Thursday, March 31, 2016

Emulsifiers: Sepiplus 400 - making an aqueous gel with active ingredients

On Tuesday, we met Sepiplus 400, an ingredient that can be used to make aqueous gels or cold process lotions! And yesterday we made a basic aqueous gel! Let's modify it slightly with a fun, new active ingredient.

Lotioncrafter is carrying an interesting ingredient called genistein. It's a phytoestrogen that behaves as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and collagen producer. It may be good for helping with cellulite, and it is has been shown to help with reducing the look of photoaging and redness from sun exposure. It has to be dissolved in a glycol - like propylene glycol - before adding to a water based or emulsified product.

I thought it would be neat to add this to an aqueous gel made with Sepiplus 400, so let's take a look at what I made!

92% distilled water
3.5% propylene glycol
3% Sepiplus 400
1% genistein
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Weigh the propylene glycol and genistein into a container and mix well. In another container, weigh the distilled water and liquid Germall plus together. Mix. Add the propylene glycol and genistein into the water, and mix well. While running your mixing device, add the Sepiplus 400 and mix for about a minute more. You're done! Rejoice!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Emulsifiers: Sepiplus 400 - making an aqueous gel

As I mentioned yesterday, I introduced you to Sepiplus 400, an emulsifier that can make cold lotions and aqueous or alcoholic gels. Let's take a look at how we can make aqueous gels with it!

It's a super simple process!

96.5% distilled water
3% Sepiplus 400
0.5% liquid Germall plus

Weigh the distilled water and liquid Germall plus into a container. Weigh the Sepiplus 400 into a small shot glass container. Start up your mixing device, then pour the Sepiplus 400 into the container while mixing. Mix for a minute or so. Stop. You're done! Rejoice!

This is a very basic recipe, one intended for you to get a sense of what the emulsifier feels like on its own. You only need a tiny bit - a little goes a long way - but it doesn't really feel like there's anything on your skin after even a few minutes as the water evaporates. Why make it then? To get a sense of what your basic recipe will feel like, how well it spreads, how thick it is without any extra ingredients.

This gel is thick enough to need squishing out of a bottle! It's not some thin gel, oh no! It's a nice thick gel to which you could add some exfoliating ingredients, like jojoba beads, or a nice active ingredient that will do wonders for you skin!

Maybe we should try that tomorrow? Join me then for fun adding an active ingredient to this basic recipe!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Emulsifiers: Sepiplus 400

Sepiplus 400 (INCI: Polyacrylate 13 (and) Polyisobutene (and) Polysorbate 2) is a neat emulsifier that can be used cold to emulsify up to 50% oils in a lotion! It comes as a thick, opaque, pearly liquid that can be used as the sole emulsifier at 0.5% to 3% or as a thickener and stabilizer in a lotion at 0.2% to 3%. It can be heated, if you wish, but you can also use it cold, which is how I've been playing with it.

It is stable to a huge pH range from 2.5 to 11, so you can use it in all kinds of applications with low pH ranges, like gels or lotions with salicylic acid or AHAs like Multifruit BSC and lactic acid.

Leave the oils out and make a gel that can handle electrolytes, ethanol, glycerin, and glycols with all kinds of goodies for those of us who can't handle oils on our faces or bodies.

You can mix Sepiplus 400 with anything you have, stick blender, hand mixer, stationary mixer, and so on!

I've been using it to make cream gels - which is what we call a lotion made with this emulsifier - by putting together all the oily ingredients, mixing a bit, then adding the water phase while mixing. I continue to mix for a minute or two, then I'm done!

If you want to make aqueous gels or those without oils, just put together all the ingredients, and add the Sepiplus 400 to the container while mixing.

If you want to make gels with alcohol as the base, then you'd make the aqueous gel as above, then add the alcohol while stirring.

Here are few recipes I found from the company to show you the different ways you can use Sepiplus 400...
A basic cream gel recipe - substitute any oil you wish for the 20% C12-15 alkyl benzoate
Pleasures of mineral balance cream gel - you can substitute the ethylhexyl palmitate with any light oil you wish, like fractionated coconut oil or another ester.

