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Why use natural soap?

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Natural products are a hot topic right now, and for good reason. More and more research suggests that our bodies perform best when treated with quality ingredients. That holds true for your skin, too, with scientific studies proposing that the majority of ingredients in soap are absorbed directly into the skin. What you put on your skin matters. Here are some reasons why.

 

1. Soap is different than detergent.

The FDA states that “there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products.” But what does that mean?

Detergents suds up nicely and often come at a lower price point, which makes them attractive to consumers. They are also comprised of a variety of chemicals that allow manufacturers to produce higher quantities at a lower cost. Detergent is actually regulated as a cosmetic – not a cleanser – but is legally labeled as soap. Detergent products dry out the skin and serve to mask odor as much as they cleanse.

Soap, on the other hand, is created by creating a base of fats or oils combined with an alkali. The reaction between the two is called saponification, and what was once a liquid becomes a solid. The process creates no waste, and additional ingredients can be added to achieve the desired results. For example, shea butter can be added as a moisturizer. In our case, natural caffeine is added to give your mind and body an extra boost.

 

2. It’s all about balance.

One time, maybe long ago, you took a chemistry class. In that class, you likely learned about pH levels. Your skin is your body’s barrier to the world. It’s your armor. And your armor functions best when it is in balance. Using the wrong products or eating the wrong foods can affect your skin’s pH levels, leaving it angry (AKA wrinkled, inflamed, sensitive…you get the picture). In a nutshell, if your skin is dry, itchy and red, you’re likely too alkaline (basic). If you tend to be oily and often suffer from breakouts, you’re likely too acidic. 

Your skin should be at a pH of about 5.5. Natural soap typically falls between 8-9 on the pH scale. Because showering dries the skin, a soap with a higher pH level will help balance out the effects of showering.

 

3. Essential oils mean more bang for your buck.

Many essential oils offer benefits to your mind and body. You can turn your home into a spa with some of the most popular essential oils, many of which you can find in natural soaps:

  1. Eucalyptus is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, providing relief from joint and muscle pain, and for the cooling, refreshing effect that helps reduce stress and mental exhaustion.
  2. Lavender Oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory for your joints, with aromatherapeutic advantages as well. The aroma of lavender helps alleviate stress and can help relax the mind to improve sleep quality.  
  3. Peppermint is one of the oldest medicinal plants. Containing menthol, it helps alleviate pain and inflammation and ease the pain of aching muscles. Additionally, the aroma of peppermint oil stimulates the mind and is thought to aid focus, memory and general mental performance.
  4. Since the days of ancient Egypt, Chamomile has been used to relieve pain. The aroma is also known as a sedative that calms, helping to reduce stress and encourage sleep

 

4. The planet is your friend.

Natural soap isn’t just good for your skin, it’s good for your planet, too. Because ingredients come from nature, they do no harm to nature when they make their way through the system. For the same reasons, natural soaps also don’t require animal testing. Even the manufacturing process for natural soaps is better for the environment! It’s a win, win, win. And if you can win three times, we say go for it.

 

5. Glycerin.

Glycerin naturally occurs in plant fats and oils and helps your skin retain moisture for hours after you wash. The saponification process bonds glycerin with soap molecules and helps keep your skin feel soft and supple. Many commercial soaps actually remove the pricey glycerin and sell it as a separate element, leaving your skin to pay the price.

 

6. The Experience.

Natural soap elevates your shower, and post-shower, experience. The naturally occurring aromas paired with the sensational cleansing power of quality ingredients can transform your day to day.

 

7. No parabens. No sulfates.

Parabens and sulfates are not good for you or your skin. Parabens are used as a preservative and sulfates offer cleansing and foaming. Used in moderation, they may not cause harm. However, parabens and sulfates are used in many, many products. Choosing to use products that do not contain either chemical removes one layer of toxicity.

DirtyBird Caffeine

Benefits of Caffeine for the Skin

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Your alarm goes off. You roll out from your warm cocoon into the crisp bedroom air. And if you’re like the rest of us, your next steps lead you to the kitchen, where, in just a few moments, the sweet smell of coffee fills the air. That morning wake-up routine is bittersweet. But one thing is sure: the best part is the coffee.

