Tuesday, October 27, 2015

One of us! One of us!

Welcome to all you seekers of knowledge on all things bath & body related! It's awesome that you're eager to make customized and lovely things for your skin and hair! Have I warned you this is the most addictive hobby you'll try? 

May I direct you to the newbie section of the blog where you'll find all the things you'll need to start on this journey! (http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/p/newbie-links.html) What the heck are the water and oil phases? How do I make a body butter? Do I need to add a preservative to this product? All of these questions and more are answered here. You'll also find starter recipes for a variety of products, from anhydrous lotion bars and balms to sugar scrubs and lotions. 

I'll warn you again - this is an addictive hobby. You'll find yourself reading ingredient lists in every drug store and make-up shop as you get to know what each thing brings to the mix. You'll start ranting about claims made on commercial products. You'll dream about the differences between mango and Shea butter. And you'll love every minute of it! (One of us! One of us!) 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I made it into the workshop!

Between hurting my back/hip and preparing for the Soapmakers' conference, I haven't had any workshop time in the last few months. As a result, I've been running out of products and getting progressively more grumpy! Raymond bought body wash thinking we were out! How scandalous! (We weren't, but we were close!) 

Today, we made it into the workshop and crafted many lovely things! 

Raymond made a gel, then customized it with some ingredients he hopes will help with puffiness and dark under eye circles. (You'll see that recipe here after he's had a chance to test drive it!) 

And I made more foaming soy cleanser, (http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/2015/04/fun-with-soy-creating-foaming-soy.html), which is my new favourite facial product! You can play with it quite a hit if you don't have all those ingredients, or do a search for other foaming facial cleansers to see all the versions I've made! 

What did you make this weekend? Did you like it? What will you try next time? 

Monday, October 19, 2015

What a conference!!!

Wow! I've just arrived home from the Canadian Guide of Soapmakers, Chandlers, and Cosmetic Crafters' 2015 conference in Banff, Alberta, and I'm exhausted! My feet hurt from standing, my throat hurts from talking way too much, and my cheeks hurt from smiling. It was amazing being surrounded by people whose passion is bath & body products, and I met so many talented and creative soapers! (I'll be writing more about these fantastic people over the next week or two!) It was like being a kid in a wonderfully fragranced candy store!

This year,  I offered two workshops on making shampoo and making lotion. I'd like to thank everyone who attended! You were incredible. I really want to thank Corissa (Crazy Fox Organics), Georgy, and Krystal for all your cleaning help. I wouldn't have made it back to my hotel room in one piece without your assistance! (I know I've missed thanking some people, and I apologize. I think Saturday was the craziest day of my life, and I know I missed a lot of what was going on!)

If you're interested in taking a class with me, I offer them at Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C. We'll be coming up with a schedule in the next week or two, which I'll post on the blog! As well, I've been invited to next year's conference, and I'm happy to take suggestions for classes before that event! 

If you enjoyed the classes, check out the e-books I've written on the topics of hair care and lotions. Every single penny you donate for these e-books go to the youth programs Raymond and I run in Chilliwack. I've also written e-books on facial products, anhydrous products, and formulating creams and lotions.

And I think we really need to recognize the amazing sponsorship of Voyageur Soap & Candle. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to offer the classes at all, and they were so generous with the supplies and equipment. Nicole and Loreta were kind enough to drive me to and from the conference from Calgary, help me set up and clean up, and hang out with me when I tried to do karaoke! Nicole put on a great soy candle making class, and Loretta gave out door prizes with every meal and shared her passion and enthusiasm with everyone she talked to at the booth and the conference halls. I know Tammy and her staff in Surrey put a lot of work into organizing the supplies and equipment in the face of changing lists for the few weeks before the conference! Voyageur really went over and above the call of duty to make this conference and the classes amazing! I cannot thank them enough!

I want to thank Lindalu and the Board of Directors for the group for putting on such a lovely conference. This was a big big event, and they made it work! Can't wait to see what'll happen next year!

