Send the Perfect Spa Gift

Archive for the ‘Natural Soap’ Category

Can a bar of natural soap replace your morning cup of coffee?

Monday, February 9th, 2015

The act of drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning to wake ourselves up has become so ingrained in many of us that it’s created an entire industry. Your average cup of joe is no longer just a cup of joe with options of black, cream, or sugar. Now, thanks to businesses like Starbucks, the average person is confronted with an almost overwhelming number of choices when it comes to ordering coffee, from lattes to iced coffee, to Frappuccinos®.

But, as many who have tried such beverages can attest to, it’s quite easy to develop a coffee addiction. If your coffee of choice happens to be of the fancy, flavored varieties only served at restaurants and coffee shops, you may find your addiction can rapidly burn a hole in your wallet. Of course, there are other caffeinated beverages besides coffee from which to choose, but not everybody is excited about the idea of drinking tea or soda with breakfast. So what can you do if you’re trying to cut down on your addiction and/or save money by reducing your number of visits to the barista?

Have you ever considered whether your morning shower could replace your morning cup of coffee? No, we don’t mean a cold shower. We’re talking about the wide variety of energizing natural soaps out there that you might not know about. These soaps are made with naturally invigorating ingredients such as rosemary, spearmint, eucalyptus, grapefruit, and yes… coffee.

Here are a few staff picks from the handmade soap crafters at Castle Baths:

natural soap - lavender rosemary1. Lavender Rosemary Spa Body Soap

This Lavender Rosemary Spa Body Soap from Castle Baths’ Tre’Yours natural skin care line is made with the highest quality essential oils of rosemary and lavender for a refreshing, invigorating, minty aroma that is sure to wake you up and inspire you to get going. It’s also made with Fair Trade Cocoa Butter, which makes it great for irritated or sun damaged skin.

eucalyptus spearmint natural soap

2. Eucalyptus Spearmint Natural Soap

The Eucalyptus Spearment Natural Soap by Castle Baths’ Exotic Earth bath products line is made with the fresh, energizing essential oil of eucalyptus for a stimulating yet not overpowering aroma that is sure to delight your nose and wash away any lingering mental fog.

3. Cellu Coffee Bar

The Cellu Coffee spa soap from the Tre’Yours line is made with real coffee grounds and coffee butter for an authentic coffee scent and all of the energizing benefits of its natural caffeine content intact. The fresh coffee grounds gently exfoliate your skin and also stimulate your skin as well as your mind – great for sagging or uneven skin.

These soaps should last you several weeks if not months, so when you factor in the number of daily lattes you won’t need to buy over that time period, these soaps more than pay for themselves.

natural soap replace coffee

Palm oil: an ideal solution for dry winter skin

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
red palm oil

source: clinicaladvisor.com

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

Saturday, 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.

Macadamia nut oil for more than just cooking

Monday, November 17th, 2014
macadamia nut oil for skin

Source: marksdailyapple.com

Macadamia nut oil is well known as a natural cooking oil, in fact, it’s become so popular it’s been dubbed “the new olive oil.” But did you know that macadamia nut oil is also a great ingredient to look for in natural soaps?

Why choose natural soaps made with macadamia nut oil over commercial soaps?

More and more people are turning to natural soaps made with ingredients like macadamia nut oil over using manufactured, commercial soaps, and when you consider the differences in how each is made, the reason becomes obvious.

Commercial soaps aren’t really soaps; they’re detergents – harsh, irritating chemicals that wash away everything in their path, bacteria, and your skin’s natural moisture and oils. This can leave your skin very dry and itchy. Commercial soaps also have their natural glycerin extracted before they hit the market so the glycerin can be used in higher priced skin care products. Natural soaps, on the other hand, retain their natural glycerin, and are made with saponified vegetable oils and seed oils like macadamia nut oil.

