Despite the fact that winter is finally on its way out — this one being one the longest ever — cold, windy and capricious spring weather usually means dry and itchy skin. While moisturising lotions and body butters help, an exfoliating scrub is still a must for removing dead cells and revitalizing skin.
I love sugar scrubs for lips because of their sweet taste but the benefits of sea salt scrubs go far beyond exfoliation. They’re loaded with vitamins and minerals that actually replenish the skin and nourish it from the outside in.
The Benefits of Salt for Skin
Fun fact: it’s believed that somewhere during the course of evolution, we emerged from the ocean to become land dwellers. And some people have said that this is why our bodies contain the same concentration of minerals and nutrients as the sea itself. That means that those same minerals that are so prevalent in natural sea salt can also help balance and restore the body when we’re feeling dry, achy, or run down, hence the reason for soaking in bath salts.
Dryness and irritation can be hard to get rid of. But adding sea salt to your beauty regimen can help boost hydration, strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, and trigger the cell-to-cell communication that slows down with age. Result? Making you feel, and possibly even look, younger.
There are various ways you can use salt therapeutically: take a dip in the ocean, soak in a salt-infused bath, or apply it directly to the skin in the form of a body scrub. Salt is a wonderful exfoliant that softens skin, gets rid of flakiness, and infuses the upper layers of skin with vitamins and minerals.
The Difference Between Salt and Sugar Scrubs
Sugar scrubs have a lot of the same benefits as salt scrubs, but there are a couple of important differences. The first is in the size of the exfoliating granule. Sugar is typically a finer grain than salt, so it’s better suited for use on the sensitive skin of the face (lips) and neck. Salt scrubs, on the other hand, are often more abrasive, meaning they do a better job at smoothing out rough patches on the body. Besides, sugar doesn’t contain the nutrients salt does. So, while it makes for a great exfoliant, it doesn’t nourish skin as well as the all-natural sea salt.
When to Use Salt Scrubs
Most of us are used to exfoliating our faces, but the skin on our bodies needs to be exfoliated too. Because they can be so abrasive, salt scrubs should only be used two to three times a week at most. If using coarse salt, stick to removing dead skin on areas like feet, elbows, knees, and any stubborn patches on the legs and arms (gently, of course!). You can read here our previous article about 5 Signs your skin suffers from over-exfoliation
Types of Sea Salt
Not all salts are created equal. The best, most natural sea salts have added benefits in the form of essential minerals and nutrients leached from the sea. Here are some of the most nutrient-rich salts to use for beauty purposes. Finely ground sea salt (not the same as table salt)
Generally speaking, sea salt is a natural detoxifier that helps absorb toxins from the skin. Most sea salt is high in magnesium, a mineral known to improve the moisture content in skin, soothe redness, and improve the overall appearance of the skin, along with other minerals such as potassium iron and calcium.
Since most Sea salt is coarsely ground, it’s not ideal for sensitive skin or large areas that get angry and red quickly. While not technically a type of sea salt, more like a type of grind, finely ground sea salt is gentler than its coarse cousins. That means it’s well suited for more sensitive areas like the stomach, backs of the arms, and even the chest if you use a light hand. Use your grinder to get the right grind for you. One of the most nutrient-rich salts on the planet, Dead Sea Salt contains around 20 minerals and trace elements that are found in the body and often lost throughout the day.
Black lava salt, also known as Hawaiian Salt, gets it pitch-black colour from charcoal. This one might be a lil bit costly so you can create yours by mixing your ocean salt with activated charcoal. The activated charcoal in lava salt is effective at cleansing and removing toxins from your body. It may also help to ease joint and muscle pain, reduce water retention and soothe cramps. Overall, it makes an excellent cleanser for skin, helping to reduce acne while leaving skin feeling refreshed.
Himalayan salt is one of the purest salts on Earth. It mostly consists of dried remnants from the original, primal sea found hundreds of millions of years ago. These pink salts are also one of the easiest kinds of sea salt to find in stores, making it ideal for whipping up large batches of scrub. It’s also one of the more coarsely ground salts on the market, so it’s best used to improve circulation (like dry brushing) or finely ground in a coffee grinder to use as a scrub. It’s said to have anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe skin and calm irritation and breakouts.
Epsom salts are famously muscle-soothing, in part because of the high levels of magnesium they contain. Epsom salt is helpful for those with thick dry skin on their knees and elbows, especially those with eczema or psoriasis. Try Epsom salt infused with lavender essential oil.
How to Use a Salt Scrub
I recommend creating a steam room-like effect in the bathroom to help skin skipping from drying out and getting irritated even further. Shower as usual before applying your scrub, so you don’t wash off the oils and minerals.
Scoop out a little with your hand, and gently scrub your skin. Pay special attention to extra dry areas, such as feet and elbows, then rinse off and pat skin dry. Since salt is naturally antibacterial, a simple scrub with just sea salt and oil should last for up to a year. But if it contains things like flower petals, aloe vera, clays or water, use within a week as these ingredients are food for bacteria and mould growth.
There are a ton of different scrub recipes out there, but the basics are all the same. Once you have the basic recipe just right, try experimenting with your own add-ins like flower petals, clays, coffee grounds, or essential oils.
Scrubs Recipe Inspiration
The only thing better than a home-made scrub? Home-made scrub bars! I love using these shower treats during the summer. The combination of an exfoliant and a moisturising oil will remove effectively dead skin cells while keeping dryness at bay to get your legs ready for the mini-shorts season.
Citrus-Rose Sugar Scrub Bars
1 cup raw caster sugar
1/3 cup raw coconut oil
1 1/2 tablespoons shea butter
1/4 cup beeswax granules
30 drops sweet orange essential oil
1 tablespoon rose petals (ground)
1 teaspoon beetroot powder (optional for colouring)
Silicone moulds or paper-lined muffin tins
How to make it
Combine the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a glass bowl and place it in a double boiler set up (place the bowl directly into boiling water in a saucepan) until melted. Whisk to combine.
Add the essential oil, beetroot powder and rose petals, and whisk again. Slowly pour in the sugar and mix it all together. If you have trouble with the mixture solidifying too quickly, just pop it into the double boiler saucepan.
Pour the mixture into your moulds and place in the freezer for 20 minutes to cool. (By Stephanie Pollard)
Pretty Pink Scrub
1 cup raw coconut oil
1/4 fractionated coconut oil
1 cup pink Himalayan salt
15 drops of essential oil (your choice)
1 tsp of flowers to make it pretty
Honey Lemon Lip Scrub
2 tbsp raw coconut oil
2 tbsp raw sugar
4 drops of lemon essential oil
1 tbsp honey
One of my fave and very easy to do. Mix together 2 tablespoons each of coconut oil and sugar. Add 4 drops each of lemon and a tsp of honey. Scrub over lips, and rinse with lukewarm water.
Vitamin C Boost Scrub
This natural home-made scrub recipe will get your skin looking as good as new! And it's jam-packed with vitamin C and antioxidants
1 small or ½ large ripe nectarine or berries
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons raw coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond oil/avocado oil or macadamia
1 cup salt of your choice
15 drops Orange Essential Oil⠀
Mixed together and gently rub onto your skin. It's so freaking good you want to eat it!
Four simple, sumptuous & pretty scrubs that will make a gorgeous and thoughtful Christmas gift, what's not to love? Do you have a favourite scrub?
Be radiant naturally,