Monday, December 31, 2007

Martini Soaps

From "Craft Lab"episode DCLB-261 on the DIY Network.

GUESTS : Debbie Chialtas

This would be a great soap project to create on New Years Eve! Add mini ice cube soaps to a martini glass or another special container for a great gift!

Jennifer Perkins and Debbie Chialtas make mini-cubed soaps with mini ice cube trays. This is a great idea for making simple soaps for around the house or to fill chic containers to give as gifts!

glass measuring cups
clear glycerin soap (Melt & Pour)
green and red liquid colorant
peppermint fragrance
rubbing alcohol in spray bottle*
2 mini ice cube trays craft sticksmartini glass - optional

*Fill a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol to break any surface bubbles on the soap while it’s still liquid.

- Cut clear soap into 1-inch chunks and place in a glass measuring cup. Melt enough for 1-cup in the microwave.

- Add a few drops of red color and stir with a craft stick.

- Add 2 ml of fragrance and continue to stir.

- Pour the mixture slowly into the mini ice cube trays, filling to the top of the cube walls.

- Spray the soap in the tray lightly with rubbing alcohol to eliminate air bubbles.

- Let the trays sit at room temperature for 10 minutes until set. If desired, put in freezer for 5-10 minutes to loosen the cubes.

-Unmold the martini soaps out of tray and let dry overnight to eliminate moisture.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wake Up Scrub

Here is a recipe for a scrub from the diva herself, Martha Stewart:

Nothing rouses you in the morning quite like the smell of coffee, so go ahead -- slather some on. A skin-softening body scrub made from coffee grounds and aromatic plant essences is a traditional treatment that's used in Thai and Balinese spas, and it's a luxurious way to start the day.

This recipe couples a rich, smoky coffee aroma with the sweet scent of peppermint -- known in aromatherapy for its mentally stimulating, energizing properties. Thanks to raw sugar crystals and olive oil, which exfoliate and moisturize, your body gets a pick-me-up, too. It makes enough for two to three applications.

Tools and Materials
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pure turbinado sugar
15 drops peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita)
1/2 cup used coffee grounds from a freshly brewed pot

Wake-Up Scrub How-To

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; using a fork, thoroughly blend. Transfer the scrub to a wide mouthed jar, and store in a cool place until ready to use. The scrub will keep for one to two weeks, longer if refrigerated.

2. While showering, apply handfuls of the coffee scrub to wet skin in circular motions, starting at the feet and working up. The scrub contains oil, so it's best to do this over a rubber mat to avoid slipping. Pay particular attention to rough spots such as heels, ankles, knees, and elbows.

3. After scrubbing, cleanse skin as usual using a mild natural soap or body wash. Pat skin dry with a fluffy towel, and follow with lotion to seal in the moisture.

First Published: March 2006


Friday, December 28, 2007

Citric Acid Profile

Botanical Name- Non-botanical ingredient
Origin- Canada
Shelf life- 3 year recommended

Notes- The particular variety of Citric Acid offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is USP grade and is soluble in water and very soluble in alcohol. Can be used for both cosmetic and culinary use.

Ingredients (Derived From)
100% pure anhydrous Citric Acid from crystallized fruit sugar

Assay- 99.98% Pure
Color- White
Appearance- Crystalline powder US #30 Mesh
Odor- Odorless
Heavy metals- <3>

Citric acid is a very useful and effective preservative, obtained from naturally occurring organic acids. It exists in many different fruits and vegetables, but is especially concentrated in lemons and limes. Although it is also produced in refineries by using cane sugar, molasses, and dextrose, the citric acid stocked by Mountain Rose Herbs comes from the fermentation of crude fruit sugars. Citric acid is used extensively in the food, beverage, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries. It has been recognized as safe by all major national and international food regulatory agencies, and is also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and in Europe for use in food.

Citric acid is used for many different reasons, including (but not limited to):

Antioxidant and preservative properties
Prevents rancidity and bacteria growth
Astringency and Acidity
Used in sourdough bread for an extra tart taste (known as "sour salt" among bakers)
Adjusts pH
Stabilizes the ingredients, color, taste, and flavor of a product
Rapidly biodegradable
Readily metabolized and eliminated from the body

Undeniably, citric acid is a very important ingredient for use in natural body care and cosmetic recipes. Not only does citric acid have many varied applications and uses, but it has also been approved by the FDA and other food regulatory agencies. Furthermore, since citric acid is present in almost every life form, it is consequently easily metabolized and eliminated from the body.

Citric acid is often a base ingredient in bath bomb recipes, and is the agent responsible for the "fizzing" action. In the majority of body care recipes, it is used in small proportions, usually not making up more than 0.5% of the total solution. At room temperature, citric acid is a white powdered form. However, it may be dissolved and easily incorporated into your recipes by heating it in a liquid mixture to a temperature above 74 degrees Celcius.

Precautions: Direct contact may result in skin and eye irritation if exposed to concentrated solutions of the dry product.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bath Potions - Recipes

If you are interested in other bath and body products here is a link for several recipes on bath salts, bath bags, bath cookies, and dusting powders:

If you have tried any of these recipes, please let us know how they turned out.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Choosing the right mold for melt and pour soap

Plastic molds used for melt and pour soapmaking are found in abundant quantities on the internet and from craft stores. Though these kinds of molds are so readily available yet there is a big distinction between molds that are of high quality and those that are not.

Having good soap molds is important especially if one makes soap as a business. Too often molds are relegated as an after thought especially when juxtaposed to a fantastic recipe and killer fragrance/EO mixtures. After making soap for a while, what becomes clear though is the need to have a stock of good molds to make consistently attractive and intact melt and pour soap.

Here are some things to consider when choosing the right mold for the job:

1. How often the mold will be used. Consistent use with a high pouring temperature degrades molds that are flimsy. In addition some fragrance oils, and essential oils applied directly to molds degrades the mold because of the various chemical components they contain. Most plastic molds are made of petroleum products which tend to degrade in the presence of certain strong chemicals used in soapmaking.

TIP: Find out from the manufacturer the lifespan of the mold with continuous use and the suggested pouring temperatures. Also, find out if the plastic can be degraded with contact from certain chemicals, like essential oils and fragrance oils. In addition when using, be sure to completely mix fragrance oils and essential oils into soap mixture then cool to luke warm before pouring into soap mold.

If the soap has to be cooled down in the refrigerator then put it in the lower part of the refrigerator rather than the freezer. Sudden temperature changes and switching from hot to cold temperature causes the plastic to crack and even shatter so ease into temperature changes gradually.

2. Flexible material vs. nonflexible: Molds for melt and pour soaps usually have to be manipulated in some form to facilitate ease of unmolding soap. This is especially true for very tiny molds with lots of details. Some of the best molds, though costly are made from natural latex and silicone. Kits are available to create your own custom molds from small objects and custom art casts.

My experience is that the more flexible the mold is, the easier it is to unmold the soap. Check out the sources listed below for some of the best molds for melt and pour soaps.

Where to Buy Melt and Pour Molds and Moldmaking Material

Chase Molds ( has some of the most creative molds. They carry one of my favorite flexible material tub molds and hundreds of bar soap molds. Their designs range from butter molds and wedding cake soap molds to even flapper girl molds.

Environmental Technology Inc ( is the place to visit for supplies to create your own molds.

Source: Permission to reprint by Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Homemade Bubble Bath Project for Kids

From "DIY Kids"episode DIK-205 which airs on the DIY Network.


1 cup baby shampoo
3/4 cup water
1/2 to 1 tsp. glycerin
5 drops of scented oil or extract (optional)
Bottle Paint pens


- Mix together baby shampoo, water, and glycerin.

- Add scented oil (peppermint, orange, etc.) if desired.

- Pour into a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing, and decorate bottle.


- Start with 1/2 teaspoon of glycerin in your mix. If the bubbles don't last, you can add another half-teaspoon.

- All products can be purchased at grocery, drug, or all-purpose stores nationwide.

- No special products needed.


Soap Making for Kids
Model: 0590635050
Author: Editors of Scholastic(1998)
Scholastic Books
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-343-6100


Decorative Soap Projects for Kids

From "DIY Kids" (episode DIK-205) which aires on the DIY Network.


1 bar of glycerin soap
Food coloring
Cooking spray
Mixing cup with spout and handle
Cutting board
A soap or candy mold
Mixing spoon


- Spray molds lightly with cooking spray.

- Cut five cubes of glycerin soap and place in microwave-safe mixing cup.

- Microwave for 30 to 50 seconds, until soap is melted. If this time is not sufficient, continue heating in 10-second increments. Some microwaves may vary on the amount of time required.

- Add food coloring (better to use colorant specifically for soap) and stir.

- Pour into molds and let cool for at least one hour, or until firm. (Be careful when pouring the melted soap: it's HOT!)

