Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Romantic Essential Oil Blends for Soaps

These romantic soap blends are great in a variety of products. What separates these kinds of blends from others is their tenacity and sensual aromas. I typically do not like to use expensive essential oils in cold process soap making because only the most tenacious essential oils survive saponification. It is important when formulating soaps with essential oils to make a test batch of say 1/2 - 1 pound of soap first to see how the essential oils fare.

In giving the cons of using essential oils in soaps, let me say that the benefits far outweigh the detractions. Firstly, and especially when making soap using melt and pour bases, that the therapeutic effects of the essential oil is preserved. Plus, though some essential oils dissappear in cold process soapmaking, yet for essential oils that stay, the scent tends to last longer than fragrance oils. Some examples of essential oils with killer dry downs that may survive months and even years in storage are: patchouli, vetiver, clove, clary sage, ylang-ylang and nutmeg.

These essential oil blends are all sensuous blends with tenacious dry downs. Ideally, these would be perfect added to melt and pour soaps and other body care products. Very pricey essential oils may be substituted with fragrance oils. One alternative in using these essential oils is to use the pure essential oil blends for skin care products and perfume sprays and use the fragrance oil/essential oil blends for cold process soapmaking.

Cupid’s Bower
1 tsp sandalwood essential oil
1 tsp. patchouli essential oil
1 tsp vetiver essential oil
1 tsp musk fragrance oil (see links at bottom of page for shopping source)
¼ tsp rose, neroli, or geranium rose essential oil

1 tsp sandalwood essential oil
1 tsp ylang ylang essential oil
½ tsp ambergris or musk EO (substitute ambergris or musk EO with musk fragrance oil)

Dragon’s Blood
2 tsp sandalwood essential oil
1 tsp patchouli essential oil
1 tsp frankincense essential oil
1 tsp myrrh essential oil
¼ tsp rose geranium essential oil

Vintage Rose
2 tsp rose essential oil or rose fragrance oil
1 tsp patchouli essential oil
1/8 tsp nutmeg and clove essential oil
1 tsp lavender essential oil

Mediterranean Geranium
1 tsp rose geranium essential oil
1 tsp patchouli essential oil
1 tsp bergamot

Flower of Jove (carnation)
1 tsp ylang-ylang essential oil
1 tsp clove essential oil
1/16 tsp black pepper essential oil (add more if the carnation is not spicy enough)


Essential Oils and fragrance oil

Royal Aromatics -- Outstanding company. Will send samples. Located in Neptune, New Jersey. They do business with those who need one pound to several hundred pounds of essential oil and fragrance oils. Also, they handle orders for custom formulations and duplicates.

Sweetcakes -- Sweetcakes is a hidden gem. One of the best kept secrets of the trade for those who formulate and sell exquisite perfumes. Their Egyptian musk is the best. Also, they have an outstanding sandalwood that would give the real sandalwood essential oil a run for its money.

Romantic Molds
Bramble Berry - One of my favorite suppliers. Outstanding customer service. See them for romantic molds and a wonderful valentines day soap kit.

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Aromatherapy- Know the Power of Fragrances

Aromatherapy is an ancient art that has been used for thousands of years as an aid to physical and emotional well being. Aromatherapy and its use can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, who took advantage of essential oils therapeutic powers. Aromatherapy has also been used for a very long time in the Far East and China.

Effects of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a branch of herbology and the study of "aromatherapy" may best be considered in these four areas of application:

Aesthetic - the effects essential oils have on the beauty of skin and hair.

Psycho - the effects aromas have on our moods and feeling; known as aromachology.

Holistic - the integration of the divine into the body, mind, and spirit.

Medical - the effects essential oils have in enhancing and maintaining a state of homeostasis.

Method of application

An essential oil is a liquid distilled from the leaves, stems, roots, flowers, or bark of a plant. Essential oils, which are used in Aromatherapy, are very concentrated, and therefore, they are usually diluted with carrier oil, such as almond oil. Essential oils, in their purest form, tend to be very expensive, because the amount of oil present in plants is extremely small. For example, 440 pounds of fresh lavender flowers yield only 2.5 pounds of essential oil of lavender. Aromatherapy and essential oils can be used for many purposes, such as to calm or rejuvenate the body and mind.

The use of aromatherapy can be seen as part of a lifestyle choice -- a lifestyle that allows for pleasure because a moment of pleasure is healing. Pleasure is described as a source of enjoyment. Why deny yourself the pleasure and the benefits of a feminine fragrance such as Rose from Morocco or Bulgaria?

By understanding how to apply aromatherapy in daily use, you can enjoy the scents and help to maintain a system of preventative care for you and your family's long-term well-being.

About the Author
For more information, visit these sites:' target='_blank' class='navigation'>' target='_blank' class='navigation'>


Monday, December 29, 2008

Shower Sugar Cubes Recipe

Here is an interesting recipe from  Wholesale Supplies Plus's blog on how to make sugar scrubs for the shower.  The ingredients in this recipe can be purchase from Wholesale Supplies Plus.  If they do not sell raw brown sugar, you can probably get that at your local health food store or may be your local chain grocery store.

The  recipe is very simple with only a few ingredients.  Since it so easy that you could whip up a batch in no time and give them as favors at your next special occasion like a bridal shower.


16 oz Crafter’s Choice Foaming Bath Whip
16 oz Crafter’s Choice Ultra White MP Soap
32 oz Raw Brown Sugar
2 oz Crafter’s Choice Sexy Vanilla Bean FO
Silicone Square Tray Mold


This recipe requires that you weigh your ingredients with a scale. After weighing, place the foaming bath whip and white soap in a glass bowl. (Do not use a hand mixer to whip the foaming bath whip) Heat the contents of the bowl in the microwave until fully melted. Do not boil. Remove from microwave and add fragrance. Weigh the brown sugar and add to the glass bowl. Mix well. Pour into silicone mold. Allow to completely harden. Remove from mold and slice with a straight or wavy soap cutter.Package cubes in 16 oz Clear Basic Jar or 12 oz Clear Bail Jar. Label as directed. To harden cubes, allow to sit open to the air for 24-48 hours.

Notes: When making this recipe it is impossible to remove the sugar cubes from a plastic mold. A silicone mold is best. When pouring this recipe it is very, very thick. Due to this consistency an alternative household mold would be a jelly roll pan, glass baking dish or plastic food storage container lined with wax paper. If you do this, you should not use these containers for foods at a later date.


After removing the liquefied bases from the microwave, add a small amount of Crafter’s Choice Strawberry Red Liquid Color and 2 oz of Crafter’s Choice Cotton Candy Twist Fragrance Oil.

Instead of raw brown sugar, use coarse white sugar (big crystals). These will look like pink sugar cubes.

Additional variations include lemon (yellow), orange vanilla (orange), pomegranate (purple), margarita lime (green).

Working Hard for Your Success!
Debbie May


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Whipped Soap Recipes

I recently heard about whipped soap, but I was intriqued. So I went to the internet to see what it was all about. And I found these recipes:

If you are one of those cold process soap makers who makes whipped soap and would like to share your recipes, please let me know what it is and I will post it here. And tells us why you like it so much!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Popping Bath Salts

I found this recipe and I thought it was quite intresting because of the addition of Pop Rocks to make the salts pop. It is the CO2 that is in Pop Rocks that makes them fizzle. I thought this might be a fun recipe to make and put it in a bottle shaped like a champagne bottle. Then you can open it and use it for New Years!


1 cup rock salt
1 cup Epson salt
1 cup Pop Rocks!
Fragrance or essential oil
Optional: water soluble colorant


Blend your three ingredients together well.Wearing gloves, drizzle the fragrance or essential oil into the bowl and mix well. If you choose to use a colorant, use a water soluble colorant like an FD&C or mica. Pigments tend to clump and not work as well as water soluble colorants.Package the product up in an airtight container and enjoy the popping and cracking of the Pop Rocks! when you take a bath!


Friday, December 26, 2008

Jojoba Hand Lotion


1/3 cup beeswax
4 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons jojoba oil
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup water
½ cup rose water


Combine the wax and oils in the top of a double boiler. Heat the mixture until the wax melts. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir together the water and rose water and gradually add to the hot wax, one drop at a time, stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Makes about 1 ½ cups.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Sweet Dreams" Linen Spray From Cranberry Lane

Yields: Makes 100ml/3.5fl.oz.


