Is there enough shea butter in your body lotion to make a difference in your skin?
If the amount of shea butter present in your lotion of choice is listed at only 1-2%, or if the ingredient listing for shea butter is buried beneath dozens of other synthetically manufactured ingredients, the answer is, unfortunately, “no.”
Some manufacturers of bath and body products will add only a token amount of shea butter into their lotion formulas solely for the purpose of allowing them to advertise that their lotions are “made with shea butter,” and peak the attention of people like you, who are looking into the benefits of natural skin care ingredients.
Others actually will admit to shea butter’s effectiveness as a skin care ingredient, but be unaware of the fact that shea butter needs to be unrefined and present in quantities of at least 20% to be of any measurable benefit to your skin.
At any rate, the bottom line is, when it comes to shea butter, quantity matters.
When unrefined and present in quantities of at least 20%, shea butter is one of the best skin care ingredients in nature. The American Shea Butter Institute lists 21 reasons to use shea butter for skin care. These are just a few of the reasons why we use a minimum of 20% organic, unrefined shea butter in all of our hand & body lotions, and a minimum of 50% shea butter in our body butters.
Have you ever wondered how so many Japanese, Chinese, and other oriental women manage to maintain a youthful, blemish-free, soft and glowing appearance even in the dead of winter?
We certainly used to, until we discovered the natural anti-aging secret oriental women have been using for decades. If we asked you to guess what it was, you might suggest green tea, and, while green tea certainly does possess many beneficial anti-aging properties, it’s not the beauty secret to which we are currently referring.
Cold-pressed rice bran oil is great for use year-round, but particularly so during the winter months when your skin needs extra oil to help maintain its outer protective layer and lock in moisture when out in the cool, dry air.
It is also the only known source of the powerful antioxidant oryzanol, which is even an even more powerful anti-aging substance than Vitamin E. It’s also great for hair!
Evening primrose oil is recommended by many in the skin care and folk medicine communities. Here’s why:
Did you know that your choice of moisturizer can play a role in easing your discomfort if you suffer from PMS or other women’s issues? Using pure Evening Primrose Oil as your moisturizer of choice, or using face creams made with Evening Primrose Oil can go a long way towards relieving your womanly woes while simultaneously delivering a host of other skin care benefits.
What is evening primrose oil?
Evening primrose oil is the oil extracted from the seeds of evening primrose flowers, which grow naturally in the eastern and central parts of North America among other places. The oil is extracted through cold pressing (grinding of the seeds) and retains most if not all of the evening primrose plant’s natural benefits depending on to what degree the oil has been refined.
Benefits of evening primrose oil for women’s issues
Evening primrose oil has three main qualities that make it an effective topical herbal remedy for women’s issues. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, it is a natural source of the pain-relieving compound phenylalanine, and it possesses high concentrations of gamma-linoleic acids (GLAs), linoleic acids, and other nutrients, which your skin absorbs and uses to keep your cell metabolism and hormonal levels in balance. All of these qualities work together to make evening primrose oil an effective topical, herbal remedy for PMS, cramps, migraine headaches, and many other conditions. Many herbalists often recommend this oil to women for these reasons.
Benefits of evening primrose oil for skin care
The same qualities that make evening primrose oil such an effective topical, herbal remedy for women’s issues are also responsible for giving this oil its numerous skin care benefits.
Evening primrose oil’s high concentrations of GLAs, linoleic acids, and other nutrients makes it a very effective topical skin care solution for maintaining skin elasticity and preserving youthful looks. When applied to the face and other areas of skin that are prone to acne, it can help dilute any excess sebum oil your skin produces so your pores won’t clog up and become acnetic.
Evening primrose oil’s natural anti-inflammatory properties also make this oil an effective soothing solution to use if you have eczema or psoriasis.
Have you ever wondered why aestheticians place cucumber slices over the eyes of their clients during facials? The benefits of cucumber extract for skin care, particularly when used on sensitive skin or on sensitive areas like the skin around the eyes, have been known to those in the beauty industry for years. Now, it’s time to let the general public in on their secret.
Cucumber extract’s skin care benefits go far beyond simple moisturizing. Cucumber is, in fact, a superfood for skin. It is extremely soothing to dry and damaged skin, with properties similar to aloe vera. It tightens and firms skin for a more youthful appearance, and it contains numerous antioxidant vitamins to combat free radical damage.