- Pop out of molds.

Safety alert: Never leave soap unattended while it's melting!


- Always have an adult supervise when using hot liquids, sharp objects or appliances.
- Plastic mixing cup should be microwave-proof.
- Recommended molds for use are the plastic-tray variety.
- All products can be purchased at craft and general all-purpose stores.


Glycerin Soap
Life of the Party (Available at Michael's or Joanns)
North Brunswick, NJ 08902
Phone: 732-828-0886
Fax: 732-828-0980

Soap Making for Kids
Model: 0590635050
Author: Editors of Scholastic (1998)
Scholastic Books
New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-343-6100


Monday, December 24, 2007

Carved Sponges Project for Kids

This is a fun project for kids from "DIY Kids" (episode DIK-205) which airs on the DIY Network.


Rubber sponges
Permanent markers
Paper stencils
Hot glue
Craft foam
Googlie eyes


- Hot-glue the narrow edges of sponge pieces together. There's not a lot of surface area, so be patient. It has to cool completely. Safety alert: Be careful: the glue is HOT!

- Trace the outline of the sponges onto a piece of paper.

- Draw a design within the box on the paper. Keep it big and simple.

- Cut out the paper pattern you have drawn and trace the outline onto the sponge.

- Cut the shape out of sponge.

- Snip and trim sponge to even edges and to contour it. Remember, you can always take more off, but you can't put back on.

- Add other pieces of smaller sponges to give your design a 3-D look. Continue to decorate by hot-gluing on craft-foam shapes or googlie eyes, or just draw on it with permanent markers.


- Always have an adult around when using hot glue and scissors.

- We found that inexpensive rubber sponges worked the best.

- All products can be purchased at craft and all-purpose stores nationwide.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Forecasting and Inventory Tips From Wholesale Supplies Plus

On my way to work this am, I called a good friend to see if she wanted to meet for a drink after work. She couldn’t because her husband is out of town and she didn’t have a babysitter. It was a bummer because I really enjoy her company. She told me that her husband was at a week long annual forecast meeting for his business. Knowing that her husband works in the chocolate industry and I said something like, “is 2008 going to be a good year for chocolate?” That is when she told me he is forecasting inventory and sales for 2011!

It got me to thinking about today’s topic. Forecasting Sales and Holding Inventory.

Wholesale Supplies Plus, on average forecasts inventory 8 weeks out. In other words, we place an order with our manufacturers 8 weeks before we actually run out of stock. Some manufacturers have a lead time of 2 weeks, some are 12 weeks and a few are 24 weeks….but on average it is about 8 weeks.

I always feel bad when we run out of stock but it is so darn hard to forecast when new customers present themselves everyday and loyal customers land that “big account” they have been working months to land. Let me tell you, they inevitably order all of a type of a candle wax that would normally take two months to sell....and there is a four week lead time! Overall, I think our purchasing department does a pretty good job.

We have learned, from the last 10 years, that we need to increase our stock on hand by 25% in August and let it run back down in June. It is an expensive swing that causes cash flow to be incredibly tight…..but as my very wise Uncle Stan once told me, “don’t think of it as money sitting on the shelf, think of it as…you can’t sell apples with an empty apple cart!”

As our lead times lengthen with the fall season approaching, I am sure you also have to increase your inventory for your upcoming busy season. My guess is that we are both glad we are not trying to forecast for 2011!

Wishing You Much Success!
Debbie May


Friday, December 21, 2007

Glyerine Soap Project From DIY

On a segment of Ask DIY (episode #DI-102), a demonstration of Melt and Pour Soapmaking is featured.

Q: I'm looking for ways to dress up a first-floor guest bathroom. Any ideas for something other than just monogrammed towels?

A: (Debbie Stapley, Craft Expert) To add your own touch to any bathroom in the house, why not make your own decorative soaps? They're easy, and there are infinite ways to make them fun.

Here's the basic process:


Clear, unscented glycerin soap
Trinkets to put inside, such as spare change, shells, beads, game pieces, toys, etc.
Colored glycerin soap, cut into pieces
Small bread pan
Soap mold
Essential oil
Soap dye
Microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl
Cooking spray
Heat-safe knife and fork

(1) Cut a bar of clear glycerin soap into one-inch pieces. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, and microwave for about one minute.

(2) If you wish to color or scent your soap, add about four drops of soap dye or one drop of essential oil to the melted soap, then blend gently with a metal fork.

(3) Spray a bread pan or soap mold with vegetable oil to make it easy to remove your finished soap.

(4) Fill the pan or mold with about 1/4 inch of the liquid soap and let it stand for three minutes, or until a skin develops across the top.

(5) Place objects on the soap layer, with their prettiest sides down.

(6) Reheat the rest of the soap until it melts again. Then slowly pour it into the mold until the soap is 3/4 inch to one inch higher than the objects inside.

(7) Working smarter: Use a sharp knife to pop any air bubbles in the mixture before the soap gets too hard.

(8) Wait 15-30 minutes for the soap to harden.

(9) Run a knife around the sides of the soap. Then turn the pan or mold upside down and hit it on a hard surface to release the soap. Now you have a beautiful bar that can be cut into smaller pieces if you like. Or if your soap didn't turn out the way you wanted it, you can melt it down and start over.

Tip: For more color, add little pieces of colored glycerin soap to the pan before topping with the second batch of liquid soap.

More questions for Debbie:

Q: Can you use food coloring to color the soap? A: No, stick with dyes that are specifically made for soaps.

Q: If I can't find clear glycerin soap in the store. Is there another option? A: Yes, there is, but there is also a rule of thumb: If you can see through the soap, it will probably melt easily. If you can't see through it, it will burn. The good thing about the see-through glycerin soaps in other colors is that you won't have to purchase dye separately. You may even want to try to find a soap that's already scented, so you don't need the essential oil.

Web extra:

Q: Can you use different molds or cookie cutters? A: Use any soap mold that appeals to you, but use a cookie cutter just to cut shapes after the soap has hardened -- not as a mold.

Web site resources for glycerin soap:
Al & Abigail's Country Place information
Zenda's Homemade Soap and Beauty Recipes
Sweet Cakes soap-making supplies information

Soap -- Making It, Enjoying It By Ann Bramson
Workman Publishing
708 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-254-5900Web site:

Beautiful Handmade Natural Soaps By Marie Browning
Sterling Publishing
387 Park Avenue, S.New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-532-7160
Fax: 212-213-2495
Web site:

Handmade Soap By Tatyana Hill
Lorenz Books (1999)
An imprint of Anness Publishing
27 West 20th St.New York, NY 10011
Phone: 800-354-9657
Fax: 212-807-6813
Web site:


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bath Teas Recipes

It is that time of year again of giving gifts. If you have run out of ideas or on a limited budget,you may want to consider making bath tub teas. They are unique and different to give someone who loves taking baths. Also, it would be a great addition to any other bath & body gifts you may be giving. Here are some recipes you may want to try:


Have fun with this recipes. If you have any favorite recipes that you would like to share, please post your recipe in the comments area. Thank you!

Happy Holidays!

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Now you can protect your oils and prevent oxidation with nitrogen gas

Ox Blox, from Lotion Crafter takes keeping oils from oxidizing and going rancid or just fizzing a away to a whole new level. What is so great about this new product is that it is a totally harmless gas that protects a great many of the kinds of supplies we use from the damaging effects of oxygen.

(This description is from the Lotion Crafter website)

Oxidation is the enemy of fine essential oils, fragrance, and fixed oils. Now you can protect your oils and prevent oxidation of these materials by laying down an inert nitrogen gas blanket over their surface, shielding them from interaction with oxygen.

Produced especially for us, Ox-Blox™ is an inert, safe and environmentally friendly mixture of nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide. It contains no fluorocarbons, is non-flammable and non-toxic. Protect your investment in your oils, use Ox-Blox™ every time you open your bottles!

Depending on the size of your bottles, one can is good for up to 300 uses!

Price: $9.95

Supplier: Lotion Crafter (

Source: Permission to reprint by Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Botanicals @ Juniper Tree

I was at Juniper Tree this weekend. I was going to buy some ingredients to make some lotion for Christmas Gifts. But, silly me forgot my recipe so I decided to buy some other things for my upcoming soap making class at the Palo Alto Adult School.

What I really wanted to tell you that if you wanted to add some different botanicals to your bath salts, Juniper Tree has some new ones you may want to try. The first one was a Pink Angel Wings. The color is very vibrant and has a very nice fragrance. These botanicals are rather large, so you will have to cut them down to add to your bath salts or bath bombs. The other is a wild orchid. These would be a pretty addition to your bath salts or bath bombs. The color is very delicate and I would say that there is no fragrance to interfere with your scents that you add to your products. Just like the Angel Wings, you will have to cut these flowers down to size.

