Friday, June 29, 2007

More Glossary of Terms

Here are some more terms you may want to add to list -

Additives: Ingredients added to soaps that impart special characteristics to the finished bar or bath product.

Aromatic: Having a fragrant taste and/or smell.

Astringent: In cosmetic terms, a substance that contracts the pores and tissues, making the surface smoother.

Base Notes (aka lower or back notes): Are most prominent when the middle notes begin to fade. These notes are responsible for the duration of the fragrance on the skin. Traces of the base notes can last on the skin for hours or sometimes for days.

Detergent: A cleaner made with petroleum distillateds rather than natural fasts.

Enflerage: An age-old method of extracting essential oils using odorless fats and oils to absorb the essential oils from a plant.

Fillers: In cosmetic and fragrance crafting, fillers add bulk or extend a product.

Fixative: A fixative stabilizes volatile oils and prevents them from exporting too quickly. A common vegetable fixative is orris root. In soaps and bath products, the fixative can be the soap base, base oil, salts, or dried botanicals.

Herb: The American Herb Society's official definition is "any plant that can be used for pleasure, fragrance, or physic."

Hydrating: Maintaining or restoring normal fluid balance in the body or skin. Hydrating agents are used in cosmetics to keep the skin moist, frm, and young looking.

Middle Notes (aka heart or medium notes): Consitutes the dominate trait of the perfume. These notes will start to appear on the skin about 10 minutes after the fragrance has been applied and can last up to several hours. The middle notes will determine the characteristics or signature of a fragrance and will help classify the perfume into a fragrance family.

Refrigerant: A substance that cools inflammation and eases muscle pains.

Soap base: Soap made from fats and lye with no additives. Also refers to melt and pour soap before it is melted and additives are introduced.

Stimulant: A substance that temporarily quickesn the fuctional activity of the tissues.

Synthetic: An artifically produced substance designed to imitate that which occurs naturally.

Top Notes (aka head notes): Are responsible for a perfume's first impression. Top notes surface right after the perfume has been applied to the skin. These notes tend to be striking and impactful, but are the most volatile and only last a few minutes. Once they have faded, the middle notes will take center stage.

Volatile: Easily evaporated, such as an essential oil that has been extracted from the plant and no longer has the plant's cell structure to hold the scent. Adding a fixative stablizes oils, reducing their volatility and helpng them to last longer.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hosting a Soap Making Party

If you are looking to have something different for your next party, check out this article on hosting a soap making article.,2041,DIY_14108_4009331,00.html

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Melt and Pour Soap Making Techniques

In the world of Melt and Pour Soap Making, there are many different techniques you can use to create your own unique soaps. I really like this style of soap making because of the variety and simplicity of techniques.

There are chuck style, soaps with defined colored areas, marbled, layered, tubed molded, soap beads, stacked shapes, soap in soap, decorative accents, bagged soaps, fizzy soaps, embossed soaps, fossil soaps, rubber stamped embossed soaps, painted soaps, carved and cut soaps. decoupaged soaps, decals on soaps, and laminated soaps,

If you want to learn these different techniques of making soap, I recommend adding the book by Marie Browning, "300 Handcrafted Soaps" to your library. In this book, there is alot of information and beautiful color photos.

In the class that I teach, you will be learning soap within soap. What is best about my class is that is it hands on which gives you the best experience to learn the melt and pour process.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Double Boiler

After taking the Lotions and Creams class at the Nova Studio, I realized that I needed to purchase some equipment so that in the future I could make those products. I really did not want to spend a heck of alot of money since I am on a limited budget, but I did not want to pay a arm and a leg for something that I am going to make body products with. What I was looking for was a 3 quart stainless steel double boiler with a glass lid for about $20.00. You think that would be an easy task, but it was not.

First, I looked at Walmart since I was finding a stick blender, 8 cup measuring cup, and a thermator for great prices. I found a 3 quart double boiler for $30.00, but it had the casserole type handles and I was looking for a stick handle double boiler which would be alot easier for pouring purposes. Then I checked TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They had a 3 quart, but it had the steamer insert ($16.99) instead, so that was not going to work. I even tried Mervyn's and Macy's. Mervyn's did not have anything and Macy's had a their own brand of a 3 quart (with no glass lid, but a stainless steel lid) for $24.99. That was a great price, but not exactly what I was looking for, but in a pinch I would consider it. I checked out Williams Sonoma and all they had was a copper double boiler with a ceramic insert. I think the price was $179.00 or something out of this world. I did not go into a Crate and Barrel, but I checked out there website and did not find anything.