60ml Floral water (Orange Blossom, or Rose)
40ml *Ethanol or Vodka15-20 drops of Essential oils

Suggested Essential oils: Choose non-staining essential oils for white linens, try any of the following: Lavender, Lavandin, Juniper, Eucalyptus, Rosewood, Rosemary, Pine, Peppermint, Petitgrain

Mix all ingredients together. Shake well before using. Store in a cool dark place. Product is best kept in a dark glass bottle.

*Ethanol is often sold as "Rubbing Alcohol." Do not use Isopropyl as it is derived from petroleum.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jewel Soap

What you will need:

*4 ounces of Soap Crafters Clear Melt & Pour Soap

* Shavings from previously made Rainbow soap, shave so it curls

*1/4 teaspoon of your favorite Soap Crafters Fragrance Oil

*A microwave & microwave safe bowl

*A chopstick or spoon to stir

*Celtic Oval Mold (from the SoapCrafter's Mold Line or other mold)


With a sharp knife, cut shavings from previously made and multicolored soaps. For this soap, I used rainbow soap. Spray the shavings with Witch Hazel and then loosely pack them into the soap mold. (Spritzing the shaving in the mold will cause the soap to go cloudy.) Put 4 ounces of clear Melt & Pour soap in a bowl. Microwave it for 30 seconds. Stir with a chop stick. Keep putting it back into the microwave until melted for about 5 seconds, being careful not to let it boil or overheat. Don't stir too vigorously because you will create foam. When melted, let sit until a thin skin forms on top. You might have to jiggle it a bit to see it. Add the fragrance. Stir. Pour over the shaved soap in the soap mold. Remove any foam or bubbles which have formed. Put mold into freezer for about 1 hour. It will pop right out.

Note: You can create these same soaps with other molds and fragrances from another company. It is just another way of create it.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Citrus Zest Salt Scrub


23 oz wt fine sea salts
2 oz wt hemp seed oil
2 oz wt apricot kernel oil
4 oz wt glycerin soap base
1 ml lemon essential oil
1 ml lime essential oil


Melt your glycerin soap base in a microwave safe container for 1 minute on a medium heat. When glycerin soap base has melted add your emollient oils , mix these up well and then add your salts. Last step add fragrance oils and mix until all ingredients are incorporated evenly (mixture will be thick). Put finished salt scrub in a tightly sealed glass container.

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. Or more great recipes check out:


Monday, December 22, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Here is an excerpt from Martha Stewart's show on making candle with Harry Slatkin. I reconize the soy wax - you can purchase it from Michael's or Joann's.

This Christmas season, it is really big to make your own crafts and give them as gifts. Just last week, one of the local news reporters was at Michaels in Emeryville. And the manager they interviewed said that this Christmas season they are beating last year.
Good for all of you that make your gifts! I really think that the reciptent appreciates it more.

Bath Fizzies from the Martha Stewart Show

Here is a clip from the Martha Stewart Show demonstrating how to make Bath Fizzie Bombs:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Packaging Ideas for Bath and Body Products

October 24th, 2008 Soapcrafters in

Let’s start with shower gel, shampoo and lotion...

Labeling was one of my biggest challenges when I first started. I made these really cute labels that got trashed after one shower or a couple of times using the lotion. I found great label paper, but I couldn’t find any that was waterproof AND made for an inkjet printer. I checked into customized labels but I couldn’t afford to order 200 labels at a time for each of the products I make. I also wanted the flexibility to change labels as I improved a product or to be able to personalize labels for people who wanted them for gifts (i.e. Mandy’s Raspberries N’ Cream Shower Gel). I am about to share the results of a 6 month, frustrating search. ( Drum roll please :-0 ) Lamination sheets were the answer to my troubles. They sell it at office supply stores and Wal-Mart. Personally I prefer the stuff at Wal-Mart. They are 81/2 by 11 sheets and come 10 to a package. It’s thicker and much less expensive. I just print off my labels, cut them out put a lamination sheet over them, and cut them out leaving about an 1/8th of an inch over hang to protect the label really well.For my little business it has been a great solution.

Carrie, who is a customer in Louisiana, told me awhile ago about xyron machines. I am seriously thinking of getting one of those. She highly recommended it. She said it laminates on one side and uses adhesive lamination film. That means you can use plain paper and still get your label to stick well. She just raved about hers. I know you can get smaller versions of them at Wal-Mart, but she got hers off e-bay and it has the capacity to send through an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet, so you can send several labels at a time instead of just one at a time with the smaller ones.

It might not be very practical to label that way for a bigger business, so if you have had the success to be at that stage, or are planning to be, you might want to check into having your labels made.Trish in Florida sent me an e-mail last week with what sounds like a really good deal. Here’s what she had to say: there are great labels you can make yourself on computer from Vista Print. I make the address labels with the name of the scent(under name) and a corresponding label. With the Ocean Lotion and Soap I chose a small water scene and Put Ocean Soap as the name on the label, under addresses I put the description of the scent. The labels look professional, are waterproof and work really well with water and oils (no smudge) They have over 200 labels you can choose from, for ingredients I found a really nice gold colored label and customized it in burgundy to match my color scheme. This is a great way to make professional, personalized to my company labels without having to put out tons of money on plate fees, designer fees and the cost of hot stamped labels( I do use hotstamping for my MDCrafter labels though). You can order 140 for 7.99 and they turned out great. The design process is so easy as you can do it yourself and see what the label will look like before you submit it. I am sure there are other label companies out there besides Vista Print, but I have been really happy with the professional look in the end. Another thing, you can upload your logos and create your own labels for an extra 99 cents per 144.Might be worth checking out!

As far as packaging goes…. There are lots of really beautiful glass bottles out there but I stay away from them with shower gel, shampoo and lotion. Glass in the shower and a glass lotion bottle slipping out of someone’s hand is just not a risk I want to take.I love the white lotion bottles we have. They are easier to squeeze than clear bottles and work well no matter what label I use. Also, my shower gel and shampoo have great oils in them but they make a white layer in the product. But when I put it in the white bottles, you can’t tell.For lotion, I use white lotion bottles and a lotion pump. For samples, I fill a 1/2 oz jar. It’s a great size! Perfect for the purse and just enough to give people a good idea of how good the lotion really is.For regular massage oil I really like using 8oz clear bottles with a pumpThe oil looks pretty in the bottles and the color doesn’t conflict with any labels I have. (I label this the same way I label the other bottles.) I always put a pump on the bottles because a slippery hand trying to squeeze a slippery bottle isn’t fun. For that same reason, I stay away from glass bottles with massage oil. For Edible Warming Gel our 2oz clear bottles are the best!It’s not something people use a lot of so a larger bottle would be too much for this. They also are the perfect size for anniversary or honey moon baskets and grab bags for wedding showers.

Now on to bubble bath and bath salts

For bubble bath, I’m not as nervous using a pretty glass bottle. Most people don’t keep it in the shower and don’t pour it into the tub when their hands are wet. You can find great glass bottles inexpensively, at yard sales, dollar stores and thrift stores. Use your imagination! Old wine bottles and pop bottles can make your bubble bath really unique. Most craft stores sell the corks to go in them too. Those bottles that they use in bars that have the pour spout thingie (don’t ya just love my technical terms) on them are great too.As far as plastic bottles go, I have seen baby bottles used for kid’s bubble bath or at baby showers for a door prize.Clear bottles with a cute label can really showcase your bubble bath as well.

There are many possibilities with bath salts as well.The old tins that people used to put on their kitchen counter that say “salt, sugar, flour” are really cute. I see those all the time at yard sales. You can get them cheap, and use the one that says salt for you’re your bath salts, and find a use for the others in the set. Dollar stores and thrift stores have wonderful tins, bail jars, and other unique bottles and jars that work well for bath salts. You can tie a label and a scoop on to the jar with raffia, ribbon, or twine and have a great look.Fabric bags are a great way to package salts for one time use. Put scented salts with flowers like lavender, rose petals and calendula in an organza or tulle (pronounced tool) bag for a gorgeous look that is amazingly easy.Muslin bags are way to package them that give you a more rustic, country or earthy look. They look great in a soap crate.

