DIY Intermediate, Face, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Daytime Blemish Busting Stick

Hello Donald! Good afternoon fake tanner! Holy smokes why have you got an orange circle on your face? Are you trying to be a clown? So you made the Nighttime Blemish Busting Stick and everyone knows it! They can see it!

IMG_4391I handed my pot of Nighttime Blemish Busting Stick to a co-worker of mine and she said she loved it. But, can’t use it during the day as it is too colourful for her skin. Granted, even I can’t wear it during the day. So I asked her what she wanted in a daytime blemish stick, and she told me, she wanted something to help with scars AND spots/acne.  And that got me thinking. And then I had an aha moment. Which usually means I’m in my kitchen for many hours playing with various ingredients.

And this is what I came up with. A Daytime Blemish Busting Stick. The companion stick to the Nighttime Blemish Busting Stick.

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 5.38.13 AMThis stick is still filled with lots of goodies to help the skin work on those pesky scars. And, I included some essential oils in this blend too. I used mainly tea tree oil as it was the only essential oil on the various essential oil lists that could help with scars and with acne. And I know chamomile helps with redness. Which is always good in my books!

IMG_4399I used some Cetyl Alcohol to give this recipe some structure and stability so it would easily stay in the tube without falling everywhere, and because I wanted the powdery feel that cetyl alcohol leaves on the skin. I used mango butter as the skin drinks that stuff like crazy leaving your skin hydrated and happy, but feeling dry and not oily. I used argan oil for that same reason. And because I have over 270mL left of argan oil to use up before I move! And I used sea buckthorn SEED oil in this recipe instead of the FRUIT oil.

You can see the difference between the seed oil and the fruit oil colouring in the Blemish Busting Sticks.

Applying this powerful oil to the skin is known to reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles, blemishes, scars and age spots. This is due to the diverse range of antioxidants and tocopherols, which can prevent oxidative stress in the skin, boost collagen production, and stimulate healing. 

-Organic Facts

After washing your face in the morning, apply some Daytime Blemish Busting Stick to your spot or scar, and with a clean finger tip, gently massage the oils into your skin for 10 to 20 seconds. OR, apply and leave it alone, and your skin will absorb it on it’s own!



Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 7.13.49 AM.png

  1. Prepare your work space; wipe down all your tools and beaker with rubbing alcohol. Set up your double boiler, and the containers of choice. I used lip balm tubes. Feel free to use  pots for finger application!
  2. Weigh out your sea buckthorn seed oil, cetyl alcohol, argan oil and mango butter into your beaker, and place into your double boiler on a barely there simmer.
  3. Stirring constantly, let your oils melt.
  4. Once melted, removed from the double boiler and wipe off the water from the outside of the beaker.
  5. Stirring constantly until a thin trace forms.
  6. Decant into your desired containers and allow to cool. About one to two hours.



In this picture you can see I applied the Daytime Blemish Busting Stick and the Nighttime Blemish Busting Stick to the back of my hand at the same time. Within three minutes you can see how much my skin drank them up! 

DIY Intermediate, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: The Busy Woman's Highly Moisturising Mask

Lately there has been some chatter about Sepimax ZEN and Aristoflex AVC and a residual tacky feeling going on with one or the other. And, with the cost of each, (AVC= 8.95/2oz and ZEN=9.95/1oz, then possible taxes, delivery fees, customs fees, exchange rates and and and and) you make a batch and if it doesn’t work, you try again. And then again. And then again. And then wonder if you’ve wasted your money. And wasted your time.

IMG_3847Last Spring, I did a nice little comparison between ZEN and AVC, and discussed how they were similar and how they were different.This post is not going to be about comparing them, this is a brand new recipe! Huzzah!

Once I knew for sure that I would be leaving China sooner rather than later, I began to find strange uses for some of the ingredients I had laying around that I knew I’d not be using for products and wouldn’t be bringing with me to Ireland. And with having less distractions and a little more free time, I’ve been able to work on some of my Diploma programs studies. Mix the two together, and what do you get???


That’s right! Masks! But, not just any masks.

IMG_3848.jpgClay masks when they dry, they crumble and crack dropping little bits of clay into your shower gel or lotion you are making. Thank goodness these products were practice products! But it made me realise, that if I wanted to use up some of these ingredients, wanted to have a spa mask at home, and be able to get accurate results, I needed to come up with ingenious ways to have one that didn’t involve clays or sheet masks. Oh the stories I could tell you about sheet masks and making lotions.

IMG_3852Just don’t do it. No matter what kind of clothes pins and elastic band thing you think will work. It won’t. And then that lotion is ruined.

So this mask is simple. You just splash everything together, add your ZEN then wait, blend and HUZZAH! You’ve a super duper hydrating mask!