Then I tried the internet. My first instinct was Ebay. Nothing there. Then I tried Bed, Bath and Beyond and Linens-n-Things. Did not find anything there. But, I did go into a Linens-n-Things in Union City and found that they have a 3 quart from Faberware for $34.99. I thought that was way too expensive, even if I used a 20% coupon. But, then I found there own brand of a double boiler. It was a 2 quart and it was a great price of $14.99. And with a coupon, the price would be even better. Plus the handles were ergonomically comfortable with a rubber grip. But, it had a ceramic insert and since I would placing that insert on a digital scale, I did not want the insert to mess up the scale in any way.

So, I checked Target's website. They had a Farberware for $39.99. A Welco 2 qt for $19.99, a Gourmet Standard 2 at w/glass lid for $22.99 and a Krona 1.5 qt for $39.99. The Welco sounded about right, but then I thought about the shipping charges and tax which would make it alot more expensive. I thought it may be better to go directly to a Target store. I went to the aisle with the pots and pans. I will admit I was disappointed because I did not see any double boilers. I was about ready to leave, but something told me to go to the next aisle over. On the shelf there were some stock pots. Low and behold there was a 3 qt double boiler (with a glass lid and cushioned handles) by Chef's Choice for $21.99. Then and there I bought it. Yeah! I would have like to have paid under $20.00, but I was really tired of looking. So, a difference of a couple of bucks is not such a big deal. I am happy that I finally found one.

If you are looking for a double boiler to make your lip balms, body butters, lotions or creams- check out Target's Chef's Choice Double Boiler for $21.99.

Friday, June 8, 2007

FDA Rules and Regulations

According to Kelly Ewing, author of Making Candles and Soaps for Dummies, if you are a soapmaker then the agency that regulates you will depend if your product is classified as a soap or as a cosemetic. If you are claiming special benefits of any kind, such as moisterizing or relaxing, then you fall into the cosmetic category and thus face stricter FDA regulations.

If you wares are considered cosmetic, then you have to face labeling guidelines and very strict production sanitation rules, which unfortunately most home businesses cannot meet. It is a good start if you wear gloves and hairnets and you do not smoke. But you also need to have someone else around to double check your measurements and your water tested.

There is also the requirement of labeling your product. Labeling is consider to be alot simpler aspect of the process because basically you just need your contact information and net weight of soap in ounces. But if you fall in the FDA domain, then you must list all ingredients, just like food labels do. Even if you are just labeling basic soap, if you list any of your ingredients, then you must label them in descending order. You can't just list the essential oils and special additives without listing all the other ingredients because liting only the special oils can give the impression that they are the primary ingredients when they are likely aren't.

Even if you color your product, keep in mind that all colorants pass regulations. Check with the FDA to find out if your colorant of choice passes its test. You can access the FDA website at For a very detailed and lengthy Cosmetic Labeling Manual check out

Source: Making Candles and Soaps for Dummies by Kelly Ewing, Wiley Publishing, Hoboken, NJ. 2005. Page 232.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Directions For Creating Potpourri

1. Spread newspapers over your work area since oils can stain.

2. On your work area, layout your bags of filler. You may want to have your toolds laid out. Group all of your flowers together by color, arrange the fruits and repeat with spices, cones and other ingredients.

3. Line up your bottles of scents.

4. Choose a potpourri theme, either by scent or decorative aesthetics.

5. If your theme is a fragrance, choose a fixative that best represents your fragrance choice.

6. In a bowl, pour a handful of fixative.

7. Add 4 to 7 drops of fragrance, depending on your desired strength. Use a spoon to blend ingredients.

8. Add fillers that match your theme.

9. Use a spoon to blend the mixture together. Scoop into pitcher.

10. Pour ingredients into a covered jar of your choice.

11. Pack loosely at the top, cover with an airtight lid and shake.

12. Store in a warm, dry place and shake the jar every few days.

13. Allow the fixative, filler and fragrance cure for 2 to 4 weeks

14. After curing, pour potpourri into another bowl for display.

15. The potpourri scent will last from 6 months to 1 year or longer.

16. To refresh, simply add several drops to the mix.

Source: Calming Crafts, Dawn Frankfort, Bristol Publishing San Leandro, Ca, 1999, page 69.

