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

DIY: Cucumber Mint Toner

I got so lost in the deep dark abyss that is Susan Barclay-Nicols blog “Point of Interest” before the technical drama of the past week and decided we needed to order in some cucumber extracts. And we needed not just one, but two different types of cucumber extracts. And we needed more hydrolised oat peptides, and green tea, and grapefruit, and papaya, and comfrey, and liquorice extract and about five or six other extracts too. I just really wanted to stock up the fridge with all the winter scrubs, exotic oils, luxury waxes and extracts till the door wouldn’t close.

YAY! I think I might finally have enough to play with!

Yeah, no.

Two and a bit weeks in, and I still love it!

My DIY addiction runs very deep.The Cucumber Mint Toner came about because I needed a new toner and so did Sonia and I wanted to see how my skin would take to a different style of toner after all these years. I’ve been using the Bee Happy Toner for so many years hardly changing the recipe since I created it, and since I’m not getting any younger, I should try something new! And to see how my skin likes cucumber products. Because everyone around here goes on and on about cucumber products, I wanted to see what all the hype is about.

Aloe juice has become quite the staple in my face care of late, the more I learn about the skin the more amazed at the various ingredients I can choose from to do one thing or another or combine them and have a super power. I have found the more I work with aloe, the more I respect it. I love how it deals with the redness in my skin! Then there is this cucumber extract which everyone and the witch’s knee has gone on about but it is new for me to play with in a liquid form so I’m treating it like it is new. I really like the thought of the cucumber being astringent, which makes the skin feel (and possibly look) tighter after use. There are a few properties in cucumber and aloe that are similar, both are soothing and hydrating and both contain polysaccharides.

Polysaccharides provide our skin with a hydration boost, emolliency, and create a light gel barrier for the skin. Basically, both aloe and cucumber help to keep water IN where it should be for awesome looking skin.

Cucumber Toner 1

There is also a bunch of vitamins in here too! And because this was being made specifically to test to see how the cucumber extract works, I decided to make it cucumber minty. So there is some peppermint hydrosol and peppermint essential oil in here too for some tingle and cool factor! I cannot wait till next week when I can make the mint tingle summer spray that’s been playing around in my head of late.

Some of you who have known me from some various DIY blog’s, know I’ve never been keen on using hydrosols as they have their own types of issues chiefly exactly how fresh are they? Are they contaminated? Ok, let’s be honest here. I was really into hydrosols years ago, took one out of the fridge, shook it and opened it and it exploded. I have a wee little scar on my forehead and I have never wanted to use hydrosols again and used the “freshness” as a reason.  Anyways….

I really like to keep a bottle of this in my fridge for after work, walk in the door, reach into the fridge for my version of a cold one, shake some out on a cotton face pad and sigh with bliss on these ridiculously hot June days! I’ve been using this toner for a few weeks now and have been loving it!

Ok! So are you ready to make this toner? Sleeves rolled up? Apron on? Everything been wiped down and you are ready to create?

So what we are going to do is break this recipe into two parts. Pre-heat and Post-heat.


  • 59% distilled water
  • 20% aloe juice (the cosmetic kind, not the drinking kind)
  • 1% vegetable glycerine
  • 1% allantoin
  • 1% niacinamide

Post Heat:

  • 10% liquid cucumber extract
  • 5% peppermint hydrosol
  • 1% panthenol (I use the liquid)
  • 1% water soluble Vitamin E
  • 1% preservative NOTE 


4 drops peppermint essential oil

Measure everything in the preheat group into your heat proof beaker and set it in your double boiler on a barely there simmer. Now whistle a jaunty tune while you wait.

About tenish minutes or so later you should have everything dissolved and now it’s time to take it out of the double boiler. Stir and allow to cool till about 40C. You are looking for your liquid to be transparent with no crystal formations or white powders to be on the bottom.

Mix the post- heat ingredients into the beaker and stir well. Add in your peppermint essential oil and fragrance oil if you’d like. Decant into a 100mL bottle, and allow to cool. Once you’ve brought your toner to room temperature, cap, label and enjoy! Remember to shake before use!

NOTE: My preservative is the Chinese version of Liquid Germall Plus. My useage rate is 1%. Be sure to read your preservative information guide and go with what they recommend. If you do not need as much preservative, remove some of the water. 

