Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The new e-zine is out for Patreon subscribers...

Hi everyone! Hope you're enjoying a lovely spring filled with flowers and bird calls no matter where you are in the world.

The e-zine I'm offering to $10.00 subscribers to my Patreon page this month is part one of a few on cosmeceuticals in facial products. It won't be available outside of Patreon, and it's only available until May 1st.

In addition to having loads and loads of information on cosmeceuticals, you'll find a secret word that will get you $10 off my upcoming cosmeceuticals & active ingredients e-book! Pretty awesome, eh?

Check out the table of contents here! 

As well, Jen from Lotioncrafter is offering a 7% discount until April 30th to everyone who has subscribed at the $10 level. Again, pretty awesome, eh?

Please note that the proceeds from the Patreon subscription and my e-zines go to my family, not to my youth programs. Proceeds from the five e-books go 100% to the youth programs my husband and I run from the Neighbourhood Learning Centre in Chilliwack, B.C. Click here to learn more.

Thank you so much to all of you for supporting my blog and my youth programs! I'm such a lucky woman to have such wonderful and supportive readers!

If you'd like to see more of the e-zines and e-books I write, please check out this post on the topic. Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I'm teaching at Windy Point Soap Making!

I'm so excited to announce I've been invited to teach at Windy Point Soap Making's grand opening of their new store in Calgary, Alberta, over the Victoria Day long weekend (May 20th & 21st)! We should have more news shortly, but keep watching this page and their Facebook page for more information on classes and registration!

As an aside, if you've never been to Windy Point's on-line shop*, I encourage you to take a look at it. Michele & Keith have worked hard to offer a huge assortment of ingredients from fun emulsifiers like Simulsol 165, RM-2051, and Aristoflex AVC, as well as surfactants like SCI, flavoured lip balm oils like the pear coconut and cupcake I used for my lip scrubs, and spectacular fragrance oils. They're also carrying my e-books, which is just lovely!

Please note, they didn't pay me to say these things, and I receive nothing from them if you buy something. I'm just so happy to be associated in some small way with lovely people like Michele & Keith. We have some really great suppliers in Canada, eh?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

They aren't mistakes: They're salty, gummy, tasty learning opportunities

Every day I see posts and messages from those of you who are scared to try something because you might waste supplies or make an unsuccessful product. To you I say this: Get in the workshop and try making something! You will learn nothing until you have the experience of holding the ingredients in your hands and working through the instructions! (Sorry for yelling, but this is something I'm really passionate about!)

Please allow me to share a story with you. On Friday, a brilliant and talented young woman named Jessica, who is currently attending school to become a pastry chef, taught me how to make edible spheres using sodium alginate and calcium chloride. She made a lovely honey and water simple syrup to go into iced tea, and we made guava ones later on. (Yes, they were both awesome!)

She really wanted to try making soy sauce spheres to put on sushi, but our attempts failed. We pondered the chemistry of the situation for a bit, then consulted the internet for more recipes. One suggested we try making them with agar agar, and, luckily, I had a food grade version in the workshop, so we gave it a go.

Less than an hour later, we had soy sauce spheres.!We had a bit of the agar agar/soy sauce combination left over and my gummy bear molds arrived earlier last week, so we put two and two together to create...SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!

I know, right? SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!!! (Patent pending, TM, and all that jazz!) 

Let me tell you, they were delicious! They had all the awesome saltiness of soy sauce without making the sushi and agedashi tofu* soppy and wet. One was perfect for a small roll, two perfect for the larger ones. Two days later, they are still soft and gummy outside the fridge, and they still taste awesome.

This will lead to more experimentation making fruit gummies, which we'll share with our youth programs, and it'll lead to more experiments using the agar agar for bath & body products as it's shown it can stand up to electrolytes, like the salts we find in so many of our ingredients, which I'll share here with you.

Why am I sharing a story about SOY SAUCE GUMMY BEARS!!! with you on a bath & body product blog?

One, soy sauce gummy bears are awesome! They're all salty and yummy, and part of me wants to just eat them without the sushi, but apparently that makes me some kind of monster, according to my friends and husband. (I like Marmite, too. Don't judge me!)

And two, we wouldn't have started our experiments with agar agar if we hadn't failed in our original attempts. We would have made the original spheres and been very happy with them. Instead, the failure made us go looking for more answers, and we found a a recipe that was more wonderful than we thought possible that opened up our minds to all kinds of new and wonderful ideas!

