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The Benefits of Using Shea Butter Soap Base

7When making your own soaps at home, you are faced with a variety of potential ingredients. You can add just about anything to your soap, including lavender and chamomile. Today, we will discuss the popular shea butter soap base, and how it can be beneficial to your hair and skin.

  • Shea butter performs as a natural sunscreen. It helps to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. While using a soap or lotion with shea butter is helpful for skin protection, it should not be your only form of protection — always use a traditional sunscreen.
  • Shea butter is full of various vitamins and antioxidants, including Vitamin A and Vitamin E, which contribute to its ability to protect your delicate skin from the sun. It also contains different fatty acids and plant sterols that help give it healing properties. Thanks to the vitamins, fatty acids, and sterols, raw shea butter can be used on rashes, scars, burns, frost bite, stretch marks, and even sore muscles.
  • Shea butter is also used to provide excellent moisturizing to even the driest of skin. It has been shown to stimulate the production of collagen, which means it can help your skin to look fuller and younger. The Vitamin F it contains means that it can help retain and restore some of your skin’s elasticity, resulting in smoother, tighter skin and a more youthful appearance.
  • The moisturizing quality of shea butter makes it a perfect choice for someone looking for a natural remedy for dry or chapped lips. It is also ideal for use on infants and babies as a wonderful moisturizing treatment after a bath. It can be helpful in treating diaper rashes, as well.
  • Shea butter is also ideal for hair. Because of its incredible moisturizing qualities, it is almost a natural conditioner all by itself. It does not leave a greasy feeling behind on your hair, as the moisture is essentially locked into each strand of hair.
  • The healing qualities of shea butter make it perfect for putting a stop to dry, flaking skin on your scalp, as well as treating split ends.
  • Finally, shea butter can help protect your hair just as it protects your skin — from the sun’s harsh rays and from the outside elements.

As you can see, using shea butter in your homemade soaps, lotions, and shampoos is sure to benefit your entire body from head to toe. You can wash your hair with shea butter shampoo, refreshing and restoring it to its natural beauty. You can lather up your body with shea butter soap, moisturizing, healing, and protecting your most important organ — your skin. Last, but not least, you can add an additional layer of protection with the use of shea butter lotion. One final benefit of shea butter is its wonderful aroma — you will never have to worry about smelling too much like a flower or too much like a coconut.

To learn more about shea butter and its benefits, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

The Best Calming Herbs to Use in Your Soap

9Soap base is one of the most important ingredients that you need when you want to make soap. However, there are many other things you can put in your soaps to give them fragrance and change the properties in them. Some of these additives make the skin soft, like coconut oil, and others, such as many herbs, can calm or even energize you. You can use herbs in a variety of ways in soaps. You can add them in fresh, but you have to add 2-3 times as much for the best effect. Dried herbs are another option, and they are much stronger than fresh herbs. The strongest option is consists of essential oils, which only require a few drops in the soap mix.

  1. Lemon balm is a great herbal additive to a calming soap. It has a delicate, minty citrus scent that calms the nerves, and it can help with depression. Ingested, it acts as a sedative, but using it as soap offers similar effects, just not as strong. Lemon balm also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which make it a great additive for soaps. The concentrated oil is extremely strong, but you can use it dried or fresh in soaps.
  2. Chamomile is a classic herb to turn to when you want to create a calming soap mixture. Chamomile flowers make up the parts of the herb that is mostly used. It makes a great tea that has a slight floral fragrance that institutes a feeling of calming. It is very gentle and very effective at relaxing the body and the mind. It also has antibacterial properties, as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists compare the sweet smell to that of apples. It is very safe for children and babies who are having trouble sleeping.
  3. An herb that not everyone associates with its calming effects is clary sage. It has a revitalizing effect on the body and mind, and it helps to melt stress away. It is especially helpful to women who are having reproductive issues and hot flashes. It offers soaps a sweet and nutty scent that pairs well with chamomile.
  4. Lavender is a classic calming herb, but it is not recommended for children as much anymore. The scent of the herb has sedative effects, and using the essential oil has even stronger effects in soap. It works wonders for anxiety and stress, and it can help to ease pain. Soaking in a lavender bath offers many benefits for both men and women.
  5. Orange oils are one of the most popular cleansing agents. The scent of the peels refreshes the mind and body. The citrus scent works best mixed in with other herbs in the soap. When using it, make sure to add extra additives that are calming, to balance out the refreshing effects of the orange peels.

