Bath salts and other nice smelling things have become very popular. To be honest I've always liked nice smelling things. In fact, I have a whole ledge in the bathroom devoted to all my smellies. Some are commercially made and others are things I've made myself. By far the things I've made are the most satisfying to use. With homemade products, you know exactly what is in them, how old they are and how much to use in the bath water. This can be an advantage even when you aren't bathing in preparation for a ritual.
It is pretty common today to treat yourself with a nice relaxing bath with a bath salt that is supposed to relieve stress but find all it does is make you come up in a rash. That has happened to more people than I can count. Believe it or not, bathtub catastrophes are the worlds best kept secret. No one wants to admit they used a vanilla bath salt the other night and now have an embarrassing rash in unmentionable places. The main ingredients in bath salts do not cause most of these problems. The preservatives, colors and artificial scents are the most likely culprit. Such artificial ingredients aren't usually needed but modern companies still waste their money adding them. I suspect they do so for the private chuckle they get when we phone them after our lovers see the rash and make wild assumptions.
Still, with all that said we buy the commercial product. I know I shouldn't but it is more convenient to buy the overpriced block of salt in the grocery store, then go to three different drug stores to track down the ingredients. If you are like me and have attacks of conscience, you will occasionally wish to make your own. When I do suddenly catch the urge to make my own, it is much cheaper, safer and incredibly easy to make bath salts. I can also make large batches that will last me quite a while.
A basic recipe can make as much as you want. Just be sure to keep the ratio between the ingredients the same. There are also many different recipes out there so experiment as much as you like but sometimes simplicity is best. Even after making bath salts for years I can make mistakes.
Basic Bath Salts
2 cups of Epsom Salts
2 Cups of Salt
1/2 cup of Baking soda
1 Tablespoon of Glycerin
1/2 Tablespoon Oil (Almond, Olive or Grape Seed is best)
Add all of the dry ingredients together. Mix them well so they are thoroughly blended. Try to use good quality salt like sea or mineral salt but table salt will work in a pinch. Add the glycerin and oil to the mixture and then blend. This can take awhile so don't get impatient. You don't want large clumps in the end product. You can also add this to a blender or food processor if you wish to make things go faster. Just remember to clean the blender or processor afterwards.
The salts should not be wet to the touch or totally dry. If you don't feel that the salts are dry or wet enough, add more of the ingredient you think it needs. Once the wet ingredients are mixed well into the dry, decide which essential oils you wish to use. Take the mixture out of the blender or processor before you add the essential oils or else your next dinner will taste very strange.
If you want a refreshing scent, try peppermint and lavender. Vanilla and cinnamon is lovely too. Rose and sandalwood is good for relaxing. Instinct can often draw you to the scents that will benefit you. Don't double guess yourself when you smell something nice and want to blend it with another nice smelling oil. Sometimes it's just nice to soak in a bath that smells good. Aromatherapy books are a wonderful source for the properties of oils. If you are not familiar with an oil, consult a book. It can tell you which oils it blends best with and what it does. Also remember to make sure the essential oil is blended into carrier oil such as olive before you use it. The concentration of the solution should be 2%. More essential oil than that and you could very well get a rash. Allergies love lurking, waiting for you to dare fate. Try doing a skin test first!
When you add your essential oils, do it a few drops at a time. It is easy to become over eager and just add a whole lot in. This means you have a bath salt that doesn't mix properly and is too strong. If such an accident occurs, use less in the bath. It doesn't work as well but it is better than throwing it out. Always add a little less essential oil than you think is necessary to the 2% solution. This is a safty measure just to be sure. There is often the temptation to add more as your nose will get used to the smell but try not to.
If you are not sure which scents you wish to use in the future, make up a batch without essential oils. Before you wish to use them, add a few drops of oil to the amount you wish to use. Mix it together and then add to your bath. Just remember that bath salts mature. This means that a batch with essential oils added, which is a few days old, is stronger than a just made batch. Remember to check your bath salts regularly! They do go off! To slow the process you can buy evening primrose oil in gel caps. Prick the caps and add roughly a tablespoon to the mixture. Evening primrose oil has a natural preservative and is kind to your skin.
Colors can be added using food coloring should you wish. Blend primary colors for more exotic shades in a teaspoon before adding so that the salts do not come out blotchy. I've also found if I add a little water to the colors it takes less work to blend them.
Once the bath salts are mixed, store in jars or zip-lock bags. Keep them from the air and the direct sun. How much you want to add to your bath is up to you. Try roughly a handful.