Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cosmetic Ingredient Books

If you currently making your own bath and body products or just want to learn more about ingredients, I would recommend the following books to add to your library:

Milady's Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary by Natalia Michaluh
A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winton

I would say that the best place to find these books would be on I do not think that the local bookstores would care these, but you can check. If they do not, they may be able to place an order for you.

It would be interesting to carry these books around with you to see what are really in some of our cosmetic products.

Marbelized Soap

According to Kelly Ewing, author of Making Candles and Soaps for Dummies, marbeled soap aka swirled soap is just two or more colors mixed to together to acheive marbled effect. To make marbled soap:

1. Melt your soap base.

2. Separate a small amount of melted base into another bowl.

3. Add your main color to the bowl that contains the majority of the soap. Ewing suggests not to select a too dark of a color base because you want your contrasting swirl to be visible.

4. Add a darker color to the small amount of base.

5. Pour your main color of soap into mold.

6. Take the smaller portion of swirl color and pour it evenly over the top of your base soap in a zig zag fashion, trying to evenly pour over the top so all parts of the the soap will have both colors. Using a toothpick combine soap just like you would when making a marbled cake. Just place down into the soap and gently drag it back and forth to side.

7. Remove your soap from the mold after it hardens. This step can take anywhere from one to three hours.

Tip: What I have done to make marblized soap was to pour the melt soap into the mold and then add 1 to 2 drops of one color and 1 to 2 drops of another color in a different area of the soap and swirl the colors with a toothpick. If you want to add a scent then add it prior to pouring.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


If you are interested in making your soaps by the rebatching or handmilled method and you cannot find a class to learn this technique, here is some information from PV Soap:

Basic Materials:

Shredded Soap Base
Crock pot, small or medium size
Glass measuring cup
Wooden spoon
Whole milk or 2%
Powdered milk (secret ingredient)
Any additives, such as herb, flowers, grains, cornmeal, oatmeal, etc.
Colorant chips or liquid dye (optional)
Any fragrance oil or essential oil *(fragrance oils work great in rebatching)
Optional: additional oils such as sweet almond, jojoba, vitamin E
Mold/s (lightly greased with Vaseline)
Drying rack

You may half, quarter or double this recipe as needed.

Rebatching is a good way to get the feel for soap-making without having to handle any caustic ingredients. You can also use a double boiler, but we recommend the crock pot method. Takes about 2 hrs. to make.

Start by measuring out 4-6 cups of shredded base soap or as much as will fit into your crock pot without going past the half-way mark. Measure out about 1 cup of milk (you'll add this as needed, you may not use it all or you may need to add a bit more). Add ½ cup of milk to the crock pot and the shredded soap, put the lid on the pot and set it on the lowest temperature setting. Check the mixture every 15 min. or so and gently stir with your wooden spoon, but try not to make bubbles. If it looks very dry, add a little more milk, and so on, until all the shredded soap is melted.

After an hour or so, it should have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. It also may look lumpy. Add about ½ cup of powdered milk. The powdered milk will make the mixture very smooth and easy to pour. Go ahead and add any additional ingredients, such as, Vit. E or grapefruit seed extract (which act as a preservative). You can also add additional oils ( ½ -1 tsp.) such as, castor (for shampoo like lather), almond oil or jojoba oil, etc. at this time.

When you're ready to add your colorant, herbs, and fragrance, remove the amount of soap needed for your size mold from the crock pot and place it into the measuring cup. Mix in your final ingredients, amounts of color, herbs, fragrance will vary depending on your liking, and pour into molds.

The soap should be easy to pour, but not too runny. Leave your soap in their molds overnight or until dry and remove the next dry. If you're having difficulty removing from the mold, place mold into the freezer for a few minutes for easier release.

Cure them for 1 week on a drying rack. Wrap individual soaps to preserve their scent.

Tip: As long as your crock pot is set at the lowest temperature, your can leave your soap simmering until your ready to mix and mold. Just check it to be sure it doesn't get too dry.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Cold Process Soap Making (Layering and Swirling) Class

On January 19, 2008, I took Lori Nova's Cold Process Soapmaking 201 (Layering and Swirling) Class. Normally this class is offered with her two day boot camp, but now she is offering this intermediate class separately. This is great news for potential students the opportunity of learning this technique if the cannot or unable to commit to the two day boot camp.

