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How to determine your skin type at home

January 4th, 2015

Embarrassed by your adult acne? There’s a silver lining to all those breakouts. People with naturally oily skin tend to be resistant to many of the physical signs of aging. That is, assuming your adult acne is due to having genetically oily skin – do you?

There are five different skin types recognized by the beauty and dermatology industries? They are:skin type test

  • Normal
  • Oily
  • Dry/Dehydrated
  • Combination
  • Sensitive

Do you know which one you have? If not, you can find out easily by doing this simple home “tissue test.” ← click this link to see instructions for how to take the tissue test.

The benefits of knowing your skin type

When it comes to your skin type, ignorance is most certainly not bliss. Knowing your skin type will help you make informed choices about your skin care now so you can avoid some of the problems people who don’t know their skin type will face in the future.

For example, people with genetically dry skin lack sufficient natural oils in their skin, and tend to be more susceptible to the physical signs of aging. If you discover you have genetically dry skin (as opposed to temporarily dehydrated skin) you may want to think about investing in an oil-based moisturizer while your skin still looks healthy and youthful.

So, what are you waiting for? Take this simple home “tissue test” today and have your skin type results within an hour!

With Shea Butter, Quantity Matters

December 31st, 2014

shea butterIs 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.

And that’s not all….

Click here to learn more about the benefits of unrefined, organic shea butter for skin.

Rose Hydrosol, winter, and clay masks – what you need to know

December 27th, 2014

One of the main winter skin care tips we find ourselves needing to reiterate is to avoid using clay masks during the winter months. The reason for this being that clay masks, while excellent detoxifying agents, can also strip your skin of its natural oils, which your skin needs left intact to maintain its outer protective layer and prevent loss of moisture due to the cold, dry air outside.

In place of clay masks, we often recommend people use either our Dead Sea Mud Mask or our Dead Sea Mud Soap to deep-cleanse and detoxify their faces.

But what if you’re under 40 and/or have sensitive skin, and the richness of Dead Sea Mud is too much for your skin?

Winter detox skin care solutions for sensitive skin and skin under 40

If you’re under 40 and/or you have sensitive skin, and you need a detox skin care solution safe to use during the winter months, we recommend you try mixing one of our sensitive skin masks with Rose Hydrosol.

What is Rose Hydrosol and why is it good for youthful, sensitive skin?

organic rose hydrosolRose Hydrosol, also known as rosewater, is the rose-infused water that is left over from the steam distillation of rose petals. Many beneficial properties of the steam distilled rose petals, to include flavanoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants are left behind in this diluted byproduct of rose absolute, but have nowhere near the same potency as a pure absolute.

This makes Rose Hydrosol an ideal skin care solution for people with youthful, sensitive skin who don’t need or can’t tolerate the potency of an absolute. When it is mixed with a detox skin care solution such as a clay mask, it can help mitigate some of the mask’s drying effects while infusing the skin with exactly what it needs to stay healthy and youthful.

To be sure, the use of a clay mask during the winter months will still have a slight drying effect on your skin, even if you use Rose Hydrosol in place of water as your mixing solution. This is why we definitely advise you to use an oil-based moisturizer afterwards (unless of course you already have oily skin and were using the mask to de-grease your face.)

We should also mention that Rose Hydrosol is useful for much more than mixing clay masks to offset their drying effects during winter. It is also a great facial toner and has many other skin care uses too. Click here to learn more about the many benefits of Rose Hydrosol.

Rosy red cheeks? You might have Rosacea

December 23rd, 2014

rosaceaRosy red cheeks are perfectly normal during the winter months, and even idolized in some cultures (i.e. “Santa’s rosy red cheeks and fluffy white beard” referenced in the popular children’s poem The Night Before Christmas by Maj. Henry Livingston.)

But if your rosy red cheeks are accompanied by acne-like spots, or if you’re still noticing these symptoms even though you’ve taken a vacation to the Caribbean to escape the cold, you may have Rosacea.

Living with Rosacea

Rosacea is most common in fair-skinned women aged 30-50, and, while there is no known cure, the condition is dermatologically harmless aside from some minor discomfort.

That being said, unless you were intentionally going for the combination teenage-acne/Santa Claus look this holiday season, living with Rosacea can be a little embarrassing. So, here are a few tips for minimizing Rosacea flare-ups.

You may also wish to try this Avocado Corrective Face Cream, which can help balance out your facial redness with its natural green color to even out your complexion. It’s also packed with anti-aging superfoods for your skin, and can help with many other skin care needs in addition to Rosacea.

Rice Bran Oil: a cold weather beauty secret of the orient

December 19th, 2014

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.

The secret to which we are referring is actually cold-pressed rice bran oil.

exotic earth cold pressed rice bran oilCold-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!

rice bran oil for hair and skin

Click here to learn more about the benefits of cold-pressed rice bran oil for skin.

Earn discounts on pet grooming supplies, spa products, and more by referring your friends

December 15th, 2014

cats and dogs

Castle Baths’ refer-a-friend program is well-suited to dog and cat breeders, and others too!