It is for these reasons that we use cucumber extract as one of the main ingredients in our Avocado Eye Cream (along with avocado oil, of course) and in our Tre’Yours Avocado Face Cream & Avocado Hemp Regenerative Cream. Cucumber extract is great for your skin on its own, but when blended with avocado oil, becomes even better.
Check out these luxurious anti-aging skin care products from Castle Baths’ Tre’Yours line that incorporate cucumber extract into their formulations:
There are plenty of face and body moisturizers that claim to be the best solution for keeping your skin hydrated. So how do you choose the correct one? This how-to guide will walk you through the steps you should take when evaluating whether a moisturizer is right for your specific skin needs.
Know the cause of your dry skin
Dry skin can have many different causes. Knowing the cause of your dry skin is the first step in choosing the right moisturizer for your face and body. Dry skin and dehydrated skin, while often treated as a single skin type, actually have two different causes. Dry skin refers to skin that lacks the ability to produce sufficient natural oil; dehydrated skin refers to skin that lacks sufficient water.
Chronically dry skin tends to be either genetic or the a side effect of mature/aged skin. If your skin cannot retain sufficient natural oil to keep itself hydrated, you’re going to want to use an oil-based moisturizer such as a body butter, massage oil, or body oil.
Dehydrated skin tends to be temporary, and can occur as a result of exposure to cold temperatures (winter dry skin), exposure to warm temperatures (heated indoor air, sunlight, etc.) or the use of certain chemicals with skin-drying effects such as alcohol. If you have dehydrated skin, you’re probably better off with a water-based moisturizer like a body mist, or a moisturizer that is both water-based and oil-based like a body lotion mist or hand and body lotion.
Consider your environment
If you’re planning on spending time outdoors, it’s a good idea to use a moisturizer that will keep your skin hydrated all day, so you don’t have to constantly re-apply. It’s also a good idea to look for a moisturizer with mild UV protective properties like this hazelnut oil moisturizer.
If you’re in or plan to be in a humid environment, using a body mist or other moisturizer made with natural glycerin will help your skin absorb the moisture surrounding you and keep itself hydrated. This includes your bathroom after bathing or showering.
Consider the existing damage to your skin
If you’ve already sustained some type of damage to your skin like a sunburn, or if you suffer from skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis, you should take these conditions into account when choosing a moisturizer. Pure natural glycerin, aloe vera juice, and aloe body butter are all excellent soothing moisturizers for sunburned skin.
Emu Oil and Evening Primrose Oil are both great skin care ingredients to look for if you have eczema, psoriasis, or any other aches and pains, as both contain natural pain relieving nutrients.
Try using these 6 skin care ingredient oils in place of or in addition to your regular moisturizer
In our last blog we discussed the numerous skin care benefits of using apricot oil as body oil, and introduced you to one of our new Exotic Earth products: pure cold-pressed apricot oil. What we didn’t tell you was that this new product isn’t alone. We now have five additional pure body oils in our Exotic Earth product inventory you can turn to whenever you need a light, non-greasy, oil-based moisturizer.
We added these new body oils in response to a steadily growing demand from our customers for pure oils. We kept getting callers asking questions like, “Where do you get your natural glycerin and can I buy some off you?” and “Do you sell pure hazelnut oil?” In the past we’ve regrettably had to refer these types of customers to other sources, but now the answer to anyone seeking to purchase these skin care oils is a resounding, “Yes!”
Here’s a breakdown of the new body oils we’re now offering, and the skin care purposes for which each oil is best suited.
Hazelnut Oil. Hazelnut oil possesses natural astringent (skin tightening) properties and is rich in antioxidant vitamins B and E, making it ideal for acnetic skin and sensitive skin, as it is very light and gentle as well. It also has mild UV protection properties and is very soothing and fast absorbing when applied to the skin, making it ideal for use on sunburned or damaged skin.
Evening Primrose Oil. The essential oil of Evening Primroses is considered by many skin care industry professionals to be one of the most important natural anti-aging ingredients discovered since Vitamin C. It contains the natural pain-relieving compound phenylalanine, as well as high concentrations of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is what gives Evening Primrose Oil its incredible anti-aging qualities. It has also demonstrated to be very effective for PMS and other women’s health issues, which is why we use it in our Restoration aromatherapy line.
Apricot Oil. We’ve already discussed many of the benefits of cold-pressed apricot oil in detail in our previous blog article, but just to recap, apricot oil is very similar to almond oil, yet notably less expensive. It contains high concentrations of essential fatty acids (EFAs) as well as numerous antioxidant vitamins, which work together to deliver incredible anti-aging results to your skin.
