Friday, April 26, 2013

It's Friday! Weight vs. volume, language we use, and an eye shadow primer recipe.

Hope you're having a spectacular week with a wonderful weekend to come! I'm drinking my cup of tea waiting to leave the house before my exam, and there's no point in studying now, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts for the day...

You cannot convert my recipes into volume measurements, which is to say they must be weighed. You can't look at something like 9% oil and convert it into 9 ml of oil or 6% Polawax and convert that into 6 ml of Polawax - it just won't work and your recipe will fail. If you really want to make bath and body products, get a digital scale. They aren't expensive and they can be found places like London Drugs or Wal-Mart or other large retailers for $10 to $40. It is well worth it.

Related posts:
Weight vs. volume
How do we convert from percentages to grams?

Think about the terms you use. What does it mean to "condition" your hair? What is a hair "conditioner"? What is a skin "conditioner"? What is a "moisturizer"? What does it mean to "soothe" or "alleviate" or "help" a problem? What does "nourish" mean? There are so many words we use to describe what our products do - what do these terms mean and how might they do these things? Think about these terms - there'll be a test*.

*No, there won't. But there will be a post on this topic next week.

If you want to make an eye shadow primer, here's a really easy one we made yesterday with our craft group. I've chosen all these ingredients because they are dry or less greasy feeling. If you substitute them for something more greasy, you will get a greasier product. (Excuse the messiness of the picture, but it was a wild and whacky night last night at craft group!)

ANHYDROUS EYE SHADOW PRIMER
HEATED PHASE
20% beeswax
25% mango butter
36% oils - fractionated coconut, hazelnut, or macadamia nut oils - or esters

COOL DOWN
15% zinc oxide (oil soluble)
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone

Weigh and melt the phase until all the solids are liquid. Remove and add the cool down phase. Mix really really well and make sure the zinc oxide isn't all at the bottom as you're filling your containers. I like to use these lip balm tubes as it makes it easier to apply. Let cool, use, rejoice!

I really don't suggest changing the oils for anything greasier as you don't want something really greasy on your eyes because it'll mess with your mascara. If you want to make a non-anhydrous primer, use this stuff - without the beeswax - and create a nice lotion. You can go up to 25% zinc oxide in this recipe either way.

Have a great day, and join me tomorrow when posting gets back to normal (mostly!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sorry for not posting...

But between the back pain and an upcoming physics test on Friday, I'm a bit overwhelmed! Keep writing those comments and sharing your thoughts and I'll catch up on the weekend!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Why do we need preservatives in products containing water?

Is it Saturday already? Let's take a look at some Weekend Wonderings!

In the Weekend Wonderings posts, Chris asks: What exactly is the reason why products containing water need to be preserved? Or more specifically: What is it about water that makes it attractive for bacteria and all the other nasties?

Just like us, microbes need water and oxygen to live. Give them the right conditions and they will procreate like silly, showing up as blooms of pink or green or brown. Preservatives tend to live in the water phase of our products to fight them, but we include preservatives in oil only products like scrubs into which water might be introduced, too.

I really encourage you to read this post on water activity and sugar/salt scrubs. I apparently did quite a bit of research on beasties in the comments! 

If you doubt the importance of preservatives, I encourage you to watch this video! Ick!

Related posts:
Preservatives: What can get into our creations?
Preservatives: How the heck do they work?
Preservatives: Water activity and sugar/salt scrubs
If you're new to lotion making (heating & holding)
Why do we heat & hold?
Why do we heat and hold separately?

Sorry for the short and not at all weekend-y Weekend Wondering but my back is really bad. Look for more later this week and this weekend! Keep your comments coming!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creating whipped butters - a visual tutorial

This lying in bed in pain thing is really working for me! I've created another visual tutorial, making whipped butters, which you can find on SnapGuide.

I have a few more ideas, but I'd like to know what you think would work as a visual tutorial. Let me know!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New visual tutorial: Lotion bars!

I'm lying in bed with a spasming piriformis muscle, so I thought I'd write up another SnapGuide! This time we're looking at lotion bars!

The next one? Why whipped butters, of course! Just in time for the Newbie Tuesday post!

I'm gathering new pictures for these tutorials, so let me know what you want to see! And what topics our interest you!

Now back to watching endless episodes of Screenwipe and Game of Thrones!



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Newbie Tuesday: Creating whipped butters - choosing your butter

I do love my whipped butters! The feeling of whipped shea butter on my horribly dry skin in the winter or after a long and too sunny camping trip makes me so happy. It really is amazing how simple they are to make, but as with anything in the creation of bath and body products, it's all about the ingredients. Choosing the right oil with the right butter can turn a whipped butter from "it's okay, I guess" to "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"

If you want to play along, but are just joining us, here are the previous Newbie Tuesday posts...

Newbie Tuesday: Learning about oils & butters - an introduction
Newbie Tuesday: Testing the skin feel of our oils
Newbie Tuesday: Creating a body oil
Newbie Tuesday: Pushing the schedule back - more thoughts on skin feel of our oils
Newbie Tuesday: What did you learn about the skin feel of your oils?
Emollients - oils, butters & esters

The basic recipe I use for a whipped butter is this...
80% butter
19% oil of some sort
1% fragrance or essential oil
and sometimes an anti-oxidant like Vitamin E if I think I might have it for a while.

You do not need to add a preservative to a whipped butter as it doesn't contain water. An anti-oxidant like Vitamin E at 0.5% is a good idea if you've used some very short lived oils - like grapeseed or hemp seed - or if you are making a large batch that you might have longer than six months. Since I tend to coat myself in the stuff and rarely have a 4 ounce/120 ml container last more than four weeks, I tend to leave the anti-oxidants out.

The first step is to choose the right butter. I generally start with shea butter because cocoa butter turns solid after whipping - and it's not fun to have to dig your nails into a container to get some loveliness out - and mango butter can get a bit dry and crumbly. This isn't to say that you can't use these butters - remember, the beauty of making our own bath and body products is that we can make whatever choices we wish - but we generally don't use them as the main butter in a product. Coconut oil is not suitable for this application as it melts at 76˚F (24.4˚C) and it won't hold its shape for very long, and I've found babassu oil can melt at lower temperatures, too. There are other butters you can choose - click here for those butter descriptions - but it seems like shea butter is the best place to start if you've never made a whipped butter before.

Here's a thing - shea butter can be quite greasy. It seems that the more refined the product becomes, the greasier it feels. If you like something a little less greasy feeling, then don't go for the ultra refined shea butter I prefer. Less refined versions might have an aroma to it, slightly to intensely smokey or nutty. (I don't like earthy smells - patchouli almost kills me! - so I don't tend to like unrefined shea butter!)

