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DIY Bath Salts: An Ancient Trick for Health and Beauty

Posted by RainShadow Labs on 11/20/2013 to Soaps
Bathing is a long-standing health and beauty ritual. From the ancient Japanese onsen tradition to Cleopatra’s cosmetic regimen, baths feature prominently in the customs of people who know and care about health and beauty. A great way to make your bath an extra-luxurious event is with DIY bath salts. 

At RainShadow Labs, we highly recommend you use our wonderful Dead Sea Salt for your DIY project. Dead Sea salt contains 21 different minerals that improve your well-being at a cellular level, including magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulfur, zinc, and calcium. It’s known to heal skin issues, relieve muscle pain, reduce joint inflammation, soothe stress and detox illness. RainShadow Labs offers both Dead Sea salts and additional spa-grade bath salts if you are looking to make different blends!

Top 5 Skincare Myths... Busted!

Posted by Julia Sanders on 8/26/2013 to Soaps
5) ALL OILS CLOG PORES AND PROVOKE ACNE
False! It is a common belief that oils or products with oils are comedogenic and pore-clogging. This is just not true! Some oils can potentially suffocate the skin, such as mineral oil, but many oils are very good for the skin and won't clog pores and cause acne at all. In fact, many of them clear up acne and reduce your natural oil production, making you less shiny and reducing the amount of pore-clogging material upon your complexion. Oils such as Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Safflower Oil, Jojoba Oil, Soybean Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, and Macadamia Nut Oil are all safe and effective for facial and body skin care.


4) CHOCOLATE AND GREASY FOODS CAUSE BREAKOUTS
False! There is no evidence indicating that consuming chocolate and greasy foods...

Skin Care Terms You Need to Know

Posted by Julia Sanders on 7/29/2013 to Soaps
Getting familiar with common skin care terms is important when creating your skin care products! Understanding the following words will help you to understand what you need, and what you are using, to make the best private label skin care line you can.

History of Soap #2

Posted by kevin1234 on 11/27/2011 to Soaps
By the 1600s, most Europeans were using soap. Soap maker guilds were formed, who carefully guarded the secrets of their trade. Not only did they cook vegetable and animal oils with the ashes of plants, they also added fragrance. Their soaps were used for washing clothes as well as their bodies.

In France, Italy, and Spain, soap manufacture was one of the largest businesses of the time.  This was in part due to the fact that they had a steady supply of olive oil, a favorite for soap making. In 1622, King James the First accepted $100,000 per year from a major soap maker to allow the soap maker a monopoly.

Soap was considered a luxury item for some time. Taxes were heavy on soap products. So, many commoners were not able to afford it. When the taxes were lowered, almost everyone started buying soap and England became a more hygienic place.

In the American Colonies, in 1608, several soap makers came over on the second ship from England to Virginia. As the new colonies were very small, soap making was something each homemaker did for herself until professional soap making took off.
Until the late 1700s, soapmaking was done exclusively with the ashes of plants (lye).

But in 1791, Nicholas Leblanc, a chemist from France, developed soda ash (sodium carbonate), a derivative of table salt. This brought the price down for soapmakers and expanded the soap making business extensively. This led to the shift from soap as a pleasurable item to a must-have for every home.

History of Soap #1

Posted by kevin1234 on 11/19/2011 to Soaps
Human beings have been concerned about cleanliness, to some degree, for as far back as we can tell. The earliest known proof of the existence of soap came from as early as 2800 BC. A soap-like substance was found inside clay cylinders in ancient Babylon. The cylinders had carved inscriptions on the outside that indicated that ashes were boiled with fats, the same method used today for soap making.

In ancient Egypt, the Ebers Papyrus of 1500 BC detailed the process of combining oils derived from vegetables and animals with alkaline salts to use for washing and for treating skin disease. In ancient Greece, bodies were washed with oil and ashes or oil and dirt, but actual soap was not made.

In Rome, the legend tells that the word soap came from Mount Sapo, a place where the ancient Romans sacrificed animals. Because the animals were sacrificed with fire, melted animal fat (tallow) would run down with the wood ashes into the clay soil of the Tiber River. The women, after discovering how helpful this clay mixture was, began washing their clothes at this site.

