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Free Radicals vs. Antioxidants: an Epic Battle Waged Within Your Skin

November 7th, 2013

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.

sunburn free radicalsThere 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.

herbal bath tea - jubileeHow 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 creamAvocado 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 mud maskDead 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.

Endocrine Disruptors, Skin Care Products, and Mutant Frogs, Oh My!

October 29th, 2013

Did you know that certain chemicals commonly used in the manufacture of many top-brand skin care products have been known to make frogs change their sex? Despite the date of this article’s publication, this isn’t the plot of some made-for-TV Halloween movie. The threat is real, and it’s all around you. From the chemical formula of your body lotion to the plastic bottle of water you bought from a vending machine, endocrine disruptors are everywhere.

The Environmental Working Group (developer of the SkinDeep® Cosmetics Database, ) in partnership with the Keep A Breast Foundation™ has released a free booklet on 12 common endocrine disruptors you’re likely to encounter in day-to-day life, aptly named The Dirty Dozen.

What are endocrine disruptors?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic the hormone estrogen and, as such, interfere with the normal operation of the human endocrine system. Exposure to endocrine disruptors over a long period of time has been linked to breast and thyroid cancer, sterility/infertility, and birth defects (if the mother is exposed.)

“Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the sex hormone estrogen in your body? No!”
- excerpt from the EWG’s booklet

Some common endocrine disruptors you’re likely to find in skin care products and daily life

Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated BPA, is used most commonly to line the insides canned foods and to coat the surface of receipt paper. It is also used in the manufacturing process for polycarbonate plastics (marked with a “PC” or recycling number 7.) BPA has been linked to heart disease, obesity, reproductive disorders, early puberty, and breast cancer. The Environmental Working Group has reported that government tests have identified the presence of BPA in the tissues of 93% of Americans.

Dioxins

Dioxins are formed by the chemical process of burning chlorine or bromine in the presence of carbon and oxygen, a process that occurs in the smokestacks of many factories. Dioxins can mimic both male and female hormones and have been linked to permanently low sperm counts in men  who were exposed while in the womb or early in life. They are also extremely carcinogenic.

Atrazine

Atrazine is a herbicide commonly used on corn crops. As such, it frequently enters water supplies via groundwater. Male frogs that have been exposed to high levels of atrazine have mutated into fully functional female frogs. In humans, atrazine can cause breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate problems.

Phthalates

Phthalates are chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics, particularly soft, flexible plastics such as plastic wrap. They not only mimic hormones, but also the signal that tells cells when to die, particularly so in testicular tissue. Phthalates are also often added to synthetically manufactured scents in cosmetics, and are listed on labels as simply “added fragrance,” leaving the unsuspecting buyer completely unaware of the hidden toxins she is about to rub into her skin.

Organophosphate pesticides

Organophosphates are neurotoxins first developed by the Nazis during World War II for chemical warfare. They were never used as such, but American scientists later decided that it would be a good idea to use the same chemical formula to manufacture pesticides. Organophosphate pesticides, in addition to still being neurotoxins, also interfere with how testosterone communicates with cells, leading to “low T” in men, and altering thyroid hormonal levels.

Glycol Ethers

Glycol ethers are solvents in paints, cleaning supplies, brake fluid, and, you guessed it, cosmetics and skin care products. When rats were exposed to glycol ethers, the result was shrunken testicles. In humans, glycol ethers have been linked to birth defects, blood abnormalities, low sperm counts in men, and increased incidents of asthma and allergies in children.

For the other six common endocrine disruptors you’re likely to encounter in your day-to-day activities, as well as some suggestions for minimizing your exposure to these substances, download the EWG’s free booklet.

You may also wish to check EWG’s SkinDeep® Cosmetics Database to find out which of your skin care products contain potentially problematic ingredients, and which do not. Check out this shocking comparison of ingredients used in Castle Baths’ Bathsheba Hand and Body Lotion versus Bath & Body Works’ popular Cherry Blossom lotion based on data from EWG’s database.

bathsheba vs cherry blossom

In case you were wondering, all of Castle Baths’ product formulations are completely free of all the endocrine disruptors listed in the EWG’s report. Plus, we go the extra step of not only ensuring that our products themselves are free of endocrine disruptors, but also the containers we use to bottle them. You can learn more about Castle Baths’ commitment to producing natural, handmade spa products here – Handmade for Safety, Quality & Uniqueness.