DirtyBird CaffeineAt DirtyBird, we take that routine one step farther, making the best part of your pre-shower routine the best part of your shower: Caffeinated soap.

That’s right. You know and love the effects of your morning cup. But did you know that coffee has incredible benefits for your skin, too? Grab your mug and take a read.

 

  1. Antioxidizing.
    Coffee is high in antioxidants, which reduce the production of skin-damaging free radicals. In other words, antioxidants help prevent wrinkles, fine lines and loss of elasticity. Sun damage and certain skin diseases can be treated with caffeine.
  2. Hydrating.
    Coffee beans are hydrating. Or at least not dehydrating. Coffee has the same pH as your skin, so it won’t dry you out. Lather with confidence! It always pays to moisturize after your shower, but do your skin a favor and use a soap that gently cleanses and hydrates, too.
  3. Stimulating.
    Caffeine stimulates blood flow, which is shown to aid in the production of collagen and can help reduce the effects of a myriad of skin conditions, including scarring, psoriasis, rosacea, stretch marks, acne and dry skin.
  4. Tightening.
    If you have bags under your eyes or puffy skin elsewhere, consider products containing coffee to help tighten and reduce puffiness. Coffee restricts blood vessels and improves circulation, leaving your skin looking taut and healthy.
  5. Soothing.
    Caffeine is naturally anti-inflammatory and helps calm swelling and redness. Use caffeinated soap to create an even complexion and control pesky acne.
  6. Slimming. Sort of.
    Caffeine can help draw water out of fatty cells, diminishing the appearance of cellulite. One study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo concluded that applying caffeinated skin cream can reduce the size of cellulite cells by 17%!
  7. An extra boost.
    A bonus side effect of caffeinated soap is the boost received from the caffeine itself. Caffeine is known to help prepare the body for tough workouts, and the caffeine from your soap will be absorbed by your skin, giving you a little added advantage on race day.

Ways to Stay Hydrated this Winter

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According to Punxsutawney Phil, winter is here to stay. And it is taking its toll. If you’ve managed to keep your home and office at a comfortable temperature, chances are you’re also depleting the air of much needed moisture. Check out our tips for staying hydrated and moisturized during these bitter cold winter days.

  1. Use a humidifier.
    Humidifiers are great, for a number of reasons. Viruses and bacteria don’t spread as easily, your skin will feel softer and your sinuses and throat will thank you. And if your own well-being isn’t convincing enough, humidifiers also help keep houseplants healthy and protect wood. Pro tip: if you want all the benefits of a humidifier, be sure to keep it clean!
     
  2. Stay hydrated.
    Yes. We know you know. But a good old fashioned reminder never hurts: drink lots of water. While you may not sweat as much in the winter, your body still needs plenty of old fashioned H2O. Cold weather causes your blood vessels to constrict to keep your core temperature up, which fools your brain into thinking you’re hydrated and diminishes your thirst response by up to 40 percent. Other factors, including loss of liquid during exercise through sweat and breathing, also contribute. Just drink your water.
     
  3. Use moisturizing soaps and lotions.
    What you put on your body is absorbed into the body. And not all moisturizing ingredients are created equal. Our very own
    Replenish bar takes soap to a new level, comprised of 30% creamy moisturizers (sustainable palm oil, cocoa butter and shea butter) to leave your skin feeling comfortably soft and supple. Seal in the moisture by applying lotion immediately following your shower (preferably within 30 seconds!). Moisturizers can be tricky, though! Petroleum-based moisturizers can actually dehydrate your skin. You may have noticed that we recommend natural, nourishing ingredients. Try Burt’s Bees Nourishing Milk & Honey or Indie Lee’s Natural Moisturizing Oils. 
  4. Protect your skin from the elements.
    Shield your skin from dry cold air and wind with gloves, hats and scarves. And, of course, sunscreen. Winter sun can be just as damaging as summer sun.
     
