How to Use the Allergen Filter to Shop on Bath Geek

Dear Bath Geek customers,

I hope that you have noticed the shiny allergen filter that is labelled “Filter by Allergens”! If you haven’t yet, it is on the left side of the screen just under the Facebook and Twitter login links in the shop.  Here are a couple of hopefully-helpful usage notes from other customers who have used this feature:

  1. The allergen filter is not a persistent/”sticky” setting, unfortunately. What this means is, if you leave a shop/category page to look at product details, when you go back to the previous page or click on a new category/link, you will need to turn on the filter again.
  2. To make it easier to see what has been applied, the active filters will be listed at the top of the filter in bold. To turn off a filter, just uncheck the box!
  3. If you would like to make sure the filter stays “on”, when you want to go and look at a product’s details, instead of the usual left-click, use the right-click and then choose either “open in new tab” or “open in new window”.
    • Your filtered shop view will stay the way it was.
    • A new tab or window will open with the details of the product you want to look at.
    • When you are done looking at that page, just close the tab or window of the product.  You can then go back to your filtered shop view and keep shopping!

I am researching plugins in order to find a way to make this setting persistent. In the meantime, I thank you for your patience and understanding.  Please use the “notes” section in your order to ask me to review your order if you are not quite sure that you have it working.  Just tell me what allergens you need to avoid, and I will e-mail you ASAP to let you know whether or not you have ordered something you can’t use by mistake!

New Products!

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Just in time for the holiday season:

Remember that Bath Geek does free gift-wrapping and mails across the USA for a flat rate.  Let me take some of your holiday work off your hands and get your Christmas presents all wrapped and ready for you (all you’ll need is to stick a name tag on them!)

Quick Update

Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels

Hi folks!  It’s been a very long time since my last update.  I’ve re-scheduled some fairs (my October and November weekends are going to be crazy but please do come by and say hello if you are going to be near me!) and I’ve been very busy at my other job.  I just wanted to post a quick note to say that I am still alive, and a quick reminder that summer shipping charges (especially cold pack charges) will be going away starting Halloween (October 31).

For those of you who aren’t waiting for summer shipping to end, let me reassure you that this summer, hot as it was, I shipped a double-digit number of packages containing lotions etc wrapped in insulated bags with ice packs included, and they all survived the summer heat!  (At least, no one has written to let me know their lotion didn’t survive shipping…)

Q&A

A couple of questions I have fielded recently:

Q: You’re out of travel soap! Will there be any more? 

A: Yes, there will! ^_^ I am making some now and it will take a little while but I will have them back in stock ASAP.

Q: What’s the status of the coconut-free shampoo?

A: I was unable to source the ingredients I needed for a test (and frankly have just been kept busy flying around for my other job).  That said, I have not forgotten!  It is an ongoing project.

Q: Thank you for the free shower gloves! Where can I get more?

A: I’ve been including a gift in the shipping box for larger orders, and yes, I do sell the shower gloves if you are looking for more of them! I keep one pair in my shower and one pair in my travel bag right next to my lotion.

New Size for Coconut-free Lotions

Coconut-free lotions now come in a travel size as well as the regular large size, so you can bring your lotion with you while traveling.  I know for certain that the lotions make it through TSA in airline check-in bags safely, because I have one of these bottles in my travel toiletries bag and have been on and off planes twice a week for the last few months.

Mother’s Day Sale

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching!  Have you gotten your mother something yet?  To help you out, Bath Geek LLC is having a 18% sale from now until Mother’s Day (May 13).  Get your mother something she’ll love!  Use the code MOTHER2018 to save 18% of all your purchases (excluding gift cards).

Physical Credit Card Payment Safety

Credit Cards

We’ve all heard about credit card skimmers that read the magnetic stripes on our credit cards.  Now we have chip cards, so we’re safe, right?  Not so fast–apparently now scammers have “shimmers” that read your card and then use that information to make a fake magstripe card.  This article says that Apple Pay and other such tap-to-pay methods are actually the most secure way of paying by credit card in person.