I’ve been loving mixing liquid cucumber extract, oat peptides, aloe and some panthenol onto a sheet mask and plopping that stuff on my face. But, with the sheet mask, I learnt you have to actually be laying down so it won’t fall into what you are doing. And that presented a problem.

I’ve precious little time these days but I love my masks. What’s a girl to do?

IMG_3855Create something! So while putting my moving boxes together the thought came to me. GEL MASKS!

Gel masks are a fantastic way to slather your face up with oodles of skin happy ingredients, and still be able to do some puttering and work around the house without worry of leaving behind parts of your mask. Like a little trail of various coloured clays, you can Hansel and Gretel your way from one room to another! If you accidentally fall asleep with it on, it washes off quicker than doing up velcro shoelaces!

IMG_3857I decided on ZEN over AVC, for the ZEN we can put oodles of skin loving electrolytes and whammy it up with proteins. And then add vitamins and other skin loving goodies and we’ve got ourselves an awesome skin happy, anti this and that bowl of happy skin!

For my liquids, I decided on chamomile hydrosol, as the bulk of my liquid, then some cucumber extract, aloe, oat peptides. I’m barely sleeping these days trying to get coursework done, packing, getting the last of the products made so I have more time later. The consequence of barely sleeping is sallow and dull looking skin. Uneven skin tone, skin that is kind of dead looking.

IMG_3870I want my skin to look bright, even, toned, healthy! So all these ingredients are said to be anti-inflammatory ingredients. Ingredients to help combat dull and lifeless skin. I love cucumber extract! It’s currently one of my current favourite ingredients. It’s cooling, astringent, hugely hydrating, high in Vitamin C… pair that with the cushiony feel of oat peptides, wheat protein to help the skin retain its moisture and some hydrolyzed silk? You’ve got yourself a power packed gel.

Sepimax zen.jpg
A couple hours after putting the gel to rest for a while. 

I made the decision to add in some awesome pack a punch rosehip and borage. I mean, they are just kind of laying around and have to be used right??? Rosehip oil is said to be good for scarring and aging, and borage oil is said to be great for acne prone skin as it is high in gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. It helps to promote healthy and happy skin!

To round it up; vitamins. I found a Multivitamin Complex from Gracefruit that I’ve been including in many of my formulas to see how it works. I added in a little extra panthenol and niacinamide as this is a mask not a leave on product. I decided to try using my new rechargeable lotion mixer to incorporate my vitamins and allantoin. Usually I would dissolve them in hot water, but have found using Sepimax and letting it sit overnight does a fantastic job of dissolving them. As long as you blend beforehand.

I decanted it into a squeeze tube for easy access, because really. Who has time to fiddle?

You might be asking how to use a gel mask? Well, wash your face as usual. Apply some toner, and then squirt a generous portion of gel mask into your hands. Gently, massage onto your face, and leave for about twenty minutes. Go wash the dishes, write up a report, make some lotion/bread… you know. Who actually has time to sit down and relax for twenty or thirty minutes? But do all your chores without a worry! This baby ain’t leaving crumbs! Rinse clean and feel the difference!

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 9.58.12 AM

  1. Into a wide mouth small stainless steel bowl, weigh out your liquids; chamomile hydrosol, cucumber extract, aloe vera juice, oat peptides, wheat proteins, and hydrolyzed silk.
  2. Into the liquids add in your Multivitamin Complex, Panthenol, Allantoin and Niacinamide.
  3. Use a small milk frother or MiniPro Mixer and agitate the vitamins incorporating them.
  4. Add in your Rosehip Oil and Borage Oil. DO NOT BLEND.
  5. Add in your essential oils of choice, if you choose to use them.
  6. Weigh out your Sepimax into a small container, and lightly sprinkle over top of the contents of your stainless steel bowl.
  7. Cover with a sheet of paper to prevent dusts, yeasts, and other nasties from accidently falling in, and place on a high shelf.
  8. Leave it alone for about 8 hours.
  9. Don’t peek! Don’t disturb it!
  10. Add in your preservative.
  11. After eight hours, take your electric whisk or your MiniPro, and beat it till it is smooth. This usually takes me about two minutes of mixing.
  12. Decant into into a squeeze tube or a 100g pot.
  13. Store in the fridge (a cold mask feels delightful on a hot day!), or in the bathroom cupboard.


DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, Lotions & Butters, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Mangotastic Hand Butter

You know how it is. Your hands are dry, scaly so you reach for your awesome shea butter based body butter and apply it whilst sighing that your hands shall be smooth one again. You go to sleep, wake up and feel up your hands. YAY! All is good. So you go to wash up for the day, and apply more body butter to your hands, rub it in and off you go!