If you have any questions about Castle Baths’ commitment to providing safe, endocrine disruptor free, natural bath and body products, please contact us or leave a comment here. We’ll get back to you soon!

How to Select the Perfect Holiday Spa Gift Basket

October 24th, 2013

It’s never too early to start thinking about gift ideas for the holidays, especially considering we’re halfway through October already. But if you have distant friends or relatives, (or even if they live close by,) you’re likely to at some point encounter the dilemma many gift givers encounter this time of year: “What would they enjoy?”

If your distant friend, relative, or loved one happens to be female, this can further complicate your dilemma (especially if you’re male). Should you go practical and get her something she really needs that will be useful around the house? If so, what does she need? Should you go for something more pampering like a spa gift basket, or would she consider that too gender stereotypical?  If so, what types of spa products should it include? What scents would she like? There are so many choices.

Practical vs. Pampering: the gift giver’s dilemma

If you’re male and looking for gifts for women, your first inclination may be to shy away from the typically feminine gifts such as spa gift baskets and go practical simply because you just don’t feel you know enough about the spa and bath industry to select the right spa gift. Going practical with your gift giving this year may seem like the ideal solution, but practical gifts can backfire just as easily. Just ask the guy who bought a bucket and mop for his wife for Christmas 20 years ago how that worked out.

If your practical gift is something she’s specifically requested from you or has hinted at on more than one occasion as to its ability to make her life easier, than all is well. Otherwise, it’s a shot in the dark, and you may be better off with something more pampering and lifestyle-oriented.

Selecting a pampering gift

holiday gift basketIf you decide to go with a pampering, lifestyle-oriented gift, you may find yourself back at your original question: what would she enjoy? If you don’t know much about the spa and bath industry, keep in mind that there are two staples when it comes to pampering gifts: gift cards to a local day spa and home spa gift baskets. While the idea of receiving a professional massage appeals to some women, others are put off by the idea of being touched by a stranger. If you suspect this may be the case with the person for whom you are shopping, a luxury spa gift basket may be the better choice.

“But what type of spa gift basket?” you may wonder. There are so many from which to choose, and so many factors to consider when deciding what types of spa products it should include. Here are a few tips for selecting the perfect spa gift basket  for your female friend, relative, or significant other:

If you are on a budget, you can still find a classy gift within your price range by shopping via our Gifts Under $75, Gifts Under $50, or Gifts Under $25 categories.
  • Don’t cheap out. Going to the nearest department store may seem like the quickest and easiest solution, but if the person for whom you are shopping is knowledgeable about skin care, doing so can come across as tacky. Many mass retailers of skin care products offer only products made with synthetic ingredients, including chemicals and preservatives that can be very bad for the skin. So, unless you know which ingredients to look for and which to avoid, it is better to go with natural spa gift baskets. Besides, natural spa products are all the more luxurious, and can really show that you put time and effort into your gift.
  • Consider her age and ethnicity. We’ve found that women in different age groups  and ethnic groups tend to prefer different scents. Consult our gift guide to see the results of our research on aromatherapy scents and age groups and demographics. In general, we’ve found that women belonging to Generation X and Y tend to prefer our Sweet Dreams (Lavender and Vanilla) aromatherapy essential oil blend, while Baby Boomer and Greatest Generation women tend to prefer our Bathsheba Rosewood Rose aromatherapy blend. Our Jubilee (Bergamot and Pink Grapefruit) aromatherapy blend is very popular among African American women (and men too!)
  • new mom gift basketConsider her lifestyle. Ethnicity and age group don’t always give you the whole picture. These days, many women in their late 30s and early 40s are just starting to have children, whereas 20-30 years ago women of this same age group were more likely to have children in their teens or even adult children. As such, these women may prefer a spa gift basket specifically geared towards new moms such as our Sweet Escape Gift Basket or our New Mom Gift Basket. If she’s into natural anti-aging solutions, our Dead Sea Spa Gift Basket may be of interest.

Chocolate Spa Gifts: the perfect pampering combination

chocolate spa gift - happy birthdayWe also offer several holiday-themed spa gift baskets for both men and women, to include our popular Happy Birthday Spa Gift Basket and Slice of Life Gift Basket (both of which feature a unique assortment of chocolate scented spa products.) We also offer a Holiday Spa Gift Basket that includes our Coffee Cocoa Body Scrub and our Key Lime Pie Slice Soap, as well as several decorative soaps from which to choose. (Check out our Lavender Bon Bons.)