Where can you find Sepiplus 400? The only place I've found it is at Lotioncrafter. If you have other suggestions, please make them in the comments so others can find it, too!

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at the first of three recipes I've made with Sepiplus 400!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Gratitude is an attitude, and other lovely cliches!

If I've learned anything in the last month or so, it's that gratititude is, in fact, an attitude. (I generally run away from cute rhyming things, but this one is valid!) I've always thought of myself as a gracious and grateful person, but Raymond and I feel we can work harder to show how much we appreciate other people.

And I appreciate it so much when you come back and share your experiences! Tricia shared her thoughts in this post, Chemistry of our nails: Lanolin:

Lanolin does indeed absorb and hold water-soluble ingredients. I've had good results with an anhydrous hand salve using 8% glycerin and 14% lanolin. These should be the first two ingredients measured into your beaker. Heat and stir well before adding the rest of your recipe. No separation, even if your salve goes through less-than-ideal temperature changes.

Great information! Thanks, Tricia!

I'm turning to you now, my amazing and most likely very lovely smelling readers, to encourage you to offer feedback on recipes you've made on the blog. I did this a few years ago, and it helped me figure out which recipes were the most popular so I could use them and modify them in my e-books. It also let me know what I should make for the blog for the future. It's helpful to get that feedback from you because something that works in my workshop might not in yours, and knowing that means I may have to do things a different way. If you can visit the recipe you made and offer your version or thoughts or anything that might encourage someone else to try it or not try it, I would be so grateful, and I know your fellow readers would appreciate it, too!

I'm working on another e-book now! Okay, I'm actually working on two of them but the bigger one, the ingredient encyclopedia, is taking forever as there's always one more ingredient I forgot for this section and one more category that's getting too long, so I don't have a completion date yet. The less difficult one is all about the new emulsifiers we're been using here at Point of Interest, like Ritamulse SCG, Aristoflex AVC, Lotionpro 165, and more!

This week off helped me figure out what to do next, so there's a bunch of things I have planned! Can't wait to unveil them for you!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Emulsifiers: Aristoflex AVC - a light lotion with babassu oil

Today we'll take a look at the last of my Aristoflex AVC lotions - okay, the last for a bit because I'm in love with this emulsifier, and you'll definitely see more in the future.

I'm using many of the same ingredients as my previous lotions with this emulsifier, so I'll refer you to the related posts links below to learn more about why I'm including allantoin, panthenol, and sea kelp bioferment.

If you didn't know already, I love love love babassu oil. It's a solid oil very similar to coconut oil, but it offers a non-greasy silky feeling. It melts at slightly above room temperature - 24˚C or 76˚F - so it'll melt on contact with your skin. It's a wonderful inclusion in this recipe if you're looking for a light, non-greasy moisturizer or body milk. Because it's solid at room temperature, you'll get a thicker lotion with this inclusion, more like the first one I did in this series. (This one with silicones and esters...)

Please note, I am not responsible for your addiction to babassu oil. I will not encourage you to try it with kukui oil, like I do in this recipe, nor will I encourage you to try it in a body butter, like this recipe. Or to use it in a whipped butter, like this recipe or like this recipe. If you get addicted to it,  don't come looking for me to blame! I warned you! 

89.5% distilled water
2.5% panthenol
3% sea kelp bioferment
0.5% allantoin
5% babassu oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% Aristoflex AVC

Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container, then add the rest of the ingredients in order. You will need to melt the babassu oil slightly, so just heat it up in a double boiler for a few minutes until liquid, then add to the lotion container. Mix well. Bottle and rejoice!

What did I think about this lotion? I think it's my favourite of the six! I love the light, non-greasy feeling and the silkiness of the babassu oil. I can feel it on my skin a little while later, but it doesn't feel greasy or heavy. I think this is my new body milk! (I can't use oil based moisutrizers on my face, so it's all about the body lotions for me!)