Finally, here are some ideas for bath teas and facial steams

Old tins are wonderful for an old fashioned look, while glass jars show off the beauty of the herbs.If I use a glass jar, I tie muslin bags on the outside with a label and directions for use.You can also fill those heat sealed tea bags with your mixture and then package several of them in a crate or a basket.

For facial steams you can package them in a nice glass jar or tin as well.Another fun idea is to put the herb mixture in a plastic bag and then put it inside a teapot. That way they have something to heat the water in as part of the package.Complete the look by attaching a hand made label with directions for use. It looks really nice when made with handmade paper.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lip Balm Recipes from Martha Stewart

In the December 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living there are some body product recipes that appear on pages 118 - 122. There are recipes for lip balms, body scrubs, bath fizzies, and holiday balls.

If you are interested in the Martha Stewart Lip balm Recipe, then check out the link. Martha's recipe is very simple and includes only a few tools and materials which include beeswax pellets, carrier oils, essentials and a few tools that you need. In her recipe she also includes lipstick shavings in case you would like to add a slight tint to your product.

She has has included packaging ideas which includes links to clip art labels for your products. Some of the one she lists are Small Retangular #1, Small Retangular #2 , Small Round #1 , Small Round #2 , Large Retangular #1 , Large Retangular #2 , Large Retangular Blank #1 , Large Retangular Blank #2 , Large Round #1 and Large Round #2. But I think my favorite is for the lip balm tubes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Salt and Sugar Scrub Recipes from Martha Stewart

In the December 2008, Martha Stewart Living there are some body product recipes that appear on pages 118 - 122. There are recipes for lip balms, body scrubs, bath fizzies, and holiday balls.

Here is the recipe for the Body Scrubs:

Clip-Art Labels

If you need more information on printing these labels, you may want to look at the above link for more information.

On the website also includes labels which the above link has instruction in addition to the labels. But I decided to provide the labels for those who do not want the recipes:

Blank Body Scrub Labels 1:

Blank Body Scrub Labels 2:

Salt Scrub # 1 Labels:

Salt Scrub #2 Labels:

Sugar Scrub #1 Labels:

Sugar Scrub #2 Labels:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bath Fizzies from Martha Stewart Living

Ice-cube trays serve as molds, giving the fizzies their shape. Using a flexible silicone model lets you slide the cubes out smoothly without breaking them.

Show off the colors of the bath fizzies in glass jars with screw tops, the kind used for storing sugar and flour. Pack each type of fizzy in a separate jar so the scents won't meld. Write the name of the scent on a vellum tag (choose a shade that matches the fizzies), and punch a hole in the top. Thread the tag with ribbon, and tie it around the jar.

Citric acid, a common food additive, is available at wine-making-supply stores, some spice shops, and online. When citric acid is combined with baking soda and placed in water, a chemical reaction creates bubbles.

Makes 1 dozen (use 2 per bath)

Tools and Materials
1/2 cup citric acid
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
About 6 drops food coloring
10 to 15 drops essential oil(s)

Special equipment: 2-ounce travel-size spray bottle, plastic pipette, silicone ice-cube tray, storage jars

1. Stir together citric acid, baking soda, and cornstarch in a glass measuring cup.

2. Pass mixture through a fine sieve or a flour sifter into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar.

3. Fill spray bottle with water, and add food coloring. Spritz mixture lightly (it should become damp but not fizzy) until you can pack mixture with your hands.

4. Using pipette, add oil, 1 drop at a time, until strength of scent is to your liking. Using a metal spoon or your hands, mix ingredients until color is even throughout (mixture will begin to dry out; when this happens, spritz until packable again).

5. Spoon into ice-cube tray, pressing firmly. Let dry at room temperature overnight. Pop out of tray gently. Transfer to jars.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Lotions Recipe

Submitted by Willow to Wholesale Supplies Plus Forum (


55% distilled water
29% oils
10% butters
5.3% e-wax
0.7% preservative

Here's the breakdown for a thousand gram batch - very easy to apply the % then. ;o)
550 g water
290 g oils
100 g butters
53 g e-wax
8 g preservative

Use heat proof containers. I use Pyrex batter bowls, as they are good and sturdy and can go in the microwave or the fridge. Measure your water into one container, oils and e-wax into another, butters into a third, and preservative in a fourth.

All heating times I've given are based on my microwave, which tends to run hotter than average. For instance, for a TV dinner that says "4 to 6 minutes", we usually go 3 min 45 sec. Keep this in mind when attempting at home. Heat your water in the microwave or over the stove. For 550 g, I heat it in the micro on high for 4.5 minutes in a glass measuring cup. This is shy of boiling, but still pretty hot - I'd say 170 degrees or so. Set the water aside.

Heat oils and e-wax until e-wax is melted and container is hot to the touch. For this batch it takes about 3 minutes in the micro on high(Zap in 1 min increments). Add the butters to this mixture and allow the retained heat to melt them. This helps avoid any graininess that can occur by melting the butters too quickly. If after a few minutes the butters haven't completely melted, zap in the micro in 10 sec increments. Allow ingredients to cool until the containers are warm to the touch. I'd guess this is about 110 to 120 degrees.

Slowly pour water into the oil mixture, and start stick blending. I blend for one minute on, five minutes off until it's started to cool. It really doesn't take long for them to emulsify.

Please Note: I use Phenonip, which can withstand very high temps. According to manufacturer's instructions, I add half of it to the water, and half to the oils. I have never had a lotion separate on me using this process. Of course you can tweek this anyway you want to - there are so many cool additives like liquid silk or the polysorbates or even starches... but this really does work and is a great confidence booster! lol


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solution to Grittiness in Lotion Recipe

For those students who took my lotions class and mentioned in my bath salts and body scrubs class that their lotions felt gritty. I think I know what may be causing that - the citric acid. Maybe too much was added or was not mixed in completely. But if you wanted to you can completely omitted from the recipe.

I was asked by a student (I am sorry I forgot your name) what were my favorite oils and why. The two I mentioned were Jojoba and Sweet Almond. I thought about it and I would like to add grapeseed to the list because it is a light oil that absorbs quickly without feeling greasy. And another oil I like is macadamia nut oil because it is close to our sebum and it easily absorbs to the skin. There is one other that I like and that is Camilla oil for the reason that I like the feel of it. I hope that helps.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Balsam Soap (Cold Process)

Recipe from Snowdrift Farms (

Please visit our Safe Soapmaking page before making soap.

All measurements are metric by weight except for water, which is by volume.

400 grams sweet almond oil
400 grams avocado oil
300 grams coconut oil
200 grams palm oil
300 grams sunflower seed oil
200 grams lye (NaOH/sodium hydroxide)
500 milliliters distilled water
2 teaspoons hydrated chromium green oxide
2 teaspoons titanium dioxide
Holiday Balsam fragrance oil

Utensils: wire whisk for swirling; second mixing bowl for coloring soap base.

When soap mix comes to light trace add the fragrance oil. Divide in half by pouring half into a separate mixing bowl. Into first half of mix, add the green oxide and into the second half, add the titanium dioxide. Mix each color thoroughly. Pour half of green soap on bottom of mold. Pour half of white soap mix on top. Repeat. Insert wire whisk into soap mix and pull through, creating designs as you go. Be sure to drag whisk along bottom of mold to create swirls throughout the soap.

Pour into 5 pound rectangular slab mold.

Click here for more holiday soap recipes.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Melt and Pour Soap Bases

If you have taken a melt and pour soapmaking class from me and were interested in other varieties in soap bases, Snowdrift Farms ( has quite a selection.

They supply the regular white and glycerin, but they carry a selection of premium bases which includes Aloe Vera, Cocoa Butter, Emu Oil, Hemp, Honey, Olive Oil and Olive Oil.

Here is direct link to the soap bases page:

Make sure to check out other supplies to create your own bath and body products. For those who have taken some of my other classes, Snowdrift Farms sells Dendritic Salt, Citric Acid, Bath Salts, E-Wax, Stearic Acid, bottles and jar and more!