We’ve set aside all of next week to make fresh batches of our Chocolate Cake Slice Soap (included in our Slice of Life and Happy Birthday Gift Baskets,) and our Fruit Cake Slice Soap as each takes approximately six weeks to cure and harden. They were both very popular last holiday season, so we want to make sure we have enough to satisfy everyone this year. If you’re interested, be sure to order yours while supplies last!)

If you have any questions about our spa gift baskets, or need help selecting the perfect gift this holiday season, please contact us and/or view our gift guide. Happy gift giving!

 

Dead Sea Bath Salts: most popular aromatherapy blends and staff picks

October 18th, 2013

If you enjoy taking long hot baths complete with scented bath salts don’t settle for those cheap salts you see in the bath and body departments of large box stores! All bath salts are not created equally, and you tend to get what you pay for. Commercial bath salts that use Epsom salt as their primary ingredient can be quite drying to the skin. They may also be scented with synthetic fragrance oils (which can cause headaches in some people) rather than pure essential oils.

There’s no getting around it. If you want a real luxury bathing experience, you need to use pure, authentic Dead Sea bath salts. The act of bathing in the waters of the Dead Sea has been regarded as a luxurious indulgence for centuries, and with good reason. The waters of the Dead Sea have demonstrated unique regenerative powers in numerous scientific studies.

Dead Sea Salt in particular has been proven scientifically to help with aches and pains, as well as reduce the likelihood of stiffness after exercising. Dead Sea Salt is also extremely helpful for detox purposes, as it helps remove impurities from your skin’s pores while feeding your skin with much-needed minerals. Dead Sea bath salts that have been scented in essential oils carry the additional aromatherapy benefits that can range from resting a headache to aphrodisiac properties. It all depends on which essential oil blend you choose.

Some of our most popular aromatherapy bath salts

Castle Baths offers a wide selection of bath salts, all of which are made with pure, authentic Dead Sea Salt imported from the Dead Sea. Below are some of our customers’ favorites, as well as our personal staff picks:

bath salts sdSweet Dreams Conditioning Soak (staff pick) – our Sweet Dreams Conditioning Soak combines the rejuvenating powers of Dead Sea Salt with the moisturizing power of Unrefined Cocoa Butter and the relaxing aromatherapy benefits of our proprietary Sweet Dreams essential oil blend (combining the essential oils of lavender and vanilla) for a truly exceptional bathing experience! These sweetly scented salts will help put your mind at ease while conditioning your skin to help you achieve that coveted silky smooth look – perfect for a late evening bath just before going to bed!

dead sea salts - prPrayer Dead Sea Bath Salts for the Soul – the very first Castle Baths aromatherapy spa products ever created, this floral fruity bath salt blend has been a hit from the very beginning, and has grown in popularity each year since. Originally formulated to ship with Castle Baths founder Laura Thomas’ spiritual memoir How to Have Purr-fect Faith, Even at a Cat Show in an effort to entice people to read the book, this aromatherapy bath salt remains a staple for anyone who, like Laura, loves to meditate and pray while taking a long relaxing warm bath.

 

green tea infusion bath saltsGreen Tea Infusion Dead Sea Bath Salts – when it comes to detox, this Dead Sea Salt blend means business. It combines the detox powers of pure, authentic Dead Sea Salt with the high antioxidant content of organic green tea to help purify your skin of pollutants without having to go on risky diets or undergo expensive spa treatments. Green tea also delivers uplifting and cheering aromatherapy benefits – a truly rejuvenating bath salt from Castle Baths’ Exotic Earth spa line!

 

bath salts - eucalyptusSexy Eucalyptus Bath Salts (staff pick) – Remember when we said that some aromatherapy blends have aphrodisiac properties? Case in point right here! We call this blend “Sexy Eucalyptus” for a reason. Both men and women love its sexy, stimulating aroma – perfect for a bath for two! Also, if you’re feeling under the weather, our Sexy Eucalyptus Bath Salts have shown to be helpful in opening up all your senses and helping you feel more revived. Containing nothing but pure authentic Dead Sea Salt and the essential oil of eucalyptus, this aromatherapy bath salt is simple yet amazingly effective!

