Monday, February 4, 2013

A few thoughts about recipes...

If you're new to bath and body products, please don't try to create a recipe when you've never made anything! (I've said it before, but I thought it bore repeating considering the e-mail I've been getting lately!)

I know you want to put things in that recipe that sound cool or that you've just bought, but why not find a recipe that works and try that first? I make this suggestion because if you're creating your own recipe from scratch, it'll take quite a long time to come up with a recipe, time that you could have spent in the workshop playing, and you have no idea if it's good. You'll be hesistant to try it - scared of "wasting supplies" - and you won't learn anything. Finding a good recipe and trying it means you're learning and progressing in your abilities! 

If you're new, I suggest this - find a recipe you like that has some great feedback. Make that. See how you like it and write down your notes. Then make it again. Maybe a tweak, maybe not. Write down your notes about how you like it. Make it again. When you know why each ingredient is included and what each brings to the product in terms of skin feel and performance, you're ready to create your own recipe. And even then, why re-invent the wheel? Or use some of my template lotion recipes and add your own ingredients to it! Or visit the newbie section and play along as we make products! 

Related posts for recipes: 

Related posts on encouraging you to try new things!

This relates to my second thought for the day...When is a recipe truly your recipe? If you take a recipe I've made and exchange one oil for another and add silk protein instead of oat protein, is it yours? If you use strawberry extract at 0.5% in the cool down phase and remove 0.5% water from the heated water phase, is it yours?
Every formulator has his or her favourite ingredients. I use what I like in certain amounts, and that's my signature. I have seen people claiming something was their recipe when it was still clearly mine - my signature was quite obvious - and other times claiming a recipe was mine when it was clearly not - my signature was gone, they used oils I've never owned or ingredients I can't stand. 

The end result for me is this...I'm not really not that bothered. If you make a product from a recipe on this blog and call it your (insert product name here), have fun! I'm flattered that you consider my recipes worth your time and energy! If you want to give them away to friends, sell them to strangers, or share them with loved ones, I'm really really flattered! 

However, if you copy my blog wholesale and put it on your blog without giving me credit or don't put a link to my blog, or if you want to use my written recipes or resources in something and make money from it, then I care. Why? Because there's no effort. Spending time in your workshop figuring out that you like sesame seed oil over sunflower oil, shea over mango, or lavender essential oil over Clementine cupcake fragrance oil all takes time and effort. And those expenditures of resources is what makes something yours! If you take a recipe I created and make it exactly the same, you're putting in effort. If you alter it, you've made effort. Even if you decide in the end that you like the recipe exactly the way I wrote it, it's still all about your experimenting and time. (Plus, that money you're making from your blog, your classes, or your newsletters could be going to my youth programs!) 

These are just my opinions. If you want to use the recipes of other people, ask them, don't assume they feel the way I do! 


Le lucky duck said...

To the idea about not trying to be a mad scientist when you are new... I tried to create bubble bars early on and added beeswax. They were cute and all but can you imagine having to clean that mess out of the bath tub?! One has to learn (I'm still a studen by far) about what things really are and how they act. I'm just glad I didn't cause skin problems! I am so thankful l that you are sharing your smarts with us. You are awesomely amazing!

Anna said...

But isn´t that taking all the fun out of it? If I wanted a well formulated facial cream I would buy one. To me, the whole point of creating my own products is to go wild and crazy and try lots of stuff.

I would of course NEVER make my own sunscreen (at least non that I would use in the sun), or mix different ingredients that offer exfoliant properties, but I would get bored and quit if I had to use other peoples recipes.

I realize that I might be missing something in regards to safety-precautions, I am after all a newbie, but is it always bad to have fun and create your own recipes as long as you make sure to read up on the ingredients you use?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ann. My point was about using recipes to get the idea of what a recipe looks like - for instance, looking at a basic lotion recipe - instead of making one up without the knowledge of what to do. You would be shocked to see some of the recipes I've seen - lotions without emulsifiers, recipes without proper measurements, oil blends with rancid oils, and so on!

Anna said...

Yeah, I agree that rancid oils and proper measurements doesn´t sound to good.

Thanks for taking the time to clearify what you meant to me!