When it comes to the oils, it's all about the skin feel you want. Shea butter is generally very greasy feeling - the more refined it is, the greasier it seems to feel - so you'll have to do some experimenting to figure out the precise skin feel you want without compromising the whippiness of the product. As we saw in the previous posts about oils and skin feel, you tend to like things that feel less greasy, so the key to making an awesome whipped butter is to figure out which one will offer that less greasy feeling.

When considering the oil you like, consider what you learned about oils when you made your body oil. If you didn't like sunflower then, you're not going to like it now!  

I suggest trying your shea butter neat, which is to say, take a bit out of the package and try it on your hand or arm. Do what we did for the other oils - investigate it.

If you find your shea butter is grainy, we need to temper it first. Don't count on those grains going away without tempering it. (It might, but don't count on it!) Why does it get grainy? Because at some point the shea butter melted slightly and cooled down very slowly. Some of the fatty acids solidified into crystals, and others didn't. If we temper the shea butter, we make it less likely we'll get grains in the final product. (If you don't have grains, you don't have to worry about this process. And the less refined, the more likely it is you'll get grains. I use ultra refined and I have never had grains with it!)

Look at the different types of shea butter you can get! The first picture is of refined, the second of raw gold shea butter, (which I bought from Creations from Eden, before you ask!), and the third of organic unrefined. You can see there are some serious differences, eh?

If you want to use cocoa butter, I suggest melting it a bit and pouring it into some kind of mold - nothing fancy necessary, perhaps a cup - so you aren't rubbing shards on your skin. Notice when it starts to melt on your skin. Notice how hard it has become after melting. Ask yourself the questions below. How do you think this will feel as a whipped butter? How do you think you can get this out of the container?

And note that althought black cocoa butter looks and smells amazing, it isn't suitable ingredient for a leave on product. The colour really is that dark!

My first whipped butter was a cocoa butter whipped butter and it felt really lovely, but it was a serious pain to get out of the jar and I had to dig into it with my nails to get some out. I used 20% oil, 20% mango, and 60% cocoa butter for the second batch, and it was still really really hard, but I loved the skin feel after getting it out of the container, so I didn't mind. 

If you want to use mango butter, take some out of the container and rub it on your skin. How does it look? How easy was it to get out of the container? When did it melt on your skin? How do you think this will feel as a whipped butter?

Now that you've introduced yourself to your butters, think about a few questions that will help you decide which butter will be the star of your lovely whippiness...
  • Is this a greasy or dry feeling butter? Did it melt upon skin contact? Is it silky? Did it feel draggy (meaning did you have to put some effort into rubbing it into your skin)?
  • Is it soft or brittle or somewhere in between?
  • How did the butter look?
  • How did it smell? Did you like the smell? Will you have cover it up with a fragrance or could you leave it unscented?
  • How easy was it to get out of the container?
  • Was it grainy? Did you have to temper it?
  • How does it feel when applying it? After 5 minutes? After 10 minutes? After 30 minutes? After two hours?
And so on.

As I mentioned before, cocoa butter isn't the best choice for a whipped butter. It'll keep its shape well, but it's hard to get out of the container. By all means try it, but be aware that it will be quite hard. I suggest trying it at up to 30% with another butter...but that's just my opinion. We're here to help you develop what you like, so try what you want here! 

If you find it is greasy feeling, you can reduce that by adding a less greasy feeling oil. If you find it's too dry, add a greasier feeling oil. If it feels heavy, add a lighter feeling oil.

If you have a butter that has an INCI of hydrogenated vegetable oil and something like "avocado oil" or the Latin name for it, that's not a real butter as such. It's oil that has been turned into a butter by using something like Lipidthix. You can use this butter to your heart's content, but check that it can be melted well. Sometimes these things come apart when you melt them, something I found with soy butter and shea-aloe butter.

Wow, that was a long post! Let's take today to think about what oils we might like to add to our whipped butters and reconvene here tomorrow around the same time to make our whipped butter!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Newbie Tuesday (on Monday!): What did you learn about skin feel of your oils?

I'm thrilled by all the responses to this series on the skin feel of our oils - I guess doing my disappointed face worked, eh? - so let's take a look at a few things we've learned so far and how we can modify our products to get a different skin feel.

If you want to play along, here are the posts so far...
Newbie Tuesday: Learning about oils & butters - an introduction
Newbie Tuesday: Testing the skin feel of our oils
Newbie Tuesday: Creating a body oil
Newbie Tuesday: Pushing the schedule back - more thoughts on skin feel of our oils

I really encourage you to visit those posts and read the comments. There are some interesting thoughts about the skin feel of various oils, and I always love to compare those things I love with those you love! It seems like a lot of you really like jojoba oil, reporting that it feels silky or non-greasy. And it seems like a lot of you favour the less greasy feeling of avocado, hazelnut, macadamia nut, and grapeseed oils.

Let's say you made a body oil with sunflower, soy bean, and rice bran oils (33% each) and you're finding it too greasy, what could you do? You could replace any of these oils with one of those less greasy oils and see a difference pretty darn quickly. Substitute all the sunflower or soy bean oil with something like hazelnut or macadamia nut and you'd still have a light feeling body oil. Substitute either with avocado oil, and you'll have a less greasy feeling but heavier feeling oil. You could replace all those oils with less greasy ones. Or you could use smaller amounts of the greasier feeling ones - let's say you love the idea of lots of linoleic acid to help speed up our skin's barrier repair mechanisms or the phytosterols from a specific oil - with larger amounts of the less greasy or lighter feeling oils.

For instance, let's say you really want the phytosterol, linoleic acid, and Vitamin E properties of soy bean oil without the greasiness. Consider combining it with some less greasy feeling - say 25% soy bean oil with 75% hazelnut oil - or using it at a smaller amount, like 10%. (Or do a bit of research and find out which oils might offer similar levels of those properties! I always consider rice bran oil or sesame oil a good substitute for soy bean oil.)

ORIGINAL RECIPE
33% sunflower oil
33% rice bran oil
33% soy bean oil
1% fragrance or essential oil

MODIFIED RECIPE
10% sunflower oil
10% rice bran oil
10% soy bean oil
69% hazelnut oil
1% fragrance or essential oil

Here's what you can take away from this series so far...You can create any combination of oils you want providing you are using the oil within the safe usage amounts. (Having said that, the only oils that I've seen suggested usage rates for tend to be things like arnica or comfrey oils, not our carrier oils. And be careful with coloured oils, like sea buckthorn oil.) If you like 50% evening primrose and 50% rosehip oil, have at it! If you want to use 80% kukui nut oil, 10% olive oil, and 10% sunflower oil, enjoy! If you want to make something with 5% this and 5% that and 2.5% of another thing and so on, then make it! Just remember to write everything down so you know how to make it again. And make things in smaller amounts - don't make a 500 gram or 12 ounce batch of a body oil you've never tried before. Try making 50 grams or 2 ounces (by weight)!

