The Beauty Benefits of Salt (They May Surprise You!)
The sea is full of it; so are our bodies. It makes things taste better, and it’s also incredibly versatile in beauty products. Antiseptic, detoxifying, preservative, cleansing, and healing, salt dries things out, but conversely, helps hold moisture in. In hair products, salt builds texture (hello, beachy waves); in body scrubs, it exfoliates and purifies; and in bath soaks, salt helps relax both body and spirit, as well as combats the drying effects of hot water on skin.
However, not all salts are created equal. Clean salts are different: “Other salt-drying processes typically include oven-drying and chemical additives,” says Shannon Vaughn, founder of Pursoma. “The best clean salts have additional benefits—from essential minerals that are bound up in some of them, to nutrients leached from the sea in others.” Epsom salts—named for the British town they’re found in—are famously muscle-soothing, in part because of the high levels of magnesium in them, which is why Naturopathica and Ila use them in their soaks.
Dead Sea salts are full of minerals: “You get over 20 essential minerals that are found naturally in the body but are lost throughout the day,” says Lilfox founder/aromatherapist Alexis Rose. Her Ylang Bang soak mixes Dead Sea salts with salt from the Himalayas and from France. “Himalayan salt is one of the purest salts on Earth—they’re the dried remnants of the original, primal sea from hundreds of millions of years ago,” says Rose. “The crystallized sea salt beds were covered by lava which protected it from modern-day pollution.” Rose’s other favorite salt, Noirmoutier, is harvested in France near the Celtic Sea. “They use a 2,000-year-old Celtic method that preserves its nutrient-rich profile,” she says. This particular salt retains its moisture and will always remain moist to the touch—a beautiful symbol of its oceanic source and its vital healing properties.”
At Pursoma, which makes clay-and-salt-infused baths for specific purposes from digital detox to colds and flu, the right salt is critical, says Vaughn: “We use an all-natural French Grey sea salt from coastal France, hand-harvested using traditional salt beds designed in ancient Roman times. Our salt is dried by the sun in the coastal waters of France. This ancient tradition leaves the salt grey and wet, and the hand-harvesting process keeps 82 vital trace minerals intact, which promote optimum biological function and cellular maintenance, can help replenish the body’s electrolytes, to help improve immunity, balance alkaline/acid levels, as well as reduce toxins within the body.”
Whether it’s more restful sleep, smoother skin, or a tastier rice bowl, high-quality salt plays an amazingly beneficial role in our lives. Here, our favorite (clean) salt essentials:
- Shiva Rose Sea Siren Body Scrubgoop, $65
For the most moisturizing, skin-silkening shower pretty much ever, this body-butter scrub is made with mineral-rich blue-green algae that’s wild harvested from the Cascade Falls in the mountains of Oregon. The algae—full of enzymes, vitamins, chlorophyll, amino acids, and fatty acids that feed your skin—is blended with rich butters and oils that hydrate and smooth skin like crazy. It smells gorgeously of lemongrass, an essential oil said to transform negativity, protect auric fields, and build courage, positivity, and psychic abilities. You’ll step out of the shower fully moisturized, faintly scented, and seriously radiant.
- Pursoma Minerals De Mergoop, $14
French sea salt, Atlantic kelp, and potent algae combine in this detoxifying soak to nourish dry skin with essential minerals and fatty acids, stimulate circulation, and restore moisture balance. The rare ingredients soothe and relax the mind, easing stress. The ultimate bath after a long night out—or a day of modern-life (cells phones, laptops et al) overload.
Three Salts in One Soak
- LILFOX Orange Blossom Ylang Bang Crystal Salt Soakgoop, $33
Three kinds of salt crystals—Dead Sea, Himalayan, gray French sea salts—are hand-blended with a soothing, detoxifying, and gorgeously sexy mix of neroli, bitter orange, and ylang ylang. The pure organic essential oils and rare salts create a beautifully luxurious, sensuous bath that leaves the mind and spirit cleansed, uplifted, and incredibly relaxed.
Ultimate Calming Soak
- Ila Bath Salts for Inner Peacegoop, $78
Formulated from Himalayan Salt Crystals—and scented with all-natural essential oils—these bath salts take a soak to the next level. This particular blend promotes inner peace.
(Amazing for Sore Muscles)
- Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakesgoop, $36
These flakes dissolve into a bath and turn it into a deeply curative treatment for muscle aches, cramps, and stiff joints. A combination of sweet birch—prized by Native Americans for its pain-relieving qualities—and 47.3% magnesium, an essential mineral critical for muscle function (Epsom salts are high in magnesium) that’s been shown to have therapeutic use when absorbed transdermally. These particular magnesium flakes are from 250-million-year-old salt deposits in northwest Europe, a source for some of the world’s purest natural magnesium. This is an essential daily soak for yogis and athletes.
Beach Hair Made Easy
- Lavett & Chin Sea Salt Texturizing Mistgoop, $28
The ultimate product for tousled, French-girl/beachy waves, this light mix of sea salt, minerals, and moisturizers leaves hair full of body and texture. Precisely the effect of a full day by the ocean—in an adorable spray.
On GP’s Desk (For Flavor!)
- Maldon Sea Salt Flakesgoop, $11
Just a pinch of this mineral-rich, delicately flaky finishing salt goes a long way: crush it by hand and sprinkle it over any dish, from appetizers to desserts, for a gorgeous finishing touch that emphasizes flavor like nothing else.