Homemade Lotions and Creams: Using Emulsifying Wax

Emulsifying wax is the basic component for most body lotions and skin creams. It is basically what keeps the lotions oil and water from separating in the bottle or jar. It does this by attracting both water molecules and oil molecules to its own molecular structure. By doing this it bonds the oil and water together and creates a smooth and creamy texture.

If you are interested in making your own body lotion, body butter, or body creams then you will need to find an emulsifying wax to act as your base. There are six basic types of emulsifying waxes that hobbyists use when making homemade body lotions. These include: Ceteareth 20, Glyceryl Stearate, Emulsifying Wax NF, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol/Ceteareth 20, and Polysorbate 20.

While all of the above ingredients are considered emulsifying wax, not all of these emulsifying waxes are appropriate for every type of lotion or cream. Ceteareth 20 is a common thickener and emulsifier for body lotions and creams. However, it works best when it is combined with another emulsifying wax such as Glyceryl Stearate.The amount of emulsifying wax that you use in your oil and water body lotion or cream will depend on what type of emulsifier you use. For example, Emulsifying Wax NF typically makes up between 3 and 6 percent of the total weight of the product being made. Polysorbate 20 is most commonly used for skin moisturizing sprays. When used for in its spray form it is added to the product in a 1 to 1 or 1 to 2 polysorbate 20 to essential oil ratio. If this emulsifier is used in a lotion or cream product then it will need to be used in conjunction with another emulsifier. If you use cetearyl alcohol then you it will need to make up between .1 percent and 3 percent of the products total weight.

For more information on how to make homemade soap as well as soap making recipes visit the Check out the soap making message board to discuss techniques, share ideas and post your favorite soap and candle making recipes.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Making Soy Candles

Still looking for a last minute Christmas gift idea? Why not make one? Here is a quick and painless way of making soy-candles and it only takes about 15 minutes.

But first, here are some facts about soy wax:

• It’s biodegradeable.
• It’s sustainable.
• It provides a longer burn without a soot buildup.
• You can clean it up with soap and water, eliminating the need for solvents.
• It’s made from 100% natural soybeans.

Materials needed:

Recycled glassware such as Mason jars, candy dishes, thrift-store cups, salsa and jam jars. (choose containers that are less than 4″ in diameter.)
1 package braided wick (size-appropriate for chosen chandle containers. Incorporate alternative fibers by using hemp wicks.)
Soda-can tab
Pencil or pen
Melting pot or old cooking pot that you’re no longer using for food
Soy wax flakes (can be found at any healthfood store)
Craft or candy thermometer (optional)
Cinnamon, peppermint or other essential oil
Biodegradeable cotton ribbon (optional)
Hot glue gun and glue


1. Cut a section of braided wick a few inches longer than the depth of your chosen glasswater container. Tie an end of the wick to a coda can tab. To stabilize the wick, add a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the tab, then affix tab to the bottom of the container. Wrap top of wick around a pencil or pen a few times and tape it down temporarily. Set aside. Repeat process for additional candles.

2. In a pot over medium heat, melt about 1 lb. of the soy flakes per 1-2 medium0sized candles. Stir continuously until the soy wax melts to about 155 degreeds. Once it’s completely liquedied, remove from the head and let cool for a few minutes, continuing to stir.

3. Once the temperature has dropped about 5 degrees, add 10-20 drops of essential oil of your liking and mix well. Soy wax is easy to work with so you can get by without using a thermometer.

4. Pour liquid wax into containers, leaving an inch or two of space at the top. Let dry overnight. The set soy candles wax should look smooth and creamy-white.

5. Remove tape and pencil from the wick. Leaving about 1″ of exposed wick, snip off excess.

6. If you’re giving these candles as gifts, add a ribbon and tie in a fancy bow. Use hot glue to hold the ribbon on the container in place.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Basil-Citrus Watermint Soap

A pretty soap, speckled with peppermint, and naturally colored peachy-amber by the 5 Fold Valencia Orange oil.

15 oz. sweet almond oil
12 oz. avocado oil
3 oz. babassu oil
3 oz. castor oil
12 oz. cocoa butter, deodorized or ultra-refined (no chocolate scent)
16 oz. coconut oil,
76 degree 8 oz. palm oil
5 oz. shea butter
12 oz. sunflower seed oil
Lye (NaOH): 12.5 oz. by weight

Water: 33 fluid oz.

Fragrance: 1 oz. basil essential oil, 1/2 oz. spearmint essential oil, 1/2 oz. peppermint essential oil, 1 oz. 5 Fold Valencia orange essential oil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of dried peppermint, cut and sifted, if you like.

Yield: about 8 lbs. of soap See our safe soaping instructions


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Key Lime Soaps

Submitted by CandleGoddess to Wholesale Supplies Plus Forum

The amounts would vary based on your size of mold/container so I just posted the general idea. These turn out really cute though!

You will need:

Clear MP (I like the Crystal Clear Crafter's Choice, but Clear will work too)
Ultra White MP
Ground Oats
Green/Yellow Colorant of choice
Key Lime Pie Fragrance from WSP
Vanilla Color Stabilizer from WSP
mica (optional)
70% Isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle (clearly marked for safety's sake!)
Stainless Steel Bowl
Electric hand mixer
Mold of choice (I like the silicone baking pans and use a 8x8 one)
stainless spoon devoted to B&B


Okay, let's get started!

Melt some clear MP (enough to cover the bottom and make a decent crust. Add your ground oats and pour into your silicone baking pan. (The crust portion is so small I don't even bother scenting) Lightly spritz with alcohol to remove any bubbles on top of the soap. Allow to cool until firm to the touch. Soap will still be "warm", but will be solid enough to pour another layer of soap on.

Next, melt your white MP. You should melt enough to form a substantial middle layer. This is your Key Lime filling layer! Once white soap is melted, add your colorants, fragrance & vanilla color stabilizer. (Note: if you add too much fragrance it will decrease the lather!) Spritz a very fine mist of alcohol onto your "crust" and then pour your "filling". Spritz a very light mist of alcohol onto the top of your filling to remove bubbles, then allow to cool until a nice thick skin is on the top of the soap. (This will probably take longer than the crust, because we are talking about more soap having to cool now).

In the meantime, melt some more white soap. I'll bet you were wondering what that mixer was for, weren't you? Now you are going to whip that soap into shape!! Using a clean mixer with clean beaters, whip the soap in the stainless mixing bowl. You may add a pinch of silver mica if you would gives the whipped topping a nice sheen! As the soap cools a bit and you continue to whip it , you will notice it will take on a whipped topping appearance. You can check consistency by lifting the beaters (with the mixer turned off--LOL!!) and seeing if soft peaks form. Once soft peaks form, start spooning the bubbly topping onto the "filling" layer with the stainless spoon.

I choose not to scent my whipped topping and have not tried it with scented soap, FYI. You may have great results just remember to use that vanilla color stabilizer if you want it to stay white!! Keep whipping and spooning, whipping and spooning until you get a nice full whipped topping layer.

That's it ladies and gents! Allow to cool, pop out of mold (this is the easy part if you used silicone) and then cut into squares. A little work involved, but definitely worth the effort!!You can do different variations of this too. Make lemon bars, cheesecake bars, etc. Have fun with it!! I hope you guys enjoy making these as much as I do!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Candy Cane Bath Salts #2

Candy canes are one of the Christmas season's mainstays.  To me it just is not Christmas without them.  So I wanted to find a bath salt recipe that would be synomous with the season.  The first I found was this one.  It is a very simple recipe which makes 20 ounces and will only take 15 minutes to make.

Put these bath salts in a pretty container with a festive bow and a few real candy canes and you'll have a great holiday gift to give or to keep. Peppermint tends to be stimulating, so these bath salts are best for the morning or a mid-day pick-me-up rather than for use before sleeping. To use the salts, toss a handful into the bath.


* 2 mixing bowls or sealable plastic bags
* measuring cups
* spoon
* large jar or bottle
* ribbon or other decoration (optional)


* 2 cups Epsom salts
* 1/2 cup rock salt or sea salt
* 4-5 drops peppermint oil
* 2-3 drops red food coloring [may substitute natural red color (e.g., pickled beet juice) if desired]


(1) Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of rock/sea salt in a bowl or baggie.