General Materials & Tools For Potpourri

According to Dawn Frankfort, author of Calming Crafts, recommends the following items for creating potpourri:

1 Large Non-plastic bowl
1 Small Non-plastic bowl
2 Non-plastic spoons
1-quart pitcher
glass jars - any size

**The author mentions that plastic will retain the scent of your potpourri. So for stronger scents use non-plastic bowls.

Potpourri Fragrances

If you have taken any classes from me, you know that there are fragrance oils and essential oils. Fragrance oils are a manufactured fragrances, which is an advantage because you can find a variety of scents to choose from. Whereas, essential oils are pure oils from the essenses of botantical plants. A third option for creating fragrances for potpourri are the natural scents from potpourri fillers.

Potpourri Fixatives

According to Dawn Frankfort, author of Calming Crafts, a fixative is like a sponge to absorb and hold the fragrance in your potpourri. The following are often used as fixatives: cellulose, orris root, oak moss, calamus root, citrus peels, and spices such as cloves.

Cellulose is odorless and takes on whatever scent your apply to it. It resembles small pebbles and looks similar to Grape Nut cereal. Cellulose is creamy in color and it blends well with most potpourri. Since cellulose has a bit of weight to it, it tends to sink to the bottom of the potpourri which is helpful if you want it for the scent and not the look.

Potpourri Fillers

These are the ingredients that go into making potpourri. These include flowers, plants, herbs spices, cones, grasses and other botanicals.

According to Dawn Frankfort, author of Calming Crafts, recommends the following for fillers:

Allspice: dark brown, fragrant berries

Angel wings: wispy white flowers often bleached or dyed pink

Apple Slices

Bael Nut Slices: dark orange interiors and wood-like exteriors

Balsam Fir Needles: resemble grass, but smells like Christmas

Cedar Tips: green

Cockscomb flowers: red with velvet-like clusters


Curly Pods

Eucalyptus Leaves: blue green

Gold Amaranth: White, round flowers

Juniper Berries: red

Larkspur petals: blue

Lemon Verbena Leaves: green curled leaves with potent lemon scent

Malva Flowers: piercing purple-blue

Milo Berries: pretty cranberry

Orange Peel Slices

Pearly Everlasting: white sprigs

Pine Cones, Hemlock: small cones in gray-brown

Pine Cones, Ponderosa: nicely scented in brown

Pine Cones, White Spruce: brown and round

Pomegranates: red-magenta

Repends Flowers: red with long blades

Rhododendron: green and excellent for color

Rosebuds: small tight buds in red, pink and yellow

Rosehips: whole pea in deep, pretty magenta

Senna Pods: nice brown leaves

Statice Flowers: pretty in yellow, purple and white

Strawflowers: yellow, dainty flowers

Tilia Flowers: dark orange hue

Velvet Flowers: red or orange

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Aromatherapy Blends/Recipes

Here are some blends you may want to add to your bathing or massage experience.

Calming Vaporization
Place the following oils in a little warm water in the well of your vaporizer and then light the candle or plug in it. Or drop the oils into a small bowl of after and place it on the radiator:

2 drops of ylang-ylang EO
2 drops of orange EO

Romantic Bath Blend
To 20 ml (one tablespoon) of carrier oil or foam bath add:

2 drops of rose EO
2 drops of ylang-ylang EO
2 drops of lemon EO

Stress-Relieving Bath Blend
To 20 ml (one tablespoon) of carrier oil or foam bath add:

2 drops of geranium EO
2 drops of lavender or lavandin EO
1 drops of rosewood EO

Luxurious Bath Blend
To 20 ml (one tablespoon) of carrier oil or foam bath add:

2 drops of rose EO
2 drops of sandalwood EO
1 drop of juniper EO

Reviving Leg Lotion
Use this lotion during hot weather, after a long flight or if you are suffering from fluid retention:

To 10 ml of a neutral body lotion add:

2 drops of lemon EO
2 drops of cypress EO
1 drop of sandalwood EO

Energizing Massage Blend
To 30 ml of sweet almond oil add:

4 drops of grapefruit EO
4 drops of lime EO
2 drops of rosemary EO

Soothing Massage Blend
To 30 ml of sweet almond oil add:

4 drops of petitgrain EO
3 drops of chamomile EO
3 drops of jasmine EO

Calming Massage Blend
To 30 ml of sweet almond oil add:

4 drops of sandalwood EO
4 drops of patchouli EO
2 drops of basil EO

Source: Home Spa...Pamper Yourself From Head to Toe by Chrissie Painell-Malkin, page 139.