Each of these additives works wonders on its own, but they can also make excellent soaps when combined. When adding these herbs and essential oils, don’t forget to add in ingredients such as olive or coconut oil to keep any of the herbs from drying out the skin.

For more tips and recipes for making quality soaps, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

The 5 Essential Oils that You Should Have in Your Stash

5If you like to make your own soaps and other personal care products, you’ll need to keep a stockpile of bath and body making supplies around. These supplies will vary widely depending on the type of products that you enjoy making. However, there is one type of product that you’ll want to have for all of the products you will make. For all recipes, you’ll need essential oils. There are many different types of essential oils out there, enough that we can write out a dozen lists on them. Some of these oils you’ll use frequently, and these are the ones that you’ll want to have on hand all the time.

  1. Tea tree essential oil is one that you’ll find yourself using again and again. This oil is very strong smelling, but offers a very wide variety of uses. You can use it to treat many common ailments — as long as you use it topically. You can use it to treat things such as acne, cold sores, warts, fungus, insect bites, eczema, and athlete’s foot. Adding it to lotions helps with rashes, psoriasis, and eczema. Adding it to shampoo can help with dandruff and psoriasis. Adding it to shampoo and an after shower conditioner can also help to deter head lice.
  2. Lavender essential oil offers a very pleasant scent. This essential oil is used in calming recipes, such as soaps and shampoos. It is also used in aroma therapy. In addition to these uses, it also offers medicinal properties. Apply lavender essential oils to calm rashes, acne, minor burns, and insect bites. Lavender is a disinfectant, too.
  3. Peppermint is another versatile scent that you should keep in your home. A popular use of this scent is in doorways to keep bugs and spiders away. The scent of peppermint is effective at ridding you of nausea, and applying the oil to the abdomen can calm stomach cramps. It smells great, and it can be used to deodorize fabrics and shoes. Plus, peppermint makes a lovely lotion and foot scrub.
  4. Clove oil is great for teeth issues, but it also offers a pleasant scent that easily combines with citrus. Aside from mouth issues, you can use clove oil for rashes and minor wounds. The scent repels different types of bugs, including mosquitos. Mixing it with baking soda and dropping it in the carpets will rid the home of fleas. It also repels moths and flies.
  5. Lemon essential oil is one of the best citrus oils that you can keep in your home. It offers many uses in soaps, lotions, and room sprays. Many people use it for furniture polish, dish detergent, homemade laundry detergent, floor cleaners, sprays, and so much more. It can relieve bad breath, dandruff, and anxiety, and act as a hand sanitizer. You can also combine it with sea salt, and use it to scrub surfaces clean. With all these good things, it’s hard to see a downside to using this essential oil, but there is. Lemon essential oil can lighten the skin, hair, and clothing if you are not careful. Do not go out into the sun right after using it, because it makes you photosensitive.

To learn more about essential oils and to choose from our selection, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

Awesome Room Spray Recipes


You can use botanical extracts or essential oils for a wide variety of purposes. One of the many uses is fragrant sprays to neutralize odors. Our PureFresh odor-neutralizing base can be mixed with a few drops of essential oils to create a wonderful aroma that eliminates odors. These sprays go a step further, too. The essential oils all have different benefits and, when you use them in a room spray, you can take advantage of these benefits. For example, lavender is calming and so is chamomile. Mint and peppermint tend to wake you up some, as do many other oils. When you decide to create these room sprays, keep in mind the properties of each essential oil that you mix and the resulting smell.