Do you have a favorite Dead Sea bath salt or aromatherapy scent? Tell us! We may just feature your story in our next blog!

6 Luxury Foot Care Gift Baskets To Pamper Your Friends and Loved Ones

October 2nd, 2013

Now that the weather has started to get a little cooler, it’s the perfect time to send someone a foot care gift basket. Chances are your friends’ and loved ones’ feet are feeling a little dry from all the beach strolls and sandal-wearing they experienced during the summer months, and there are many other environmental and lifestyle factors that can also take a toll on someone’s soles.

Fortunately, Castle Baths offers several foot care gift baskets and spa solutions to help you and your friends or loved ones get back on their feet quickly. If you know someone with tired and/or sore feet, or you experience foot problems yourself, here are a few popular foot care gift baskets and spa solution kits you may want to consider:

foot care gift basket - in appreciation

The In Appreciation Spa Gift Basket

Castle Baths’ In Appreciation Spa Gift Basket offers one 4 oz bottle of mineral foot cream, scented in our energizing, fruity Jubilee aromatherapy essential oil blend, one 4 oz jar of foot salts, made with pure, authentic Dead Sea Salt and also scented in Jubilee, one fruit cake slice soap, and one candle. This gift basket is a perfect thank you gift when you want to maintain a professional and/or platonic relationship but also send something personal.

Spearmint Foot Candies

spearmint foot candies

These luxurious little foot scrubs are similar to our bon bons in that they exfoliate and cleanse a

person’s feet during a foot bath, but our Spearmint Foot Candies are specifically formulated for foot care and go one step beyond our bon bons in that they not only help soften feet, they help feet stay! Each foot candy is formulated to leave a natural protective layer over the foot after the foot bath is complete to help reduce dampness from sweating, thus keeping feet soft and smooth. Our foot candies make a great gift for any occasion, and are great for when you want to send something unusual but also very much appreciated.

foot spa bath gift - lavenderThe Lavender Foot Bath Spa Gift

Castle Baths’ Lavender Foot Bath Spa Gift offers its recipient everything he or she will need to create the ultimate luxury foot bath, including one 4 oz mineral foot cream scented in our relaxing aromatherapy blend of Lavender and Ylang Ylang known as Sweet Communion, one 16 oz champagne-style bottle of authentic Dead Sea Foot Salts, also scented in Sweet Communion, and a 6 pack of our Spearmint Foot Candies. Upscale… vegan… and something your friend or loved one is sure to fall head over heels in love with!

The Lavender Foot Spa Bath Gift Basket

foot spa bath gift basket - lavender

What could possibly be better than our Lavender Foot Bath Spa Gift? How about our Lavender Foot Spa Bath Gift Basket, which not only gives your friend or loved one everything he or she will need to create a luxury foot bath (including our 4 oz Sweet Communion Mineral Foot Cream, 16 oz champagne-style bottle of Dead Sea Foot Salts, and a Coffee Bon Bon for exfoliation), but also arrives in an old-fashioned ice bucket you can use to prepare the bath itself!

The 3 Pack Foot Salts Gift Basket

foot salts - 3 pack

If you can’t decide which aromatherapy scent to go with, why not let your gift’s recipient sample all three? We offer our popular foot salts in three scents, Jubilee, Sweet Communion, and a romantic Rosewood and Rose blend we’ve named Bathsheba. Plus, we’ve included one bonus Spearmint Foot Candy. Why settle for just one scent when you can have it all?

cracked heels spa solution kit

The Cracked Heels Spa Solution Kit

If you’re friend or loved one is experiencing yellow or dark lesions on his or her feet, or constantly experiences itchiness, roughness or pain surrounding the heel area, he or she may be one of the many people who suffer from cracked heels. Cracked heels are not a serious skin problem (though they may look and feel terrible), and are actually just extreme cases of dry skin. You can learn more about the causes of cracked heels here, and we have an effective natural solution for them too. Our Cracked Heels Spa Solution Kit offers one 16 oz champagne-style bottle of Dead Sea Foot Salts and one 4 oz Mineral Foot Cream, both scented in Sweet Communion, plus one 4 oz Lavender Body Butter to draw additional moisture into the skin, one 8 oz Mediterranean Breeze Bath Scrub for exfoliation, and one scrub brush to apply the bath scrub to feet. Take a look at our cracked heels page to see the order in which we recommend using these products for super-soft feet.

