As someone who loves to give gifts that I have made myself, I know that far too much time can be spent in the lead up to the holiday season considering what to make. Pretty much everyone I know has received some sort of planted item from me, from orchid-laden dish gardens, to terrariums made from old lightbulbs. This year, however, I wanted to expand to a new area of interest: homemade body products. Recently, I made bath salts, and they turned out to be fun, easy, and relatively quick to make.
I was able to get a bunch of the materials I needed for this project right here at Fifth Season, including dried ingredients from our Brew Room, some decorative containers to hold the bath salts, and some Himalayan Pink Salt from our food fermentation section. I also referenced my copy of The Essential Guide to Oils by Jennie Harding that I bought from our store years ago. I took a quick trip to our local food co-op for some essential oils, grabbed a couple ingredients from a local pharmacy, and picked up some salt from the grocery store.
Here was my shopping list:
- Fun Container(s)
- Epsom Salt
- Sea Salt
- Himalayan Pink Salt
- Essential Oils
- Vanilla (extract)
- Pure Glycerin (optional)
- Baking Soda (optional)
- Dried Ingredients
- Dried Grapefruit
- Dried Vanilla Beans
- Dried Rosemary
- Food Coloring (optional)
Admittedly, I could have done with fewer oils, but I made three different Salt recipes, with two to three scents per batch, and will make more items before the holidays are through.
For each batch, I followed the same relative procedure:
- In a mixing vessel, I mixed together 1 cup Epsom salt, ½ cup Sea salt, and ¼ cup Himalayan pink salt. For my containers, I used a couple cooking pots, and a pickle jar. However, mixing bowls would work way better.
- Finely grind any dried ingredients (i.e. Vanilla Beans, Rosemary, etc.) and stir them into the mix. A food processor or coffee grinder would work best. Remember, everything needs to go down the drain at the end of the bath. So, the items should be finely ground. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure out my dried ingredients and just eyeballed them.
- At this point, you can mix in the optional baking soda and glycerin, or not. However, after trying all of the recipes I have made so far, my favorite bath salts were the ones with these two ingredients. They will be in all of my future recipes. If you do use them, I added in ½ cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of glycerin.
- At this point I added the essential oils. I likely went a bit heavy on the oils, but I was hoping for very potent scents. I used 1 tsp of oil per 2 cups of salt/baking soda. Most recipes I have found call for 5-10 drops per 1-2 cups of bath salts.
- If you desire, mix in food coloring. This is one step I do have a strong opinion on. Add a little coloring, and stir until there aren’t any clumps or white areas. The food coloring tends to bead up and I found the backside of a spoon helpful in breaking them up. If you want the salts darker colored, add a bit more, stir, wait a moment, and repeat as desired. I initially added too much to my first batch, and it took days for me to get the pink off of my hands. Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems turning pink in the bath.
- When everything is well mixed, let whole container sit overnight. I found pockets of white salt the next morning, so stir as thoroughly as possible and then some more to be safe. This rest period is useful for a couple reasons: to let the salts dry out, and for any alcohol contained in the oils to evaporate off.
- The next day, use a funnel to pour the contents into your containers. I also used this time to stir a bit more. In one container, I also added some whole vanilla beans. I have dreams of doing the same with dried lavender in the future.
The mixing time took about as long as collecting all of the ingredients: not much at all. I spent far more effort planning which scents to mix. The Guide to Oils book by Harding was a fantastic resource for my research into why to use any particular oils and what they mix with best. Also, I found as many recipes on the internet as I found search results. This is why I repeatedly refer to what I actually measured out. There is a lot of room for experimenting, and definitely tweaking to personal tastes. As with most DIY hobbies, it is most important to have fun. Ultimately, I had a blast making three different bath salts: Rosemary with Grapefruit & Eucalyptus, Cypress & Grapefruit, and Vanilla & Jasmine. I love them all!