Sweet Citrus

Citrus essential oil spritz will remind you of summer. To make it, combine 3 drops of orange essential oil, 3 drops of lemon essential oil, 3 drops of lime essential oil, 3 drops of grapefruit essential oil, and 8 ounces of the PureFresh odor neutralizer or 8 ounces of water. Shake it well before using.

Flowers, Flowers

If you prefer a flowery scent, try a spray that offers many different floral elements. This lovely scent includes 3 drops of lavender essential oil, 3 drops of geranium essential oil, 2 drops clary sage essential oil, 2 drops of grapefruit essential oil, and 8 ounces of the PureFresh odor neutralizer or 8 ounces of water. Mix it all well together before spritzing some around your home.

Twisty Mint and Citrus

If you love both mint and citrus, you’ll love the combination of the two. This is a great scent to use year-round, but it is especially pleasing in the spring. To make it, combine 4 drops of peppermint essential oil, 4 drops of orange essential oil, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 8 ounces of the PureFresh odor neutralizer or 8 ounces of water. Shake it well after adding the vanilla. Make sure that when you make this spray, you only use real vanilla extract and not the artificial stuff.

Holiday Essential

If you feel like spending the holidays with your home smelling like a winter wonderland, this scent is for you. Mix together 3 drops of orange essential oil, 3 drops cassia essential oil, 3 drops of clove essential oil, and one tablespoon of real vanilla extract. Combine with 8 ounces of the PureFresh odor neutralizer or 8 ounces of water. If you’re not sure why this scent would qualify as a holiday scent, you’re missing out. This scent smells just like a pomander ball, which is a Christmas tradition in many families. To make one, you take a fresh orange and poke whole cloves into it. Then you roll it into a mixture of your favorite spices and set it to dry.

Calming Lavender

A calming lavender spray will make you feel calm and relaxed. Try spraying it on your pillow before bed to help you fall to sleep. For this spray you must use 8 drops of lavender essential oil, 1 tablespoon of real vanilla extract, and 8 ounces of the PureFresh odor neutralizer or 8 ounces of water. Don’t forget to shake this spritz really well before you use it.

When you make room sprays, soaps, and anything else containing essential oils, make sure you buy good, quality brands. You really do get what you pay for, and cheap oils might smell off or not be as strong as essential oils you purchase from a trusted supplier. To keep the spray nozzle from clogging, you can add a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the spray. Because these oils can break down plastic, you should really use a glass spray bottle, which you can easily get from wholesalers.

For more great recipes for lotions, soaps, and other great products, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.


Top 8 Homemade Lotion Ingredients


Botanical extracts are popular products that get added to many homemade soaps and lotions. These extracts often have properties that help and nurture the skin and hair. When you make homemade lotions, you should choose your ingredients according to the properties that you want most. If you choose your ingredients this way instead of by their smell, you’ll end up with a much better result, since many extracts could potentially cause dry skin and other negative effects when paired improperly.

  1. Pure aloe vera gel offers many benefits for the skin. Aloe heals and softens the skin. It has been used for thousands of years for this purpose, which is why many lotion recipes contain it. If you have very dry skin, you can use 70% or more concentration of the aloe in the lotion. Another benefit is the natural green color your lotion will have.
  2. Beeswax is good for the skin, too, but in different ways. Beeswax is traditionally a thickening agent used in soaps and lotions. However, it also offers skin benefits. It can form a protective layer on the skin and is extremely useful during the winter. This property is especially helpful if you use it on your lips, which can become dry and cracked during the colder months.
  3. Different oils leave skin feeling either smooth or dry. Most oils form a protective layer on the skin or add moisturizing effects. Jojoba oil mimics the natural oil of your skin, which helps to reduce oil production, but it is only helpful in small amounts. Shea oil or butter is another additive that adds moisture and a protecting layer on the skin.
  4. Vitamin E oil is very good for the skin, whether you ingest it or add it to your lotion. It protects, heals, and fights the effects of aging on your skin. It helps prevent wrinkles and to repair the effects of age already visible on the skin.
  5. Essential oils change the scent of the lotion and also offer benefits. If you use good quality essential oils, you can use the properties of each oil to benefit your skin. For example, carrot seed oil rejuvenates the appearance of the skin.
  6. Using tea in a lotion recipe adds different properties according to what is in the tea. Green tea is very healthy for the skin and can help you give off a youthful glow. It also makes the skin appear brighter and clearer over time. This is because tea is a good astringent.
  7. Avocado is an ingredient in many over the counter lotions, and you can add it to homemade ones, too. The vitamins and antioxidants in avocado are what make it so good for your skin. It also makes a great moisturizer.
  8. Adding chamomile to lotion has a calming effect and is good for your skin. Chamomile offers calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of this, you can add it to lotions if you are prone to rashes and puffy skin. It also is very calming, which could help babies and children to be less restless, especially at night.

