Sunday, August 31, 2014

Please share your thoughts about the upcoming facial products e-book!

I've been working for a while on the new facial products e-book, and the delay is that I'm not sure what you want to see. It's not as easy to write as the lotion making e-books were because there are so many different ingredients to use in many different products, more on par with writing the hair care e-book than the others.

So I turn to you, my wonderful readers. Here's a short breakdown of what I am including in the e-book and what I'm debating. I'm asking you to take a moment to share your thoughts! I'll be offering a copy of the new facial products e-book to two random commenters!

In the e-book I will definitely include the following recipe sections...

  • Facial moisturizers
  • Facial serums
  • Oil cleansing method
  • Dry clay masks
  • Facial scrubs - oil based, emulsified, surfactant, and clay
  • Toners
  • Eye shadow primer
  • Eye products - gels and oily gels
  • Acne products
  • Cleansers - surfactants, foamer bottles, cream, oil, surfactant, and low surfactant

The question I have is more about the ingredient lists. So far I have very detailed sections about cosmeceuticals, extracts and hydrosols, emulsifiers, essential oils, and humectants. I have summaries for surfactants, oils and butters, proteins, cationic polymers, and thickeners. I have included links for all the ingredients to their entries on the blog.

As of today, the e-book is more than 300 pages with about 150 pages devoted to skin chemistry, skin types, and ingredients, with 150 pages containing many many recipes.

Here are the questions I'm asking of you...

  • Do you want it to be a larger book with details of each and every oil? Or do I cover that enough on the blog or in other e-books? (With the oils, we're looking at over 400 pages!) 
  • Do you want more information about surfactants? Or do I cover that enough on the blog or in other e-books? 
  • Would you like to have the option to get just a shorter section of the e-book - for instance, facial moisturizers or facial scrubs and cleansers? - or should it be an all-in-one?
  • What other recipes am I missing? 

Thanks in advance to everyone who shares an opinion. I'm so close to being done - I just want to make sure I'm offering you what you want!

Weekend Wonderings: When removing or adding an oil soluble ingredient, what do we replace?

In this post, We're back from holidays, Lisa asks: When I want to add IPM to a recipe at 2%, what item in the recipe do I reduce by 2%? And when I have a question about a particular recipe of yours, do I post the question on the recipe post? Not sure how often you see the old posts questions. Thanks in advance if you can answer me ;)

There's no such thing as an old post. I get email information when someone posts on anything. I would prefer the question on the recipe so others will see it when they visit that post, if possible. If you could post on a related topic, it would be greatly appreciated!

If you are adding something oil soluble, you would remove something oil soluble. If you are adding 2% IPM, you would reduce another oil by 2%. So if you have an oil phase that contains something like 20% oil and 5% emulsifier, you would now have 18% oil, 5% emulsifier, and 2% IPM. This is the way to keep the right amount of emulsifier.

If you are adding something water soluble, you would remove something water soluble, generally the water. So if you have 60% distilled water in a recipe, and want to add 10% chamomile to it, you would remove the same amount of water. The water phase would be 50% water, 10% chamomile.

Related posts:
How do I modify a recipe when I remove or add something?
Newbie section of the blog

Saturday, August 30, 2014

We're back from holidays and recipe review winners!

Hello to you, my wonderful readers, on this last weekend of summer! Raymond and I are back from holidays at beautiful Cape Lookout near Tillamook, Oregon! What a beautiful site! I cannot recommend it enough. We spent the mornings drinking tea and walking on the beach, the rest of the day reading and playing games, and the evenings drinking tea and walking on the beach. The cloud goddess was mad at us and covered the skies every night before the sunset, but it was lovely nevertheless.

I was very silly and forgot to put on sunscreen as we walked around Portland on Monday eating Brunch Box sandwiches and visiting Ground Kontrol arcade, then even sillier as we walked on the beaches every morning. Between the wind and the sun, my skin is bright red and peeling now. So I remind you about aloe. I had to buy some aloe vera gel from Safeway - Raymond said he was going to get on the blog and post anonymously about seeing Swift buying toiletries at a grocery store! How shocking! - and it has worked quite beautifully on my trashed skin. I'm still red and peeling, but I'm less red than I was before using it. I can't stress enough how much we love aloe vera around this house!

As I've done for the last three weeks, I'm inviting you to submit your reviews of various recipes on the blog! I have promised to do a random draw for those who submit their ideas, but I've decided again to offer an e-book of your choice - including the upcoming facial products e-book - to everyone who has spent their valuable time to write up a review. (To claim your e-book, write to me at

Michela offers her thoughts on a dispersing bath oil! 
Zan offers a version of an emulsified sugar scrub that sounds lovely! 
Winnie created a version of a hair conditioner! 
Anahit offered a version of the cucumber eye gel! 
Diva Soap (Maja) offered her very interesting variations on a whipped butter with emulsifier! 

And Heather Behan? Did I include you in the previous weeks for your review of the eye cream? If not, let me know!