In this demo style class, you will learn how the layering and swirling techniques that Lori is famous for. Her soaps have won the past two years at the Soapmaker's Guild Conference two years in a row! With this class, you will receive a detailed handout on the process, handout regarding using a lye calculator and a bar of soap.

If you are a cold process soapmaker, I highly recommend taking this class. If you have never made a bar of soap by the Cold Process (CP) method and would like to take this class, you are required to take her Cold Process 101 class which goes over the basics you need for this class.

I was not sure if I was going to like the CP method and I could not commit the two day camp. So, I took the intro class separately. Then I saw this class. To be honest, I am not sure how frequently Lori is going to offer this class separately, but if she does not then I recommend the two day camp.

For more information check out Lori's site at

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Aromatherapy Diffuser Blends

Aromatherapy Room Diffusers are a really big thing these days. If you like to create your own scents but do not know where to start, here are some recipes to give you some ideas.

It is should be noted that if the recipe does not state whether or not the oil is a fragrance or essential oil, the recipe would more or less call for an essential oil rather than a fragrance oil. Just make sure when you purchase your Essential Oil (EO) that you are purchasing from a reptutable source. There are clear signs where are not your EO is a true EO. First, EO's are most commonly found in amber glass bottles. Second, the pricing of EO's from the supplier should vary for the same quanity ie an 1 oz of lavender is going to cost differently than an 1 oz of rose. And this is because it takes more of the plant to make the same amount of oil. Those are the two major ones. There are many other tell tales signs.

Mind Stimulating Infuser Blend - July 2005 Online Newsletter

Combine equal parts:
Spearmint essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil

Store in a dark glass container. Use up to 8 drops to a diffuser or oil warmer. Or add 5 drops to a teaspoon of your favorite lotion. Apply to any part of skin avoiding eye area. Great at work after lunch. Share!!

Calming Evening Blend - February 2005 Online Newsletter

5 drops Lavender essential oil
5 drops ylang Ylang
8 drops Lavender
Add to bath water and relax. Or divide in half and use in a diffuser.

Revitalizing and Fresh Oil Blend - November 2004 Online Newsletter

5 drops Lavender essential oil
3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
2 drops Fir Needle essential oil
2 drops Pine essential oil

Blend in 1 oz. carrier oil. Use as a massage oil or add to the bath for a relaxing soak. This blend is excellent for the respiratory system.

Diffuser Blend - August 2004 Online Newsletter

6 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Use 3-4 drops in a diffuser or add 2 drops to a warm bath. For Massage Blend - Add 2 drops to 2 teaspoons of Sweet Almond Oil. Massage on chest and back.

Uplifting Diffuser Blend - July 2004 Online Newsletter

4 drops Clary Sage essential oil
4 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
3 drops Geranium essential oil
2 drops Basil essential oil
1 drop Sandalwood essential oil

Mix in dark bottle and use 8 drops in diffuser.

Stress Buster - June 2004 Online Newsletter

Lime's tangy and lively oil aroma mixes well with Bergamot.
8 Drops Bergamot essential oil
5 Drops Lime essential oil
Place the two oils together in a diffuser or oil warmer.

Uplifting Diffuser Blend - April 2003 Online Newsletter

Essential Oils can make us feel happier. uplifting our spirits and helping us to be
more positive. Try a simple blend of:

4 drops Bergamot
3 drops Sweet Orange
3 drops Lemon

Use in a diffuser and notice the difference.

Anti-Stress Blend - November 2002 Online Newsletter

9 drops Lavender
3 drops Lemon
2 drops Geranium
2 drops Bergamot

Diffuse in an aroma lamp or electric diffuser.

Mood Lifting Blend - November 2002 Online Newsletter

4 drops Bergamot
3 drops Orange
3 drops Lemon

Use in a diffuser and notice the difference.

Office Air Freshener - November 2002 Online Newsletter

A great blend to cleanse the air while uplifting your mood.

6 drops Bergamot
8 drops Lavender
1 drop Tea Tree

Diffuse in an aroma lamp or electric diffuser.