I'm surprised I don't see more kukui nut enthusiasts as I think it's a really lovely oil offering the perfect balance of greasy and dry feeling with that silkiness that feels just awesome. Kukui nut oil - part one and part two. And what about babassu oil? I realize we're not using solid oils yet, but it feels amazing! If you feel like splurging, I really do suggest trying these oils! Sorry, I promised myself I wouldn't interfere...but they are lovely! 

As an aside...Organa noted she tried a body oil with esters, something I love! If you are finding your body oil is feeling quite greasy, you could consider using esters in place of some of the oils. Esters tend to feel less greasy than oils, and they can make our products feel less greasy by including them at as low as 3%. Consider the ingredients isopropyl myristate (IPM) or isopropyl palmitate (IPP) for that purpose. Or consider esters like cetearyl ethylhexanoate (my favourite, use at up to 25%) or C12-15 alkyl benzoate for a very dry feeling, almost non-greasy, silky feeling product.

Related posts:
Esters: A body oil spray!
Emollients - oils, butters & esters

What do you do with the oils you find a bit greasy? Use them! Oils will feel different in other products. Soy bean oil might feel super mega greasy in a body oil, but it might be ideal for a lotion at 8% to 10%. Coconut oil might feel just awful on your skin, but it's great for your hair. All of these things are fantastic in an emulsified scrub! Or use it for making soap - sorry, I can't offer any recipes as I don't make it - or bath bombs as your emollient.

What if you hate the smell? Add some fragrance or essential oil, or use less! I hate earthy smells - avocado butter nearly sent me over the edge! - but I can mask them quite easily using fragrance oils. Clementine Cupcake avocado oil! Yum!

What if you really hate the oil? Get rid of it. We seem to want to work really hard to avoid "wasting" supplies or money, but it's part of the reality of making products. Compare this to other crafts, like sewing. If you hate a fabric, would you make a pair of pants out of it anyway because you spent the money on it? Give the oil to someone else, throw it away, use it for cooking (if it's food safe)...just don't use it in products! (Again I suggest buying small amounts of oil if you don't know if you'll like it or not.)

I think of an experience Raymond had with a trainer. If the white board pen squeaked, he threw it in the garbage immediately. It shocked Raymond, but he realized the guy was onto something. How many pens do you have that don't work? Why did you put them back when you realized they were out of ink or the clicker had broken? 

If you really love an oil, do a little research on it. I'm not saying you have to spend hours reading about it, but maybe reading something like a post you might find on my blog could help? There is a lot of misinformation about our oils and butters, and some are ascribed almost mystical qualities at times. I started this blog because I started doing research on our ingredients and really couldn't believe the difference between "what is known" and what is really known. I created this section - Emollients: Oils, butters & esters - to share with you what I've learned, and I encourage you to visit those posts! If you have contradictory information, please share it with me. I can only read so much, and your ideas, links, and information help me make this blog better!

I'm a big fan of coconut oil for our hair, but is it really that great nutritionally? Do a little research and you'll see the difference between what is written in the media and what the studies offer. 

And a few people asked if they could include glycerin in the body oil. Always ask yourself why you want to do what you want to do. What is the purpose of adding glycerin to a body oil? What will it bring to the party? And are the benefits outweighed by the amount of work we have to do to make the product work? And no, you can't, unless you want to include an emulsifier or solublizer of some sort, and most of these - like Cromollient SCE, caprylyl/capryl glucoside, Caprol Micro Express, or polysorbate 80 - are intended to help us mix oil soluble things into water soluble things, not the other way around. I would encourage you to save the glycerin for a water soluble product you could apply as a toner type thing, and apply the body oil on top of it. (Do a search for "toner" and you'll find a ton of choices. You could do something as simple as up to 5% glycerin, 0.5% to 1% preservative, and the rest water for a toner, then apply your body oil on top. It will be much easier than messing about with solublizers!)

Related posts:
Humectants - the section of the blog

In light of all of this, which three oils do you think you want to make your standard oils? Which ones will you splurge on and which ones will you give a miss? Which do you want to try based on what others have said? Which ones will you not bother with? Which would you recommend to others and why? And which ones surprised you? What did you like that you thought you wouldn't and what didn't you like that you thought you would?

It is interesting to see the trends in oils. When I first started writing the blog, it was all about hemp seed oil. Then grapeseed oil. Now it's coconut oil and argan oil. 

Join us tomorrow as we look at created whipped butters!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Wonderings: Adding surfactants to emulsified scrubs, solidification points of powdered surfactants, where to find SLS in Canada, and substituting surfactants

ADDING SURFACTANTS TO EMULSIFIED SCRUBS
In this post, Experiments in the workshop: Black cocoa butter emulsified sugar scrub, Stephany writes: Could I incorporate a little bit of surfactant in this to make it foamy???And in this post on facial scrubs, Stephany offers a potential recipe. (Click to see it.)

An interesting thought, but no, you can't add surfactants to a product that is all oil. Firstly, we don't want to add water to anything with salt or sugar in it as it will dissolve them, which means you might end up with a solid chunk of stuff in the bottom of your container. This also means you need a preservative that works with water soluble ingredients.

And secondly - and the bigger issue - oil and bubbles do not mix, so adding surfactants will do nothing. Adding as much as 10% oils to a body wash or shampoo can completely destroy the bubbles and lather, so having as much as 70% oils will mean you won't even notice the surfactants exist! I suggest instead that you check out one of the nice surfactant based scrubs we made and add a few oils to that!

Related posts:
Facial scrubs: Using the surfactant base to make scrubs - part 1
Using water in salt or sugar scrubs
Answering e-mails: Salt or sugar in water based scrubs

POWDERED SURFACTANTS AND SOLIDIFICATION POINTS
In the Weekend Wonderings comment post, 7slaper asks: My weekend wondering is about surfactants, to be precise the "clouding" point of liquid surfs. (like the titer point of oils) Let's say I buy liquid DLS (INCI Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, aqua) with a concentration of 65%. It is clear as water. I ran out of the liquid, so decided to make it myself: 65% powdered DLS in water. When heated the solution was clear; cooled down to room temp (20°C): clear as well, but afer a few days it became cloudy and after two weeks it looked like a bottle of milk! Disappointment all over. :(

I tried this with other surfs, like SLS for a household product. Results are the same. I think only the 5% solution is still clear after some months. You are the surf guru Susan; Any ideas why this happens?

