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The Anatomy of the Perfect Scent

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Notes, anchors, and everything else you need to know about fragrances before you visit the perfumery

perfect scent perfumesPerfume oils, once a revered symbol of affluence and sophistication affordable to only the wealthiest of high society, seem to be growing more affordable and readily available every day. It would appear that modern chemists’ ability to replicate almost every scent in nature, as well as a few unnatural scents, cheaply and in large quantities via synthetic ingredients has done much to level the playing field. But has the substitution of chemicals and fillers for nature-made essential oils really done the world any favors?

If you asked Jennifer, a self-proclaimed perfume addict who, on impulse, bought a new celebrity-endorsed fragrance she saw advertised on TV and later spent her anniversary dinner feeling nauseous from the after-effects of its chemical formulation once the initial scent wore off, the answer would be a resounding, “No.”

You see, in her haste to acquire the advertised perfume, Jennifer neglected to check its ingredients or try a sample to check for allergic reactions before buying it, and ended up purchasing only toilet water.

Not literally, of course. Those familiar with perfume classifications may know it better by its native French term eau de toilette, one of the lower-grade classifications where a fragrance’s fragrance oil or essential oil content is only around four to eight percent. Other classifications include:

  • Eau de Cologne – FO/EO content: 3-5%
  • Eau de Parfum – FO/EO content: 8-15%
  • Parfum de Toilette – FO/EO content 15-30%
  • Parfum, or Extrait – FO/EO content: 30% or greater

The higher a fragrance’s oil content, the longer lasting the aroma will be when applied to the skin. Whether a fragrance adhering to your body for hours is in fact desirable or not depends largely on whether the fragrance is made from synthetic fragrance oils or natural essential oils. In 2010, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted an investigative study on perfume and cologne ingredients and discovered, to the shock of the nation, that the popular fragrance Pure Poison was, in fact, poison. Headaches and nausea are common allergic reactions to synthetic fragrance oils and chemical fillers. Many chemicals used to create synthetic fragrances are also known carcinogens and/or neurotoxins, and are not required by U.S. regulations to be disclosed as anything other than the umbrella term “fragrance.”

ewg study fragrance chemicals - source EWG.org

Fragrances made with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance chemicals are far less likely to cause any sort of allergic reaction, and far more research is available on them to reassure people that they are not carcinogens or neurotoxins. Essential oils also have standards of purity, which can affect a perfume’s quality and price. For example, the essential oil of lavender that is made from the wild-grown lavender plants on the mountaintops of France via the time-honored process of steam distillation would be rated as one of the highest grades of lavender available, and the ideal choice for people such as aromatherapists who are interested in the oil for its therapeutic properties.

Of course, a perfume made with a generous percentage of the highest quality essential oils on the market will likely come with an equally high price tag, which is why perfumes advertised at a price that sounds too good to be true are usually the lower fragrance classifications or perhaps once were high quality but are now at the end of their shelf life.

Perfume Notes and Anchors

scentAnother consideration you should take into account before purchasing perfume is the breakdown a scent’s notes and anchors. High quality scents should be composed of at least three different essential oils, often referred to as “notes” in the perfume industry.

The top note is the first note you will notice upon spraying the perfume, and you likely won’t notice it for more than a second or two, nor will it stay with you throughout the day. It’s just the initial scent that makes up the perfume’s blend.

The middle note lasts longer than the top note, and the bottom note is the longest lasting. The bottom note is also what anchors the top note to the middle note to create an original, proprietary fragrance blend that is distinct from its component parts (kind of like a melting pot.) A well selected anchor will actually change how you perceive the other two notes blended together. Sandalwood is the bottom and anchor scent used in Tre’Yours Answered Prayer Perfume Oil, and Patchouli is the bottom and anchor for After the Storm, another popular fragrance by Tre’Yours. Both are made exclusively with essential oils, meaning they are 100% pure and contain no alcohols, synthetic ingredients, or fillers.

At Castle Baths, we consider the crafting of the perfect scent to be no less an art form than mixing the perfect color palette from which to paint a canvas. The careful selection and precise blending of quality essential oils takes dedication, talent, and creativity to ensure that the resulting natural perfume oil is indeed a masterpiece.

Evening Primrose Oil – one of the best natural skin care ingredients discovered since Vitamin C

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Evening primrose oil is recommended by many in the skin care and folk medicine communities. Here’s why:

evening primrose oilDid 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.