Related posts:
Aristoflex AVC - light lotion with pumpkin seed, allantoin, and sea kelp bioferment
Aristoflex AVC - a serum with Vitamin C and ferulic acid
Aristoflex AVC - a light lotion with NAG, ceramides, and quaternized rice
Aristoflex AVC - a light lotion with resveratrol, allantoin, and panthenol

Now that we're at the end of this series about using Aristoflex AVC, what have I learned? I've learned that this is definitely facial moisturizer viscosity, not hand lotion or thicker. And that's okay. It can be made in a few minutes, which means you can play for hours and make a dozen lotions to share with friends and family, which is more amazing than you think it is!

You can make it thicker by using cetyl alcohol or stearic acid, but you have to melt the ingredients, which means you aren't making it cold any more. That's not a bad thing - we did it with the babassu oil -  but remember you don't really want to go above 5% oils and 1% Aristoflex AVC, so you don't have much space to play with emollients.

If you're hoping to use an extract with this emulsifier, do a small test batch to see how it reacts. I had the bright idea to use liquid cucumber extract and marshmallow extract, and I ended up with a gross mess. I'm not sure which one was the culprit - which is why I tell you to add one ingredient at a time to a recipe - but I'm so glad I didn't start with 500 grams!

I have 500 grams, which will probably last me a lifetime, or at least 500 - 100 gram batches of lotion, which is, as you can imagine, a whole lotta moisturizing for one person!

Join me Tuesday as we take a look at another cold process emulsifier, Sepiplus 400! (I get a four day weekend for Easter, so I'll be doing lots of playing in the workshop and updating you as I go, as well as answering your questions and comments, so join me for those, too!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Emulsifiers: Aristoflex AVC - a light lotion with resveratrol, panthenol, and allantoin

Before I took my break, we were having fun formulating with Aristoflex AVC, a new emulsifier we can work with cold to make light lotions!

This recipe would be suitable for a light body milk or facial moisturizer. It is very light, and spreads very well without leaving behind a greasy look or white soaping effect.

Why am I using the ingredients I'm using? As I've mentioned before, we can't use hydrolyzed proteins with Aristoflex as it ruins the viscosity, so I'm turning to sea kelp or bull kelp bioferment to provide me with a film former and non-oil moisturizer. I'm using glycerin as my humectant, and as a solvent for dissolving the resveratrol. You know I love panthenol and use it as a hydrator, anti-inflammatory, and skin barrier repair kit. I love allantoin for its barrier protection, and I like the moringa seed extract for its C12-15 alkyl benzoate - a very light ester like fractionated coconut oil - because I'm going for something that is occlusive, but doesn't feel that way.

I've chosen to use resveratrol because there's so much great science coming out about this ingredient! It's a very good anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. It is a great anti-inflammatory, and it can inhibit cell growth. It is advertised as reducing the signs of aging, and it does this by ameliorating the effects of UVB caused skin damage. The new thing I've learned is that it can be used for diabetic wound care because it's shown some anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity, and it's being used for acne products.

As a note, before you ask me why we can't use this as a preservative, 5 grams is almost $10, so it's simply not proven or cost effective. 

86% distilled water
4% sea kelp bioferment
3% moringa seed extract in C12-15 alkyl benzoate or any other light oil, like fractionated coconut oil
2% panthenol
0.5% resveratrol dissolved in 2% glycerin
0.5% allantoin
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% aristoflex AVC

Measure distilled or de-ionized water into a container. Measure the glycerin into a small shot glass, then add the resveratrol and stir until dissolved. Add this to the container. Add the rest of the ingredients in any order, but put the Aristoflex AVC in at the end. Mix well. Bottle and rejoice.

I really like this version! It is very thin - it's definitely more like a body milk or thin facial moisturizer than a lotion! If you compare this to the previous recipes - or tomorrow's recipe - it's very thin! I don't know if you could spray it through a mister as I haven't tried it yet, but I think you could. (Why haven't I tried it? Oh, right, the searing back pain that's kept me on the couch for weeks! But I could try it now....)

