General News, Newsletter, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Newsletter: July 2017

Good day Lads and Lassies!

June was a VERY eventful month! Let’s tuck in and I’ll try to keep it short. Happy Canada Day!

There has been so much going on in the SMD Kitchen it’s like we have been dancing on hot coals moving about so much! We cannot wait to share some of our new creations with you! I have been working hard learning how to keep quiet about all the new creations and products coming out and Sonia has been a great test subject. We’ve had a lot of successes and a couple failures (here’s looking at you green tea extract!), but that is the fun of creation!

We will unveil them soon! Never fear! But, to tell you a quick secret, something that you’ve all been waiting for is in the final phase of testing… It’s exciting! It’s taken about eight months, but we think it is almost ready! One last test to go!

Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin got its own dedicated WeChat account! We are working on getting it registered and officiated and signed, chopped and sealed. But, with none of the information in one place, all the running around to get it done is proving much harder than it should be. So be sure to add ScrubMeDown on WeChat and be in the exclusive know about special sales, give aways and more!

Blog: The blog is coming along nicely, we’ve been adding more DIY content to the blog as that is part of the DIY culture. To share. We have been working on narrowing the content; we want to keep it more skin care and product related, with the odd little bit of China and The Move sprinkled in. We really wanted to have some “Life of an Expat in China” but when you think about it, life here for us is pretty normal as we’ve both been here for so long. We’re not all that shocked when things happen. And, teaching. Do you really want to hear about teaching?

We have begun seriously talking about doing some videos to upload onto YouKu and YouTube and maybe some workshops, so if anyone is interested, please let us know!

Delivery+Packaging: You may have noticed that in the past month we’ve upped our packaging to make them a much more of a luxurious and sensory experience. We are both VERY excited about this and have actually mailed ourselves some Happy Skin Products just to see it from your point of view. Who are we kidding here? I just wanted a swanky present!!!! We’ve also had some nasty issues with some of the various cheaper delivery services of packages not arriving or packages that looked like it was the meatball from the Spaghetti Song. We made the decision to use only SFexpress from now on. And to make it an even awesomer experience for you all? SFexpress even has an English website! So tracking your order is even easier and more reliable than ever before. Our delivery prices begin at 20rmb for the first kilogram and 30 for the second.

AND, and this is so very important, please pay attention:  It truly is terrible when your order can’t be delivered on time for something as simple as you didn’t give me your city’s name. If you could fill out this template and send it to our WeChat in one message, in Chinese, NO PICTURES PLEASE.

Name:
Contact Phone Number:
Street address:
District:
City:
Province:
Postal Code:

We are also looking at expanding Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin over the next few months. And since our only real form of advertising is by word of mouth, we will have an awesome competition! So, between July 1 and September 20, we will hold a competition; “Refer a Friend to Happy Skin”. For each friend of yours who places an order over 150rmb during the competition period, your name will be entered into a Lucky Draw, then we will pick two names. Those winners will receive a Gift Basket from Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin valued at 500rmb. We plan to be in Europe (ingredient shopping YAY!!!!!!) around this time, so we will do a live streaming of the draw so you all can join us as we put all the names into a hat to draw. We originally wanted to do this in China, however; “it’s illegal for foreigners to do any live streaming”. So winners will be announced from Europe and your 500rmb Gift Basket will be mailed once we return in October.

Products: We have begun working on some Autumn and Winter ingredient hunting. Winter is coming! We’ve just started July and already we are thinking of next season. As mentioned, we are also busy planning our trip to Europe for ingredients, workshops and paying for some classes! That’s right! We want Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin to be not only backed by years of hands on work and experimentation, but we want to have the certificates and diplomas from accredited schools. Back to school we go! While in Europe, we will also be getting some of our more popular products tested by laboratories. Europe/UK is the only place that demands anyone and any company who sells skincare/cosmetic items to have every product assessed, certified and registered with the government. And since the EU has the strictest laws to follow regarding cosmetics/skincare/labeling we’ve been following their guidelines for products. We might end up in Europe or North America, but we’ll have a leg up anywhere we go with those product certificates.

Summer Orders: as you all know, both Sonia and I work at training centers and it’s summer time. And that means summer intensive programs. My schedule will give me weekends free to prepare and ship out orders. So if you order on say Tuesday, it won’t go out until the weekend.

Some interesting things we are reading and think you might enjoy them:

To Paraben or Not to Paraben  by Dr. Diana Howard

Say YES to preservatives  by Rita Lee

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MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen, Trying Something New

Sepimax ZEN vs Aristoflex AVC Part 1

What an epic black hole Marie’s blog is. If you are truly a DIY junkie (as in you actually have a dedicated room in your house and it spills over to take over the kitchen table, the TV shelving unit and more or want a dedicated apartment for DIY projects), I would strongly suggest checking out her blog. I was playing around on The Hive when Marie posted something about a funky new emulsifier.

