small measures

Small Measures: Mother’s Day Bath Salts, 3 Ways

by Ashley

Before I became a parent, I had no idea what folks were talking about when they mentioned just how much time children gobbled up. In fact, during our last birthing class, just before our son was born, I recall hearing one of the midwives tell the group in attendance not to be surprised if we found that we didn’t get around to brushing our teeth or taking a shower in the early days of caring for a newborn. My husband and I chatted on the way home about how ludicrous that sounded, that surely such a fate wouldn’t ever be our lot. Famous last words. We soon learned that, in the first few months of dealing with a newborn, we were lucky if we got to eat a meal together in the same room (sitting down to eat was a serious luxury!), let alone stay as on top of personal hygiene as we’d like.

So when I had the opportunity to take a bath, somewhere several months into being a mother, it was as though rays of light burst through the clouds and transported me to another world. While that bath didn’t last quite as long as ones I’d taken pre-baby, ones wherein an entire magazine was read or multiple chapters of a certain teenage vampire saga were rivetingly consumed, that bath was as glorious as any preceding it. Moms need escapes, and water-based ones, in the comfort of their own homes, can be the balm that heals all wounds.

This Mother’s Day, I’m offering the ladies that do so very much for us three ways of caring for themselves. I’ve got recipes for crafting all-natural Floral, Woodsy, or Citrusy bath salt blends, depending on what scent your mom prefers most. I’m a woodsy gal, so you better believe I’ll be stepping into a hot bath of that stuff come this Sunday, preteen romance in hand or not. Let your mom get taken away this Mother’s Day, too. It’s a simple luxury that’s so very well deserved. –Ashley English

The components of these bath salts are likely already lurking in your pantry and bathroom cupboards. Add in some fragrance and botanical elements, and you’ve got the makings of boutique quality blends. Not only are these great for gifting to mom, they’re wonderful for all kinds of go-to gift giving, from bridal showers to weddings, graduation gifts to birthday parties. Don’t forget to make a little extra for yourself while you’re at it. We’ve all had the type of day where knowing that the foundation of an epic bath is waiting for us at home can keep us publicly intact.

The base for each blend is the same; what varies are the scents and botanical elements you add. I’ll provide the basic recipe, and then give the specific ingredients for crafting each blend.

Homemade Bath Salt Base
-3/4 cup Epsom salt
-3/4 cup Sea salt
-1 cup Baking soda

Floral Blend
-10 drops Rosewood essential oil
-10 drops Sandalwood essential oil
-10 drops Lavender essential oil
-1 Tablespoon Rose petals (organic/no-spray, if at all possible)
-1 Tablespoon Lavender petals

Woodsy Blend
-10 drops Fir essential oil
-10 drops Cedar essential oil
-10 drops Frankincense essential oil
-1 Tablespoon Lapsong Souchong tea
-1 Tablespoon Juniper Berries
-1 Tablespoon Pine Needles (finely chopped; I just plucked some leaves off a pine tree in the woods around my house)

Citrusy Blend
-10 drops Lime essential oil
-10 drops Lemongrass essential oil
-10 drops Grapefruit essential oil
-1 Tablespoon Safflower petals
-1 Tablespoon Hibiscus petals, dried
-1 Tablespoon Lemon peel, dried
-1 Tablespoon Orange peel, dried

The Deal:
1) Place the salts, baking soda, and essential oils you’ll be using in a food processor or blender. Process until the mixture is uniform in texture.
2) Transfer the mixture to a medium size bowl. Add in the botanical elements you’ve selected. Stir with a metal spoon until everything is fully combined.
3) Store the bath salt blend in a covered jar until ready to use.
4) To use, place around 1/4 cup into a small muslin bag or tea bag (readily available at natural foods stores). Secure the top of the bath and place into the bath water as it’s filling.

What about you? Have any homemade beauty products you intend to festoon your Mama with? I’d love to hear about them. As a mom myself, I can’t begin to tell you how exceedingly much we savor any time reserved just for ourselves.

*Images and styling by Jen Altman.

Suggested For You


  • Be careful! Epsom salt and baking soda soaks create an alkaline environment in the bast that can mess up vaginal ph and make some more prone to yeast infections.

  • Unless you are going to douche with the water/bath salts combo, there is no concern. Water does not flow up your vagina. The body has mechanisms to protect us from this – ditto bathing in public swimming pools, oceans etc.

  • I just made a batch of the woodsy blend—in fact, a double batch! It was so easy, fun and fantastically fragrant that I decided to make a custom creation. In the salt base I added jasmine green tea, dried lavender flowers, and jasmine, lavender, tuberose and gardenia essential oils. Oh, and a splash of rosewater. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  • Madeline-Max is correct! They’re Weck jars. I picked mine up at my friend’s local homesteading supply store, Small Terrain (www.smallterrain.com).

    Jamey-I checked with a RN/Herbalist friend of mine, and she confirms what Freda says. The body has means of regulating what flows in and out; unless you’re soaking in these salts daily, it’s not very likely to upset ph balances.

    Maggie-That sounds heavenly!!!

  • Just stumbled upon this post, and I’ll definitely be using the base recipe to make some bath salts! I love that you can add any oils to make your own blend – I might be starting with grapefruit/sandalwood/ginger/lemon for an energizing cellulite bath!