Look at that hunk of awesome! Mango Butter! 

Only, you begin to see greasy hand prints everywhere. Elevator doors, your door handles, your floor (I sit on the floor a lot with work), your coffee cup, steering wheel (if you drive), everywhere! But your hands are nice and soft! But your hand prints are everywhere! Let’s not begin to talk about how my phone screen or key board look these days. So how to fix this?

Shea butter is an awesome ingredient that I have been recently been enjoying playing with and adding into various products but always in small amounts. But my hands take a beating with all I do and need something with a little more oomph but less shea butter grease. But something with all that shea goodness. 

What does that leave us with? Why mango butter of course!

I think all butters and lotions once mixed look fantastic! 

Shea butter contains oodles of fatty acids which help to keep the skins elasticity and moisture. High in oleic and stearic acid, which are fantastic in keeping the skin moisturized which has an awesome side effect. Highly moisturized skin looks healthy and healthy skin looks younger. And has oodles of Vitamin E. And mango butter contains pretty much all the same awesomeness as shea butter… only not greasy! The glory that is mango butter is that mango butter is a “dry” butter. As in it sinks in pretty quickly not that it dries you out. It doesn’t. Really. It just sinks in fast leaving your skin soft and supple.


Mango Butter is three times the cost. So don’t spill any on your counter tops. D’uh!!!

But mango butter is three times the cost. So, that is something to be aware of. I’ve worked with it a lot in the past, especially in a lot of hand butters as it sinks in very quickly, and the usual usage rates for emulsified body butters is at 15%. Following the “cheatsheet” for emulsified body butter is great, but I like to toss it out the window when playing in my kitchen. I wanted something with less liquid oils, more butter and more frothy/fluffy than a creamy butter. So I upped it to 20%. But I reduced the liquid oil to 7% from 12%. But that is the fun of making your own stuff! Play with the ratios, but just make sure you know how your emulsification system works and what it can handle.

Look at that nice thick goodness and all those stiff peaks? NICE!!!

I’ve also added in sweet almond oil, Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and aloe vera juice. If you want this butter to have an even faster sink in rate, try switching out the sweet almond oil for hazelnut or apricot oil. For my ewax, I decided to use Emulsifying Wax NF. I really like how this ewax thickens up over 48 hours.  For my scents for this recipe I was torn between using mango fragrance oil or vanilla. I much prefer lighter and softer scents to the WHAMO full on powered scents. So if you prefer the WHAMO scents, check with your manufacturer’s recommended usage rates.   At the end of the day? I went with Mango Fragrance Oil from FNWL it is a really nice one! 

My new 60g glass pots. 

I decided to make 500g as then I’d be able to fill up some of my new glass pots for gifts and still have enough left over for me to play with. When you work with larger sized batches, you need to be aware that your liquid phase might evaporate! Into this size batch, it’s pretty easy to figure out.  Before pouring Beaker A into Beaker B, be sure to weigh it. You should have made notes before about the total weight, so you should be able to see quickly if the numbers work out. Into this recipe I added in 8g of water to make up for 8g of liquid that evaporated. 

This one is for my bathroom

The process for making a butter is basically the same as for making a lotion. You weigh, heat, blend, stir/mix, allow to cool, mix, add in stuff, stir, cool, decant, cap. And that’s about it! Very easy!

So let’s get cooking!

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 12.55.10 PM

Prepare your work space by wiping everything down with a 10% Bleach solution. Wipe all your equipment, tools, beakers down with isopropyl alcohol. Don’t forget your immersion blender, countertop AND your scales.

  1. Grab three beakers (or heat resistant pyrex measuring cups, I just really like my beakers), your double broiler, scale, spoons, immersion blender, ingredients, pots, and spatulas.
  2. Into Beaker A: your liquid phase. Weigh out your water, aloe juice, glycerine and silk.
  3. Into Beaker B: your oil phase. Weigh out your butter, oil and ewax.
  4. Into Beaker C: your additives. Weigh out your panthenol, Vitamin E, fragrances (if using), and preservatives.
  5. Place Beaker A and B into a double boiler on a barely there simmer until everything is melted. Give it about twenty minutes.
  6. Remove Beaker A from the double boiler, wipe off the bottom, and slowly pour the contents into Beaker B. Use your immersion blender to blend everything together.
  7. Blend again making sure that you have blended enough, then allow to cool for about twenty minutes, then blend again. Repeat as necessary until your butter has cooled to room temperature. Be aware that your butter may not be as thick as you’d like it to be at room temperature. Do not worry! Some ewax takes a few days to thicken up.
  8. Once your butter has reached room temperature, add the contents of Beaker C to your butter and blend for the final time. Ensure you have blended thoroughly.
  9. Decant into clean pots and enjoy!