So many enticing foot care gift baskets. So many feet in need of pampering! The choice is up to you!

Decorative Soap Ideas: One Dozen Roses

September 25th, 2013

A few weeks ago, we talked about decorative soap and gave you a few ideas on how to use them. Now, we’d like to share a particularly unique decorative soap design we offer: one dozen roses.

These unique little soaps actually look like a bouquet of one dozen roses when assembled, and give you the ability to use them as a decoration and as soap at the same time. Here’s how:

1. First, assemble your dozen roses. If you purchase our Dozen Friendship Roses (scented in the essential oil of bergamot), your roses will come pre-attached to their stems, and a base (which also functions as a bar of soap) will be included. See assembly instructions below:

     
Use a stick or other similar item to poke holes in the flower pot soap in the following configuration. Next, remove roses from plastic and bow. Place each rose in one of the holes, with the longest stem in the center hole. If the stems do not fit properly in the pot holes, microwave the pot – full pot soap side up – for less than one minute or warm it in an oven.

 

You may want to allow the pot to sit and harden for a few hours. Start arranging the stems once the pot has cooled and hardened. The pot contains both herbs and soap in a cupcake oven-safe dish.

2. Place your assembled dozen roses near your bathroom or kitchen sink. If you purchase our Vanilla Musk Roses* please keep in mind that these do not come with a flower pot base, so you will need to use a vase or other container to create your rose soap bouquet. You may even want to try this with our Dozen Friendship Roses, even though they come with their own base. See the video below for ideas on how to decorate your bathroom or kitchen with Vanilla Musk Roses.

3. Start using your dozen roses. To begin using your roses as soap, simply detach one of the roses from its stem (they separate easily) and place it in your soap dish. Your dozen roses should retain their scent for up to two months, and should last a family of five up to six months.

vanilla musk roses*Additional info about our Vanilla Musk Roses: Our Vanilla Musk Roses were originally created as an exclusive Valentine’s Day gift, and were offered in your choice of dark chocolate or vanilla musk. Both scents were a huge success, and the Vanilla Musk Roses particularly so. So we decided to make both versions available year-round as part of our decorative soap collection.

 

 

4 New Natural Soaps for Men and Women!

September 5th, 2013

If you haven’t browsed Castle Baths’ natural soap selection recently, you may wish to do so, as we are offering four new natural soaps. We now offer natural soaps in the following scents: berry vanilla parfait, forest glen, naked hemp, and Sherwood Forest.

berry vanilla parfait natural soapOur Berry Vanilla Parfait Natural Soap encapsulates the aroma of freshly picked berries and the thrill of getting your favorite parfait at the local ice cream store. Not only does its black currant and vanilla aromatherapy blend give this bar of natural soap a candy-like aroma, these particular essential oils are also reputed to have numerous health benefits according to experts in folk medicine and aromatherapy.

forest glen natural soapOur Forest Glen Natural Soap brings the woodsy aroma of balsam to your bathroom or kitchen – a scent that works great for waking up your senses in the morning! In addition to a pleasant woodsy scent, this bar of natural soap also brings with it some unique aromatherapy benefits, to include a feeling of oneness with nature, calmness, peace, and contentment.

naked hemp natural soap for menOur Naked Hemp Natural Soap for Men is one of the latest additions to our Tre’Yours for Men line, featuring anti aging skin care products just for him. This bar of natural soap is made with hemp seed oil and the essential oil of eucalyptus to help inspire its user with the confidence of James Bond for an exciting date night. Men love it, and women love it when men use it! Plus, hemp seed oil has many anti aging benefits (nice bonus!)

sherwood forest natural soapOur Sherwood Forest Natural Soap for Men is another new addition to our Tre’Yours for Men line, and the men’s equivalent of our Forest Glen Natural Soap. Our Sherwood Forest Natural Soap, while appearing nearly identical to our Forest Glen soap, contains slightly less lavender for a more masculine woodsy aroma that is still just as invigorating. Whether it be for its unique balsam-like scent or the skin care benefits of its natural ingredients, this bar of natural soap will leave you a merry man!

So, the next time you are getting ready for a night out and want to give yourself a distinctive scent, don’t bother with that chemical-filled bottle of cologne or perfume. Experience what natural soap can do for you, your skin, and your social life!

Back-to-School Relaxation and Pampering Tips for Parents

August 29th, 2013

With the kids off to school, it’s time for a little luxurious pampering!