In 312 BC, the Romans built their aqueduct baths and bathed in large groups. During the 100s AD, Galen the Greek physician taught that soap was helpful for cleanliness as well as medicinal purposes. Back in Rome in the year 467 AD, when the nation fell, bathing ceased in much of Europe.

Europe fell into an unhygienic period leading to many plagues during the middle ages including Black Death in the 1300s. However, this condition was mainly exclusive to Europe. For example, the Japanese continued bathing daily during this period. Finally, in the 1600s, Europe became interested in bathing again and soap making became big business.

Soap Chemistry

Posted by kevin1234 on 11/9/2011 to Soaps
Understanding soap chemistry begins with a basic knowledge of the washing agent, water. Water has surface tension that can be noticed by simple observation. The reason water beads on a surface, rather than spreading flat, is that the water molecules underneath the surface water molecules pull at the surface molecules.

Unfortunately, this makes it more difficult to thoroughly wet a surface and thus to clean the surface. Soap is, in part, used to reduce the surface tension, allowing the water to spread more effectively. Chemicals that allow this to happen are surface active agents, termed surfactants.

Surfactants are also important because they help loosen soil, distribute the soil throughout the soapy water, and trap the soil until it is washed off. Lastly, surfactants are helpful because they increase the alkalinity of the water, aiding in the removal of acidic soils. Surfactants are what make the soap slippery, bubbly, and slimy.

Genuine soap is made from fats, oils, or fatty acids, combined with an alkali (alkaline substance) such as lye. The combination of the fat with the alkali produces soap with an addition of glycerin, a mild, moisturizing substance that makes true soap bars soft and helps the skin retain moisture after washing.

In natural bars of soap, the ashes of plants produce the alkali used for soap making (lye). But, in commercial production, alkalis used in soapmaking are derivatives of sodium or potassium. The most common are sodium hydroxide (NaOH), often referred to as caustic soda and potassium hydroxide (KOH), caustic potash.

The saponification process involves the heating of the fats and oils (scientifically referred to as triglycerides) and then adding the alkali. This triggers the chemical reaction that creates soap. In commercial production, the moisturizing glycerin is usually removed from the product and sold to lotion making companies, leaving the bar nice and hard, but also very drying. These bars are often sold as beauty bars, body bars, and the like, because they are technically no longer soap.

Typical Soap Ingredients

Posted by kevin1234 on 11/2/2011 to Soaps
In soaps, there are a variety of ingredients used for different purposes. Starting with the basic formula, alkalis are used for mixing with oils to make the basic soap. Alkalis also enhance surfactants, neutralize acidity in other ingredients, and increase the alkalinity of the final product. Examples are lye (made of plant ashes and used in natural soaps) and sodium carbonate (used in some commercially-produced soaps).

Abrasives are often added to soaps with the purpose of refining or smoothing skin. Coarser particles are for purposes like softening the feet, while very fine abrasives can be used on the face. Examples of natural abrasives are ground peach cores, sugar, and salt crystals.

Antimicrobial agents are added to many types of soap now, including dish soap and hand soaps. These antimicrobial products kill germs and inhibit the growth of germs on the soap and on the area washed. Triclosan is an example used in commercial production, with pine oil used in natural antibacterial soaps.

Colorants are added to make the soap attractive. Natural soaps often make use of food coloring to create aesthetically pleasing bars of soap for home use. Fragrances are also for the senses. Some are meant to sooth, like lavender, while others energize, like citrus.

Preservatives are used in commercial production of soap for preventing discoloration, oxidation, and/or bacterial growth. Examples are butylated hydroxytoluene and glutaraldehyde. Natural soaps do not usually have the years of shelf life commercial soaps do, but they do not contain chemical preservatives. Instead, natural soaps are generally made in fresh batches and purchased by consumers as they are used.

Natural Soap vs. Commercial Soap

Posted by kevin1234 on 10/23/2011 to Soaps
Commercial soap is in ready supply, in every supermarket, in every city. But is it even soap? Theres a reason why so many of these products are called beauty bars, body bars, or moisturizing bars.