There are no such things as mistakes when it comes to playing in our workshops (and kitchens): They're opportunities to learn what we like and what we don't like. I know it's hard to throw away what seem like wasted ingredients that cost money and took forever to get to us by mail, but you'll have learned so much, including what doesn't work, what you hate, and what not to do again. I always say I gain confidence from my successes, but I learn more from my failures.

Allow me a moment to share my origin story with you. I made bath bombs a few times before sharing then with my youth program. They failed miserably, falling to pieces in our hands, which lead me on a quest to find out why. I stumbled upon the Dish Forum, where I found recipes for lotion and more, plus an amazing community of people who shared their knowledge and recipes. The questions that arose while I made those first recipes lead me to learn chemistry, which lead me to create this blog so I could share my passion for our craft with you, my lovely readers.

If those bath bombs had worked, I would have had lovely bath bombs for a day or two, but I wouldn't have set out on this exciting adventure that has included creating this blog, writing the e-books, instructing, and all the other lovely things that I enjoy every day.

RECIPE FOR SOY SAUCE GUMMIES (a modification of the recipe found here...) 
175 grams soy sauce
2 grams agar agar

Mix the two together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil while mixing, then remove from the heat. Pour into the molds, then put in the freezer to cool. It took about 10 minutes per mold of 50 small gummies.

I'm not sure how many gummies this recipe will make as we made a bunch of other things before we decided to try the gummy mold.

I bought my gummy bear molds from Amazon.ca - here's a link for the ones I bought, which were $13 for 3 molds* - but you could use all kinds of things, like silicone ice cube trays from the dollar store. These are very small gummies, and I don't think I'd want them to be much bigger as they're already a salty punch in the face, and I say this as someone who carries a small shaker of salt around in her purse just in case they don't have it when I need it.

My sodium registers as "low" in blood tests, which comes as a shock to me, so there's no need to worry about my blood pressure. I think it's the only thing about me health-wise that's not worrisome!

We did try the version in the link to the recipe above where he drops soy sauce into cold olive oil, but we didn't get cute little spheres out of it and they were a little too big for our tastes. I'm sure, with time, we could get that method right.

As always, the links I provide on this blog are for informational purposes only. I don't receive any compensation of any sort from anyone if you buy those gummy bear molds or anything else I tell you about here. Just wanted to remind you of that. 

Also, did you know that there's some kind of new link where pages get some kind of kickback if you visit them, then visit Amazon for something completely different after you leave their page? You don't have to click on a link or anything. What the heck is up with that??? 

Do you have a happy accident story to share? What have you learned from failed attempts? What are you grateful didn't work the first time? Please share your thoughts in the comments! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Newbie Tuesday on Thursday: Making a gelled facial serum with AHAs

Last week we took a look at AHAs. Today, let's add some of these to our gelled serum with or without oils using Sepimax ZEN.

We're using a combination of fruit acids you can find as Multifruit BSC, fruit acid complex, and other names because we can add quite a bit of it without having to stress about testing the products with a pH meter. If you have a meter, check out how the pH changes before and after you add it.

LIGHT MOISTURIZING GELLED SERUM WITH SEPIMAX ZEN
WATER PHASE
68% distilled water
10% oils of choice
10% aloe vera
3% Multifruit BSC
2% glycerin
2% sodium lactate
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ZEN PHASE
2% Sepimax ZEN

Weigh out all the water phase ingredients. Use warm water to dissolve the allantoin. Mix well. 

Sprinkle the Sepimax ZEN into the container, then let it sit for up to eight hours. Resist the urge to mix or stir for that eight hours! Then mix with a beater attachment on your mixer or a milk frother. Please don’t use a stick blender as that’s can ruin the gel. And you’re done! 

There is another option if you don’t want to wait eight hours. You can sprinkle the Sepimax ZEN into the container, then mix for 10 minutes with a mixer with beaters or a propeller mixer. It will be slightly thicker than the one made by waiting eight hours. 

If you want to add more Multifruit BSC, try it at 5% next time up to a maximum of 8%. 

If you'd like to make a version that doesn't contain oils, remove the 10% and just add more water or another water soluble ingredient. Take a look at the posts on gelled toners to see how that might look. 

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil containing gelled facial serum
Using Sepimax ZEN to make a gelled facial serum with AHAs (part one)

As a quick note, as I'm getting ready to present at the American Soapmakers Guild conference in Las Vegas on May 1st - woo! - and as I'm going on another trip in May to teach a few classes - it's not public yet, but you'll see it here first if you're interested in attending - I'll be suspending the Newbie Tuesday series until the end of May to give you a chance to try the products we've been making and offer feedback. (I'll still be blogging and such, but not doing this specific series...)