Do you like those reed diffusers that are sold everywhere, but hate the price? Why not make your own? Juniper Tree has the liquid diffuser base, scents and reeds to make your very own. The only thing you would have to find elsewhere would be the decanter.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Making Loaf Soap with Bread Tube Molds


- Melt approximately 2 oz. of soap base.

- Fill metal end cap of loaf mold with this melted soap so that it fills the end cap ¾ of the way full.

- Immediately insert the loaf mold into the end cap and stand straight up with the opening at the top. Other end cap will not be used.

- Place the mold in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes to allow the soap to harden or let harden at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. This will seal the bottom of the mold so that your warm soap base will not run out the bottom when poured.

- Once the bottom is completely sealed, pour melted soap base into the mold so that it completely fills up to the top.

- Let soap dry at room temperature for approximately 3-4 hours until the soap is completely hard.

- When completely dry, remove end cap from the bottom. Peel away any soap that is sticking to the sides.

- To remove the loaf of soap from the mold, warm the outside of the mold slightly with a hair dryer for approximately 2-3 minutes.

- Push the loaf of soap from one end and slide it out the other end.

- Once the loaf is removed and completely dry, slice to desired sizes.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Homemade Hair Gel Recipe

Some of us absolutely can not style our hair without some sort of gel. Especially those of us with curly and hard to manage hair. It adds up though, and can get quite expensive buying different hair care products.

The following recipe for homemade hair gel is on our home hair care recipes page at Idea Queen. It’s also found (with many, many others) in the Bath & Body recipes ebook, which has over 250 different recipes you can try out at home.

Homemade Scented Hair Gel


1 cup water
2 Tablespoons flax seed
2 drops scented oil — your choice of scent


-Combine water and seeds in a small saucepan.
-Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
-Allow to set for a half an hour.
-Strain through fine collander.
-When completely cooled, add scented oil.-Transfer to a wide-mouthed jar with lid.

NOTES : Use as you would any hair gel product.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Soothing Milk Bath Powder

A really great way to end the day!


1 cup goat's milk powder
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup epsom salts or fine sea salts
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon perfume fragrance or essential oil


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix around until fragrance is incorporated. Place in a wide mouth jar or plastic bag tied with a ribbon on top. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup per bath.


Layer your bath powders with dried flowers such as lavender or rose buds. Start with a layer of powder in the bottom of your jar, add a layer of flowers, and alternate between flowers and milk powder until the jar is full.

Small sea shells work well for scoops.

For more interesting recipes, check out Lynden House's website at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Additional Essential Oil Cautions

Here are some additional guidelines to consider when using essential oils:

* Avoid contact with the eyes and mucus membranes. Flush with olive oil in case of contact.

* DO NOT flush with water.

* A skin patch test should be conducted on a small skin area to determine skin sensitivity prior to using an oil for the first time.

* To do a skin patch test, place a small amount of diluted essential oil on the inside of your elbow and applya band-aid. Never apply undiluted essential oils to the skin. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any form of reaction. This step should be done even if a particular essential oil is known to cause skin irritation.

* If you experience redness, itching, swelling, burning, or irritation of any kind, discontinue using that particular essential oil.

* If you find yourself using alot of essential oils on a daily basis, take periodic breaks. For example, if you have been using a particular oil for six days then you should take a rest for a day or for three weeks and then take a break for a week, and so on.

* Avoid applying essential oils immediately after perspiring or after getting out of a sauna.

* Always store essential oils away from extreme cold, heat. light dampness and electromagnetic frequencies. It is best to store them in amber glass bottles because it provides the best protection from indirect sunlight.

* Always keep the bottles of your essential oils tightly closed. There should be a small amount of head room at the top.

* Essential Oils are flammable. So it is not recommended to any drops to a burning candle or placing them close to an open flame.

* Essential Oils are not meant to take the place of a qualified practioner.

* It is best to consult a qualfied aromatherapy practioner before using on children.

* Keep your essential oils out of the reach of children.

If ever in doubt about using essential oils, it is best to consult an trained aromatherapy praticioner.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Source: Essential Oils Cautions by Lori Nova of The Nova Studio. 2005.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

FDA Labeling Guidelines for Soap

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was signed by FDR amidst a burgeoning public outcry for consumer protection from quack cures and cosmetic products that caused harm rather than cure or enhance the user. The act was designed to protect the public from products that made unsubstantiated or fraudulent claims, or that caused harm due to inclusion of harmful ingredients. The act covered the broad scope of both what is consumed or ingested as food and those ingredients that are used to treat, cure or enhance cosmetically.

Though this new law made it illegal for manufacturers to include ingredients in products that could be harmful to an unsuspecting public yet it wasn't until it was amended to include - the Pesticide Amendment of 1954, the Food Additives Amendment of 1958, and the Color Additive Amendments of 1960 – that the law became specific in nature requiring manufacturers to use only ingredients (which included additives and color) in manufacturing that prior research revealed to be safe for public consumption.

However, it wasn’t until The Fair Packaging Act of 1967 that strict labeling guidelines became standard manufacturing practice which required manufacturers to own up to ingredients used in the manufacturing and processing of their products - and to this end to be accountable to a certain standard and disclosure to the public who bought their products. What this act did more than anything else was to usher in the era of ‘truth in labeling’ that held manufacturers responsible for ensuring that the products that they brought to the marketplace was safe for consumers by assuring that ingredients used in products were tested and deemed safe, that the manufacturing process did not expose product ingredients to contaminants and that required a listing of all ingredients along with company contact information on all items that was used for food, drug and cosmetic purposes.

Plain soap is not a Cosmetic or Drug

Manufacturers who create soaps are still held responsible for creating a safe product. Soap that makes no claims to do anything than its intended purpose, that is, as a cleansing agent is not a cosmetic under FDA guidelines and is not subject to the rigorous labeling guidelines of cosmetics. Instead it is regulated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal regulatory agency which is charged with protecting the public against unreasonable risks of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. The Federal Hazardous Products Acts gives jurisdiction to CPSC for regulating "...all noncosmetic, nondrug substances used in the home."

Soaps that are Cosmetics or Drugs

However, there are exceptions to this. Once a manufacturer uses verbiage which claims that the soap has a special use other than that which it is intended for - such as claiming that the soap has special moisturizing properties or that it treats or cures a certain skin condition, then the soap as per labeling is not just plain soap anymore but is now a cosmetic or even a drug and subject to the regulatory guidelines of cosmetics and drugs. In addition, what sets plain soap apart from cosmetic soaps is how they have to be labeled. A soap that claims it has special properties that will enhance or alter the molecular structure of the user has to be labeled with ingredients listed in International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients format. International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients AKA INCI, is a special naming convention which classifies ingredients used in cosmetic and body care manufacturing based on scientific, Latin or English names.

The Fair Packaging Act of 1967, sets specific guidelines for labeling products which states that all products should have the basic components listed below- Please note that if you are making regular soap which has no other claim than as a cleansing product then these guidelines apply to you:

This statement is taken from the Federal Trade Commission's Website

The FPLA requires each package of household "consumer commodities" that is included in the coverage of the FPLA to bear a label on which there is:

* a statement identifying the commodity, e.g., detergent, sponges, etc.;

* the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor;

* and the net quantity of contents in terms of weight, measure, or numerical count (measurement must be in both metric and inch/pound units)."

Links to Resources:

Federal Trade Commission website with link to the Fair Packaging Act which directs how manufacturers should label consumer commodities:

FDA Regulatory requirements for labeling of cosmetics marketed in the United States:

US Food and Drug Administration

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction.

OSHUN Supply INCI listing of common names and INCI names of ingredients used in soap and cosmetic product manufacturing:

Source: Permission to reprint by Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Solid Brown Sugar Scrub


4 oz. melted melt and pour soap
8 oz. grapeseed oil or Avocado Oil
3-4 oz. brown sugar
1/2 oz. honey
Fragrance oils or essential oils (20 drops)


Mix your grapeseed oil, honey and melted melt and pour soap together. Add the brown sugar and mix together with hands. You can add your fragrance or essential oils at any point during the mixing process. Divvy up into wide-mouthed jars. Wait 24 to 48 hours for the mixture to harden into a semi-solid mixture.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

What makes an essential oil therapeutic grade?

Standards have been developed by the Association French Normalization Organization Regulation and adopted by the International Standards Organization to distinguish true Therapeutic Grade essential oils from inferior oils merely used for fragrance. This is a growing concern as demand for essential oils increases due to health-conscious consumers desiring to ward off today's stressful lifestyles--thus diminishing the supply.

True Therapeutic essential oils are immune-system stimulating, anti-viral, anti-infectious, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic, anti-tumoral and even anti-fungal.