Related posts:
Aristoflex AVC - light lotion with pumpkin seed, allantoin, and sea kelp bioferment
Aristoflex AVC - a serum with Vitamin C and ferulic acid
Aristoflex AVC - a light lotion with NAG, ceramides, and quaternized rice

For those of you interested in finding Aristoflex AVC, Michele at Windy Point Soap (Alberta) has it coming in a few weeks! If you're in Canada, this is a woo hoo situation for us! If you're in the States, your dollar is worth something like ten of ours, so order from her too and rejoice that you have spent way less than you expected! If you're looking for resveratrol, I found mine at Lotioncrafter! The moringa seed extract (oil soluble) is from Formulator Sample Shop. If you just want plain old C12-15 alkyl benzoate, you can get it at lots of places, including Lotioncrafter.

Note: By popular request, I'm listing where I found harder-to-find ingredients at the bottom of recipe posts. I am not being compensated in any way by any of these companies to mention them on the blog. (In fact, they don't even know I'm doing it! I hope that's okay with them!) I'm doing it to make it easier to find the ingredients easier for you to find! If this bothers you, please let me know as the last thing I want to do is annoy you, my wonderful readers. I'm trying to anticipate the inevitable questions about where to find that weird ingredient by doing this. If you're looking for ingredients near you, check out the frequently asked questions page and scroll down to find suppliers in various parts of the world. 

Join me tomorrow for the last of my experimental Aristoflex AVC recipes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A few thoughts for Tuesday morning about emulsifiers...

The rule of using 25% of your oil phase as emulsifier ONLY applies to Polawax (and Natragem EW, which is a natural variation of Polawax, but it's hard to find, so it's not really come up before). Every emulsifier has its own suggested usage rate, and to have a lotion success, you have to follow those rules carefully.

For instance, use between 6% and 8% Ritamulse SCG for no more than 25% oils. Montanov 68 uses 1% to 5% for around 25% oils. Olivem 1000 can be used at 1% to 8% depending on the recipe, while Lotionpro 165 can be used at 1% to 4% for up to 30% or more oils. And so on.

If you have an emulsifier you simply can't figure out by reading your supplier's instructions, check out the frequently asked questions page on this blog to see how to use your emulsifiers or how to convert a recipe using one to another. And check out the list on the right hand side of the blog to see if I've reviewed it!

For years, I worked with Polawax and Incroquat BTMS-50 as my emulsifiers of choice. But the last few years have brought so many new emulsifiers to our suppliers, and I've falling in love with Lotionpro 165. It makes the heaviest body butters feel fluffy and light, and it makes lotions feel less waxy than those with emulsifying wax NF or Polawax. You don't need much - 4% for a body butter, less for a lotion - and you can make light, fluffy moisturizers as it's very tolerant to AHAs.

If you're in Canada and you're interested in Lotionpro 165, Michele and Keith at Windy Point Soap is now carrying it! Seriously, get in on this stuff. It makes the lightest, fluffiest body butter you'll ever use! Check out this recipe on using it in a lotion

As an aside, I'm working on a new e-book about using different emulsifiers in our products. My two e-books on lotion making - Lotion Making 101 and Formulating Lotions & Creams - have focused on Polawax, e-wax, and Incroquat BTMS-50. This new one will include more recipes for those, as well as Lotionpro 165, Montanov 68, Ritamulse SCG, Aristoflex AVC, Simulgreen 18-2, Olivem 1000, and more. I'm not sure when it'll be done as I won't have a lot of time for the month of April with an Iron Maiden concert (SQUEEEEE!) and International Tabletop Day, but I hope to get loads of time in May to write and experiment!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Weekday Wondering: How to make an eye liner sealant?

In this post Gels: Making an eye liner sealant, Simone asks: I have looked for Part 2 of the recipe for the eye sealant on your blog but without success. Can you tell me if it exists? I was so excited at finding a supplier of PVP closer to Australia I forgot to check the recipe, now I have the ingredients but don't know the quantities.

Yeah, I flaked out and didn't post one! Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Let's make an eye liner sealant prototype.

The first step is to make up my usual thick gel recipe

97% distilled water
1.2% carbomer (Ultrez 20)
0.9% TEA (triethanolamine) or 18% lye solution
1.6% liquid panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall plus

Weigh the carbomer into the distilled water and allow it to be wetted before to move on. For Ultrez 20, you can wait about three minutes before neutralizing the gel with the TEA. Check your suppliers' suggestions for the type of carbomer you have if it isn't Ultrez 20. Once you neutralize the gel with the TEA, add the other ingredients and mix well. It should thicken up in less than a minute. Yay! You have gel!

