Information, Questions, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Question: How can I make my own sunscreen?

Ever wonder how to make your own sunscreen? Want to keep your skin healthy and happy? Want to try to prevent skin cancer caused by the sun? One of the biggest questions we here at Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin this time of year is, “do you make sunscreen”? And most people really don’t like our answer.

Read on and I’ll share with you how!

Question: How to make your own sunscreen?

Answer: DON’T.

Question: Is it possible to make your own sunscreen?

Answer: Unless you have access to lots of really fancy lab equipment, then no.

Questions/Winging: But other DIY makers sell homemade sunscreen!

Snarky Answer: Comment deleted; not suitable for a public space.

So. Go to the store, look for the sunscreen section of the shop. Pick out something that is at least an SPF 30 or more.

A google image search result

Please, do not take the chance. Coconut oil, raspberry seed oil, shea butter… none of these are suitable replacements for sunscreen. I have tried all the natural sunscreens out there and they don’t work. How do I know they don’t work? Read on!

If you look at any of the babe’s and mama’s blogs out there they generally tell you that coconut oil has an SPF of 1-8 (how do I know they say this? Well, you’ll see how easy it is to fall into the siren’s song if misinformation very soon, and I fell hard). They will also say things along the lines of, Africans have been using shea butter for countless years as a natural and healthy sun screen. Shea butter has an SPF of about 5-9.

Yet, say Badger Sunscreen says on the page, SPF 30. Ok. So you are scratching your head thinking, “Sure Barb. ok. So what?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 5.54.55 AM.png
From TheIndianSpot on Pinterest 

Let’s go to the kitchen and let’s make some of my kind of famous Chocolate Fudgey Brownies. You need eggs, sugar, butter, cocoa powder, a wee bit of vanilla and a pinch of salt. And that is it. Let’s see… well, cocoa powder is processed so let’s not use it. Oh and the butter is not good for you so let’s not use that. And eggs can cause heart disease, so no no to the eggs, so let’s use the applesauce instead. Now the vanilla has caramel in it so can’t use that. And sugar is addictive and don’t need to be addicted to anything more. And salt, well salt causes high blood pressure. So here! Have a wonderful Chocoalte Fudgey Brownie! (slides over a bowl of apple sauce). Oh! Whoops! The applesauce wasn’t made from organic apples. Never mind! Fancy a clean bowl?

Yup. Nothing like a Chocolate Fudgy Brownie.

Not the same thing you say? But it is. Cherry picking which ingredients you think are “safe” and “good” and “toxic free” is just like what I did above. Looking at the list of ingredients on sun screen, each one of them are there for a reason. To protect you. To help you to prevent skin cancer.

Now, coconut oil has a SPF of 1-8 and the Badger Sunscreen has a SPF of 30. Let’s use another example to try to explain…

The coconut oil would be similar to saying that all apples taste the same. I’m trying to save money to take a trip, and I get criticised at for spending 30rmb (China money) on four apples when I could buy the apples in the next bin 5rmb for 10 apples. Sounds like quite the deal. But let me tell you what would happen. Those 5rmb apples would quickly visit my rubbish bin before I ever even considered eating them. And I wouldn’t blink twice at it. Those 30rmb apples are delicious. They haven’t been forced grown so don’t taste like or have the texture of cardboard, they have a slightly sour taste- huzzah! Damn you China and your refusal to grasp the concept of sour fruit can be delicious! They’ve bred out almost all the sourness from fruits. So sad. Soon tart grapes and I will meet again!


Coconut oil taste, colour and SPF value change with each coconut you use to make the oil. Each coconut from the same tree is different. How can you know that when you lather yourself up with coconut oil you are getting an SPF value of 8 every single time? Has the coconut manufacturing company turned to a lab and said, “hey, test each batch of coconut oil so we can put it on the label”.

