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  • Writer's pictureVicki Liston

Bath Salts

Bath salts are beautiful and add a delicious dimension to a well-deserved hot bath! And if you know how to make them yourself, they also become an inexpensive luxury. These are not only a welcome treat for me but are a huge hit as gifts. Recently, I helped a young pre-teen friend make several types of bath salts and bath fizzies for a birthday party she was attending. As it turned out, the birthday girl's parents relayed that her 'spa day' gift was her favorite present and she's used them up already! I've even made salts in bulk as holiday gifts and packaged them in gorgeous wine decanters. My recipients love being able to soak away the holiday stress then have a pretty bottle for continued enjoyment.

For bath salts, Epsom salt is most widely used. But did you know that different types of salts provide different levels of mineral content? I mix in Epsom, sea salt, kosher salt, pickling salt, and even rock salt for their various mineral contents. Using multiple types of salts also makes the final product more visually interesting as each salt's granules have different sizes and shapes. Note - larger granules, like rock salt, take longer to dissolve. Keep this in mind when you sprinkle your salts into the tub. Accidentally sitting on a sharp rock salt grain can be an unwelcome surprise... (been there, done that...) I like to use one and a half cups of bath salt mixture to a hot bath. Here's what you'll need: * One and a half cups of salts. You can either just do that entire amount in Epsom salt or mix it up with multiple types. Make sure most of the salt is Epsom for best results in sore muscle soaking. For example, you can use one cup of Epsom, one fourth cup of pickling salt, and one fourth of sea salt. Just end up with one and a half cups of salt with the predominant salt being Epsom.

* 10-12 drops of essential oil or fragrance oil (please, please, please see disclaimer about essential oil below)

* 1/4 teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as almond, jojoba, or castor oil. - this is only needed if you use an essential oil.

* Food coloring - this is not required if you just want a white salt but I love matching the scents I use to a color (purple for lavender scent, green for tea tree or rosemary scents, etc). You can also use the coloring to match your décor. You only need a couple of drops, depending on how dark you want the color.

* Large plastic bowl, small plastic bowl and disposable plastic fork. Metal can sometimes react to the essential oil so I prefer to use plastic. * A pretty container to hold your finished salts if you don't plan on using them immediately - thrift stores and yard sales are a mecca for finding containers. A used cut glass decanter or large mason jar becomes the perfect way to store and display your beautiful salts. *** A quick disclaimer about essential oils - never, never use essential oils directly on your skin. Most real essentials can actually burn you. Mixing with the carrier oil first will dilute it so it's safe to use. If you go with a fragrance oil (otherwise known as fake essential oils), those won't need to be diluted but make sure they are rated for topical use. Many room deodorizing fragrance oils are not appropriate for topical use. Finally, if you are pregnant or have small children, please do a little research on the type of essential oil you plan to use. Some essentials can trigger labor and others, such as clove oil are poisonous to babies and small children. Fragrance oils are synthetic and do not have the same physiological properties so they don't pose the same dangers.

Got everything you need? Time to mix! Put the carrier oil in the small plastic bowl and add 10 drops of essential oil. Mix very well (if you are using fragrance oil, you can skip this step). Place your salt in the large plastic bowl and pour your carrier/essential mix or fragrance oil in. Use the fork to mix it up, paying attention to break up the chunks of salt/oil chunks that will want to stick together. I spend about five full minutes mixing everything up to ensure I have broken up all the chunks and the oil is even distributed. Add one drop of food coloring and continue using the fork to mix and break up chunks. Depending on your desired color, you may add another drop. The salts are white so they start as a lighter shade first and will darken with each drop. Darkening can happen quickly so just go with one drop at a time and mix in thoroughly.

Once you have everything mixed well, enjoy them in a hot bath or fill your container and close tightly. If the salts are allowed to sit for a while, they'll start to stick together. Just give the container a shake or use a fork to separate and they are ready for use!

That's it! In just a few minutes, you'll have a luxurious gift guaranteed not to be regifted. or skip giving it away for a well-deserved 'me time' for you!

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