Good morning from a very chilly Panjin! Here is another beginner type recipe for you to enjoy. The possibilities of scents you can play with are endless! This came together in less than 7 minutes. And that included gathering all the ingredients, weighing, pouring, mixing, and clean up. These would make fantastic Valentines Day gifts for your kids friends scented in chocolate or strawberry, or a high end lux gift for your best friend scented in their favourite fragrances. They are super easy and wicked cheap to make too!
It’s no secret I like things that shimmer. Most of the body stuff I make for myself has some sort of shimmer in it. So we be making something that you spray on, rub around and leaves you scented, hydrated AND shimmery!
This Body Spray came to me while reading up on various things about glycerine no less. Go figure. Glycerine is actually a by-product of soaping believe it or not! Your glycerine is either derived from plants and/or animals, or synthetic. One of the whackiest things about glycerine in products is that it actually has the ability to carry ingredients like aloe into the skin. Glycerine has been known to accelerate the healing process, it helps to prevent dull flaky skin, helps to soften and lubricate the skin, and hydrates.
But above all, we know that glycerine is a fantastic humectant. It attracts moisture and locks it into the skin. And that’s why we add it to so many things!
Usually, when making a product you’d only add no more than 5% of glycerine to your product to prevent you from feeling tacky and gross. In this product, we want more. So we are going to up this. A lot. Massively a lot. Like, I need to buy another bottle a lot. When we spray ourselves down with this, we want to shine. Like a beacon. Perfect for a date night!
I’m going to use distilled water, but if you wanted to use a hydrosol, it will give you a faint scent and provide some botanical properties to your formula. So something like lavender would be calming, relaxing. Orange blossom hydrosol would help to balance the skin, and helps with redness, rose hydrosol would help to rejuvenate dull and tired skin. Each hydrosol can offer different types of skin properties. OH! Peppermint hydrosol would provide you with some cooling relief after a sunburn, and with the glycerine could help speed up healing. You’ll still have to suffer through the sunburn though. Sorry can’t help you there!
So what’s left? Scent it and preserve it! Right!
So to scent this bottle of shiny stuff, since I’m going to be using this when I go out in the evenings while in Ireland. I want the scent to be exotic, unique and very much Barb. So I’m going to be using a combination of vanilla, benzoin and tangerine. Oh yeah. Honestly, give it a try! I love this scent combo! The tangerine is the fleeting scent for you to personally enjoy, but fades slightly to a warm unique slightly fruity vanilla. I include the benzoin to many of my personal recipes as the middle note where I want the citrus scent to kick around a wee bit longer and it seems to encourage the blending of the top and bottom note a little.
And if you don’t have fragrance oils, don’t worry, you can always use essential oils. Be sure to be aware of any phototoxicity and/or skin sensitizers if you choose to use essential oils.
Mix these oil with some Polysorbate 20 and you’ll have your fragrance oils equally dispersed in your spray without worry of a concentrated spritz of vanilla and then the worry of is that too much fragrance oil on my arm? Is that going to burn me?? ARGH!
When you use Polysorbate in your product, unfortunately, you are going to end up with a white or milky looking liquid rather than a transparent liquid. Which honestly doesn’t matter much unless you have a transparent bottle. If you use a blue spray bottle this doesn’t matter much! I decided to include some silver mica to my spray to give me some added oomph in the shine department and because this bottle of spray would be a milky colour, why not put that milky colour to good use and add in some mica sheen to give the bottle a wintery blizzard type effect? You can add in a bronze or a gold, or some iridescent mica for a really neat look!
Lastly, because this product contains water, you do need to add a broad spectrum preservative. Today we are using Iscaguard PE from The Soap Kitchen (UK).
Once your product is set up, you just spray on top of your lotion or body butter, and rub in. You can re-apply for an added oomph of scent or shimmer throughout the night! Be sure to spritz your shoulders, décolleté, and arms.
A 50mL spray bottle is small enough to travel on the airplane with you, and small enough to just toss in your purse. This product is not intended to be sprayed near the face, so don’t. Spray directly on your skin and NOT on clothes. You can rub this spray into your skin and enjoy the shine left behind!
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 scales! I like to use beakers when I make stuff, makes me feel all sciency! If you don’t have beakers, use some Pyrex or heat resistant glass cups.
In a small Beaker or in a shot glass, mix your your fragrance oils or essential oils together. Add in the Polysorbate 20 and mix well. I mean very well. Set aside.
In your 50mL spray bottle, add in your glycerine and water (or hydrosol).
Pour the contents of your Beaker or shot glass into the liquids in your spray bottle.