The new academic year is approaching rapidly for those with school-aged or college-aged children. This means you’ll soon have some time to yourself again, so why not start planning for a day of luxurious pampering. After all the hard work you’ve done this summer to keep your kids occupied, keep the house clean, and keep the bills paid, you deserve a break!

If you want to feel pampered, a day at the spa is always a good start – or even better yet, turn your home into your own personal spa with one of these luxurious handmade spa gift baskets.

sweet escape spa gift basketThe Sweet Escape Spa Gift Basket , originally intended as a Mother’s Day gift basket, is the perfect pampering indulgence for mothers of school-aged children, as it includes a unique selection of aromatherapy spa products scented in Castle Baths’ soothing Sweet Dreams essential oil blend of lavender and vanilla. This particular aromatherapy blend has proven very popular among Generation Y/Millenial women.

enchanted evening spa gift basketIf you’re a mother of college-aged children, the Enchanted Evening Spa Gift Basket , also originally a Mother’s Day gift basket, is likely to be the perfect choice for you! It includes a wide variety of natural spa products scented in Castle Baths’ Bathsheba aromatherapy essential oil blend of rosewood and pure rose absolute for romance-inspiring sensations. The Enchanted Evening Spa Gift Basket has proven extremely popular among Baby Boomer and Generation X women.

At Castle Baths, we treat every day as Mother’s Day, because you need more than just one day per year to take time off to pamper yourself and relax!

mediterranean breeze bath body scrubIf gift baskets aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps you would prefer some pampering spa products you can enjoy with your significant other, such as natural massage oils or bath oils. The quiet hours when the kids are away at school is also the perfect time to indulge in an anti-aging mud mask or body scrub.

Whatever you decide, make sure you make time for yourself during the upcoming weeks. Relaxation and pampering aren’t just indulgences, they’re necessities for maintaining your physical and mental health during your hectic schedule!

Massage Oil for more than just massages?

August 15th, 2013

Using massage oil as body oil for intense moisture

massage oil - sweet communionCastle 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.

rice bran oil for skinOur 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.

massage oil - jubileeLast 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!

Decorative Soap: to use or not to use?

August 8th, 2013

“Why is my decorative soap all black?” asked the wife.

“I used it to clean motor oil off my hands,” the husband replied.

“What! That wasn’t for washing with!”

“It’s a bar of soap. What else would it be for?”

“But now, instead of smelling like lavender, it smells like a car engine!”

“Yes, it does smell much better now. I never liked its original scent.”

If you’re an aficionado of decorative soap, perhaps this conversation sounds all-too-familiar to you. If you search the Internet for decorative soaps, you’ll find plenty of discussion boards with similar back-and-fourth arguments. Clearly, the debate over whether decorative soaps should be used or left untouched as decorations has become a hot topic. Are decorative soaps decorations that happen to be made of soap, or are they soaps that happen to be decorative?

The answer, of course, is up to you (and whomever shares your home), but if you’re looking for some ideas of ways to use decorative soaps beyond the age-old “decoration versus soap” debate, here are a few suggestions.

fat cat soapGive them as housewarming gifts, wedding gifts, or prizes. Decorative soaps are small, fancy, and (if you so choose) functional – the perfect gift or door prize! Our Fancy Fat Cat and Fancy Fat Dog decorative soaps make great gifts or prizes for animal lovers, and we offer several decorative soap spa gift baskets too!

key lime pie slice soapUse them to help sell your house. Making your kitchen appear warm and inviting is essential to selling a home, or so your realtor may have told you. What better way to accomplish this than with Castle Baths’ Key Lime Pie Slice Soap, Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream Soap, or one of our other tasty-treat-shaped decorative soaps.

passion daisy soapTravel with them. We offer several decorative soaps that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand as well as in a small travel kit, like our Bathsheba Rose Soap, Passion Daisy Soap, and Prayer Sunflower Soap. Finally, no more putting up with those drying, scentless soaps the hotel gives you!

Use them as air fresheners. All of Castle Baths’ decorative soaps are scented with pure essential oils (not artificial fragrances), so they have a pleasant-yet-not-overpowering scent that is perfect for giving your bathroom a light, sweet scent, and sparing you from having to use chemical-based air freshener.

Have your own ideas about what to do with your decorative soap? Let us know! We may just feature your suggestion in one of our future blogs!