I don't think of myself as a surfactant guru - more an enthusiast with an eye to becoming an acolyte then maybe a guru! But I'm on my way up the ladder! :-)

As for the cloud point of surfactants, I have written about it in a few places briefly... The important of temperature - an example and titer points - but I think the key is more about the solidification point of our surfactants rather than the titer point. Liquid surfactants will have cloud points whereas powdered surfactants have solidification points or temperatures.

Check out this data sheet on Bioterge AS-90 (powder), which is C14-16 olefin sulfonate (same as Bioterge AS-40, only this is a powder. You can find it at Voyageur Soap & Candle, which is where I found the picture). As you can see, the appearance of this product at 25˚C is "off white, free flowing beads". If you dissolve this powder in water, when it reaches around room temperature it might return to this state. Liquid C14-16 olefin sulfonate has a cloud point of 7˚C or 45˚F, so it'll become cloudy at those temperatures. The powder will become solid at a temperature much higher than that.

They are the same ingredient - both AS-40 and AS-90 are C14-16 olefin sulfonate - but they are in different states with one being liquid, one being solid. I don't think you can make a liquid version of it without cloudiness. If you're trying this with your powdered surfactants at home, don't forget that the moment you add water to something - preferably distilled water - you must add a broad spectrum preservative.

I chose C14-16 olefin sulfonate as I have experience with both the liquid and solid ingredient. I realize 7slaper is asking about DLS sulfosuccinate, but I haven't worked with that powder. 

WHERE TO FIND POWDERED SLS?
Michelle asked in an e-mail if I knew where to get SLS in Canada. Sorry, I don't. I know where to get SLSa - which you can find as Lanthanol in some places. You can get it at Voyageur Soap & Candle, Aquarius, Creations from Eden (I think), and many other locations. Look for SLSa or Lanthanol. (Always know your INCI for the product as well - find it here!) I know you can get it at Brambleberry in the States, but that wasn't the question!

What difference will using SLSa cause in your product? I don't know as I've never used SLS and it will depend upon the product. If you're making bubble bars, I think it should be the same, but you may need to increase the cream of tartar to make the bar harder. In shampoo bars, it doesn't seem to make a difference. And you could use Bioterge AS-90 powder in the product instead. I've tried my favourite bars with AS-90 and I quite like them, although I did find them a little too degreasing for my tastes when coupled with the liquid. (As above, AS-90 and AS-40 are both C14-16 olefin sulfonate.) The kids in my youth program loved them, but I thought they made my hair greasier too quickly! I didn't notice a difference in the hardness of the bars.

A NOTE ON SUBSTITUTIONS OF SURFACTANTS
Substituting one surfactant for another might result in a small change, a larger change, or no change at all! Each offer different things to the product, so I suggest checking the surfactant chart or surfactant section of the blog to ensure you are getting what you want. For instance, switching C14-16 olefin sulfonate for decyl glucoside changes a lot, including foaming, lathering, bubbling, cleansing, and thickening properties. Some surfactants thicken well with salts and things like Crothix, others don't.

If you find a recipe on the blog that calls for Bioterge 804, be advised this is hard to find. Instead, read the INCI for the ingredient - look at this post - and figure out what you might buy instead. I'm afraid I don't know the ratios, but a search at Stepan (the manufacturer) might help with this!

I can go into greater detail about substituting surfactants if that interests anyone! 

And if you are writing to me to ask about a surfactant based thing, you must include your entire recipe and process if you want me to help you figure out what you've done. Telling me you followed my recipe exactly can't possibly be true as you aren't going to do everything exactly the way I did it. And maybe I'm the one who screwed it up by writing something down incorrectly! Please make it easier for me to help you!

Do you have a comment or question? I check all the comments on the blog every day, but it would be kinda nice if we could keep them in one place like this Weekend Wonderings comment page! Get on over there and share your wonderings!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Comment round up - April 6 to April 13, 2013 (part 1)

Since we're all still jonesing for the Dish forum, and since you can't see all the comments that are made in a nice chronologically ordered page like I can, I thought I'd share some of the comments I've seen this week or direct you to posts with interesting and lively conversations! Join in and share your thoughts! 

If you are new to the blog, please visit this post before writing to me to ask a question. I love to hear from you, but an easy search on the blog would answer at least 50% of the e-mail I've received this week. I love to hear from you, but it's hard to find time to write posts at the moment, let alone answer e-mail, and I really don't want to leave you hanging for weeks! And follow where your curiosity leads you!

In this post on the spamming product OroGold, Paul writes, Susan, while I ADORE your blog and I hate spammers. Think about this...What if after your first post about spammers, somebody decided to play a prank on a competitor and spam on their behalf, so that you'd give away their recipe? Or what if somebody wanted you to pick apart a product, which of course you usually don't, and figured ah, I'll just spam the product on her blog and she'll do it for me. I don't think this is best use of your time personally. Just ignore the spammers, we do. 

(Context: I have started reviewing and picking apart the products spammers try to advertise on my site...) I wish I were either that good at analyzing products or people were that smart, but neither is true! And it's so much fun to write those posts! Believe me, I get a lot of spam - I ignore 99.9% of it, but a company that charges $140 for less than 4 tablespoons of lotion deserves a good mocking!

If you're a newbie, head on over to these posts to share your thoughts or hear those of others!
Newbie Tuesday: Let's create a body oil! 
Newbie Tuesday: We're pushing the schedule back a week!
Newbie Tuesday: Learning about oils & butters - an introduction
Newbie Tuesday: Testing the skin feel of our oils

Join us on Tuesday as we round up some of your comments and thoughts on oils and making body oils (and award e-books to those who participated in the conversation) before making a whipped butter!

Check out this conversation in last week's Weekend Wonderings about an oil soluble, broad spectrum preservative from the makers of Leucidal called Phytocide Elderberry OS (INCI: Sambucus nigra Fruit Extract) that can be used at 1% to 5% in our anhydrous products. It is considered by some to be natural, but I don't see that it is Ecocert. I'd love to hear your experiences with this preservative!

Click here for the link to Lotioncrafter, here for a link to the Formulator Sample Shop. These are the only retailers I could find in a Google search. Click here for a link to the data sheet.