You can use this gel or use pre-made gel. It's up to you.

We're making this very thick so it can handle the inclusion of more liquid. I think it may be too thick for this application, so you could try a thinner version of the gel...

96.6% distilled water
1% Ultrez 20
0.9% TEA
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Follow the directions above.

From the thicker gel recipe, I removed 19 grams and added 1 gram propylene glycol (but any humectant like glycerin will work as a plasticizer for the product) and 3 grams PVP or AMP. I thought this version was nice and wasn't sticky, which is what I wanted from the product. It dried quickly. I gave this to my testers and they liked it, although a few suggested it could be thinner. I didn't try a thinner version as I saw a shiny thing and my attention span wandered, as it is prone to do! You could thin this down if you wish by making the thinner gel recipe or by adding a bit of distilled water, maybe 1 - 2 grams? Try 1 gram first and see what you think.

For a second test, I removed 21 grams of gel, and added 2 grams of propylene glycol and 5 grams of PVP or AMP. This version was thinner, but was sticky and didn't dry quickly. I hated this and didn't bother to share it with my testers.

If you want do some experimenting, I'd go with 3 grams of PVP or AMP to 19 to 20 grams of gel and see what you think . You could go a little higher, but it'll get stickier with each additional gram. You will probably have to tweak it to your personal preferences for viscosity and to your climate - you mentioned you live in Australia - but I hope that's a start!

Please come back and let us know how it turned out for you!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Thank you to everyone! Yes, I'm feeling much better.

There are three things you probably don't know about me. One, I hate it when animals do people things. I don't want to see bears or monkeys walking on their back legs, dogs pushing baby buggies, or cats doing yoga in a calendar. All of it creeps me the heck out!

Two, I can't have the curtains open when it's dark because that's when zombies look in your windows and surround the house before breaking in. (I have a deal with my friends that they will keep me alive through the fighting parts, and I will keep them alive with my science-y skills afterwards.)

And three, I cry at everything. I cry at Hallmark card commercials, I cried at the end of Terminator 2. I cried at the beginning of Up where they show the short video of the husband and wife together, but then again, you have to be a heartless non-romantic not to weep at that. (That's Raymond's future! I told him he needs to befriend a cute little boy scout soon so he can have a companion! He already has a talking dog.) I cry when I hear songs that remind me of my dad, mom, husband, best friend, dog, and so on. And we're talking thrash metal songs, not some sad folk song.

So when I tell you that this week has had me crying with your kind words and thoughts, you know it's because I'm a wet soppy mess who cries when she's happy. Thank you so much for your kindess. Thank you so much for all your lovely thoughts and sentiments.

Those amazing flowers are from Michele and Keith at Windy Point Soap. Aren't they gorgeous? Such a sunny addition to my house. I love the yellow, the flowers, the vase. She sent them to me because of my no good, rotten, horrible week, and it turned everything around.

Last weekend, I mentioned to the lovely Doreen, of Blue Lotus Soaps, that I had a co-worker who was seeking a special soap. She's already made it and shipped it out from the Maritimes for me. She shared her stories and experiences doing my kind of work - my day job - and it was just what I needed to realize that I have been living in a slightly darker space than I want.

My friends, Kathleen, Ann, and Wanda all came to the rescue to listen to my endless whining, and all three helped me pick myself up and realize what I can do, instead of concentrating on what I can't.

My mom and Raymond have been amazing, holding me when I cry, telling me how great things can be, and bringing me cookies when I clap my hands and wait, they hate it when I do that!

I realized that there are people who care about me whom I haven't met yet, like you, my wonderful readers, and so many people in my life at home and work who care about me. I have to be okay with being weak for a while and lean on them when I can't hold myself up. I have to reach out for help before I crash and burn, and I have to look to the positive things that get me through the day instead of the negative ones that can pull me down. I'm usually such an optimist, but struggling with this intense pain since last year has altered that world view slightly. But I'm committed to being positive and seeing the best in people and things!

