Thursday, December 30, 2010

Soaking in Bliss

Today is my dear friend Caren's birthday and I finally got it right. For years I kept telling myself it was on New Year's Eve, then I convinced myself it was December 29, and actually went to bed last night thinking, "Oh, no! I talked to her on the phone this afternoon and forgot to say 'Happy Birthday'!" But I didn't mess up this year.
     A few years ago someone gave Caren a really big bag of Dead Sea salts and she passed a generous supply on to me.  They were great for soaking sore muscles, like after a long day working in the garden. But being the kind of person I am, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I love aromatherapy and skin-softening ingredients, and hence my bath salts have evolved.
I scented the above batch with my own favorite relaxing fragrance blend, based on three essential oils: the dominant note is patchouli, tempered with sweet orange and an undercurrent of lavender, not enough to really identify as such, but it adds to the relaxing effect. A nice beginning to a mellow and possibly romantic evening. 
     Joe also enjoys a relaxing bath, and for him I add rosemary and peppermint essential oils to the basic unscented blend, since he likes a morning bath and those fragrances are energizing (and he really likes them, especially the rosemary).
     I have read that actual salts, even sea salts, are really not good for the skin (read the labels on your bath salts - if sodium chloride is the first or one of the main ingredients, beware; the manufacturer is taking the cheap way out). So now I use epsom salts, which do everything we want a bath salt to do - relax us, relieve sore muscles, even soothe some skin rashes or eczema. The recipe below also contains powdered milk, oatmeal, oil, and honey, all of which soothe the skin.  In addition, the honey acts as a humectant, attracting moisture to the skin, softening it while also relieving rashes, skin irritations, or sunburn.

Pantry Bath Salts
2 cups epsom salts
1/2 cup dried milk powder
1/2 cup oatmeal (any kind_
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. oil (olive, jojoba, canola, any vegetable oil)
25-30 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice
       In a bowl, combine salts with dried milk powder.  In a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor, grind oats to a fine powder; add to salt/milk mixture and thoroughly combine.  Add the oil and honey (measure the oil first, then use the same spoon to measure the honey and it will slide right out without sticking). Mixing in the oil and honey is messy and you'll probably want to get in there and use your hands to break up as many lumps as possible - don't worry if there are a few small lumps left in.  Add your fragrance oils a little at a time, checking the aroma effect as you go.  I like my bath salts well-scented, but it is possible to get carried away.  Incidentally, when I washed my hands after I finished mixing these salts, they felt and smelled incredible! 
       I start with 10 drops of rosemary and 5 of peppermint for Joe's blend, and then add more of each, a few drops at a time, till I like the effect (which may vary depending on the brand or age of your oils - patchouli gets richer and more mellow over time but that's not the case with other scents).
For mine, I start with 10 drops of patchouli, 10 of sweet orange, and 5 of lavender.

Happy New Year to everyone! I'm not big on formal resolutions, but this time of year I like to remind myself to treat others well (like maybe with a birthday gift of bath salts) and also to treat myself occasionally. A nice, long, hot, fragrant, soothing bath, with a bath pillow, a book, and maybe a cup of tea, is one very nice way to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment