Formulating with Salts in Cosmetics

Formulating with salts in cosmetics can produce superior results and set the formulation apart from others. Salts used in cosmetic formulations can thicken shampoo, give volume to hair, add shine to hair, cleanse the skin, brighten the skin, soothe the skin and help skin conditions.

First a formulator must get to know the salt properties and functions before incorporating it into a formula. Second is experiencing the salt in formulation. This post is on getting to know the salts.


Salts have been used for thousands of years for their properties to preserve and heal. Salts are sodium chloride except Epsom salt. Epsom salt is magnesium chloride. Salts are not all the same because they contain different amounts of minerals and trace elements. Table salt is refined, iodized and contains anti-caking additives. Sea salt contains minerals from sea water. Minerals are crucial and beneficial to the body, hair and skin.

I like to incorporate sea salts and ancient salts into products I make for my personal use. I also enjoy formulating with salts in custom cosmetic formulations.

Sea Salts

Sea salts are best when they are unrefined. Unrefined salts add a light grey color to the salts because they contain trace elements and minerals. Sea salt is used to mineralize water, pull out toxins and to exfoliate (remove) dead skin. Sea salts can be found in bins at the grocery store. It is usually sourced from the Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean. Grades available are fine, medium and course.

Dead Sea Salt

Dead Sea salt is from the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is an ancient healing site in the Middle East; Israel, Jordan and Palestine. It’s known for its curative powers. The reason it’s called dead is because nothing can live in the sea due to the high salinity. Dead Sea salt promotes relaxation of the body, removes toxins from the body and helps to soften the skin.

Dead Sea salts contain 21 minerals. Some of the minerals are magnesium, iodine, bromides, calcium and potassium. Magnesium promotes healing of skin tissue, iodine helps to balance the metabolism, bromides help to calm the nervous system, calcium soothes and calms and potassium promotes relaxation. Dead Sea salts are great for providing some relief for back aches, neck, muscle and joint pain, muscle cramps, psoriasis, arthritis, stress and skin allergies. Grades available are fine and course.

Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. The sodium chloride is removed resulting in magnesium sulfate. Epsom salts are stimulating and help to relieve aches, pains, stiffness and soreness. Epsom salt draws the oils and toxins from the skin and body. The color is white with a shine to the crystals. Use Epsom salt for sport injuries and muscle soreness. Grades available are medium and coarse.

Himalayan Pink Salt

Himalayan pink salt is hand washed and hand mined from ancient sea salt deposits from the Himalayan Mountains. It is a very pure salt containing 84 trace elements and iron. Himalayan salt promotes relaxation, removal of toxins from the body, soothes sore muscles and helps to stimulate circulation. The salt color is light pink to deep red. Grades available are fine, medium, coarse and extra large.

Sonoma Spa Salt

Sonoma spa salt is sea salt from California, United States, the Pacific Ocean. It contains less moisture than other salts and makes it ideal for bath salts. Grades available are fine, medium, coarse and extra large.

Specialty Salts

Other salts that I call specialty salts are some of my all time favorites. I enjoy using them for personal use. I have also developed some incredible formulations with them. Some of my favorites are Breton, Hawaiian Red and Black, Icelandic, Celtic and Bolivian.

Formulating Salts in Cosmetics

In the next post I’ll share some functions and ways to incorporate salts into cosmetic formulations.

Learn how to Formulate and Make Cosmetic Formulations: Natural Body, Hair and Skin Care Products in these online courses here.

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