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 ( ).

Article Source:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Experience with Cold Process Soapmaking

It is has been almost six years since I learned how to make by the Melt & Pour Method, aka Soap Crafting, that I took Lori Nova's Cold Process Soapmaking 101 class on November 10th.

I guess why I waited so long was the fear of working with lye, but I really liked creating soaps by the Melt and Pour Method. But as time passed by teaching the M&P Method, I wanted to be more informed on both Cold Process and Hot Process of soapmaking. I was ready for the challenge.

I had a the basic concepts down by talking to people who have created soap by the CP method and going as far as purchasing two books. The books I had purchased were "Handcrafted Soaps" by Delores Boone which covers the Hot Process Method and "Essentially Soaps" by Dr. Robert McDaniel. Handcrafted Soaps is a great book with colored step by step instructions on how to create soap by the Hot Process Method. And Essentially Soaps has some good info on Cold Process and herbs, etc. but I really did not care for the recipes. Although both books had good qualities, I really needed to have that one on one experience in order to ask any questions.

When I was at The Nova Studio's anniversary in September, I met Alica Grosso, who wrote "The Everything Soapmaking Book." I really liked the layout and the easy to read format. In no way was the information dummied down. And comparing Grosso's book to the "Candlemaking and Soapmaking for Dummies" it is far superior. So, I had purchased the book and read it before the class which was coming up in six weeks. Of course, it did not take me that long.

After reading the book, I felt the comfortable taking the class. And I would say that taking Lori's class reinforced the information in the book and provided additional information. So, I was glad that I read the book prior to the class. And now I do not have the fear of lye. It is basically having the respect of the ingredient and taking the appropriate cautions.

I was planning to take the Hot Process class later that day, but due to another commitment, I could not stay. I do plan to take that class in addition to her advanced CP class.

I guess what my fear now is working with SAP values. And what I mean by that is that if you change or do not have enough of one oil is find out what oil is similar in order not to screw up a recipe. So that is my next fear to conquer.

If you do not live in the San Francisco Bay Area to take Lori's class and you want to learn the Cold Process Method, I would recommend doing a research on classes in your area. Always a good place to look is on Craigslist. Other places there maybe listings would be on or Second, check your local adult schools, community education or parks & recreation venues. But, I found that classes on the subject are taught by people you have their studios. Since there are alot of things that need to be brought to the class (ingredients, pots, stove top, etc.) that it is have everything in one location.

I would say that my experience with Cold Process has been a pleasant one. And once I have the opportunity to make a bar of soap in this method, I am planning to attempt my first batch. I will let you know how it goes. But if you want to learn the Hot Process Method, it is best to take a Cold Process Method class prior to the Hot Process Class.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Christmas Holiday Soap Projects


1/2 lb. opaque melt & pour soap base
1 tsp. Stearic acid
Red food coloring
Candy Cane fragrance oil
Candy cane cookie cutters**
Wax paper lined pan or tray

Suggestion: You could also use the Wilton mini cake pan candy cane mold. Melt the soap base and Stearic acid seperately. Combine them when they are both liquefied. Whisk well. Add the fragrance oil and pour into a wax paper lined pan or tray. Take a bit of red coloring (just a bit on the tip of the toothpick) and swirl into the soap until it is marblized. When it is firm enough, take cookie cutter and cut out candy cane shapes. These are great for Christmas!!!

SOAPSICLES (for kids)

8 oz. Unscented, Clear Glycerine Soap
1/4 teaspoon each Cherry, Lime, Grape and Orange Fragrance Oil
Red, Orange, Green and Blue Food Coloring
Popsicle molds (available in grocery stores, drug stores and places like Target, K-Mart and Wal-Mart)
Popsicle sticks (available at most craft stores - called craft sticks)
Piece of cardboard (the kind they use in shirts is fine)
Paper clips

Cut pieces of the cardboard a bit larger but the same shape as the Popsicle mold (round or oblong) and cut a slit in the middle (for the stick). Now divide soap into 4 equal parts (2 oz each), melt one at a time in a small pan over low heat or in a glass cup in the microwave. Add cherry fragrance oil and 2 drops of red food coloring. Stir gently and pour into Popsicle molds. Take one of the cardboard pieces you cut and put a stick thru it, using the paper clip so that the stick stops at the cardboard and doesn't fall all the way thru. Make the rest of the soapsicles in Orange, Lime and Grape (using 1 drop of red and 1 drop of blue food coloring) or make all the same 'Flavor', using 1 teaspoon of your favorite fragrance oil 'flavor' and 8-10 drops of coordinating food coloring. Put molds in freezer, when frozen remove from molds. Store in cellophane candy bags with a ribbon or a twist tie. Be sure these are marked NOT EDIBLE !!