Cap and shake.
Add your mica to the shot glass and decant a wee bit of your spray and stir. Return to your spray bottle.
Cap and shake.
Add in your preservative, cap and shake and spray away!
This post is going to be my gift to you. I’m sitting here in my classroom on December 23, 2017 and have been thinking all day of various things to write for this Christmas post.
There were many things I really wanted to post for the Christmas post of ScrubMeDown- Happy Skin. But at the end of the day, I thought that the present present I’d be able to give, is a wee story*.
Many years ago, I went to the only department store in the city I was living in, searching for some body wash that didn’t have any whitening products in it. In fact, my very first Chinese characters I learnt to recognize was “white” on packages. This was actually how I got into reading labels! So went searching for a face and body wash that wouldn’t cause me to disappear into paper.
After a time, and a mini-fortune later of trying out products and having issues from said various products, I decided it had to be easier and cheaper to make my own things as after all, hundreds of years ago they had all these wonderful things and they didn’t even have electricity. So it really couldn’t be all that hard!
So that is what had me on the path of making my own things. I began like everyone did, making lotion bars, lip stuff, basic soaps (yeah, those first soaps were better than commercial grade beauty bars/soaps), and eventually I began playing with essential oils in my soaps and essential oils and exotic oils in various serums. It was all amazing! All that creativity was awesome!
But for me, pure oil serums and lotion bars just didn’t work for my skin. They just didn’t provide enough hydration and moisture for me. I was living in the desert, and my skin was wicked oily, but VERY dehydrated. When I realized this fact, and found I was constantly getting acne not just because I have acne prone skin, but because my skin was dehydrated (too bad it took me years to learn this lesson! Hind sight and all that….).
But according to every single DIY site out there that I could get my hands on, all the “crunchy”, “green beauty”, “organic” and all that fun stuff, they all guaranteed it would work to heal and fix my acne. They promised.
And…… they lied.
Maybe lied is too strong a term. It just didn’t work for me.
I was so angry! I had spent a small fortune buying various ingredients for those Babe’s and Mama’s and Doctor Quack’s promised they would work. It wasn’t till I had enough that I realized that baking soda on the skin just wasn’t a good idea. That olive oil was not all it was cracked up to be. Coconut oil wasn’t a miracle. That vinegar can burn the skin! I had boxes of oils that I just couldn’t use because they were the ones causing my skin issues. And because of being isolated in China, no one to pass them off on.
I can’t remember where I got the idea around this time of making emulsified products so I can’t link you to the original recipe I used.It might have been some blog? Website? All I know is this person also said applying a crushed tablet of Vitamin C dissolved in water and painted on the face was a good idea. So you can kind of get an idea of where I was getting my information from.
What can I say? I thought I was smart.
But… I would no longer be natural making an emulsified product or crushing a Vitamin C tablet on my face (because it was processed! ack!). I could no longer be natural. I’d be needing an emulsification system! And ewaxes… there is really nothing natural about them. They were chemicals! Ewwwwwww!!!!
I had spent years no longer buying things that came in packages, I stopped buying things that couldn’t go bad, I was at the point truly of the belief that if I couldn’t eat it, it would not go on my skin. For I believed that my skin absorbed anything I put on it for I had read so many blogs and these people I had come to trust. My skin was like a second stomach, so all those gross and horrible chemicals I was going to have to put on my skin, would end up in my livers.
I was using CP soap and an avc rinse in my hair and my hair looked gross. It looked like wet straw. My hair was oily, greasy, a mess. My face- remember this is how I saw myself- looked like a giant pustule of red inflamed gross stuff. I was a mess.
But natural was best. It was the only way. Somehow even living in China it seemed as if I was on the nose end of the rocket of societies extreme “green” idea.
And I had fallen, hook line and sinker. And I looked disgusting for it. While all the natural bloggers I was following looked great! I had given the natural, process free, all hand made, chemical free, green, natural beauty at this point maybe four years of my life?
I couldn’t take it. I had to do something about it. I had to stop that itch. I had to stop all the scabs and acne flare ups I was getting. I had to get my nice soft and shiny hair back! I needed to look and feel good again. So I reintroduced commercial grade shampoo and conditioner.
I had to bend my rules a little. But goodness gracious! I looked a million times better! My hair was so shiny again after one try! And soft!!! And it stopped falling out and breaking so much! So… if commercial grade shampoo and conditioner made my hair feel so wonderful, how could it really be so bad?So I bought some ewax.
And began experimenting.