So many epiphanies from a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some unscented soap, eh? Just shows you how important a small gesture, a kind word, and a loving act can be in a life!

In answer to your questions, yes, I'm feeling way better. Those epidurals have been a miracle in liquid form. I haven't felt this good in years. I'm down to over the counter pain medication and only before bed. I can sit up, walk around, stand in one place for ages, and spend time with the people I love. I'm dying to get to the gym, but I'm scared of hurting myself and having this feeling go away, but I'm hoping to go on Monday and do some light weights! And I played Rock Band all day with my bestie. Sure, everyone else's ears hurt, but we had a great time. (And man, can she do harmonies! So jealous of her awesomeness!)

I'm so happy, and I can't say enough about the magical powers of spinal injections! (Oh yes, it hurts like hell, but only for 30 seconds, then it's bliss!)

This last week has been a very strange series of experiences. I took some time off the blog to heal my physical pain, and it turns out there was a whole lot of psychological stuff that needed fixing, too, relating to my feelings of self-worth. (Yeah, I know, I'm a counsellor I should know these things. But we're the most messed up people you'll meet as we never take our own advice!) So there's an overflowing cornucopia of things for me to work on in the coming months and years! Few things are as fun, challenging, and frustrating as some self-improvement!

Yeah, I know this picture is of Kirk van Houton trying to draw dignity, but I can't really think of a picture to describe self-improvement that isn't some kind of cheesy motivational poster. So you're stuck with Kirk! 

I have been making some plans for what I want to do next, and I hope you're interesting in seeing what that might be! The blog is a huge part of it, but I hope to make it bigger and better! I don't want to say much until I know it'll all work - my dad taught me to be a doer, not a big talker - but there is definitely a new e-book on the horizon (maybe two), which makes me so happy!

Thanks again for all your lovely thoughts. You have no idea how much they mean to me, and how amazing and kind you have been to me, lovely readers.

Join me tomorrow as we start wading through the comments and messages I've received over the past three weeks! There's a bunch!

Monday, March 14, 2016

I'm off for the week!

It's been a long few weeks for me. You know that I've been struggling with really awful back pain since late August, and it's finally feeling a bit better thanks to these epidurals I've been getting! Yay! But my body couldn't possibly work properly, so I've been struggling with what seems like the stomach flu since last Sunday as well. 

I find it hard to look after myself, but my body is screaming "no" at me, and I need to listen to it for a change instead of hoping that voice goes away. I'm taking this week off to heal a little more before I dive into my normal routine of blog, work, youth programs, teaching, and so on. I want to spend some time with my family and friends who haven't seen me because I was either in pain or gross with blarges! I want to play a few video games - I've barely played Rock Band 4 since we bought it in November - and try for a workout or two at the gym. 

I'm still here, I'm just not posting this week. If you make a donation, you'll receive your e-book as quickly as I receive the notification from PayPal. If you e-mail me, it'll go into a folder where I'll answer it in the order in which it's received. If you comment, I'll see it, but probably won't answer it until next weekend. I love this blog so much. You inspire me, lovely readers. I love reading your comments and e-mails, and hearing all about your creations! I just need time to recharge some batteries that have worn down to the last 10%, and that means focusing inwards for a bit. Thank you for your all your amazing support, and thank you for your patience as I work to feel better. 

*This does mean that if you've emailed or posted in the last week, I also won't be answering them until next week as I didn't answer them this week. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Why I'm not at the 2017 Soapmakers' Conference in Niagara Falls

As you may or may not know, I won't be attending the 2017 Soapmakers' Guild conference in Niagara Falls.


I simply can't afford it.

As a presenter, although the Guild offered to pay for my hotel, flight, and some food, they did not offer an honourarium or fee for teaching four workshops at last year's or this year's conference. As I need Raymond to be with me to help with the workshops and help with possible physical needs like my back pain or diabetes - I went scarily low blood sugar twice at the last one - I would have to pay for his flight across the country. (The Guild offered to pay for his food package while there.)