Diffuser Blend - - February 2001 Online Newsletter

5 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
3 drops Rose or Rose Geranium Essential Oil
2 drops Chamomile Essential Oil

Anti-Depressant Mood Blend - March 2001 Online Newsletter

2 Drops Geranium
1 Drop Chamomile
2 Drops Clary Sage

This is a great body calming blend that also opens the mind. Use when studying, paying bills or wanting to do creative writing.

Anxiety & Tension Reliever - March 2001 Online Newsletter

2 Drops Geranium
2 Drops Ylang Ylang
2 Drops Bergamot

Uplifting in a diffuser for all to enjoy. A lovely perfume and of course, don't forget the bath.

Mental Fatigue - July 2001 Online Newsletter
8 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
4 drops Basil Essential Oil
8 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

Add to a room diffuser or cut recipe in half and use as a relaxing after work bath.

Use Rosemary essential oil to aid memory. Great while studying. - September 2001 Online Newsletter

Diffuser Blend - December 2001 Online Newsletter

6 drops Eucalyptus
4 drops Lavender
2 drops Peppermint
2 drops Rosemary

Use 3-4 drops in a diffuser or add 2 drops to a warm bath. Massage blend- add 2 drops to 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil. Massage on chest and back.

Peppermint awakens, clears and stimulates the mind. Great to use while studying for exams.

Natural Air Purifier - October 2000 Online Newsletter

Use this mixture in a simmering pot or diffuser to help freshen the air. The oils have a powerful cleansing action and the fresh scent has an uplifting effect on the mind, body and spirit. Lavender combines particularly well with citrus oils.

4 drops lavender oil
2 drops bergamot oil
2 drops lemon oil

Romance Blend - April 2002 Online Newsletter

3 drops Cedarwood essential oil
3 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Sweet Orange essential oil

Use this blend in an aromatherapy/oil burner. Be sure to light some candles and put on soft music. Inhale!

Great Diffuser Blend - June 2002 Online Newsletter

2 drops Clary Sage
1 drop Sandalwood
1 drop Basil
2 drops Geranium
2 drops Ylang Ylang

Sandalwood is one of the best oils for fatigue brought on by depression. It helps to promote joy. A soothing scent that is also helpful for anxiety and stress. Use 5-6 drops in the bath or 4 drops in a diffuser or aroma lamp.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Ginger Body Scrub

Use this one in the morning as the essential oils are invigorating.


1/4 cup Sea Salt
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1/3 cup Olive Oil or another base oil.
2 drops Ginger Essential Oil
4 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
3 drops Rosemary Essential Oil


Mix salt and cornmeal. Combine warmed oil and essential oils then mix with dry ingredients. Use in the shower or standing in the tub. Apply in circular motions, working from the extremities inward, working towards the center of the body and the heart. Rinse with warm water. Gently pat dry. Your skin will feel smoother and have a nice glow.

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


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cold Process Soap Molds and Bevellers

If you make your soap by the cold process method and you are looking for a great mold to pour your soap mixture in, I would recommend purchasing F&D Soap Mold & Cutter Box for 4 LB Batch from Mission Peak Soap in Fremont. It is a great quality mold and cutter that will create a batch yields 18 bars weighing approximately 4.5 ounces each. The mold comes with complete instructions and a couple of sample mold-liners to get you started. The price of this great mold and cutter is $70.00.

I would also recommend the F&D Soap Beveller from Mission Peak Soap. The Beveller puts a beautiful 45 degree bevel on the edge of your soap with a safe, thin wire. The bevel gives your soap a gorgeous, jewel-like appearance and will help open doors to a new, upscale, clientele. This beveller is itself a real work or art - handmade in the USA from native hardwood. A multi-position adjustment gives you the option of either small or large bevels. The price of this beveller is $75.00.