I gave in and made a face lotion. But I refused to use a preservative. Because preservatives were still the devil. They were evil. They killed…. snowmen and sugar plum fairies. And I love snowmen, sugar plum fairies not so much! But still! They killed snowmen! So I went for months making face and body lotions every month, and keeping it in my fridge between uses and trying my best to only use it with clean flingers. But, I mean, contamination does happen. How often do you clean your fridge handle? Go on. Think about it. When was the last time you wiped down your fridge handle withbleach solution? Or the door handle to your bathroom? the bridge of your glasses? The arm of your glasses? I used a hand towel that was in my bathroom. Fecal matter in the air even with closing the toilet set lid.
Contamination is a bitch. Bacteria and fungi are everywhere. They want to see you fail. They want to take you down. Mold grew, I just scraped it off like I would cheese. But, I began making lotions and body products every week. And sure enough? Mold still grew. So I began making batches every three days. Then every day… but because 100g is the only real amount you can play with and mix properly, I was throwing out a lot of product. And that was stupidly expensive. And I couldn’t afford to do that!
So I gave in. I finally bought a preservative. Because my skin was looking better than it had in years! But, I didn’t have the time to make new things everyday.
I felt like such a traitor. Seriously. I went through such a dark period at that point in my life all because I couldn’t hack it as a “natural” DIY’er. My whole belief system was shaken. I was promised and I believed that if if I changed my diet and my way of life I’d have great skin. I was basically a vegetarian and I was living in the BBQ capitol of the country! I was spending almost 1Euro on a red or yellow pepper. I stopped eating all red meats, gave up salt, all oils, I was only eating raw foods and beans and all in the quest for perfect skin.
And it still eluded me. My skin was a little improved, it felt a whole lot better, but I still got all the gross spots going on.
So when I decided to buy a preservative, you can imagine my hesitation.
I finally took the plunge and began using my new products with preservatives. Holy sweet mother of goodness gracious iguanas. Within a week my skin stopped feeling like lizards skin. The patch of dry skin on my cheek bones and between my eyes went away.
Within ten days, no more new acne popped up. Within two months, all the acne I had on my face had cleared up! And I was finally acne free first the first time in forever!
Three years later, I usually have a flare up the week before my period, I’ve acne prone skin afterall, which means hormones are a pain in the backside! But once my period starts, I get my skin back! I’ve corrected the dehydrated skin by using what works, not what a group of random people on the internet say people should be using. I use what works.
Sure over this time, I have played with various oils, some were successful, some not so much. I still got the occasional flare up when using something new and strange (I’m looking at you hemp oil!) in my new face creams, but for the most part, my acne was gone.
It only took how many years?
And during this time, I learnt that terms like, “natural”, “green”, “organic”, don’t really mean jack squat. I began making handcrafted, handmade, high performance, luxury skin care products using the best ingredients I could get my hands on. And because of this, I have been fortunate enough to pass my knowledge on to you and all our customers by using my skin
I do hope you have enjoyed this story into the personal history of my face.
What about you? What is your skin journey?
* fine print:
all the idea’s in this post are purely my own opinions and experiences.
Good morning from a very chilly China! The city has just recently turned on the heat in the apartments and that means the air in homes is getting blissfully drier! Whilst this makes drying clothes and dishes quick and easy, it really plays something horrible with the skin. Thankfully, the lovely Belinda and Marie introduced me to Aristoflex AVC from Lotioncrafter a long while ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since. My skin has taken on a remarkable improvement in feel, appearance and more since beginning to use AVC in my daily routine. It is some amazing fun stuff! (Note; I’ve tried AVC from a few different Taobao suppliers but with very little consistent results. Be VERY careful buying AVC in China)
And if you are like me and are a new and exotic oil junky, this one ingredient can help you quickly and easily test out a bunch of new ingredients without too much hassle. As long as you don’t use electrolytes.
One of the things I like doing, is to read people’s road of discovery. When a blogger creates the most amazing recipe and then has to share it with you, chances are that is not the first attempt at that recipe. It might be the eighth or twentieth attempt. Or ninetieth. What I want to know is, what were some of the previous recipes and why didn’t they work? That is the information I want to know!
This recipe was a good way to introduce myself to how silicone worked in a product I knew worked well on my skin. I’ve been using this silicone based product for about a month now and I am ready to share my findings with you.
So yeah silicones.
a few seconds
maybe 40 seconds
abut a minute of stirring
Since beginning my DIY journey, I’ve watched silicones go from being hailed as gods to being damned. And I have to admit, I was damning them for a while too until I grew into my #isurvivedgreenbeauty phase. But now that I am a preservative loving, ewax lover, high performance lover, it was time to begin playing with ingredients I knew worked well and met my high performance needs.