Gas Chromatography Purity Testing
Gas chromatography is the scientific method employed to differentiate imposters from the real McCoys. It measures whether basic components of an essential oil occur in a precise percentage. If only two primary constituents do not meet precise percentages, the oil cannot be AFNOR or ISO certified--although the oil may qualify as Grade A. Gas chromatography can also identify oils that have been synthetically manipulated. At Mountain Rose Herbs, we go the extra mile and request the use of a 50-meter column during gas chromatography testing. Most U.S. labs utilize a 30-meter column, which is adequate for vitamins or minerals--but is certainly not adequate for the chemical complexity of essential oils. An oil's purity can be affected by myriad environmental factors: geographical region, altitude, climate, soil, growing conditions and harvest method and season. Even the time of day the plant is harvested can affect the oil's purity! Producing genuine Therapeutic Grade essential oils is indeed a fine art. We do painstaking research at Mountain Rose Herbs, insisting on knowing harvest location, methods utilized to extract the oils, and data reports assuring the oil's character.

Proper Distillation
The distillation method also affects an essential oil's purity--and Therapeutic Grade oils mandate preserving as many of the plant's compounds as possible. Therapeutic Grade essential oils must only be distilled in glass, porcelain or stainless steel cooking chambers at the lowest possible pressure and lowest possible temperature. Glass and porcelain essential oil distillation is the most superior method employed today, however production is limited thus resulting in a slightly more expensive product.

Extremely high temperatures, high pressure, or contact with chemically reactive metals such as copper or aluminum can quickly destroy delicate compounds. And the method of distillation is one of the most important steps in the production of essential oils.

Every essential oil offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade, and all of the essential oils we stock are obtained by steam distillation of the plant's volatile oils, with the exception of citrus oils which are produced using the cold pressed method.

All of the oils offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are derived from the first distillation--never the second, third or fourth! The only exception to this rule is our Lavender 40/42, which is a blend of many different lavenders; and absolutes, which are extracted by alcohol. These oils may not suitable for therapeutic aromatherapy, however they are deliciously intoxicating as a fragrance or perfume.

No Additives
The primary components of 98 percent of all essential oils in the market are synthetic. They should not be used for therapeutic applications, and they potentially carry risks. Only pure essential oils should be used for therapeutic purposes. At best, synthetic oils may not produce desired therapeutic results--at worst, they could possibly be toxic.

Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are 100% pure, natural plant oils. They are free of added water, alcohol, carriers or other diluents. No chemical solvents are added during distillation, and nothing is added to the oil after distillation. A very large selection of oils offered through Mountain Rose Herbs are certified organic through Oregon Tilth Certified Organic. Although organic certification is an intensely painstaking process that a few of our suppliers are still striving to attain, any oils we stock that are not yet certified organic are guaranteed to be free of pesticide and chemical residues. Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils are wholly suitable for aromatherapy, cosmetics, cooking and body application.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Herbal Tub Tea

What a great item to add to your bath gift basket. On a segment of DIY Crafts (episode #DIC-247), a demonstration of a herbal tub tea is featured.,2025,DIY_13820_2273931,00.html

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bath Melts Recipes

How would you like to add something special to your bath? Why not try Bath Melts? Bath melts, aka "bath candy" or "tub truffles" are great treat for any bath. Here are some recipes to create your own delicious treats for your bath:


The holidays are coming up and this would be a great addition to any gift basket.

If these recipes are not to your liking, then try any of the sights in the side bar to see if there are any that you would like to try. And if I find any others, I will be sure to post them here. So check back often.

I am always looking for new recipes to pass along. So if you have a favorite, please post your recipe in the comment section below. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

How to Make Holiday Striped Soaps (from Martha Stewart)

Delight someone with a fresh-scented and boldly striped soap. Purchase clear and white glycerin soap at a crafts store. Use a mini loaf pan as a mold; each "loaf" of soap requires 2 cups of each soap and yields six bars of soap.

Striped Soaps How-To

1. Melt the glycerin according to the package instructions, using 1/4 cup at a time.

2. Stir in a drop of peppermint oil (available at most health-food stores) with a plastic spoon; for the clear glycerin, add drops of red food coloring, stirring until you get the desired hue.

3. Pour the 1/4 cup of melted soap into the loaf pan. Let cool for 20 minutes.

4. Score the top with a fork. Repeat, alternating colors, until the pan is full.

5. Let set for 4 hours. Pop soap out of pan, and slice into bars.

6. Wrap each bar in cellophane; tape it shut, and tie with bakery string.

7. Cut holly-leaf tags out of green construction paper.

First Published: December 2004

Check out Martha's website for more interesting soap making projects.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grapefruit Seed Extract Profile

Botanical Name- Extracted from organically grown Grapefruit (Citrus paridisi)
Origin- USA
Extraction- Glycerin Extracted and Isolated-USP
Shelf life- 3-5 years

Notes- Heavily concentrated! Grapefruit seed extract should be diluted accordingly to at least a 2% dilution ratio.

Is severely irritating to the skin in its undiluted form. Avoid contact with eyes. Not to be used internally unless properly diluted to at least a 2% dilution.

The Grapefruit seed extract offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is the Citricidal brand and is fully biodegradable, safe for water treatment, and is safely and effectively used for sanitation, food, cosmetic, and agriculture use.

Laboratory Analysis
Color- Lemon Yellow
Odor- Mild Citrus
Total Ingredients- Grapefruit Extractives (58%) and Glycerin-USP (42%)
Density - 9.5 lbs/gal
Specific Gravity - 1.110
Melting Point - n/a
pH- 2.5

Ascorbic Acid- 3%
Glycerol- 37%

Diphenol Hydroxybenzene (Quaternary compound from Grapefruit Bioflavinoid)- 58.5%

Heavy Metals- None detected
Benzethonium Chloride- None Detected
Methyl Hydroxybenzoate - None Detected
Propyl Hydroxybenzoate - None Detected
Triclosan- None Detected
Solubility- Water, alcohol and organic solvents

Grapefruit Seed Extract Uses
Grapefruit seed extract is a marvelous creation from Mother Nature that is in need of more respect and is an underrated treasure. It cleans us, protects us, preserves our delicate foods, and so much more. Outlined here are some of the greatest uses for grapefruit seed extract and a list of very simple to administer recipes.

*** Internal (never use full strength extract)***
Dental Rinse: (For healthy gums and fresh breath)
Stir 1-2 drops of extract into 2 oz or more of water. Vigorously swish the water around your mouth for about 10 seconds. 1-2 times daily .

Throat Gargle
Stir 1 drop of extract into a small glass of water (3 oz or more) Gargle several times and use as often as needed.

Ear Rinse
Thoroughly mix 1-3 drops of extract into 1 oz of vegetable glycerin or alcohol. Apply 1-2 drops of this solution into the ear 1-2 times daily. Use as often as needed

Nasal Rinse
Mix 1 drop of extract with 6 oz of water. With head tilted back, fill one nostril at a time with an eyedropper full of mixed solution. Bring head up and down in a forward motion to force mixture into passages. Return head to normal position to allow the solution to drain. Do not inhale this mixture.

Vaginal Rinse
Mix 1-2 drops of extract in 8 oz of water. Douche once daily for about a week.

***External Use***
Facial Cleanser
Thoroughly splash, or moisten face with water (either cool or warm is fine).
With hands still wet apply 1-2 drops of extract to your fingertips and massage into skin using a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly after use and pat dry. You may notice a minor tingling sensation afterwards. This is the deep cleansing properties of the grapefruit seed extract.

Skin Rinse (For very minor skin irritations)
Dilute extract with water (about 1-2 drops per tablespoon). Apply this solution directly to irritated area of the skin twice daily. If additional irritation continues discontinue immediately and seek the advice of your physician.

Nail Treatment
Dilute extract with water or alcohol (1-3 drops per tablespoon).
Apply this solution directly on the surface of the nail along the cuticle and underneath the front of the nail. Or soak nails twice daily for as long as needed

Scalp Treatment
Add 2-3 drops of extract to each shampooing. Massage into scalp and leave on for a minimum of 2 minutes. Rinse of thoroughly and be cautious not to get in eyes.
This may also be used without shampoo.

*** Household Use ***
Toothbrush Cleaner
Stir 2-4 drops of extract into a glass of water. Immerse toothbrush for 15 minutes. Be sure to rinse toothbrush before using. Change water and remix every 2-3 days.

Vegetable Wash
(Sink Washing) Add 20 or more drops of extract into a sink full of cold water. Briefly soak any vegetables, meats fruits, or poultry.

(Spray Washing) Add 20 drops per 32oz bottle of water with sprayer pump. Shake thoroughly and spray on any vegetables, meats, fruits, or poultry. Rinse when done.

Dish & Utensil Cleaner
Add 10-20 drops of extract to sink dishwashing water or to final rinse. You may do the same for dishwashers.