In the recent post A quick note and some thoughts on contamination and rancidity, Jen shares a story about a friend's almost purchase of an ancient lotion and Paul notes he tried being preservative free! Share your thoughts!

And the discussion of what it means to be natural continues in this post on St Ives Lotion.

LiseLise has challenged us to FIND THE PRESERVATIVE in this product! Check it out!

And finally, after reading a few comments in this post on build-up in our hair, I'm curious...What do you think apple cider (or any vinegar) does for your hair? It's acidic, but loads of things are acidic and we don't use them on our hair, like citric acid, boric acid, soda, and so on, so why is vinegar so widely regarded? And why one vinegar over another? My thought is that apple cider vinegar just sounds nicer than plain old white vinegar and less fish n' chippy than malt vinegar, because there doesn't seem to be anything it offers that we can't find in other vinegars.

I'm not asking for your personal opinion or experiences - I value those, but that's not what I'm curious about today. I'm asking for valid scientific resources about what vinegar does for our hair. I see references to it being good for our hair on hundreds of blogs, how to sites, tutorials, etc., but I cannot find a single study or scientific reference for the efficacy of vinegar in our hair! Please send me what you have! If you can send me some along, I'd be really grateful. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Friday!

It has been a busy week! With the semester coming to an end, I'm furiously revising in anticipation of the final class on Monday with the final exam on the 26th, and work has grown quite busy, too. Keep the questions and sharing thought coming! We're still Dishless and I know I love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, questions, and comments!

Here's a picture of an adorable needle felted owl from Desiree of our youth program! And a picture of my new purse. (Butterick pattern! I love it!)



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A few thoughts for a frantically busy Wednesday morning...

Don't put your iPhone or iPad charger in your mouth. It doesn't taste very good.

Coconut oil really is awesome for hair! Inexpensive and well studied, try it neat in your hair before washing. If you have oily hair like me, don't get it too close to your scalp. Before you run out and buy argan oil, try this stuff. Please. (Do a search on this blog for Moroccan Oil. It isn't about the argan oil; it's about silicones!)

I forgot how amazing Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime album is! Metal - particularly progressive and power metal - is so well suited to the concept album! It always seemed weird to people how much I love musicals and metal, but they're both very dramatic forms of music well suited to large expressions of emotion. And they walk that fine line between cheesy and awesome! (I mean musicals like Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain...the older stuff!)

Only things that emulsify can be emulsifiers. Having the word "wax" in the ingredient name has nothing to do with its emulsifying powers. Candelilla wax, beeswax, soy wax, floor wax, jasmine wax - none of these things are emulsifiers. (Emulsifying wax isn't really a wax. It's just its name.) If you come across a website or blog or recipe that tells you these things are emulsifiers, they are wrong. I realize this is a bold thing to say, but these waxes are not emulsifiers. I have addressed the chemistry of emulsifiers before, but I'm happy to do it again, if there is interest.

(Beeswax is only an emulsifier when combined with borax. If you have made a lotion with beeswax without lecithin, borax, lanolin, or an actual emulsifier and it stayed combined, you have done a great job of using heat or mechanical energy to create an emulsion. Beeswax is no more emulsifying than adding Kool Aid, toast crumbs, or transmission fluid to a lotion, which is to say it isn't an emulsifier.)

If it's Opposite Day, you can't actually tell me it is Opposite Day.

Lecithin is an emulsifier, but it isn't an all-in-one emulsifier or emulsifying system. You have to combine it with a high HLB value emulsifier. If you don't know what that means, lecithin isn't the emulsifier for you. If you've never made a lotion, don't try to use the HLB system to create an emulsifier. (Look to the ingredient list to your right to see links to the HLB system.) The odds are good you will fail, and you might never make a lotion again, which would be sad. Try a recipe with a good emulsifier so you can see what is possible. Then work towards using lecithin in the future.

Waffles are great! The picture below is smothered in Cool Whip so lactards like me can enjoy berries and "cream" tastiness! I want waffles, but Raymond is away working for a few days and my Blondie dog lacks the requisite thumbs to turn on the mixer and work the iron. Sigh...a girl can still dream, can't she? (And if life were a musical, I would pick up my pup and sing her a rousing chorus of "Why do you lack opposable thumbs? Don't dogs like waffles and bowling and drums? Why did you fail to evolve such digits? I didn't think dogs were such ijjits!" Oh why isn't life like movies?)





Newbie Tuesday: We're pushing the schedule back a week...

Can I be honest for a moment? I'm a little disappointed by the lack of participation in the Newbie Tuesday posts learning about our oils. The point of the series is for you to try things at home, then share it with others who are trying their oils at home...but the series can't succeed if you aren't sharing your experiences!

As a result, I'm delaying the posts about whipped butters back a week with the hopes that you will share your comments on the skin feel of your oils and the body oils you've made. As an incentive, I'm offering an e-book to a commenter from each post in this series based on a random draw. (Probably Back to Basics as it fits in with this series, but you can get something else if you already have that one...) I really really want you to share your thoughts as we learn best when we all share!

I can't wait to see what you share!

Previous posts in this series:
Newbie Tuesday: Learning about oils and butters - introduction
Newbie Tuesday: Testing the skin feel of our oils
Newbie Tuesday: Creating a body oil

Monday, April 8, 2013

A quick note and some links on contamination and rancidity

A thought for the day....Our products can harbour beasties long before we see the evidence of them in the container. By the time you see those pink or green spots, you've been colonizing contamination for quite some time. Please please please use preservatives! Unpreserved water containing products have a shelf life of about three days in the fridge.

If you don't want to use preservatives, then don't make water containing products. It really is that simple. Enjoy making anhydrous (non-water containing) products and enjoy things like lotion bars, whipped butters, lip balms, and more!

Want to see a video about contamination? Click here, then click on "The Importance of Preservatives". Ick! 


Related posts on preservatives:
Preservative section of the blog
Why use a preservative?
Preservatives: What beasties can contaminate our products! 
Preservatives: How do they work?
Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is NOT a preservative
How can I use essential oils as an anti-microbial? (Short answer: You can't.)

As for rancidity, Vitamin E, citric acid, rosemary extract or essential oil, and other anti-oxidants are a great way to retard this inevitable process. Add it at the appropriate amount to the appropriate phase - for instance, I use 0.5% Vitamin E in the cool down phase - and rejoice.

Related posts on rancidity:
Rancidity: A primer
Mechanisms of rancidity
Anti-oxidants
A more in depth look at anti-oxidants (how they work)
Question: How do anti-oxidants affect the shelf life of our products?
Combining anti-oxidants

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Missing the Dish? Use this post as a meeting place!

