In honor of Independence Day, I’ve put some pre-launch candles on the shop at a discount. They ship just like regular cold-pack items. Happy Independence Day!
I’ve had a couple of messages asking me why I don’t use more essential oils in my soap. As an allergy-conscious maker of bath and personal care products, I am always hyper-aware of the possibility of over-sensitization, which can happen to anyone who overuses essential oils (link goes to WebMD). I’ve written on this subject before, but it bears repeating: be very careful with essential oils as over-sensitization is a real problem.
I have gotten a couple of inquiries about coffee scrub soap. Is this something people want? Please let me know if you would like me to start making coffee scrub soap with coffee grounds!
Yes, they’re FINALLY ready! Foaming liquid soap has been restocked. Thank you for your patience: please use PATIENCE as a code to get 10% off liquid soap!
Yes, my foaming liquid soap was out of stock… but the newest batch is almost ready! Which of my fragrances do you most want in liquid soap right now?
If you live in a temperate climate (like myself, in Denver CO), you are probably quite familiar with the cold/flu season and how miserable it can be in the winter. If you have kids, then despite your best efforts, they are going to bring something home, and the entire family is going to get sick.
I’ve been going through a few changes in my life lately, and at the moment I live with a partner who has a young child with a predilection for coughing and sneezing with her cute little mouth wide open in your face. I have had a cold/flu/something for close to 6 weeks, and I am on my second course of antibiotics. I’ve had raw skin under my nose from all the tissues, Costco has gotten rich off my Kleenex purchases, and I even switched to blowing my nose at the sink and washing with water instead to try and be a little gentler on my poor raw skin, but when you are blowing your nose almost every minute, even that’s going to take its toll.
I’m writing this blog post, because I have been trying to protect my skin and have been having problems. Lotion burns. Aloe vera burns. Even medicated lotions burn. But what didn’t burn was my lotion stick. I should have just grabbed that in the first place instead of trying everything else!
I’ve been rubbing my lotion stick on my face and it has soothed and moisturized the raw skin without any burning sensation. I’ve also been using it on the backs of my hands and even rubbing it all over my hands (all the handwashing dries them out). It helps a ton. Now it doesn’t hurt any more when I have to blow my nose.
Another awesome thing is how well the lotion stick has helped with dry cuticles. My partner keeps lotion all through his apartment because he has dry cuticles and he’s constantly massaging lotion into his fingers. I finally gave him a lotion stick and used some on him lately. He’s a believer now and he’s been using that instead of lotion because it moisturizes much more effectively and it lasts longer than lotion.
So if you are dealing with raw skin and trying to moisturize, I strongly recommend using my Cocoa and Shea Lotion Stick. You can rub it directly on your skin, or use your fingers to transfer the oils from the stick to your lips, skin under/around your nose, or wherever else it’s needed.
Cocoa & Shea Lotion Stick
Our skin is our biggest organ, and regular moisturizing will help to keep it supple and smooth. Bath Geek’s lotion sticks are in a convenient 2.2 oz twist-up tube for easy, no-mess application. Made with only skin-loving butters and oils, this lotion stick is super convenient to carry around and apply. Keep a lotion stick around with you for awesome skin moisture anytime and anywhere!
- Cocoa butter has a ton of skin-loving fatty acids and polyphenols, smells fantastic, is soothing and emollient (adds a layer of hydration), incredibly hydrating, and is an essential must-have during the winter months.
- Shea butter is nourishing, soothing, moisturizing, and lubricating. It makes your skin look and feel younger too!
- Avocado oil boosts the moisturizing power of this lotion stick and soothes your skin as it helps the shea butter and cocoa butter spread out.
- Last but not least, grapeseed oil is skin-balancing, super rich in beta-carotene and vitamins D, C, and E, and has a great concentration of skin-loving fatty acids. It’s also non-comodogenic (doesn’t clog pores), locks in the moisture, keeps your skin smooth and soft, and is absorbed into your skin super fast.
Double, double, toil, and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…
Halloween is approaching, and we’ve got some extra-special bath bombs to mark the occasion. Each bath bomb has a creepy spider embedded, just waiting for the right moment to float to the top. Get one before they’re gone!
By popular demand, I will be adding two lines of candles to the Bath Geek range!
Bath Geek candles will be well-scented and very lightly colored, and they will come in lovely jars with metal lids on them. The usual candle warnings apply–never leave unattended, etc. Some of my fragrances will make it into these candles and I hope you will enjoy them.
I am also introducing a specialty line of Bath Geek Body Art candles! Meant for wax play, these candles will be:
- unscented (though I am open to adding fragrance by special request/special order)
- brightly colored (some will be UV-reactive/flourescent!)
- very low temperature (I am aiming for as close to 120F or less if possible)
- Available both in all-soy and soy-free versions (no more worrying about playing with soy wax if you are allergic to soy!)
- they will come both in wicked and wickless versions!
I look forward to posting these candles for sale. Which of my current fragrances do you most want to see in a candle? What are your favorite candle colors?
I get a lot of questions on coconut-free shampoo. While I am not yet able to provide actual shampoo, yes, you can use coconut-free soap in a pinch. Because of that, I currently recommend the following regimen for hair care if you are allergic to coconut:
- Use dry shampoo as much as possible (there is a lot on the market that will suffice and quite a lot of it is coconut free). At least try to give yourself a day in between wet washes.
- When you have to wash your hair, use liquid coconut-free soap, or lather up with a bar of soap and use the lather. This is preferable to using the soap directly on your hair. I would not recommend doing this more than 2-3 times a week because alkaline soap (all soap is alkaline) is really drying to hair, and there is only so much I can do to lower the pH of soap before it stops being soap.
- After you wash your hair, use a leave-in conditioner of some kind (or rub some argan oil onto your hair) to repair and protect it.
I am still working on coconut-free shampoo, but finding a source of coconut-free detergent molecules is proving to be very difficult. (Boy, do I wish I had actually gone into materials science in college like I meant to.) In the meantime, I hope this helps!
There comes a point in time when the cost of ingredients and the general cost of doing business increases and you have to raise prices or start losing money. I’ve been trying to keep prices low, but unfortunately, in 2019 I will be increasing some of my prices to keep up with inflation.
I know this isn’t great news! So for you, dear readers, here is a coupon to soften the blow. Use “BYE2018” from now until January 31, 2019 to take 10% off all your purchases until then. (PS: Now is a good time to stock up before the price increase!)
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
Just in time for the holiday season:
- Peppermint bath bombs are back in stock!
- Jumpin’ Juniper was incredibly popular and even though it was originally a limited edition, many people asked for it to return. It’s now back!
- Ocean Breeze is now a much more shipping-friendly round bath bomb instead of the square ones!
- Three new bubble bath fragrances:
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!)
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…)
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 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).
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!
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.
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! I detail it in my post Bath Geek’s Coconut-Free Hair Regimen.
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-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!