You can learn more about the skin care benefits of evening primrose oil here.

 

22 Top naturally disinfecting essential oils

Friday, September 26th, 2014

essential oilsWhen it comes to staying clean and killing germs, there are two main types of cleansing products you can use: those formulated with synthetic detergents, and those that are formulated with naturally disinfecting essential oils. Though detergent-based soaps and cleansers tend to dominate the market today, choosing cleansers that achieve their disinfectant properties with pure essential oils may be the better choice for you in the long run.

essential oil lemonIn the days prior to the invention of synthetic detergents, essential oils were considered a staple ingredient in the soap making process because so many oils possessed naturally occurring disinfectant properties. The essential oils of lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus, in particular, all have strong antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

While synthetic detergents do effectively kill germs, they also spread their chemical-derived ingredients all over the area you’re trying to clean. This becomes a particularly problematic side effect when the area you’re trying to clean is your body, as almost all synthetic detergents are quite drying to skin, and can also induce allergic reactions in some people with sensitivities to their chemical ingredients.

Naturally disinfectant essential oils, on the other hand, can be just as effective at removing harmful bacteria and other grime from your skin without drying it out or causing you to experience allergies. In fact, many disinfecting essential oils also help replenish your skin’s natural moisture and oil as an added bonus.

natural soap - lavenderIf you’re interested in making the switch to essential-oil-based soaps and cleansers, here is a list of some of the top disinfecting essential oils to look for when comparing ingredients.

disinfecting essential oilsYou can take advantage of these naturally disinfecting essential oils by purchasing any of our natural soaps or purchasing these oils in pure form to create your own natural air freshener spray.

Top essential oils for folk medicine and herbal home remedies

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

essential oil marjoramBefore the days of pharmacies and hospitals, essential oils were used as herbal remedies for a variety of maladies as folk medicine, and many people today believe that even with modern medicine, the reputed healing properties of these natural oils should not be ignored.

They may very well be on to something. Modern day scientists have studied the effects of inhaling the aromas of essential oils, as well as the effects of applying them topically to the skin, and have confirmed much of what herbalists have believed for centuries.

Essential oils are quite literally the life force inside plants, hence the term “essential” oil. The word “essential” has its origins in the Latin word essentia, referring to an inseparable, often abstract quality of something or someone, like the soul or spirit. The energy and nutrients contained within a plants essential oil is retained when the oil is extracted and can be passed onto people via inhalation (aromatherapy) and/or topically by massaging the oil into the skin.

Now that you have a better understanding of how ancient and modern day healers have unraveled the mysterious benefits of essential oils, here is a list of some top essential oils used for folk medicine and the types of conditions for which they are best suited.

Types of essential oils explained

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Not all essential oils are created equal

Did you know there are multiple types of essential oils? We’re not talking about the difference between essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils, nor are we referring to the fact that there are so many essential oil scents from which to choose. We’re talking about how two bottles of the essential oil of lavender can have very different scents and aromatherapy effects.

“How can this be?” you may ask. “Shouldn’t all lavender smell and perform alike?” The answer is, “No.”

Different species = different scents

essential oil lavenderIf you were to travel to your nearest plant nursery in search of some tomatoes to plant in your vegetable garden, you’d see several different varieties of tomato plants, some labeled “Early Girl,” and others labeled “Cherry Tomato” or “Better Bush.” Each of these produces fruit that is slightly different from any other type of tomato plant because they are different species within the tomato plant family. The same is true of the plants used to produce essential oils. Different species produce different scents.

Now, to return to the example of lavender, you may now (correctly) surmise that the common name “lavender” does not refer to just one plant but a family of plants, all with similar but not identical characteristics.

Location matters

In addition to differentiation in species, the location in which a plant is grown can also affect the scent and aromatherapy properties of its essential oil. Continuing with the lavender example, French Fine High Altitude Lavender often has a much sweeter aroma than lavender grown in low-altitude eastern Europe.

Click here to see a breakdown of the various types of lavender by growing location.

Therapeutic grade essential oils

Every essential oil is assigned a therapeutic grade, which is determined by the quality of the plants used to produce it, the method by which the oil was extracted from the plants, and the oil’s purity. Low therapeutic grade essential oils may not be Certified Organic or wild-crafted, and are often diluted and used as little more than fragrances.