  5. Exfoliate.
    Dead skin cells can prevent moisture from entering younger skin cells. Use and exfoliating hand and body wash, such as
    Energy or Recover, to slough away the dead cells and allow the vibrant skin below to shine through. Your skin will feel soft, fresh and far less itchy! 
  6. Eat hydrating foods. 
    We all know drinking water is important. But did you know that you don’t have to drink the water? About 20% of our daily intake can come from solid foods. Fruits and veggies are a great source of hydration. Cucumber, lettuce, celery and radishes are comprised almost entirely of water (at or above 95%!). And there are plenty of others that fit the bill: tomatoes, green peppers, cantaloupe, carrots, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and starfruit are just a few. And when you’re looking for a way to warm up and stay hydrated from the inside out, remember to eat plenty of soups!

Winter Skin Care Tips

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As temperatures drop outside and the heat turns up inside, your skin begins to dry out. Despite cold weather, your skin doesn’t have to remain cracked or rough through the winter months. Try out these skin-care tips so you look bright and well-rested all year round.

More Moisture

You’ll want to shop for a different kind of moisturizer than you’d use during other seasons of the year, like spring or summer. In the winter months, look for an oil-based ointment rather than a water-based one. The oil in your winter ointment will create a protective layer that helps your skin retain more moisture than other lotions or creams. To make sure your skin doesn’t become a haven for acne, look specifically for non-clogging ointments, which will be made from avocado, mineral, primrose, almond, and other safe-for-skin oils.

Save the Hot Water

Hot bath or shower water will actually begin to accelerate the breaking down of lipid barriers in your skin. You want to keep those lipid barriers intact during the cold months! If not, your skin will begin to lose moisture and have difficulty retaining it. For poor winter skin, a warm bath with essential oils can help to mend the dry, itchy skin.  A bath with our  Relax Bar can help you recover after a long day in the elements.

Hands Get Hit Hard

To prevent winter colds, you might find yourself washing your hands more often, which can add to the chapped skin already a part of those chilly, windy months. Use a wipe-off cleansers and alcohol-free hand sanitizers to prevent chapping, and apply lotion after washing. Wear gloves to prevent cracking of your skin, and if you wear wool gloves, try slipping a cotton glove on first to protect your hands from any uncomfortable, scratchy irritation.

Skin So Sweet

In the winter cold, your body diverts blood from your skin in order to keep your core warmer. If you experience rough, dry elbows and knees, use products containing coconut oil and palm oil, these two essential oils moisturize and reduce inflammation.

Gentle Exfoliation

Dead skin abounds in winter time. By using a gentle exfoliator, such as the jojoba beads in the DirtyBird soap bars, on your chest, back, arms, and legs, you make it easier for your skin to absorb and retain moisture. Your skin will remain brighter and softer despite frigid temperatures.

Rosemary Isn’t Just for Cooking Anymore

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Rosemary has risen to the top as one of the most beneficial essential oils, and that’s why we made sure to include it in the Dirty Bird Relax Bar.

Historically, rosemary was used in religious and wedding ceremonies as incense, it most commonly is used as an herb in the culinary world.  However, oil can also be extracted from its leaves and in the 16th century German-Swiss botanist and physician, Paracelsus, began investigating its possible medicinal uses.  In recent years, Rosemary Oil has been found to have multiple beneficial effects on the mind and body:

Skin Care

Rosemary possesses antiseptic and antimicrobial qualities that can aid in combatting oily skin, acne, eczema, and dermatitis. In addition to the rosemary in your bar of soap, you can increase the benefits by pairing it with a rosemary moisturizer, which can tone your skin, heal dryness, and leave your skin with an all-around healthy glow.

Improves Circulation

Rosemary oil is known to stimulate the flow of blood and improve your circulation. These increases in blood flow and circulation can actually help improve states of indigestion by making it easier for your body to absorb the necessary nutrients from your meals. Increased circulation also helps cells regenerate improving the look of skin.  Finally, overall athletic and mental performance benefits from increased blood flow.

Concentration

The oil from rosemary leaves can help stimulate your brain activity while batting away depression, mental fatigue, and forgetfulness.

Goodbye Stress

Bedtime bath, anyone? Rosemary oil has the ability to decrease cortisol levels in your saliva. Say what? Cortisol is the hormone partially responsible for feeling stressed and experiencing that “fight or flight” reaction. Avoid chronic stress by making rosemary oil a part of your nightly routine. Even if you typically shower in the morning with our Energy Bar, an evening shower with the Relax Bar on a particularly trying day can set your mind at easy to be ready for the next day with a positive attitude.

