Monday, December 14, 2009

Take Me Away: How to Make Homemade Bath Salt

Homemade gifts are always nice. However, being the non-crafty person I am (I'm trying, I really am), the bulk of my homemade gifts are edible. While cookies are nice and all (I pride myself on making gingerbread cookies that are actually soft), there's something to be said about giving something that won't go bad or that will last a while. Enter my homemade bath salts.

I've never been much of a bath person - I prefer long, ridiculously hot showers. My mom, on the other hand, is an avid bath person. In all my 27 years, I don't think I can remember my mom taking a shower. Not even once. So you've got both ends of the spectrum reporting here - we both love these bath salts. For me, they're an occasional treat and de-stresser. For my mom, they've become a part of her end-of-the-day ritual. These salts are just lovely. They're simple, they smell great, and the baking soda and salts make your skin soft. What's not to love?

To make these bath salts, you just need to follow this simple recipe. In a non-porous bowl (glass or metal is best), mix:

1 part baking soda
3 parts Epsom salt
6 parts sea salt or kosher salt
10 drops of essential oil
a few drops of food coloring

Now, my friend told me that she only used ten drops of essential oil and just a few drops of food coloring. My mom and I use more than that. We start with ten drops of the essential oils and then add more until it smells as potent as we want it to be. Follow your nose on this one, I say. Same goes for the color - we keep adding little bit by little bit until it's at the color we want. I wouldn't recommend going completely nuts with the food coloring - you don't want an orange or red bathtub ring. The salts should be lightly colored (if you notice, the store-bought bath salts are usually just lightly colored).

The thing I love about these bath salts is that you can really personalize them for the intended recipient (or for yourself!). You can use their favorite color (or what matches their bathroom) or a scent that they particularly like. Or, you can take it a step further if you know the person well and use some kind of aroma that would be beneficial for them; lavender to help them sleep, an energizing citrus scent, a romantic rose, or a relaxing eucalyptus or mint, etc. You can even mix scents if you're feeling brave.

There's so much to learn about aromatherapy - I found a helpful introduction on Simple Mom a few months ago. Essential oils can be used in so many ways. Go to a natural/health food store and check out the essential oils you like best. Mom and I have used orange, rose, and cinnamon in our bath salts so far; others we want to try are grapefruit, sandalwood, peppermint, and eucalyptus, among others.

You can put these bath salts in any kind of container. I really like IKEA's 'Slom' jars. I get the 32-oz. one for just $2.99 (they come in various sizes at various prices). I like them because they're just the right size and I like the old-fashioned latch. If you want to take the presentation an extra step, you create some kind of tag or label for your bath salts, indicating what scent they are (or any other information, like the benefits of that scent) or directions (you just add however much you want to the running bathwater - I usually do about a 1/4 cup or so). You could also include it in a gift basket with some other bath-related items. Tie a bow around the jar and you've got yourself a nice, inexpensive gift - with all the good feelings that come with things homemade.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, what a great gift idea!

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