The work lights I use in my kitchen are the “warm” coloured lights as they don’t hurt my eyes. So all my lotions come out looking very pretty in photos! 
DIY Intermediate, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen, Trying Something New

DIY: Lavenaloe Face Bliss

The oils of this lotion have been playing in my head for quite some time now. I’ve told you all about how I kind of missed the whole shea butter love affair when I first started this “hobby”. And to be honest, I am kind of happy about it! It means that now that it is slowly being introduced to various products at a small amount to be effective but not with the KAPOW grease ick factor.

Winter in Northern China is all about dryness. And at the moment my face is slowly healing from a fairly few amount of issues. I can’t eat chocolate, peanuts or too much cheese without the whole world seeing that I’ve been snacking, and these spots I get? They are so badly itchy that all night I tear at them while sleeping. And then to add insult to my poor face? It’s now winter so scarves, high neck sweaters and that means all those issues too. So add all these things together and my face is taking a huge beating.

Beaker A- Liquids

So I needed to make things that can help combat the dry environment, help sooth the itch, soften and try to just to keep my hands busy for a short time so my hands would be kept busy.

And I had a box full of new ingredients that were just begging to be played with! So I went to hang out in The Kitchen. I decided to swap out my usual ewax: Emulsifying Wax NF, and try out Olivem 1000 which is an emulsifying wax made from olive oil and which has made me very happy with a ph range of 3-12 so can handle all the fun additives and cosmeceuticals I can toss at it. All the research I’ve seen on Olivem 1000 say it is highly moisturising, provides deep moisturization with fantastic spreadability (my new favourite word by the way) with no soapy effect. It’s plant derived so if you are vegan, this is a good choice! It is also biodegradable.

Beaker B- Oils to be melted. Look at those flakes! 

And it is sold in flakes! Not the dandruff kind, but the kind you want around. For your face!

So that’s my new ingredient I’ve been playing with. I’ve made maybe five or six different products with Olivem 1000 just to see how it reacts compared to what I’m used to. I’ve a nice little line-up of 20g pots, labeled and dated to observe over the next few months to see how they test differently than my other ewaxes I use. Olivem 1000 is notorious for it’s stability issues and dislike of hydrolats, temperatures and more! So I’m putting it through the battery of tests! And so far, I have to say my face is enjoying the effects! Next up with Olivem 1000? A body lotion. Maybe. More face lotions!

I also added in a lot of aloe juice, lavender hydrolat, silk, vitamins B3 & 5 and some Vitamin E.  For my oils, I added in cranberry seed oil (I’m on a serious cranberry oil kick these days), argan oil, shea butter and some cetyl alcohol for some oomph. I do like the way cetyl alcohol makes everything feel so powdery and soft. I actually forgot to add allantoin into this formula, so if you want to add some in, I’d suggest adding it at 1% and dropping the water by 1%

Adding in the contents from Beaker C- ingredients that are volatile that cannot be heated without losing their properties 

To make lotions with Olivem 1000, it is just like making lotion with say BTMS 225/50 or others. I had three beakers set up; A, B, C. Beaker A held the liquid phase to heat (water, aloe, hydrolat, silk, Vitamin B3), Beaker B had all the oils+Olivem 1000 for melting, and Beaker C had all my volatile ingredients like Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, preservative and if you’d like, a few drops of lavender essential oil.

My work space.

Beaker A and Beaker B got tossed into the double boiler for about twenty or so minutes on a low simmer. There is a lot of discussion on if the heat and hold is actually necessary. While I don’t think that the heat and hold method kills any of the possible nasties that may or may not be present, I do feel that bringing my beakers to the same temperatures is better safe than sorry. And I know in this day and age that the chances of things not working the way they should be are slim when it comes to ewaxes, but as I said, better to be safe than waste ingredients! And this being a new ingredient, go for it it!

The end result is something decadent and fast absorbing! My face was left with an almost powdery feel and very touchable. I did find that with all the spots on my face, this lotion helped to soften them for a more even feel on my skin.

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 9.51.39 AM

Prepare your work space by wiping everything down with a 10% Bleach solution. Wipe all your equipment, tools, beakers down with isopropyl alcohol. Don’t forget your immersion blender, countertop AND your scales. Using an immersion blender is very important when working with Olivem 1000 as you need that high sheer.