Strengthen Immune System

Regular use of rosemary oil can help stimulate the activity of antioxidants in your body. A study investigating rosemary use with massage and simultaneous inhalation actually found a significant increase in free radical activity which can help combat diseases associated with free radicals, like cancer and heart disease.

Mud Baths

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Mud baths have been around as early as the fourteenth century. The first mud baths could be found in Ancient Greece, where people from all walks of life gathered to soothe their weary bodies. Typically, mud baths are found in areas where hot spring water is readily available. The hot spring water combines with volcanic ash and peat moss to create a mixture that suspends your body “mid-mud,” leaving your aches and pains behind, and your skin feeling refreshed.

The therapeutic treatment first became popular in the U.S. in the 40s and 50s, and found a resurgence of popularity in the 70s, specifically for the elderly looking for a natural remedy to ease their arthritic pains.

Sorry to all of our Rugged Maniac and other OCR racing customers, being covered in mud from a race doesn’t exactly work the same way as a real mud bath, ha.

Benefits of Mud Baths

Complete Relaxation: Because of the make-up of the mud bath, your body is actually suspended “mid-mud,” so your muscles can completely let loose. For first time mud-bathers, you might even find yourself falling asleep!

Detox: The properties of your mud bath are a natural detox for your body, drawing out any toxins and impurities.

Natural Exfoliation: The volcanic ash is known for exfoliating your skin and leaving it softer than before.

Aches Be Gone: You’ll find the mud bath to relieve muscle and joint pains and aches, as well as alleviating inflammation throughout your body. In addition to relieving aches and pains, the geothermal water used in these spa treatments is known to improve circulation.

Soothe the Skin: Mud baths are a perfect remedy for those suffering from eczema, psoriasis, acne, athlete’s foot, and dermatitis.

What to Expect

You’ll find the most traditional spas offering complete mud baths in Europe and the US’ west coast, so what should you expect once you make your appointment for an afternoon of relaxation?

  1. Initial Shower: This first step cleans your skin and prepares you for the mud bath.
  2. Step into the mud: Your mud bath will typically be around 110 degrees, a very warm and thick mixture. You might find it difficult getting your entire body covered in the mud, but your spa attendant will help cover any parts you’ve missed. You’ll typically be in the mud bath for about twelve minutes, and might experience the sensation of weightlessness as you’re completely suspended.
  3. Shower number two: In this second shower you’ll remove all of the mud, and might need to “scrape” some of the stickier parts off of your body.
  4. Massaging Mineral Bath: You’ll be in this bath for about 15 minutes. The natural mineral bath helps to improve circulation while relieving any aches, and the jets massage your body, lending further relaxation.
  5. Wrap Up: The final step of your mud bath experience includes a blanket wrap. You’ll typically be taken into a separate relaxation room, often times with essential oils for aromatherapy, and you might even find yourself taking a nap during the cool down process.

Mud Baths at Home?

Mud baths are difficult and messy to duplicate at home.  However, you can replicate all of the benefits of mud baths with DirtyBird Soaps, without destroying your bath and incurring the expense of a spa mud treatment.

The bars are created using essential palm and coconut oils which will soothe skin and remove toxins.  Biodegradable jojoba beads will gently exfoliate the skin leaving it soft and glowing (without having to visit a volcano to find ash).  The caffeine in the Energy Bars will also act as an antioxidant to further sooth the skin and giving it a youthful appearance.

For those interested in soothing aching muscles and relaxing the body the ylang ylang, chamomile, and lavender essential oils in the Relax Bar all relax the body and improve circulation.

8 Ways To Practice Self-Care During the Holidays

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Winter doldrums have you in a funk? You’re not alone! It’s hard to maintain the “Dirtybird gets the worm” mentality when temperatures drop to single digits and your flannel sheets are so, so warm. We haven’t even talked about using a snow scraper! We get it, winter sucks. But it’s not going away. Embrace the chill with these winter self care tips.

Be A Winter Warrior

There is no better feeling than running through fresh snow, knowing you’re the first person to touch winter’s precipitation. Yes, it takes a little more prep and willpower to layer up, lace up and hit the concrete when temperatures plunge. But we guarantee you’ll feel like a total boss running the streets and trails when no one else has the gumption. Running isn’t your thing? Try cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or even just a walk. Fresh air is good for the body and mind.

