DIY Advanced, Lotions & Butters, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Better than Lingerie body butter

Let me tell you the happiest part about this butter. When you feel yourself up after putting it on? All I can say is, you’re welcome! Your skin will feel just… I don’t even know if there is an adjective adequately describe how this feels on my skin . And yup. I am so going to try to make this butter better in future attempts!

‘Tis that time of year where all this dry weather, heating systems are causing your skin to look like a pair of gross, old, worn out yoga pants. Oh yes. I so went there. Where regular body butter is still awesome and works wonders, but you’re a DIY junkie and can’t use the same body product for more than a few days in a row because you’re itching to make something new. And try out all those new ingredients! So you use crazy dry weather as an excuse to yourself to create something new.

img_2925.jpgAnd trying out new ingredients I did! Silk Amino Acids! Hydrolized wheat protein! A new panthenol that is more like an actual liquid not a clear sticky sticky mess that brings to mind molasses in January on crack! And, I had to try Olivem 1000 in a body butter with cetyl alcohol as it’s back up singer (for additional stability). Everyone talks about how awesome it is, I needed to try it out. I mean for a while there I was dead set against it because of the cost factor.

Cards down? More testing is needed. This is my third recipe in making a body butter with Olivem 1000 (needed to get that consistency just right! Thick, but not too thick. Thin, but not too thin. Scoopable, but not pourable. Then had to play with some oils and and and… I think I got it. Of course I will play with more it and properly compare Olivem 1000 to my emulsifier stash I’ve got going on.

Cause a girl can never have too many emulsifiers. Am I right? And they are all in competition.

img_2933.jpgLet’s talk a little about Olivem 1000. It is a fantastic product for a wide range of skin needs. Used in anti-aging products, great for oily skin, sensitive skin, normal or combination skin. It’s perfect in an eye cream, and great for cosmetic products that have a low to medium low oil phase. Want to know something neat about Olivem 1000? It kind of has a skin-like fatty acid so it can help to strengthen the lipid barrier of the skin and provide oodles of moisturization! It’s pretty dang cool in my books and I’m quickly finding it does live up to the hype!

What I find really neat about Olivem 1000, is that once you mix your liquid phase and oil phase together, you can whisk it together and you get a thinner consistency. But mix it with an immersion blender? and you get a much thicker consistency! But, the one issue I’ve discovered with the whisking, you do need to make sure you add in an ingredient like a cetyl alcohol or xanthan gum to aid in stability, or else you run the risk of losing your emulsion (this is kind of where I find Olivem 1000 fails me). And, if you blend with a whisk or something other than an immersion blender, your lotion/butter will take a good 24 hours to get to its full viscosity. I personally prefer the immersion blender. 

img_3046.jpgI really wanted to use liquid oils and to use oils that I know my skin likes. So that had me dusting off my last bottle of avocado oil I’ll ever buy in China and checking to make sure that it was still good to use! And one of my favourite oils, wheat germ oil. Wheat germ oil is an awesome oil for dry winter skin as it is naturally packed full of Vitamin E, which is one of the biggest reasons why you don’t see me add in extra Vitamin E when I make stuff with wheat germ oil for me. It’s said that wheat germ oil can help repair damaged skin, give you a boost of collagen, helps with blood circulations and replaces the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, wheat germ oil has received a negative reputation as being a pore clogger (Comedogenic rating of 5 which means you are guaranteed to break out).

IMG_3015Yeah. That comedogenic rating belongs with the dinosaurs. Extinct. I really like to thumb my nose at the rating system and live on the wild side by using ingredients like cocoa butter and wheat germ oil with amazing results. Don’t take one rating system that has been debunked often as your bible! Try out some fun oils!

Avocado oil is a fantastic oil and much loved for its spreadability and its ability to penetrate deep into skin. Perfect for giving dull winter skin a boost! I used refined avocado oil in my recipe, but unrefined would work well too!