SOAP CRAYONS (for kids)
1 cup soap flakes
1/4 cup boiling water
Food coloring

Ice cube tray Drop the water into the flakes, one teaspoon at a time, stirring constantly. It will be thick and hard to stir. Spoon some of the soap into different bowls and color each with the food coloring until it has the consistency of thick paste. Press spoonfuls into the ice cube trays and microwave on lowfor 15 minutes to dry the crayons out. Let them dry at room temperature for several days and give it another day after unmolding. The kids will love these!!


6 oz. unscented white soap, grated
1/4 tsp. Candy Cane Fragrance Oil
1/2 tsp. Ultra Fine Fabric Glitter
1/2 cup Water or Milk

Bring water to a boil and add soap and reduce heat. Mash and stir soap until water disappears and mixture becomes a sticky mass (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in fragrance oil and glitter until well blended. Reserve a little glitter for later. When soap is cool enough to handle, divide in half and form into balls with your hands. Sprinkle reserved glitter on the surface of the balls and continue to shape into snowball like soaps. Allow to air dry at least 12 hours. Wrap individually in cellophane and tie with ribbon and a bow.

Project submitted by Cake Works Central. For more fun projects visit


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Emulsifying Wax Profile (NF)

Botanical Name- Non-botanical ingredient
Origin- USA
Extraction- Fatty acid and ester isolation from plant fats.
Shelf life- 14-18 months (2 year maximum)

Notes- This particular emulsifying wax is NF (National Formulary) approved and is the global choice for emulsifying compounds. The emulsifying wax offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is plant based, as per our commitment to abstain from offering any products derived from animal ingredients.
Pearly white pastille pellets make blending easy, congruous, and fluid.

Ingredients (Derived From)
Cetostearyl alcohol, and Ethoxylated Sorbitan Ester

Color- White
Appearance- Pastille pellets measuring 3-4 mm
Odor- Practically odorless with a slight waxy scent
pH- 5.7
Melting Point- 120-125°F
Saponification Value- 6.3
USP Hydroxol Value- 185
Iodine Value- 0.06
Pathogens- Absent
Ethylene Oxide- Absent
Storage Temperature- Not to exceed 90 °F

Usage Guidelines
Emulsifying wax is an ideal medium for the blending of fine creams, lotions and other fluid cosmetics which contains oil and water.

Its ability to bind oil and water in perfect union is unparalleled, and today it remains the most ubiquitous substance in a cosmetic manufacturers formulary. We all know the frustration to be found when the water and oil in our creations separate, and we now have Emulsifying wax to help rid us of this persistent problem.

It will assist users in improving the consistency and texture of their final product without leaving a greasy film on the outer skin after application. Acts a mild stabilizer and thickener which is ultimately dependent on the amount added to your recipe.

A general guideline for use in cosmetics runs between 3-5%, and this material is suitable for most skin types as allergic reaction and skin sensitivities have rarely been recorded.

Because of its manufactured nature, and alcohol content, this material cannot be considered a benign "natural additive".


Monday, November 12, 2007

Lavender Lotion Recipe

As, I search for new lotion recipes I came across this one. This blog includes a basic lotion recipe and one for lavender.

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, November 10, 2007

Borax Powder Profile

Origin- USA
Appearance- White crystalline granules
Shelf life- 2-3 years

Notes- Stores well under any condition but extreme moisture is best avoided. Avoid contact with the eyes and mouth, and do not expose directly to the skin. Can be used directly for cleaning purposes, and is suitable for both cosmetic and cleaning purposes.

Chemical Analysis
Anhydrous Borax- 53.8%
Boric Acid - 37.2%
Sodium Oxide - 16.6%
Water of Crystallization - 46.2%
Chloride- 37ppm

Borax (Sodium borate) is a natural mineral which is widely used in the cosmetic industry. Since it is also utilized as a detergent, many people are shocked to learn that it is also a main ingredient in their favorite brand of bath salt! Borax naturally occurs from the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. The largest deposits of this mineral may be found in California, the American southwest, Chile, and Tibet. Borax is a very popular ingredient, simply because of its many varied applications, and its ease of use.