I don't make money from this blog. I take no advertising or sponsorships. Every penny you pay for an e-book through the blog or a supplier like Lotioncrafter or Voyageur Soap & Candle goes to fund our youth programs. The only ways I make money from my knowledge of bath & body products is by writing the column for Handmade magazine and teaching classes on the weekends at Voyageur Soap & Candle.

I've already spent a great deal of time and money preparing for the 2016 conference, and I didn't plan classes for (most of) March and April to give me time to rest before and afterwards. I don't know how I would be able to do this all over again next year and afford to go.

I'm sad I won't be there. It was so amazing to talk to people who are as passionate about bath & body products as I am! But I'm sure you'll have a lovely time listening to Dr Kevin Dunn! (Someone get me an autograph, please!)

Monday, March 7, 2016

A box of goodies and an interview with Humblebee & Me

Wow! Look at this amazing box of ingredients sent to me by Maggie at the Formulator Sample Shop! Water soluble extracts, oil soluble proteins, emulsifying wax, and their new Phytoscents! These were originally intended for the Guild's conference in Niagara Falls, but since that has been postponed to next year, I can use them make loads of new recipes to post on this blog!

And check out this interview I did with Marie of Humblebee & Me! This picture is of my totally awesome clay creation of bunnies on a log. Now you know why I'm a writer and formulator and not a potter or visual artist. Lest you think to yourself, but she was only 4 when she made it...this is the best I could do now if I tried again!

As I'm home in bed with what seems to be the stomach flu, I'll leave you with this picture of my workshop. Mine is not a pretty Pinterest kind of shop with flowers and chalk boards and rustic looking counters. No, mine is a working workshop with papers overflowing from binders and ingredients all over the counters because I hate to not have them close at hand. 

I wish I kept a prettier workshop that looked lovely in photos, but this is who I am. My dad built this from wood he found. I remember him pulling out the nails and sanding it down while he watched TV and tried to ignore my mom yelling that he was making a mess in the den. I think he'd be happy I'm using it for chemistry! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weekend news, including a video of Gwyneth Paltrow eating lotion...

It's been a pretty hard week around here. My back is slowly getting better thanks to more resting and a weekly epidural, but it's still pretty awful. I managed to stand yesterday to teach my hair care class at Voyageur Soap & Candle, but today is kinda crap, and I'm writing lying down on the comfy couch in the living room with a snoring dog by my side.

Thank you to each and every one of you who have been sending good thoughts my way. I know I've been down with this for a while - since September - and your comments and kindness fill me with happiness and hope. Thank you for being so lovely!

If you're interested in attending a class at Voyageur, I'm currently looking at the schedule for April through June, and I'd love to know what might interest you. We're doing an advanced lotion making class for the first time! Email me at and let me know! Or just email and I can put you on the alert list for information when the classes are scheduled. 

If you want help with a recipe, please write up your recipe in percentages with the exact ingredients you used and the exact process you followed. I am only able to answer longer comments on the weekend as I'm too wrecked during the week, and if you don't offer this information, it'll take longer as I ask you for it and make you wait until next weekend, if I have the energy. Please, for both of us, do this one thing - that I ask for in the right hand bar of the blog! - and you'll get your answer much sooner.

And I thought she couldn't get more ridiculous with the lifestyle stuff. Take a look at Jimmy Fallon and Gwyneth Paltrow eating lotion.

You can eat anything you make from my blog. I don't want you to because that's probably a sign that you have pica or you're a tween who can't be told not to eat a spoonful of citric acid, but I can't stop you from having a taste now and then. However, much like Thrills gum, it tastes like soap!

If you're curious, check out the ingredients list on the goop night cream. It look like they use Olivem 1000 or one of those variations, preserved with gluconolactone, found in NataPres. It's $140 for 1.7 ounces (51 ml or a little more than 3 tablespoons.) If I were you, I'd stick to dipping your fries in mayo or fry sauce (ketchup and mayo in Idaho, tartar sauce in eastern Washington state, or BBQ sauce and mayo in Montana). They'll taste better, and they won't cost you $14 a dip!

Sorry if I didn't get to your comment this weekend. I'm afraid I've run out of energy and need to rest. I'll try in the next few days, but can't make any promises.