Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy new year!

I wanted to thank you, my lovely readers, for asking questions, challenging me, and generally being awesome over the last year. As you may know, I've been facing some health challenges with loads of back pain of unknown origin. Thank you for continuing to follow the blog when I haven't been able to post as often as I would have liked. Thank you for continuing to support our youth programs by donating for the ebooks. And thank you for being patient with me when it comes to answering comments. 

2016 should be an interesting year! I'm hoping to learn more about photography so you can see prettier pictures of the ingredients and products. (Raymond bought me a light tent! Woo!) I'm teaching again at Voyageur Soap & Candle - dates to be announced shortly - and at the Canadian conference for Soapmakers in April. And I hope to get more workshop time as my back heals. I have so many cool ingredients I haven't even mentioned on the blog because I need some experimenting time, and I can't wait to do some playing! 

What are you excited about for 2016? What goals have you set for yourself? What would you like to see on this blog? What ingredients or products do you want to try for the first time? Share your thoughts! 


Elizabeth said...

I'm hoping that I can get a really good face moisturizer made this year. I have been experimenting by making tiny batches of the most basic lotions and only changing the oil that I use to see what I think feels best.

I'm kind of curious about what you think the actual effect of various extracts and other goodies is. I know that you will often say that things have an antioxidant properties, etc but as an end user do feel or notice an observable benefit or difference when you do or don't use those things in your products. I guess I wonder if it is worth investing on those ingredients or if the benefits are overstated or minimal enough that just a nice basic lotion good enough.

I'm glad you're feeling better, I missed reading your posts while you were healing.

Nancy Liedel said...

I use some of my gaming dice for selecting colors for my Dungeons and Dragons Colorways. I assign each color a number, roll and put that color in the pot, roll again and put that color on another area of the yarn. I make sure the colors work together before assigning them. Your photo made me smile because I'm dyeing my yarn that way tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

By Bridget
Well I'm really excited to try making some Lush inspired products(though not duplications). I'm going to try shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and "bubble bars". As soon as my gosh-darned Chemistry Connection order arrives I'll be able to start experimenting with shampoo bars :D I'm also going to continue to experiment with the items I've been trying to make for ages now, but have never been satisfied with the results: texturizing putty for hair, eyeliner, mascara. By the way, I wanted to tell you, one thing that had been on that list, but I've finally had success formulating is an anti-frizz/shine cream for hair. I thought it might be of interest to you or readers of this blog. I think my results are as good as anti-frizz type creams from Paul Mitchell or Bedhead. The formula is a modified version of one on the website of Making Cosmetics, and uses some ingredients I've only found there. Although that said, you might be able to find something similar elsewhere. I think the magic ingredient to the formula is a silicone sold by Making Cosmetics they call "Dimethicone Satin"(sorry, not trying to advertise for Making Cosmetics). They say it's a blend of low molecular and high molecular weight silicones. The INCI is just dimethicone. But it has a VERY different texture to ordinary dimethicone, much silkier. I've tried making anti-frizz/shine creams with just regular dimethicone but they always came out too greasy, but not shiny enough. This stuff really does the trick. Lotioncrafter sells a couple of silicone blends that have a similar description to Dimethicone Satin; so that could be an alternative to ordering it from Making Cosmetics. The other ingredient in this formula from Making Cosmetics is an emulsifier called ICE(instant cold emulsifier) Silicone. It's in powder form, and you add it to your oil phase, then add your water phase and stir. This allows you to make cold process emulsions, which is really useful in this formula because its oil phase consists entirely of silicones, which of course you can't heat and hold. Again, I think Lotioncrafter sells something that might be similar, though I haven't personally tried it. The Personal Formulator and The Chenistry Connection as well. So here's the formula I use:

Phase A
3% ICE Silicone
10% Dimethicone Satin
2% Amodimethicone(a water soluble silicone. You could probably just skip it if you don't have it)

Phase B
84.% distilled water

Phase C
0.5-1% broad spectrum preservative(I use Germall Plus)

Mix the ICE Silicone with other Phase A ingredients to dissolve clumps as much as possible. Add Phase B and stir or mix until a thick cream forms and any lumps are gone. Add preservative.

Sorry to write such a lengthy comment, but several people who commented in a previous post said they would like to see you formulate some styling products. I think one person mentioned wanting to duplicate an anti frizz/shine cream from Paul Mitchell. I had been trying to make this type of product for quite some time, and had a difficult time with it. Now that I've found something that works, I thought sharing this basic formula might point others in the right direction.

Michelle said...

So glad you are on the mend. Back pain can be unbearable. It will be exciting to see what you come up with your new ingredients and light box too! I finally perfected a lip balm (silly I know) I wanted certain ingredients and I like this version a lot. Now on to a good salve. An idea for you to write about is "My 10 favorite ingredients." Or, ingredient must have's or something like that. Basically, ingredients you love to use and where & why. Happy New Year to you!

Abby said...

I could've written Elizabeth's comment myself.
I too am on a journey to make the ultimate moisturizer for my face, but with so many actives to choose from, I sometimes get a little overwhelmed as to which ones will really benefit your skin.
I just ordered the uv repair cream from skinactives to see if a bazillion actives added to a cream really makes a difference. From there I want to slowly put together my own ultimate cream.