(2) Add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint oil and mix well.

(3) Mix 1 cup of Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of rock/sea salt in the other bowl or baggie.

(4) Add a drop of red coloring to the second bowl or bag.

(5) Mix well and continue to add color and mix until the desired color is achieved.

(6) Add 2 or 3 drops of peppermint oil to the red salt mixture.

(7) Mix the scented red salt mixture.

(8) Pour a layer of red salt into the bottom of the jar or bottle.

(9) Add a layer of the white salt mixture.

(10) Layer alternating bands of red and white salts to create a candy cane stripe effect.

(11) Seal the container and decorate it as desired.

I also found this recipe on that you may also want to try -

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Sachet Beads

By: Dee & Debbie L.
Customer Service at Wholesale Supplies Plus

(1) 8 oz Mason Jars
(1) 70/400 Daisy Lid
8 Tablespoons Unscented Sachet Beads
2 Tablespoons Peppermint Candy FO
5 drops Red Liquid Candle Color
5 drops Hunter Green Liquid Candle Color

(2) 8 oz Mason Jars (for mixing)
(2) 70/400 Smooth Lids
Measuring Spoons

So Simple! Place newspaper on work surface. Add 1 Tablespoon of fragrance oil in two different mason jars (1 Tablespoon in each jar). Add 5 drops of red color to one jar and 5 drops of green color to the other jar. Add 4 Tablespoons of unscented sachet beads to each jar. Place lid on each jar and shake well. Allow all of fluid to absorb into beads. This may take up to 3 days.

While you are waiting, have fun decorating your jar. Christmas is especially fun because there are so many options! Once your beads are dry, layer them in the third mason jar. Cover with daisy lid. Note: If you are making and packaging this as a gift, use a 70mm press and seal disc to protect beads from falling out of daisy cut lid.

Wishing You Much Success!
Debbie May


Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Chunk Soap

Need a quick addition to a holiday basket? Looking for a little extra treat for your bathroom during the holidays? Try this easy melt and pour soap project - Christmas Chunk Soaps. Here is the link for step by step instructions.

Have fun! And let us know how your soaps turned out.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Peppermint Lip Balm

This soothing and healing lip balm has the tingly fresh sensation of mint. It will help heal and protect your lips from the elements. The peppermint essential oil is added for flavoring and fragrance. Other food grade essential oils and/or flavorings can be substituted for the peppermint.


1 oz. pure, filtered beeswax
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
1/2 teaspoon vitamin e oil
1/4 teaspoon aloe vera concentrate
1/2 teaspoon peppermint essential oil
lip balm pots or tubes


Combine beeswax, sweet almond oil, vitamin e oil and aloe vera concentrate in a small, pourable container (a glass measuring cup works well). Place this container in a saucepan fill with approximately 2 inches of water. Heat the mixture over medium heat until the beeswax is completed melted. Remove from heat and add essential oil. Pour into containers. Cool completely before use. Makes approximately two dozen 5 gram (.15 oz.) pots or tubes.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bath Snowballs from Martha Stewart

In the December 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living there are some body product recipes that appear on pages 118 - 122. There are recipes for lip balms, body scrubs, bath fizzies, and snow balls. I wanted to particularly share this one because it seemed unique. And I want to try this one out for size.

These fragrant spheres for the bath (we scented ours with peppermint oil) are made by packing Epsom salts into a plastic mold. The bath "snowballs" can be tinted any color. You'll need 3 to 4 days to make the bath balls because of the drying time between steps.

Recipe Yields: 2 large or 4 small balls.

Tools and Materials

2 cups Epsom salts
2 tablespoons water
A few drops essential oil(s)
1 drop food coloring, plus more if desired (blogger note: I would recommend a skin safe liquid colorant rather than food coloring. You can find a liquid colorant in the soap making/candlemaking section at your local Michaels or Joann or whoever carries Life of the Party soap making products)

Special equipment: plastic pipette, large or small round bath-ball molds, storage jars


1. Stir together Epsom salts and water in a mixing bowl. Using pipette, add oil, 1 drop at a time, until strength of scent is to your liking. Add food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until desired shade is achieved; stir until color is even throughout.

2. Spoon a generous amount of mixture (more than necessary) into 1/2 of a bath-ball mold. Pack firmly. Repeat, packing mixture into second half of mold. Press pieces together until they connect. Remove top half of mold very carefully. Let bath ball stand, mold side down, overnight (set ball on an overturned jar lid to keep it from tipping over).

3. Remove mold carefully. Invert, and let ball dry completely, 2 to 3 days more. Transfer to jars.

Gift-Packaging Idea

Use a glass kitchen canister to present the bath balls, which the recipient can then display on a vanity. Wrap the jar with ribbon, tying a bow at the top, and add a vellum gift tag threaded with cord in a matching color.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Collagen Lotion Recipe

If you are interested in making your own lotion with collagen in it, I found this recipe from Snowdrift Farms for you to try. Let me know how it turns out!

If you have any other lotion recipes you would like to share, please let me know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Bath Salts

If you have taken my bath salts and body scrubs class, I found a two part clip on You Tube a recipe for making a holiday version.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it. If you have any recipes you would like to share, please contact me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Bath Scrubs

If you have taken my bath salts and body scrubs class, I found a clip on You Tube a recipe for making a holiday version.

Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

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.


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.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Poinsettia Christmas Hand Soaps

From David Fisher,Your Guide to Candle & Soap Making.

Easy Melt and Pour Holiday Project

Bring a bit of holiday cheer into your bathrooms and kitchens with this super easy, but super neat, melt and pour soap project. Each of the leaves has enough soap on them for a single hand wash. When you're done, just toss them into the trash. Handy! Wonderful for guests, holiday parties and for just everyday use. They look (and smell) lovely in a decorative bowl.

For this project you'll need:

* About 4 oz. of clear melt and pour soap
* An appropriate holiday fragrance oil - I used From Nature With Love's "Snowberry"
* A pyrex bowl or dish
* Some tongs
*A sheet of wax paper
* Basic tools for Melt and Pour Soap Making

For complete step by step instructions with illustrations, look at Autumn Leaves Hand Soaps.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peppermint Candy Cane Bath Salts

by Jane Lake

Candy cane bath salts make a wonderful gift in a jar, particularly suitable for Christmas, birthdays or Mother's Day. We offer two different formulas here, so you can choose whether you want to make layered red and white bath salts, or tri-color bath salts of green, red and white.

Either of these recipes look great layered in a glass jar, decorated with a ribbon and bow. Although mason jars work well for this project, I prefer to recycle other food jars - tall, slim jars such as those sometimes used for olive oil or vinegar are perfect, because they offer lots of opportunity for layering the colored salts. If there is a plastic dispenser obstructing the mouth of the oil jar, you can usually remove it with a pair of needle-nosed pliers.

Because food jars vary in capacity, I've designed these recipes to make one cup of bath salts. Just double, treble or quadruble the ingredients to fill two cup or three cup jars, or to make multiple jars. If you don't know how many cups a jar holds, fill it with epsom salts then empty into a measuring jug before proceeding with the recipe. If you have some left over ... well, just fill the bath and enjoy!

Tri-Color Candy Cane Bath Salts

For each cup of bath salts, you will need:

1 cup of Epsom Salts (or 3/4 cup epsom salts mixed with 1/4 cup of sea salt)
1 teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil
3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
red and green food coloring (or liquid soap dye)

mixing equipment: bowls, egg cups, measuring spoons, mixing spoons, funnel, glass jar


- Divide the epsom salts, placing 1/3 cup into three separate bowls.

- Divide the sweet almond oil, placing 1/3 teaspoon into three separate egg cups.

- Add one drop of peppermint oil to each of the three egg cups.

- Stir one drop of red food coloring into one egg cup, and one drop of green food coloring into another; the third egg cup of almond oil and peppermint oil remains uncolored.

- Empty the green almond oil mixture into one of the bowls of epsom salts. Empty the red almond oil mixture into the second bowl of epsom salts. Add the uncolored almond oil mix into the third bowl of epsom salts.

