Sunday, November 25, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: Creating Christmas presents - bath salts!

These are easy peasy to make - the key is to avoid the urge to add a ton of colouring because too much water in your bath salts can lead to bath rocks in a couple of days! No one wants a big ball of hardened bath salts for Christmas, except maybe your mom when you were eight.

1/4 cup Epsom salts (100 grams)
a few drops of colouring
1 gram or 1 ml of fragrance or suitable essential oil

Weigh or measure the Epsom salts. Add a titch of food colouring and the fragrance oil. Mix well. Put into container. Rejoice.

I think of bath salts as a gateway project for bath & body product crafting. When you realize you can make something like this so easily, you'll want to try other things, like bath bombs or lotion bars. (Those are coming up in the next few days!)

Here's a handout on bath salts. Make one change - do not use 1/4 cup Dead Sea salts! It will turn into a clumpy ball of wet and sopping salts in the bag. Dead Sea salts are humectants, meaning they draw water from the atmosphere to the salts. It's a good thing for our skin, a bad thing for a product. If you use 1/4 cup Dead Sea Salts with 1/4 cup Epsom salts, you will end up with a soppy mess. Try using 1 tablespoon: That's a really nice amount. And DO NOT use Dead Sea salts when you're making fizzy bath salts. They will draw water to the bag and this will set off the fizz and you'll end up with a bag of really hard rocks!

Resist the urge to put a ton of pretty flowers or leaves into your bath salts. They look wonderful in the jar or bag, but who wants to bath with some wet foliage floating around the tub?

As for colouring, you can use food colouring if you want. Just don't use a lot. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Every time I teach a group on bath salts, someone wants to add more than the titch of colouring I suggest. A few days later, they have rocks in bags. I hate to say I told you so, but I really did tell you quite a few times.

Feel free to use different kinds of salts. Using all fine sea salts leads to a finer looking product. I like to use a combination of Epsom and sea salts as it looks really awesome.

If you want to make a layered product, make one colour, put it in the jar, make a second colour, put that on top, and so on. Use the same fragrance for each layer, or at least a fragrance that complements the other ones.

I like cellophane bags for bath salts, which I get from somewhere like Voyageur Soap & Candle or Essential Packaging. You can get them from the dollar store, but they aren't genuine cellophane, which means the lovely fragrance over which you agonized will go away and you'll end up with prettily coloured but fragrance-less bath salts. Make up some cute labels

Related posts:
Handmade Christmas presents - packaging
Aesthetics of our products - labelling

Join me tomorrow for more Christmas crafting ideas!


Mychelle said...

Great idea Susan, thank you! I need to get going on Christmas presents but I don't want to do shampoo bars or lotions this year. Too complicated. Bath salts it is!

Anonymous said...

Say, I don't understand about the Dead Sea Salts. Aren't all salts humectant?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mychelle! I'm sticking to simpler things this year!

Hi Anonymous! No, not all salts are humectants.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I made some bath salt 2 months ego with epsom salt, dead sea salt, baking soda, orange essential oil and some arrow root powder to absorb the essential oil because I wanted it to use paper packaging with plastic lining. It smelt wonderful but now after 2 months the fragrance is almost gone.
Is there anything which keeps the smell longer.
Thank you for all wonderful info.

Whoah Nellie said...

I am so glad I have found your blog! Wish I had sooner, because I have been making bath salt with dead sea salt and epsom salt that has been breaking down into a watery mess. I am not sure I understand what you were saying about that. Did you mean to use 1 tablespoon of dead sea salt for every 1/4 cup of epsom salt?

Would love to hear what you have to say on that.


Deb said...

@Anonymous.... NOT Susan, but my reading tells me the packaging is the issue in fragrance loss.

Susan: in the essential oil (EO) world there are safety concerns about essential oils in bath products that don't contain a solubilizer or dispersant as the oils will come into contact with the skin at full concentration. I know, I know... some poopoo this, but perhaps a "builder beware" note?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Deb,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. In all my years of formulating, I've never come this before, but suddenly this is a thing, which I think is based on an artlcle someone wrote recently. Can you please provide links to reputable scientific sources for this position? I've been asking on all the evidence based groups in which I'm a part, and no one has been able to provide any scientific support for this assertion. I'm open to being wrong about this topic - and believe me when I say I will never write about essential oils again as it's just too much - but I need evidence to show me this is a viable concern.

Deb said...

Hi Susan,
I know, I know... "old", experienced practitioners say they've been doing this for decades, so what's the fuss.

Robert Tisserand brings research to the EO table:

His take on this issue:

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Deb,
Did I fall back on "I've been doing it for decades"? No, I didn't. I said that I have never come upon any concerns about this in the textbooks, journal articles, or groups I've read this until this article was written.

The link to which you've posted, which is the article I referenced in my comment, is hosted by Robert Tisserand, but it's written by Deborah Kallevig, who is absolutely lovely, and I've spoken to her about this article already.

I have posted all over the place asking people to suggest where I can find some evidence based maerials on this topic, and no one can provide them to me. I've spent far too much time doing searches of the materials I have as well as the two computer databases I consult for journal entries, and I cannot find anything on this topic, other than an isolated case or two. I'm open to learning more, but I've done all the searching I can.

Deb said...

I did not say you fell back on "I've been doing it for decades." Practicing aromatherapists fall back on that; you noted there has been a recent concern about this long established practice.

Evidence based materials on this would include logic (oil and water do not mix; oils float on the top of water; some EOs are sensitizing, some can burn the skin) and the specific reports linked via Tisserand. If by 'evidence based' you mean funded, clinical studies to determine specifics of each oil related to this use, they are obviously not going to exist.

And I did agree: evidence on the other side of the argument demonstrates many mix EOs into salts without ever experiencing any problems. I'm simply noting some do experience burns/reactions, concerns do exist about this, and to be on the safe side, using a dispersant/solubilizer would alleviate that.

Not everyone will have a reaction doesn't mean reactions don't happen. Simply, education - formulator be aware.