Published by PETA.

This year, give the gift of clean skin and a clean conscience. By making homemade bath goodies, you can add your own twist to products and ensure cruelty-free cleanliness for all your loved ones; a basket filled with soothing goodies is enough to make anyone’s holidays bright. Bath salts are easy to make and can be packaged beautifully when placed in a small corked glass jar or bottle (easy to find at Pier One or Michael’s).

To make bath salts, just take the following ingredients and stir together in a mixing bowl. After the salts are mixed, pour them into the glass jars and cork, and—voilà!—you’re done! The whole process only takes about 10 minutes, so you can knock out a dozen presents in record time.

Homemade Bath Salts
1 cup Epsom salts
¼ cup sea salt
3 Tbsp. baking soda
3 drops essential oil in a fragrance of your choice

“Bath bombs” are also easy and quick to make. All you need is 1/3 cup citric acid, 2/3 cup baking soda, a few drops of essential oil, and a small amount of witch hazel in a spray bottle. Mix the citric acid, baking soda, and essential oil in a bowl, and spray a small amount of witch hazel into the mixture until it starts to clump together (don’t use too much witch hazel, though, as your mixture will start to fizz). Firmly pack the mixture into molds (a mini–cupcake tin works well) and leave overnight to dry. Once the “bombs” are dry, put a few into a small cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.

If you have the time and patience to make your own handmade soap, you can add that to your gift set, but beware that making handmade cold-process soap is not for the faint of heart—it’s easy to botch, the set-up costs a pretty penny, and the process is time-consuming. However, if you want to give it a try, I recommend The Natural Soap Book as a good starting point. The Sun Feather Natural Soap Company is a great place online to get supplies for cold-process soaps and is a cruelty-free company. If you want the benefits of handmade soap but don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to making your own, the Hibiscus City Soap Co. has great handmade soaps. In my bath baskets, I always include handmade soap, bath salts, and fizzy “bath bombs.” Sometimes I’ll add in scented lotion, or knit up a cotton washcloth to go with it. My favorite way to package everything together is to place some crinkle or tissue paper in a “Chinese takeout” gift box, which, to me, is just kind of a fun and funky way to present all your handmade gifts.

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