I want to let you know that if you are paying online, Bath Geek supports Apple Pay!  (Yes, even if you are shopping on your phone!)  And if you see me at my booth at various craft fairs, I also take tap-to-pay in person.  I have yet to see a customer use the tap-to-pay option, so please make my day and use it so I can squee at the tech coolness!

Spotlight: Parabens

Photo credit TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr | https://www.flickr.com/photos/explosivofilms/8355301288/

There are a few major types of preservatives that are safe for use and that are effective.  Parabens are one of these, and the focus of the spotlight for this blog post.

Because of a misinterpretation of a study done in 2004, parabens got a pretty bad name.  This is why “paraben-free” is a selling point for cosmetics, bath, and beauty products.  However, P. Darbre and the rest of the scientists who authored that 2004 paper have clarified that their study set out to detect parabens and that “no claim was made that the presence of parabens had caused the breast cancers”. (page 1, page 2).  There were no control studies to compare cancerous tissue against non-cancerous tissue.  Likewise, no studies were conducted to see if paraben concentration was spread through the body or only concentrated nearest to the armpit.

Cancer charities such as the American Cancer Society and Cancer Research UK have come out with statements saying parabens don’t cause cancer (and these folks are the preeminent researchers in those fields). If the presence of parabens wasn’t the cause of breast cancer, why was there a study to detect parabens?  It’s because parabens are suspected to be oestrogenic, which means they behave like estrogen in the body.  Estrogen stimulates breast cells, and higher lifetime exposures to estrogen have been linked to higher incidences of breast cancer.

However, estrogen treatment has also been linked to protective results against Alzheimer’s.  Hormone replacement therapy that is estrogen-only is linked to higher rates of cancer only if the therapy goes on for more than 10 years.  Parabens, while oestrogenic, are hundreds to thousands of times weaker than actual hormonal estrogen.

The scientific jury is still out on parabens, even though they have been convicted in the eyes of the people. Anthony Dweck has a very lengthy compilation of related literature in his Paraben Compendium. Bath Geek LLC has a small number of products that are preserved with parabens, because they are one of the few effective preservatives that are oil soluble, and it is a matter of choosing the least evil.  You can avoid products containing parabens simply by choosing the “paraben-free” filter when searching for products.

Coconut-Free Shampoos

Photo credit TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr | https://www.flickr.com/photos/explosivofilms/8355301288/

The holy grail of coconut-free products is a coconut-free shampoo.  My search for the perfect coconut-free shampoo has been a long one.  Every single detergent and surfactant I can find, bar none, is derived in some way from coconut and/or palm.  Making coconut-free soap is not hard (I sell a lot of it!), but honestly, even the best shampoo bars and liquid soaps aren’t recommended for hair over the long term because of the acidic nature of the human scalp.  It’s enough to make a girl want to shave her head!

A lot of blogs recommend using baking soda and water as a shampoo, and apple cider vinegar as a rinse/conditioner.  Unfortunately, as this blogger explains, the huge swing from the very-alkaline baking soda to the somewhat-acidic apple cider vinegar isn’t really helping our hair or scalp, either.

Is there any truth to the claims that the pH of shampoo makes a difference in scalp health?  The National Center for Biotechnology Information actually did a study and concluded that yes, shampoos with pH above 5.5 tended to irritate the scalp.  More importantly, the study concluded that as the pH of our hair is 3.6 but the pH of scalp sebum is 5.5, any shampoo over a pH of 5.5 was not good for hair (this includes water).

Note: this makes sense to me from a colored-hair standpoint.  I’ve always been told that water is the enemy of colored hair, and to retain the vibrance of hair color, it was important to wash my hair as little as possible.  Now I know why–because water’s pH is 7.0 and it’s much more alkaline than my hair or scalp!

“Blah blah blah,” I hear you say.  “Just cut to the chase already!”

Well, long story short, while I know of a shampoo recipe that will help people who need to avoid regular shampoos (ie. people allergic to coconut and its derivatives), unfortunately, it contains gluten.  Low levels of it, but still.  The quest for a coconut-free AND gluten-free shampoo continues!

Oh, and yes, I will be adding the coconut-free (though not gluten-free) shampoo to the shop ASAP!