Aloe Vera Juice. While aloe vera juice isn’t technically a body oil (it’s more of a light mist), it is one of the new skin care products we’re now offering as part of the Exotic Earth line. Aloe vera juice helps your skin breathe easier (remember, your skin needs oxygen just like every other part of your body and if you have clogged pores, it can’t breathe easily.) It also contains high concentrations of antioxidant vitamins, which is why it is so often used in sunscreens (though many of the synthetically formulated sunscreens you see in big box stores likely don’t contain sufficient quantities of aloe vera to give your skin all of its beneficial effects.)
Natural Glycerin. Natural glycerin, like aloe vera, is technically not a body oil either. Again, it’s more of a light mist. Its main value as a skin care ingredient comes from its humectant properties, meaning it draws moisture out of the surrounding environment and into your skin. This absorption helps keep your skin’s outer layer intact and protects it from the drying effects of the elements. Our natural glycerin is derived exclusively from vegetable oils (not synthetic chemicals or old animal fats) and is not an alcohol.
Emu Oil. Emu oil has great anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent natural salve to use for a variety of skin maladies, as well as to soothe sore muscles. It is for this reason that Emu oil is a popular natural massage oil, particularly for sports massage where sore muscles are common. Emu oil is derived from the Australian Emu bird and, as such, is not vegan. Since Castle Baths remains committed to offering vegan skin care products we were initially very hesitant to offer Emu oil, but we have decided to test the waters by offering a limited quantity for a short period of time. Whether Emu oil becomes a permanent addition to the Exotic Earth line will depend on how well it sells and how we decide we feel about offering this one non-vegan product.
Now that you have a better understanding of what each of these oils and skin care ingredients should be used for, we hope that you will try one or more of them and experience the numerous skin care benefits of pure body oils for yourself.
6 new skin care products from Exotic Earth was last modified: July 8th, 2014 by Laura Thomas
Cold-Pressed Apricot Oil has many skin care benefits, especially for people with dry skin.
Do you know the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin? If you don’t know the difference between the two skin types you may not be using the correct moisturizer for your skin. The beauty and skin care industries recognize dry/dehydrated skin as a single skin type, but with two different causes.
Dehydrated skin lacks water, and is often temporary. Dry skin lacks oil and is often chronic.
So, if you have dry skin, but you’ve been using a water-based moisturizer, it’s no wonder that your skin feels dry only a short while after you apply. You need to be using an oil-based moisturizer, or even better yet, a body oil like cold-pressed apricot oil.
Cold-Pressed Apricot Oil for Skin Care
If you’re balking at the mention of the word “oil” and worrying about acne breakouts, don’t. Apricot Oil is light, fast-absorbing, and it won’t leave an oily residue on your skin afterwards. It has a lipid content similar to the natural sebum oil your skin produces to stay hydrated so it blends flawlessly into your skin without making your skin feel greasy. Apricot oil also contains high quantities of numerous essential fatty acids (EFAs) that your skin needs to regulate its metabolism.
If that still isn’t enough to convince you of Apricot Oil’s skin care benefits, consider that Apricot Oil also contains high quantities of the antioxidant vitamins A and E, which can help your skin combat free radical damage from sunlight overexposure and stay youthful and healthy.
Ready to give Apricot Oil a try? Check out this pure Apricot Oil body oil, which contains 100% pure Cold-Pressed Apricot Oil. Or, if you really want to go all out and treat yourself, try this Cocoa Butter Plus, which combines Apricot Oil with unrefined cocoa butter, mango butter, and Shea butter in a rich, creamy spread that delivers all-day moisture and soothing!
Aloe vera is a great natural skin care ingredient for soothing damaged skin
Last week we talked about the importance of regular exfoliation and how using a bath scrub can help remove dead skin cells so they don’t cause your skin to flake and peel when out in the sun. But what if your skin is already flaking and peeling? Or worse yet, burning? Knowing how to care for care for your skin when it’s damaged is just as important as knowing how to keep your skin looking flawless, because chances are there will come a time in your life when, despite your best efforts, your skin will become damaged.
