Pass the Salt: Do Epsom Salt Beauty Treatments Really Work?
There are few things I love more than multitasking products. After all, who has the time, space, or funds for a hundred different lotions and potions? And it doesn’t get better than when that do-it-all product is entirely natural and costs less than a venti latte.
That’s why I was intrigued as soon as I heard about Epsom salt, the natural healer that claims to cure everything from achy muscles to limp locks and clogged pores—all for less than $5. Distilled from therapeutic springs in Surrey, England, Epsom isn’t really salt at all, but rather mineral-packed magnesium sulfate, which is said to draw toxins from the body, soothe the nervous system, and much more.
I couldn’t resist putting some of the treatments touted on the Epsom Salt Council website to the test, so I asked some top beauty experts to weigh in. Check out the results on which salty solutions are truly fabulous—and which are too good to be true.
The Claim: Smooth callouses and heal blisters by adding half a cup to your pre-pedi soak.
The Truth: Yep, the salt is great for your toes. “The magnesium has an antibacterial and astringent effect,” explains NYC dermatologist Doris Day. “It’s great at relieving itchiness and reducing foot odor.”
Relaxing, Muscle-Soothing Bath
The Claim: Soak away stress and relieve sore muscles by adding two cups to your bath.
The Truth: “This is great after a tough workout, because the more soreness you feel, the greater the anti-inflammatory benefits,” says Day. “As for the claim that magnesium boosts your serotonin and improves your mood, that’s up in the air. But who doesn’t feel more relaxed after a bath?” If you try it, make sure to rinse and apply moisturizer afterwards to avoid over-drying your skin.
Deep-Pore Cleansing Facial
The Claim: Mix half a teaspoon into your cleansing cream to detoxify skin.
The Truth: “Epsom salt is too coarse and irritating for the face,” says Day. “Save it for areas that are thicker and oilier—the astringent effect is great for clearing up acne on your back.”
The Claim: Get fuller locks by applying equal parts warm conditioner and Epsom salt for 20 minutes.
The Truth: “Using this on your roots will exfoliate the oils, so strands stand up and look less flat,” says celeb stylist Oscar Blandi. “But definitely don’t use this on your whole head—it’s a recipe for over-abuse. And skip it entirely if your hair is bleached or color-treated.”
All-Over Smoothing Spa Treatment
The Claim: After showering, massage handfuls of Epsom salt over wet skin to exfoliate your body.
The Truth: “The manual exfoliation may be too aggressive for dry or sensitive skin, but at least the granules melt into skin so you can’t over-exfoliate, like with other scrubs,” says Day.
The bottom line: Pick up a container of Epsom salt next time you’re at the drugstore or supermarket, and feel free to experiment with all of these head-to-toe ideas. But, unless they work for you—take the claims with a grain of salt!
Have you tried these (or other) Epsom salt beauty tricks? Do you have any favorites? Share with us below!
Photo courtesy of Rahim Packir Saibo.
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