With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, the importance of proper hand washing has been emphasized more than ever. Your hands come into contact with many different surfaces over the course of the day, and easily pick up—and transfer—bacteria, germs, dirt and more. (We hope you were already washing your hands frequently—but even if you were, there’s always room for improvement!)

Some people have a rinse-and-go technique that doesn’t eliminate bacteria, germs and viruses the way that’s needed if they wish to protect their health. If you aren’t familiar with the proper hand-washing steps, according to medical professionals, read on to find out the best technique—and why it’s so important.

Wash your hands properly with these steps

There are seven steps in properly washing your hands:

  1. Wet your hands and apply soap: For best results, use liquid hand soap and lukewarm water.
  2. Rub your hands together: Vigorously scrub your hands together, forming a lather.
  3. Rub the backs of your hands: Next, thoroughly clean the backs of your hands with the opposite hand.
  4. Interlock your fingers: Wash between your fingers by lacing your fingers together and scrubbing.
  5. Cup your hands and fingers: Next, cup your hands and wash the fronts and backs of your hands that way.
  6. Wash your thumbs: Don’t neglect your thumbs—scrub them with the fingers of the opposite hand.
  7. Rub your palms: Finally, rub your palms with your fingers as you rinse your hands off.

After you’re done washing, be sure to thoroughly dry your hands.

How hand washing protects against COVID-19

You might be concerned that COVID-19 is a virus, making anti-bacterial and other soaps ineffective, but that’s not the full story. Hand washing doesn’t just kill germs when you use anti-bacterial soap. It also makes your hands slippery enough to remove germs, and in the case of COVID-19, the virus is encased in a layer of lipids—like fat or grease. Soap breaks those lipids apart and destroys the structure of the virus, killing it and thus ensuring that it cannot make you sick.

Hand washing also helps if you’re one of those people who has recently become aware that they touch their face a lot more than they ever realized. The COVID-19 virus enters the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. If you’re touching your face with dirty hands, you may be delivering the virus straight to vulnerable areas of your body—but if you wash your hands frequently, using the proper steps, and then touch your face, you’re much less likely to get sick.

Stock up on hand soap

Soaps & Scents makes all of our products by hand, including our hand soaps. They’re made with natural ingredients, designed to be gentle on your skin, eliminate germs, bacteria and viruses and, of course, smell great. We also offer a selection of quality handmade candles, lotions, bath bombs and more. Shop online today, or pay a visit to our El Cajon, CA storefront next time we’re open!

There are few things more satisfying than dropping a bath bomb into your tub and watching it immediately fizz up, distributing cheerful color and relaxing scents throughout the water. But how does it do this? If you’ve ever wondered about the science behind bath bombs, we can tell you the secret: what you’re seeing is a chemical reaction between two ingredients that only occurs when they’re exposed to water.

The science behind bath bombs

Typically, there are two active ingredients in bath bombs: baking soda and citric acid. Citric acid is found in citrus fruits, but also comes in a powdered form that’s used in cooking and beyond. In their powdered forms, citric acid and baking soda are inert. When they come into contact with water, however, a chemical reaction is triggered.

As the two ingredients hit the water, they form sodium citrate and carbon dioxide, which is responsible for the bubbles. In turn, the bubbles help distribute the dyes and perfumes evenly throughout the water. As the bubbles pop, fragrance is released into the air, which is why you can readily smell their scent as soon as you drop the bomb in the water.

What else is in bath bombs?

Bath bombs have more ingredients than just the active ones, however—they often include a softening agent, such as an oil or butter, dyes (for color) and essential oils or perfumes. Depending on the maker and their objective, you might find that a bath bomb includes corn starch, which slows the chemical reaction. Epsom salts—said to promote muscle relaxation, among other effects—are another popular addition. Some are made with dissolvable glitter and confetti, while others choose to embed trinkets in theirs for an extra surprise.

You can easily make your own bath bombs by purchasing baking soda, citric acid, your additional ingredients of choice and a bath bomb mold. You’ll mix the powders together, moisten them enough to stick and then scoop them into a mold to let dry. Tutorials are available online—the key is to pick natural ingredients and non-staining dyes that will make the bath experience feel luxurious without leaving a big mess behind.

Love bath bombs, but don’t want to make your own? At Soaps & Scents, our bath bombs are made with a combination of baking soda, citric acid and almond, shea and cocoa butter. All our products are scented with natural fragrance or essential oils. They are colored with cosmetic-grade colorants that will not stain skin (or your tub) and weigh in at a hefty 5 ounces apiece.

Soaps & Scents has mastered bath bomb science and is proud to make all of our bath and home products in small batches, by hand. If artificial scents and ingredients make your skin itch, try our products. We offer everything from bar soap and bath bombs to body scrubs, linen sprays and candles. Call or come see us today to find out why our customers keep coming back—we look forward to seeing you soon!

The shea tree produces nuts that provide an incredible product for your skin. It’s called shea butter. The fat from the shea tree nuts is extracted and becomes a great source of smoothing and conditioning for skin cosmetic products. This easy-to-use, natural source offers multiple applications. The following are just a few of the top shea butter benefits.

It moisturizes

No one likes the feel of dry, cracking skin. Shea butter has a high fatty acid content, which makes it a great moisturizer. It absorbs rapidly into the skin to restore lipids, develop moisture for your skin and provide a protective barrier to harsh exterior conditions.

It soothes

If you struggle with arthritis or other inflammation issues, shea butter may be able to help your condition. This substance activates cytokines when it is applied to the skin, which may help slow inflammation. Due to its moisturizing properties, shea butter may also help prevent inflammation caused by dry conditions.

It protects

Some research on shea butter suggests that it also has antibacterial properties. Because of this, its application may protect the skin from bacteria that can cause acne. Shea butter further helps with acne prevention by restoring moisture and creating a healthy balance of oils in your skin.

It prevents

Who doesn’t want to look younger? A popular shea butter benefit is its potential to reduce the effects of aging. The application of shea butter may reduce fine lines and wrinkles that aging produces on the skin. It promotes cell regeneration and collagen production to help keep you looking young and vibrant.

It shields

While shea butter isn’t an effective sunscreen on its own, it can provide an additional layer of protection against the sun’s rays. It contains a natural SPF level of 3 to 4, so it’s great to spread over your sunscreen for more protection and moisturizing benefits.

It treats

If you suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, shea butter can help. It offers relief to itching as it soothes the skin, moisturizing and reducing inflammation. Since the shea butter is absorbed quickly by the skin, it can help provide relief if you experience a flareup.

It heals

If you experience a sunburn, a bug bite or another type of skin wound, shea butter benefits could help you. The oils in this substance can reduce swelling, redness and itching. The fatty acids in shea butter provide soothing and healing for the skin. These acids can also help shield the wound from exterior irritants while the skin recovers.

Reap the benefits

To start enjoying shea butter benefits today, visit Soaps & Scents. We’ve been making beautiful handmade soaps for over 25 years. We have bar and liquid soaps in a variety of fragrances, and even some fun soaps, such as our Ducky or Cupcake soaps. We make everything by hand in small quantities, and all of our merchandise is free of animal products. We use the highest possible percentage of essential oil and fragrance oil, so the products will maintain their wonderful scent even years later. Contact us today with any questions or stop in to our store in El Cajon, CA to shop our shea butter products.