Drink Up

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Between all the cocktails and eggnog lattes this season, your water consumption takes a severe dip. On top of that, drier air means our bodies receive less moisture. Though you may not be sweating as much, your body needs the fluid intake. Bonus: drinking water can help keep those winter hibernation pounds at bay.

Vitamin D

Remember that bright yellow thing that used to be in the sky? It took a rest for the winter and won’t be seen until March. The sun helps maintain Vitamin D levels, and without it, we’re severely lacking. Take a supplement or eat food high in Vitamin D such as fortified milk or salmon. It’s a mood booster too!

Just Say No

Practice the art of staying in. Holiday parties, family gatherings, happy hours, tight office deadlines and the rush of Christmas shopping all compound during December. It’s OK to skip that ugly sweater bar crawl and curl up in bed with a book…or Netflix. Taking a night off will never be a bad thing. Indulging in one more happy hour, that’s a different story!

Embrace New Forms of Fitness

Where the hot yogis at? When the outside resembles your deep freeze, walking into a 100 degree room suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. Amp up your fitness motivation by trying out various indoor classes. Kickboxing gyms, crossfit boxes, pilates studios and gyms often offer free first-timer classes or promotions.

Gift Yourself with DirtyBird Energy

We couldn’t leave this off the list. The exfoliating action of Energy and Recover are even more essential during the winter months. And Replenish? Hello hydration! This bar features ⅓ moisturizing ingredients. Do you hear that? It’s your skin screaming to drink this up. And of course, Relax. Does anything sound better than a bubble bath and the lavender essential oils in this bar? We see you clearing your Friday night schedule.

Be Grateful

Another year crushed. Another 365 days of awesomeness. Ok, they weren’t all awesome. But you survived. No, you thrived! Be grateful for those 12 months. Focus on the accomplishments. Remind yourself to be grateful all things, small and big.

Practice Mindfulness

In addition to reviewing the year, it’s time to look forward. A new set of goals, a new perspective or a new adventure. When setting your intentions or resolutions for the new year, consider adding mindfulness and meditation to the list. A 5 minute daily meditation practice can take you above and beyond athletically, professionally and in your personal life. Meditation opens doors for sport performance, enhanced thinking and increased productivity. Commit to sit in 2018.

Last Minute Gifts for the Athlete

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The athlete. They’re the last person to be crossed off your Christmas list. They’re picky. They’re confusing. They want weird things. Like race entries. Protein powder. Chamois cream? We’ll help you play Santa with gifts athletes really want.

Stance Socks
You need baller socks to match those flashy kicks. Runners, cyclists, crossfitters and adventurers alike will enjoy performance socks from Stance. Bottom line: they look good AND they feel good.

Doughbar Protein Doughnuts

Baked doughnuts. 11 grams of protein. Low in sugar. We’re sold. Treat your fit fam or swolemate to these sweet treats in flavors like Fluffernutter, Nutella and cake batter. The best part: they’re delivered straight to your door!

Coffee Method Subscription

We’re clearly caffeine fiends. It’s in our soaps, and we rarely miss out on an opportunity to consume a morning cup of joe. Gift that early morning athlete with a coffee subscription from Coffee Method. This artisanal coffee is no joke. Each month brings a new batch of coffee sourced from regions around the world.

DirtyBird Club
Athletes…they’re dirty. Treat them to a gift subscription to the DirtyBird Club. Choose a six pack of their favorite bar, or mix and match. Select how often it’s delivered. Bam, your gift is done! Or prepay for a six month subscription and save some dough.

The Gainzbox

Every crossfitter needs more stuff. More clothes, more supplements, more hydration. The Gainzbox is a crossfit subscription box filled with awesome products from top notch brands. (Full disclosure: we may or may not have been a part of Gainzbox.) This veteran owned company wins for subscription boxes.

Run Ink Race Map

Memorialize their BQ time or their first marathon with a cool art piece from Run Ink. These customizable race maps are the perfect modern gift for a runner. Check out the USA race map, too. Runners can track every state they’ve raced in and celebrate each triumph.