New: Emulsified Scrubs

Four Emulsified Scrubs

Sugar scrubs and salt scrubs are lovely exfoliating products that pamper our skin while helping us get rid of dead skin cells.  The problem with regular sugar scrubs and regular salt scrubs, however, is that they leave everything so slippery when you’re done.  That’s where emulsified scrubs come in!

Emulsified sugar scrubs are basically a lotion-like product that combines the best of two worlds: the exfoliating goodness of a scrub, and the non-oiliness of a lotion!  Using an emulsifier in the scrub means that when you rinse off the scrub, the oils bind with the water instead of sticking to your shower, sink, or bathtub.  No more slippery tubs, no more falling in the shower!

Because I know allergens are a cause for concern, I’ve formulated a number of different scrub recipes!  Whether you’re allergic to nuts, shea, or avocados, I’ve done my best to ensure that no one ingredient is in ALL of my scrubs.  This way, even if you’re allergic to an ingredient in one of the scrubs, you can still use the ones without that ingredient in it.  As always, please use the tag system to filter out allergens you are concerned about.

A note about preservatives

Phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, and sorbic acid are all preservatives that are essential to keeping you safe and healthy.  All three of these used together are a great barrier against bacteria, yeast, and mold, which have a way of messing up anyone’s day.

Vitamin E and rosemary oleoresin extract (ROE), while popular antioxidants that greatly extend the shelf life of oils, don’t do anything against the really nasty microorganisms that can really make you sick (and at the bare minimum, gross you out a lot! No, really.) These are antioxidants, but they are not preservatives.  Vitamin E and ROE will not do anything against bacteria, yeast, or mold, and it’s amazing just how fast the little nasty buggers grow and reproduce! While I understand wanting to keep skincare natural, I also want to make sure that no matter how my products are used, no one gets ill or sick from using something I’ve made.  The responsible thing to do is to preserve my products so that you get the maximum enjoyment out of them.

Coconut-sensitivity alert

Coconut-allergic folks, I know you are desperately wondering if you can use these scrubs!  Sadly, the four new scrubs I’ve just made contain coconut-derived emulsifiers.  However, I have some ingredients on order that I think will be just the ticket (definitely not derived from coconut or palm), and I am eager to get my hands on them so I can work on the new formulas. Stay tuned!

Summer Shipping

Present for You (Pexels)

Lotions and body butters feel fantastic, but that amazing skinfeel does come with a price: body butters and lotions melt and/or separate in the summer heat.  A lotion stick will re-solidify relatively unscathed if placed in the fridge, but liquid lotions may separate, and whipped body butters will lose all that lovely air that was whipped into it!

In order to avoid this, in the summer months when the temperature is projected to rise above 75F (especially in hot USPS warehouses), shipping costs for any package with lotions or body butters will be an extra $8 to cover the cost of insulation and cold packs.  In addition, anything containing heat-sensitive products will only be shipped on Mondays and Tuesdays (to avoid your whipped body butter melting in a hot warehouse over the weekend and losing that gorgeous texture).

Porch pickups will continue for locals, but to protect your products, on hot days there will be a cooler on the porch to insulate the packages as much as possible.  Please try to pick up as close to your target arrival time as possible so that your whipped body butters, lotion sticks, and lotions don’t melt!

Summer shipping rates begin on April Fool’s Day (April 1) and go through Halloween (October 31).  Make sure to stock up before then!

Essential Oils at Bath Geek

Essential Oils

I’ve been asked a couple of times why, as a limited-ingredient allergy-friendly manufacturer, I don’t prefer to use essential oils, and instead use fragrance oils.  After all, essential oils are natural, they are quite popular right now, and as they are extracted from plants, it stands to reason that they’re better for your skin than fragrance oils, right?

Multiple Allergen Filters

Packaging and Shipping

I’ve received a lot of e-mails asking for specific product recommendations, and a lot of these questions have to do with a combination of allergies, such as what products to use (or avoid) if you’re allergic to nuts and corn.  It’s clear to me that you need a way to search for products that fit ALL of your needs!

