Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day Header

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.

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!

 

First Craft Fair!

Craft Fair Setup

[This is also a follow-up to my post “Branching Out“.]

I did my first craft fair as Bath Geek LLC on Saturday (Dec 9), and it was great fun.  The craft fair was at Vista Peak Preparatory, so I made sure to stock up on tons of bath bombs, which were a favorite with the teens.  There were three soap-related booths in a fair of roughly 25-30 stalls, so considering how much competition there was, I did pretty well.  ^_^

What really stuck with me, though, was that at the craft fair, I met a lady, Nic, who was just as excited to see my stuff as I was to meet her!  She too was an allergy-conscious shopper, and after she told me her allergies I recommended certain soaps.  We have been e-mailing back and forth; she’s a great correspondent.  She’s given me a bunch of ideas, recommended some places to get more exposure, and told me about lots of allergy-safe substitutions for things, as well as oral immunotherapy to help with certain problems.  It is always wonderful to meet someone else who understands just how life with allergies can be annoying and irritating (if not completely life-threatening).  I also really love and appreciate the support! <3

Meeting Nic has strengthened my resolve in making sure my soaps are allergy-friendly and considerate of people’s sensitivities.  I still want to add a couple of ingredients to my soaps in order to make them feel creamier, feel more moisturizing, and in general improve on the soap experience… but I will always be mindful of allergy-conscious customers.  If you have specific allergies and you need me to make a formulation that helps you, please do not hesitate to contact me–there is always something I can do to help!

Gift Options at Bath Geek plus Pre-Orders Are Up!

Tree Present (Pexels)

So, no pressure, but… there are only 16 days left until the USPS Priority Shipping deadline in order for gifts to get to your loved ones by Christmas Eve!  In order to make things a little easier, I’ve added a couple of options to the site:

  • The build-your-own-gift is exactly that–build your own gift!  Pick a soap, at least one bath bomb, and at least one bubble bath/bath melt–all of that gets packed into a gift for your loved one, customized to their liking.
  • The bathtime gift set is for bath lovers who like bath bombs and also like bubble baths.  Choose two bath bombs and two bubble bath bars to be gift-wrapped into a pretty present!
  • The bath bomb gift set is for bath bomb lovers (and those who love them).  Choose any four bath bombs to be gift-wrapped into a pretty present!  (Bonus: the set only costs $10, including gift-wrapping!)
  • When all else fails, or when it’s just too late to toss one more present onto Santa’s sleigh, try Bath Geek gift cards, which can be e-mailed to your recipient instantly.

Also… we now have pre-orders!  If you want to make absolutely sure that stock doesn’t run out before you get a chance to get something, you can now pre-order it and reserve yours, weeks before it’s actually available.  Check it out!

Points and Rewards!

Present for You (Pexels)

To thank my repeat customers, I’ve installed a points and rewards system on this blog.  Just like credit cards, every dollar spent earns you points, and these points can be redeemed towards future purchases! It’s my way of thanking you for your support.

  • To track your points, you need to have an account on bathgeek.com (you can sign up at checkout, or just sign up at any time via the “My Account” link in the top menu.)
  • You can click on “Points” in “My Account” (or just follow this link) at any time to see how many points you have.
  • I have adjusted the point totals to credit folks for orders prior to December 2017.  If you placed an order before December 2017 and you haven’t received your points, please let me know.

If you have any other questions, please let me know and I will try to answer them.  Thanks again, and Happy Holidays!

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.

Black Friday Sale

Sale Banner courtesy of Martin Abegglen @ Flickr

[Img courtesy of Martin Abegglen @ Flickr.]

Thank you to all of you for being here and reading this! This Black Friday 2017, as a special thank-you to all of you, I’ve put together a bunch of discounts:

  • Buy 10 bars of soap or more: 17% off all soap
  • Buy 5 packages of bath melts or more: 17% off all bath melts
  • Buy 10 bars of bubble bath or more: 117% off all bubble bath
  • Buy 10 bath bombs or more: 17% off all bath bombs
  • Last but not least, purchases of $170 or more (excludes gift cards) will receive free shipping!

These discounts are good from Thursday, November 23, 2017, to Sunday, November 26, 2017.