To learn more about our selection of useful products for soaps and lotions, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

How to Make Bar Shampoo


You can make bar shampoo using lye or soap base, depending on your preference. Making it with lye takes longer and is a little more difficult, but you have more control over what is in your soaps. However, this method can be dangerous, so, if you want to avoid it, you can do so very easily. Just remember to follow all measurements carefully, even when using a soap base.

You’ll need:

  • Digital scale
  • Lye (or soap base)
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Castor oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Jojoba oil
  • Shea butter
  • Beeswax
  • Distilled water
  • Coconut milk
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  1. Place 4 ounces of distilled water and 6 ounces of coconut milk in a glass container. Measure out 4 ounces of lye using the scale, and slowly pour it into the water and milk mixture. This mixture gets very hot, so set it aside to cool to about 90-115 degrees.
  2. Measure the oils and place them into a kitchen pot (stainless). Use 9 ounces of coconut oil, 9 ounces of olive oil, 5 ounces of castor oil, 3 ounces of jojoba oil, 2 ounces of shea butter, and 2 ounces of cocoa butter. Heat the oils until they have melted and mixed well. Allow them to cool to 90-115 degrees.
  3. Carefully add the lye to the oil mixture. Do not pour it too fast or else it could splash on you.
  4. Now, use a stick blender to blend all the ingredients together. You want the mixture to thicken and for trace – a line or ridge that stays momentarily before receding into the mix – to occur. When this happens, you can move onto the next step. You have to have trace in order for you to add all the soap additives.
  5. Now add in the essential oils and other additives. You can choose to add pigments and other herbs if you want. If you add pigments, it changes the soap’s color. This can be a fun experiment, but, to keep it as close to natural as possible, you do not need to add color. For essential oils, you should probably use 20 to 30 drops of the lighter scented oils, and then add 10-15 drops of the stronger one. In place of the oils, you can add fresh herbs. To do this, you’ll have to use a food processor to crush the fresh herbs.
  6. Pour the soap mixture into the mold or molds to harden. After 24 hours, you can remove the soap from the mold and start to cut it. After cutting, you should let the soap sit for another day or two to harden.

If you are using a soap base, you can skip the first three steps. It is much faster to use the soap base, but, for this shampoo recipe, it may not work as effectively. This is because you have no control over the type and amount of oils in the soap. When you use this shampoo, it makes the hair silky and smooth, more so than anything you can buy in the stores. This makes it a cheaper and more effective alternative to traditional shampoos. Always condition with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water after using the soap.

For more shampoo and soap ideas, and to learn more about our products, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

Recipe Corner: Pumpkin Pie Soap


You can use a goat’s milk soap base to create a festive pumpkin pie scented soap that is both good for your skin and tasty smelling. Just remember that anything with goat’s milk in it will only last for about 6 months before it goes bad. To make this soap, you will need the soap base, pigment powders, canned pumpkin, molds, and whatever essential oils you wish to use. You can also make the soap base by scratch, and for that you would need lye, distilled water, olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and cocoa butter.