- Thoroughly stir each bowl of epsom salts to distribute the color and fragrance.Begin filling a glass jar with the bath salts, using a funnel to add each layer of color. You can tip the jar slightly to get an angled effect, but straight layers also look highly effective.

- Bring the epsom salts right to the top of the jar. Tap the jar on a table to settle the ingredients and use the back of a spoon to tamp the salts down a little bit; add more epsom salts, if needed, until the jar is filled completely to the top, then screw on the jar lid. (Tamping down the epsom salts prevents the colored layers from mixing before use).

Red and White Candy Cane Bath Salts

For each cup of bath salts, you will need:

1 cup of Epsom Salts (or 3/4 cup epsom salts mixed with 1/4 cup of sea salt)
4 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops red food coloring
optional: 4 drops Glycerin

mixing equipment: two bowls, mixing spoons, funnel, glass jar


- Divide the epsom salts into two bowls. Add two drops of peppermint oil and two drops of glycerin, if using, into each bowl. Add two drops of red food coloring to one bowl and stir to evenly distribute the color.

- Begin alternating layers of red and white bath salts in a clear glass jar, using a funnel. Make sure the jar is filled completely to the top to prevent colored from shifting before use.


Friday, November 28, 2008

How to Make Handmade Gingerbread Man Soaps

Do you love the smell of gingerbread cookies baking in the oven at the holidays?  If you are watching your calories (or not) why not makes these gingerbread men instead?  CindyM from ehow wrote this article on How to Make Handmade Gingerbread Man Soaps epecially for the holidays.  These soaps are very cute and very easy to make.  So instead of making cookies and giving them out as gifts, why not make these?  They look and smell like the real thing.

The picture shown here is not actually a product made with this recipe, but you could make something very similiar to this.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

How to Make Massage Melts as Handmade Christmas Gifts

Here is another great gift idea to give by CindyM.  These masage melts are like solid little gems of skin-loving oils that look like a small bar of soap but melt when they come in contact with the skin.  And what is great about these are the fact that you do not have to deal with the sticky mess that you get with massge oil.  According to Cindy, the best part of making these massage melts is that they cost big bucks at your local specialty store so you are saving really big bucks/ All of us need that at thist time of the year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Equipment Used To Make Cold Process and Hot Process Soaps

If you are wanting to make your soaps by the cold process method, here is a list of items you will need to create your soap. If you are planning to make your soap by the hot process method, most of this equipment will also be used.

Sturdy plastic pitcher - Two pitchers are needed - one to weigh the lye in and the other one used to weigh the water. Always add the lye to the water and never add the water to the dry lye or the mixture may form a volcano like eruption. Use a pitcher that has a lot of clearance on top so it is difficult for lye to splash when mixing.

Stainless steel wire whisk or stick blender – Wire whisk should be the sturdy kind sold at restaurant supply stores or gourmet kitchen stores. A sturdy wire whisk works really well to help bring lye water and oils to trace. Mix in a circular motion, taking care to keep the whisk close to the bottom of the container to avoid spills and splashes.

Large stainless steel or enamel pot - Use a pot large enough with ample headroom (6-8 inches) so if mixture splashes it will remain in the pot and not spill out onto you.

Large, sturdy stainless steel or plastic spoons – Stainless steel professional restaurant type spoons are the best. I have never used plastic spoons, but many people use them in making soap. Any plastic spoons used should be very sturdy and should not easily bend. A spoon that is bendable can easily cause spills and splatters.

Scale – A good digital scale will give the most accurate weight. Test scale to make sure it is working before setting up to make soap. Change batteries if needed. Without an accurate weighing device, it is unsafe to make soap.

Glass candy thermometers – Use a candy thermometer with any aluminum parts away from the lye mix, which is corrosive to aluminum. Garbage bags, sturdy plastic or freezer paper to line mold – To line mold with garbage bag, cut bag open so that it is flat. Arrange it in the mold, squishing it into the corners and leaving enough hanging over the sides to fold back over and cover soap. To line mold with freezer paper, measure and cut so that excess paper is available for the sides. Miter corners and flatten them against sides of mold. Alternatively, tape outside of miter to hold it temporarily until soap is poured into mold.

Appropriate clothing – Long sleeves and clothing that covers upper and lower torso and extremities. Tuck hair away from face. Remove long dangling jewelry and any accessories that dangle and may become entangled in equipment and lye mixture. Dress in shoes or sneakers that completely cover the feet. Even a small drop of lye grain on the skin burns and may not be detected until minutes later. So protect your skin and all mucous membranes at all times.

Safety goggles or face shield – Available at hardware, scientific or medical supply stores. Important for protecting the delicate eye area from splashes.

Chemical mask – One that is designed to protect from fumes. If one is not available, then provide adequate ventilation – open windows and doors. My experience is that even if there is adequate ventilation in the room, after mixing the lye and the water, one has to step out of the room- the fumes are that intense.

Heavy-duty gloves – Neoprene gloves are the best. Regular kitchen gloves are okay if they are thick enough. Gloves should be long enough to cover wrist and arm portion proximal to the elbow if possible. Alternatively, lye and water can be mixed and left to cool down in another area or room away from animals and pets. The fumes from lye are damaging to the respiratory tract. When lye and water are combined, the exothermic reaction (one that produces heat) also produces droplets that float in the air. Therefore, it is important to stand back from the lye/water combination while mixing and to remove it from your primary soap making location once it is mixed. Remember that constant irritation of the respiratory tract may not have immediate consequences to ones health but may show up years later.

Supply Sources

Utility Safeguard - located in PA carries just about all the safety equipment needed to make soap -chemical masks, neoprene gloves, face shields and goggles.

Safety Supply America - Located in Newport Beach California carry a wide assortment of safety equipment including personal protective gear - masks, goggles,and gloves.

Lye calculator -

href="">Majestic Sage has one of the best lye calculators around. I have used it many times and have always been pleased with its accuracy.

Source: Permission to reprint by Winsome Tapper, Soapmaking Editor, href="">

Monday, November 24, 2008

Phenonip (Preservative)

INCI: Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben.

Deactivated by some PEG compounds.Water should be heated to 140 - 158 degrees F to properly dissolve the preservative. Phenonip can be used at higher heat levels without losing effectiveness and with higher oil concentrations than most other preservatives.

To ensure a complete preservation, add ½ of the preservative to the water portion and the other ½ to the oils portion before emulsifying.

pH restrictions – 3-8

Is a complete preservative in that it covers microbial, fungus, and yeast.Recommended Use Level - .5-1.0%


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alpha Hydroxyl Acids

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are also known as the fruit acids. These acids are derived from various fruits and milk sugars. Alpha hydroxyl acids is a general name for a number of carboxylic acids found in these fruits.

AHA are either naturally occurring or synthetic. AHAs are well-known for their use in the cosmetics industry. They are often found in products claiming to reduce wrinkles or the signs of aging, and improve the overall look and feel of the skin.

AHA are also used as chemical peels in various concentration. Their effectiveness is documented. For more than a 1000 years, these fruit acids have been used to treat a number of skin disorders and lately have been claimed to improve facial rejuvenation.

It is recorded in the Egyptian papyrus archives that Cleopatra was an avid fan of these acids and frequently bathed in a mixture of the acids and sour milk.

In Europe, the French and the Austrian woman have been known to use topical application of these acids for rejuvenating their face.

Today there are many cosmetic creams which contain some type of AHA and these creams are generally sold to improve facial appearance. Almost all of the creams claim that the skin will become soft, smoother and have a fresh looking appearance.

Depending on the concentration, some have been shown to be effective as peeling agents and for facial rejuvenation.

Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the α-hydroxy acids most frequently used in cosmetics, although there are many others used in combination.

Glycolic acid is the most widely used of out of the group and is usually manufactured from sugar cane. It is fairly well known and considered the most effective of the AHAs.

Lactic acid, derived primarily from milk is considered to be milder and less irritating than glycolic acid, and is therefore considered ideal for those with sensitive skin. Its origins can be traced back to Cleopatra, who purportedly used sour milk on her skin.

Citric acid from citrus fruits, malic acid from apples and pears and tartaric acid from grapes are not as common and their effectiveness is still not clear.