And speaking of labels, do you ever see a jar of coconut oil claiming to have an SPF factor? Nope. And you probably aren’t going to either. The regulating bodies (Health Canada/FDA) list sunscreen as a drug and regulate it as such. EU Cosmetic Regulatory Services classify sunscreen as a cosmetic and regulate it as such (must be tested for wavelength, tested for standardised categories of effectiveness of low to very high protection, and if marketed as water resistant, must be tested and approved by that regulating body too. Then have the sunscreen assessed and tested. The sunscreen is then registered with the EU Cosmetics Portal).

It’s not a sunscreen unless it has all of this on the label.

So if you go to a fair or a market and want to buy some homemade sunscreen, be smart. The following are mandatory, so be skin smart. Ask!

USA: domestic/foreign manufacturers/packagers/labelers must register their cosmetic/skincare business with the FDA and submit an annal list of their drug products. Sunscreen is considered a drug in the USA, “Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-The-Counter Human Use monograph (21 CFR 352)”. This includes handmade/DIY sunscreens.

Canada: at the moment, Canada is proposing some pretty awesome changes to the sunscreen monograph by becoming more standardised. At the moment, sunscreens containing titanium dioxide, and/or zinc, and/or PABA are NHP’s and require a Natural Product Number or a NPN, and if the sunscreen contains any of these ingredients, they are considered drug products and therefore; require a Drug Identification Number (DIN).

It’s a good idea to make sure your sunscreens bought in Canada have this logo on them to ensure you are getting a product that has been fully tested and approved.

EU: The EU is probably the easiest one to make sure you are getting a good product. Just ask if they have had their sunscreen assessed, if they have a PIF and if they have registered with the CPNP. They are not obligated to show you these documents however; requesting some sort of proof that their sunscreen has passed it’s tests is never a bad thing.

I suffer horribly from various sunscreens. I always have. I remember summers at various camping programs as a kid being told I must wear my sunscreen and refusing point blank as my skin always got these weird blisters wherever the sunscreen touched. It is hardly surprising to see why in my DIY adventure sunscreen was on that list for a long time. And I can tell you, with certainty, homemade sunscreen is crap.

The oils don’t do their jobs very well, and I’ve mixed many different combinations up. All I did was get a tan using coconut oil and burnt while using other oils straight up (I’m looking at you raspberry seed oil!). I’ve tried adding zinc to my concoctions but unsurprisingly, zinc is pretty crappy to work with. It doesn’t incorporate easily and is attracted to itself so clumping is an issue. And if clumping occurs in your concoction, that means you don’t get good coverage when you apply it. And speaking of coverage, your foundation makeup you are applying, is just not enough coverage. You just don’t apply enough, regularly throughout the day to provide ample protection.

And now? I have no choice but to practice safe sun exposure levels. Hats don’t fit, so an umbrella is always in my purse. I wear clothes that cover. And try not to be outside for too long without being in the shade. I would love to to be able to wear sunscreen! I have heard stories from some friends who claim that European sunscreens are much better than North American sunscreen and I cannot wait to try some while next in Europe to test this theory out!

Now, I mentioned Badger Sunscreen being SPF 30 a few times in this post. This is the sunscreen most people I know recommend, which is why I am suggesting it. To get an SPF of 30, Badger had to put its sunscreen through many laboratory tests, pass various certifications, follow some pretty neat regulations and is confident that every tube of sunscreen will provide consistent results right up to the expiry date. Many on the shelf sunscreens are recipes formulated with reef safe ingredients, environmentally safe ingredients too. And after researching for this blog post, I am also very keen to try out Badger Sunscreen to see if I react.

Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin is all about DIY. We also encourage  people to explore the joys of DIY- in a safe way. There is a reason why we don’t encourage anyone to make their own sunscreen, because it is not safe. The DIY bloggers we follow, won’t make them either.

Please read these following links as they provide such amazing explanations as to why homemade sunscreen is not a good idea.

