Epsom salts have long been used for beauty and medicinal reasons. In early years, Epsom salts were derived from water at specific springs, but these days it’s mined.
The chemical name for Epsom salts is magnesium sulphate. You may be familiar with magnesium in various forms – it’s most commonly used to treat cramps and muscle aches (by both ingesting supplements and applying topical gels and ointments), but deficiencies may also cause serious medical conditions including heart disease, digestive disorders, and osteoarthritic conditions.
For those conditions, you would have to see a doctor, but here we look at how you can use Epsom salts for beauty and wellbeing purposes.
1. Soothing bath soak. Few things will revitalise a tired, aching body as well as an epsom salt bath. Whether you’re aching due to physical activity, tension or bruising; the magnesium in Epsom salts should soothe your aches in less than half an hour.
Add around two cups of Epsom salts to a warm bath and lie back for 20-30 minutes.
2. Hair volumiser. Epsom salts is a great hair volumiser, and since the chemical makeup is different to actual salt, it won’t dry your hair out either. Mix equal parts Epsom salts and conditioner, and gently heat it (either on the stove or in the microwave) until the Epsom salt dissolves.
Apply the mixture as a hair mask from root to tip and leave for 20 minutes. Shampoo, condition and style as usual.
3. Body scrub. Epsom salts make a gentle yet very effective body polisher that can be used all over. Aside from mechanically polishing away dead skin, it has great skin softening properties too.
Simply mix equal parts Epsom salts and vegetable oil (sweet almond, olive or jojoba are good options) until it forms a paste. You can add more of either ingredient until you get the consistency you prefer. For a more indulgent scrub, add 5 drops of organic essential oil – choose a citrus oil for an uplifting scent, wintergreen for sore muscles or lavender for a pre-bedtime treat.
4. Bug bite relief. If you have mosquito bites that are particularly itchy, an Epsom salt compress will help relieve the discomfort. Soak a cloth in a solution of approximately 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts for every cup of water. Allow the cloth to cool down and place it over the affected area for 5-10 minutes.
Epsom salts can be found in most supermarkets – usually in the baking as well as the cleaning aisles.
Note: A word of warning when using Epsom salts, it’s a powerful laxative, so be careful when using it in your beauty routine. Make sure you don’t ingest any!