  1. Place all Phase A ingredients (water, aloe, hydrolat, vitamin B3 and silk) into one beaker. Place all Phase B ingredients into a second beaker (Olivem 1000, argan, cranberry, shea, and cetyl alcohol). Place all Phase C ingredients into Beaker C (Vitamin B5, Vitamin E, preservative, essential oils if you choose)
  2. Place Beaker A and Beaker B into a barely there simmer in your double boiler and allow to sit for approximately 20 minutes.
  3. Once everything is melted, remove Beaker A from the double boiler and wipe down the outside of the beaker. Pour contents into Beaker B.
  4. Using your immersion blender, beat the contents of Beaker B until you get a nice smooth consistency. If your work space is warm, this will take a lot longer, but my kitchen area is quite cold these days, so lotion making is wicked fast now. It took less than thirty seconds for me to get to lotion consistency.
  5. Once Beaker B has cooled down to the touch, add in the contents of Beaker C and stir incorporating everything.
  6. Decant and enjoy! This lotion is thin enough to be in a pump bottle and thick enough to be in a pot without worry.


No everyone is an exotic oil junkie. So if you don’t have cranberry oil, feel free to sub in any liquid oil your skin likes. Here are a few I’d consider subbing:

  • moringa oil
  • sea buckthorn seed oil
  • macadamia nut oil
  • evening primrose oil
  • abyssinian oil
  • borage oil
I love the look of argan oil and cranberry oil… so pretty



This lotion will pump easily, or hold neatly in a pot. 
DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Foot & Ankle Massage Gel

The more you know about oil to wax ratios the more your mind spins and spins with all the various ideas you can come up with. Lip glosses, lip glosses, lip glosses and more lip glosses, knock off type of vapour rub, lip glosses, a weird sorts of goo and lip glosses. Did I mention lip glosses?

By adding your shea and cocoa butter to your liquid oil after the beeswax has melted and off the heat source can help you to prevent “crystals” from forming.

This idea came to me years and years ago one day while I was getting a foot wash. However; I never acted on this thought till a few weeks ago. Now a foot wash in China is fantastic. You pay a few kuai (our version of quid or buck) and you get your toes washed, all the dead skin is removed and then you get a foot massage. How awesome is that! And, to make it even more awesome? It is socially acceptable for social activity for men and women to do together. Just if a Chinese man says a foot wash at a hotel? Run away. It means more than just a foot wash.


Continue stirring until your shea and cocoa butter are melted. If you find that you need to reheat, grand. Place into your warm water bath and don’t turn on the heat.

For any sort of massage oil, you want to make sure that your base is not going to be absorbed by the skin all that quick. You want to make sure that the oils stay on the skin and are slowly absorbed. You also want to make sure that friction doesn’t present a problem, that hands can glide and slip over your skin. You also want to make sure that the oils are good oils for their intended purpose. And that it smells delightful! I also really hate it when I spend all that money on a pretty bottle and spend my time figuring out which liquid oils and fragrance oils to add only to have the bottle ruined because people can’t pour without spillage! So a massage oil based sort of gel like product was born! It is a clean mess. In a pot. I was also looking to make a product that is solid in the tin, but melts almost immediately in contact with the skin.

One of my new favourite photos!

For this here Foot & Ankle Massage Gel, we are using sweet orange essential oil only because I want to use up our essential oil stock. So feel free to sub in any fragrance oil you like or another essential oil and be sure to check out the recommended safety amounts. Clove is an awesome essential oil as is cinnamon, but good golly, a .5% usage of either has the potential to BURN. And speaking of orange essential oil, I truly and madly love the way it smells. I’d love to live in an orange and have that scent around me the whole day. Orange or red grapefruit. I’d never be sad again! The world would always be a bright and cheery place!

img_8602.jpgSo to make a “gel” based concoction from oils, butters, and waxes, it’s important to know your ingredients and how they interact and work together. If we have too much liquid oil, we just have a thick liquid. If we have too many butters and waxes, we have a balm. We want to dance on that perfect amount for what we want. AND we want to dance the jig. Knowing your weather is also an important for this type of recipe and also how warm or cool where you will store it. So this product is awesome, but very tricky.

IMG_8645We’ve used sweet almond oil in this recipe for it meets all our guidelines for what we are looking for. It is great for the skin, and according to my massage lady, the skin seems to absorb sweet almond oil on its own a little too quickly for her liking. Which is part of the reason I am trying this new massage goop so I can keep her happy. Almond oil does contain emollient properties which is why many use it to improve skin tone. And emollient is usually an oil that softens the skin by filling in the spaces between the skin flakes and creating a smoother skin surface. It is also said that almond oil can help hydrate the skin and that many massage therapists prefer to use almond oil for giving massages as it meets the criteria they look for in that it provides great glide for your hands, and doesn’t sink in so quickly that you have to reapply often. But then again, my massage lady claims otherwise. So once again in this wonderful age of information at my fingertips, I’m going to have to side with her.