Aside from shampoo, conditioner, cleansers etc...

Another big mission of mine is to make something that will help me cope with my chronic pain(or actually, to beat it all together!!). I've made this fantastic muscle balm with an EO blend at 2% that really makes a difference...And soaking in an epsom salt bath for friggin 45 minutes does relieve the pain quite a bit... But I wanted something a little more convenient, a little less time consuming than a bath and something that won't leave a greasy feeling. Enter my "dragon's breath" lotion;) (or so I'd hoped).

I've just made a cream with cayenne infused almond oil, magnesium sulfate and 1% of the EO oil blend, but I think it's going to be a dud. the oil infusion gives off none of the warming(burning?) sensation I'd hoped for. So next time I might add actual chili co2 extract which contains about 3% capsaicin. The magnesium sulfate makes your skin feel like you've spent all day in and out of the water at the beach (like when a salt layer forms on your skin) yes, back to the drawing table! I used xyliance for the emulsifier and I quite like it, it leaves a nice smooth, silky skin feeling similar to my precious BTMS50.

I was wondering though, has your use of commercial skincare products decreased (or even become zero) since you can make your own products? Or is there still a commercial product that can't be beaten as of yet (aside from sunscreen) ?

I really hope you're back will continue to heal and that you'll figure out what the cause was all this time. Not knowing why can sometimes be just as frustrating as the discomfort.
I really wonder what experiments you're up to though, and can't wait to read about them on here!

Kim said...

Hi Susan,
I'm a soap maker of nearly 9 years, and now feel like I'm ready to tackle a new challenge: lotion making! I have recently received several of your e-books and have made a few simple "beginner's" batches. I am astounded at the difference in feel compared to store-purchased lotions. I'm excited to learn more by reading and experimenting.

My goals for 2016: to learn about different oils and additives, what they each bring to the end product and to put theory into practice by making batches, taking notes and determining what qualities I like in a lotion. Thanks for providing such a comprehensive resource!

I hope your back continues to heal and that you are able to get back to doing the things you enjoy most. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Years

Here is some information that helped guide me in my self treatment of my lower back pain. I hope your back pain goes away as well.

Robin McKenzie was a world leader in treating lower back pain.

Nerium said...

Hi Susan,

Have you ever tried to come up with a recipe for an all in one type of bar cleanser for hair, face and body? I like the idea of a bar of soap that I can use for everything when I travel, go to the gym, etc. and I would love to get away from having to use plastic bottles. The only problem is that I can't wash my face with regular soap or I break out and I hate the way my hair feels after washing it with bar soap (I did read your blog post on why that is!).

Chant de la Mer said...

I've been following for about 2 years now but haven't made anything yet because ingredients are expensive but I finally got a few basic items so I'm looking forward to making my first lotion! I haven't chosen which recipe to follow yet, but that's another thing I'm looking forward to this year, getting to know which oils I like! I've been slowly collecting tools, including a scale, and other items so I'm all ready to go.

beckster said...

Hi, Susan! I pulled out my coveted Pasta di Mandorle hand cream (I know, I know, the price is ridiculous!) yesterday since my hands are sore and my cuticles are raw. It's so expensive that I only use it very rarely, but I wish I could use it everyday. It's that effective on me. I looked up the ingredients, and it looks so simple. Sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, egg yolk, virgin beeswax, and glycerin. I was thinking that I could make my own version, but I would have to leave out the egg yolk. I can't imagine how to do that in a way that it would not rot. So, here's my question, finally! Could this just be mixed together, or would it have to go through heating and holding? Also, do you think a preservative is necessary since there is no water? Thanks a million for any light you can shed on this. And my wallet thanks you as well.

Ann said...

Hi Susan,
Happy New Year! Glad you're on the mend. I hope 2016 will be a better year for you and your back. Since I started following your blog I've made all sorts of products for the first time; shampoos, conditioners, hand creams, lotions, cleansers, scrubs, balms, lip glosses etc. I've even made toothpaste, deoderant and dishwashing liquid. My husband set up a space in our garage for my workshop which he jokingly refers to as the 'meth' lab. Without your blog and your ebooks I doubt that I could have come this far, so thank you very much. What I haven't spent much time on yet is developing an age appropriate facial moisturiser. I turned 50 in 2015 so I need one that will slow (read stop) the ageing process. I know its ambitious but you have to have a goal! Like others have mentioned I too wonder about the most effective ingredients to use and whether you need every one of them in a product for the best results. I've accumulated quite a collection of proteins, extracts and other so called 'miracle' agents which are waiting to be tested. I'd also like to learn more about and make some anti-frizz products. The climate here in Melbourne (Australia) is increasingly humid and there only needs to be a little moisture in the air for my hair to become a frizzy mess and for my scalp to itch. Last on my list is to explore colour cosmetics, mineral makeup and the like. I'm getting more adventurous with my formulas, sometimes through necessity because I can't always source the more specialised ingredients here, at least not without an expensive shipping bill. The information you provide here on the blog is unique and gave me a fantastic starting point and the confidence to make my own creations. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts in 2016, as are my friends and family who are the beneficiaries of all I am learning. Cheers Ann.