Also, you can now buy gift cards and e-mail them!  If you don’t know whether someone would like bath bombs or bubble bath, now you don’t have to spoil the surprise by asking them; just get a gift card and let them decide.

Here are some additional things you can do on the site (I’ve been a very busy girl…):

  • Shipping to multiple addresses in one order!  Let me take care of your Christmas list for you, and take advantage of those Black Friday discounts!
  • Social login for Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Twitter, so logging in is a one-click affair.  (I hope!  I tested it by connecting my account to all of these networks from my account page, but I can’t test it in checkout.)
  • Filter by tags so you can home in on specific allergy-friendly products
  • UPS shipping is now an option
  • Wishlists!
  • Review a product to get a 5% discount on your next order!

Phew.  I think I’ve earned my Thanksgiving dinner.  (I can’t wait for turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.)  Happy Holidays, everyone!

Stock and Packaging Updates

Christmas packaging boxes have arrived!

The Christmas boxes I ordered have arrived!  Orders of Christmas gift sets will ship with these while stock lasts.  Please let me know if your order is a Christmas gift and what goes in it!

I’ve been busy making soap, and I have a lot of lovely soap curing.  Included in this gallery is a sneak peek at what is coming to the store in December (next month!) hopefully just in time for Christmas.

Coming Soon: Sweet Pea, Green Mint, and Fresh Linen
Coming Soon: Sweet Pea, Green Mint, and Fresh Linen
Coming Soon: Midnight Jasmine and Lovely Lavender
Coming Soon: Midnight Jasmine and Lovely Lavender
Coming Soon: Morning Dew and North Star
Coming Soon: Morning Dew and North Star

Last but definitely not least, since bath bombs are in such great demand, I’ve added four new bath bombs, two of them perennials.  Check them out in the store!

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!

Recommended Soap Dishes

Soap Dish by 6SN7 @ Flickr

The other day, one of my customers asked, “Will you be selling soap dishes? I need some for this handmade soap, to take care of it.”

I hadn’t planned on selling soap dishes, because everyone has such divergent tastes in decor!  However, I understood that what she really wanted was recommendations on which soap dishes would be best for her uses.  I can definitely recommend my favorite soap dishes!  (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation to any of these sellers or products, and my recommendation comes purely from finding them available for sale on Amazon. Your purchase through these links will give me a small commission, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy from here if you don’t want to. Feel free to shop around for something you like better!)

Soap Dishes For the Sink

Countertop soap dishes that I particularly like are waterfall dishes.  The idea here is to drain off the water so that your soap can dry in between uses.  I love waterfall soap dishes, and this is the kind that I have all over my house (I have a lot of sinks!):

These are also lovely examples of waterfall soap dishes I wouldn’t mind seeing next to my sink:

Again, the idea is to drain off the water so that your soap isn’t sitting in a puddle (and dissolving) between uses.  An enclosed bowl soap dish has to be emptied constantly, which is why I don’t recommend them.  I also don’t like grill-type soap dishes that leave marks on the counter or cause soapy water to puddle under the dish (but don’t drain into the sink).

Soap Dishes For the Shower

In the shower I’d prefer a soap dish that attached to the wall.  I’m not comfortable drilling holes in the wall, and because of that, I prefer suction-cup or sticker-attached soap dishes.  (If you’re the handy type, drill away!)  It’s important that you have a relatively large smooth surface for the suction cup to attach to.  If you don’t, you might have to use a sticky-surface soap dish instead.  I’m quite partial to the wire-basket type of soap dish in the shower.  Mine is attached to my shower caddy, but this is the kind of soap dish I’d look for, with emphasis on drainage holes:

If you have a tub, all the countertop soap dishes I’ve mentioned in the first section should work just fine for your tub too! However, there’s a certain luxury you can use in a tub that you can’t in a shower:

Aaaaah, reading in the tub.  (Hmm.  Now that I think about it, I might need to buy one of these for my tub!)

Kitchen Sink Soap Dishes

I have a waterfall soap dish next to my kitchen sink, but sometimes that’s either not possible or just not your way.  Here are some hanging-basket type soap dishes that would work too! (Disclaimer: I haven’t tried using any of these hanging soap dishes, and am merely picking them out by noting their drainage features.)