Silicone is a partial-occlusive non-greasy agent and it helps to create a moisture seal trying to prevent moisture loss; anything keeping moisture in is a plus! Silicone creates waterproof seal but still enables your skin to breathe. Moisture seal. Not gaseous seal. It also creates an “artificial barrier” allowing your skin to heal and it helps to smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Game set and match for silicone!
I’m actually not going to get into the “bad rep” that silicone has received online and from “green” beauty folk. Needless to say, do your research, and look at facts and not the fear mongering sites.
According to LotionCrafter, typical usage rate is .5-4%. I opted to start at 1% as it is a new ingredient and wanted to see if 1% was a noticeable difference. When you begin working with a new ingredient, you want to make sure that you introduce it at a low amount to see how your skin may react to it. You also don’t know what usage rate is good for you. So you spend a bit of time playing with new ingreidents at various usage rates. I began at 1% at .5% is a pain to measure! If I am being completely honest with you.
Things I noticed:
my skin felt almost the same as it usually does, but Sonia noticed her skin was smoother.
very little softening of fine lines
Things I didn’t notice:
no real improvement in skin “function” (not sure how one would measure this really)
no WHAMO I’ve just turned back the clock or received more compliments than usual on my skin
So, how would I change this recipe for the future? I would increase the silicone to 3% and drop the water by 2%.
In a double boiler place a small glass measure with the water, hydrosol, vitamin B3, allantoin into the double boiler. Stir.
While you wait for the allantoin and B3 to dissolve (can take a few minutes to many many few minutes by the way), measure out your AVC into a small beaker. Measure out your silicone and cranberry oil into another beaker. And in a third beaker, measure out your vitamin b5, oat peptide, and preservative.
After about ten to twenty minutes of frequently stirring your beaker in the double boiler, your allantoin and vitamin B3 should be dissolved. Remove from heat and gently continue stirring for a minute. Slowly add in the oil.
Sprinkle the AVC gently over your mixer, grab your whisk and ATTACK! In under five minutes your formula should have thickened up beautifully.
Add in your beaker of Vitmin b5, oat peptide and preservative at this point.
Decant into pump top contianers and apply after toner.
Have you worked with silicone before? What do you notice?
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?
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.
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.
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!
So 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.
We’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.
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.
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!
Prepare your water bath/double boiler, keeping your water at a barely there simmer.
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
Weigh out your cocoa butter and shea butter into a separate container.
Remove the melted beeswax and almond oil beaker from the water bath.
Add in your cocoa butter and shea butter and stir to melt.
If you need to, place your beaker back into the water bath to continue melting.
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.
Stir and decant into a 100g pot.
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.
Now my pretties! Get your tender tootsies rubbed and tell me how it goes!
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!
Since 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.
Castor 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.
Vitamin 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.
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
In a small heat resistant measuring cup or beaker, measure out your ingredients and place into your water bath on a barely there simmer.
Allow your recipe to melt and wait an extra minute or two gently stirring to make sure the beaker or measuring cup heats up.
Remove from the water bath, wipe off the sides and begin adding in your liquid carmine.
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.
Remove from heat once again, wipe off the water from the outside, then decant into your lip gloss tubes.
Allow to cool, then cap and get all excited for your just made some Crimson Ribbon Lip Gloss! And it’s ready to use!
Today in the Scrub Me Down Kitchen we are going to be making some emulsified foot scrub. Now I don’t know about you, but for me, I love having my feet scrubbed. I love that feel of coffee massaged over my feet. I love soaking my feet in bath bombs, but that doesn’t really help all that much in ways of an exfoliating massage.
Which is what I want. Oh yeah!
I want to rub my tender tootsies after a day of jumping around on my feet all day, students accidently jumping on my toes, getting my feet stuck as I get out of cars (I wear a size 45, it happens often!) and other foot damage in my day to day life. I wanted something that would make my feet feel better, to give them some TLC.
And, I wanted something to help with dry and cracked heels, dry feet too, and ugly nail beds. And that’s where this idea came from. I was looking in my supply room and thinking of various ways I could use up my lemon essential oil and most of my favourite ideas were nixed as lemons and sun are not the best of ideas. Most citrus essential oils are phototoxic which means that just by wearing even a little bit of a citrus essential oil, you run the risk of some very nasty sun burnage.
So to make this scrub, we are taking a blend of some skin delicious oils and butters and then blending them with our exfoliants, preservatives and essential oils. Once everything is in, I blast it with my immersion blender to make sure everything is mixed well. We’ll then pour it while it is still quite liquidy let it cool and cap.
