Watch any cooking show and they’ll tell you that no meal is complete without salt. But did you know that just like your palate, your skin could benefit from a little salt here and there? Salt beauty products are rich in minerals and a natural exfoliant that can give your skin a thorough cleanse and tone your skin.
There’s a reason people find bath salts, a dip in the Dead Sea and Himalayan salt lamps so restoring. Salt works as a natural antiseptic and antimicrobial that draws out impurities from your pores, leaving you with clean, firm skin that can have a balanced and youthful feel. Bonus points: because of its dry, exfoliating properties, salt can also dry out acne to remove it faster.
“Magnesium-rich salt can improve the skin’s barrier function which will result in significantly greater skin hydration,” said Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. She referred to studies that suggest bathing in salt is beneficial for the skin. “The same study goes on to show that sea salt may reduce inflammation in eczema. The salts improve hydration by binding water and have an effect on skin cell turnover,” Dr. Greenfield continued.
But keep in mind, just like how everyone’s tastes are different as to how much salt is needed in a meal, everyone’s skin is different when it comes to using salt in your routine. Even with it’s restorative and cleansing properties, salt is coarse. It can be too harsh for some complexions and dehydrating for those with drier skin, so look for products made with moisturizing ingredients as well as salt.
There are two types of salt typically used in skincare routines: sea salt and Himalayan salt. A good choice for those of us with more sensitive skin, Himalayan salt is the gentler option. It is unrefined, hand-mined and has 84 naturally-occurring minerals and elements including chromium, zinc, iodine and sulfur. Sea salt, on the other hand, contains traces of the essential minerals from the water it originated in. These minerals make sea salt a natural detoxifier, plus nutrient-dense.
If you’re ready to give salt a try, you don’t need to look any further than your own kitchen cabinet. You can find DIY solutions toners, body scrubs and face masks that only use household ingredients like water and apple cider vinegar, oil and honey. Dr. Greenfield suggests using a solution that is 5% salt. “Significantly more than that may not have the same effects.”
And you don’t have to go completely DIY to add some salt to your routine. Beauty brands already know the amazing benefits of salt and have been mixing it into both skincare and haircare products. That’s right – salt is good for your hair, too. A salt-based shampoo is great for a thorough scalp cleanse that prevents oily roots. And on the styling side, salt can add texture, hence beachy waves. (Disclosure: curly hair tends to be much drier than straight or thin hair, so curly girls, use caution. I sprayed a bit of Captain Blankenship’s Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray because it’s also made with Aloe for a moisturizing effect. But I also balanced it with my daily leave-in conditioner. The result was extra volume, without the frizz!)
Ready to start shopping? These are a few of our faves:
Ahava Natural Dead Sea Bath Salt
A bath salt made completely from Dead Sea salt that brings the minerals and nutrients from the sea like magnesium, calcium and potassium to your skin for a therapeutic, refreshing result of incredibly soft skin.
$22 at Ahava
Meow Meow Tweet Tweet Sweet Orange Papaya Body Scrub
A scrub crafted from Pacific sea salt that improves skin tone and boosts circulation, with the help of fair trade sugar and organic plant oils.
$32 at Meow Meow Tweet
New York Biology Himalayan Salt Body Scrub
Made with Himalayan Pink Salt to improve imperfections and eliminate dead skin through vitamins like calcium, magnesium and potassium, plus a mix of hydrating essential oils.
$14.95 at Amazon
Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub With Sea Salt
The first-ever salt scrub and shampoo combo that detoxes and cleanses sensitive and oily scalps.
$53 at Christophe Robin
Organic to Green Rose Foam Purifying Pink Salts
A toner that detoxifies and purifies without stripping moisture, using Pink Himalayan Salt as well as Rosewater, Watermelon and French Pink Clay.
$16 at Organic to Green
Blaq Body Scrub
A charcoal-based body scrub made with sea salt to exfoliate and nourish while giving the pores a deep clean.
$16.95 at Blaq
Seraphine Botanicals Pink Salt + Apricot Hair Texturizing Mist
A nourishing mist made from Apricot, Beetroot and Tangerine and infused with Himalayan Pink Rock Salt to boost texture for natural waves and leave hair smelling like citrus.
$22 at Seraphine Botanicals
Lush Ocean Salt Scrub
A best-seller made from both fine and coarse sea salt plus coconut oil and avocado oil for intense exfoliation that leaves the skin feeling soft. Lush also sells a gentler, vegan version better suited for facial use.
$21.95 at Lush Cosmetics
Ahava Liquid Dead Sea Salt
Made with salt from the Dead Sea, this rinse-off salt treatment resets the sin’s balance, detoxifies and can even ease muscle tension.
$24.50 at Ahava
The Body Shop Mediterranean Sea Salt Scrub
Using Mediterranean Sea Salt with a coarse texture, this resurfacing body scrub invigorates and revitalizes when it is massaged into the skin.
$32 at The Body Shop
Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray
A sea salt hairspray with moisturizing benefits from Aloe Vera and extra minerals from sea kelp extract to nourish the hair and scalp.
$24 at Captain Blankenship
Ahava Softening Butter Dead Sea Salt Scrub
Acting like a skin lotion, this body butter exfoliates, renews and hydrates skin using Dead Sea salt rich in minerals, plus quality essential oils.
$26 at Ahava