DIY EPSOM SALT BATH SOAK

An easy recipe for a relaxing bathtub bliss-out.
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Liza Herz
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An easy recipe for a relaxing bathtub bliss-out.
bathroom with a garden view_cropped

Before I get to this DIY Epsom salt soak, I should confess that I've always had terrible luck with DIY beauty treatments. Sure, I put coconut oil on my hair overnight once a week (a towel over the pillowcase is critical here), but a moisture mask of mashed up bananas felt stupid - like putting baby food on my face. And The Great Homemade Sugar Scrub Experiment was a dismal failure, resulting in an oily mixing bowl and a dangerously slippery bathtub.

But after a winter stay at Scottsdale, AZ’s Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Spa, I needed the Asian Neroli Bath Salts the resort staff had kindly placed in a black lacquer bowl beside my oversized soaker tub so I could "soak in centering, mineral-rich healing waters to release muscle tension, improve circulation and deeply detoxify the whole body."

The tub wouldn’t fit into my bathroom, but the bath salts in a glossy, lidded bowl? I could do that.

DIY epsom salts soak_miso bowls

Custom-made by New York’s Red Flower, the same people who make those insane-smelling blossom-topped candles, the heavenly-smelling salts were accurately described as "an uplifting and revitalizing blend of yuzu, neroli and lemongrass."They were available for purchase only at Sanctuary, or through the spa’s website. So theoretically I could have bought them.*

But then this happened: “Look!” said the cheerleading, overly-optimistic side of my brain to the side that prefers just to hit PayPal. “The ingredients are listed online. We could make this ourselves.”

diy epsom salt soak

bowl-of-epsom-salt-with-scoop

Giddy with unwarranted confidence, I bought yuzu, neroli and lemongrass oils (which ironically cost more than the bath salts) and got to work. And then failed miserably. My version didn’t smell uplifting or revitalizing. My version smelled like a Jolly Rancher.

Into the trash went the whole fruity, crusty mess.

But babysteps, right? Much more successful is this DIY Epsom salt soak:  two cups of Epsom salts (4 kg, $12.29 at well.ca), tipped into the tub under a running tap, followed by a couple shakes each of eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils.

Then soak blissfully in your DIY Epsom salt soak heaven until you’re pruney-fingered and dozy (apparently the magnesium in Epsom salts has a calming effect), while the eucalyptus relaxes your muscles and thaws out your poor winter-chilled bones.

DIY Epsom salts bath_Lotus Aroma Eucalyptus bath & shower gel

And if even that little DIY Epsom salt soak is utterly beyond your capabilities (no judging -- I, of all people, totally understand), for an even quicker eucalyptus hit, Lotus Aroma SOS Bath and Shower Wash ($18 at lotusaroma.com)  is Canadian made, 99.5% natural and packs an impressive eucalyptus wallop.

All you have to do is flip the top and pour.

DIY Epsom Salt Soak_Oympic bobsleigh gold medalist Heather Moyse_Soshi_2014_wearewinter

But what if you don't have a bathtub? Or your tub is so shallow it's merely a shower stall with an oversized lip? Well, a DIY Epsom salt soak + giant green garbage bin = an Olympian-worthy luxury, as per Canadian bobsleigh gold medalist Heather Moyse at the 2014 Winter Games in Soshi.

That's a girl who knows how to DIY.

*I could have bought the Red Flower Asian Neroli Bath Salts just after my stay, but they're no longer listed on the site.

Bathroom image via Pinterest; would love to know who to credit if you know whose image it is, please. Epsom salts in wooden bowl image via innerstrength.com.