And that is about it!
If you’d rather whip it good, once you’ve got everything mixed up well, toss it into the fridge for about 30 minutes to an hour. Then blast it with your electric mixer. And spoon it into your containers. To be honest with you, I don’t really notice a difference between just pouring after using the immersion blender and whipping it. When you whip an emulsified scrub, it really truly does look better, but for performance? It doesn’t make a difference.
I’ve decided to use a preservative in this scrub as I plan on using this scrub around water. And even though I am careful to keep water out, I’m not perfect. So for my own piece of mind, I’d suggest a preservative. But, if you’d rather not use a preservative, just follow the recipe as is leaving out the preservative, and scoop out a spoonful into a plastic container to use each time you need it.
This scrub does make a really nice body scrub too! I found my elbows were quite happy with the results!
Let’s talk about some of the oils we are using:
Sweet Almond Oil; is a star of a lot of commercial hand and foot care products. The oil claims to be reparative, act as an anti-inflammatory, help with barrier repair- but I really cannot find any literature to back up those claims from a reputable source so take this with a giant grain of salt when reading about sweet almond oil online. So I will tell you what can be easily found; it helps to soften skin, is high in oleic acid and provides great moisturising properties. I don’t really work a lot with sweet almond oil other than in some lip care, I think last year I bought 500mL for the entire year and found myself throwing most of it out as it had expired. I feel there are better oils out there to play with and that is why I don’t usually play with it. Other light oils you can use in its place, camellia or hazelnut would be my personal choices, but they are considered to be “dry” oils (as they don’t leave an oily finish).
Shea Butter: contains a boatload of vitamin E and also gives us some allantoin. Allantoin can speed up the natural healing process of the skin from things such as cracked and dry skin (amongst others) when I saw that, I decided to say YES to shea in this recipe instead of the cocoa butter I was originally going to use. Not to mention, shea butter also leaves a wee bit of a greasy feel when it is used. And I thought on the feet, that would be a good thing especially on feet that need some end of summer care.
Exfoliants: I decided to use a healthy mix of salt, sugar and coarsely ground coffee. But, you can use all of one and none of the others if you so choose. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to use and decided upon all three for giggles. For the coffee, my hope was by washing the coffee twice, I wouldn’t get a coffee looking product. Yeah, no. My finally product looks like chunky baby poop. I so rock with products that look like baby poop.
Stearic Acid: I’m using Stearic Acid here to help keep the sugar, salt and coffee suspended. There is nothing worse than buying a scrub only to have all the sugar or salt sink to the bottom.
Emulsifying Wax: I’m not sure about you, but for me? I like soft feet, but I don’t like the feel of oil that won’t come off my skin. I want to be able to rinse my feet of all the extra oils and dirt and skin and watch it go down the drain. The ewax will help to bind the oils to the water and dirt and wash it away leaving behind your clean and beautiful looking tender tootsies without the oily danger in the foot bath!
We will also be adding in some skin yummies too! Because we will be using lemon essential oil, some some sea buckthorn fruit oil for added colour, lemon essential oil and some peppermint and lime essential oil too! Feel free to leave the sea buckthorn fruit oil out if you don’t have it and just add in extra sweet almond oil.
In a heat resistant container, weigh out your sweet almond oil, emulsifying wax, and stearic acid. Place into your water bath on a barely there simmer. Let sit in the water bath until the stearic acid is completely melted. This can take upwards of twenty minutes. Be patient.
Take your morning coffee grinds, and put them all into a bowl. Add some boiling water and stir for a few minutes with a spoon. Drain the water, and place the grinds on a cookie sheet, and toss into the oven for a few minutes to dry them out.
In another bowl, measure out your shea butter.
In a third bowl, measure out your sea buckthorn fruit oil, essential oils and preservative.
And lastly, measure out your exfoliants into a large bowl.
Once the almond oil, ewax and stearic acid are all melted, remove from the water bath and add in your shea butter, stirring as it melts.
Keep an eye on the temperature, and once the temperature drops below 40C, add in your sea buckthorn fruit oil, essential oils and preservative. Stir, then include your exfoliants.
Grab your immersion blender and give your scrub a few bursts. Pour into your container and allow to cool before you cap!
Feel free to switch out the essential oils for scents of your choice! Fragrance oils are fantastic in scrubs! I used sea buckthorn oil in this recipe hoping that the twice used coffee grinds wouldn’t result in a baby poo colour… I got baby poop again. Embrace the poopness!
