I’ve always struggled to find time for a little bit of relaxation, and despite being a big fan of bath time, I’m fully aware of the water usage and I always get a twinge of guilt when I turn on the taps. But when Westlab very generously gifted me a selection of full sized salts to try I knew it was a great excuse to seriously step up my bathing game. Having a relaxing bath is not only great for the body but also our wellbeing and mind; taking the time to switch off is a real luxury and I always feel rejuvenated after a good ol’ wrinkly skin loving bath. I’ve been lucky enough to experience some pretty epic natural hot springs and mineral baths around the world and although not quite on the same scale, I was more than happy to try and recreate them in our titchy bath with some of Westlab’s wonderful products.
According to Westlab, they are the UK’s No.1 trusted mineral salts brand. They offer a wide range of 100% vegan products for different requirements and skin conditions. Whether you suffer with eczema and psoriasis, dry or irritated skin, or struggle with restlessness, irritability, poor sleep quality, anxiety or depression, Westlab can recommend specific bath salts to aid such troubles made with pure and natural ingredients. They are proud of their product traceability and source direct from responsible suppliers around the globe to ensure their range is of high quality, their prices affordable and their products accessible to all. While the majority of the packaging I received appears to be unrecyclable plastic (humph), the bags are made from recycled plastic and they do provide some products in recyclable bottles, jars and boxes. Westlab have pledged to make all packaging recyclable by 2020 however so change is afoot. Rejoice!
I do have some concerns about the sustainability of salts and I couldn’t find any information regarding this on the Westlab website. Surely these natural resources will eventually deplete? Will the changes to the world’s climate upset the natural production of each salt source? I couldn’t find a great deal of info on this, except a few articles which seem to suggest the Dead Sea Salt resource in particular is under threat, although this is more to do with the industrialisation and pollution of the area. Himalayan Salt is mined by hand and the resources are currently expansive and serve to support Pakistan’s economy, however they too are ultimately finite. By the way, if you get a chance, google the Himalayan salt mines – the images are beautiful! Westlab do state that their salts are sourced ‘responsibly’ but there is no information about where or how the salts are obtained. Watch this space!
With such a lot of salt to get through, I thought I’d better crack on – it’s no wonder it’s taken me almost 10 months to complete the review!
Reviving Epsom Salts £5.99 / 1kg
Derived in Epsom, England, these salts were discovered hundreds of years ago when locals realised that the bitter water had laxative and wound healing properties. The white grains of the Epsom Salts look like how you and I would imagine salt to be, it could almost be mistakenly sprinkled on your chips at tea time. However, the Epsom salt is quite bitter - it’s actually a chemical compound of magnesium, sulphur and oxygen, a.k.a magnesium sulphate. Although it’s a mineral many of us do not get enough of, Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in our bodies, and it is ‘involved in more than 325 biochemical reactions that benefit your heart and nervous system’ so it’s a pretty important chappie.
Although some question whether magnesium can be absorbed through skin, Westlab claim that their pure, pharmaceutical grade standard Epsom salts help relax tired and aching muscles by drawing out lactic acid and therefore it’s pretty awesome for use after sport and exercise. The brand have many fitness and athlete ambassadors and although I couldn’t even dream of reaching that standard, I was intrigued to see if the salts worked after a long and hard weekend of manual work (moving a furniture warehouse – she weeps). Westlab recommended dissolving 2-4 cups of the salts in a warm bath (which was about half the bag!), step in soak for 20 minutes and allow the mineral to work its powers to detoxify and relax muscles. I was impressed with how easily the salt dissolved, especially considering the quantity going in, and I have to say it was a well-earned relax. My muscles were tired and achy, my hands were sore and my brain had switched off a while back. When I surfaced I was pleasantly surprised, my muscles felt noticeably better and my body felt clean and revitalised. Whether or not it’s a placebo, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it did the trick for me. I lent the salts to a friend who was also struggling and she reaped the benefits too. Tick tick boom!