High therapeutic grade essential oils contain a higher percentage of pure oil and come from plants that were grown using organic farming practices. They retain most if not all of their aromatherapy and skin care benefits, and can be used by aromatherapists and herbalists therapeutically. The highest therapeutic grade essential oils contain 100% pure oil from organic and wild-crafted plant sources.

Find out which therapeutic grade essential oils Castle Baths uses  here.

Of course, like any crop, the weather plays an important role in determining the quality of the plants harvested, which in turn, affects the quality of the resulting oils. A bad season and crop can mean relying on supplies of a particular essential oil from previous years and drive prices up. But now at least you have a better understanding of the various types of essential oils available and the care that goes into preserving their quality from the field to your skin.

Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils: What’s the Difference?

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

essential oilsaromatherapy scents

Allergies to synthetic fragrances are common – try products scented in essential oils instead

Do the scented spa products you see in big box stores give you headaches or make you feel nauseous? Are you hesitant to try lotions and bath salts with aromatherapy benefits because you worry that their scents will be overpowering? Have you become convinced that you’re allergic to scents and can only use unscented products?

If the only spa products you’ve tried have come from large retail chain stores, you may not be as allergic to scented spa products as you think you are. Many of the scented products you see lining the shelves of these stores have been scented with artificially created fragrance oils, which have been concocted from a mix of chemicals. Cosmetics manufacturers are not legally required to disclose all the ingredients they use to manufacture their fragrances, and as a result, many of the chemicals they use can be quite harsh and irritating to your skin and your nose.

The lotions, bath salts, soaps, and oils you’ll find online at Castle Baths, however, are scented in pure, natural essential oils, not synthetic fragrance oils. As such, they are much less likely to cause allergic reactions, and deliver real aromatherapy benefits.

Fragrance Oils vs. Essential Oils: Aromatherapy Benefits

 

essential oil - geranium rose

Fragrance oils are exactly that, fragrances; they just smell nice (or not so nice as the case may be.) Essential Oils, on the other hand, have real aromatherapy benefits. Spa products scented in essential oils retain the aromatherapy benefits of the herbs and flowers from which the oils were extracted. You can find multiple scientific studies on the effectiveness of aromatherapy here.

You can learn more about the essential oils we use and the aromatherapy benefits of the scents we’ve created by blending various essential oils together here.

A few of the essential oils we use do have allergy warnings, such as those derived from ragweed or pine. You can find disclosures regarding potential allergic reactions to such oils in the additional information tab on our product pages.

So, if you’re ready to end your exile from the world of scented spa products, come check out our aromatherapy essential oil blends!

Choosing a wholesale partner (for skin care professionals)

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

How to partner with spa and bath companies to offer at-home skin care solutions to your clients

If you’re a dermatologist, aesthetician, or other skin care and beauty professional, you likely know that your business depends not only on the quality of your services but also the quality of the products you recommend to your clients, patients, and customers. In many cases, your personal brand and reputation within the beauty industry can become linked to the brand and reputation of the company responsible for producing the products you use during your services and to your customers for at-home care. As such, it’s vital that you make the right choice when selecting a company to partner with.

Selecting the wrong beauty supply company to partner with can have dire consequences for your business. If the products you offer to your customers for at-home care don’t live up to their claims, your customers may conclude that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and your brand will lose credibility. Worse yet, if the company you partner with is discovered to be using less than ethical business and advertising practices (such as using carcinogenic ingredients in their products,) your customers may start viewing you as guilty by association.

So what do you do? Some beauty and skin care professionals choose to make and sell their own spa and beauty products, thereby eliminating the “middle man.” But if product formulation isn’t your specialty, you’re stuck with the original question: who’s products do you choose to offer to your customers, clients, patients, etc.?

Some tips for minimizing your risk when evaluating potential partner companies include:

Go organic. Products made with natural, organic, and wild-crafted ingredients are generally much less likely to contain potentially harmful substances than products made with synthetic ingredients and chemicals. Even if a product claims to be “natural” or “all-natural” it may still contain synthetic ingredients, chemicals, or artificial preservatives, as there is currently no industry standard on what constitutes a “natural” or “all-natural” product. Try looking for products and companies that use Certified Organic or wild-crafted ingredients instead. The term “organic” is heavily regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and thus, you can achieve a far greater level of certainty that the products you are using and offering do not contain potentially harmful substances if their ingredient lists use the term “organic.”