Hi! And welcome back to another What do I need to begin making my own skincare post! In this post we are going to be discussing equipment. This list is by no means complete and this list is what I think is important. Everyone has their own needs and their own preferences as to what they like or need when creating. And what makes it difficult, you won’t really know what you like in your creative area until you try it out.
As discussed in the Before You Begin post, you will need a notebook to write all your fancy new recipes down and all your awesome notes too!
No matter what you decide to make, please make sure that you have an organised storage system for your ingredients and containers. The featured images in this series are all the most challenging parts of the hobby, but more on that later. I can’t wait to show you my new and improved Potions Room! Stay tuned for more Questions posts! Some of our future posts will cover: basic ingredients, how to’s, advanced and exotic ingredients, preservatives and more.
Soaping from scratch:
This section will cover cold process soap, hot process soap making and liquid process soap making.
If you are going to be soaping, you’ll want to make sure your scale is 1g accurate to about 3kg~5kg. All soapers measure by weight and not by cups as it is much more accurate this way. I am Canadian, so I use metric, but if you are American and prefer ounces, make sure your scale is in ounces. Yup. Stating the obvious.
Many people say you can just use the same one you use in the kitchen as you do for soaping. And while I actually do agree with them, this is fine if you are just making soap for you and your family. But once you pass into the realm of making for others, you really should pick up a secondary immersion blender. You can use a hand held whisk and just stir your soap as well. When you are looking for an immersion blender, you don’t need to buy the best of the best, it will break down. The really good ones break down just as fast as the cheaper models. Visit your local second hand store and see what they’ve got. If you are seriously thinking about DIY’ing hardcore, then I’d strongly suggest one that has a detachable immersion part thingie and buy two or three of them. When I am soaping different colours, it’s nice not to have to take a moment clean the attachment, attach then go. That precious wait time can wreck havoc on your pour.
I have always loved soaping in my large stainless steel bowls. Some like glass, some like plastic, I like my large stainless steel bowls. I like how I can feel the temperature immediately and not have to wait to see if the temperature has changed. If you plan on making large amounts of soap, then you will need much larger bowls. The big tall one is for my mixing, and the small one is my lye solution container. I use plastic pitchers (microwave safe) for pours and for mixing colours.
Spoons. Large soup spoons for the win! I cannot tell you just how much I use spoons while soaping. I’ve watched videos of others soaping and they don’t use near as many spoons as I do. So I think this one might just be me. But, I love having countless stainless steel soup spoons around while I soap. I also use about four spatulas or more for each batch of soap. I also use chopsticks, hangers, butter knives- again. Some people just mix and pour and some people want to make works of art and just be creative. Or attempt to make works of art.
Most people just start off soaping with a milk carton or a shoe box or a pringle can or something like this. And that’s great! I did! I began soaping in a Pringle Can only to realise that it wasn’t a Pringle Can, but a plastic Lay’s Potato Chip canister. So I had to cut my soap out with a knife, which quickly led to another batch using a juice carton. I wish I had photos from my most earliest work, but my phone went swimming in coffee one night and I lost all my photos from this time! If all you have is a cardboard box, just line it with a ziploc bag and it’s perfect! It’s truly a perfect solution and even to this day there are times where if I need a specific type of shape or such, I will use a cardboard box and plastic liner. I’ve long since bought lots various molds over the years: slabs, loafs, individual, quirky and more, and they are all good! Just be warned, you’re probably going to buy too many ones that will never be used again.
This is where you are going to do your head in. Various blogs and websites out there tell you that they have the best recipe and use the best ingredients, but really? It is learning which ingredients your skin loves; and that doesn’t happen in your first batch. It may or may not happen in your first year or five years of soaping. I’m going on year nine soon and I am still tweaking my standard recipe a wee bit. You’ll need to take into consideration the climate, storage space and ingredients you can purchase easily before you look at your recipe. Humid climates need harder fats and oils (tallow, lard, coconut oil, cocoa butter, palm, stearic acid), whilst drier climates need softer fats and oils (rice bran, wheat germ, apricot kernel, olive). Then, you’ll need to learn what skin properties you want your soap to have. As well, if you want commercial grade bubbles, various lather styles… My favourite part of soaping is deciding all these things then making it happen. And, even though many tell you that you can use the oils you buy at the grocery store, that is actually an iffy point. Basically, how long has that gourmet bottle of pumpkin seed oil been sitting there? Is that olive oil really pure or is it one of those hybrids of olive oil flavoured rapeseedoil/corn oil?