Asides from cosmetic creams and lotions, AHA products are also found in various shampoos and cuticle softners.

To discover if the product does have an AHA the label should indicate the presence of one or more of the acids which include

- glycolic acid (GA)- lactic acid,

- GA plus ammonium glycolate

- α-hydroxyethanoic acid plus ammonium \α-hydroxyethanoate

- α-hydroxyoctanoic acid, α-hydroxycaprylic acid, hydroxycaprylic acid

- mixed fruit acid- triple fruit acid

- tri-α hydroxy fruit acids- sugarcane extract

- α-hydroxy and botanical complex

Glycolic acid has been shown to be an effective peeling agent and is available in a variety of strengths. Other AHAs ( lactic, and citric acid) applied topically, at 25%, have been demonstrated to increase epidermal and papillary dermal thickness, increase acid mucopolysaccharide, improve the quality of elastic fibers, and increase the density of collagen. All of them improve the skin texture and reveal a much youthful appearing skin.

The two acids, Glycolic and lactic acid are also the most frequently used in cosmetics, although there are many others used in combination.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Using Preservatives to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Products

Commercial products are typically loaded with preservatives to allow them to remain fresh during the long span between the time of manufacture and the time the customer finishes using it. Although the preservatives do extend the longevity of the products and help keep them free from bacteria, the preservatives themselves are often unhealthy. Many cause or promote skin problems and some are even reported to cause cancer. Individuals who are sensitive to these preservatives need to find preservative-free products.

Are there any natural preservatives? Not really. Natural substances that show antimicrobial activity are either not adequate for broad spectrum protection or they have undesirable qualities. Most natural substances are not active against the most threatening microbes, pseudomonads. Others, such as essential oils, require very high concentrations to be effective. Some have offensive odors or colors that would be unacceptable in skin care products. Many become inactivated by manufacturing procedures and other factors. So a natural preservative is not really an option.

One of the many advantages to handcrafting your own natural products is that you can eliminate or minimize the use of harmful preservatives. Instead, you can adapt more natural methods of preserving and/or using your products.

Preservative-Free Formulations

It's important to remember that your preservative-free, natural products will not stay fresh for as long as commercial products do. By making your products in small batches that you use up within a short period of time, your products will stay fresh and you eliminate the need to preserve your products with harsh chemical preservatives. Formulating anhydrous products is another way to eliminate the need for chemical antimicrobial preservatives. Bar soaps typically do not require an antimicrobial but stay fresher when an antioxidant is used. You do have natural antioxidants available to you for this purpose. Switch to the use of natural balms made of oil and butter instead of creams and lotions which require an antimicrobial preservative. Create dry bath products such as bath salts, milk baths, bath bombs, bath teas etc. to eliminate the need for antimicrobial preservatives. Salt scrubs, bath oils, bath melts and other oil based products can stay fresh as long as water is not introduced to the container during use. Again, you may wish to use a natural antioxidant to keep the oils fresh. Minimize contamination potential by choosing your packaging carefully. Dispensing bottles are better than open mouth jars. Direct sunlight and UV rays, oxygen, heat, moisture and bacteria from your fingers can all be detrimental to your products. Below are several tips for protecting and preserving your preservative free formulations:

Be sure your hands, work surface, and utensils are clean/sterile when preparing your products. This will help ensure that you do not introduce bacteria or contaminate your batch. Commercial skin care production is undertaken in extremely clean and sterile environments for this same reason.

Store your products in dark containers or opaque packaging to keep them away from the harmful effects of sunlight. We offer a wide selection of packaging solutions for your products.

Ensure that your packaging is airtight. Natural products can oxidize and go rancid when exposed to air.

Heat can also be damaging to natural products. Store products in a cupboard or other cool place.
Because our fingers can be a host to bacteria, try to avoid dipping your fingers into your jars and bottles. Instead, use a clean spoon, toothpick, popsicle stick or other appropriate utensil to obtain the amount that you wish to use. Lotion pumps and PET bottles with turret or disc tops are wonderful for dispensing more fluid ingredients such as lotions and gels.

When You Have to Have an Antimicrobial Preservative

If you are formulating something that contains water, milk, hydrosols or other aqueous liquids, you will have to preserve the product or use it within 3-4 days refrigerated. It simply is not optional. Water provides a medium for harmful bacteria, mold, yeast and fungi to grow over time. If used, a contaminated product could cause severe health problems, blindness and even death. Your product must be adequately preserved to prevent contamination and microbial growth.

So what are your options and how will your product differ from those found on store shelves?
First, even with a preservative, your product is still a healthier alternative to commercial products because the remaining ingredients within your product are natural or gentle.

Second, you won't use unnecessarily high levels of preservatives like most commercial manufacturers use.
Your options will be based on your formulation and what it contains. Essential oils are the most natural antimicrobials you will find. Some natural product manufacturers have successfully used oils such as tea tree or combinations of various essential oils to maintain product integrity. According to Preservatives for Cosmetics by David C. Steinberg, essential oils that have demonstrated antimicrobial activity include caraway, cinnamon, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, rose, rosemary, sage, sandalwood and thyme. Unfortunately, the percentage required to adequately protect a product from microbial growth generally exceeds the recommendations for safe amounts of essential oils to use in skin care products. Grapefruit seed extract or citricidals are another class of antimicrobials that are considered by some to be more natural than the parabens. Choose your citricidal preservative carefully as some of them have questionable ingredients. A good quality citrus seed extract should not contain additional preservatives. Parabens are preservatives that are available in small quantities for crafters and small businesses. Paraben based preservatives include Germaben, Germaben II, Phenonip, Methyparaben and other types such as Germall and LiquaPar Oil.


An anti-oxidant is a preservative that reduces the rate of oxidation in oils that oxidize quickly. Oxidation is a chemical process that occurs when oils or other natural ingredients are exposed to oxygen. Anti-oxidants extend the shelf life of your products by reducing the rate of oxidation of your oils. Use an antioxidant in any formulation which contains fragile oils such as sweet almond, hemp, avocado, flax or evening primrose. You can add antioxidants directly to your oils to help keep them fresh, or you can add the antioxidant to the oil phase of your recipe. Lip balms, lotion bars, creams, lotions, scrubs and any other product containing oils can benefit from the addition of an antioxidant.

T-50 Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E contains natural antioxidants which extend the life of your products. Gamma tocopherol, a component of Vitamin E, is a great antioxidant for protecting cosmetic formulations. T-50 has a larger amount of gamma tocopherols than other forms of Vitamin E oil.While the alpha tocopherol in the 250, 1000, and 1400IU/g oils is wonderful as an in vitro antioxidant, studies show that the gamma tocopherol in the Vitamin E T-50 oil is a better antioxidant for oils/lipids in cosmetic formulations. T-50 has a higher content of gamma tocopherols and can be used at a rate of .04% or 400ppm to adequately protect your oils.
INCI Nomenclature: Tocopherols

Rosemary Oil Extract
Rosemary oil extract (ROE) also acts as a natural antioxidant. ROE can impart its own aroma into your products, so keep that in mind when using it. As a preservative, add .15 to .5 % of our undiluted Rosemary oil extract to your products.

Nature with Love's Rosemary oil extract is a 100% pure extract. It has not been diluted in a vegetable oil.

INCI Nomenclature: Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract


An anti-microbial is an ingredient or substance that helps to destroy unwanted micro-organisms such as bacteria. In the context of handmade skin care products, an anti-microbial helps preserve a product by keeping the product free of these unwanted micro-organisms.

Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is a citrus seed based anti-microbial used as a preservative in skin care products. GSE is made with the extracts of citrus seeds and pulp. It is blended with vegetable glycerin to make it non-irritating to the skin and mucous membranes when used in formulations. GSE is even safe enough to use as a disinfectant for drinking water when necessary.

Nature with Love's Grapefruit Seed Extract is professional strength. It is 60% GSE in 40% vegetable glycerin. It is not the usual 33% found elsewhere. Please be sure to take that into consideration when using a recipe that simply calls for "GSE". GSE has a shelf life of 7-9 years. It is said to be anti-microbial, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, astringent and does also have some antioxidant activity.

