Friday, December 11, 2009

Bath Salts

Every year I make some bath products for gifts for friends and regular customers for the winter holidays. Sometimes it's a bath or massage oil, or sugar scrub, and last year it was bath salts, which turned out really nicely. Bathing rituals, short or long, seem to be an important thing in the winter time. A hot bath helps to bring the heat back to your body if you spent just a little too much time running around outside and freezing your legs off. It's also a way to unwind and relax in this stressful season preparing for the holidays and making sure there's enough food on the table for the season. And lastly, it can be invigorating to take a bath if leaving the house is nearly out of the question and you start suffering from cabin fever. Especially a fragrant one!

A few weeks ago (just before my back got the best of me), I went back to the bath salts I created last year and modified them a bit to make them even better.

I pack most of them in those little tiny pickling jars I found and they are really cute. They have enough room for 100gr of bath salts and make a perfect little gift that smells heavenly. This year, I decided to use some ground-glass lab bottles that I didn't have any other use for and they look fantastic. I am on the lookout for more fun glass containers (like the shell one in the front, which I found in an antique shop). The salts I using this year vary, for the Geranium and for the Yuzu bath salts I now use Himalayan rock crystal salt, which is naturally pink and gorgeous.

As far as the scents go - I modified the formulas for a few of them, making them essentially simpler. I find that simpler is better with bath products - they seem to blend better with the base and not change or turn as much over time as the really complex perfumey ones do.

Another thing that had to change in the formulation was the salts ratio. Last year I used a recipe from a certain book that called for baking soda in addition to the salt. The result was a disaster: the soda absorbed all the oils, and turned the whole mix into a solid yet moist chunk of smelly salts. Besides, once I was able to get it out of the jar, it had those fizzy soda things floating in the bath. It just seemed very unnecessary to have soda in there. Using a combination of salts (sea salt, epsom salt and other exotic salts if you can find them) is a much better idea.

They all remained true to their essence and you might not even notice the difference if you tried them last year:
Hinoki is inspired by the Japanese wooden bath, usually carved in hinoki wood which is particularly resilient and has an exotic, tranquil and serene aroma. Here is it blended with the Japanese wood oils of hinoki (Japanese cypress), shiso leaf and seaweed to create an extraordinary bathing experience.
Yuzu is a Japanese citron, a fruit that is used in bathing rituals during the Winter Solstice. The bath salts are citrusy and refreshing and while being sweet it also has a hint of greenness to it from the Japanese mint and rosemary. It's mouthwateringly delicious with additional notes of litsea cubeba, grapefruit and clementine.
Geranium is the same gorgeous, luscious fruit geranium with vanilla and myrrh undertones and citrus spark.
Lavender is herbaceous yet sweet with the addition of licorice notes (tarragon, aniseed) and yummy vanilla.
Lastly, Spruce, which was based on the original Bois d'Hiver bath salts. It's still very similar in concept - incensey woods, coniferous notes and spices. However, instead of fir, spruce takes the centre piece and it's a little more refreshing, balsamic and less sweet and jammy. I think it's far more appropriate for a bath and the sandalwood lingers on the skin beautifully after leaving the bath. The new formula smells so different I had to change the name.

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