So, what did you think about this product? How are you enjoying it?

Toner 3





Information, Questions, The Scrub Me Down Kitchen

Question: How to care for your products?


The new Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin Packaging


You took the plunge, you are now the proud owner of new handcrafted, spa quality, luxurious, artisanal beauty products. And the first thing you really noticed upon opening your package, is that these products really are made with a love of what the crafter does.

Now what?

How do you make sure you get the most out of your products? Make them last a long time? Keep the contamination beasties out? Keep the scent around? Keep them from going bad? That is what we’ve dedicated this post to. Now, you may or may not have bought Scrub Me Down- Happy Skin products, you may have bought your products from another artisanal maker, and that is ok! No problem. The basic principles are the same.

There is a little bit of a learning curve in caring for your handcrafted products, but the faster you get into the habit of taking care of your products, the longer you will keep them around. Some people just look at us when we try to explain this topic and they say, “It is just soap. You lather, rinse and use again tomorrow”. True, but if you want to use your fantastic bar of soap for three weeks, then grand! But if you want it to last as long as possible… you get my drift. It’s like buying an expensive cashmere sweater. Sure you could toss it into the wash with the towels like you do your other sweatshirts, but do you really think it is going to continue to look beautiful? Nope. You need to hand wash that sucker with special soap, rinse carefully, lay flat to dry, fluff, carefully fold, then put back into your closet.

Water Based Products

This includes but is not limited to: serums, gels, lotions, creams, butters, toners

A selection of water based products

It is very important to close/tighten the lids. We do try to put most things into containers that have flip top lids to make it easier for you to close it all down. And there is a very good reason we use these types of containers. Contamination is not our friends. We use preservatives to try to prevent beasties from taking over your product, we practice excellent GMP in The Scrub Me Down Kitchen, but we are not scientists working in sterile lab like conditions so there is always a risk. We do our part by making sure our work areas are pristine as they can possibly be, we sterilise your containers before we fill them, sterilise the lids, we change our gloves often, have our hair pulled back, we even go so far as to wear particle masks when making water based products to keep beasties on this end out. But, none of this matters if you don’t close that lid. China is not the cleanest of places, and I wouldn’t ever want to use a product that sits open on someone’s counter in someone’s bathroom in any country. I mean seriously. You flush your toilet in the same breathing space as that product. I don’t even want to imagine what the fecal count you apply to your face if you don’t tighten that lid. I even wipe down my containers in the bathroom often as the thought of touching said container, then applying the lotion to my hands, closing the container, then applying to my face… well the thought of a poop cream really doesn’t appeal to me.

Kids can safely use Happy Skin water based products under the direct supervision of parents. Again, this is because of the potential of contamination. Kids pick their noses, scratch willy nilly without thought, and don’t wash their hands after their frequent trips to the bathroom (most people I find don’t at all, they more or less wave their hands under the water which might sound pretty, but doesn’t do squat)… do you really want them putting their grubby hands into your precious products? I wouldn’t. Now a pump bottle or a flip top lid, I’d be happier sharing. But a tub or a pot? No way. I need to think about my safety first. I know, gross thoughts. I’ve worked with children for years, the crazy gross things they do (I laugh my arse off about it but it’s still pretty gross!) so for me, even any store bought item (and that includes food!) if a kid touches it, I’m done. I should just have kids. I’d loose so much weight!

Please ensure that you fasten your lid onto the container if you can. Don’t just cover the container/pot with the lid. This doesn’t just keep the beasties out, but it also works to keep your product in the best condition. Water evaporates. We work very hard at formulating recipes that are precise to give the glide, slip, texture, feeling that they have for the most luxurious experience. Don’t mess with the ingredients by letting something as simple as water evaporate!

Flip top lids need to be closed after every single use to prevent evaporation

If you do not like the containers we have chosen for your products and want to decant your (for example) face cream from a pump into a pot, we would strongly advise against doing so. Reusing any container is never a good idea.

Please don’t add anything to your products! I mentioned above, we spent a long time formulating each recipe to make them what they are. Each ingredient has been measured to fit into the product exactly. The preservatives used are calculated for exactly what is in there. By adding even a drop of something has the potential to alter that delicate balance.

Don’t add anything to your products and remember to close the lid after every use or the beasties will find your goodies! Photo credit: a customer who added essential oils to a body butter.

