Best Bath And Salt Scrubs
Elise Krohn, Herbalist
Here we are, heading into winter again. As the blustery winds pick up and the frost dusts the leaves, my body instinctively wants to slow down and hibernate. Winter is the time of darkness, silence, dreaming. It is in these cold quiet days that I am most able to access my inner spark. What is better than sitting in front of a fire with a cup of tea in hand pondering the light in darkness? The Best Bath And Salt Scrubs will complete a cozy night in.
Calming Your Senses
For many of us, the longing for a peaceful winter season is shattered by the imminent arrival of the holidays. Social gatherings, gift buying and work events add up to frantic busyness. I get easily swept up in that addictive current. In quiet moments I realize my nervous system is in overdrive. How much “magic of the season” can you really absorb when you are doing so much?
A couple years ago I decided to disengage in the holiday madness by trying to do less, but make what I do more meaningful. I started creating my own gifts. Not only did this end up to be less expensive, it was also less time-consuming. The hours I avoided driving in pounding rain in holiday traffic were priceless. At home I became a kitchen alchemist, blending lotions, lip balms, bath fizzies, teas and other treats. The gifts that took the cake were bath salts and salt scrubs. Luckily, they were also the easiest and least expensive.
Salts and Scrubs to Sooth the Winter Blues
The recipes that follow are my favorites. They are simple and easy to make. Experiment. Let your nose guide you into blending a scent that tantalizes. Do not worry too much about getting exact measurements. The recipes are forgiving. Sea salts are available in bulk at most natural food stores. Epsom salts can be found at any grocery store. Essential oils and body oils are available at herb stores, body care stores or health food stores. Cheers to scrubbing your worries away and steeping in the magic of winter!
Recipes – Basic Bath Salts
3/4 part sea salt or Epsom salts (fine, coarse or a combo)
1/4 part baking soda
15 drops essential oils per 1 cup of mixture
Mix all ingredients thoroughly with the flat bottom of a spoon so essential oil is completely blended into the salts. Place in a decorative jar or tight-sealing plastic bag. Use about 1/2 cup of salts per bath.
Optional ingredients: Adding 1-2 teaspoons of oil (grape seed, jojoba or olive oil) per cup of salts will help prevent the salts from getting hard or clumping. You can add rose petal, calendula flower or lavender flower to the salts to make them look beautiful. The flowers will rehydrate and float in the tub. Use about 1-2 Tbl. of flower petals per cup of salts.
Choosing a Scent for Your Salts and Scrubs
You will want to use pure essential oils for scenting your creations. Avoid fragrance oils as they are chemically derived and do not have the same medicinal benefits as essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated, so it takes a very small amount to scent a large volume of salts or scrubs. You can use a single oil or do combinations. Each oil has its own unique effects on the mind and body. Rule number one is follow your nose. Your senses will tell you what you need. Most oils are safe topically, but check with a knowledgeable sales person or a reference book to make sure. The following scents are some of my personal favorites.
Ah, to sink into the soothing fragrance of lavender. This oil is said to cool the heart and comfort the mind. Lavender is excellent for the skin and is often tolerated by people with sensitive skin. The essential oil is used for anxiety, insomnia, headaches and irritability.
Euphoria – Equal parts vetiver, ylang ylang and orange
This blend is sweet, earthy and grounding. It is the perfect oil for lovers or for waking up the sensual spirit within you. All three of these oils are used to alleviate anxiety, nervousness and tension. Orange oil is said to bring joy and warmth to those who are around it. It is perfect for those who take life too seriously and forget to laugh.
Equal parts orange, lemongrass and bergamot.
Citrus scents are reminiscent of summer days, cleanliness and light-hearted ease. This blend helps clear the mind, lift the spirits and ease tension and nervous strain.
Rosemary for remembrance, but also for stimulating circulation, easing tired muscles, warming cold feet and soothing tired legs. Also, rosemary is said to wash away mental fogginess and help people feel clear-headed. It is no wonder it was such a beloved plant to the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.