Cutting Board Cleaner
Apply 5-10 drops of extract to cutting board and work into entire board with a wet sponge or dishcloth. Leave on for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water before using.

All Purpose Cleaner
Add 15-30 drops of extract to any 32 oz pump sprayer filled with your favorite cleanser or this can be added just to water. Use on all surfaces of the house.

Do not put in eyes and do not use in its undiluted form.

For educational purposes only
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Tye-Dye Soap

(Submitted to Soap Wizards


• Clear soap base
• Soap making fragrance of your choice
• Soap mold of your choice
• Red glycerin soap colorant
• Blue glycerin soap colorant
• Yellow glycerin soap colorant
• Eye dropper


1. Melt your soap base and add your choice of fragrance.

2. Let the melted soap cool slightly, and pour into your soap mold.

3. Once a light skin forms on your soap, take your eye dropper (with one of the soap colorants in it) and place a few drops on the soap skin. Repeat this procedure for the rest of the colors.

4. Take a toothpick and lightly stir the colors into the molded soap and let cool.

5. Un-mold and your soap is ready to use!

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Source: http:///

Friday, November 30, 2007

Making Sense of Scents

Need a boost of dazzling fragrances to pick you up and turn your frown upside down? How about trying to make your own perfume? The process of creating perfume at home is fun and simple and the results are simply fantastic. Our olfactory sense has the power to influence our moods and our general well being. This is the principle behind aromatherapy. When you make your own perfume you get to work with different wonderful fragrances and the result can be very therapeutic. What's more is at the end of your project, you have a product that you can use anytime to enhance your mood and add that special oomph to your everyday life plus a new skill and craft to enhance your creativity.

Sure you can just go to the nearest department store and purchase commercially available perfume but I guarantee that it won't be as much as fun as making your own wonderful perfume at home. So check out the various perfume recipes below gathered from different sources online. Remember that you can and should adjust the recipes according to your own preferences. Eventually, you can become quite the savvy perfume maker and you can create your own recipes as well. You can then use this for personal consumption or as gifts to friends and loved ones.

Light Romance With this perfume recipe you get to combine the romantic and sexy scent of vanilla with the fresh and tangy fragrance of lemon to create the perfect balance of a light romantic jaunt. For this you will need six drops of vanilla extract and a fourth of a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix these two together and boil with one cup of water, which you will need to keep covered for two minutes after it has reached a boil. After this, put it in the fridge for five minutes and take it out again and redo the boiling process. Right after the second boiling, immediately transfer it into a glass container and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. After that, just transfer into a bottle and you're set to enjoy this fresh and seductive fragrance.

Vanilla on my Mind This time, let's get serious about vanilla. Vanilla has a clean seductive scent that permeates the subconscious and touches the sublime. Take this scent for you own without having to buy those expensive commercial vanilla perfumes. All you will need is a vanilla bean you should cut into several pieces. Once cut, put into a glass jar and add a third of a teaspoon of sugar along with three ounces of any kind of vodka. You have to them tightly seal your jar and allow it to seep. You need to shake the jar everyday for a month after which, it will be ready to use.

Fit for Fairytales Want to be enchanted and enchanting at the same time? Try this perfume recipe that conjures up the spirits and fancy of an enchanted forest. You will need two cups of distilled water together with three tablespoons of vodka. Measure out five drops of everlasting perfume oil and ten drops each of peony and sandalwood perfume oil. Simply mix and shake the ingredients together. Then transfer it into a dark colored bottle and allow the mixture to settle for at least twelve hours before using.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

How To Effectively Use Aromatherapy Essential Oils

The use of aromatherapy essential oils is becoming an increasingly popular method of enhancing the mental and health benefits that come from choosing the natural approach towards relaxation and treatment. Today, aromatherapy is offered at clinics, health spas, and private institutions, as part of their selection of services. The use of aromatherapy essential oil therapy is also a practice that can take place within the comforts of your own home.

An aromatherapy essential oil utilizes the parts of a plant that generates a scent that can be used to treat disease and/or achieve a higher level of mental stimulation. An aromatherapy essential oil is extracted from a variety of different plant parts, including the flowers, leaves, rind, stalks, bark, or roots.

For example, an aromatherapy essential oil may come from the flowering tops of lavender and chamomile, the leaves of cinnamon and peppermint,the peel of an orange or lemon, cardamom seeds, tea tree twigs, or a handful of lemongrass. Woods, such as rosewood or cedarwood, also produce beneficial essential oils.

When the oils are mixed with another substance, such as lotion, alcohol, or other oils, an assortment of uses are created. The essential oils make great skin applications and inhalations. The oils also produce sprays to mist the air. Some people also use an aromatherapy essential oil to massage into the skin or transform common bath water. Essential oils also make convenient compresses and vaporizers

The popularity of the aromatherapy practice haselevated since more and more are looking for healthier ways of achieving health benefits. When used in the proper manner, essential oils have the power to deliver an array of helpful changes to both the body and the mind. Essential oils do not need to pass through the digestive system and are often used as massage oils applied to the skin. Depending on how you use an aromatherapy essential oil, the substances interact with the body in a variety of different ways.

Essential oils may undergo a chemical change through the blood stream; affect various systems in the body in a physiological way; or create a psychological response when inhaled. The process that goes into creating an essential oil includes many pounds of plant parts to develop the high concentration associated with the oils. For example, about 220 pounds of rose petals are typically used to produce only 4 to 5 teaspoons of essential oil. Once the oil is used in the aromatherapy process, a stimulation of the nerves takes place, which is responsible for sending impulses to the part of the brain that controls memory and emotion. Depending on the type of chosen oil, a user may experience a calming or stimulating journey.

An aromatherapy essential oil also works with various hormones and enzymes in the body, which can generate changes in blood pressure and
other bodily functions. Certain oils may also create substances that
combats pain, and relieves stress. There are also certain essential oils
that treat infections, burns, depression, and insomnia. A few examples
of popular aromatherapy essential oils includes lavender to ease
menstrual cramps, eucalyptus to treat the common cold and coughs, rosemary to improve circulation, and peppermint for a relaxed massage.

About the Author

For more information about the use of Aromatherapy Essential Oil
please visit our web site at


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ingredients in Life of the Party Soap Bases

Ever since I took my first Melt & Pour Soapmaking class in April 2002, I have been using the Life of the Party brand soap bases. And since I have been teaching classes in this method of soapmaking I have been using it because of the ease for the students. Recently one student asked if I used animal products in my soap and told her that I did not. But I wanted to make sure I know that there are superior brands out on the market that may contain animal products or even detergents (which can dry out the skin). I wanted to provide this information for you so that you can decide if you want to purchase this particular soap base or not. If you are interested in purchasing another brand of soap base, check out Opalz Zoaps in Palo Alto. They are selling the clear and opaque soap base for $4.00 per pound and it is a great base. Also check out Juniper Tree in Berkeley.

Clear Glycerin Soap Ingredients:
Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Glycerine, Sucrose, Sodium Laurate, Sorbitol, Sodium Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Vitamin E, Aloe, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate

White Glycerin Ingredients:
All of the above with the addition of Titanium Dioxide. This soap base does not include Vitamin E or Aloe.

Olive Oil Suspension Soap Ingredients:
All of the above with the addition of Inert Suspending Agent, Olive Oil. This soap base does not include Vitamin E or Aloe.

Avocado/Cucumber Suspension Soap Ingredients:
All of the above with the addition of: Inert Suspending Agent, Titanium Dioxide, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Cucumber Oil. This soap base does not include Vitamin E or Aloe.

Non-vegan soap bases:

Goats Milk Suspension Soap INGREDIENTS:
Water, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Glycerin, Sucrose, Sodium Laurate,Sorbitol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Goat Milk, Sodium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Silica, Titanium Dioxide,Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Methylchloroisothiazoline, Methylisothiazoline

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recipes: Blending & Making Your Own Fragrances

As I was searching the internet for unique recipes on making your own fragrance stones, I came across this site from Sweet Rock Insense( which has some recipes. I think you should check it out because the scents sound wonderful.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Using Germaben II

Germaben II is a complete perservative, effective against many kinds of bacteria, yeast and mold. It is a colorless liquid with a slight scent. The odor is not objectionable. Germaben II is used in lotions, creams, hair care products and other cosmetics, but not used in soap.

A few considerations need to be observed when using Germaben II.

(1) the pH of the lotion, or other product, must be 7.5 or lower
the amount of oil used should be no greater than 25%

(2) Germaben II is added *after* complete emulsification with good stirring
lotion solution should be less than 175°F when adding Germaben II and is prefered to be 140 degrees or less.

(3) usage rate is .3% to 1%

(4) cleanliness is vital to making lotions and other cosmetics never add borax, ammonia, baking soda or other alkaline products to the lotion. If an emulsifier is needed please use Emulsifying Wax (can be found in the catalog).