It is against the law for these commercial bar makers to call their products soap, if in fact they do not contain actual soap. The nature-based ingredients that have been used for decades, even centuries, of soap making are not often used by big manufacturers because they cost more than cheap chemical detergents.

Synthetic lathering agents are used in combination with harsh chemicals, like Triclosan. And while lye is used, as in natural bars, the best part of it is removed. To get a good hard bar, the manufacturers remove the glycerin content (created as a byproduct of mixing lye with the other products).

Glycerin is what makes a natural bar of soap soft and is also what moisturizes the skin. In fact, commercial manufacturers sell the glycerin they remove from their detergent bars to makers of moisturizing products.

A natural bar of soap contains none of the artificial ingredients found in commercial bars. Real soap moisturizes your skin with glycerin and leaves no toxins on your skin, which can absorb through your pores.

Natural soap is made of lye and fat (oil), but the caustic nature of the lye is destroyed in the saponification (soap making) process. The byproduct is the moisturizing glycerin.

Additives are scents, beneficial ingredients like oatmeal, and/or coloring agents. Look for those that use only natural versions.

One last important consideration is that using natural soap helps protect the environment. The UKs Royal Society of Chemistry released a report announcing the finding that chemical byproducts of detergent bars persist in the water supply even after filtration. These byproducts include parabens, known carcinogens, and phthalates, which can lead to reproductive disorders. Spending the extra money to buy a natural bar of soap can thus lead to healthier skin and a healthier environment, at the same time.

Safety Tips for Making Lye Soap

Posted by kevin1234 on 10/15/2011 to Soaps
Lye has been used in soap making for centuries. It begins as a dangerously corrosive alkaline that, when mixed with oils, is chemically altered and becomes harmless soap, with gentle cleansing properties and the mild and moisturizing byproduct of glycerin.
However, before it goes through the saponification process, it remains caustic. Often used in drain cleaning products, for example, the corrosive properties of lye allow it to burn through tough drain clogs, dissolving what stands in its way. Soap makers must practice caution when working with lye.

Only pure lye should be used for making soap, without any additional ingredients. For protection, when working with pure lye, make sure to always use safety goggles, thick rubber gloves that cover your forearms, an apron, and hard close-toed shoes in case of spills.

You will need a very heat-resistant container for stirring lye with water, before it is added to the oils. Use a pitcher or handled pot with a lid. Make sure this container is large enough for safe stirring. Also, do not use tin, aluminum, or zinc for storing or stirring lye, as lye will corrode these metals. Stainless steel is best, but a thick heat-resistant plastic will do.

When mixing the lye with water, it is imperative to remember to add the lye to the water, not the other way around. Add lye slowly and carefully to the water as you stir. Pouring water onto lye can cause a dreadful accident. Mix the lye into the water, while the container is in your sink, in case of a leak or spill.

Breathing lye fumes can burn your lungs. So, as you work with the lye, make sure the room is well-ventilated preferably with an open window and a fan to cycle the air. Try to stand back while you stir the mixture.

As with adding lye to the water, add the lye-water to the soap oils. Make sure that lye is always added slowly and carefully. Keep vinegar, an acid, on hand to quickly neutralize any lye that spills on you and then rinse the affected area with cold water.

For soap making at home, lye is a necessity that can be intimidating to would-be soap makers. But soap making can be a pleasurable and safe activity, when safety guidelines for working with lye are carefully followed.

Soap Making Supplies

Posted by kevin1234 on 10/7/2011 to Soaps
Soap making at home is a pleasurable and popular activity that requires some specific equipment. While much of what is necessary may be found already in your own cupboards, there will likely be at least a few items you need to purchase before you can start. Review this list of important items to ensure that you have everything you need.

1) Start with safety in mind. Make sure you have quality rubber gloves and a pair of safety goggles. The lye you will be working with is caustic during the early part of the soap making process.

2) A food scale will help you measure ingredients that are added by weight.

3) Use stainless steel for as many of your soap making supplies as you can. Lye is highly acidic until it is processed. It will corrode other metals and poor quality utensils. Purchase a stainless steel pot that is large enough to process the batch size you intend to make.

