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…)

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!

Cocoa Butter Soaps

Cocoa Butter

At my last craft fair, a man came up to me and without even browsing, asked for my most moisturizing soap.  The only soap I had that was different from all my other soap was the now-sold-out Campfire, which contains shea butter.  He bought the last bar.

I’ve come to realize that even though olive oil soaps are extremely mild and gentle, they aren’t particularly known for being moisturizing.  Now, soap will never remove the need for good ol’ lotion and moisturizer, especially if you live in semi-arid Colorado.  That said, different soap ingredients bring different benefits to the table.  So I’ve started making some four-oil (and three-oil, and two-oil) soaps.  The big addition is cocoa butter, which I am now adding to about 20% of the new soaps I’m making.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am adding other oils to my soaps to branch out.  My four-oil soaps currently have olive, cocoa butter, almond, and castor oil.  I still make pure olive oil soap, and a lot of it!  But I am also making a bit more of a variety for people who are looking for more in their soaps.  Cocoa butter is an amazing moisturizer in its own right, and has a most endearing quality of melting at the temperature of the human body.  I wish it weren’t so expensive, though–it costs 4-5x what olive oil does, and making a 100% cocoa butter soap would mean selling it at a much higher price.

The first four-oil soap that will be available early February is called Coffee Lovers.  The cocoa butter lends a lovely whiff of chocolate aroma, and the soap is scented with a vanilla macadamia coffee fragrance.  I love going into my curing room and picking up a bar to smell!  It makes me crave hot chocolate, especially now that it is so cold as we head into the heart of winter.

I hope y’all like cocoa butter soaps.  As always, please free free to contact me with any specific requests!

 

Branching Out

Stock Photo Oil Soap Apricot

Specializing in hypoallergenic soap is one thing, but there is such a thing as too niche a specialization.  There are Castile soapmakers who do nothing but olive oil soap.  While I thought I would join their ranks, I find pure olive oil soap to be a little frustrating.  The reason for this has to do with cure time.

All cold process and hot process soap needs time to cure.  (Yes, even HP–the link explains that very nicely.)  The reason why making pure olive oil soap is frustrating is because until the soap is 6-8 months old, the lather from olive oil soap just doesn’t feel as nice as other soaps.  Unfortunately, this means that if I run out of stock in a certain kind of soap, I’m out of business for 6-8 months.  The alternative is to release soap at 4-6 weeks.  The soap is safe to use, but you really don’t get the absolute best experience with young olive oil soap that you do with well-aged (over 6 months) olive oil soap.

So what’s a responsible soapmaker to do?  For allergy-related reasons, I refuse to use coconut, palm, corn, or soybean oils, and I am still committed to keeping my soap vegan, so lard and tallow are out.  Other oils tend to have shorter shelf lives, so soap made with these oils have a higher tendency to spoil sooner.  However, there are still so many other vegetable oils out there!

I currently use shea butter and cocoa butter in my soap on occasion.  I will be adding other oils like safflower oil, canola oil, sweet almond oil etc to that list.  Don’t worry–I will always label the soap clearly and make sure that it is tagged correctly, so that you can still find soap you can use without fear of triggering allergies.  (Some of these are not ingredients I was using before, so there aren’t any tags for them at the moment… but there will be as soon as I am done writing this post!)

I will still be using my dual lye and sugar method–I find that it really helps the feel of the lather.

As always, if you have questions, comments, concerns… just ask!

Allergic to Coconut?

Coconuts

Over on the Allergic to Coconut? blog, Becky has written an awesome introduction to Bath Geek soaps.  (Thank you so much!)  I sent Becky a couple of samples when I found her blog, and she had some fantastic feedback for me that I will be incorporating into my product line.  If you’re allergic to coconut, check out Allergic to Coconut? for an incredibly informative chronicle of life with coconut allergies.  I learned a lot about coconut allergies reading her blog, and I am sure you will too.

Update on Glycerin

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

[Image courtesy of TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr.]

This is an update to Working with Glycerin and Allergies.  After doing more research, I’ve learned a few things:

  1. Absent special equipment, making glycerin that is dissolved in a salt solution is easier than making pure glycerin.
  2. No matter what it is derived from, glycerin is always C3H8O3.  This means that soy glycerin, coconut glycerin, palm glycerin, and any other kind of glycerin will be chemically identical, so there is no reason to make my own as long as the purity is chemically guaranteed.
  3. Unless I want to greatly increase the cost of my products, I should leave well enough alone.

What this means is that I will not be setting up a glycerin manufacturing line any time soon!  However, I promise that my glycerin will always be kosher glycerin derived from soy, and my purchased glycerin should be composed of only glycerin (C3H8O3) and water (H2O).

Soap naturally contains glycerin, so most of my handmade soap will not work for someone who is allergic to glycerin.  That being said, I am working on a glycerin-free soap, and hopefully a laundry soap as well.  Stay tuned, I hope to have good news for you in the future!

Allergy Tagging

allergies by miheco @ Flickr

[Image courtesy of miheco @ Flickr.]

Let’s say you have a coconut allergy.  If you are searching the Internet for something that you could use, would you type “hypoallergenic soap” or “coconut-free soap” into the search box?  Which one would give you better results tailored to your specific concerns?

When I first set up the tagging system on this site, I tagged things with an eye to noting which products contained what allergens.  However, this isn’t how people search for hypoallergenic products, and when I thought about this system a little more, I had to admit that my system was greatly flawed.  Instead of tagging my products with “allergy: nut”, I will be re-doing the tagging system and using “nut-free” instead.

Working with Glycerin and Allergies

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

[Image courtesy of TJ Cosgrove @ Flickr.]

Glycerin is one of the ingredients I use when making bubble bath. Being an allergy-conscious maker of bath products, I know that glycerin can come from both animal and vegetable sources. Even when it is “vegetable glycerin”, it can be made from coconut, palm, soy, or any number of vegetable oils.  I won’t use palm-derived or coconut-derived glycerin; if you are allergic to coconut or palm, products derived from them can also cause an allergic reaction.  All the kosher glycerin I can find on the Internet is soy-derived.

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