Cosmetic Use
Borax is found in creams, lotions, shampoos, gels, bath salts, and bath bombs. It is an emulsifier, preservative, cleansing agent, and a buffering agent. Commonly used in bath salts, borax has the ability to soften the water, and suspend soap particles in the bathwater. The result is soft, clean, and healthy skin, which is not clogged by the residue of soap particles. When used in collaboration with citric acid in bath bomb or bath salt recipes, the product will produce a fizzing action. It also forms bath or body gel, when mixed with water and guar gum. In summary, Borax has the following uses for body care products:

Water softener
Particle suspension
Buffering agent
Fizzing action (when used with citric acid)
To use: Simply mix borax into the water portion of your recipe, and heat to a temperature of above 75 °C. Stir until fully dissolved, and then incorporate into your recipe.

Not to be ingested, large doses may be fatal. May cause irritation if exposed to the skin, eyes, or if inhaled. Handle with caution, and keep away from children and pets.

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.


Friday, November 9, 2007

What Is A Hydrosol?

Hydrosols, also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are products from steam distilling plant materials. Hydrosols are like essential oils but in far less of a concentration. When a distiller brews plant material with water in a large cooker the steam fills the pot and, as it rises, it causes the glands of the plants to burst and release the oils and essence of the plant into the steam. The oil rises through a condenser and collects in a separate vessel. This is what we know as essential oil, but what about all that fragrant water that was steamed with the original plant material? That is our hydrosol, or floral water.

Hydrosols are usually the result of essential oil production as a by-product but the highest quality hydrosols come from the devoted distillers who, with artist like precision steam the floral and plant material strictly to produce a hydrosol. (The Hydrosols offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are produced in this fashion) Hydrosols contain all of the essence of the plant in every drop, just like essential oils but in a milder form; making them suitable for all manner of applications where essential oils would be too strong.

Noted author Jeanne Rose is quoted as saying...

"The best comes from a distillation where it is the hydrosol that is being produced rather than the essential oil. Often the best comes from the earliest part of the distillation rather than the body of the distillation. This usually smells bright and pleasantly fragrant. Although, some of the therapeutic part of the hydrosol is also produced at the very end of the distillation, and usually has a rather grassy or vegetative note. As the plants are being distilled, micro-particles of essential oil are in suspension, they give the aromatic distillate its scent and will separate out as the hydrosol cools. There is approximately .02% essential oil in hydrosol".

Clinically, the chemical components in the hydrosol are primarily acids, which are hydrophilic (water-loving). Why do they work? Because they acidify the water or the product, which is beneficial to the skin or in the body. Thus the hydrosol acts as a healing anti-inflammatory and mild, but therapeutic antiseptic. Bacteria do not live well in acidic environments, which is why acidic liquids such as vinegar make good preservatives for food items like pickles, Chile peppers and Olives. Acidic environments are astringent and so the hydrosols are useful in skin care products as astringents constrict and contract the tissues. Hydrosols can be used externally in skin care products, internally as a douche, taken as a tonic or combined in a beverage drink. They also make lovely food mists as Rose water has been employed for such reasons for quite some time.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sugar, Salt and Nut Scrub

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup ground oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup almond oil
45-60 drops fragrance or essential oil

Variation: Add 2 tablespoons of honey for an extra-moisturizing scrub.

Mix almond oil and fragrance or essential oil together in a glass bowl. Add the sugar, finely ground almonds and salt together in a separate bowl and mix thoroughly together. Add this mixture to the almond oil. Mix well with your hands to incorporate and you're done!

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 7, 2007

Ginger Soap (Cold Process)

This is a lovely and useful soap. I have a lot of friends who have diabetes who use this to help the circulation for feet and hands.


10 ounces Palm Oil
4 ounces Coconut Oil
2 ounces Olive Oil
2 ounces lye
4 fluid ounces water
4 fluid ounces ginger juice and water
1/4 fluid ounce Ginger Essential (optional)


1. Take a hand of ginger and run it through a juicer

2. Add the pulp back to the juice and enough water to equal 4 ounces

3. Pour lye into the water (never pour water into lye) - Set aside to cool

4. Melt oils together -set aside to cool

5. When oils are approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit and lye water is approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit, gently pour lye into oils (never pour oils into lye)

6. Add juice to mixture, stirring constantly

7. Mix until soap traces

8. Add Essential Oil (optional)

9. Pour into prepared molds and cover with plastic wrap

10. Allow to stand covered and out of drafts for 48 hours

11. Remove form molds and cut as desired

12. Allow to age in open air for 2-3 weeks before using

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 5, 2007

Witch Hazel Extract Profile

Botanical Name- Hamamelis virginiana
Origin- USA
Exraction- Alcohol and water (14% alcohol)
Shelf life- 3 years

Notes- Our line (Mountain Rose Herbs) of Witch Hazel extract is distilled from the twigs and bark of the Witch Hazel tree and contains 14.5% ethyl alcohol. USP grade and manufactured according to such standards.