On days like today, when temperatures are in the 90s, you’re in a light, sleeveless outfit, and there’s hardly a cloud in the sky, your skin is at prime risk of damage from the relentless UV rays from the sun beating down on you. Even if you’ve read all about the long-term risks of overexposure to sunlight and you’re extremely careful every time you go outside, there’s still a possibility that you’ll end up with some type of sun-related skin damage. So it’s important to have a plan of action for protecting and soothing your skin should this or any other type of burn occur.
What to do if your skin has been burned or damaged….
If you’ve suffered a mild burn from sunlight or another source of inflammation, the first thing you should do is remove yourself from the source of the burning. This may seem blatantly obvious, but far too many people will see a burn, say, “Ouch! I’m burning!” but still continue to lay out and sunbathe or do whatever activity they were doing as though nothing had happened.
Once you’re out of danger of any further damage, the next step you should take as soon as possible is to soothe and protect the damaged area of skin. To accomplish this, we strongly recommend you use something natural like organic aloe vera rather than anything that was made with synthetic chemicals. Synthetic chemicals can be very irritating to even healthy skin and are the last thing your damaged, sensitive skin needs right now.
Aloe Body Butter: a soothing skin care solution
This Exotic Earth Aloe Body Butter is ideal for soothing damaged skin. It is made with several natural skin care staple ingredients, to include organic, unrefined Shea Butter, organic cocoa butter, and aloe vera juice. It also comes in easily transportable 2oz and 4oz size jars so you can take it wherever you go and have it in your hands the moment you need it.
You can apply the aloe body butter just like you would apply your daily moisturizer or any other lotion, though the aloe body butter will feel much richer and soothe and protect your skin much longer than most lotions. It works best to apply the aloe body butter as soon as you notice the mild burning or damage to your skin, and then follow up with additional applications after bathing or showering, and/or before you go to sleep.
Please keep in mind that these tips are for mild skin damage and are for informational purposes only. They are not to be considered medical advice, and if you have serious skin damage, we advise you to consult with your doctor.
Click here to learn more about aloe vera and its skin care properties.
The evidence has existed for some time now, yet few people are aware of just how damaging free radicals can be to the human body.
There is an epic battle being waged within the deep layers of your skin, one with the potential to affect your appearance and health for the rest of your life. Yet so many people remain blissfully unaware of the havoc being wreaked inside their bodies, blind to the buildup of enemy troops as they slowly but surely advance and inflict destruction on their cells, and deaf to the sounds of their bodies’ desperate attempts to repel the invaders before it’s too late.
These “invaders” aren’t some sort of new bacterial or viral disease; they’re much smaller and far more insidious. They’re called free radicals, and their continued buildup within the tissues of your body has been linked to premature aging, cancer and a host of other maladies in numerous scientific studies.
Many have now heard the warnings about using tanning beds and the sunscreen industry is booming, yet how many people actually understand the chemical reactions that occur inside the body when someone tans or burns. Probably not many outside of the dermatologist’s office. But it really isn’t that difficult a concept to grasp and can easily be explained in layman’s terms.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are chemically charged oxygen molecules. When free radicals enter your body, they bond molecularly with the proteins the proteins in cells, destroying the proteins in the process and causing chemical burns to the affected cells. Simply put, free radicals burn your cells. When you get sunburned at the beach, your cells are burning too. When you get a tan, your cells still burn. When you smoke, your cells burn. When you breathe in polluted air, your cells burn.
The chemical reaction caused by free radicals that destroys your body’s cells is the same reaction that occurs when iron rusts or when fruits decay when left outdoors. This reaction is called oxidation. When cells become oxidized, their DNA becomes damaged, which can lead to conditions such as skin cancer in cases where the damage is extreme, lifelong, and left untreated.
Free radicals’ link to premature aging comes from the oxidation of your body’s collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue responsible for keeping a person’s skin firm, plumped, and youthful. When free radicals destroy collagen and inhibit your body’s ability to synthesize new collagen, the result is skin that sags and wrinkles.
What are antioxidants?
As the term might imply, antioxidants are substances that counteract the oxidation process, such as citrus fruits, which contain high concentrations of the antioxidant Vitamin C.
Antioxidant vitamins for skin care
Have you ever tried preserving sliced fruits by soaking them in lemon juice? If you have, then you know that the lemon juice helps the fruit slices remain fresh longer than they would naturally. This is because the antioxidant properties of the lemon juice delay the oxidation process.
The same thing happens when you use ingredients rich in Vitamin C for skin care purposes. Vitamin C is a key component of the body’s natural ability to synthesize new collagen, and also protects existing collagen.
