingredients in bath salts. Our Natural Sea Salts are available in Fine, Medium, and Coarse Grain Sizes.
There are several options available for adding an aroma to your Bath Salts. Essential Oils, Absolutes, Attars, and some CO2 Extracts are the most effective natural options available. Using natural ingredients can also add an added benefit of Aromatherapy to your Bath Salts. However, because these natural ingredients contain active ingredients you must be very careful when choosing which ingredients to use, and at what percentage to use them. Research any Essential Oil, Absolute, Attar or CO2 Extract carefully before adding it to a Bath Salt Recipe. Look for warnings, health hazards, or other useful information before adding anything to your formula. These types of natural ingredients can generally be added at around 1-3% to Bath Salts, but make sure to heed any warnings or advice that indicates a different usage rate.
While using a natural aromatic ingredients may be the best choice for some formulators, others may prefer to choose from the wide range of aromas available in the form of Fragrance Oils. If you are not opposed to using synthetic ingredients, you may find Fragrance Oils to be a great option for scenting your Bath Salts. Our Cosmetic Grade Fragrance Oils have been specifically designed for use in soap, skin care, and bath products. They are available in over 300 scents, and are easy to use. Fragrance Oils can be used at around 2 – 5 % in Bath Salts. One thing to look for when selecting a Fragrance Oil is whether or not it contains Vanillin. This substance is used to create vanilla-like Fragrances and can cause browning in products. If you choose to use a Fragrance Oil containing Vanillin, make sure that you only use colorants that will compliment a brown hue, or your Bath Salts may lose their visual charm later.
Depending on what you wish your bath salt to accomplish, you can choose from a wide range of additives. These kinds of Additives must be added to Bath Salts at a rate suitable to each particular ingredient.
- CO2 Extracts – These high quality extracts are made from a wide range of herbs and botanicals, many of which are too fragile to survive the steam distillation used to produce Essential Oils. Many CO2 Extracts have strong aromas, but they are mostly used for their properties. Co2 Extracts can vary wildly in color, scent, and consistency. Make sure to experiment with small amounts before creating large batches of bath salts when using CO2 Extracts, just in case the Extract doesn’t turn out to behave how you expected. Like Essential Oils, CO2 Extracts should be used at around 1-3% in Bath Salts.
- Powdered Herbal Extracts – Powdered Herbal Extracts are usually either water soluble, or water dispersible, making them perfect for Bath Salts. These powders will dissolve or disperse in the bath water along with the salts. They must be added to recipes depending on the strength of the extract. The potency of each extract should be denoted in the products name.
- Dried Herbs and Sea Vegetables – Dried Herbs and Sea Vegetables are available in whole, cut, and powdered forms. These ingredients can add color, subtle aroma, and beneficial properties to your Bath Salts. However, it should be noted that Dried Herbs and Sea Vegetables will not fully dissolve in bath water. Keep this in mind when choosing which botanicals to work with and deciding how much to add to your Bath Salts.
- Clays & Dry Muds – These mineral rich powders can add color and cleansing power to your Bath Salts. Clays and Muds are rich in toning and detoxifying minerals. They can be layered with your salts or used to coat the salts in a dusty powder. Usage is up to your own taste, but keep in mind the varying strengths of Clays and Muds when selecting which to use. Also, only use Clays and Muds that are in dry, powdered form.
Adding a pleasant color and appearance to your Bath Salts is an important part of the finished product. Keep the natural color and appearance of the salt you are working with in mind when selecting a Color Additive. You can add as little or as much color as you like in order to give your Bath Salts the appearance you desire.
- FD&C Liquid Dyes – These brightly colored, water based, liquid dyes provide the quickest and easiest way to color Bath Salts. These dyes can be added one drop at a time, giving the formulator plenty of control over the final product. FD&C Liquid Dyes can also be mixed and matched to create and unique shades of color. Unlike Bath Salts colored with powdered Color Additives, Salts colored with FD&C Liquid Dyes tend to retain much of their translucent appearance. It should be noted, though, that these Dyes can bleed into one another when layered, and can lose potency and brightness over time. Also, please note that FD&C Dyes are available in oil dispersible and powder form. These products would not be suitable for making Bath Salts.
- Pearlescent Micas – Pearlescent Micas are powdered, mineral based colorants that provide shimmering opaque color to Bath Salts. Most Pearlescent Micas can be used very scantly to provide intense color. Start out with 1/8 teaspoon per 1-2 cups of salt, and add more if needed. Though these Micas will add some color to dry salt, they coat most evenly when added to Bath Salts directly after a wet ingredient, such as Fragrance Oil, or Essential Oil is added. Most Pearlescent Micas will not fade over time or bleed when added to layered salts, however, some Micas, especially those containing FD&C dye will bleed. Be sure to experiment with the colors to see how they will behave over long periods.
- Ultramarines & Oxides – Another line of mineral based colorants, Ultramarines & Oxides can be the trickiest of our Color Additives to use. These powders provide opaque, matte color, and are oil dispersible. To coat salt evenly using an Ultramarine or Oxide you’ll need to incorporate some kind of oil. However, you don’t want to make your Bath Salts too slick by adding too much oil. Try mixing the Ultramarine or Oxide in a small dish with a few drops of Carrier Oil to create a slurry. Add your chosen Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil to the dish and stir again. Pour the mixture into your salt and stir well. This method should provide a fairly even coating of color on your salts, but you may want to experiment to find another method of application that works well for you. Like Micas, you’ll only need to use a small amount of Ultramarine or Oxide to color your salts. Start out with 1/8 teaspoon per 1-2 cups of salt, and add more if needed. Be careful not to add too much of your Oxide or Ultramarine colorant, or it can leave the tub rather messy.
Once you have created a Bath Salt recipe that you love, you’ll need to package it. Salts can be ruined by humidity in the air so it is important that you choose an airtight container for long term storage of your salts. It is also important not to underestimate the power of the scents contained in the salts. Porous materials, such as plastic can wick scents in and out of even the most tightly sealed containers. Make sure you keep each variety of Bath Salts you create separate.
- Cellophane Bags – Tightly sealed Cello Bags are an attractive, but economic choice for packaging Bath Salts. Ribbons, tags, or colored twist ties can enhance the appearance of these bags.
- Tin Tie Bags – With or without windows, these lined papr bags make for a beautiful Bath Salt presentation. These are especially suitable for giving large portions of Bath Salt and look great when packaged with one of our Wooden Scoops.
- Bail Jars – These beautiful glass jars come in both round and square shapes. They hold a hefty amount of salt. Our Beveled Wooden Scoops look lovely accompanying our Glass Bail Jars.
- PET Jars – These heavy duty, clear plastic jars come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and come with a variety of caps.
- Flint Glass Jars – Available in a wide range of sizes, these sturdy glass jars look gorgeous holding colored salts.