I am planning to purchase both of these items when I get more involved in making my soap by the cold process method. If you want to want to take a closer look at these two items, here is the link to both of these pieces of equipment -

If you live in the Bay Area, you would definately be able to save on shipping on this product. You may be able to arrange to pick up the scale instead of having it shipped. The best way to contact Mission Peak is by email at But if you do not have access to email than you can call 510-795-1326 or send a fax to 510-791-1672.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Purchasing a KD 7000 Scale

If you are looking to purchase a KD 7000 scale, you can find one for $48.95 at Mission Peak in Fremont, Ca. Here is a link to the description of the product:

If you live in the Bay Area, you would definately be able to save on shipping on this product. You may be able to arrange to pick up the scale instead of having it shipped. The best way to contact Mission Peak is by email at But if you do not have access to email than you can call 510-795-1326 or send a fax to 510-791-1672.

Cold Process Soapmaking Tutorial

If you are interested in learning how to make soap by the Cold Process Method and cannot find a class in your area, here are links to a step by step tutorials:

If you know of any others, please let me know in the comments section so I can check it out and pass it along.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Natural Additives for Colorants (Cold Process Soapmaking)

If you make your soap by the Cold Process Method, you may find that coloring your soaps can be unpredictable. If you want to use something other than pigments such as ultramarines and oxides, you may choose to go the natural root (no pun intended). Here are some suggestions:

Alfalfa Powder - light green color.

Alkanet Root - pink/blue/purple.

Annatto Seeds - yellow/orange color.

Beet Root – muted pink to red.

Calendula Petals retains their color in soap.

Chamomile Powder - yellow/gold color.

Chlorophyll (liquid) - light green color. You should know that the color will fade over time.

Cinnamon- beige/brown.

Clays will come in white, light green, beige, yellow, pink and red.

Cochineal powder– deep red

Comfrey Root - deep sage color.

Cocoa Powder - brown. For swirling effect add 2 teaspoons to 2 cups of soap.

Curry Powder - yellow/peach color.

Elderberries – steep in lye solution – light brown

Ginger Root Powder - yellow.

Hibiscus Powder - red/purple color.

Indigo Root Powder - blue. Make sure that you mix this powder in real well.

Madder Root - tomato red color.

Mustard Seed (ground) - yellow color.

Orange Peel Powder - orange.

Parsley Powder - medium green color.

Paprika - peach or salmon color.

Poppy Seeds - Blue-grey to light black specks

Pumice, ground - grey

Pumpkin, pureed - lovely deep orange

Rattanjot – lavender to purple

Rosehip seeds, ground - light tan to deep brown

Saffron - yellow. Very pricey spice.

Sage Powder - sage green or tan.

Sandlewood Powder - orange/red/maroon

Saffron - yellow. A very pricey spice.

Spirulina Powder - very fishy smell. This powder can be pricey. And it has been recommended that you only add this powder to strong scents such as Rosemary, Tea Tree, etc.

Titanium Dioxide- bright white

Tumeric Powder - gold/yellow. Will fade over time.

These are just a few additives that you can use to color your soaps. If cannot find what you are looking for then check out this link:

For more information on naturally coloring your soaps, check out these websites:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Halved Soap

Have you ever wondered on how to make a soap sculpture or a two halved soap. I found the instructions and would like to share them with you:

(1) Melt the glycerin soap according to instruction. You will have adjust the amount you use according to the size and shape of your mold. Add your color and fragrance.

(2) Let this half cool completely. And remove from mold.

(3) Fill the mold again with the melted soap mixture. While still hot and liquidity, place the harden half on top of the melt portion.

(4) Allow to completely cool. Remove from mold and remove any excess soap from the seams.

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

Source: Making Soap by Paula Romanelli, North Light Books, Chicago, page 112-113.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Calling all Cold Process Soapmakers

I am new to cold process process soapmaking. And I wanted to ask some of the experienced CP Soapmakers out there this question - Cooling down the lye mixture can often take a long time. So, I was wondering is there anyway to excelerate this process? I have heard that some will add ice to the lye and water or adding the lye/water mixture container into a ice water bath. Please your experiences in the comment section. I would be interested in hearing from you.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What is Castile Soap?

According to Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home...More Than 250 Easy to Use Recipes for Body, Bath and Hair, Castile soap is a mild white soap made with olive oil. It is named after the Castile region in Spain where it was developed. Real castile soap must be made with 40% olive oil. It can be purchased at many grocery stores (like Trader Joe's) and natural food stores in both bar and liquid forms.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Selecting the Right Colorant for Making Your Own Bath & Body Products

If you are new to making your own bath and body products and you do not know which type of colorant to use for your recipes, here is some information to help you.