In the meantime, I'll be putting together the shopping list for the moisturizers, oil based serum, and creamy cleanser so you can get those things before we start that series in early June.

As another note, I'm still working on a few micellar water recipes I'm trying to get them just right, and I'll have a make-up remover recipe as well. I've also been working on some recipes with salicylic acid that I'll post as well. I just can't promise any of these things will be on Tuesdays. Not that I've been doing great with posting every Tuesday...

So, what do you think about what you've been making?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Newbie Tuesday on Wednesday: Making a gelled facial serum with AHAs (part one)

Yesterday we took a look at making a gelled serum with 10% oil with Sepimax ZEN. Today, let's add some fruit acids to the mix to create something that will act as an AHA or alpha-hydroxy acid, something Sepimax ZEN can handle at up to 4% without problems!

As a quick note, it can also handle salicylic acid, something I hope I can share with you in the next few weeks! 

What are alpha-hydroxy acids? (From a a longer post...) They induce epidermal effects through corneoctye disadhesion, operating by disrupting the ionic bonds between the cells so they can slough off and expose newer and lovelier cells underneath the stratum corneum, or top layer of cells. They also work as an anti-oxidant and can relieve post sun redness. All of these things make fine lines and wrinkles appear less obvious, reduce redness and inflammation, and expose new, shiny skin to the world.

AHAs work by penetrating our skin through the stratum corneum to the stratum granulosum. It acts as an exfoliant on the top layer of our skin by disrupting the bonding between the cells and allowing them to slough off, revealing those new and lovely cells I spoke of earlier.

In the past I would have suggested buying Multifruit BSC, but the product with that specific name is being discontinued in some places, so look for something like fruit acid complex* (Lotioncrafter) or FSS Fruit Mix* (Formulator Sample Shop). You'll find it with an INCI of something like - Water & Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Extract & Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract & Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract & Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract & Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Extract.

This blend has a pH of 4.06, and is soluble in water, glycerin, and propylene glycol, and insoluble in oils. It's about 55% active, so add at 5% to 15% (so 2.75% to 8.25% AHA in your creation) in the cool down phase of your creation. It is great for use in surfactant blends, lotions, creams, shampoos, and other water based creations. It isn't suggested to use a cationic emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50 with this product, so keep it in non-ionic lotions and potions or anionic surfactant creations. It has a shelf life of 12 to 18 months if kept in a cool dark place.

When using it with Sepimax ZEN, we can't go over 4% AHAs, so make sure you use no more than 8% of this extract in the product.

There are other ingredients found at other suppliers that are fruit acid mixes, but I haven't tried those, so I can't comment. I have used the versions found at Voyageur Soap & Candle, Lotioncrafter, and Formulator Sample Shop, which is why I make those suggestions. If you're trying something I don't mention here, please make a small batch of 100 grams the first time you use it and keep loads of notes.  

Why do I suggest using this instead of AHAs, like glycolic acid? Because using a fruit acid blend like this is less likely to drop your pH to the point of burning when used at the suggested usage rates, compared to a straight AHA ingredient. If you want to use things like lactic or glycolic acid, make sure you have a good pH meter - not the strips - and prepare to add it a drop at a time when you get close to the pH you want.

You can't just add AHAs to any product you want: Make sure all your ingredients work well with acids and lower pH levels. For instance, niacinamide wants a pH of 6, so you can't combine the two.

And always start with a lower level of AHAs. For instance, I generally suggest starting with 3% fruit acid complex, which would give us 1.65%, a level most people could handle.

Okay, this post is getting far too long, so join me tomorrow as we take a look at making a recipe or two with AHAs.

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil containing gelled facial serum

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Argh! Technology, which I both love and hate! (And isn't resin casting awesome?)

I've just realized my ISP has altered my e-mail settings for my phone and tablet to be IMAP, meaning if I delete something from one thing, it deletes the e-mail from all the things. I usually look at my mail on my phone or tablet, then delete those I won't be able to answer until I'm at my laptop because they require a longer answer or a bunch of links or they've inspired me to write a post or two. ARGH! That's what I get for being tidy: I've accidentally deleted most of the mail I've been getting for - I think - the last two months or so. (I discovered this looking for a coupon we wanted to use for Staples that I deleted from my phone a few minutes earlier. Nope, wasn't in the trash bin either.)

I don't delete e-mail on my laptop. I'm not kidding. I have everything going back to 2002, when I switched from Shaw to Telus! I even back it up to ensure I'll always have it. It seems very hoarder-y, I'm sure, but believe me when I say it comes in handy. Remember the woman who plagiarized my work? I have all the records of her donations for the e-books she later sold for $1,000 as part of her professional course from a few years ago. 