Vitamin E is also highly antioxidant and has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be particularly effective at reducing and in some cases even reversing the inflammation caused by free radicals as a result of sunlight overexposure. Vitamin E also has the ability to intensify the effectiveness of vitamin C when the two are combined, and the reverse is also true.
Consuming foods rich in vitamins C and E, as well as other sources of antioxidants is certainly warranted. You may wish to try organic green tea, as it delivers more antioxidants than most other types of tea, is naturally decaffeinated, and is zero calories, so you can drink it all day without keeping yourself awake all night. But absorbing antioxidant vitamins into your skin topically will be even more beneficial, since that’s where your body’s free radical accumulation is doing the most damage.
How to infuse your skin with antioxidants
While no one is suggesting you bathe in lemon juice, you may want to try natural spa products made with the extracts of organic citrus fruits and/or list vitamins C or E as main ingredients. The following spa products may be of particular interest to you:
Herbal Bath Tea – Castle Baths’ herbal bath teas are made with organic green tea leaves and scented in your choice of seven proprietary aromatherapy essential oil blends. Try Jubilee Bath Tea for an energizing blend of pink grapefruit and bergamot – naturally rich in vitamin C.
Avocado Face Cream – Castle Baths’ Avocado Face Cream combines avocado oil with green tea extract, cucumber extract, and unrefined shea butter, all of which are naturally rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It was initially formulated for people who had undergone cosmetic surgery and were looking for a face cream safe to use on their healing skin, so it’s designed to be extra gentle on sensitive skin – great for if you have sunburned or sun-damaged skin!
Body Butter – Castle Baths’ body butters are extra-rich and deliver all-day moisture, plus a generous quantity of antioxidants and vitamins. Try Citrus C Body Butter or Green Tea Body Butter if you’re looking for something to help with free radicals.
Dead Sea Products – Dead Sea Bath Salts and Dead Sea Mud are both excellent at detoxifying your skin’s pores (through which many sources of free radicals enter your body.) Be sure to treat your skin to regular detox sessions so you can clear out all the pollutants and toxins your skin draws in before they have a chance to oxidize and start damaging your cells.
Some final thoughts on free radicals
It is important to remember that free radicals don’t just come from outside sources. Your body produces its own free radicals as part of its natural metabolic processes. Physical exercise, while good for maintaining muscle strength and overall fitness, increases your body’s metabolism, and thus, its free radical content as well. So even if you’re super careful about sunlight exposure, you eat healthy, and you exercise regularly (which you should,) free radicals will still exist within the tissues of your body.
This is not to dishearten you from trying to eliminate them, but to remind you that regular efforts on your part to protect, rejuvenate, and detoxify your skin are necessary if you want to win not only the battle against free radical damage, but also the war.
Free Radicals vs. Antioxidants: an Epic Battle Waged Within Your Skin was last modified: November 7th, 2013 by Laura Thomas
Using massage oil as body oil for intense moisture
Castle Baths’ massage oils make a great treat for when you want to go the extra step when giving or receiving a massage. But did you know, our massage oils can be used for much more than just giving massages?
Many people who shop for massage oils at Castle Baths do so with the intention of using our massage oils as body oil. If you suffer from chronic dry skin, using one of our aromatherapy massage oils as body oil may actually serve you better than some of our other body moisturizers.
As you may or may not recall from our previous blog articles and website, dry skin lacks oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water. The synthetic cosmetics industry has led many people to believe that oil is bad for your skin – and that it will make you break out with acne. While this may be the case for some people, others with extremely dry skin may need a generous dose of oil in their skin care products to reduce their chances of developing premature wrinkles.
Our massage oils, a.k.a. body oils are also great for people with sensitive skin, as they consist of only two ingredients: cold pressed rice bran oil, and the essential oil aromatherapy blend of your choice (we offer seven varieties.) When it comes to sensitive skin, the fewer ingredients in your skin care products, the better, as there is less chance of irritation from the blend of two or three ingredients than from the 20 chemicals you’d find in a synthetic product.
Last but not least, you may just want to experience the soothing effects of our natural massage oils without having to find someone to actually give you a massage. There are so many reasons why so many people love indulging their skin in luxurious natural body oil.
Do you have a preference on whether to use massage oil for massages or as body oil? Tell us! We may just feature your story in a future blog!
Massage Oil for more than just massages? was last modified: June 9th, 2015 by Josh Thomas