Let's go through a quick recipe so I can explain the process and you can understand more fully.

Joyfully Westra Thick Cream
1 gram Citric Acid
3.5 grams Liquid Glycerin
4.5 grams Stearic Acid
5 grams Emulsifying Wax
20 grams oil (liquid at room temperature)
65 grams purified water
0.5 grams Germaben II
0.5 grams Fragrance Oil

All ingredients are weighed. No exceptions will be offered from us or through our web site. Please get a good scale.

Combine Citric Acid, Liquid Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Emulsifying Wax, oil and water. Weigh the preservative and fragrance separately. Heat mixture until temperature reaches approximately 180°F. This is enough to melt the wax. Stir to ensure complete emulsification. You may use an immersion blender, otherwise known as milkshake blender, stick blender, etc. As mixture cools it will start to thicken. Add fragrance and preservative and stir well. Pour into sterilized containers.

***Please remember:
The preservative and fragrance are weighed separately and set aside until needed.

If you choose to sell your creations we advise you first read the Cosmetics Handbook from the FDA. Second, your lotions will need to be challenge tested. For a challenge test you will need to employ the services of an independent lab. They will put a known number of germies in your mixture and then wait to see if they can grow.

When using Germaben II wear Goggles and Gloves. Wash hands well if contact is made with preservative. In the event the preservative enters the eye flush with water for 15 minutes then seek the advice of trained medical professionals.

Germaben II contains:

propylene glycol 56%
diazolidinyl urea 30%
methylparaben 11%
propylparaben 3%


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guide to Making Liquid Soap

Making homemade liquid soap is a worthwhile project with the advantage of being able to use the soap right away after you are finished making it, unlike other types of soap that need to harden or be cured first.

The method of making homemade liquid soap is known as the hot process. As you might have guessed, there is also a cold process but this method is for making regular soap. Another soap-making method is ‘melt-and-pour', which is used for making glycerin soap. All of these soap-making techniques involve saponification, which is simply the reaction of a chemical when combined with a fat to form soap.

Saponification happens much faster in the hot process than in the cold process of soap-making. Another major difference between the two processes is the chemical used. Potassium hydroxide is required for the hot process while the cold process calls for sodium hydroxide. It is precisely because of the chemical potassium hydroxide that commercial and homemade liquid soap stay liquid and never solidify like regular bars of soap. You can get potassium hydroxide from many vendors of soap supplies.

Aside from this chemical, you would also need the following to make homemade liquid soap: double boiler pot (stainless steel), 5-gallon sized bucket with a lid and pour spout, towels, a stick hand blender, a nylon spoon, measuring bowls (stainless steel, plastic or glass), funnel, scale, measuring cups, goggles, rubber gloves, and protective clothes.

You can find different recipes for homemade liquid soap from a number of websites. It will depend on the recipe you choose how you should proceed with the actual soap-making because the instructions would differ slightly with each recipe. Here are the basic steps in making homemade liquid soap:

1.) Pour distilled water into the boiler pot.

2.) Add potassium hydroxide.

3.) Using a towel, insulate the boiler pot because the mixture can get extremely hot.

4.) Set the mixture aside to boil.

5.) Take the oils. Heat to about 120 degrees.

6.) Make sure the oil and water mixtures are the same temperature, and then add the oil to the water.

7.) Use the stick hand blender to mix oil and water for about two minutes.

8.) Set aside for five minutes and repeat the process.

9.) Set aside for ten minutes and repeat the process until trace happens, which is when the soap thickens and droplets stand up for a second on the surface.

10.) Put the pot of soap on top of the boiler and fill the bottom pot with water the same level as the soap mixture.

11.) Let the water boil, stirring the soap thoroughly every fifteen minutes or so and less often after thirty minutes. The soap will take anywhere from 4 up to 8 hours to cook.


Friday, November 23, 2007

More Online Soap Making Suppliers

If you can't find what your are looking to make your own soaps, here are some recommendations from Alicia Gross, the author of The Everything Soapmaking Book on supplies to make your own soap. Suppliers include colorants to molds to soapbases.

I will admit I have not ordered any supplies from any of these vendors, but I have looked at their sites and I have found some that I am considering from. Please leave a comment on this entry if you have ordered from any one of them. I would like to hear your experiences.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


(Submitted by Ela Heyn)

Here are my instructions for using a 3-D soap mold effectively. Of course, this is contingent upon the two halves of the soap mold fitting together correctly in the first place. So the first step would actually be to acquire a soap mold designed to be 3-D, or examine your soap mold to make sure that the two halves do, in fact, fit together to form a 3-D image. Assuming that you've done this:

1. Prepare sufficient soap base for BOTH halves of the soap mold at once - adding both scent and color to it. This can be either clear soap base or opaque soap base, in either crafting soap base or molding soap base.

2. Fill ONE half of the soap mold with soap base; let it "set up". The rest of the soap base can be allowed to cool down in the meanwhile.

3. When that half is "set up", unmold it. Now, reheat the rest of the soap base, and fill the OTHER half of the soap mold with soap base.

4. Very quickly, before the soap base has a chance to cool, take the finished half, and SMOOSH the unfinished side down into the molten soap base in the other half of the soap mold. Make sure as much of the surface of the hardened soap touches the molten soap base as possible, to get the greatest adhesion possible. You might need to pour a little extra soap base around the edges, to fill in any gaps between the two halves.

5. Let set up, and then unmold. Very carefully, with a wet finger or the edge of a butter knife, rub the seam to smooth it out as much as possible. A perfect 3-D soap object!

Note: It's important when making 3-D soap objects to prepare ALL of your soap base at once to ensure that the two halves of your finished soap match each other in texture, color, scent.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cosmetic Definitions/Preservatives & More

Germaben II - is a liquid preservative system with the following composition:

Diazolidinyl urea - 30%

Methylparaben - 11%

Propylparaben - 3%

Propylene Glycol - 56%

Germaben II is a clear viscous liquid with a characteristic mild odor. It is readily soluble at a level of 1.0% in both aqueous solutions and oil/water emulsions. Germaben II is a convenient, ready to-use complete antimicrobial preservative system with a broad spectrum of activity. The solubilized combination of Germall II with methylparaben and propylparaben is effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and against yeast and mold. Germaben II can be used without additional co-preservatives and is compatible with essentially all cosmetic ingredients, including surfactants and proteins.

Germall Plus - One of the newer preservatives, Germall Plus Liquid is water soluble and works wonderfully with virtually all Oil and Water emulsions. This preservative is highly effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria, yeasts, fungus and molds even at very low concentrations, making it extremely cost effective. Usual recommended use level: 0.1%-0.5% of total formulation weight. Add to finished formulation at temps of 122F and lower. INCI : Propylene Glycol & Diazolidinyl Urea & Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.

Glycolic Acid - This is the most commonly used form of alpha hydroxy acid. It can be used in both low and high strength. Lower strength glycolic acids are used in many over-the-counter skin care products, whereas office lunchtime peels can be a stronger version applied at either a dermatologist ‘s or a plastic surgeon’s office. Some salons are also applying a stronger version of glycolic acid. Glycolic acid application can be an important adjunct in maintaining a youthful skin care regimen.

Hyaluronic Acid - This is a natural protein found in multiple body secretions. It is used as a cosmetic topically. It also helps reduce swelling because it absorbs moisture.

Imidazolidinyl Urea - Imidazolidinyl urea a preservative in aqueous solutions decompose to formaldehyde and some unidentified products. The release of formaldehyde from imidazolidinyl urea is dependent on temperature, pH and storage period of the solution.

Kojic Acid - This is a form of bleaching agent which is rather effective at reducing pigmentation irregularities. Please refer to hydroquinone for discussion of pigmentation agents.

LiquaPar PE - is a 100% active, clear, stable, liquid blend of isopropyl, isobutyl, and n-butyl esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid with phenoxyethanol. This combination of parabens and phenoxyethanol is effective against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeast, and mold providing broad spectrum activity for worldwide formulations. The potentiator effect of phenoxyethanol facilitates use of the LiquaPar Oil technology in nonionic emulsion systems where paraben efficacy might otherwise be compromised. All LiquaPar PE components are approved for worldwide use thus allowing sale of the same finished formulation in Japan, Europe, Australia and the United States. LiquaPar PE is an active blend of parabens and phenoxyethanol useful in a wide range of cosmetic formulations including anhydrous systems. The potentiating effect of phenoxyethanol combined with the highly effective paraben blend provides an effective preservative system for even difficult to preserve nonionic emulsions. In most systems LiquaPar PE should be incorporated at a concentration of 1.0% by weight of the finished formulation.

Magnesium Sulfate USP - (Epsom Salts) A soaking aid for minor sprains, muscle aches and bruises. A water softener and bath additive.