If you’re curious about the potential hazards of a particular ingredient or product, the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep Database can be a useful tool to use when conducting your research.

skin deep database bathsheba lotion

Look for reviews and testimonials. There’s no better way to gauge how well a product lives up to its claims than to see what people who have actually used it have to say about it. Look for reviews by customers and for testimonials from doctors, aestheticians, and other skin care professionals like yourself. Also look and see if the company in its entirety has achieved any certifications or verifications such as getting its product claims “doctor trusted.”

facial toner treyoursConsider price range. Don’t automatically go with the cheapest option available to you. Remember, the reason cheap products tend to be cheap is because they use synthetic and chemical-based ingredients that are inexpensive to manufacture. Chances are, if your clients, patients, and customers are wealthy enough to be able to afford your services then they’re wealthy enough to afford something better than your run-of-the-mill lotion for at-home use. If you cater primarily to the affluent then the price and the quality of the products you offer should also convey affluence. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that finding such high quality products has to cost you an arm and a leg. Just look for a company with a generous wholesale policy (and high quality products, of course.)

If your search for a wholesale partner happens to lead you to Castle Baths, please keep in mind that we offer a wide variety of anti-aging face creams, massage oils, essential oils, and body scrubs made with organic ingredients, as well as a variety of ways to partner with us.

Good luck on your search for the perfect spa and beauty supply partner for your business!

What are essential oils, and why are they so essential?

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

iStock_000012598926_MediumIf you’ve explored the Castle Baths website, you know that almost all of our products contain essential oils. But if you’re new to aromatherapy, you might be wondering, “What exactly are essential oils, and why are they so essential?”

Essential oils are the molecules responsible for giving plants their scent. The reason a lavender plant smells like lavender is because of its essential oils. These oils flow through the leaves, bark, flower petals, or fruit of plants. They function as the plant’s immune system, circulatory system, and endocrine system, allowing the plant to fight off insects and disease, heal wounds, and attract animals to pollinate and fertilize it for reproduction. Centuries ago, these oils were considered to be the “essence” or “inner nature” of plants, similar to what we would call the soul in humans, hence the term “essential oils.”

Some essential oils can only be derived from the flower petals of a plant, and thus, require more plants to produce a usable amount of oil. These types of essential oils are called absolutes, and are typically more expensive than oils that can be derived from bark, leaves, stems, or fruit.

essentialEssential oils are essential in the literal sense as well, as they are necessary for the plant to survive and propagate. As stated, they are responsible for healing and protecting the plant, among other functions. These healing properties can be passed on to humans via inhalation of the aroma of these oils, a process termed “aromatherapy” in modern days. Depending on which aromas you inhale, essential oils can help you feel relaxed, energized, or even sexual. Essential oils are not synonymous with carrier oils such as jojoba oil or coconut oil. Carrier oils, while containing numerous skin care benefits such as moisturizing, are unscented and have no aromatherapy benefits.

Essential oils are extracted from their respective plants in laboratories via a process known as steam distillation. The process begins with the intact plant being suspended over boiling water while being housed in  a closed container to prevent steam from escaping. The steam causes the essential oils to evaporate from the plant and travel upwards with the steam to the top of the container, where it enters a tube surrounded by cold water. The cold water forces the evaporated oil to return to its liquid state, as pure oil. It typically takes dozens if not hundreds of plants to produce even one ounce of pure essential oil.

The resulting oil is extremely potent, and a little goes a long way. Just one drop of peppermint essential oil is equivalent to the concentration of 20 peppermint tea bags. Often, the resulting oils will be blended with other essential oils to create unique, proprietary scents such as Castle Baths Classic line of aromatherapy products, which include the following scents:

  • Bathsheba – aromatherapy benefits include inspiring confidence and a romantic mood
  • Passion – aromatherapy benefits include arousal, stimulating of sexuality, and inspiring confidence
  • Jubilee – aromatherapy benefits include energizing of the mind and mody
  • Prayer – aromatherapy benefits include relaxation and helping people reach a spiritual, meditative state of mind
  • Restoration – aromatherapy benefits include helping to soothe feminine woes of midlife and relaxation
  • Sweet Communion – aromatherapy benefits include relaxation and helping to restore emotional balance
  • Sweet Dreams – aromatherapy benefits include relaxation and helping people reach a restful state of mind so they can drift off to sleep naturally

More information on specific essential oils and their uses can be found on Castle Baths’ essential oil page. Information on specific carrier oils we use in the making of our products can be found on Castle Baths ingredients page. Happy reading, and be sure to check our blog again next week too, as we will have new aromatherapy and skin care insights to share.