I'm not saying this blog can replace the Dish or lessen your withdrawal symptoms dramatically, but in the words of Sciaretta Farms, "Meanwhile, I have no one to sob to about my shampoo fail or to cheer for as they make their first lotion." We do that 'round here! We can do it more! Let's do it!

So here's a thought...we can make this post all about the sharing and I will put it to the top of the blog every day so you see it right away. I realize a blog post isn't as interactive as a forum, but perhaps we can create a few posts and you, my lovely readers, can offer feedback and your thoughts and everything else. We can cheer each other on and offer ideas for current problems and future problems. Please include your name somewhere on your comment - we don't like anonymity around here as it seems to reduce a sense of community and makes it easier to be mean to teach other. Is that everything? I think so! Let's share!

In the meantime, here are a few sites, blogs, and forums that might interest you. I'd love it if you added your own favourites with a bit of information on what you love about them!

Bath & body blogs and forums
EveryBODY Beauty Blog at Voyageur (Canada)
The Melting Pot Cafe at Fresholi (UK)
Soap Queen from Brambleberry/Otion (USA)
LiseLise (Denmark)

Non-bath & body blogs and forums
Rings & Things (Spokane, Washington)

Never made a lotion? Check out this Newbie Tuesday post all about making your first lotion!

Weekend Wonderings: Using a water soluble preservative in anhydrous products, creating our own cleansing conditioner, and a foaming sugar scrub recipe.

CAN WE USE WATER SOLUBLE INGREDIENTS IN AN ANHYDROUS PRODUCT SO WE CAN USE A WATER SOLUBLE PRESERVATIVE?
In this post on Liquid Leucidal preservative, Julia asks: This is my preservative of choice! The problem I have run into: I would like to use it in my emulsified body scrub ( I LOVE the recipe on your blog!), problem is that leucidal liquid is water soluable. So technically it wont hold in the scrub mix, right? I was thinking of maybe adding a minimal amount of aloe as the waterphase. Still using 10% ewax and 10% stearic acid, will the preservative stay in the mix properly then? OR will the aloe dissolve the sugar?

First, thank you for your kind words about the sugar scrub recipe. (Which one did you make?) Second, I'm so excited you want to use preservatives to ensure you make a great product!

I find this is one of the biggest challenges I face - encouraging the use of preservatives in products that don't contain water but will be exposed to water. (Read more about why we use preservatives in sugar scrubs below...)

We really don't want to use any water soluble ingredients in our scrubs with sugar or salt because they will dissolve over time and we're left with a really weird and gross lump in our scrub. And a water soluble preservative will not work properly in an oil soluble product. What to do? I'm not really sure how to answer this. You really need a preservative in a product of this nature because you will be putting wet hands into the product and leaving it in a wet environment, and failing to preserve can result in so many types of ick, but your water soluble preservative isn't suitable for the product.

The only answer I can think of at the moment is that you need to use a preservative suitable for oil soluble products. If we take a look at the preservative comparison chart, you can see the only ones you could use contain parabens as they are oil soluble preservatives. My preferred preservative for my scrubs is Phenonip because it's easy to use, easy to find, inexpensive, and extensively studied for efficacy.

Whenever I write about parabens, people get upset and write me horrible messages that I'm encouraging people to use dangerous ingredients. I really encourage you to click on the link about parabens above as I have linked to various agencies, including the American Cancer Society, and read what they say. The original study on parabens in breast tissue was a poorly done study, and there are hundreds of papers written about it explaining why it was a poorly done study all over the 'net. Nevertheless, the myth still exists that parabens cause cancer. I encourage you to read more about this topic at Dr Joe's blog

You can get parabens in natural preservatives, but the studies aren't looking great about their efficacy. (Click here and click here for more information.) And does it really matter? A paraben is a paraben is a paraben regardless of the source because a molecule doesn't care where it comes from!

Related posts:
Preservative section of the blog
Preservatives: Water activity and sugar scrubs
Answering comments: Salt or sugar in water based scrubs
Preservatives: How the heck do they work?

Related recipes:
Christmas crafting idea: Exfoliating fun with sugar and salt scrubs (lots of recipe links)
Quick note on using water in salt or sugar scrubs (lots of recipe links)

Related site:
How to make an emulsified sugar scrub (by me, hosted on Snapguide)

WHAT CAN I ADD TO MY CONDITIONER TO MAKE IT A CLEANSING CONDITIONER?
In this post - Newbie Tuesday: Let's make conditioner! - Sarah G asks: I have been using a product called Wen. The directions say to not use shampoo just massage the Wen into your scalp and leave on for few minutes and rinse. It seems to working for me as my scalp isn't oily afterward and my hair is smooth and soft. I was wondering why this doesn't happen when I use homemade conditioner (my scalp ends up oily by the end of the day)? Is there an ingredient that I could add to my conditioner to duplicate this effect?

There is nothing unique about Wen conditioner. Honestly. It is a conditioner. They call it a cleansing conditioner and charge a fortune for it, but it really is just a regular old conditioner for which they charge an awful lot!

From this post on cleansing conditioners: How does a cleansing conditioner differ from a normal conditioner? It doesn't. For the most part, the cleansing conditioner contains the same ingredients as a normal conditioner, although I've seen a few with very low levels of foaming surfactants like cocamidopropyl betaine. I have noticed that most of the conditioners with the word "cleansing" in the title tend to stay away from silicones, but that might be because those I've seen also bill themselves as natural or organic. I've also noticed that a lot of them contain mint, perhaps for the tingly feeling it can leave behind?

Let's look at the ingredients (more on each of them in this post, this is just a summary). Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycerin, Chamomile Extract, Cherry Bark Extract, Calendula Extract, Rosemary Extract, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Hydrolyzed Whole Wheat Protein, PEG-60, Almond Glycerides, Menthol, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Methylchoroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance

I see quite a few things here that will make your scalp and hair feel less oily. Emulsifying wax will help emulsify the oils and remove them. The extracts are all quite astringent, and there are no oils in the list. Think about that for a moment. This product is advertised to people with dry hair - why no oils? (See below for my thoughts...)