Non-dish Soap Savers

There’s one kind of soap saver I’ve never tried, and that’s the magnetic “soap in the air” type.  However, if this works for you, it definitely keeps your soap nice and dry between uses!

Last but not least, perhaps you already have a recessed soap “holder” in your shower, but soap keeps slipping out. (My soap always found its way to my feet even though I placed it in that soap shelf in the shower/tub.) You might not want to install another soap dish, but you could instead use a soap lift to help drain the soap a little better and cut down on water puddling underneath it. As a bonus, the soap lift should help stop the soap from sliding off the shelf too!

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.

Information for Allergy Sufferers

As a general caution, I am based in the suburbs of Colorado and share my home with two purebred Siberian cats and a human adult male.  I am allergic to cats, but Siberians naturally possess a lower amount of the enzymes that trigger cat allergies.  Although some friends’ cats cause my allergies to flare up, I am able to live normally with my two fur babies.  (I still make my husband clean the litter box, though!)

My workspace where I make the bath products is not 100% closed off from the cats, but the cats are not allowed in the area when I soap or make other bath products, and all the ingredients are stored in a closet away from feline contact.  I only take out ingredients when I am about to make soap or other products, and finished products are immediately moved to storage after they are made.  Unused ingredients are also immediately returned to the storage closet.  Depending on your level of sensitivity to cats, my products should be safe, but if you are concerned, then please be aware that feline exposure to these products was possible.

Allergies that I am currently tagging my products for include:

Other Allergies

If you don’t see your allergy in my analysis and would like me to include it, please let me know and I will update my product tags for you!

 

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.

Absent any better alternatives, I chose to use soy-derived glycerin, because at least I know what goes into it, and most people with soy allergies are all right with soy glycerin.  I am allergic to soy myself, but it is a mild enough allergy that I don’t seem to have any problems with soy glycerin (at the very low concentrations resulting from me using my bubble bath, anyway).  While I avoid soybean oil and soy protein isolates (no soy milk for me) and I can no longer snack on edamame (sadness!), I am okay when consuming small amounts of miso or soy sauce.  (The way my allergist explained it, fermentation changes the structure of some proteins.  I guess the soy proteins I’m allergic to get altered in the process of making miso and soy sauce.)

However, there are people whose sensitivity to soy is so high that consuming soy-derived glycerin can cause severe allergic reactions.  For folks like that, life is hard enough.  I want them to be able to use my products and take away one source of stress and frustration for them, so I am trying to look for a replacement for soy-derived glycerin.  With the exception of soy glycerin, however, it is surprisingly difficult to find glycerin where you can be certain what oil it comes from.

Someone on a soap forum suggested corn glycerin.  I already use corn starch, and the citric acid I use in my bath bombs comes from corn (confirmed with my supplier), so I won’t be introducing any new allergens if I used corn-derived glycerin, but… trying to find corn glycerin is also very hard.  It doesn’t solve the problem when it comes to people who are sensitive to corn products, either!

So… I am now investigating making glycerin.  With a bit of work, I should be able to make glycerin that is olive-derived and safe for folks who have coconut, palm, soy, or corn allergies.

(I may need to also make glycerin from corn oil, the above notwithstanding.  Some of my products don’t use olive oil.  Those same products either contain corn starch or citric acid, both corn-based.  Using an olive-derived glycerin in those products would introduce a new allergen, but using a corn-derived glycerin would not.)

I have to test this, but I am hoping it works out well.  As a bonus, I’ll be able to offer 100% olive-oil laundry soap as well.  This seems like a win-win!

[Follow-up post: Update on Glycerin]

Madelyn’s Rose

Madelyn's Rose Fizzy Bath Bomb Close-up

Okay, wow.  I knew Madelyn’s Rose was my favorite of all the bath bombs I’ve made so far, but you guys sold me out of everything I had in ONE. DAY.  <3  I’m going to make some more ASAP.  This will be back in stock soon.  Until then, I’ve added the rest of my bath bomb and bubble bath stock.  Now, to make more!  Expect these back in stock by this weekend.

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