4) Other stainless steel necessities would be measuring spoons, whisks or stirring spoons, and a ladle. Quality plastic supplies will also work as a substitute for stainless steel.

5) Select a 2-3 quart stainless steel or heat-resistant plastic pitcher for mixing the lye solution. Mark this pitcher with a permanent warning like Danger- Caustic Lye! and cover it with a lid. You dont want any potential for accidents.

6) Depending on your preference, you can use ramekins, measuring cups, beakers, or small ingredient bowls for holding and pouring fragrance, color, and other additives.

7) Use a stick blender for mixing the lye with the oils, initiating the saponification process.

8) A thermometer will help you keep an eye on the temperature levels.

9) You will need a rubber spatula for scraping out the remaining soap from the pot.

10) Soap molds of either the loaf or individual soap size will help you finish the soap making process.

11) Finally, make sure you have some dishcloths that you can dedicate to cleaning up the soap making mess when youre done.

Benefits of Natural Soap

Posted by kevin1234 on 9/20/2011 to Soaps
Natural soaps are suitable for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin. Natural soaps dont contain chemical additives such as alcohols, esters, low grade oils, wax and fillers. Natural sops dont contain animal fats, so they cut down on the soap scum often found in the shower or bath.

A natural soap wont strip your skin of its natural oils, so your skin will be left feeling soft and smooth. Natural soap bars are made with coconut, palm, sunflower, rice bran, castor or soya bean oils. You will notice a difference in the way your skin feels when you switch to a natural soap when youve been using a commercial soap.

Natural soaps are made using the cold process method. This means all the ingredients are mixed at a low temperature. This helps them retain all the natural goodness of the base and essential oils.

Natural soaps are loaded with glycerin. Glycerin prevents skin dryness and irritation and is a great moisturizer. Commercial soaps often have the glycerin removed in order to make a harder bar of soap.

Currently there are many different natural soap products available. Check out user reviews to see which soaps will best suit your skins needs. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and caring for your skin will help you feel better all over.

Use Hand Soap as an Anti-Fog

Posted by kevin1234 on 8/29/2011 to Soaps

If you swim in chemically treated pools you have three options. Option 1 is to wear goggles under water to keep your eyes from getting irritated by chlorine. Option 2 is to simply swim without goggles underwater and suffer the consequences of dry, red eyes. Number 3 is to simply not swim under water.

There are several anti-fog products that are currently on the market. They range in price and quality. Many of them use chemicals that can be just as irritating to your eyes as chlorine. Some are actually strong enough to strip the primary layer of plastic off of the goggles over time. Do you really want this near your eyes?

There are alternatives. One of the easiest and cost friendly alternatives is to use simple hand soap from a soap distributor as an anti-fog. The best hand soaps for this have no color or scent added to the solution. They can be easily stored in a gym bag next to your swim goggles.

To use the soap for an anti fog, simply put a small dab onto your fingers and rub a light covering over the outer eye area of the goggles. Water and fog will not be able to penetrate the surface. After swimming, you can simply rinse the goggles off. This is an easy and inexpensive anti-fog product that will keep your eyes safe.

How Soap Can Prevent Cold and Flu

Posted by kevin1234 on 7/29/2011 to Soaps
A cold or the flu can cause loss of work, unavailability for social events and overall unpleasantness. There are many methods that you can apply to your daily life to help you to prevent colds and the flu. These include diet, getting enough sleep and using soap regularly.

Soap is a great flu prevention method because it releases bacteria from your hands. We use our hands to put food in our mouth, hold telephones to our ear and put on lip balm, among many other daily activities. Hands come into contact with our nose and mouth many, many times per day.

It is crucial that our hands remain clean, especially during flu season. We could touch a door handle in public and later put our hands near our face. This will cause contact that could lead to infecting us with a cold or flu virus. Influenza or a cold could be airborne, but chances are we are at a higher risk if our hands are not kept clean.

Both antibacterial and regular soap are helpful in preventing sickness. They both are effective at getting rid of germs and bacteria on the skin. Warm water is also helpful and should be used every time hands are washed. During flu season we all need to remember to wash our hands more than we normally do.