If you want to make a product like Wen, take a look at your recipe. (If you've included a lot of oils or emollients, there's your answer.) I would include some e-wax (2% in the heated oil phase), astringent ingredients like witch hazel, chamomile, calendula, and rosemary extracts. (See the extracts section for more information...) I'd throw in up to 2% peppermint essential oil (cool down phase) and maybe some peppermint hydrosol and/or rosemary hydrosol at up to 20% in the heated water phase. If you are including a fatty alcohol as an emollient and substantivity booster, add it at up to 1/2 the amount of Incroquat BTMS-50 or other conditioning agent. (If you are using 6%, then use 3% cetyl alcohol, for instance.) And don't include any oils, butters, or other emollients. I'd use maybe 3% to 4% BTMS-50 or other cationc quaternary compound, 1.5% to 2% cetyl alcohol, a bunch of extracts, glycerin at maybe up to 3%, protein at up to 2%, panthenol at up to 2%, and preservatives and see what you think.

Back to the oil thing for a second...I would classify Wen as a not very moisturizing, light conditioning conditioner with very few emollients and no oils. I think we put far too many oils in our products as homecrafters, and I think we use too much conditioner. You'd be amazed at really how little you need. I make an intense conditioner with 10% coconut oil because I need those oils for the ends of my hair, but I use it maybe once every two weeks and I know I won't make it to the end of the day without being really oily. That really is more than enough for oily, normal, and slightly dry hair.

Check out my great conditioner experiment - start and end posts and the post on modifying the recipe. I encourage you to try this at home by creating a recipe you water down over a period of a few weeks. It might surprise you as to how little you really need! 

Another suggestion - Don't put your conditioner on your scalp. I know this seems like a really basic idea, but you'll be surprised at how much of a difference it can make. I have incredibly oily hair, and it has made a massive difference in the frequency with which I wash my hair! (Sometimes I can go three days between washes!) I don't believe in that "don't condition above your ears" idea because that hair can be damaged easily and I want my hair to be really really long! Start by not rubbing conditioner into your scalp. (If you aren't using shampoo, you have to do this, but those of us who use shampoo don't need to do this!)

Point of Interest: This isn't a duplicating request, it's an analysis of a type of product. 

Related post:
Duplicating products: Cleansing conditioners

CREATING A FOAMING BATH SCRUB
Someone requested this recipe. Here's the version with SCIClick here to find the version that might work with SCS-CAB blend. that post. I really like it, although it's hard to give up my sugar scrub. Use one of these physical exfoliants in it if you want some scrubbiness.

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

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An (possible) update on the Dish forum

I visited the Soap Scent Review Board where you can find a section on the Dish forum, and it sounds like the Dish has been infected by some sort of virus, but the last update was in late March. (I sent in a request to join the Facebook page, but it was never approved, so I don't know what the latest information might be.) Let's send them all the good thoughts we can as they clean it up!

As an aside, I recommend the Soap Scent Review Board for those of you who soap and want to know how various fragrances will work in your products. I used this forum a lot when choosing my fragrances for the first time. I haven't visited in a while because I don't tend to stray far away from cupcake or icing fragrances, but I definitely recommend it if you're looking for some ideas! They are very welcoming there! 

If you have any updates, please share. I know so many of us are going through withdrawal!

Weekend Wonderings: Using cetrimonium chloride in shampoo, using coconut oil in an emulsified body butter, measuring really small batches of products, and scales

USING CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE IN SHAMPOO
In this post Question: Can you use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?, Sciaretta Farms asks: So is there any point in using silicones in products where you add cetrimonium chloride? Will the silicones be negated if you use it?

Sciaretta Farms is referring to information contained in this post - Cetrimonium chloride - now better than ever!. "It can help remove silicone build up on your hair! Yep, our beloved detangling and softening agent can actually help if you've been using enough cyclomethicone and/or dimethicone in your conditioners or anti-frizz sprays to de-static an army!"

And I've answered before by saying yes, you're fine. I use cetrimonium chloride in my rinse off conditioner with silicones and my leave in conditioner with silicones, and I know the silicones are there because I'd otherwise look like someone out of a hair metal band from the 1980s with my incredibly frizzy, poofed out 'do!  But that's really my gut instinct, not an empirical one, so I'm not really sure at this point...I need to do some research and get back to you.

A quick warning: I've fallen behind in my physics class and I have my final exam coming up, so it might be a few weeks before I can get into some really deep research, so if you anyone has some places I could start, I'd be so grateful! Reputable sources only, please. 

To be honest, I'm not a fan of 2-in-1 type products (or 3-in-1 type products). I'm of the strong belief that every head of hair can benefit from the friction reduction, moisturizing, and smoothing qualities of a separate rinse off conditioner. But if you really like them, we have to make sure we're making something awesome!

Related posts:
Chemistry of our hair: "Good condition"
Chemistry of our hair: Adsorption and substantivity
Experiments in the workshop: Leave in conditioner with volumizing complex

USING COCONUT OIL IN AN EMULSIFIED BODY BUTTER
In this post - Newbie Tuesday: Let's make a body butter! - Chelsey asks: I love coconut oil... like LOVE, but it melts really easily, so my question is: if I used it at a low percentage, would it affect the consistency (I assume it would to some extent), would I have to worry about it melting all the time? I mean, my house is freezing usually, but if I had it in my purse or left it in the car by accident. I've ordered a small amount of fractionated coconut oil for another project, should I order more of that and quit worrying about meltage? <-- a="" even="" i="" is="" that="" word="">

I think meltage should be a word and I'm sure I've used it in the past...so the answer to that question is yes, I'm declaring it a word! (But then again, I use embiggen and ensmallen in normal conversation, so I might not be the best judge!)

In a recent post on coconut oil, I noted that we need to be careful when using this ingredient because it has a low melting point - 76˚F or 24˚C - which means a product made with coconut oil as the main ingredient would melt in your car on a nice spring day or in your house in the summer...but I'm referring to anhydrous or without water type products. If you're expecting coconut oil to keep its stiffness in the heat, you'll be really disappointed to find you have a lot of formerly whipped butters and formerly lotion bar products in puddles in your car, purse, or cupboard.

In an emulsified product - that is to say, a lotion type product that contains oil and water - if you substitute coconut oil for carrier oils, you will get a thicker product than you would without it. If you subtitute coconut oil for a butter, you will get a thinner product than you would with something like cocoa butter, mango butter, or shea butter. In the warmer months, you will find the viscosity of your product decreases, which is to say it will get thinner as the weather gets warmer.

I get this problem with my babassu oil products, which has a similar melting point at 76˚F. I don't mind it, but some people might. If you're selling a product like this, you might annoy your customers, so think about having different combination of oils and butters in different months.

Out of curiosity, why coconut oil in the product? What do you like about it? I'm seeing a lot of people enjoying it lately - and why not? It's low in price, it's easy to find, and it can smell lot coconuts at times. But I'm wondering why the resurgence of interest in it?