Shea butter is another one of those oils that is slowly peeking it’s head more often in things I make in The Scrub Me Down Kitchen. I stayed far away from the “shea crazy” when I first started DIY’ing as everyone and their knees used it in everything. And I wanted to try lots of other things. Like macadamia nut oil. Sigh. Moringa oil how I love you! And sea buckthorn oil, you’ve been my super skin secret for years long before the western world really knew about you. But I digress.

What I think I like most about this blogging thing? Is I can always be the first one to stick my finger into a product.

Shea is great in this recipe. I find shea butter has a much heavier feel than cocoa butter and since this is for a massage gel, we are using both the shea and the cocoa butter to impart their awesome higher melt point to help keep this as a gel and not a liquid. Shea butter melts at about 40-45C and cocoa butter at 34-38C. BUT I hear you. “Barb, you’ve added cocoa butter, shea butter AND beeswax! How will this gel you speak of be possible!” And to that I say dance said jig I told you about before! When you play with the ratios of solids to liquids in an anhydrous product (anhydrous= without water), you can then control the consistency of your final product. Like magic. Take that Harry Potter!

I wanted this to be a gel. So I made it a gel. To make a balm, usually you would add 80ish% liquid and about 20% wax to make yourself a nice solid body balm, but I wanted a gel. So rather than using all wax, I used a hard butter (cocoa) and a soft butter (shea) and decided to drastically reduced the beeswax to help it maintain some form.

Solid on the finger, melting on the skin. SUCCESS!

If you live in a cooler climate or are approaching winter, this is a very good recipe. If you live in a warmer climate, I’d suggest first upping the beeswax to 8-10%, while reducing the sweet almond oil.

I dragged Sonia to the massage place across the way and we got ourselves some massages. The massage ladies were bombarded by questions asking about how they liked it, how they found it glided and slipped over skin. We also asked if they had a choice which would they prefer to use to massage their customers, all agreed this recipe was bangarang. They loved the way it sank in once they stopped massaging so that made their clean up easier, they liked the way that this gel didn’t need to be reapplied for the whole hour long massage. They also thought it wonderful how much use they’d get out of one 50g tin. They estimated that they would get ten back or ten foot massages from this size of tin.

How neat is that!

Screen Shot 2017-09-13 at 10.49.23 AM.png

  1. Prepare your water bath/double boiler, keeping your water at a barely there simmer.
  2. Weigh out your sweet almond oil and beeswax into a heat resistant beaker or glass measuring cup and place in your water bath and wait until the beeswax is melted
  3. Weigh out your cocoa butter and shea butter into a separate container.
  4. Remove the melted beeswax and almond oil beaker from the water bath.
  5. Add in your cocoa butter and shea butter and stir to melt.
  6. If you need to, place your beaker back into the water bath to continue melting.
  7. Once your beaker has reached hand temperature ( you can wrap and hold your hand around the base of the beaker without it feeling uncomfortable), measure in your fragrance or essential oils.
  8. Stir and decant into a 100g pot.
  9. Allow to cool. Cap and then run away for a massage!

Because this product contains no water, you do not need a preservative, but don’t go sticking your wet or dirty fingers into this!

Shelf life will be the life of your shortest lifespan oil or butter used.

Yup. I love me my farmers tan.
Do you see where I am going with this?

Now my pretties! Get your tender tootsies rubbed and tell me how it goes!

DIY Intermediate, Lips, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Crimson Ribbon Lip Gloss

If you are interested in making your own cosmetics (like actual foundation and powders and eye shadows) check out this book. I always refer to it for colour help and the recipes in it are my guides for my creations for things like lip care. I refuse to buy store bought lip products to see how they feel when applied. That’s what “Make it Up” recipes are for!

If you are following the news, Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin is going to be a year old. And if you know about that wicked news, you will know that we have made an Enchanted Nights Limited Edition Gift Set and smells as one customer who was lucky enough to get an advanced smell spoke about it how it makes her think about Cleopatra and ancient Egypt and the pyramids. Which led me to think about creating a complementing lip gloss. But since I really and truly suck at getting colours just right, this became a whole different blog post than what I was originally planning to do. You’ll see a couple of of these lip glosses in the next month or so, where the colour is just a smidge different, but it’s not quite right! They’ll all have started out in my head to be an Enchanted Nights Lip Gloss, but will quickly become a Christmas Lip Gloss! But Christmas needs its own stash of stuff, so that fine by me! So let’s tuck in and get to it!