Methyl Paraben - (Methyl p-Hydroxybenzoate) Methyl p-Hydroxybenzoate comes from the combination of denatured wood alcohol and benzoic acid. Benzoic acid occurs naturally in cherry bark, raspberries, tea, anise and cassia bark. It is neutral, nontoxic, safe to use, nonirritating, nonsensitizing and nonpoisonous. It is one of the most commonly used preservative in cosmetics since it is stable at most pH levels, is broad spectrum and water soluble.

Optiphen - is a unique liquid preservative formulation that consists of phenoxyethanol and an emollient base. The primary active ingredient is 2-phenoxyethanol, which is an aromatic ether alcohol often utilized for preservation of personal care products. The secondary ingredient, caprylyl glycol, also known as 1,2-octanediol, functions as the emollient base. Optiphen is a clear liquid-preservative that can be easily added directly to the formulation during pre- or post-emulsification at or below 80°C. There are no pH restrictions in formulating with Optiphen. Optiphen is compatible with most ingredients used in the personal care industry.

Polysorbate 20 - (Emulsifier) Widely used emulsifier, a vicious oily liquid derived from lauric acid. Lauric acid is a common constituent of coconut oil. Polysorbate 20 is a nonionic surfactant, meaning it has no electrical charge. A surfactant is a wetting (surface active) agent that lowers the water surface tension permitting it to penetrate more easily.

Propylene Glycol - Often derived from lactic acid, glucose, or seaweed. The most common moisture carrying ingredient other than water used in cosmetics because it moisturizes better than glycerin. Is used as a wetting agent and surfactant which gives a product better absorption and promotes spreading of the product on the skin. Originally derived from brown algae and since mixed with a few other goodies, the chemical has been used for almost a century in one form or another. Propylene Glycol is an emollient. Not to be confused with Ethyl Glycol which is used in anti-freeze and other chemical based products. It can penetrate the outermost layer of the skin cells and carry other beneficial products deeper into the epidermis. According to the AMA's committee on Cutaneous Health emollients do help make the skin feel softer and smoother, reduce roughness, cracking and irritation. And may possibly retard the fine wrinkles of aging.

Sodium Cocoate Sodium salts compounded with coconut fatty oils.

Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a broad spectrum antimicrobial that is active against Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeast and mold. It is used at extremely low concentrations between .1% to 1% at the most. It is active at all alkaline pH levels as well as acidic conditions. It acts for both preservation and neutralization, which means it can be used in place of TEA (triethanolamine) or sodium hydroxide. It is synergistic with other preservatives. There are no ingredients used in cosmetics that render sodium hydroxymethylglycinate non-effective. Sodium hydroxymethylgycinate is derived from glycine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid. Traditionally glycine was used a texturizer in cosmetics. It is an amino acid classified as nonessential. Glycine is made up of sweet-tasting crystals, it is used as a dietary supplement and as a gastric antacid. Amino Acids are widely used in cosmetics because they help penetrate the skin. This preservative can react with certain essential oils, specifically citrus and mint oriented. The reaction can cause your product base to change colors, but does not effect the effacacy of the preservative. Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate in aqueous solution decomposes to sodium glycinate and formaldehyde. Glycine is an essential amino acid, and does not appear to be harmful. So, the regulation of sodium hydroxymethylglycinate as total formaldehyde should not give any additional safety problem to consumers, as long as the maximum authorized concentration of this compound is maintained. (SCCNFP/587/02)

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is the sodium salt of sulfated ethoxylated lauryl alcohol. Which means salt of sulfuric acid has been added to the crystalline compound produced from coconut in order to control the acid-alkali balance; and ethyl and oxygen are mixed and added to make it more soluble in water. There has been a huge scare centered on the use of SLS and SLES, which stems from the incorrect reporting by Neways Web sites of a study done at the Medical College of Georgia by Dr. Keith Green. He states that he was not only misquoted but also the majority of the misinformation is completely false. Also, the American Cancer Society has stated that SLS and SLES do not cause cancer. They have searched all the recognized medical journals and have found no articles linking cancer and SLS or SLES. Please see the CIR Expert Panels findings on SLS here. CIR Link

Sodium Stearate - A compound of 92.82% stearic acid with sodium salts. Stearic acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in butter acids, tallow and oils.

Sorbitol - This is a humectant and gives a smooth feel to the skin. Currently it is used instead of glycerin in many ointments.

Soyamidopropyl Betaine - A soybean oil, alcohol and betaine compound. Betaine is complicated organic detergents that occur naturally in sugar beets and other vegetables. It is used as an emulsifier, thickener, foam boaster and conditioner. Soybean is extracted from the seeds of soybeans. Alcohol is manufactured by the fermentation of starch, sugar or any other carbohydrate. It is used to help dissolve or dispense one or more substances.

SPF - Sun protection factor is the acronym used to depict how much sun protection is offered by a sunscreen. Specifically a sun block only measures the amount of sun protection that can be caused from ultraviolet B rays and not ultraviolet A rays. Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to photo aging and skin cancers. Typically an SPF of 15 or 30 is recommended. The use of sun blocking agents with the addition of titanium or zinc oxide is extremely helpful in reducing all exposure to the sun’s rays.

Stearalkonium Chloride - This quartenary ammonium compound adds shine to hair and improves the ability to comb through hair. A complex cationic conditioning ingredient which demonstrates a natural affinity for fibrous protein and forms a protective coating on the cuticle of the hair. Retards hair tangling and enhances wet comb-out properties and overall manageability.

Stearic Acid (Palm Stearic) - A vegetable derivative used to stiffen and stabilize lotions and creams. Occurs naturally in vegetable fats. A white, waxy, natural fatty acid.

Sunscreens - The active ingredients for most sunscreens are one of the following: PABA and PABA esters, Benzophenones, Cinnamates, Salicylates, and Anthranilate. These products are useful in the prevention of sunburns as well as in reducing the long term damage that sun exposure can cause with its concomitant skin cancer and wrinkle producing properties. Most sunscreens do an excellent job of absorbing UVB rays, but do not do as good a job with UVA rays. Many of the newer sunscreens will screen out both UVA and UVB. A combination agent which contains zinc oxide is the best. Sunscreens come with a number called the sun protection factor, or SPF. Recommendations in the 15 to 30 range are ideal. If a sunscreen has a label of a 15 SPF, then with its use over a 15-hour period, the skin will have absorbed only 1 hour’s worth of ultraviolet light. Other agents which block the sun include zinc oxide, titanium oxide, magnesium silicate, kalin, ferric oxide, red petrolatum, and magnesium oxide. Sunscreen is particularly important in children, as 85% of all sun exposure occurs before the age of 18.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Learn About Butters

A Guide to Some of the Finest Butters in the World

Butters are some of the most luxurious ingredients in the word, and are becoming increasingly popular in bodycare and cosmetic products. However, it can be a bit daunting to know which butters are the best choice for your application and how to use them. Because of the inquiries that we have received from our customers, we have created this quick guide to teach you a little more about butters.

Butters have been utilized all around the world for centuries. They contain nutrients and healing properties which are easily absorbed by the skin, and are wonderful to use in skin care recipes for their abilities to nourish, rejuvenate, and moisturize the skin. Butters are incredibly universal, and may be incorporated into almost any lotion, balm, soap, salve, or other bodycare product.

Most butters are too hard to use alone, and must be integrated into a recipe or combined with a liquid oil in order to make them more pliable and easy to apply to the skin. The exception to this is Shea Butter, which can be scooped straight from the jar and applied to the skin. Other butters may be gently melted over a double boiler, combined with a liquid carrier oil, poured into containers, and then allowed to solidify at room temperature. This process will make any butter softer in consistency and easier to apply to the skin.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa Butter is a rich aromatic butter pressed from the seed kernels of the Cacao Tree, Theobroma Cacao. This sumptuous ingredient smells pleasantly like chocolate, and it can be added to lip balms, body butters, lotions, creams, salves, soaps, lotion bars, belly balms for expectant mothers, bath bombs, hair conditioner, or any other bodycare product. It melts at body temperature, and adds a rich, creamy, thick consistency and light chocolate aroma to products. Cocoa butter is a great emollient, adds flexibility to the skin, is soothing, contains natural antioxidants, helps the skin retain moisture, acts as a barrier for skin protection, and is commonly used for sunburns, scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and for softening and soothing rough dry skin. This is one of our favorite butters, both for its therapeutic properties and for the intoxicating scent.

Kokum Butter

Kokum butter is a highly prized butter from the Indian Garcinia tree, Garcinia indica. It is naturally white, incredibly smooth, regenerates tired and worn skin cells, supports elasticity and flexibility of the skin wall, softens the skin, and helps to heal chapped or weathered hands, feet, and lips. This is a great ingredient to add to lotions, creams, body butters, belly balms, foot care products, and soaps. Because of its hard consistency, this butter is best used within a recipe or when melted in a double boiler and combined with a liquid carrier oil. Kokum butter is not as well known as some of the other butters, but it comes highly recommended to anyone that is interested in creating healing skincare products.