Related posts:
Newbie Tuesday: Let's make a body butter!
Coconut oil

HOW DO YOU MAKE A SMALL AMOUNT OF A PRODUCT?
In the same post, Will asked: I've got a for-dummies question, which newbies may or may not run into. How do you make a small amount of cream, such as an "eye cream" that you're going to dump expensive actives into, where your total desired quantity is about an ounce? I'm guessing the answer is to make ten and share, but just in case it's not....

Sorry I missed this comment, Will! It's been over a year! I'm always about the sharing, but there is an easier answer to this problem...Make a smaller batch! 

One of the reasons we weigh our products is so we can make really accurate batches. And one of the reasons I suggest using grams instead of ounces - even if you're in an Imperial country - is that we can scale the measurements really easily. You will need a digital scale for this, and you might want to invest in a digital scale that measures to 0.1 grams as well. 

Take a look at this eye cream with Ritamulse SCG for a moment. This is the type of recipe we might want to scale because even 4 ounces of product will last us quite some time. 

EYE CREAM WITH RITAMULSE SCG
HEATED WATER PHASE
10% aloe vera
10% witch hazel
11% chamomile hydrosol
2% hydrolyzed silk protein
2.5% sodium lactate
5% calendula extract (water soluble)
25% water

HEATED OIL PHASE
8% Ritamulse SCG
3% behenyl alcohol
11% macadamia nut oil
5% arnica oil

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
5% Revital-Eyes
0.5% liquid Germall Plus 

This will make 100 grams of product. It will work out to about 90 ml of product. Let's say you wanted to make a half batch...divide all the numbers by 2. We will get 50 grams, which is about 45 ml of product. (It might produce a smaller volume depending upon the oils you choose...) 

EYE CREAM WITH RITAMULSE SCG (half batch)
5 grams aloe vera
5 grams witch hazel...

COOL DOWN PHASE
1 gram panthenol
2.5 grams Revital-Eyes
0.25 grams liquid Germall Plus

If you want to make an ounce, which is about 30 grams, divide everything by 3 to get 33.3 grams total. 

HEATED WATER PHASE
3.3 grams aloe vera
3.3 grams witch hazel

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.66 grams panthenol
1.67 grams Revital-Eyes
0.17 grams liquid Germall Plus

And so on...

Having said all of this, I don't generally recommend making really small batches. It is so easy to put in 3.5 g instead of 3.3 or 2 grams of preservative and so on, which means it's hard to know what the final skin feel of the product is supposed to be and it's easy to use too little or too much of something that could mess with the chemistry. If you really want to make smaller batches, invest in a scale that makes it to 0.1 gram or even 0.01 gram (waaaay more expensive than a normal scale), and measure well. Invest in pipettes so you can do things by the drop and wear your reading glasses! And definitely convert to metric - it is so much easier than 0.356 of an ounce! 

SHOULD YOU BUY A DIGITAL SCALE?
In an email question, Jordan asked me, "Should I invest in a digital scale?" 

Yes. 

Related posts: 

Do you have a Weekend Wondering? Visit this post and share your thoughts! I look at the comments every day, but it is easier for me not to make someone wait an entire year for an answer if you post over there! 

Welcome to the blog!

Wow! There's been a huge influx of readers in the last three weeks! A huge welcome to all you new and wonderful readers! We're a pretty friendly bunch, and we welcome you to read, comment, and enjoy! Please include your name somewhere in any comments you might make - we aren't fans of anonymity around here as it seems to foster an environment of bullying and mean-ness. Just a quick, "Bye, Susan" is adequate! 

I really appreciate your e-mails, but I encourage you to read a little more of the blog and visit the section I've called Before you write to me, read this! and the frequently asked questions (FAQ) before writing to me because they will answer a lot of the questions you've been posing to me lately. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing e-mail in my inbox, but when you're asking me where you can find hair care recipes on the blog, what e-books I might recommend, what my position is on natural products, or how to make lotions, you're asking questions that would take only a few minutes to answer by clicking on those two sections or by doing a basic search. 

The search bar on the right hand side of the blog is really really good. I often use it when I need to find something and don't feel like logging into the blog! Give it a try! Search for "lotion bar" and see there are EIGHT PAGES of recipes (and I don't think that's all of them!). The search bar at the top left of the blog isn't great...use the other one! 

If you're a newbie looking for a recipe, try using the label "newbie" in the search bar! I've been writing a series of posts called "Newbie Tuesday" where we all work on a template recipe and compare results. If you're looking for a basic recipe, that might be where you find it. Or look under the label "anhydrous" if you want products that don't contain water. 

I don't want to discourage you from writing to me, but I also don't have the time to answer questions that are really obvious. Please take a few minutes to read some blog posts, look at the FAQ, check out the links to lists, labels list, and other parts of the right hand side part of the blog to see what's here. If you really can't find something, write to me, but know that I've got at least a backlog of a week for responding to e-mails and I won't respond to something that is really obvious. 

Making products can be as simple reading a recipe and making it in your kitchen or as difficult as creating a recipe from scratch and working on it for weeks until it works well. If you have never made a product before, find a basic recipe and follow it exactly. This will give you a way of learning the process of making products and how the produt should feel when made properly. If you don't like an oil, switch it for another one. Take some time to read those Newbie Tuesday posts and consult the FAQ, or visit the section of the blog that interests you to learn more. I'm happy to help you with this amazingly fun and surprisingly addictive journey, so just ask if you don't see what you need. 

Related posts: 

And please stop asking me to duplicate things. I've said it time and time again there will be no exceptions to this. I know you think your request and your needs are exceptional, and that I should do it "just this once" but you are asking me to do something I have said I don't wish to do, and not taking no for an answer makes me feel you don't respect me or my time. Every day I get requests to duplicate products. Please stop. I think I've offered you enough information on this blog to learn to duplicate the product yourself. If you see me duplicating a product, it's because I wanted to duplicate it, not because I was asked. If you see a product that looks interesting - for instance, Wen conditioner - I'm happy to look at it for the blog, but don't ask me to spend hours duplicating something specifically for you. (And please don't ask me to create a recipe solely for your business, either!) 

I cannot stress enough that the search function on this blog is your friend. I have written over 1900 posts, and I can't expect you to read them all, but if you did a quick search for something like "Wen conditioner", you'd see I've written about those things in the past. Use quotation marks and + marks to keep the terms together, and you'll be amazed by what you can find! 

As a quick question, if you don't mind...where are you coming from? Where did you hear about the blog? Where were you when you clicked and arrived here? I'm really curious about this. If you could take a moment to comment here, I'd really appreciate it! And there might be a free e-book for a random commenter!