Many blogs out there will tell you that making your own soap is cheap. And while yes, it is very true, it is not cheaper than a beauty bar. Now take a look, if you need to buy all this equipment, add on all the costs for colourants, molds, various oils, you’re looking at a pretty hefty price. Then you are looking at perfecting your bar to make it amazing for your skin. And that takes years. Every time I make a new recipe of soap, I think wow, this is amazing! It can’t be beat! There is no way I can make soap better than this. So I keep that recipe for a while, then get the bug to change it up a bit so I do. Then start all over again. And then you’ve got the stock pile of soap that is rockin’ soap, but what to do with it?
Then, you will need to think about colourants, fragrances, essential oils, additives like clays and extracts, silk, sugar, salt and more. Remember how I said I dedicate an entire room to this hobby/job? Now you can see why!
No, you cannot make soap without lye. No amount of being told, my friend makes soap and doesn’t use lye! Your friend is making melt and pour soap. Not cp soap. Not the same thing. And the company who made your mp soap used lye. Lye is an essential part of the soap making process, without it, we’d just have a bowl full of oils mixed with water that will begin to mold in no time and stink.
No Lye=No Soap
GLOVES are a must. Please, please, please, don’t do want many of us have done in the past and shrugged it off saying you’ll be careful. Yup, been there done that. I’ve got the soap spatter scars to prove it. Soap is still caustic (can burn you) for the first approximately 48 hours. We all end up wearing gloves so please, pretty please, start wearing gloves from the very beginning.
APRONS: I wear an apron to protect my clothes and for its pockets. I like being able to toss a pencil or tissues or phone into the pockets. Not to mention, an apron helps prevent your hair from finding its way into your soap, and aprons also help to protect your clothes from oil splatters. I honestly only bought one last year for the first time, but ever since I got it, it’s been a godsend and cannot recommend one enough! My apron collection has blown up and I wear them now every time I’m in the kitchen doing something.
EYES: I wear glasses ALL the time, they are always on my nose. If I didn’t wear glasses, I would be wearing safety goggles to protect my eyes and even possibly a face shield if you are prone to messes. That lye can burn you!
CLOTHING & SHOES: Yes, while making soap I do wear proper closed toe shoes. Shall I show you the lye splatter scar? I wear long pants while making soap for the same reason. I don’t always wear long sleeved shirts while making soap simply because most long sleeved shirts will only reach to my mid-forearm. I’m that tall.
Some people like to room temperature soap, some people like to soap while everything is cold, and some like to soap while everything is hot, but one thing most people who soap do, is try to mix your fats and oils with the lye solution while they are about the same temperature. I would strongly suggest at the beginning, get a thermometre so you can take accurate notes to record what happens. You don’t need a fancy dancy one like mine (it was one of two birthday presents last week from me to me), but if you are just starting out, I would strongly recommend a thermometre. As mentioned, you can record your results, and if you are not successful, you have all the information to pass on to someone to help figure out what happened.
If you are planning on making liquid soap or hot process soap, you will need to have a crock pot. Your crock pot must be made with a ceramic inner. A rice cooker IS NOT A CROCK POT. If your crock pot is a Chinese model and it has a clay finish, please do not use due to the clay potentially being porous.
Making Lotions/ Creams/ Moisturisers/ Toners
This section will cover the basic equipment needed for oil in water emulsions, toners, and other various liquid products. Unless I haven’t already shared it above, I won’t be sharing a photo!
You will need at least three. You can get away with two, but life is much easier with three! I began by using Pyrex 500mL heat resistant measuring cups and have since moved onto a beaker and Pyrex combo which I find works much better for me. These will be in and out of a double boiler/water bath, so you need to make sure that it can take the heat. Bottom line, you want it to be able to take high temperatures, and if possible get yourself some borosilicate glass.
Same as with soaping, but you will need a little more accuracy. If you are planning on making your own makeup and lotions, having a scale that can measure 0.01g is a good thing. Especially if you are working in 50g batches for something as you might be measuring .5g of something. Taking accurate notes, getting into this habit early is the best gift you can give yourself. And whilst you might be thinking, “.06g over on an oil doesn’t make all that big a difference!” And while that might be true for say, 100g of lotion, but what happens if that lotion becomes your favourite lotion and you want to make a 2kg batch for Christmas for friends and family? That’s well over 100g of an ingredient you may or may not be adding and that can make a huge difference.