And yes, I keep changing the rules, but I hope they're changed for the better! I have decided that you can write reviews every week and win more than one e-book. Why? Because I want to encourage you to submit those lovely reviews every week! If you want take part, you can click on the link above and see what I'm asking of you!

Join me tomorrow as I get to some of those comments you've sent me this week. Hope you have a great long weekend (if you get one in your part of the world!).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Foaming bath butter: Let's make a white chocolate foaming bath butter sugar scrub!

Yesterday we got acquainted with foaming bath butter, that pasty surfactant mix that we can whip into a lovely frothy mixture to which we can add various exfoliants, like sugar, colours, oils, and fragrances to make a great foamy and lathery body scrub. Let's take a look at making one now.

I decided to keep my first one pretty basic.

90% foaming bath butter
7% evening primrose oil
3% white chocolate fragrance oil (From Voyageur Soap & Candle)

I whipped the foaming bath butter with my mixer with the whisk attachment. When it seemed like it had grown in size, I added the evening primrose oil and white chocolate fragrance oil. I then added 50% sugar - meaning I added 50 grams to this mixture - and whipped it further. But note this!!! Your sugar will dissolve over time, so you'll want to add more than you think you need. I added another 50 grams of sugar to the product two days later to make sure it was scrubby enough.

I was happy with this mixture. I thought it felt really nice and moisturized. If you have dry skin, you might want to consider going as high as the 12.5% oil in this product. I have oily skin, and I found it was a good level for me.

Why did I use so much fragrance? Because I couldn't smell it when I used 2%, plus I added 50% sugar to the mix, meaning that I could add some more fragrance to the product. I really like the chocolate-y awesomeness wafting from the container!

Could you use another exfoliant for this product? Sure, why not? Join me later this week when we make a few things with other exfoliants!

Related posts:
Physical exfoliants (part one)
Physical exfoliants (part two)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why did I buy this and what the heck can I do with it? Foaming bath butter

I've always wanted to play with Foaming Bath Butter, but I could never find it. Then Voyageur Soap & Candle brought it in, and it was time to play! (You can get this at various suppliers. Check the frequently asked questions section of the blog to find a supplier near you!)

So what is foaming bath butter? The ingredients Aqua, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA.

So what we have is a paste that is made with surfactants - the sodium cocoyl isethionate and disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate - with some humectants - sorbitol and glycerin - with water, salt, preservative, and a chelating ingredient. It is less solid that the most refined shea butter I've ever used, and was easy to get out of the container with a spoon. You can add up to 5% oils by weight to the product.

As a note, it might be easy to remove from the container because it's really hot in my workshop right now - over 30˚C some days. (Darn you, summer! You are my nemesis!) I say this as I've seen some sites saying that you should "cut chunks" of the FBB before using, so it might not be as easy to remove from the container during the colder months. (Source: Stephenson, the creators of the base. Look at this video where they are cutting chunks of the product.)

The glycerin and sorbitol are humectants, but they are also plasticizers, which means they can make things more pliable. In this product, they are used to keep the products whipped instead of solid, because otherwise, you'd just have melt & pour soap that comes in blocks. As well, these ingredients mean the product is milder than a product without the humectants, which is what we call increasing mildness in our surfactant mixes.

Sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) is considered a very mild surfactant that leaves behind what is called an elegant skin feel, meaning your skin should feel conditioned rather than feeling dry or tight. Disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate (DLS) is also considered very mild, and is recommended for oily skin as it will remove sebum gently.

What can we use it for? Because it is a surfactant paste, you can use it anywhere you might use surfactants. But it's mainly used to make scrubs or whips - for instance, a shaving soap or a sugar scrub - or to make whipped toppings for bath bombs because it'll melt in the tub when you throw in that lovely bath cupcake! (I did make up my own version of the whipped topping, which you can find in this post!)

SCI and DLS are two very lovely surfactants that can be used in any cleansing product you might like to make from body scrubs to body wash pastes to facial cleansers and even shampoos! (I use this combination in my conditioning shampoo bars for oily hair!) My pH meter registered it as just slightly under 6, which is the perfect pH for hair! (This pH is confirmed by the company, Stephenson, which lists it as 5.5 to 7.)

This product can grow up to double in size if you whip it with a whisk. This should take 3 to 5 minutes or so. Make sure you have enough in the container! I originally used 30 grams because I don't have a lot of it, and it didn't whip at all. 100 grams was a good amount in a tall container. I keep seeing recipes calling for 1 pound or 2 pounds (454 grams to 980 grams), which will make a heck of a lot of product if it'll double in size. I'm going to suggest that you start with smaller amounts - I made 2 - 4 ounce (120 ml) containers with 90 grams foaming bath butter.

What do I plan to do with it? I thought it would make a lovely exfoliating sugar scrub I could use in the shower. You don't need to heat this ingredient - you can just pop it into a container and whip with a whisk attachment to get a lovely whipped scrub. You can add all kinds of exfoliants - I used 50% sugar - and you can add oils to make it more moisturizing. 