Does Soap Kill Bacteria?

Posted by kevin1234 on 7/6/2011 to Soaps

Regular bar soap and liquid soap dont actually kill bacteria. That does not mean that the soaps are useless. These soaps help to get rid of bacteria and other germs by loosening the bond between the bacteria and the skin. Water, during the hand washing process is then able to release the bacteria from the skin.

Antibacterial soaps, on the other hand, are able to get rid of many types of bacteria. These soaps not only will reduce bad bacteria, but good bacteria as well. The uses of this type of soap are controversial in the medical community.

Many in the health community do agree that it is best to use antibacterial soap when the hands are very dirty, have touched food or other substances that contain bacteria. Other soaps without antibacterial elements can be used for bathing and frequent hand washing.

All soaps are useful for removing dirt, germs and getting rid of bacteria. Antibacterial soap with alcohol will kill some, but not all germs. It is important to have good hygiene and use soap regularly to avoid immunity deficiencies.

3 Important Steps to Cleansing your Face

Posted by kevin on 6/24/2011 to Soaps

Keep Your Hands Soft Through Washing

Posted by kevin1234 on 5/20/2011 to Soaps
Hand washing is crucial for overall health. It is the single most preventative health promoting activity that works well for everyone. But, if you have to wash your hands often or if you live in a climate with dry air, your hands could become dry and cracked.

5 Tips to Get Rid of Acne

Posted by kevin1234 on 5/18/2011 to Soaps
People of all ages are prone to skin blemishes, pimples and acne. There are a few tips that can help teenagers and adults alike to reduce acne and help to revitalize healthy, beautiful skin. Here are 5 of the top tips.

Skin Care on a Dime

Posted by kevin1234 on 5/13/2011 to Soaps
The skin care industry is a billion dollar industry. Anti-aging creams, serums and lotions are just a portion of the product lines that make up the industry. Soaps, cleansers, toners and exfoliants are also very popular among todays consumers.

Pack Your Own Amenities when Traveling

Posted by kevin1234 on 5/9/2011 to Soaps
Do you remember the days of fancy hotel soap? Many travelers would forego using the high quality soaps so that they could take them home as a souvenir or to give to a loved one when returning from a trip. Sadly, those days are long gone. The quality of soap and other amenities has lowered tremendously in the last ten years in even some of the best hotels in the country.

Creative Additions for Bar Soap

Posted by Gravitate Master on 4/22/2011 to Soaps
The craft of making bar soap has been around for thousands of years. Soap making is one of the oldest professions. For centuries craftsmen have found ways to create special blends that are unique and true forms of art. These helped others to tell their soaps apart from others.

The How To of Carving Soap

Posted by kevin1234 on 4/15/2011 to Soaps
Soap carving is a fun hobby that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. There are a few tips to creating a great and useful soap carving that can be enjoyed at home or given as a thoughtful gift.

Soap Making Can Be Fun

Posted by kevin1234 on 4/8/2011 to Soaps
Soap making can be an art form. Soap crafters can learn many techniques that are both traditional and new to incorporate in their own batches. There are so many ways to make soap unique and special for gifting or for your own use at home.

Liquid Soap Versus Bar Soap

Posted by kevin1234 on 4/4/2011 to Soaps
Do you prefer liquid soap or bar soap? Most people have strong preferences. Others use liquid soap near the kitchen sink and the bar variety near the bathroom sink. Many people simply grew up with a certain type of soap that helped to shape their preference.

Making Soap for Holiday Gifts

Posted by Gravitate Master on 10/28/2010 to Soaps
Soap making is a very popular way to make gifts for the Holidays. It's fun because it allows you to use your creativity with each bar you make. There are many ways to make soap and there are many ways you can embellish your soap.

Top Ways to Ruin Your Soap Batches

Posted by Gravitate Master on 10/22/2010 to Soaps
Ruined soap batches can really make me grumpy. Soap making is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work. There are common soap making mistakes that can happen to ruin a bath of soap. Below are top mistakes people make during the soap making process.