IMG_3008My additives I went a little crazy. I know. My hydrolized wheat protein I think is  an awesome new ingredient to play with. Yup. This stuff is mainly for hair, I wanted to check out how it works on the skin, and I have to admit, I like the results. I used it in a hair brightening mask and I noticed the results immediately after washing it out. So far I’m liking it quite a bit!

The silk I used in this recipe is silk amino acids from The Soap Kitchen. I am really loving not tasting the silk peptides every time I open the bag!

IMG_2998So, this Body Butter leaves your skin feeling amazing. I’ve brought two different tubs of it to work, and both tubs grew some legs and walked out of my classroom.

I scented this with Garden Path from Gracefruit, which imparted a very light and delicate fresh scent of Springtime outdoors. I think next time I will be using some sort of grapefruit or citrus scent or even possibly something a wee bit sultry to match that amazing silky feeling left on the skin. I also added in some white mica (1/2tsp) and some pastel blue (a drop) to give this some shimmer. Let me tell you. You might think you need more shimmer, but PLEASE don’t. Even with these small amount there is more than enough shimmer going on here!

IMG_3034I decided to try the new preservatives I bought while in Ireland. Gracefruit POG  preservative (Phenoxyethanol and Ethylhexylglycerin) and give it a test. If you do not have the same preservative, feel free to use your usual preservative system.

Did you make it? What did you think?

Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 10.45.46 AM.png

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

  1. Into Beaker A, weigh out all your liquid phase; water, aloe and glycerin. Place into your double boiler on a barely there simmer.
  2. Into Beaker B, weigh out all your oil phase; Olivem 1000, wheat germ oil. avocado oil and cetyl alcohol. Place into your double boiler on a barely there simmer.
  3. Into Beaker C, weight out your additives; panthenol, liquid wheat, liquid silk, preservative and fragrance oil and set aside.
  4. Let Beaker A and Beaker B sit in the double boiler for about 20 to 30 minutes. Once everything is melted, remover Beaker A (liquids), wipe off the outside, and gently pour the contents in Beaker B. Stir gently with your spatula for a moment before removing Beaker B from the double boiler.
  5. Using your immersion blender, blend the contents in short bursts until you see things thicken up a wee bit. Continue the short bursts, whilst using your spatula to scrape down the splatter.
  6. Once the Body Butter has cooled to below 40C, add the contents of Beaker C and stir.
  7. Decant your butter into three 100g pots, or a 250g (you’ll have a wee little bit left over though for immediate use!), leave the cap off while they fully cool down.
  8. Label your pots with the date, and enjoy!


My 250g pot of Butter grew legs and found a new home.


The other pot that grew legs and the new owner has demanded a face lotion that would make her face feel the same. Challenge accepted!
It’s a shame all the sounds I made while trying this lotion for the first time didn’t come through. There were plenty of ooohs and ahhs and holy coffee pots!


For some reason, this post was originally posted without pictures. Hopefully, the situation is sorted and all is well! One day soon, this blog will be in a country that will never need to use a VPN!

MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

The DIY story of Barb's Face

Merry Christmas from China!

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*.

Chinese White.jpgMany 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….).

IMG_0079 2But 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!!!!

A recent emulsified face lotion I made

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?

Look at all those processed chemicals! Glorious preservatives, vitamins, extracts, vegetable glycerines… even water!!!! 

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 with  bleach 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.

Good things come to those who experiment! 

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.

what it was…. 

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!

what it is (I am not wearing any sort of foundation or blush or powder on my face). Stay tuned for the lipstick recipe! 

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.

Merry Christmas!


What about you? What is your skin journey?


* fine print:

all the idea’s in this post are purely my own opinions and experiences. 



DIY Intermediate, Hands & Feet, MsBarb, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

DIY: Foot & Ankle Massage Gel

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

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

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


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

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

One of my new favourite photos!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How neat is that!

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

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

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

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

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

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