Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to Take a Bath: Part 1

I know, I know.  You've been taking a bath all your life so how could I possibly teach you anything new?  Actually you would be surprised at what you can learn about the process of taking a bath.  This is actually a handout that I have available in the shop and I get tons of positive feedback from it.  So for this blog I am breaking this whole concept down into two parts.  Part 1 will be about the basics, like water, towels and such.  Part 2 will be all about incorporating products into your bath.  So let's get started....

Part One:  The Three T's

The most important thing that you can remember about taking a bath are the Three T's: Time, Temperature, and  Toweling (okay the third one is a stretch but go with me on this).  Most people don't pay attention to the little details like this, but I guarantee that by following some simple guidelines you can improve your bathing experience and the condition of your skin.


Many people don't really keep track of how much time they spend in the bath.  They soak for awhile and when the water starts to cool they either add more or get out.  However, time is very important to your skin. The magic number is really about 20 minutes.  For the first 20 minutes you are submerged in water your pores open up and you skin soaks up all the water that it can.  This is a great way to hydrate the skin.  After about 20 minutes though, your skin cells are holding about all the water they can.  This is when your skin begins to "prune" or wrinkle up.  This happens on your hands and feet because your skin is thicker there than on the rest of your body.  Your skin is so full of water it just can't hold any more.  This is really the best time to get out.  Any longer than this and your skin starts to loose some of the good stuff it needs to hang on to.


Temperature is a VERY important factor in bathing or showering.  Contrary to what a lot of people think a warm bath is really the way to go.  Taking a bath in super hot water is actually bad for your skin.  Your skin has this layer of proteins and lipids that form a barrier which keeps moisture in your skin.  Some of this is broken down during a shower or bath but not all of it.  However in very hot water this barrier is washed away, which lets moisture escape from your skin.  So if you take very hot showers or baths daily, your skin is constantly going through this cycle of stripping and losing moisture and other important things it needs to stay properly hydrated.  So basically super hot baths/showers lead to dry itchy skin.  Next time you hop in the bath or shower turn the temperature down on the water and you should start noticing a difference in your skin.


The third important factor in bathing (and the one people think about least) is how you dry your skin.  Rough toweling will actually do more harm than good.  It's a myth that rubbing your skin roughly with a towel will help to exfoliate the skin.  Leave this to face and body scrubs.  Rubbing your skin in a hard/rough manner with a towel can actually do damage to the skin cells.  This will dry your skin out and can even lead to irritation or break-outs.  When you get out of the water gently pat the surface of your skin with a towel.  This will allow water on the surface of your skin to absorb naturally.  You don't want to go through pampering your skin in the tub just to undo all that work when drying off right?  I would also like to note that I recommend a seperate hair towel, especially if you are using oils in or after your bath.  Use a super absorbent hair towel to dry your face and then wrap around your head.  Then use a separate towel for your body.  This prevents any extra oils from the bath water or bath products from getting onto your hair or face (and clogging pores).
It's a good idea to apply lotion to your skin right after you have patted it dry.  This will "seal" the skin helping to lock in moisture and keep you from drying out.

So start using the Three T's and let me know if you notice a difference in your skin.  Happy bathing!

(By the way I'm not a doctor or anything.  I've had some medical training but all of my information comes from research and years of trial and error on my own skin.  Keep in mind that this is just friendly advice and not medical advice or medical diagnosing.  Thanks!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hello WordPress Readers!

Just wanted to say hello to all of you that have followed me over here from WordPress.  Yes, you are in the right place; this is the old blog that was at swancreeksoap.com.  I have started over here on blogger but all the posts from June until now are on here.  Welcome and thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Want Me to Put That Where?

I have always heard that you can tell a woman's age by looking at her neck and her hands.  Know what?  It's true!  Well, not on every woman of course.  But it is true that by looking at other people's skin, you can tell what kind of lifestyle they lead.  Go ahead, I won't tell.  If you are reading this in public take a minute to look around at other people.  Discreetly of course.  Notice the over-tanning?  The age spots?  How about that woman who's face looks great but her neck and chest are wrinkly and covered in spots?  That's what happens when we don't pay attention to all of our skin.

It's okay, we all do it.  We get so involved with our face that we forget about the rest of our skin.  But our necks, chests and hands get just as much exposure to the environment as our face does.  Make sure that your day cream for your face contains an SPF.  We really have no excuse not to wear sunscreen these days since there are tons of daily moisturizers out there that contain at least an SPF 15.  But don't be afraid to go a step further.  When applying a facial moisturizer don't stop at your jaw bone.  Keep going all the way down your neck and onto your chest.  Have some left over?  Go ahead and rub that into the backs of your hands.  Our hands go through so much through out the day that they need all the extra help they can get.

In the summer months our skin gets so hot and dried out.  If you have dry skin this makes your face dull, itchy and peel.  If you have oily skin hot conditions will actually make your skin produce more oil making you shiney and break out.  I have a couple of tips to help keep your skin cool and calm:

Number one: wear less makeup.  I know, I know.  It's hard to cut down on the stuff we love so much.  However, all that makeup clogs pores, causes irritation, and in general makes your skin worse.  I don't wear a lot of makeup to begin with, but when I do I wear bare minerals.  For those of you that have yet to switch over to mineral makeup, DO IT!  For one, it's natural.  You don't have to worry about all those odd random chemicals that go into other makeup.  You also don't have to worry about all those fragrances and dyes that are in makeup that can actually lead to further irritation of your skin.  I'm not going to push a particular brand, but I will tell you that mineral makeup sits on top of your skin, so it's lighter and your skin can actually breath.  And mineral makeup doesn't clog pores.

Number two: put it in the fridge.  Now I know this sounds odd, but putting your products in the fridge during hot summer months actually has a couple of great effects.  For one, it's refreshing!  Nothing feels better on a hot tired face like a cool cleanser or toner.  This will instantly cool off your face and improve your temperament (at least that's how it works for me lol).  A second great reason for doing this is that cold product and cool water will help to shrink your pores.  This means they look smaller and produce less oil.  I put all my products in the fridge, including cleansers, toners, makeup removers, etc.  The only products that this won't work with are oil based ones, since the chill tends to thicken up the product.

I would also recommend that you use cool or tepid water.  I'll cover more about this in my next blog post but you should never take a scalding hot shower or bath.  This will only dry out your skin further and make matters worse.

The last thing I would like to talk to you about is your lips.  Your lips are just as important as the rest of your skin.  The skin on your lips is thinner and more sensitive.  You really need to take care of your lips and keep them moisturized.  If you are going to be out in the sun for hours please try to find a lip balm that has an SPF.  Your lips can get just as much sun damage as the rest of your face.  Don't have an SPF lip balm?  When applying your day moisturizer skim over your lips with just a little bit of the product left on your fingers.  Then apply a lip balm over top to seal in moisture.  Ta-da!  Instant lip protection.  Many of the lipsticks and glosses out there dry your lips out and make them look horrible.  Make sure you apply a thin layer of lip balm   BEFORE you put on your lipstick or gloss.  This will keep your lips hydrated and not let the product you are wearing dry them out.  This also keeps your lips from feeling super sticky when wearing a heavy shiney gloss.

So go out and be safe in the sun!  Remember to think about ALL of your skin and take care of it :) And of course I have to include a shameless plug for my own products.  At Swan Creek Soap we carry a full line of Shea Butter Lotions in 16 different scents and Shea Butter Lip Balm in 10 amazing flavors.  If you are local come on in and try some!  If you're not local we offer all of our beauty products on our website at swancreeksoap.com.  Until next time!