Use GSE at .5 to 1% to preserve most formulations, or use at 2% to create anti-bacterial creams, salves, rinses and soaps. Please note that adding 2% GSE to your products does not mean that you can market or label the product as an "anti-bacterial" product.

Wear gloves while handling Grapefruit Seed Extract. GSE can be irritating to the skin in its undiluted form.

INCI Nomenclature: Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis) Extract (and) Glycerin

Germaben II

Germaben II is a convenient, ready-to-use broad spectrum anti-microbial preservative for personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, body sprays and other formulations. It is highly effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeasts and molds and does not need any additional preservatives. It is a clear, viscous liquid with mild odor. It is soluble in both oil/water emulsions and aqueous formulations up to a level of 1.0%. At 1%, Germaben II provides 0.30% Germall II, 0.11% methylparaben, 0.03% propylparaben, and 0.56% propylene glycol. Germaben II should be added slowly to your product under gentle agitation before the addition of fragrance oil.

Recommended usage rates are provided only as guidelines for proper preservation. All new formulations should be challenge tested to ensure preservative efficacy.

INCI Nomenclature: Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methylparaben (and) Propylparaben

Germaben II-E, Germaben II-E was developed to protect formulations that contain ingredients that inactivate parabens. It is a liquid preservative system that contains 20% Germall II, 10% methylparaben, 10% propylparaben, and 60% propylene glycol. It is used to preserve water-in-oil and oil-in-water emulsions but should not be used in aqueous formulations. It is readily soluble at 1.0% and should be added to the emulsified product under gentle agitation before the addition of fragrance. Germaben II-E is a complete preservative effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeasts and molds. It is compatible with almost all cosmetic ingredients including surfactants and proteins.

Recommended usage rates are provided only as a guideline for proper preservation. All new formulations should be challenge tested to ensure preservative efficacy.

INCI Nomenclature: Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methylparaben (and) Propylparaben

Liquid Germall Plus

Liquid Germall Plus is a broad spectrum, water soluble preservative for oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions and water soluble formulations. It is highly effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeasts, molds and commonly found organisms. It is compatible with most cosmetic ingredients and has no known inactivators. Liquid Germall Plus is effective at low concentrations of 0.1 - 0.5% (the higher % should be used in conjunction with high protein and complex formulations). It remains active through a pH range of 3-8. It should be added during the water phase or to the emulsified portion of the formulation at a temperpature of 120F or less. Liquid Germall Plus has a safe toxicology profile and has been evaluated as safe for both rinse-off and leave-on formulations. It is a good choice preservative for shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, body washes, body sprays and other such formulas.

Recommended usage levels are meant only as a guide for proper preservation of your product. All new formulations should be challenge tested to ensure that your preservative is working properly.

INCI Nomenclature: Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

LiquaPar Oil

LiquaPar Oil is a clear, liquid blend of isopropyl, isobutyl and n-butyl esters of para hydroxybenzoic acid. It is a very stable and effective preservative against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeast and mold. LiquaPar Oil is readily incorporated into various types of formulations, including anhydrous products, without heating. It is a good choice for salt scrubs and bath oils where no water is present but may be inadvertently introduced to the container during regular use. The recommended usage rate is 0.3 - 0.6% however, in complex formulations, 0.1% Germall II may be required for adequate preservation.

Recommended usage rates are meant as guidelines only. All new formulations should be challenge tested to ensure proper preservation.

INCI Nomenclature: Isopropylparaben (and) Isobutylparaben (and) Butylparaben

To order any of Nature with Love's perservatives, please visit their website at For all other Nature with Love's products, please go to


Friday, November 21, 2008

Liquapar Optima (Preservative)

INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Methylparaben (and) Isopropylparaben (and) Isobutylparaben (and) Butylparaben.

In aqueous systems, a co-solvent or surfactant may be needed to help solubilize the preservative. Can be added pre or post emulsification at or below 80°C.

pH restrictions – 3.0-7.5
Usage levels - between 0.5% - 1.0%.

May be required in higher levels in formulas with high levels of non-ionics and proteins as these compounds are known to interfere with parabens. Is a complete preservative in that it covers microbial, fungus, and yeast.

Use levels - .5-1.0%

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Making Eyeshadow with TKB Trading

If you are interesting in making your own eyeshadow, I found this clip on You Tube. Kaila is a local vendor, based in Oakland, CA, who sells mica powders, ultramarines etc.

If there is anyone out there who has made their own eyeshadows and would like to share any recipes or experience, we would like to hear about it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reed Diffusers Instructions

If you are interested in making your own reed diffusers for gifts, I found these links will help you.

I have not tried these recipes but if anyone tries any of these recipes, please let us know how they come out. Even if you encounter any problems, we would like to hear about them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Tradition of Air Fragrances

From the beginning of recorded history, people the world over have valued fragrance as a way to worship, to heal the sick, to calm nerves, to attract a mate, and to create a restful space to call home. Traditionally, various parts of plants, including fruits, berries, flowers, leaves, bark, resins or sap, and the woods themselves have been the source of these relaxing fragrances. Beds were made of fresh straw, pine needles, or the fragrant leaves and flowers of lavender to create a pleasant home fragrance. Rose or apple blossoms were crushed and mixed with water or carrier oils like olive or sesame to perfume the body during or after a bath, or for a ceremony.

Eventually, the essential oils of these special plants were distilled and stored for their medicinal properties, or mixed with other ingredients to produce incense and perfume. These oils and perfumes were highly valued, and were traded throughout the world, along with spices, gold, and jewels. To have perfumed living space or to wear perfume was a status symbol, indicating great wealth and prestige. To impress their visitors, homeowners scattered bowls of fresh blossoms, and potpourri, or burned incense around their house as early forms of air fragrances.

In many ancient cultures, medical and religious practices included burning incense or using other perfumed products. Some fragrances relaxed or lifted the mood or relieved headaches, while others induced trances which produced prophetic dreams. Fragrant oils relieved the pain of arthritis or soothed sore muscles. Other plants were burned to produce fragrant smoke that would relieve fevers or congestion. Burning incense in a temple was, and still is, an offering to the gods.

Over time and experience, people linked each plant to unique benefits. For instance, the lavender plant was highly valued as a restful fragrance. Housewives washed their bed linens in lavender water and made sachets of lavender blossoms to put between their sheets and folded bedding and clothing. A lavender home fragrance indicated a fresh, clean, well-run house – a house that was inviting as a place to relax and unwind after a long day.

Lavender also was valued as an insect repellant and germicide. In fact, during the Great Plague of London, the grave-robbers traditionally bathed in Four Thieves Vinegar, a special mixture containing lavender, to protect against catching the plague. Few of them caught the illness, not because of the magical properties of the special water, but probably because the lavender repelled the fleas that carried the plague germs.

The scent of lavender was also considered to be an aphrodisiac. An old wives tale states that a married couple who keeps sprigs of lavender between their sheets will never quarrel. Another folk tale states that a maiden who sleeps on a sprig of lavender will dream of her true love. Obviously, lavender would be one of the ideal air fragrances for the master bedroom!

Today’s homeowner knows that a home with an inviting fragrance is a place where people enjoy spending time. A clean, fresh, pleasant smell reflects a clean, healthy environment for living. While a good housewife knows that the best way to have a clean-smelling house is to have a clean house, a carefully selected air fragrance can add the perfect touch.

Choosing a home fragrance that stimulates the mood, such as orange or spice, would be ideal for a party, while choosing a restful fragrance, like lavender or vanilla, would be perfect for low-key evenings at home. It is even possible now to change your home’s scent with the seasons by using pine or fir scents in winter, peach or apple blossom scents in the spring, sea breeze, lilac, or rainforest scents in the summer, and cranberry or mulberry scents in the fall.

Air fragrances are now available in many different forms and scents, allowing the homemaker to affect the mood of her home like she would choose a color of lipstick according to what she is wearing. There are convenient sprays, scented candles, sachets, incense, fragrant gels, solids, and liquids. One secret to being known for having a well-kept home is using the many products available on the market today to create a home with a relaxing fragrance.

About the Author

Author Vincent Platania represents the Fuller Brush Company. Fuller Brush has been in business since 1906, and offers safe, environmentally friendly products for keeping your home and your body clean.