April 26th, 2009

Epsom Salt Lotion


This isn’t a food recipe, but it’s something I make at home that I thought would be useful to share with others. Epsom salt baths are sometimes recommended for autistic children (see this FAQ from the Epsom Salt Council for a brief explanation why,) but the baths have never been successful in my house. For one thing, they dry out the skin and leave a gross white residue. For another, if epsom salts are taken orally they have a strong laxative effect, and my kids are both habitual bathwater-drinkers. Yes, it’s disgusting. Yes, we work hard to make them stop. But one stray mouthful, and it’s all over.


You can buy expensive sulfate lotions online, but as I’m here to show you, it’s very easy to make your own for a fraction of the cost. These are epsom salts, AKA magnesium sulfate. This giant four-pound bag was like $2.00.


Put 8 Tablespoons in a clear glass bowl. (This is the same as 1/2 cup, but I can’t seem to scoop that out of the bag without spilling the stupid salts everywhere, so I use a smaller measuring spoon.)


Add 3/4 cup of water, and stir. The quantity of salts you want to mix up is going to depend on the amount of lotion you’re starting with. My lotion comes in 16 oz. bottles; so if yours is 12 oz., use 6 TBS salts in 1/2 cup water, etc.


All of the salts need to be completely dissolved. This is why it’s a good idea to use a clear glass bowl, so you can really see how you’re doing. Pop it in the microwave for one minute at a time to help it along, and keep stirring. Don’t add any more water, we’re going for supersaturation here.


That’s better. You can still see a few stray crystals, but I stirred it some more after I took this picture, I promise.


Now just dump in your lotion. It’s best to use the thickest lotion you can find, but a lot of the thickest creams have gluten in them (like my favorite brand that I used to use before they changed their formula… jerks.) The thicker ones also tend to be oil-based, and this will not work for our mixture, because the oil and water will want to separate in the container. So make sure the lotion you choose doesn’t have things like “petroleum” or “mineral oil” high on the ingredients list.


Me, I’ve kind of given up on finding a really thick GFCF lotion, and I’ve just been using Baby Magic since my old brand added gluten (did I mention they’re jerks?) The final product is kinda watery, but it gets the job done. If you do know of a nice thick GFCF lotion, please post a comment and let me know! You can, of course, put less saltwater in your lotion to begin with, but you won’t be getting as much bang for your buck when you apply the lotion to your skin.


You’re going to end up with almost twice the volume of lotion that you started with, so it’s not going to fit back in the original bottle. I like to store it in these wide-mouthed tubs instead, which are just old containers of my thick lotion with the labels peeled off. (Peeled off angrily? Maybe.) Any airtight container will do, but I wouldn’t recommend anything with a pump. Over time, even water-based lotions are going to separate from the salts a little, and pumps will tend to clog. But just give your container a good shake every once in awhile and you’ll be fine.

Happy Lotioning!


6 comments to Epsom Salt Lotion

  • Free Range Pixels

    You could make a much more saturated solution by starting with boiling water in a saucepan and slowly adding the salt while continuously stirring. It will take a while, but you are the patient sort, right?

    Be sure the water stays boiling. Keep adding salt until the water will take no more. Now you have a much greater concentration allowing you to dilute your lotion less.

    If qty of salt in the formula is critical, you’ll want to start with a known qty of salt and weigh it at the end to determine how much you’ve used. Weights are more convenient than volume measures in this case.

    Kiss My Face has a fragrance free lotion that is as thick as paste:


    I didn’t see any gluten on the list, but you should look closely.

  • TheGFCFLady

    Kiss My Face has a list of their gluten-free products here:


    and unfortunately the Olive & Aloe moisturizer is not listed. They do list four others, though — Green Tea & Ginkgo, Vitamin A&E, Honey & Calendula, and Peaches & Creme — any idea if those are thick? That’s a really great tip about weighing the salt bag before and after so you know how much you were able to get in.

  • Gaylestevenson

    Hey, Thanks for the lotion recipe. I changed it up a little and use sea salt, epsom salt or really any salt with aloe vera gel. I find it soaks in well and feels like I’ve been swimming in the ocean and didn’t wash off. I notice, after 2 or 3 days that my skin feels really soft. I don’t know why, because you’d think salt would dry it out, I’m 52 : ), but the combination helps my skin. I usually buy the aloe vera suntan gel in the 20 oz. bottle and put about 1/2 c. sea salt in it. The mixture makes a goo, like silly puddy. I take the “silly puddy” out and put the rest back in the bottle. It’s watery, but it works. Thanks again for your recipe. Gayle

  • jschuette

    I make my own lotion; oil.
    Here is the recipe I use to make lotion… Very easy to make (However, I am familiar with GFCF diet, so I don’t know if the ingredients have G or C) It is just three ingredients, Olive oil, beeswax and coconut oil. Here is the link
    I am wondering if you could add Epsom salt while making this lotion. while all the oil is melting together, would putting salt in a high heat oil to melt, change the chemical make-up of Eposom salt? (You would NOT want to add water to the lotion recipe) Just a thought…

  • So glad I found this recipe! My athletic clients will appreciate this the next time they come in for a post workout sports massage. I get a lot of folks who compete or perform sports at a high level of intensity (marathons, boot camps, high intensity training).
    I’ll give this recipe a try paired with the thick creme that I use. Don’t know if it’s gluten free though but that’s okay for now.

    Warmest regards and many thanks,
    Denise H. Williams
    Licensed Massage Therapist

  • […] Salt LotionWith the help of calming and therapeutic Epsom salts, The GFCF Lady creates a lotion that you can use to treat a wide range of inflammatory […]

Leave a Reply