Mango Butter

Mango butter is pressed from the seed kernels of the Mango tree, Mangifera Indica. This is a highly treasured butter, and it makes an exceptional base ingredient for body care products and soap making recipes. Mango butter has emollient and moisturizing properties, and it is often used to prevent stretch marks, wrinkles, regenerate skin cells, restore skin elasticity, and for sun protection. This incredible ingredient may be used in lip balm, lotions, creams, belly butters, body butters, lotion bars, and soaps. It is also a great source of essential fatty acids and naturally contains antioxidants. Mango butter is one of the most universal butters, both because of its versatility and because of its incredible moisturizing properties.

Sal Butter

Sal butter comes from the Shorea tree of India, Shorea robusta, and has similar properties to Mango butter but differs slightly in scent and color. It is high in stearic and oleic acids, and is wonderful for the skin because of its high emolliency properties and exceptional oxidative stability. It moisturizes the skin, helps prevent wrinkles, and offers protection from the sun and other harsh elements. Sal butter has high oxidative and emulsion stability properties, making it a great choice for lotions and creams, and it may also be used in balms, body butters, soaps, and other bodycare products. It can be directly applied to the skin in its solid state, but is easiest to use when combined with liquid ingredients.

Shea Butter

Shea butter is derived from the vegetable fat of the African Karite Tree, Butyrospermum parkii, and is becoming increasingly popular in the natural bodycare industry for good reason. Shea Butter is an intense moisturizer for dry or dull skin, soothes, hydrates, balances the skin, assists with the prevention of wrinkles, contains essential fatty acids, helps protect the skin and hair from harsh elements, promotes skin renewal, increases circulation, accelerates wound healing, and is rich in Vitamins A, E, and F along with other vitamins and minerals. In addition, it is beneficial for the treatment of many different conditions, including stretch marks, itchy skin, rashes, Eczema, Dermatitis, sunburn, rough dry skin, insect bites, muscular aches and tension, chapped skin, and diaper rash. The butter is semi-soft and solid at room temperature, and readily absorbs into the skin immediately relieving dry irritated skin. This butter is perhaps the most well-known and respected of all the butters, and is highly recommended for anyone who wants to create a healing and beneficial skincare product.

Using Butters

Butters may be easily incorporated into almost any bodycare recipe, including (but not limited to): lotions, creams, body butter, lip balm, bath bombs, belly balm, salve, foot and hair care products, soaps, and hair conditioner. Here are some additional ways in which you can use butters:

Add a spoonful to bath water for a luxurious and healing experience. Especially helpful for those with dry or itchy skin, or sore muscles. Try adding Lavender or Chamomile essential oil as well, or an herbal infusion.

In massage, butters are beneficial for overexerted muscles or for dry skin. If the butter is too hard to use alone, warm the butter slightly over a double boiler, and add carrier oils and essential oils (if desired).

In soaps, butter has a conditioning effect and hardens soap bars. Try incorporating butters into your handmade soap recipes.

Massage butters into the scalp for dry scalp symptoms and to stimulate hair growth. Use butters during pregnancy to keep the skin supple, and to prevent stretch marks. They may also be used after giving birth to reduce stretch marks. Make whipped butters by warming butter with a carrier oil over a double boiler, allow it to solidify to a soft consistency at room temperature, and then whip the mixture in a food processor, blender, or with a stick blender.

To learn more about butters from Mountain Rose Herbs go to

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Listing Ingredient Tips From Wholesale Supplies Plus

Listing ingredients on a cosmetic label is not hard but it can be confusing. All of the information presented here can be found at the FDA's Cosmetic Website.

Ingredients on a cosmetic label must be listed in order of predominance using correct INCI terminology. A few key tips for labeling a cosmetic:

Color additives of any concentration are listed after the listing of ingredients that are not color additives (ie: can go at the end of the label). Ingredients present not exceeding 1% can be listed in any order after the listing of ingredients over 1%

Fragrance is listed on the label with the word "fragrance oil". Fragrance that is added at 1% or more needs to be listed in the correct order on the label. If you are using a premade base, you may need to contact the manufacturer for where to properly list fragrance on the ingredient listing. It should not be added last on the label.

Essential oils can be stated as "fragrance" or by the appropriate botanical name. They should not be listed as the general words "essential oils".

If you are interested in further reading outside of the FDA website. I highly recommend the book:

Soap & Cosmetic Labeling How to Follow the Rules and Regs Explained in Plain English.

Author: Marie Gale

Wishing You Much Success!
Debbie May


Friday, November 16, 2007

Hot Process Soapmaking

Are you familiar with the soap making process? There are two different ways to make soap - hot process soap making (discussed in the article below) and cold process soap making. Judi Cox has provided the following hot process soap making recipe for those of you who are already familiar with the soap making process. We at Learn Crafts Online absolutely love the convenience of using a crock pot for hot process soap making. Please note: there are extremely caustic materials in soap, use reasonable caution and care while making soap. Learn Crafts Online is providing the information - it is up to each user to follow safety instructions properly.

Instructions for Making Crock Pot Handmade Soap by Judi Cox

Making soap in a crock pot is an easy way to use the "hot process" method.

These instructions outline my steps for making crock pot soap and assume you are familiar with the soapmaking process.

Start with a good recipe. I prefer recipes that have a higher amount of liquid oil to solids. One of my favorite recipes is very simple: 60% Olive Oil, 20% Palm Kernel Oil, 20% Palm Oil. Run it through a lye calculator to determine the amount of lye and [distilled] water needed. I don't discount my water when making hot process.

I use a 6 1/2 quart crock pot. A 4 pound batch of soaps fits perfectly. It fills the crock pot about half full - giving room in the case of it bubbling up, but not too little an amount that it could burn.

First, measure water and set aside.

Then measure the lye into a separate container. Slowly pour the lye into the pitcher of cold water. Stir until dissolved. Set aside in a safe place.

Once I have my lye mixture set aside, I measure my solid oils. These can be put into the crock pot to be melted. But, it takes longer this way, so I generally put them into the microwave for a couple minutes until melted and then pour into the crockpot.

At this point, my crock pot is on low.

I recommend using a good rubber spatula to scrape the bowl - no sense leaving any good oils behind.

Next, I measure my olive oil - and/or any other liquid oils I happen to be using - and pour this into the crockpot.

Get out your handy-dandy stickblender and using low speed, slowly pour the lye mixture into the melted oils. Gently move the stickblender around, up, down, around, ensuring a nice even blend. If you don't have a stickblender, a stainless steel wire whisk works great too - just requires a little more arm power.

Once it has reached 'trace', I put the lid on the crockpot and turn the heat setting up to high. However, the first few times I made crock pot soap, I left it on low until I was confident in how it worked (both the soap AND my crockpot).

Now, I ready my mold, measure out any fragrance oils or essential oils and any additives I plan to use.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, I take the lid off and, using a potato masher, mash the soap around. It has a look of a vaseline texture; glossy, slick. It will have a waxy feel if you rub a piece of it between gloved fingers.

Add your additives, colorants, herbs, etc and mix well using the potato masher. Once that is blended fairly well, add your fragrance and mix again.

It is done! At this point, it's really soap. It only needs to be put into your mold. I do this in large spoonfuls, pounding my mold on the counter every few scoops to ensure it packs into the mold tightly. Once I have it all in the mold, I put a baggie on my hand and flatten the top - making sure to "squish" it into the corners really well.

Now is a good time to wash all the dishes. And you don't even need to add any soap! You should see some lovely lather from the soap you've just made.

I let this sit over-night. The next morning, I unmold and slice into bars to air out for a week or so. Once each bar has had time to harden, I bevel each one and it's ready for use, or sale.

My favorite crock pot soap recipe:

Rosemary Mint Handmade Soap
Yields: 4 pounds of Soap

- 38 ounces olive oil (59.38%)
- 14.4 ounces palm kernel oil (22.5%)
- 11.6 ounces palm oil (18.13%)
- 8.7 ounces sodium hydroxide (5% discount)
- 17.5 ounces distilled water
- 3 ounces rosemary mint blend essential oils
- 2 teabags of Organic Peppermint tea

Disclaimer: Sodium Hydroxide is highly caustic and should be handled carefully and knowledgeably. It is the soapmakers responsibility to research safety procedures for soapmaking.

Judi Cox is a wife and mother of 4 children. Her hobbies include making handmade soap from scratch, gardening, crafts, web design and maintaining Mom’s Little Garden ( ), an online resource for pregnant mothers, as well as her personal website, Momma Muse ( ).

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