Carla the dog breeder (name changed) gives out a sample Anna Designer Pet Breeder Kit, which includes a $5 Castle Baths coupon, with every one of her new puppies. The people who buy from her almost always ask her what she uses to feed and groom her puppies because they know her reputation as an award-winning breeder, and want to ensure that they continue the exact same care regimen she uses.

This action, along with providing all the required veterinary records for each of her puppies every time she makes a sale, and her already stellar reputation in the dog breeder community would be more than enough to convince anyone that she is a good, ethical breeder – someone who cares more about the health and safety of her puppies even after they leave her care than she does about any profits she might make from each sale. But, Carla doesn’t stop there.

Once her buyers leave, she logs onto her computer and inputs her buyers’ e-mail addresses into the Refer-a-Friend form on Castle Baths’ website so they’ll know where to go to buy more Anna Designer Pet grooming supplies. By using Castle Baths’ refer-a-friend feature, she ensures that her buyers will have yet another discount waiting for them when they get home, and, once they buy their first refill, she’ll get a discount too.

It’s a win-win situation, and one that’s not exclusive to dog and cat breeders.

Castle Baths’ refer-a-friend feature makes it easy for anyone to earn discounts by referring friends and family, whether they buy pet grooming products, spa products, or a gift basket for someone else.

All you need in order to start earning discounts by referring your friends and family through our refer-a-friend program is:

  1. A Castle Baths customer account (creating one is easy)
  2. A list of your friends’ and family’s e-mail addresses

phoneThat’s it! You’re all done, and once the people you referred places an order, you’ll get your discount.

Click here to learn more about our refer a friend program and how you can earn up to 30% off your next Castle Baths order!






Find the best natural product ingredients for your skin’s needs…

December 11th, 2014

skin care product ingredients

… with our helpful product ingredient guide

Did you know that 1,300 chemical ingredients are banned from use in cosmetics in the European Union, but only 11 are banned in the U.S.? Scary, isn’t it.

Even scarier is the fact that you can’t always tell if a skin care product contains one of these potentially hazardous ingredients, as many are cleverly disguised on cosmetics labels with innocuous-sounding euphemisms or overly complex chemical terminology.

Here at Castle Baths, we believe you have the right to know exactly what it is you’re using on your skin, which is why we disclose all our product ingredients.

Our product ingredients page isn’t just a simple list of the ingredients we use; it’s your guide to natural skin care, featuring in-depth informative articles on each ingredient so you can learn:ingredients

  • Why each ingredient is good for your skin
  • The specific skin conditions for which each ingredient has shown to be effective
  • Where each ingredient comes from
  • How each ingredient is extracted from its natural source
  • Which of our products contain high concentrations of each ingredient

For example, if you click the link to our Shea Butter article, you’ll learn that in order for Shea Butter to deliver all of its numerous benefits to your skin, it must be present in quantities of at least 20%. If you click the link to our article on Palm Oil, you’ll learn that unprocessed red Palm Oil is much better for your skin than refined, clear Palm Oil.

A note about preservatives & product ingredients

ingredientsYou can also find information on the few natural preservatives we use in our products, to include Vitamin E (which really isn’t a preservative, but still can help extend a product’s shelf life), Rosemary Extract (which is also not really a preservative but still helps extend shelf life), and GeoGuard Ultra, the only preservative accepted by ECOCERT for use in Certified Organic cosmetics.

As always, if you have questions regarding our product ingredients that we haven’t answered yet, feel free to contact us!



Top Persian cat grooming tips to avoid the dreaded “lion cut”

December 7th, 2014

persian catWhen not participating in cat shows, many Persian cat breeders choose to give their cats a “lion  cut” to reduce the amount of grooming each cat requires, or to keep them cool during the hot summer months. But, given that it’s close to winter now and cat show season is coming up, you’ll probably want to do all you can to keep your cats’ fur in pristine condition.

But how do you accomplish this if you’re not already a professional cat groomer?

Award-winning breeder of Purrinlot Persian cats, Laura Thomas, has a few tips for you. Once an internationally-known breeder of grand champion Persians, Laura has since retired from actively breeding cats and now offers her expertise to others interested in grooming their cats like a pro.

Laura’s tips on how to groom your Persian cat

Click here to read Laura’s top Persian cat care and grooming secrets.

Laura’s top Persian cat care tips include information on the best cat grooming supplies to use, which types of cat shampoos work best, how diet affects your cats’ fur, and much more!

purr-fect bath for persians and other longhairs dvdThese cat care and grooming tips aren’t exclusive to Persians either. They are intended for all longhaired cat breeds.

For even more tips by breeder Laura Thomas on how to get your cat looking show-quality, check out these cat grooming DVDs, featuring step-by-step instructions on how to give your Persian or other longhaired cat a bath, how to remove tear stains, and much more!

Though some cat owners choose a lion cut for their cats simply because they like the way it looks, there’s no reason you have to do so to if you don’t care for that particular style. Just be sure to maintain your cats’ coats regularly using these cat care and grooming tips.


