|Glycerin - at From Nature With Love|
When discussing the making of bath salts, it's important to think about what ingredients go into the process, and more specifically, what are the best ingredients to choose in order to achieve the highest quality final product. An ingredient found frequently in many bath salt recipes is glycerin (or, "liquid glycerin").
Glycerin is a rich, concentrated, colorless and odorless liquid. Found naturally in plant extracts and animal lipids, it is known for its beneficial health and beauty applications, and used in "natural" bath and body products. Because of its odorless and colorless attributes, it is a common addition to bath salts; it does not interfere with added essential oils, fragrances, and pure or unbleached Epsom or Sea Salts, which are often white in color.
The unique properties and benefits of glycerin in bath salts allow it to be classified for use mainly as an emollient, humectant or lubricant in skin care products. Generally thought of as a water-loving humectant, glycerin often gets used to improve hydration, drawing water in and thought to improve skin's overall moisture.
Chemically speaking, glycerin is technically an alcohol in the form of a thick liquid that is soluble in other alcohols, and also soluble in water. This is one of the main reasons that glycerin is thought to be ideal for use in skin care products. Any additive that encourages highly moisturizing effects, is thick in texture and consistency, and keeps skin moist should be the perfect additive for bath salts, right?
Bath salt recipes, which generally consist of Epsom, Dead Sea (or other highly granular salt), essential oils, moisturizers and glycerin, are highly beneficial for the skin and generally easy to prepare at home. The beauty of bath salts use of glycerin is that it is a process of using natural additives in order to detoxify and cleanse both mind and body, while relaxing in a warm bath. While a few of the main objectives of using bath salts are relaxation and detoxification, it would be nice to also moisturize the skin as well!
There has been some speculation that perhaps using glycerin as an additive to bath salts does more harm than provides health benefits. Because glycerin is really great at absorbing moisture, there is concern that it can draw moisture out and into the bath salts themselves. The issue with this is that, due to glycerin's tendency to draw all moisture from the atmosphere to itself, the result can be clumping of the bath salts. The idea in making good quality bath salts is a clean, even consistency and purpose; not clumpy and difficult to use salts.
Glycerin as an additive to other bath and body products often gets lumped in with its use in bath salts; however, this can be a mistake, as the chemical properties of the salt can react unfavorably with glycerin. For example, if preparing a recipe for a thick, rich and highly moisturizing body lotion or soap, glycerin might be a suitable additive due to its physical consistency. Soaps which contain glycerin tend to create a more foamy lather.
Because glycerin is a natural moisturizer, it works well when used in some soaps, shampoos, body washes and even moisturizers. The presence of a rich, foamy lather or thick, creamy texture tends to convince people that their bath product is offering optimum moisture and skin softening. However, since salt itself is neither acidic or alkaline, any additive to the bath salt recipe can greatly effect the outcome and finished product.
When glycerin is added to bath salts, the result is often that the glycerin is too moisture absorbing to appropriately blend with the salts. The finished product can be a mess of clumped salts without a smooth texture or pleasurable essence. It's for this reason, that glycerin can be more of a hinderance to a bath salt recipe than an benefit.