IMG_8191Since I have a ton of carmine that will probably last me for the rest of my life, I’ve a 250g bag of the powder and about 40mL left of the stuff dispersed in castor oil. As long as you keep the air and moisture out of the powdered stuff, it will last a very very very long time. Now, one amazing thing when you make things, is you can learn from other people’s experience… if you so choose. I’ve watched a few bloggers spend a lot of time and effort and oodles of money on trying various powders and colourants to get a bold red, but only carmine works. I’ve watched their products go from a beautiful shade of red to dull grey. Pretty neat to watch, but when you are looking at well over 250rmb for 10g of beetroot powder, I can do without that experimenting.

Sonia has told me I should make mention that carmine is actually ground up beetle. It is a pretty pricey ingredient, but if you want some fancy colouring that is bright red, you need it. Or are already wearing it.

When it comes to me making any sort of red tint, or something more than just a light barely there hint of red, I always add in a wee spec of blue. The blue is not noticeable in the finished product at all, but I find that blue gives the red a wee bit of depth. I’m telling you, when it comes to making something with colour, this is where I utterly fail as a formulator. The product will be fantastic, but the colour will make you go eeeek. See the picture that lead you to this blog? I took my final recipe from below, and then added in some red iron oxide and some greeny-gold mica, and my product turned red green. Beautiful for a Christmas Elf, but not for me. I added in some silver to see what would happen and that’s the results I got. So then I just made the recipe again, and followed it!


Anyways, let get cracking here.

The base. In the past I was all about using raw beeswax to make things as I thought it would be a selling feature. Turns out, I was so wrong. These days I am more about performance as that is what our customers desire. So in your recipe you can use either raw beeswax, refined beeswax or white beeswax. I’ll be using the white beeswax as it is easier to colour I find. If you are using the yellowish beeswax, you might need to add a few drops extra of carmine to get the colour you are looking for. I’m using beeswax here to be the “glue” that holds everything together. In the wrong ratio, your gloss will be too liquidy or, will be too thick resulting in a lip “stick”. Beeswax will also be giving us that wee bit of tack and staying power that I desire in a gloss. I mean if you are going to apply a gloss or a lippy, you want it to stay there for more than half an hour.

I’m going to be adding in some coconut oil here as I find coconut oil and lips to be a worthwhile pairing. And oh the shine! In this recipe you don’t want to be using your soaping coconut oil, you want to be using the same coconut oil you use to eat. So look for the virgin or the cold pressed- just make sure it is pure coconut oil and you can eat it. Alas, you might be thinking, oh wow the sweet warm scent of honey through the beeswax, mix that with the yummy deliciousness of coconut oil? Heaven on my lips! Umm… no. For some reason I find the coconut scent+taste and that awesome honey scent doesn’t survive in lip products for some reason.

IMG_8167Castor Oil. Oh the stories I could tell about you about this oil. It’s got a nice long history and is a very good oil for the skin, and I use it many cleansers, but that is not why we are using it here. We are using it for it’s thick and viscous and oh the shine! Shine on castor oil in all your thick gooeiness! This is a gloss right? I need more shine. I need. More. Shine. And castor oil is a good one for this!

Next up, I’m going to use sweet almond oil in this lippy as I want to keep the cost down a little. But, if you have jojoba, that’s a nice wax to use in here. You can also use a combination of sweet almond to jojoba if you’d like. We all know the wondrous ability of both these oils, they are told to us almost constantly. But, yeah. I’ve used other oils in lip stuff to test them out, and honestly? Rice bran, wheat germ, apricot, I don’t really notice all that big a difference other than colour. I am using  sweet almond oil as mine seems to be a lighter colour than jojoba and I want the colour to be easy to work with. If you are thinking about making this to gift me (or someone else for that matter), make it with jojoba oil. Everyone will go ga ga for jojoba.

IMG_8181Vitamin E. Now many people seem to be under the impression that vitamin E is a preservative. It is 100% NOT a preservative. I am using it in this recipe because our winters here in northern China are dry, whatever you are thinking, think more dry than that. And windy. Think more wind. Lips need all the oomph in the oomph department they can get so I am adding in Vitamin E to help them out AND to help extend the lifespan of the oils. Vitamin E is an antioxidant so adding it into some of our oil based creations can help them survive a little bit longer.

So we weigh, toss them all together, smoosh and stir it all up, and pour into lip gloss tubes or applicators, allow to cool then go crazy painting your lips red.

IMG_8209Let’s create!

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 9.51.24 AM

  1. remove all the lids and set up your lip gloss tubes or wands so when it comes time to pour, they are all ready to go. This recipe makes 20g, so about 4x5g lip gloss tubes
  2. In a small heat resistant measuring cup or beaker, measure out your ingredients and place into your water bath on a barely there simmer.
  3. Allow your recipe to melt and wait an extra minute or two gently stirring to make sure the beaker or measuring cup heats up.
  4. Remove from the water bath, wipe off the sides and begin adding in your liquid carmine.
  5. Be sure to stir well. I usually place the measuring cup or beaker back into the water bath and stir some more just to make sure that everything is mixed well.
  6. Remove from heat once again, wipe off the water from the outside, then decant into your lip gloss tubes.
  7. Allow to cool, then cap and get all excited for your just made some Crimson Ribbon Lip Gloss! And it’s ready to use!


