What’s the Big Deal with Bath Salts?

relaxing bath saltsI’m not talking about the bath salts in the news recently that get you high and are only called bath salts so they can get away with selling them. I’m talking about bath salts that you add to your bath water. If you frequent Whole Foods or other similar stores, you’ve seen the heavenly smelling bath salts and soaps but may not realize what exactly they are.

As with so many beauty products, we’ve been sold the idea that we have to buy the complicated and pricey store-bought version in order to get the benefits. The beauty industry is making a ridiculous amount of money through smart marketing, and if you are like me, you just love trying out new beauty regimens and pretty packages. It’s only been within the past year that I have started truly educating myself on what is in the products I put on and in my body. Up until then I was pretty clueless. Hopefully my discoveries and experiments can help others.

Back to the subject at hand, bath salts. Bath salts are simply Epsom salt with other salts sometimes added in as well as color and fragrances. The base of the product and the main beneficial ingredient is Epsom salt even with other items thrown in the mix. Epsom salt isn’t actually a salt; it’s the naturally occurring mineral magnesium sulfate. It’s soluble in water which just means if you pour it in your bath water, it quickly dissolves.

There are many uses and claims made about Epsom salt. Check out the Epsom Salt Council for all sorts of information and uses including some great craft ideas. In bath products Epsom salt soothes tired muscles and the magnesium and the sulfates are absorbed through the skin. About 68% of American adults consume less than the recommended amount of Magnesium daily, so we can definitely use a boost from our bath water.

Magnesium and sulfates are both extremely beneficial in eliminating toxins, boosting serotonin, healing skin problems and treating colds. Check this out for more information on the benefits of Epsom salt.

peppermintDIY BATH SALTS

You can keep your homemade bath salts super inexpensive and simple by just purchasing a bag of Epsom salt from your local grocery store or pharmacy. You’ll find the Epsom salt near the bath and beauty products usually in the same area as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and other similar items.


Epsom Salt (Approximately 1/3 cup per bath)



Essential Oil (Approximately 10 drops per cup of Epsom salt) – Some essential oils can be irritating to skin so do your research beforehand! There are also some that are not recommended for pregnant women. Many store bought bath salts contain artificial fragrance which is a synthetically produced fragrance. I don’t use any fragrance oils at all because I stay away from synthetic products. Essential oils are distilled from flowers, leaves, bark, etc of plants. They are extremely fragrant and a little goes a long way.

Lavender is wonderful as an evening bath additive for it’s soothing properties. Peppermint and Rosemary are invigorating and great as a morning bath. Rose essential oil is also a fabulous addition to bath salts but it’s extremely expensive (1 oz of Rose Absolute is currently $243 and the Bulgarian organic version is currently $359.25 at Mountain Rose Herbs!)

Ground Dried Flowers (Approximately 1 tsp per cup of Epsom salt – messy but nice) – I like to match up my flowers with my essential oils so I’ll often add lavender flowers to my evening bath in addition to lavender essential oil or a peppermint/rosemary addition in the morning.

Carrier Oil  like Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba, etc. (1 tsp per cup of Epsom salt) – This is nice and helps moisturize your skin because the salt can be drying, however it will also leave you will an oily tub so be sure to clean the tub well afterwards!

Aloe Vera Gel (1 tsp per cup of Epsom salt) – Aloe Vera has wonderful healing properties. I like to add the aloe vera juice to my bath water, but the juice does have to be kept in the refrigerator so if I’m making a batch, I’ll usually add the gel.

Colors/Dyes – Many store-bought bath salts contain artificial dyes which I stay away from. I use natural dyes for my products whether for personal use or to sell. I love using fine Himalayan pink salt in my salt scrubs for the texture as well as the pink color. I also use beet root powder in my Christmas and Valentine’s Day bath salts to add color.

Other Salts – There are a variety of other salts that you can use in your bath salts. You will primarily want to stick with Epsom salt though, because that’s the one that is giving you the benefits. I like to add in other salts for my salt scrubs but stick mainly with Epsom in bath salts.


*NOTE: You can also use fresh flowers and fresh juices if you are using your salts immediately, but any fresh ingredients will rot so keep that in mind.



Pour approximately 1/3 cup or more under running bath water. Stir any undissolved salts around to dissolve completely once you get in the tub. Relax and enjoy!


I purchase my Epsom salt (as well as my other salts used in beauty products) from Saltworks which is based in Washington state. In addition to bulk salts, they sell smaller quantities and have a huge variety of gourmet sea salts. I like the variety, the pricing and the fact that they are a US based company.

Check out my current bath salts for sale or make your own and tell me about it in the comments!

Bath Salts

* All information is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About Toni South

I am a mom who has become a fanatic about handmade bath and beauty products after much research into the toxic chemicals that I was surrounding myself with. I am striving to educate others as I learn myself. I'm an experimenter, learner and teacher!



  1. How to Make Your Own Salt & Sugar Scrubs - Toni SouthToni South - January 24, 2013

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