Dyes – Dyes produce a color that is translucent in a clear glycerin soap bases (sometimes is referred to “Stained Glass” look). Powdered dyes on the market can be very concentrated, which means you do not have to use as much. The liquid dye bars and solid dye bars are most easily blended to make unique colors. It is very important that you do not use candle dye in your soap or any other skincare product that you create.

Cosmetic dyes are only produced and inspected by the FDA during certain months of the year. When the FDA approves a color for cosmetic use, you can be assured that it does not contain heavy metals that can be toxic if absorbed into the human body.

Dyes are most commonly used in skincare products such as lotions, cremes, bubble baths, bath salts, bath bombs and Melt & Pour Soap Crafting (MP). If you create soap embeds for your MP projects, you should know that some dyes will migrate from the colored soap embeds.

If you use liquid dyes in your cold process (CP) or hot process (HP) soap making process the color will change, fade or disappear altogether due to their reaction to active lye. There are certain food colorants that will completely change color entirely.

Liquid gel colors are another invaluable method of color delivery. They work great in the melt and pour method and can used in the CP or HP soap making process as well but with varying results. This type of colorant comes in a variety of colors. You may also find that you can get gel tones in primary colors so you can blend them together and create a variety of shades. And some of these liquid gels colorants can come in triple strength colors which are concentrated than others.

Dye type of colorant is also good for Liquid Washes, Lotions, Foaming Bath Whip, Bath Salts, Bath Fizzy Bombs, Lip Products, Oil based Scrubs.

Mineral Pigments

You can get incredible color by using mineral pigments such as ultramarines and oxides. These are basic pigments used in cosmetics and by artists who created their own paint. When choosing mineral pigments for your creations, make sure you are selecting pigments that are designated for soap and cosmetic applications. So do not buy them at art supply stores. The best thing is to purchase your pigments from responsible soap supply houses that sell only the kind of pigments that are safe to use in soap or for cosmetic uses.

Oxide Pigments – Oxide pigments can be either organic or inorganic. They are made to be water soluble or oil soluble. Since these pigments do not fully dissolve and therefore, cannot produce a “stained glass” effect like you would with a liquid dye. Instead the pigment will suspend or disperse in a formula to produce color. You will find powdered pigments are most commonly used in CP and HP Soap. Powder pigments will clump in MP soap therefore, liquid pigments are used. If you are planning to use liquid pigments, you should that that they will cloud MP soap but will also not migrate in layered mp soap. You may want to consider trying them for coloring your soap embeds.

Ultra Marines – Ultra marine colors are inorganic pigment that must be used in a product such as soap because it has a pH of over 7.5. If used in lotions or low pH products, it will produce a foul odor. Ultra Marines will cloud melt and pour soap but will also not migrate in layered mp soap.

These pigment colorants are good for CP and HP Soap.

Mica & Sparkles (Not Glitter) – Simply mica adds shimmer or pearlized look and come in array of colors. Mica colors can be soluble in water or oil. And the are actually a combination of ingredients that make the color. This combination can be dye, pigment, bismuth oxychloride, and/or titanium dioxide.

The effect is best used in transparent or translucent applications such as MP process. But they are also great to add color to your traditional body butters, solid body butters (ie massage bars, lotion sticks, exfoliating butter scrubs), but you will lose the shimmer effect . You may also consider add a small amount of mica powder to your dusting powder recipes. This will add a shimmer when you apply it to the skin.

When adding micas to your creations, you would add them the same ways as you would when adding mineral pigments (ultramarinas, etc). Stir a small amount of the color you want to use in your recipes (other than HP and CP). You can always add more. For example if you are planning to incorporate micas into your CP or HP soap stir in a small amount into a small amount of soap and then incorporate the mixture back into the main mass. Just to let you know that some micas will lose their color completely in the high alkalinity of lye soap, especially in the cold process method.

Mica colorants are good for CP and HP Soap, MP Soap, Dusting Powders, Body Butters, Liquid Washes, Salts.