Natural Organic Spa and Bath Products with a Christian Foundation

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Castle Baths is a different kind of retailer than other spa and bath product shops.  We not only apply our Christian tenets to the products themselves, but also in our customer service approach. We feel that God is in all we do, and so we do what we can to be as gentle to the earth, our bodies, our customers, and our community, in a spirit of service.

All Natural Products

Our products are created with all natural, organic ingredients in order to eliminate one source of man-made chemicals that pollute the earth and our bodies on a daily basis. Our entire spa bath line are:

  • Natural, pure
  • Made to order, as fresh as possible
  • Vegan (except 3 goats milk soap bars)
  • Handmade (no machines or factories)
  • Shipped daily for shelf life
  • Never tested on animals
  • Created with Certified Organic and Wild Crafted Ingredients
  • Made with you in mind

Castle Baths offers a full line of Beauty Products, top spa products and therapeutic bath products, along with one of a kind spa gift baskets and designer natural pet products. We offer Pampering Beauty and lots of Hope to our customers!

Helping People through Service

Effective January 1, 2011: We wish to give  back some of our profits to our charitable causes.

We feel that the bank doesn’t need to hold money that people in need could use! This has brought us to the decision of donating to those in need.

Castle Baths Charities:

We receive lots (I mean LOTS) of request for charitable donations and giveaways….we really have to have them budgeted before we can help- if you have a charity of importance let us know and we can add it to our list to be reviewed.

Castle Baths gives back a bare minimum of 10% of our time, talents and tithe. Our staff is also given a full day each quarter Paid to offer their support within the community. For example: Racheal walks and donates her time to speak with neighbors and groups to collect donations for the troops each month, while Castle Baths pays for the postage and supplies needed to ship the items to the Soldiers. Here’s a note from one of our Support Our Troops groups:-)

Cat House on the Kings – Please visit and tour this site- it is incredible!

Animal Rescue – Animals need love, shelter and food- not a death sentence!

Save the Bay -Chesapeake Bay Foundation – this is where we live. We hope you’ll care enough to help a cause where you live. We help clean the bay up annually with this one.

Support Our Troops -Donated Items welcomed to send to our troops overseas- We ship monthly to our solider’s. Email Racheal Brennan for how you can help or call us 757-813-7891

MS Society – Owner, Laura Thomas was diagnosed with MS in January of 2009, what was once a walk to help has now become a part of Laura’s Life- literally:-) Go here to support! MS WALK RACHEAL for mom and others.

You have a choice in Bath and Spa Products

We know that you have a choice in where you buy your bath and spa products – we want to provide you with a guilt free, charitable option that you can be proud of and tell your friends about.  Help us to make a difference by donating to  a charity while you get your all natural, bath, spa, and beauty products from us!

Start Your Teen off Naturally Stress Free

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Our kids are growing up faster and have longer working years ahead of them than ever before – show your teenager how to naturally take care of their skin as well as relieve stress. After all, they will need this skill and this is advice that will be used on a daily basis (unlike some of your other advice)!

Sometimes, as adults, we forget how very stressful being a teenager can be. Hormones are all over the place, large decisions about where their life will head are coming up quickly and self-confidence is almost always an issue. Help your teen to be self assured, confident, and ready to face the changes and challenges that God has in store for them by teaching them how to relieve stress and protect their skin in a natural, healthy way.

Relieving Stress

It is imperative in the stressful, busy world we have brought our children into, that they learn how to relax and let stressful emotions go on a daily basis.  Our Sweet Dreams scent can be found in several different product types ( bath tea, aromatherapy oils, etc.) and will help your teen to relax, sleep well, and be ready for another day in their busy life.

Natural Skin Care

Rosemary essential oilNothing seems more important when you are a teenager than your appearance.  If your teen suffers from lack of confidence in their skin appearance, it may be the kind of face wash that is being applied. See this video on the difference that a natural body wash makes versus a leading competitor’s body wash.

If you have a specific situation, and would like to discuss how our natural products could be used or applied to help, please contact us at (757) 788-8157 or by email.