Why Homemade Sunscreen is Never a Good Idea

Why you can’t count on DIY sunscreens

Why you should not use coconut oil as a sunscreen

Myth or fact: Coconut is an effective sunscreen (The Mayo Clinic weighs in)

New research suggests sunscreens do not significantly inhibit vitamin D synthesis

An overview of sunscreen standards in the world

Why DIY sunscreen doesn’t work by LabMuffin YouTube video HIGHLY informative

Bottom line, Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin will never make sunscreen unless we get all the fancy lab equipment and the proper testing done.

Practice skin safety!

Ask questions if you buy from a DIY maker





General News, MsBarb, Starting your own cosmetic business

Learning Curves: The Move 2

At the moment, we’ve been looking into the European Union’s rules and regulations for selling skin care. When Sonia and I first discussed opening a brick and mortar shop in another country, we actually thought it would be pretty easy. Get the business registered, license it, insurance, register the tax stuff, and maybe another step or two but not much more than that.

And then we began looking into selling skin care products. And holy sweet mother of olive trees. My mind was blown away with the regulations. To the point where I was ready to give up and just not do it. But then, the more I wrapped my head around the idea of it all and why the EU has these rules, is actually quite smart. It protects the consumer. And it is not too bad. On paper!

So what have we been working on in terms of The Move? And yes, I think from now on it shall be referred to as, “The Move”.

We’ve been looking at Assessors for our products in case we decide we will end up in the EU. And let’s just say, some of them have horrible communication skills. I can understand that a lab company might have a lot going on, but good Time Lords, why am I chasing you down to reply to my emails inquiring about your company? I want to pay you to do my assessments and that’s going to be a costly fortune to get done. And because I have to chase some of these lab companies down to reply to my emails, it makes me want to use another lab. And it is not just one lab. It’s three! And from the groups I belong to on Facebook? This is common!

In between the frustration of lab companies and dealing with our new customers and their questions of, “are your products organic? Chemical free? 100% all natural?” we’ve been finalising our soap recipes. We have the final list of ingredients we want in our soaps, just we wish that we could have 110% oils in soaps and not just 100%. Changing 5% of tallow is a huge deal when you only have had 10% in the recipe. But if you look at changing 5% of olive oil when olive oil is at 40% it really isn’t a big deal. But I want my hard, long lasting hydrating bars of soap and tallow gives me that! And then the superfatting, I like 8%, but is that a bit too much? Or should we have some 8% and some 5%, and the can market the 8% as super moisturising/ gentle and the 5% for everything?

Ah soap. I love you. But you have too many choices to play with!

We need to finalise all our products and get the recipes set in stone with no further tweaking ASAFP. If we move anywhere, we have to register our products with the FDA/Health Canada and EU, and once they are registered, we cannot be changing them unless we register them again and/or get them tested all again. Which has to be paid for. With real money. And not Monopoly money.

Which epically sucks huge camel…. er… toes.

Rant over.

For now.

Information, MsBarb, Questions, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Question: What do I need to know before I begin on a DIY journey?

A quick note before you continue, I have no professional background in science or chemistry. This post is meant to assist you in being able to make the most informed ingredient decisions you can by looking at the facts.

All substances are poisonous; there is none that is not a poison. The right dose differentiates between a poison and a remedy.  Paracelsus (1493-1541)

Lately in the DIY community, there have been quite a number  of blog posts about how chemicals and chemically sounding words that no one but a Latin major can understand can say, can actually be good for you. And yes, there will be a blog post about it all once I figure out how I want to say what I want to say.

But todays blog post is not about that. It is about a journey into DIY. When most people get into the DIY hobby, they do it because they want to ditch the chemicals, the parabens, the preservatives, the sulfates and all those “fun” things.

So you turn to Google and the blogging world and the black hole that is Pinterest, that tells you “all you need is coconut oil or olive oil” or “the best products are in your kitchen”! “Here! Try this “burning” face mask” made with so much cinnamon you are actually at risk for a chemical burn! But “here I’ve got a pore reducing face mask for you”, Elmers Glue and activated charcoal. Spirulina as a lovely green eyeshadow that really stays! Clove powder as a blush/eyeshadow! Or you go to the “green” beauty bloggers, mama bloggers, who actually really seem use scare tactics on their readers. OH OH OH! Or the “expert” doctors out there that talk about magical ingredients or again use scare tactics by giving the tiniest amount of facts, then BAM! Preach at you with fear.