If you've written to me during this time and haven't received a reply, you may have been part of the mass accidental deletion, and I encourage you to re-send your message to me. 

As an aside, check out the cute little gummy bears and my Tetris cubes I created using Amazing Casting resin* (the white that sets up in 10 minutes) and silicone molds or ice cube trays. We're making these in group this week, and some of these will become a bracelet and possibly a set of earrings, and some of these will be attached to a picture frame using this cool icing type clay used in a process called decoden*.

I'm not completely sure what I'm doing with the Tetris pieces yet, but I'm thinking of putting magnets or thumb tacks on the back so I can use them on the fridge or bulletin board while singing the theme tune that has been stuck in my head for days!

I'll post my finished products for those of you who might be interested in making these kinds of crafts.

I used micas from Windy Point Soap (Alberta)* - magic red, magic violet, and jade green - to colour the bears. The white bears and pieces are actually glow-in-the dark using Night Glow Powder from TKB Trading (USA)*. (Awesome, right? I made nail polish with it, too!)

As always, I receive nothing if you visit the sites to which I've linked or buy anything from those companies. I'm just really excited about this process of decoden and about resin casting, and wanted to share with you! 

Also, you're supporting these youth programs and these projects by buying e-books from this blog and other retailers at which you might find them, so I thought you'd like to see a bit of what we make! 

Newbie Tuesday: Making a gelled facial serum with oil using Sepimax ZEN

Wow, I just can't stay on schedule lately, and I apologize for that. I did write a few posts on making lip scrubs - yummy pear coconut scrub, a lovely jojoba & peppermint scrub, and a plumping peppermint & jojoba lip scrub - which go well with this series of making facial products. 

In our last Newbie Tuesday post, I mentioned making an oil containing gelled facial serum with Sepimax ZEN, so let's get to that!

This gelling ingredient is great at emulsifying oils, although don't believe them when they say it'll emulsify up to 40% oils. 10% works well for me, and anything over that tends to be a little problematic and I've seen separation. Besides, 10% oil is a lot in a serum when you have all kinds of other lovely ingredients to add to the mix!

You could take our gelled toner from last time and add 10% oil and make something awesome. Observe the modifications...

ROSE & ALOE MOISTURIZING GEL WITH SEPIMAX ZEN
SLIGHTLY HEATED WATER PHASE
64% distilled water*
10% light oil or ester of choice* 
10% aloe vera
10% rose water
2% panthenol
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

ZEN PHASE
3% Sepimax ZEN

*Notice I've added 10% oil and removed 10% from the distilled water phase compared to the non-oil containing recipe. 

Using room temperature or slightly above room temperature water, add the ingredients in the slightly heated water phase and mix well. Sprinkle Sepimax ZEN on the water. Wait 8 hours. Do not mix during that time. I know you want to, but don’t! After 8 hours – ta da! You have a lovely thick gel!?"

Or you can put the powder in the water, mix lightly with a fork until the product is wetted, then start mixing. Start at a lower speed with a beater on a hand mixer, then move to a higher speed for about 10 minutes.

This will create quite a thick gel, so if you want it to be thinner, feel free to reduce the ZEN to 2.5% or even 2%. It will be thinner if you mix it than if you let it sit for 8 hours. (You'll see the next version uses 2% ZEN.)

What oils would work well here? I love squalane in a facial serum as it's super light and sinks in quickly. Fractionated coconut oil or pomegranate oil also produce really lovely products. You could try an ester, like cetearyl ethylhexanoate or C12-15 alkyl benzoate for a very light, moisturized, less greasy feeling product. Or try using 2% to 4% dimethicone with 6% to 8% light feeling oil for a silky feeling serum. Or try using ethylhexyl palmitate for a silky feeling product that is a lot like dimethicone. In short, you can use any oil you wish in this recipe and come out with something really awesome! 

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at adding an acidic ingredient, like AHAs, to our gelled facial serum! Woo! 

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe
Creating a facial toner (part one)
Creating a facial toner (part two)
Creating a facial toner (part three) - cosmeceuticals
Creating a facial toner (part four) - adding cosmeceuticals
Gels, gels, gels! Ultrez 20
Gels, gels, gels! Sepimax ZEN
Making a gelled toner with Ultrez 20
Making a lavender & chamomile gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Making a chamomile & cucumber gel moisturizer with Ultrez 20
Using Sepimax ZEN to make an oil free gel moisturizer