Keep your products out of direct sunlight, the bathroom cabinet is a perfect place to store your products. And if you are stock piling, store them in a cool dark location. I keep my extra stash in the fridge. I love applying cold cream to my face! Ohhh and cold toner is divine!

A bathroom cupboard is the perfect place to store your day to day bath products. Lots of testing going on!

Anhydrous Based

This includes but is not limited to: all lippies, body scrubs, lotion bars, face scrubs

The Lemon Lime Sugar Scrub pre-capping

The number one most important thing to know, keep water out. Beasties need water to grow in. No water therefore, no beasties. Get water in there, beasties can grow rampant. In some of our anhydrous products, we don’t use a preservative, so this rule, is vital. We know the body scrub will be used in the shower, and water will make it’s way into the scrub no matter how much you try to keep water out, don’t worry. It does contain a preservative. Just try to keep the water to a minimum!

Remember to recap your products after each and every use. Fecal matter. Remember?

Again, all our anhydrous products can be used by children under the direct supervision of a parent. They are all kid friendly, but again, kids+dirty+cooties+snot=questionable thoughts.

Personally, how I use a lot of my anhydrous based products by taking a clean kitchen spoon, and using the bum end to scoop some product out into a little bowl. This way, I know that I always keep water, cooties and nasties out.

A somewhat sensitive topic, heat. Now that we are getting into the heat of summer here in China, those of you who live in China, I know you are nodding your head and thinking, the humidity is a killer! And it rightly is a killer. It’s horrible! You cannot escape it. I’ve never experienced anything like it anywhere else on my travels. It is just gross. Yucky gross. And that sun is bloody hot too. And that means melting issues. And there is really no avoiding it unfortunately. Coconut oil melts at around 22-26C, cocoa butter at about 35C and here in Liaoning we are experiencing 39C weather. In the north of China. I don’t want to think of what the south is getting. Lippy’s will soften in this temperature. So be careful when applying! I have mine in my purse all the time with no problems and have spent hours out in the sun in the high heat of the afternoon. Just be aware that if you have been in the sun, that it might get soft. If you experience any of your products melting, toss them into the fridge.

The Lippy’s that are currently in my purse

And as with water based products, keep out of direct sun light.

Southern Belle
Southern Belle Luxury Soap


You may have seen our first official YouTube video about humidity and your soap. Homemade soap and humidity are not friends. The soap attracts the moisture from the air and sticks to the soap causing something called, “glycerine tears”. Then, the soap leaks everywhere. And then? When it dries? You get all these funky raised spots on the soap! It’s actually very cool! But this shows you just how amazing the soap is. The naturally occurring glycerine is a byproduct from the soap making process that usually commercial companies remove. Anyways, I digress. There are ways to store your soap to get the bar to last as long as possible. Tossing your soaps into a shoebox under the couch, or in your closet is always a good method to store your soaps. In the humidity of summer, we ship each soap with some silica packets to prevent the beading. Keep these packets and use them to store your soaps.

When you receive your soap, unpackage it. Don’t store your soap with the plastic package on. It is like your feet. Socks are great, but your feet need to air out too.

Air. Lots of air flow. Your soap caddy will play a major part in making sure your soap lasts a long time. I have a two tiered soap caddy which allows me to use one soap today, and the other tomorrow. Alternating my soap each day. This allows the soap to fully dry between use, which keeps the soap as hard as possible. Make sure your soap caddy has lots of air circulation and not a little pool of water for it to sit in.

My soap caddy; Margarita Himalayan Salt Soap, Chai Latte and Happy Skin

If you use just the bar of soap straight up on your skin (this is how I use my soap!), you will find you won’t get a long use out of it. If you use a wash cloth or loofa or one of those nylon bags, you will find you will get a longer period of use from the soap. Basically, the less time the soap spends in direct contact with water, the longer it will kick around.


Water based products: close containers properly, use clean fingers, don’t add stuff to it, keep out of sunlight.

Anhydrous products: try to keep water out, close properly, keep out of sunlight, and due to the heat your product may get softer.

Soap: let dry properly in between use, store extra soaps in a cool and dark place.

This is not an extensive list by far, but these are the basic things you can do to get the most out of your product! It’s bath time!

Under the Sea.jpg
Under the Sea Luxury Soap