Color- Clear
Odor- Virtually odorless/characteristic
Pesticide residues- Tested Negative
Alcohol by volume- 14.6%
pH- 3.5
Gravity- 0.981
Bacteria- <1>
Tannins- <0.03>
Yeast and Mold- <10 CFU/ml

An Introduction
Witch Hazel Extract is a wonderful ingredient for use in your cosmetic and medicinal preparations. It is gentle enough to be used alone, or it may be combined with other ingredients or herbs. Commercial Witch Hazel extracts usually contain more alcohol than actual Witch Hazel, and have only been distilled once. However, the line offered by Mountain Rose Herbs leads in both quality and potency. Our true Witch Hazel extract has been double distilled, and contains 86% Witch Hazel extract and only 14% alcohol. This makes it more soothing than the version found in your local store, and lacks the alcohol sting and scent.

A Brief History
Witch Hazel extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana. It has been used medicinally throughout history. The Native Americans used poultices of Witch Hazel leaves and bark to treat hemorrhoids, wounds, painful tumors, insect bites, and skin ulcers. They also made Witch Hazel infusions for conditions including cuts, colds, heavy menstruation, tumors, and eye inflammation. In addition, Witch Hazel was used in folk medicine for backache, and internally for diarrhea, nervousness, nosebleed, vaginitis, and venereal disease.

Medicinal and Cosmetic Use
Witch Hazel extract has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it indispensable for a variety of different medicinal and cosmetic uses.

Medicinally, Witch Hazel extract is used for bedsores, bruises, eczema, insect bites, hemorrhoids, poison ivy or oak, bruises, sore muscles, swelling, psoriasis, cracked or blistered skin, diaper rash, windburn, and sunburn.

In cosmetic products, Witch Hazel extract is used as an aftershave or a facial astringent, applied to blemishes and pimples, varicose veins, and is used to cleanse oil from the skin, remove make-up, decrease bags under eyes and skin puffiness, and to reduce pore size. It is beneficial for both oily and dry mature skin, and is commonly found in anti-aging products as well as in products for blemished or acne-prone skin.

Usage Instructions
For conditions such as bedsores, bruises, hemorrhoids, poison ivy or oak, bruises, sore muscles, swelling, or diaper rash, Witch Hazel extract can be applied using a compress. For hemorrhoid relief, it is also added to sitz baths.

For facial care products, Witch Hazel extract can be easily added to facial cleansers, astringents, masks, and toners. Witch Hazel extract can be incorporated into creams or lotions, and then applied to the skin. For sore muscles, Witch Hazel extract can either be used in a compress or cream, or may be added to bath water. Athletes rub Witch Hazel extract onto their arms or legs limbs prior to workouts to help prevent muscle strain, or after a workout to help relieve soreness.

Witch Hazel extract is intended for external use. Avoid using Witch Hazel extract close to the mucus membranes or in the eyes, as it contains a small amount of alcohol. It is best to use on this product on unbroken skin.

External use of Witch Hazel extract could result in minor skin irritation for some people.

Do not use on serious burns, cuts, or other wounds.

The FDA has approved Witch Hazel distillate as safe for external use in skin care products. Sources had reported no known side effects as of March of 2000. However, future studies may provide more information about the safety or side effects of Witch Hazel.

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, November 3, 2007

Secret Garden Bath Teas

Yield: Makes one tea bag.


1 tsp lavender flowers (dried)
1 tsp rose petals (dried)
1/2 tsp lemon balm (dried)
1/4 tsp rosemary (dried)
1/8 tsp spearmint (dried) (just to give it a bit of a snap)
4 drops lavender EO
2 drops rose EO
1 drop patchouli (spelling?) EO


Mix well, put into heat sealable teabag.

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.


Friday, November 2, 2007

Easy Clay Mask -

made with Rhassoul & Bentonite Clays


1 part bentonite clay
1 part rhassoul clay

Optional: skin loving essential oil, such as Lavender, Lemongrass or German Chamomile


Mix with water until the mask has a consistency that you like. Apply to body or face and wait for clay to dry fully. Take off with a warm water washcloth. If all over body, jump in the shower to get off more quickly than a washcloth.

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.