  1. If you’re going to make the soap base from scratch, try to have 5% to 6% lye according to the other ingredients. Measure out your water. You should only need 8 ounces for this recipe. Pour 4.19 ounces of lye into the cool water, which should already be in a glass heat-proof container. Stir the mixture with a heat-proof spoon until it dissolves. Do this in a ventilated room to avoid the fumes. Set the lye mixture aside to cool to 90-115 degrees.
  2. Weigh out your oils and mix them while you wait. You’ll need 16 ounces of olive oil, 8 ounces of coconut oil, 3 ounces of sunflower oil, and 3 ounces of cocoa butter. Heat the oils in a stainless (not aluminum) pot until they reach 90-115 degrees.
  3. Blend the lye into the fats using a stick blender. Keep blending until trace (a ridge or line that stays momentarily before receding into the mixture) is reached. Once trace is reached, your soap base is ready to use.
  4. Add 2 ounces of canned pumpkin, your essential oils, and any pigments into the mixture at trace. For a festive soap, use an orange pigment. For the essential oils, use 1 teaspoon of vanilla absolute and 20 to 30 drops of clove essential oil. Mix these added ingredients in very well.
  5. Line a mold with parchment paper, and pour the soap into the mold. You’ll need to cover it, and let it sit for 3-7 days before you can cut it. Try removing the soap from the mold at day 3, and let it sit and harden for 4 more days before cutting.

With this recipe, you can add or remove things as you please for different properties. For example, you can change the oil content as long as you use a lye calculator to determine how much of the oil that you need to add. Adding too much can make the soap too soft, and too little can make it too harsh on the skin. For precise measurements, you must use a digital scale for this process. If you choose to skip many of these steps, you can use a pre-made soap base. This soap base has all the lye already mixed in, and all you have to do is melt it and add the rest of the ingredients. However, the downside of doing it this way is the fact that you cannot control the oil portion of the recipe. If you choose melt and pour soap base, you can skip steps 1-3.
For all of your soap-making needs, and to learn more about the art of making soap, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

8 Recipes for Awesome Homemade Soaps


If you already know how to set up your natural soap base in order to make homemade soaps, you can then experiment with different soap recipes to find out what works. Most soap recipes start out the same way, but the ingredients differ vastly. You can follow some of these tried and true recipes, or make your own using some of the ingredients listed.

  1. Herbs and citrus are two great ingredients to add into your soaps. You can use either fresh or dried herbs, with fresh ones making the soap expire within three months of making. Use basil, mint, rosemary, orange, and lemon to make a delicious-smelling soap. Mix all the herbs and lemon using a food processor. Use 1 tablespoon of mixed herbs per cup of soap mix.
  2. Coconut oil is a popular soap additive, and you can use it to make a strong soap using just 3 ingredients. You need to have 33 oz. coconut oil, 4.83 oz. of lye, and 12.54 oz. of water. However, you can also use soap base for this. Just prepare the soap as normal, and you’ll end up with a wonderful body soap.
  3. If you make loofah soap, the center of the soap bar has a slice of loofah in it. This recipe requires making 2 different colored batches of soap. You can scent them the same or differently if you want. Making the center an orange color and adding orange essential oils makes it look like there is an orange slice is in the soap.
  4. You can make chai tea soap by using a chai tea essential oil mixed in with your soap. You can also create a similar scent by using actual chai tea in the soap mix. If you want more of a latte kick, add some coffee essential oil into the soap mixture.
  5. You can make shampoo bars for washing your hair. When making this type of soap, set your weights of ingredients to create 5% superfat soap. You should make sure to add coconut oil and olive oil for lather and conditioning, respectively. Cocoa butter is another ingredient that is very good for your hair.
  6. Pumpkin soap is a great fall soap recipe. You’ll need to use the following oils: olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and cocoa butter. The only other ingredient you need to blend in before cooling is about 2 oz. of canned pumpkin. For a nice twist, add in a small amount of vanilla and clove essential oils.
  7. A nice mint soap is a great thing to use to relax during a hot shower. To make it you need several oils, including avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, and mango butter. After mixing those in, you’ll need to add mint infused water or tea, French green clay, and peppermint essential oil.
  8. Oatmeal and goats’ milk are both really good for your skin. An added benefit is the scrubbing properties that the oatmeal adds to the soap. Always blend the oatmeal before adding it to the melted soap base. Mix the oatmeal, goats’ milk, and soap base. Then add 40 drops of almond oil to add a scent to the soap.