The benefits of macadamia nut oil as a soap making and skin care ingredient

The reason macadamia nut oil is such a good ingredient to use in the formulation of natural soaps is because of its many skin care benefits. All natural soaps inevitably come into contact with human skin at some point, so they all should possess some basic skin care benefits like glycerin to draw moisture into your skin. Some of the best natural soaps even have anti-aging properties, and this is certainly true of soaps made with macadamia nut oil. Here’s why:

Macadamia nut oil possesses high concentrations of palmitic acid, which is something your skin produces naturally to keep its outer epidermal layers moisturized. Your skin’s palmitic acid levels can decrease with age, necessitating the use of an external source of the oil to keep your skin from drying out rapidly.

Macadamia nut oil is one of the ingredients we use in our Dead Sea Mud Soap (in addition to Dead Sea Mud, of course.) We also use macadamia nut oil in some of our other natural soaps.

For more information on the skin care benefits of macadamia nut oil in soaps and other skin care products, check out this in-depth article on macadamia nut oil for skin.

Key lime pie: a holiday gift tradition with a twist

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

key lime pie soap

This key lime pie looks and smells just like the real deal, but it’s not.. it’s decorative soap!

Christmas ornamentWe recently discussed our fruitcake slice soap as an alternative to sending real, edible fruitcake during the holidays, but if fruitcake isn’t your thing, real or soap, then perhaps you’d prefer a good, old-fashioned holiday pie instead.

Pies, like fruitcake, are a tradition deeply rooted in American culture, and some other cultures too, particularly so during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other Fall and Winter holidays. Key lime pie, in particular, is a popular favorite during the holiday months, especially in the state of Florida, from which the recipe for key lime pie originated.

 A brief history of key lime pie

Pastel ChristmasThe first key lime pie recipe is thought to have originated towards the end of the 19th century in the Key West region of Florida. The local legend is that a man by the name of William Curry, a Bahamian immigrant who became Florida’s first millionaire, employed a cook known only as “Aunt Sally.” The story goes that “Aunt Sally” altered a recipe for lemon ice box pie to use the locally available key limes instead of lemons.decorative soap - key lime pie

Key lime pie for the holidays

While it’s certainly traditional to have freshly baked pies on display during the holidays, particularly ones as iconic and recognizable as key lime pie, with its yellow-green filling and white meringue topping, you always run the risk of your guests not caring for the type of pie you choose, necessitating that you get rid of most or all of it come the end of the holiday season.

That is, assuming you choose an edible pie. If homage to tradition and creating a warm, inviting atmosphere in your kitchen is your primary incentive for putting a holiday pie on display, you may be better off with a decorative pie, such as this key lime pie soap.

holiday gift basketThis key lime pie soap looks, feels, and smells almost identical to the real deal, but, as a fully functional decorative soap, gives it an additional practical purpose. It will also last much longer than a slice of real key lime pie were you to leave it on your kitchen counter all season.

Want more key lime pie for your money? Check out this holiday gift basket that includes our key lime pie soap!

 

 

 

 

Is fruitcake still a popular holiday gift?

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

fruitcake slice soap

Many people still send fruitcake during the holidays, but does anyone ever actually eat it?

Now that Halloween has passed, it’s once again time to be thinking about gift ideas for the holidays, and what better or more traditional holiday gift could there be than the  gift of fruitcake? Well, if you asked comedian Johnny Carson, he’d probably reply, “almost anything,” as he once remarked on the Today Show that, “The worst gift is fruitcake. There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other.”

Whether you love the tradition of sending fruitcake by mail during the holidays, or you hate it, there’s no denying this popular or not-so-popular confection’s association with Christmas and other Fall and Winter holidays. But have you ever wondered how this association came to be? If everybody loathes it, how did it get to be such a popular gift?

A brief history of fruitcake as a holiday gift

We did some digging online one day and discovered that one of the primary events leading to fruitcake’s association with Christmas in American culture was the publication of Truman Capote’s short story A Christmas Memory, in which a sixty-something woman looks out her window and says, “Oh my! It’s fruitcake weather,” and then proceeds to gather up the ingredients to make one.