Because of this, I’ve added an option to search for a combination of ingredients and product type choices.  For example, if you want to find a nut-free bath bomb that doesn’t have any coconut, cocoa butter, or sweet almond oil, just choose “bath bomb” in product type, and then check the boxes for “coconut-free”, “cocoa-free”, and “nut-free”.

I hope this helps in your search for better bath products.  As always, please feel free to contact me if you have more questions!

Survey Says

Survey Q1 results

I asked, and you answered! <3 Survey responses are here if you would like to see them with up-to-the-minute results.  Otherwise, let me share what I’ve learned so far:

Survey Q1 results
Survey Q1 results

I had no idea whipped body butter was this popular!  I hadn’t planned on introducing it and had just included it in the survey on a whim, but clearly I am missing out on something vital.  I will definitely be working on a great allergy-sensitive formulation post-haste.

And yes, those bath bomb and bubble bath combinations are coming right up!  (After this class I’m taking, which is eating up all of my free time…)

Product Survey

Survey Says

Can I ask for a huge favor?  Can you please complete this quick two-question survey?  I would like to know if there is interest in new products beyond what is on the website now, and I would also like to know if there are allergies I am unaware of that you would like me to consider when making my products.  This is a very quick survey to help me make better products for you!

Create your own user feedback survey

Again, thank you for your time! <3

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  Today only, take 14% off your entire order (excluding gift cards.)  Simply enter VDAY2018 at checkout and you’ll get 14% off no matter how much you order.  Remember that $150+ nets you free shipping anywhere in the USA (including territories) too!

While you’re here, be sure to check out our giveaway with Gluten Free and More Magazine to win a care package for you and your valentine.  Good luck!

It’s time to SHARE THE LOVE with Gluten Free & More magazine and our great sponsors leading up to Valentine’s Day! YOU can win, and so can someone YOU LOVE! Each day, we’ll be highlighting a new sponsor, and you (and whoever you tag in your entry) has a chance to win! Make sure you’re FOLLOWING @GlutenFreeandMoreMag and FOLLOW OUR SPONSOR @bathgeek! 🛀🏻 Bath Geek is a great small business that makes bath bombs, liquid hand soap, bubble bath bombs, hand soap and more! You can use their website to search for products that are free from soy, corn, colorants, fragrance etc.! You’ll have a chance to win a set of soaps and bath time products including their adorable pixie dust which is a powdered bath bomb (made with almond oil). All of the soap is 100% castile. The total value of each set is $40. ❤️ Tell us why you’d like to win, and TAG ONE FRIEND in your comment that you’d like to also win along with you! RULES! Giveaway ends 48 hours after post launch. Winner will have 24 hours to respond, or another winner will be chosen. USA only, 18+ only, and not affiliated with Instagram.

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Nut-Free Bath Bombs!

Avacado halves on dark background

A number of customers have requested a nut-free version of my bath bombs, and I have good news: I will be making some of my bath bombs with avocado oil instead of sweet almond oil to give you a choice!  Please make sure that you read the description in order to find out whether the bath bomb contains almond or avocado.  (It will not be both, it is an either kind of thing.)

As you may have surmised from the image above, the replacement oil is avocado oil.  If you are allergic to avocados, I apologize–we will still have avocado-free bath bombs!  Just know that some of the new bath bombs will contain avocado oil instead of sweet almond oil.  If you particularly want a certain fragrance available either avocado-free or almond-free, please let me know and I will do my best to make you a batch.

Again, just a reminder, you can always shop using my tag system!  On the Bath Geek homepage, use the Shop By Ingredient section to find bath products that don’t contain things you’re allergic to!

Site Housekeeping

Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels

A couple of housekeeping notes:

  • Most of you deduced (correctly) that the sales tax information wasn’t being displayed correctly in my invoices.  It was an annoying bug, and I am very happy to announce that I have changed the plugin I was using to generate invoices, and the math works correctly now.
  • Gift wrapping is now a checkbox option on each product page.  As always, gift wrapping is free!
  • Every product page now has a tab where you can ask questions directly about each product!  Just click on the “product enquiry” tab and fill out the form.
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