These grooming tips are also great for dogs:

 dogs chihuahua dog

Palm oil: an ideal solution for dry winter skin

December 3rd, 2014
red palm oil


Last week, we discussed using extra virgin olive oil for skin care purposes, specifically for incidents of dry winter skin. This week, we’d like to introduce you to another natural oil you can incorporate into your winter skin care regimen: palm oil.

Palm oil, extracted from the fruit of the African palm tree Elaeis guineensis  or the American palm tree Elaeis oleifera, is more commonly known as a cooking oil than a skin care ingredient, but its skin care benefits should not be dismissed.

Skin care benefits of palm oil

While palm oil contains many beneficial vitamins and nutrients for your skin, among the most sought after is beta carotene. Beta carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your skin from the damaging free radicals it absorbs from sunlight overexposure and polluted air or water. Palm oil’s naturally high concentration of beta carotene is also what gives this oil it’s natural red color.

This particular skin care benefit is greatly reduced in palm oil that has been boiled or processed. If you want to try palm oil for skin, be sure to obtain pure, natural red palm oil rather than the clear, processed version that is more readily available.

Palm oil for dry winter skin

Wondering why we’ve singled out palm oil as being ideal for dry winter skin? Well, the first reason is because you will likely need to increase your use of oil-based skin care products to combat the drying effects of cool winter air. Natural skin care oils help firm up your skin’s natural protective layer, locking in moisture so your skin won’t completely dry out when it comes into contact with the cool, dry outdoor air, or the artificially heated but even drier indoor air. The second reason is you can still get sunburned during the winter months. If there’s snow on the ground and few to no clouds in the sky, you may actually be more at risk of sunlight overexposure than you would be during the summer because the snow reflects the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun produce just as many free radicals during wintertime as they do during summertime too, so it’s a good idea to keep up your use of skin care ingredients with natural antioxidant properties like red palm oil.

lemongrass natural soap with palm oilPalm oil versus palm kernel oil

Palm oil and palm kernel oil are two different oils with different properties, though both are derived from the Elaeis guinennsis or Elaeis oleifera tree. Palm oil, as mentioned above, is extracted from the tree’s fruit. Palm kernel oil, on the other hand, is extracted from the tree’s seeds. In cooking, palm oil tends to be preferred over palm kernel oil because palm oil is lower in saturated fat.

How to use palm oil for skin care

Finding a pure sample of natural palm oil with its beta carotene content intact can be a challenge. That’s why we suggest you leave that to us and just try one of our natural soaps made with organic palm oil, such as our Lemongrass Sage natural soap or Lavender Natural Soap.

This popular cooking oil is also great for dry winter skin

November 29th, 2014

Did you know there’s a natural solution to dry winter skin that is likely already in your home? It’s probably not something you would have considered using for skin care purposes, and you probably keep it in one of your kitchen cabinets or your pantry. Still can’t guess what it is? We’ll give you a hint. It has the same name as Popeye the sailor’s girlfriend.

If you guessed olive oil, you’re correct!

A brief history of olive oil for skin care

olive oil for skinOlive oil has been used for skin care purposes for thousands of years. Cleopatra, the ancient Greeks, and the ancient Romans are all said to have used olive oil when bathing. At some point in time they must have realized that olive oil not only aided in keeping skin clean, but also keeping it looking youthful and vibrant, but they likely didn’t know why olive oil worked so well.

Now, herbalists and modern scientists have finally discovered the answer. Olive oil, like many of the natural skin care and beauty treatments discovered in ancient times, is rich in antioxidants, which destroy skin-damaging free radicals produced by sun overexposure and pollution.

The benefits of olive oil for dry winter skin

“Antioxidants are great, but what does olive oil have to do with combatting dry winter skin?” you may be wondering. To answer this question, we’ll need to briefly re-examine the main cause of dry skin during the winter months: humidity, or lack thereof.

The main reason your skin feels so much drier during the winter months is because of a lack of humidity in the air. Because the air is so much cooler during the winter months, it can’t absorb the same amount of water vapor it does during the summer months, and thus, feels much drier. Your skin will try to absorb any source of moisture it can find to keep itself hydrated throughout the day, so if you spend time outdoors on a cold winter day, chances are your skin won’t find enough moisture in the surrounding air to keep itself from drying out.

natural soapIndoor air, while substantially warmer than outdoor air, is still just as dry (after all, it is the exact same air as what’s outdoors, albeit artificially heated.) In fact, indoor air can be even more drying to your skin than outdoor air because, since it’s so much warmer, it can once again absorb normal levels of water vapor. But if the only source of humidity in your home is your body, the heated air can suck what little moisture your skin has managed to retain right out of it.

Using oil-based skin care products, such as olive oil, helps firm up your skin’s protective layer and lock moisture into your skin. Just be sure to use extra virgin olive oil to avoid getting any preservatives or synthetic chemicals trapped in your skin along with it.

Here at Castle Baths, we use extra virgin olive oil in all of our natural soaps to take advantage of both its cleansing and anti-aging properties.