I think it's time for me to continue the lying down on the couch portion of the day, snuggling with a Blondie dog, and drinking Earl Grey tea from a giant mug! I'll have more stories of our adventures in Banff soon!

Friday, October 16, 2015

How do you find which preservative goes with what product?

After a very exciting and short plane ride from Abbotsford to Calgary, and a slightly longer mini van ride to Banff, I'm here at the Canadian Soapmakers' conference! The main event starts tonight with the Meet & Greet and continues with workshops tomorrow and Sunday! I went out last night with the organizer, Lindalu; the ladies from Voyageur Soap & Candle, Nicole and Loreta; and a few ladies from Saskatchewan and BC. We tried to go to karaoke, but it grew late and it was time to go home. I'm off to breakfast in a few minutes. Wonder what we'll find? 

If you're wondering what preservative goes with the product you're making, check out the preservatives section of the blog and consult the preservatives comparison chart!

When you find the preservative that will work, check out the more detailed post in that section to read about suggested usage rates, heat tolerances, and other interesting and fun facts about that preservative! 

Related posts: 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Quick question: How do I convert your recipes into weighted measurements?

I'm leaving for the Canadian Soapers' Conference in Banff tomorrow! I'll be posting pictures and stories here every day. If you're there, let me know if you want to meet up for conversation and maybe some karaoke? 

I'm so excited, but a little stressed out about travelling by plane. Seems like there are so many charges and rules. I wish I could just drive there! I'm in the mood for a road trip! 

When you read a recipe on this blog, it's almost always in percentages. How do we convert those percentages to something we can use? If you convert the % sign to the word grams, you will create a recipe that totals 100 grams. If you want the recipe to be larger than 100 grams - about 3.3 ounces by weight - convert the % sign to the word grams, then multiply by 2 for 200 grams (6.6 ounces), 3 for 300 grams (10 ounces), and so on. 

More detailed posts on this topic and examples...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Quick question: How to thicken a lotion?

Life is getting busier than normal as I get ready for the Canadian Soapmakers' conference in Banff this weekend, so I only have time for some short posts this week. I thought I'd address some questions I've seen lately over the next few days... 

If your lotion isn't thick enough, you can add a thickener like cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or stearic acid. (I can't link well on my phone, so please check out the links for each of these ingredients on the right hand side of the blog under bath & body guide to ingredients!) Start off with 3% in the heated oil phase of your lotion in place of 3% of any oil or butter and feel the difference! The most common of these are cetyl alcohol and stearic acid. They are quite inexpensive and have long shelf lives, and I think every good workshop has some of each in at least a small quantity. 

For the most part, when you see a recipe with one of these thickeners you can substitute one for the other at the same percentage. There will be some difference in skin feel if you substitute behenyl for cetyl - behenyl is drier feeling - or cetearyl - which is waxier - for example, but 3% in the oil phase will offer thickening to even the wateriest lotion? 

Want to know more? Do a search for these ingredients or the keywords "thicken lotion" and see what comes up!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

What are you thinking about making for Christmas?

I'm sure it seems a little early to be asking this question, but when you consider that you may need to factor in learning and shipping times, it'll be time for holidays before you know it! 

Please give yourself time and supplies to make a few batches of what you want to major and start small. Don't think you'll make a huge batch of lotions to give away the first time you try. As with everything good in life, it takes time and effort to get these things right. Start now and you may have something you're proud to share by December. 

So what're you making? Do you need tutorials on the product? (First step, check out the newbie section of the blog!) Need some ideas for suppliers have you? (Check out the suppliers' section of the FAQ!) Anything else? Let me know! 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekday Wonderings: Additives for commercial hand soap that will be less drying?

In this post, Handsoap with polyquats, Will asked: I love the weird question, and I think I have one. To a commercial handsoap, such as softsoap, is there any additive(s) that can be added into the product to make it less drying/more skin friendly? 