Soothing Dead Sea Salt £5.99 / 1kg
Comparable to the Epsom salts, the finer, crystalline grains of Dead Sea Salt is another naturally sourced product rich in Magnesium, Calcium and Potassium. The ‘unique mineral-rich lake’, where the salt is sourced is ‘located in the Jordan Rift Valley which borders Israel and Jordan and is (good fact for you!) the lowest point on earth, at 1410 feet below sea level’. There is more research and evidence to suggest that regular bathing in Dead Sea Salts can benefit arthritis and psoriasis as people have been using the water and its salts for centuries. Westlab also claim that it is suitable for use on skin prone to eczema, acne and psoriasis. Luckily, I don’t suffer from any of these skin conditions, however I do have some sore, itchy dry skin on my feet which Westlab’s high quality genuine sourced salts are also designed to care for. I was intrigued to see if the salts would benefit my terrible tootsies.
I used less salt this time, maybe a cup worth, and once again enjoyed the 20 minutes of pure relaxation. It dissolved a dream. Afterwards, the skin on my feet definitely felt soothed and not so itchy, although the skin had become quite flaky. Grim. For a significant improvement the salts have to be used regularly, which I admit is not something I am great at. I did enjoy using the salts though and after a few sessions I noticed that the red, bumpy skin on the back of my arms which I have always battled with also seemed less raised and much softer.
Cleansing Himalayan Salts £5.99 / 1kg
These beautiful pink salts originate from the Punjab region of Pakistan, near the foothills of the Himalayas. It is pretty close to standard table salt and contains 98% sodium chloride. The rest consists of trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, which give the salt its pretty pink colour. This is why Westlab claim that it contains over 80 minerals, all of which help to cleanse and detox skin and body for smooth, radiant and healthy looking skin. It is a good ‘all-rounder’ and, although Westlab don’t state it, it can also be eaten!
However, each time I used the Himalayan salts I found myself sitting on a layer of uncomfortable grittiness on the bottom of the bath. I tried a few techniques to dissolve the salt but out of the three this one always seemed to take the relaxation out of the experience a little! I didn’t really notice any difference in my skin condition and a handful of times I needed to shower afterwards as my skin felt a little itchy afterwards. This was my least favourite salt, and I don’t think I would invest in more.
Cleansing Himalayan Bath Fizzer £3.49
As an extra treat I was also gifted a bath bomb made with the Himalayan salts and also other oils such as May Chang, Ylang Ylang and Almond to leave skin radiant and glowing. I have never been a huge fan of bath bombs. I know, I know, crazy right? Although they’re really fun to use, I often find the fragrances overpowering and the ingredients a little irritating on my skin.
The Westlab bath fizzer has a rose and pomegranate fragrance which was very floral and VERY granny, not my favourite but pleasant enough. The bomb left quite greasy, soapy residue on the surface which I assume were the oils but this also meant I had to clean the bath straight away which is not ideal after a relaxing bath… Similarly to the salts, I needed to shower afterwards as my skin felt a little on the dry side, and I didn’t feel any instant benefits. Needless to say it didn’t change my opinion on bath bombs…
Overall this has been quite a tricky product to review. To reap the full benefits of the salts I think it’s advisable to bathe in them regularly, as the local people would have done centuries ago where the salts have been harvested. However, in our modern day it’s not only difficult to find the time to bathe, but I’m also very aware of the water usage and so I didn’t want to run a bath too often. My favourite to use was the Dead Sea Salt due to the way it instantly dissolved and the small improvements I saw on my feet and arms, and I also enjoyed using the Epsom Salts although I do have reservations whether the magnesium effectively penetrates the skin. I didn’t get on so well with the Himalayan, but it tastes great (Westlab don’t state that it can be eaten). I didn’t get through all of the salt, so despite my reservations about its sustainability they do last and it’s not a product you would need to replace regularly. There are many other ways that the salts can be used too (Westlab list them here). Maybe I could get creative and try making my own body scrub with the leftovers?
If Westlab divulge more information about the sustainability of their sources and manage to keep to their 2020 plastic free pledge this will be a big thumbs up from me. It would encourage me to support them further and I would feel more comfortable about using their products. Ultimately, the salts are vegan friendly and a pure, natural ingredient with years worth of evidence backing up their benefits. I can’t deny that it’s refreshing to find a product which hasn’t been plumped up full of chemicals and who knows what else. Plus, a little more me time thrown into the mix is a huge bonus.
Disclaimer: These products have been sent to me to test and review by the brand. I have received no monetary benefit for this review. The review is 100% honest and reflects my experience. Product and brand information is correct at the time of publishing but please check the product website before purchasing.