No, beeswax and borax is not an emulsifying wax. You will get something gross and heavy and feeling kind of like rendered whale blubber sliding over your skin. If you plan on making water based lotions and creams, get yourself some good ewax. I personally like Emulsifying Wax-NF (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Polysorbate 60) when I am playing with something new. It is idiot proof and that is why I like using it. It is really hard to fudge up! If you are new to DIY and lotion making, I do strongly suggest emulsifying wax-NF as it is beginner friendly, performs beautifully, and has never let me down even in the craziest of recipes! But once you get creating, you should try to branch out to try lots of various ewaxes to see which you like the best! I like Emulsifying Wax-NF, Polawax (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-150 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, and Steareth-20) and BTMS-50 (INCI: Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol).
My regular seller just sent me some sort of wheat germ based ewax (INCI: I have no idea, I don’t know anything about this ewax but I must try working with it! That is the fun!) and Olivem 1000 (INCI: Cetearyl Olivate (and) Sorbitan Olivate). Both of these ingredients I’ve never worked with before, this just shows you that there are always new ingredients to play with!
If you are lazy, use an immersion blender. If you are not so lazy? Use an immersion blender. You can use a whisk, but one of my issues with a whisk is that you get too many air bubbles, and air bubbles make your end product feel like a sponge as all those air bubble friends meet up to form bigger air bubbles. Don’t even get me started on an electric whisk or electric hand held mixer thing. Good lord. I do strongly suggest using an electric whisk or blender on high speed once at some point. I really do. It makes the most awesome creations, where it feels like pudding hyped up on a CO2 machine. It’s pretty funky!
You too will come to value a spatula at some point like a DIY’er champ. They are fantastic little chunks of silicone glory. They bend and get every single last drop of your creation out of the container and that’s the only thing that matters! Invest in a couple of each size, and be sure that you get the ones that won’t stain, can be used at high temperatures, and most importantly, a single chunk of silicone so you are not having to worry about gross stuff where the handle meets the silicone.
This is not a choice between a blue shirt and a green shirt. This is not a choice of which shoes to wear with which outfit. Or should you order the fish and chips or the vindaloo curry. This is more along the lines of you fell off a bike and you can see your bones, do you go to the hospital or your acupuncturist? The answer is EASY. Preservatives. I like Liquid Germall Plus as I can get it now easily in China, but there is a plethora of preservatives out there that you can choose from. Liquid Germall Plus (INCI: Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate) is a broad spectrum preservative, that is a reliable preservative system. I am excited to hit up Europe and buy a few different types of preservatives and test them all out! I am really keen on trying a paraben based preservative and hitting it up with a bunch of fungi!
Be skin safe. Don’t put your health at risk!
The same thing as soaping. You want to figure out what your skin likes and learning what your skin likes can take time. I love to play with exotic oils, cosmeceuticals, gels and such, but in a month or so I am going to swing back to thicker oils, lotions, butters and such as the weather changes. My biggest suggestion, choose if you are going to make face recipes or body, and find oils and butters and ingredients that can be used in various ways.
Now this is where choices get really hard. Do you buy the cute little butter pots with the black lid or the silver lid? The tall ones or the stubby ones? Do you choose glass over plastic? Then the best question of all, where do you plan on using your product? You don’t want glass in the shower or bathtub. You want plastic. What you choose to make and with which ingredients will determine which type of container you end up buying. If you are looking to just start out, I would say grab some glass Mason/Bell jars in the smaller sizes with a bunch of extra lids is a great place to start, they are versatile can hold small to medium sized amounts of product and then if you decide you enjoy DIY’ing, you can change out the lids and use them in the kitchen after a very good clean. Then go crazy container shopping! I loved working with Mason/Bell jars as they were VERY easy to clean, they could be sterilised easily, and are the only containers I feel comfortable reusing.
If you make the change from Mason/Bell jars to plastics and small neck glass bottles, you really should not reuse the container no matter how good you think you have cleaned.
Please. For the love of real coffee makers of the world, label your products. You can use pretty labels that you design on your computer and print out, you can use Kraft Labels (that awesome amber/brown type of paper that makes everything look old fashioned cool apothecary shopish), you can use masking tape (I miss masking tape) you can use nail polish. But please, please, please, label and date everything you make. You’re not going to remember what that 47th tube of lip chap is in your fridge. You’re not going to remember which product is the 5% shea butter or the 8% shea butter facial lotion as they are in the exact same looking container, they look the same, they smell the same- and you’re screwed. You’re not going to remember if this spray has silk or oats because that is the only difference in the two products because you really wanted to see if there was a difference. True stories, and it will happen to you too.
Alright folks! I think that is it. I’ve covered hopefully a fair bit of the basic equipment you will need to soap and create lotions. If you are reading this and can think of any additional equipment needed, let me know!