Black spruce combined with Douglas fir, cypress or pine. Black spruce trees grow in the high mountains where winter snow weighs down the branches so that they are almost touching the trunk of the tree. Miraculously, in the spring time the snow melts and the branches spring back up. This is where the term “spruce up” comes from. The scent is reminiscent of Christmas tress and seems to dispel the gloominess of winter. Spruce is used to rejuvenate the adrenal glands for those who have had long periods of stress and for women in menopause. Cypress, Douglas fir and pine can be mixed with black spruce oil.
Basic Salt Glow
3 parts fine grain sea salt
1 part oil – jojoba, grape seed, almond (see choices listed below)
Essential oils to scent
Optional – 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil per cup of mixed ingredients as a preservative and for skin health.
Soothing Soak for Sore Muscles
1 c. sea salt
1 c. Epsom salt
1/4 c. baking soda
1 tbsp. powdered ginger
Add up to 20 drops of a blend of any of the following pure essential oils: rosemary, eucalyptus, wintergreen, peppermint, lavender.
Blend ingredients together. Store in a covered container. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per bath to relieve sore muscles, painful joints and athletic injuries.
Mix the oil and salt together so it forms a mud-like consistency. Add your essential oils so that it smells strong enough for your liking. This is usually about 15 drops per cup. Once your scrub has been transferred into the desired containers and allowed to sit for a while the salt will settle. There will be about a 1/4 of an inch or so of oil on the top. Don’t panic, this is very typical for this type of scrub.
When using salt scrubs, take a shower and wet your skin. Turn the water off and take a handful of the scrub. Massage into your skin. You can use this everywhere except the face. The salts will act as an exfoliant, while the oil will remain and hydrate the skin. Turn the shower back on and rinse off the salts with water. Caution: the oil may remain on the bottom of the tub and cause it to be slippery. If so, wipe the oil out with a cloth before the next person gets in the shower.
Oil Choices for Salt Scrubs
There are many excellent oil choices for body care products. Whenever possible, purchase oils that are cold-pressed and organic. Store in a cool dark place in airtight containers. The shelf life of different oils varies; so always smell to make sure they are not rancid (can smell like spoiled butter).
Often used for massage because it is easily absorbed and is nutritive for the skin. Contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The shelf life is usually 6 months to a year, depending on how it is stored. Be careful when using nut oils, as people who are allergic to eating them can react topically.
Pressed from apricot kernels. High in vitamin B-7, which helps the skin to assimilate nutrients. It also has a high content of essential fatty acids and vitamin A. It is more stable than almond oil.
A heavier oil that is extremely nourishing. Made from the pressed pulp of the avocado fruit. It contains many vitamins and minerals including A, C, D, E, beta-carotene, lecithin, fatty acids and potassium.
From the seeds of wine grapes. This light and odorless oil is an excellent choice for people with nut allergies. High in vitamins, minerals and protein. It is inexpensive and is often used as a lotion or massage oil base. Very high antioxidants that prevent rancidity and cellular damage.
Actually a liquid wax, jojoba is pressed from the seeds of a desert shrub. It is pronounced “ho ho ba”. Additionally, it was used by Native Americans in the Southwest to treat burns, cuts, sores and as a skin and hair conditioner. It has a close chemical structure to human sebum and penetrates the skin easily. Contains proteins, minerals and a wax that mimics collagen. Good for all skin types. People with acne, psoriasis, very dry skin or sensitive skin respond well to jojoba as a body oil. Has a natural SPF of 10. Although expensive, jojoba has a very long shelf life.
Olive oil is as excellent for your skin as it is to eat. With its high vitamin, mineral and protein content, it is also said to be the secret to Greek women’s beauty. It contains polyphenols, making it a great antioxidant and very shelf stable. It is a heavier oil, but is highly moisturizing and penetrating to the skin.
Pressed from North American sunflower seeds and rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin A and E it is excellent for dry, sensitive, or damaged skin and has some UV protection. However, make sure to buy cold-pressed and organic oil which is readily available.
Natural vitamin E is an antioxidant and extends the shelf life of your product. It is anti-inflammatory to the skin and helps promote healing after injury. Make sure to buy d-alpha-tocopherol rather than synthetic Vitamin E acetate. It is thick like honey.
This article was written by Elise in 2006 for Pure E-Magazine.