Yes, there are loads of things you can do to a commercial handsoap, with the disclaimer that you will probably have to add more preservative to the mix when you're done, depending upon the amount and the nature of the ingredient.

The simplest one is to dilute the product with water and put it in a foamer bottle, like this one. (Add preservative with the distilled water at 0.5% to 2% as per the instructions for your particular preservative.) I would do a 33% soap, 66% water dilution and put it into the foamer bottle. Because this will be using lower levels of surfactant, it'll rinse off easier and your skin should feel less tight and dry.

The second way is to add ingredients that will increase mildness. I went into great detail about this a short time ago, so I'll refer you to that post - increasing mildness in shampoos. Adding some water soluble oil, a polyquat, a humectant, and so on can decrease that tight or dry feeling after washing your hands, and it only takes a little bit.

Related posts:
What causes tightness after washing?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weekend Wonderings: Can we use castille soap in face cleansers? How can I make an oil only product feel less greasy?

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I trashed my back! (To be specific, it's my piriformis, hip flexor, and gluteus medius muscles that started off in spasm, and it's moving across my back and up into my mid-back. Yep, it's a big spasm party!) It still hurts to sit up for long periods of time, so when I come home from work, I crash on the couch until bedtime. I'm not feeling very creative right now, which is why there have been so few posts. (I'm so grateful that the new Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer came out or I'd have been more bored than I am!)

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. It is getting better every day, but it's taking more time than I would like. And thank you for your patience with regards to answering your comments and messages. I'm working my way through them slowly, but I'll get there in time.

In this post, Facial scrub: Creating a surfactant based scrub, a couple of people asked if they could use castille soap in this cleanser recipe. Sure, why not?

I don't use liquid soap in my recipes for two main reasons - the first being that I don't make soap, so I don't have any in the house, and the second being that the pH of soap is higher than our surfactant mixes, and I find my skin simply doesn't like alkaline ingredients.

Cold processed and liquid soap have a pH over 8, which makes them alkaline. Our skin has a pH of 4.5 to 5.9, so it's suggested we use products that are around that pH. (If you're interested in learning more about this, I encourage you to check out this post!)

As an aside, you cannot reduce the pH of your soap down to an acidic pH as it will stop being soap by the time it gets into the 7 range. (Click this post for more information...) If you can, you should partake in Dr Dunn's soapmaking challenge! (Click here for more information...) As an aside, as of today, only one person has submitted soap to this challenge. I'm eager to see what the results of that analysis will be! 

This is not to say I don't like handmade soap! I love the stuff, but my facial skin is simply too sensitive to use it on a regular basis.

Related posts:
pH and the acid mantle
pH and our skin
pH and skin care products

A thought for the day: If you make an oil based product like a whipped butter, lotion bar, balm, and so on, it will feel greasy. There is no getting around that as you are making a product in which all the ingredients would be described as greasy! You can try to reduce the feeling by using less greasy feeling ingredients like mango butter, babassu oil, hazelnut oil, and so on, and you can try using esters like IPM, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl ethylhexanoate, and such, but the end product will be greasier than any product made with water.

If you really hate the feeling of that product, consider making a lotion instead with all those lovely oils!

Related posts:
Emollients section of the blog
Men's section of the blog - contains tons of information on making a drier feeling product

In this post, Facial scrubs: Emulsified scrubs, Melissa asks: I'm wondering why the e-wax in the sugar scrub is 10%. Isn't it normally around 2-4%? I made this recipe (minus cetyl alcohol) and it turned out great so thanks very much.

I used 10% emulsifier in this product because that's the amount that worked best after all my experiments. I found that more removed too much oil, and less didn't remove enough.

Using 2% to 4% would be appropriate for the oil phase of a product like a lotion with both a water and oil phase, but this product is all oil phase, and the emulsifier is there to turn the product into a quick lotion before rinse off.

Well, that's it for today! Join me tomorrow to read more comments!