Remember to take notes about the exact amount of carmine you used so you can replicate or alter your recipe at a later time!
I actually think I did very well matching my lips to the ribbon!
DIY Intermediate, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Creamy Orange Cleansing Oil

For a number of months now, Marie over at HumbleBee&Me has been posting oodles of oil cleansing recipes and talking a lot about Asian Beauty which turns out is a very interesting (and an intense) skin care regime. It also talks about some of the differences between east and west skin care thoughts and principles. And because of it, I’ve made some changes to my skin care routine and have been loving the differences and even have begun passing them onto you. Do you feel special yet?

Attempt one cleasning oil .jpg
only picture I have of the first attempt at making cleansing oils- love that coffee cup

When she first posted an oil cleansing method recipe, I scrolled down and looked at the recipe and thought, maybe five minutes plus clean up? So, I started shouting out various ingredients to Sonia to bring into The Kitchen, then had her make the recipe. I have to admit, the recipe was easy: fractionated coconut oil, some PEG-7 (Olivem 300), castor oil, maybe safflower or sunflower oil? Essential oils? Once mixed, Sonia took a bit home and I put a bit in the bathroom to use later. Later on I found after the first use, I felt like my face had been sucked dry and Sonia had the same thoughts. Right then and there, I stopped making any liquidy cleansing oil as I already had a cleanser that worked like a dream so the thought of these cleansing oils  were put on the back burner to think about how to make a better one suited for my skin before I tried again. Fast forward a few months and Marie did the thinking for me! That Lady of the Spatula can read my mind. I know it. Just a few weeks ago she posted a recipe for a new oil cleansing recipe with the word, “Gentle” in the title that I pounced on because I was finally wanting something new to use on my face.

Cleansing Oil 5After looking at the recipe and realising she really really really really likes calendula, I decided to change it up and use some olive oil infused with hibiscus that had been sitting in my back room for a couple months. With hibiscus being high in Vitamin C, I decided to keep on the Vitamin C kick and add in some sea buckthorn seed oil and some sea buckthorn extract and enjoy the ride. Upon first use of this new concoction, I found it a wee bit stripping upon first use, but decided to give it a go for a few days and discovered that I really did love this oil cleanser after two days and knew it needed to be tweaked for my very greedy skin.

Cleansing Oil 3
into the water bath it goes!

Now that I had given cleansing oils a fair chance, I knew I liked them. And that meant, I knew what I was looking for and what I wanted from my cleansing oil. I wanted them to be a little less stripping, a little thicker and wanted it to have some orange wax, sea buckthorn oil and be marketable. I’ve been using this new recipe for about two weeks now and I’ve been loving it! And I know I should wait another week or two before posting a recipe from creation, but I really just couldn’t wait!

Cleansing Oil 2
all set up and ready to decant!

I have never been a fan of shea butter as I always found it too greasy so prefered to use cocoa butter or mango butter as they were “dry” butters. But I wanted this cleansing oil to compensate for the stripping factor so added that in and hoped that would help with the thickening factor I needed. One of my other wants was for this to be marketable, so added in some wheat germ oil which is high in Vitamin E and some rice bran oil which is surprisingly still relatively an Asian skin care secret. I have no idea why, rice bran oil is awesome! As is sea buckthorn oil. Swoon!

Cleansing Oil 4
Letting the cleansing oil cool before capping

To use this fancy dancy wash, splash your face with some warm water, apply about a dime/5mao size coin amount and massage into your face. I pay a little extra attention to my T-zone to help ensure my pores remain clean. Don’t go crazy with applying pressure, gentleness is the key here. And splash with warm water to remove or use a gentle face cloth. Follow up with a hydrating toner and the rest of your usual face care routine.

Cleansing OIl 8
Look how thick that is! This has been on it’s side and opened for a few minutes now with no spills or leaks.

This recipe I decided to try something new. I usually only include the percentages of a recipe, that way you can make whatever amount you choose. This time, I added in some grams. What do you think?

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 7.46.07 AM.png

  1. weigh everything into a glass beaker or heat resistant glass measuring cup
  2. place into your water bath on a barely there simmer, and allow to melt stirring with a steralised flexible spatula
  3. once everything has melted, wipe off the outside of your beaker, stir and decant into a 100mL squeeze tube, before it cools


There is no preservative in this recipe. So don’t get water in your product!