The best tips for making homemade bath salts center on keeping recipes simple. Some of the best homemade bath salts are little more than natural salt mixed with a bit of fragrance. Essential oils, extracts, and perfumes should always be used sparingly, and artificial color should usually be avoided. Bath salt makers can get variety by using different kinds of salts, and adding different natural elements like petals and herbs.
When it comes to homemade bath salts, simple recipes are often just as successful, if not more so, than recipes that involve a number of complex steps. The benefits of a salt soak are usually intrinsic to the salts themselves, regardless of what is added. There is really no difference between salts and bath salts other than their intended purpose. Often, the only thing differentiating other salts from bath salts is their presentation.
Nevertheless, it is always important to choose at least moderately textured salts when creating bath salts. Table salt and kosher salt — or really any particularly fine-grained salts — are not usually a good choice for homemade bath salts. Most are made from coarser salts that will take a bit longer to dissolve. Epsom salts are traditional favorites for this use. Dead Sea salt, coarse sea salt, grey salt, and pink rock salt are also generally good options, though they tend to be a little more costly.
Many salt makers combine different kinds of salts to make a unique bath salt mixture. Using different colors, textures, and sizes can make an aesthetically pleasing presentation. A variety of salts can also work together to impart a unique soaking sensation.
Visual aesthetics are usually not the only goal of bath salt making. Many people are also looking to create an aromatherapeutic experience. Salt makers can infuse their creations with a certain essence or fragrance by adding a few drops of highly concentrated extracts to their salts before they are used.
Almost any aromatherapy oil can be used in bath salts, though salt makers should be careful not to overdo it. Usually one to two drops of the oil is enough. Most aromatherapy oils are highly concentrated, and are designed to be infused and dissipated into the air, not soaked into the skin. Oils penetrate salts best when sealed in an airtight container and left to absorb for at least a few hours.
Many common kitchen extracts, including vanilla and almond, also make good bath salt additives. These can be used more generously, but it is still usually a good idea to limit application to a few drops, at least at first. More creative salt makers can also experiment with adding herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, to make more unique scented bath salts. The salt typically acts as a preserving agent, keeping even fresh herbs from going bad. Bathers who do not like the idea of herbs and other non-dissolvable elements floating in the bath can tie the mixtures in a bit of cloth before dropping them into the water.
Another important homemade bath salts tip pertains to color. Colored bath salts can be desirable in a variety of circumstances, but the wrong additives can have extreme consequences. Ordinary food coloring, for instance, can lead to very vibrant bath salts, but also usually colors the bath water as well — and sometimes even the bather. Food-safe dyes and non-toxic coloring agents are safe for skin contact, but often stain porcelain bathtubs. The best thing a salt maker can do is to look for cosmetic-grade pigments and dyes.
Packaging is also an important part of making bath salts. They usually look best when stored in decorative jars or flasks, but all that is really required is an airtight container of some sort. Salts stored out of direct sunlight and away from regular air exposure last the longest.