For more soap recipes and soap making advice, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

Apple Cider Melt and Pour Soap Recipe

With the holidays coming up, buying gifts are expensive. This is when having wholesale soap-making supplies comes in quite handy. Instead of buying gifts, you can create soaps for the whole family. If you use a pre-made soap base, you can make soaps in half the time. Without using lye, you cut out the processing time, which saves a lot of time. With this recipe, you can have soap in less than 30 minutes.

Photo courtesy of cgiraldez @ morguefile.com

Photo courtesy of cgiraldez @ morguefile.com

You’ll need clear and white melt-and-pour soap, liquid glycerin, yellow and brown mica, yellow soap colorant, your favorite fragrance, two shallow baking pans, a log-shaped soap mold, a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol, a thermometer, a scale, glass measuring cups, whisks, and measuring spoons.

The first layer of soap is the lemon layer, made with 9 oz. of clear soap base and 1/4 tsp. of yellow mica. Add 2 1/2 tbsp. of glycerin to roll it. When mixed, pour it into a baking pan.

For the second layer, use 7 oz. of clear and 2 oz. of white base. Add in 1/4 tsp. of yellow mica and 2 1/2 tbsp. of glycerin. Wait until the first layer of soap is almost solid and the second layer liquid is between 130 and 140 degrees. Spray rubbing alcohol over the first layer and pour the second layer on top. Set aside to cool.

The final soap you have to make needs 8 oz. of clear and 2 oz. of white soap base. Mix in 1/2 tsp. of the brown mica, and give it fragrance with essential oils. Pour it into another shallow pan and set it aside. While you are waiting for it to cool, take out the yellow soap, and remove it from the pan. It should still be warm and not fully solid. Start to slowly roll it toward you. Trim the sides of the yellow soap roll, and then do the same routine with the brown soap, so that both can fit horizontally into the loaf pan.

Now it is time to make the soap base for the project. Melt 40 oz. of clear soap base. Mix 1.2 oz. of apple cinnamon essential oils into the soap base. Let the soap base cool to 130 to 140 degrees before you move on with the recipe. Pour some base soap into the loaf pan, first, and let it cool until it is soft. Then lay the brown soap stick diagonally in the pan. Pour some more soap base, let it cool some and add the yellow roll of soap. Add more soap base into the side of the pan, filling it. Set it aside for a while to harden.

Once the soap is hard, pull it out of the base. Next, carefully cut it into slices that are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick. The soap is all finished, but, to preserve it, you must wrap it with plastic wrap. This keeps it fresh long enough for you to give it away as gifts. Remember to let your recipients know that they must use the soap within 3 to 6 months, or it could go bad.

For more great soap recipes and ideas, and all the necessary supplies, contact us at Essentials by Catalina.

Treating Color Treated Hair

Finding that perfect color for your hair can be a difficult and oftentimes frustrating process, but once you’ve found it, you’d do anything to keep it! Unfortunately, color fades over time and the process is hastened when you use harsh products in your hair. This is especially true of your shampoo and conditioner, which can fade the color in your hair while damaging hair fibers.

Thankfully, a new ingredient has been added to some shampoos and conditioners that protect color treated hair without damaging hair. Botanisil ME-10 is an additive that can help your hair retain its color and protect it from heat damage. Because of its protective properties, Botanisil has had a positive impact when added to shampoos and conditioners for color treated hair.

Does Botanisil ME-10 sound like something you’d be interested in? The following infographic delves deeper into the positive impact this product can have on your color-treated hair. Continue reading to discover more about this ingredient.Print