I have to confess I'm surprised at the lack of curiosity from some of the readers of this site. I link constantly in the posts I write, and I can't believe how many comments or e-mail messages I see asking me questions that could have been answered by clicking on one of those links. (I'm thinking about the ingredient cetyl alcohol from Friday's post.)
You don't have to know everything to make a great product, but it's fun when you do! You can make a gorgeous whipped butter or lotion following someone else's recipe, but you're beholden to those ingredients and that process if you don't spend a little time reading and learning. You'll be unable to figure out what makes a good recipe, which leaves you making products that suck and wasting your precious supplies. You'll be unable to fix a lotion fail and you'll end up spending a ton of money on the same ingredient at different suppliers' shops if you don't know INCI names.
Follow your curiosity and see where it leads! Follow that link to the next one, then the next one, then the next one, and read until you see the same information repeated a few times. Get into the workshop and that try that thing that sounded interesting when you thought of it in the shower, then figure out why it worked or didn't work. (Like my solid body wash idea!) Get into the workshop and get a feel for your ingredients (like we did with oils in the Newbie Tuesday series on the skin feel of oils and butters).
If you aren't curious, I really don't think you should consider creating a business making bath & body products. To become a proper artisan, you need knowledge, and the only way to get that knowledge is through hard work and curiosity. (How do you know you have the interest and the aptitude to create products if you don't learn all you can?) You should be able to write recipes and predict the viscosity and skin feel of the product before you consider selling, and you should be able to make substitutions on the fly when you run out of ingredients.
emollients (oils, butters & esters) section and learn about one oil or butter this week, check out the extracts section to learn about your favourite botanical ingredient or hydrosol, or look to the bath & body guides to ingredients on the right hand side of the blog and find an ingredient you love! I know we're all pressed for time, but I can guarantee you can find 9 minutes a day to read something interesting on this blog or others you frequent! And by the end of the year, you'll have learned about thirty (or more) ingredients for such a small investment every day!
What are you curious about and where will you start?