While yes, a kitchen and house does have many amazing things that one can use to obtain amazing skin, a lot of people don’t realise that a lot of these kitchen ingredients need actual safe usage levels that are not the same for food and cosmetics. One also needs to use their brain and research the ingredients and how to use them, the possible interactions of using them if you have any allergies, sensitivities, the possible reactions of using them- just because some random yahoo with a few thousand (or millions) followers doesn’t always mean they know what they are talking about. Do your research. Be safe. Be skin safe!

So what’s the problem? I like wickedly spicy food. And that is good for me! But some people can’t handle the wickedly spicy vindaloo dishes that make you cry. So why do people assume your skin is going to be like someone else’s? What works for one person, might not work for another. My face loves loves loves coconut oil, but there are people out there that put it near their face, and their pores get blocked! And just for clarification? I didn’t always have a brain either. I do speak from experience on using various and questionable ingredients in my skin care routine. I tried everything to get rid of my acne short of sandblasting. I spent years and a lot of money on essential oils, exotic oils, various commercial products, imported from all over the planet. And nothing worked. I discovered soaping, and spent a fortune trying to make this or that recipe work. I tried tea tree, lavender and discovered my skin doesn’t like either. But was assured if I only kept at it, my acne would go away.

And all through this time I was referring to the natural bloggers and the mama’s and the babe’s and the Dr. Quacks out there that tried to tell me that practically anything made in a lab was terrible for me and causing me to have this or that problem. Thin hair? You must have leaky gut! Your nose is big! You need to eat more probiotic rich superfoods! Oh, you’ve got BO? Well look no further! Rub a pickle on your pits!

So what does this all mean to you? Let me take you on an example of what I mean. It’s a little on the lengthly side, but bear with me.

Here is one example of possibly millions. Propylene Glycol and a Jackass- let’s refer to him as Dr. Dumbass.

While I was doing some research for this post to make sure I had all my ducks in a row and my facts straight, I came across Dr Dumbass’s page about propylene glycol. And reading the page, he is really not necessarily wrong in what he is saying about propylene glycol and its various albeit possible health risks: possible skin irritant, potentially toxic to the kidneys and liver, potential heart issues.. and (airquote) potentially (air quote) so on. And my favourite? The whole antifreeze hype: “When propylene glycol is used in antifreeze products in place of ethylene glycol, it’s considered “non-toxic antifreeze.””

Which amounts is he referring too? These?

FDA has approved its use at concentrations as high as 98% in topical drugs and 92% in oral solutions.

And since he brought up the EU further along in the article, take a gander:

In 1994, the Cosmetics Industry Safety Panel (of CTFA, Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, known today as “The Personal Care Products Council”) confirmed propylene glycol to be safe for use in cosmetic articles, and at higher concentrations than those actually used in consumer products.

It’s also safe to say, that if you want propylene glycol free cosmetic products, you should stop eating ice creams and ice lollies as it is usually one of the ingredients.

Now let’s take a look at some sciencey sites:

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.05.23 AM
From the website (I have some issues with Skindeep, but that is for another day, this blog post is already way too long!)
Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.20.45 AM.png
From: ToxNet

And for you lucky ladies with lovely curls, here is a link you might find familiar:

So you kind of understand what I am saying? That lots of people out there are going to do anything to get your traffic to their site with whacky titles about ingredients in this companies food also are also used as an additive to make yoga mats. Or don’t drink this because there is so much sugar in it! (But there is about the same amount of sugar in this beverage as in a more common one). Or this ingredient is used in antifreeze why would you want to put it on your face/body? If you stop eating this, your skin will be perfect! And you read a couple more blogs about the same topic, then you read some silly doctor man’s website about how yes! It is true! If you stop rubbing that pickle on your pits, your grandchildren will get ingrown toenails.

