April 12, 2013 at 4:07 PM ET
It might sometimes be blamed for bloating, but salt holds a treasure of hidden beauty properties. From exfoliation to actually reducing puffiness in skin, try these uncommon—and incredibly effective—uses for the kitchen staple.
BEACH-WAVES SPRAY FOR HAIR: To create perfectly textured waves, dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt into an 8-oz. spray bottle of warm water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid coconut oil and a dab of hair gel. Then just shake and mist.
BATH SOAK: Mix a cup of sea salt with a few drops of almond, coconut, or another essential oil and pour into running water. Adding salt to a bath permits less water to be absorbed by the body, reducing skin’s ‘pruning’ effect on fingers and toes.
DANDRUFF TREATMENT: Work crushed sea salt into the scalp before wetting hair to loosen flakes and better enable scalp treatments to penetrate.
FACIAL TONER: To reduce oiliness, fill a small spray bottle with tepid water, add 1 teaspoon salt, and mist on your face, making sure to avoid eyes. Blot dry.
SALT SCRUB: After you take a shower or bath, and while your skin is still wet, sprinkle salt onto your hands and rub it gently on arms and legs. A salt massage will exfoliate dead skin cells and improve circulation.
SKIN STEAMER: To open up pores before exfoliating skin, bring 1/3 cup sea salt to a boil in a small pan of water. Transfer to a bowl, take a seat, and hold your face over the steam for 10 minutes.
FACIAL EXFOLIATOR: Mix 1 teaspoon fine-grain salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Gently massage the mixture into your face and throat. Rinse off by washing skin as usual.
TOOTHPASTE: A classic natural beauty recipe, start by pulverizing sea salt using a mortar and pestle. Combine 1 part crushed salt and 2 parts baking soda. Dip a dampened toothbrush into the mixture and brush your teeth.
MOUTHWASH: Rinse with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda mixed into a 4-ounce glass of water.
EYE DE-PUFFER: Mix one teaspoon of salt into a pint of hot water. Lie comfortably on your back and apply pads soaked in the solution.
FOOT SOAK: An Epsom- or sea-salt foot soak is just what the doctor ordered for overworked athletes—or even just a long night out in heels.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.