The confection itself, however, has a history somewhat longer than a mere 50+ years. It actually originates from Roman times, where pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and barley were mixed together into a ring-shaped cake with an exceptionally long shelf life. It was because of fruitcake’s long shelf life that it became a popular foodstuff for Roman soldiers to carry with them to the battlefield.

An alternative to holiday fruitcake

It seems that Johnny Carson was somewhat correct in his assessment of fruitcake, at least in terms of its unpopularity in recent years. Though many people still practice the tradition of sending fruitcake by mail during the holiday season, far fewer are likely to admit to actually enjoying eating it.

Indeed, in Manitou Springs, Colorado a popular January “sporting event” has arisen out of this dated holiday tradition: the Great Fruitcake Toss – during which uneaten holiday fruitcakes are disposed of via catapult.

decorative soap - fruit cakeBut if you’re one of the many people across the world who still appreciates the time-honored tradition of sending holiday fruitcake, you’re probably looking for a way to ensure that your thoughtful gift doesn’t end up sailing through mid-air come January.

Castle Baths has created the perfect solution for you: instead of sending a real, edible fruitcake, send someone this fruitcake slice soap or one of our spa gift baskets that includes it.

This decorative soap is made with natural glycerin and other organic and wild-crafted skin care ingredients to almost perfectly emulate the look and scent of a real, fresh holiday fruitcake, and give your friends and loved ones a practical gift they can use in their bathrooms or kitchens, rather than a more-sentimental-than-edible fruitcake they are loathe to eat.

Happy Halloween from Castle Baths!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

halloween natural soap raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary,

Over my aching ankle joints, informing me my feet were sore.

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was back in late September,

The last time I felt energized enough to dance upon the floor.

And so I hobbled without halt until I reached my secret vault,

In which I kept a vase of salt with powers of reputed lore.

I quickly filled a steaming basin, into which I poured the vase in,

My aching feet next do I place in, to, I hope, my mood restore.

I sit and soak for quite some time, inhaling scents of musk and lime,

Emerging to find my feet sublime, and aching pains now nevermore!

dead sea mud bon bonsHappy Halloween from Castle Baths! We hope you enjoyed our little adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s famed epic, The Raven, and now would like to show you a few of our other products that can help make your home a festive one for the coming holiday.

cinnamon almond natural soapoWe offer several natural soaps that would be perfect for adding a little festive spookiness to your home during Halloween, including our Cinnamon Almond Natural Soap, which has a natural orange color and brings the aroma of fresh roasted autumn nuts to your kitchen or bathroom. We also have Dead Sea Mud Bon Bons, which were originally created as a Halloween goodie because of their resemblance to human eyes when we add the drop of Dead Sea Mud on the tops of each.

Or, how about turning your bathroom into a scene from a gothic romance novel with our Vanilla Silk natural soap, which has a natural ebony color and a sexy vanilla scent.

Whichever natural soaps you choose, you can be sure that your home will be bland and uninteresting nevermore!

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.

Coconut Oil for Preventative Anti-Aging Skin Care

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

coconut oil for skinWhen you hear the words “coconut oil,” skin care might not be the first use to come to mind, but the fact remains that coconut oil is one of the best natural, preventative, anti-aging skin care ingredients you can use. It is packed with naturally occurring antioxidant vitamins that can destroy free radicals and stop the aging process stone dead.

There are many naturally occurring anti-aging skin care ingredients such as 100% pure Dead Sea Mud or hemp seed oil that work great on mature skin, but are far too rich to be effective on youthful skin as a preventative measure. Coconut oil is an exception to this rule, and as such, is something people of all ages should consider using to protect and hydrate their skin.