There are different grades of ingredients. But that doesn’t mean that they are the same. Surfactants are a good example here. We use surfactants in body washes, shampoos, toothpastes and such. Sound safe? Yes! That’s the cosmetic grade for surfactants. 100% perfectly safe for its intended purpose. Now if I were a mama, babe or a Dr. Dumbass, I would scream and tell you NO! Surfactants are not safe and bad for you because they are an ingredient in…. Round Up Mix! Do you want to be eating the same ingredient used in something to kill weeds and pests? But if you do the research, you will see that they use a different grade.  And the surfactant is used to adhere the adhere the chemical to the plant and that’s its job.

When you set out to forumlate your own products, begin DIY, want to become ingredient savvy, or read someones blog to get an idea of a recipe to make your own products, look for facts. Take each and every ingredient and check it out from a science point of view. Not some random babe’s blog, or a mama blog, or a blog that tells you you can mix oils and water and not use a preservative.

March for Science April 2017

Over the past few years, we seem to have turned our backs on science based facts and welcomingly embraced idiots who preach to us with their own agenda. When it comes to your body and your skin, do the fact based research and not the oh my sisters husbands friends kids cousins brothers dog doesn’t like this so I shouldn’t like it either. Or I read on this person’s blog that the dust ball under my bed would make a good ear plug. And yes, this is now my platform too and yes, we have our own agenda. But at the end of the day, science is what will be left behind. The more you hear something, the more our brains want to beleive it is true. Just because one person is doing it, doesn’t mean it is right. If everyone were to jump off a building, would you?

In case you were wondering, Proplyene Glycol is a humectant. Humectants are very important in the cosmetics and skin care industry. They are a material that pair with water molecules and  boosts the water content in the skin. Humectants draw moisture to the skin in two ways. They can take moisture from the air and drops it onto the skin, and they promote water absorption from the outer layers of skin. Now while I don’t personally use Proplyene Glycol in Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin products, I wouldn’t say no to using it. It’s just not available to us in China, so we use vegetable glycerine as our humectant.

And now for a little something extra:

Dr Jackass goes on in his post to talk about how in the US cosmetics do not have to have their ingredients listed- wait. Let me show you what he said:

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 11.12.34 AM
From Dr. Axe

I call bullshite. I call massive bullshite. We just told you the other day we are thinking of moving from China to another country and opening a shop in a few years. And guess what? One of those countries is America. So we’ve been studying FDA Cosmetic Labelling Regulations which state VERY clearly on the FDA website:

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 1.54.02 PM.png
From the FDA website on cosmetic labelling

The FDA has very precise and I’m talking precise, down to the font ratio for rules for labelling of skin care/cosmetic products. Ingredients MUST be listed and there is a very strict and precise rule for how you can list your ingredients too and where your ingredient list must be placed both on the container and on the packaging.

Need another link to help understand the labelling or just want a company to make yours?

And here are a few links to some great sites that help to understand various ingredients:

Personal Care– Information Based on Sciencific Facts

Skin Deep– ingredient sheet checker

An now for some laughs from around the web:

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.03.56 AM
(sarcastic) I love to rub bacteria, yeasts and fungi all over my body! Which is what will happen when you mix water and oils with no preservative. And no, beeswax is not a suitable alternative for ewax.
“FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market FDA.” (that is a quote from the FDA) Essential oils are usually the “natural” ingredients which actually have little to no scientific backing. Essential oils, coconut oil and other similar ingredients are not “natural” as they have been chemically, mechanically, or processed in some way, and have a lovely places on the periodic table of elements making them…. chemicals. Other chemicals that are dangerous if not properly tested: water, peppermint essential oil, cinnamon powder, turmeric, nutmeg, ginger, olive oil, talc, and everything under the sun.
Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 6.13.29 AM.png
The molecular structure of coconut oil. Isn’t it pretty? Guess what? It’s been processed (even if you make it yourself!), making it not natural. And it has a chemical structure.

And lastly, TheOatmeal comic on why we do what we do. It’s cute!