Energizing Oil Blend

Here is a recipe for an energizing oil blend:

30 ml grapeseed or apricot kernel oil
4 drops bergamont essential oil (EO)
3 drops lavender EO
2 drops of juniper EO
1 drop peppermint EO

Source: Home Spa...Pamper yourself from head to toe by Chrissie Painell-Makin. Published by Barnes and Noble. 2006. pg. 32.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Glossary of Terms

These are some of the common terms that I use for my classes.

Anti-oxidant - A synthetic chemical or natural material that prevents or slows oxidation and rancidity in oils and soaps.

Absolute - A fragrance extract made by extracting a concrete with alcohol.

Base Oils - A nonfragranced oil that is used to make up the bulk or body of the soap.

Carrier oils - Fresh vegetable, nut or seed oils acts as "carriers" when essential oils are added up to 5% solution, allowing the oils to be easily applied to large areas of the ski where they will be absorbed.

Cold Pressed Oils - Natural oils that have been pressed from the plant material without heat, solvents or chemicals, retaining their original vitamins, minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

Cold Process - A process where fats and oils are converted to soap without cooking. Once the oils are heated to a desired temperature, a lye/water solution is added with stirring, and the oils are converted to soap and glycerin.

Colorant - Natural or synthetic material, such as dyes, pigments, and herbs which are used to color soap.

Digital Scale - A scale that shows the weight in numbers rather than a moving needle. This type of scale is more accurate.

Emollient - A material that has a soothing, softening effect on skin.

Emulsion - A stable, non-separating suspension of oil in water or water in oil.

Emulsifiers - A cosmetic ingredient which assists in combining oils with other ingredients in order to make a stable homogeneous emulsion.

Essential Oil - A fragrant oil derived from plants, stem, petals or leaves.

Extracts - Solutions obtained by immersing fresh or dried herbs, woods, gums or resin in alcohol/water mixture to extract the beneficial properties from the plant material.

Fixative - A viscous (thick) oil with a very low evaporation rated; used in perfumery.

Fragrance Oil - A synthetic or manufactured oil that mimics the more expensive oil. Fragrance oils come in a wider range of fragrances and last longer than essential oils.

Glycerin - A natural liquid produced during saponification.

GSE - Grapefruit seed extract; thought to be an antioxidant.

Hot Process - A soapmaking method involving a heat source. This process includes using lye and oils to create your soap. Saponification takes place while the mixture cooks.

Humectants - Substances that conserve the moisture content of lotions and creams, often attracting moisture from the air.

Lye - The common name for sodium hydroxide.

Melt and Pour - A type of soap, usually transparent, which when heated will melt and then solidify again upon cooling. Often shorten to M&P.

Oxidation - A chemical reaction with oxygen ie oils will become rancid.

Preservatives - Bacteria am micro-organisms quickly multiply in fresh food grade materials and spoil them. Preservatives inhibit the growth of bacteria and extend the useful life of cosmetics.

Rancid - Degraded by oxidation. In the extreme case, oils become cloudy and smelly due to air oxidation.

Rebatching - Preparation of soap by dissolving freshly made soap in water or milk allowing it to crystallize again.

Saponification - The chemical reaction between lye and fats or oils, yielding soap and glycerin as the product of the reaction.

SAP - Short for sapnoification. The amount of lye required to completely saponify a specific amount of fat or oil.

Shelf Life - The amount of time a cosmetic can be kept at normal room temperature before being adversely affected by bacteria, peroxidation and chemical changes.

Soap - The sodium or potassium salt of a fatty acid. Soap is prepared by either by the direct reaction of fatty acids with lye or by the reaction of lye and fats and oils.

Trace - To stir or stick blend oils, water and lye until it begins to thicken.

Wax - An organic neutral molecule that consists of a fatty acid reacted with or attach to a fatty alcohol.