And fast forward many months later….. and Aristoflex AVC has become a staple in our face care routine. I will go without a toner. I will go without hair elastics and socks. Just please. Don’t take away my AVC!

So AVC and I haven’t always had the best of relationships. It took some time to figure out what works with it and what doesn’t. It also took some time for me to figure out what else my skin likes since the list of ingredients I couldn’t use in AVC was a mighty big one. And once I figured it out what to pair it with, I can’t gush enough about this ingredient!

IMG_2157
The adding of the sea buckthorn seed oil into the eye serum dropper bottle.

My original plan was to use the AVC for the Eye Serum recipe to use it as the emulsifying agent and as a result, have it thicker to get rid of the dropper bottles as I find those generally ridiculously messy and just an all around pain. I prefer pump bottles and pots. But as you quickly learnt in this post: FAILURE! Aristoflex AVC, there was no real way the AVC could handle that task. It couldn’t handle all the skin yummies I needed it to to do all the stuff an eye serum needs to do.

After a discussion with some other DIY Junkies, I found Sepimax ZEN which plays nicely with all the skin yummies: silks, aloe, pearl, the range of vitamins, salts, all the extracts I like to include in our products, and all the ones I want to include- all that fun stuff. But as I mentioned previously, it was not easy getting my hands on a bag of it. So the ZEN got put through the various tests to see what’s what and how it works and all the fun stuff that makes skin care making absolutely the best part of my day.

I began talking to people about the things I noticed between the two of them and an idea popped into my head. Why not do a series of blog posts comparing AVC and ZEN? Both are wonderful ingredients, so how do they stack up to each other? And which do we want and why? How do they differ in a product? Which do we like better? And through these posts, we will also be involving some of our amazing skin testers comments and opinions and suggestions.

So stay tuned to this space for the Aristoflex AVC and Sepimax ZEN Showdown!

 

 

The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Making Salt Scrub 

Today in the Scrub Me Down Kitchen we are making an emulsified sugar scrub. This scrub is loaded with fantastic goodies and was originally inspired by Ariane Arsenault. We’ve done what she’s done, and taken a fantastic DIY recipe and tweaked it to suit our needs and the needs of our customers. We’ve changed up the oils a wee bit and included some rice bran oil which is ever so popular here in China.

Scrub3 My work space is quite small as you can see, so it gets a wee bit frustrating when trying to make a large amount at one time.

In our recipe we used (in no particular order): beeswax, virgin coconut oil, stearic acid, ewax, apricot kernel oil, rice bran oil, wheat germ oil, evening primrose oil, camellia seed oil, preservative, fragrance oils and Himalyan salt and Korean sugar.

The fragrances we decided on were Tahitian VanillScrub8a for the sugar scrub and Coconut Lime for the salt. And good lord does my house smell like I could eat it.

And that is probably a bad thing.

So over here on the right, you can see the almost finished bowls of scrub. Top is sugar and the bottom is salt.

You can see what I ended up doing, trying to get the coconut lime to look like a margarita, but as you can see, the green mica I used… well, it didn’t mix well with the salt. But it still looks lovely in my opinion! More earthy green. I like it!

All Done!
Vanilla Sugar in the back, Margarita Salt up front.

Then finally comes the two of three jobs I really hate doing. Labeling, doing the washing up and then packaging.

So wish I had a bigger kitchen to work with! Then I could have double sinks and a larger work area and and and and and and….

Have you ever made an emulsified scrub? What did you think about it?

General News, Information

Welcome to Happy Skin!

Welcome to the blog and future website of Happy Skin! And if that name is taken? Well, we’ll think of something then.

I’m Barb, and I am the maple leaf in the logo and Sonia is the clover. If you can’t figure it out, I’m Canadian and she is Irish. Between the two of us, I believe at this moment, between the two of us, we have been calling China home for over 21 years. We live in Liaoning, China and I can actually see Sonia’s apartment building from my window!

I’ve been making my own soaps, lotions, beauty products and more for the past eight or nine years. You know what it’s like here in China. You get used to some sort of product, then they never have it anymore. Then you find a new product. Then poof! It is gone again. And repeat. So I figured screw that, why not just make my own stuff after all, it can’t be all that hard as they did it hundred of years ago before electricity was around. So I began reading everything I could get my hands on and began to make soap. Fast forward many years, and Sonia’s standing in my kitchen telling me that I need to start selling my stash of goodies and Happy Skin was born!

It’s been interesting this past year trying to get this business started and doing it by international standards. We plan on sharing some of those stories with you soon!