How much oil can you add? The consensus seems to be 2 ounces of oil or butters per pound, which works out to about 12.5% by weight. It can accept up to 5% in fragrance or essential oil. It's suggested to add up to 60% sugar to the product. I used 50% and really liked that. 

You can add water soluble colours to it, and make yourself a coloured product. The Soap Queen made a lovely scrub using clay, which would make it thicker

Where can I find some recipes for this ingredient? I'll be sharing my foaming bath butter bamboo & sugar scrub with you tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few that looked really nice! 

Examples of how to make a soap frosting! 

Join me tomorrow as I make a white chocolate foaming bath butter sugar scrub! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We're away on holidays!

Hey everyone! We're away on holidays until Friday enjoying the lovely city of Portland before we go on to our camping site on the Oregon coast! We hope you're enjoying your last week of summer before school (at least in our part of the world, and if the teachers and government end this darned school strike!)!

If you contribute for an e-book or write to me to claim one from your wonderful review, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until I get to a wifi spot to send it to you. Generally we'll encounter a wifi spot every day or so, but it could be a few days as we want to spend some time down at the water away from our devices.

As a note, I'm almost done the facial products e-book. It's getting pretty massive! I hope to have it out to a few reviewers in the next few weeks, then it'll be available. I'll share more as the date of release gets closer!

I have a few posts this week, so keep checking back, and I'll have more new stuff on the weekend! Keep those reviews coming in!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Write a review! Win an e-book! Look at who won last week!

Another week, another batch of wonderful reviews from you, my fantastic readers! What's all this about, then? If you write a review of a recipe on this blog, I'll enter your name into a draw to win one of two e-books every Saturday! But much like last week, the reviewers did such a wonderful job and took such an amazing amount of time giving their thoughts, I can't draw names and leave anyone out! So everyone gets the e-book of your choice!

Thanks, Dora, for your review of this body butter! 

Thanks, Pat, for your review of this facial moisturizer! 

Thanks to charmscribe for this review of the leave in conditioner and for this review of the facial serum! 

Thanks, Jan Hunnicutt, for your review of the solid perfume with sunflower oil!

And thanks for Diva Soap for your review of this emulsified scrub with pumpkin seed oil!

Please write to me at and let me know which e-book you want. (You can choose the upcoming facial products e-book as well. It's almost done!)

As a quick note, you can write as many reviews as you want in a week - I will enter all of them into the draw and you'll be eligible to win the random draw for each review - and you can enter every week, if you want. There is no limit as to how many e-books you can win! (Okay, technically, you can only win five e-books as that's all I have, but I could put your name down for future ones!)

What's the deal with the e-books? I offer these four e-books in exchange for donation to the youth programs my husband and I run in the community. If you want to know more about each e-book, click on the link!

Creating Hair Care Products (shampoo, conditioners, leave in conditioners, and anti-frizz products)
Back to Basics (anhydrous products)
Lotion Making 101 (part one for learning to make lotions)
Formulating Lotions and Creams (part two for learning to make lotions)

And thanks so much to you, my wonderful readers, for your reviews. You're helping other readers make choices about which recipes to try and you're helping me to learn which recipes you like and want to see more like. You are, as the kids in the group say, freakin' awesome!

Friday, August 22, 2014

My favourite dishwashing soap recipe with d-Limonene

I love making lotions, but I really hate the greasy mess that I have to clean up afterwards, so I turn to my favourite degreasing ingredient - d-Limonene! This solvent derived from citrus fruit can cut through the greasiest mess on your dishes and utensils!

It's a really simple recipe. Just make sure you follow the steps in order. It won't blow up or anything, it just won't solubilize the d-Limonene properly if you add the soap first. 

5% d-Limonene
5% polysorbate 20 or polysorbate 80
90% dishwashing liquid of choice. 

I weigh the d-Limonene right into the bottle, then the polysorbate 20 or 80. I mix it up really well by shaking. Then I add the dishwashing liquid - I like Sunlight, mainly because of the day-glo yellow colour and citrus-y scent - and shake well. You're done! 

My suggestion is to load up the sink with the greasy dishes, add the dishwashing liquid, then let set for 5 to 10 minutes. You'll find the grease just slides right off! I am not joking about this! It is quite awesome. 

Where to buy d-Limonene? I know of two places - Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. and New Direction Aromatics (Canada or USA site). 

Yes, you can use an essential oil of a citrus fruit in place of the d-Limonene but the cost might be more, so be aware of that. I've heard orange is the best choice, although lemon is supposed to be good, too.

And you can use another solubilizer in place of the polysorbate 20 or 80. I haven't tried PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil in this application, but I'm sure it will work very well at a 1:1 ratio. You can try caprylyl/capryl glucoside as well, but I don't know how that will work as I haven't had good results with it with other essential oil type products. 

As I've mentioned in the past, try d-Limonene in other degreasing products, like hand cleansers, cleaning sprays, and even shampoos at low levels for really greasy hair. 

Related posts: