• August 20, 2022

Every bubble bath connoisseur knows that the secret to good baths is Epsom salt. This nifty mineral is the key ingredient in many cosmetics and is highly valued for its detoxing properties. Adding it to your evening bath is a great way to help your muscles relax and exfoliate the skin after a long, exhausting day.

However, what do you do if you don’t have Epsom salt on hand? Worry not. There’s plenty of substitute for Epsom salt while keeping your evening bath a relaxing indulgence.

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom Salt

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Before getting to the substitute for Epsom salt, first, we should clarify what Epsom salt even is. Epsom salt, also known by its chemical name, magnesium sulfate, is a type of mineral compound. It’s composed of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Moreover, it has a white, crystalline structure and is water-soluble. This makes it very similar to table salt, but the two greatly differ in taste and application.

Though Epsom salt is edible, it has a bitter, unpalatable flavor that makes it unsuitable for cooking. Therefore, manufacturers prefer to use it in cosmetics, where they can take full advantage of its health benefits. But, full disclosure — while many people swear by the healing properties of Epsom salt, there is no conclusive science to prove that it does in fact treat ailments.

Many people still take it to alleviate constipation, insomnia, and sore muscles, most commonly by dissolving it in water. This is why it’s called bath salts. The idea behind this application is that Epsom salt releases magnesium and sulfate ions into the water. These compounds are then absorbed through the skin, where they can alleviate muscle soreness and strip dead skin cells.

6 Substitutes for Epsom Salt

Though this compound has some unique properties, it’s not impossible to substitute Epsom salt. However, when choosing the right alternative, you should keep in mind what you’re going to use the substitute for. Not all Epsom salt substitutes are created equal and not all of them will resolve all issues.

For example, if you need Epsom salt for its exfoliating properties, then you need to use an alternative that has similar properties. The same goes for Epsom salt’s muscle-relaxing properties. So let’s take a look at all the ways you can substitute Epsom salt.

1. Sea Salt

Sea Salt

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If you are looking for good exfoliation, feel free to turn your attention to sea salt. This mineral doesn’t just boost the flavor of many dishes. It’s also the ideal substitute for Epsom salt, because of it’s incredibly soothing properties. The salt’s coarse texture helps exfoliate the skin by removing dead cells, excess oils and clearing out dirt from skin pores. Therefore, it’s the perfect addition to any warm foot soak.

Beyond that, you can also use sea salt for your bath, or as a way to treat a dry and scaly scalp. Though adding salt might seem like a good way to dry your hair even further, the salt actually helps remove the impurities. This in turn makes the skin moist and fresh, which helps your scalp heal naturally. So if you need a good exfoliator to add to your soak in place of Epsom salt, sea salt is the way to go

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

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Though many hail apple cider vinegar as the miracle cure for many ailments, there is one benefit it provides that is scientifically backed. It helps repair damaged hair. Just like Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar helps clean the scalp of any product build-up. Excessively washing your hair can cause your pores to become clogged with shampoo additives. This results in a dry, flaky scalp, which in turn robs your hair of moisture and shine.

However, if you rinse your hair with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, you help prevent this product buildup. Consequently, you’ll have smooth and shiny hair for days. Because Epsom salt has similar benefits, apple cider vinegar acts as the ideal substitute for Epsom salt when it comes to hair care.

3. Baking Soda

Baking Soda

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Baking soda is much more than a leavener for your baked goods. It’s also an excellent substitute for Epsom salt, especially in baths. Sodium bicarbonate, as it’s called, helps soothe tense muscles and calm irritated skin.

When you add it to your bath, it makes the water much silkier, which helps reduce redness and inflammation. These healing properties are especially helpful if you’re suffering from skin conditions like eczema, fungal infections, or sunburns.

Epsom salt has similar properties, so baking soda is a suitable alternative. And the best part is, it’s a common household staple, so you likely have it on hand right now.

4. Clay

Clay

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If you use Epsom salt as a cosmetic, then you’re going to need a good skin-friendly alternative. In that case, there is no better substitute for Epsom salt than clay. Clay is excellent at drawing out skin impurities and clearing out excess sebum. It’s one of the most common ingredients in facial masks, especially in exfoliators and detox formulas.

It’s also a good substitute for Epsom salt in baths. For maximum effect, be sure to use green clay, since this compound has a high mineral content. If you’re looking for a more neutral scrub, then feel free to go with a white clay powder.

5. Grains

Grains

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The idea of using your morning bowl of oats as a face scrub may seem strange. However, you may be surprised to hear that grains have historically been one of the most common ways to clean oily skin. The coarse, rough texture of the flakes does an excellent job at removing dead skin cells and reducing excess sebum. Plus, the slimy starches in the grains help moisten the skin and keep it smooth and supple.

This is exactly why a grain paste is a perfect substitute for Epsom salt, especially for cosmetic purposes. When creating the substitute, mix one or two tablespoons of your grain of choice with a bit of water. Oats are the most common choice, but you can also use barley or rye if you have them on hand.

Take care not to add too much water. You want the mixture to be a thick paste because that consistency works best at cleaning the skin.

6. Mustard Powder

Mustard Powder

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Mustard powder may seem like an incredibly unusual substitute for Epsom salt. Just like Epsom salt, it opens up skin pores and releases impurities. Therefore, it’s the perfect alternative when you need a good detox. Furthermore, mustard powder is an excellent help when you have a cold. The powder relaxes the muscles and helps bring fevers down.

However, the only downside of mustard powder is the pungent smell. It is quite sharp and eggy, as opposed to Epsom salt, which is neutral. So if you are sensitive to strong smells or simply aren’t a fan of umami aromas clinging to your skin, feel free to use other substitutes on this list.

Janet is a post-doctoral research candidate working as a freelance writer. She also moonlights as a doodle artist and wishes to publish her own comic book inspired by her life story one day.