People who love to sunbathe, in particular, should definitely consider using coconut oil and taking advantage of its preventative anti-aging properties, as exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is the leading cause of free radical buildup in the skin.

Note that by “use,” we don’t mean, “ingest.” While frying something in coconut oil may make for a tasty dinner, coconut oil’s skin care properties become much more effective when you apply the oil topically. But before you run off to your local grocery store to pick up a bottle, you need to know about processed versus unprocessed oils.

If coconut oil is processed or refined, it loses its antioxidant properties and instead begin producing damaging free radicals, which would then be transferred to your skin if you were to use it topically. Unrefined or virgin coconut oil retains its antioxidant properties.

But where can you find unrefined, virgin coconut oil?

If you try to shop for pure coconut oil, you may have concerns about finding oil that is actually unrefined and that hasn’t been diluted or left to sit for a long time. You may also be concerned about acne and breakouts if you already struggle with oily or combination skin. Both are legitimate concerns.

coconut cream natural soapeycalyptus spearmint natural soap

Fortunately there’s an easy way to get just the right amount of coconut oil your skin needs, and be 100% certain that it is indeed unrefined with its anti-aging benefits left intact: use any of our natural soaps.

We use unrefined, virgin coconut oil in all of our handmade natural soaps, so the only choice you really have to make is choosing which scent you prefer. We scent our soaps in a variety of essential oil blends to create unique aromas that deliver real aromatherapy benefits.

We also offer patterned, decorative soap in a variety of shapes and sizes, also made with unrefined, virgin coconut oil.

Our natural soaps are gentle on the skin, and moisturize while they cleanse, as opposed to synthetically manufactured soaps, which can be quite drying since they’ve had their natural glycerin and oils extracted for use in higher-end products. Natural soaps are safe and effective for all ages, including children.

Learn more about coconut oil and preventative anti-aging skin care here.

 

New scented handmade natural soaps now available

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

In addition to offering several new body oils, which we discussed in one of our recent blogs, the Exotic Earth bath and spa line now also includes several new natural soaps, scented in some very unique aromas that are appropriate for all seasons.

white tea ginger soap

White Ginger Natural Soap

ruby rush soap

Ruby Rush Natural Soap

lemon drop soap

Lemon Drop Natural Soap

 

Here is a breakdown of the skin care and aromatherapy benefits of each natural soap we’ve added.

Lemon Drop Natural Soap. This fresh, clean, citrus scented soap is made with the essential oil of lemon, which acts as a natural antibacterial and antiseptic cleanser (have you ever wondered why so many disinfectants have a lemon-like scent?) The essential oil of lemon is also useful for giving your skin a natural shine – not an oily shine, but more of a youthful, healthy shine, so don’t be surprised if you emerge from the tub or shower with beautiful, silky, shiny skin after using this natural soap bar.

Ruby Rush Natural Soap. This pink-grapefruit-scented natural soap delivers an invigorating, fruity, citrus aroma to help you feel the excitement and joy of a sugar rush without the exhausting crash afterwards. In addition to its energizing aromatherapy properties, the pink grapefruit essential oil used in this soap is also great for oily and acnetic skin.

White Ginger Natural Soap. This natural soap is scented in white tea and ginger to deliver an oriental aromatherapy experience of warm and fuzzy feelings. Plus, it retains the high antioxidant content of white tea, so it’s great for anti-aging purposes.

We also have this extra skin care goodie for you – pure cocoa butter gold nuggets. These nuggets aren’t soap; they’re actually body moisturizers in solid form. The cocoa butter will melt upon contact with your skin and infuse it with all the benefits of pure, unrefined cocoa butter.

Each of these soaps is scented in a blend of pure essential oils, not synthetic fragrances, to deliver real aromatherapy benefits and none of the unpleasant sensations such as headaches or nausea that some people experience with synthetically-scented products.

Whether you’re new to the world of handmade natural soap or you’re already hooked, these soaps will make great additions to your collection!