Natural Color Sources

Nature provides use with beautiful colors that can be applied to soap. You can add planet material directly to soap mixture to create not only color but texture as well. Most plant material starts out green but will eventually turn brown. Some botanicals such as calendula petals will retain their color when added at the end of the process. If you create your soap by the handmilling (or rebatching process) you can use dried herbs if you really would like the color to last. But when you add herbal ingredients directly into the soap make sure that you remove any sticks, twigs and other sharp parts of the plants. There may be some ground spices such as turmeric that can be used to add beautiful color to your CP or HP soaps. I will look into this and see what can be used or not. And I will let you know.

For more information regarding color additives, it is best to check out the FDA website.

If you like to order any of these types of colorants, check out or If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Soapsicles Soaps

Serve "soapsicles" for a fun way to bath.

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

Jennifer Perkins and Debbie Chialtas make soapsicles out of Popsicle molds. This is a really fun project that is a great way to get the kids to stay clean.


white soap base
mica colorant
lime, orange and strawberry fragrance oils
rubbing alcohol in spray bottle
Popsicle molds
glass measuring cup
Popsicle sticks
small cups


- Melt three ounces of the white soap base in a measuring cup.

- Dissolve orange colorant in the orange fragrance in a small cup.

- Mix the orange colorant into the white soap base and stir thoroughly.

- Pour orange soap into a Popsicle mold. Let set for 15 minutes until set but still slightly soft.

- Insert a Popsicle stick. Put soapsicles in the freezer for 30 minutes for easy removal of the soapsicles from the mold.

- Remove soap from the mold and allow to warm to room temperature.

- Cut one-third off of each side of the orange soapsicle lengthwise.

- Melt and color two ounces of white soap for both the strawberry and lime sections of the soapsicles.

- Insert orange soap with stick back into the center of the Popsicle mold.

- Spray the cut sides of the orange soap with alcohol while in the mold.

- Pour melted lime soap into one side of the mold and pour melted strawberry soap into the other side of the mold.

- Put soapsicles into the freezer for 30 minutes and release.

GUESTS : Debbie Chialtas, Soapylove Website:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Toys for Soaps

If you like to put toys in yours soaps (ie Rubber Duckies. Mini Koosh Balls, Erasers) and your finding your local party store is way too expensive, then I would suggest going online and check out the Oriental Trading Company (

Since I teach melt and pour soapmaking classes on a regular basis that these toys get used quite frequently. So I think this will be a source I will use in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dusting Powder Ingredients

There are alot of dusting powder recipes on the internet. And most of them will ask for arrowroot or white kaoling clay. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I found that Elephant Pharm carries those particular ingredients in the herbs department. They have a herbalist on staff to help you with your needs. I highly recommend their expertise.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Customize your Own Soap Base

Some of the most memorable soaps made by soap makers are made using melt and pour bases. One great advantage in using soap bases rather than starting from scratch with cold process type soaps is that just about anybody can learn to make soap this way. There are no dangerous fumes to contend with and all that’s needed is melted soap, fragrance and color. Even children, supervised, can make melt and pour soaps. Though this is a fun and easy way to make soap, yet one should not underestimate the power of melted base, colors and additives at the hands of a creative mind. And let’s face it, which purveyor of body care products would not die to concoct the latest craze in bath and body products!

Though there are many different types of melt and pour bases available, yet in order to create innumerable types of soaps, one only has to have a clear base. For variety, this clear base can be used to create all the other existing bases. The wonderful thing about being able to create your own custom made base is that you are limited only by your imagination. Think of the different variations on some of your favorite bases, such as Shea butter, or even Aloe Vera base. Why not use exotic rainforest butters such as Babassu, Cupuacu, Murumuru and Ucuuba to create new bases that are novel and packed full of oils and goodness for the skin.

To help you on your way to creating your own bases, here is a list of additives and ingredients that can be readily found on the internet. Most of the ratios are based on manufacturer’s suggestions.

Butters: Butters such as aloe, cocoa and mango butter have long been staples in body care products. Harder to find are the new rainforest butters such as Babassu, Coffee, Cupuacu, Murumuru and Ucuuba. These butters are very luxurious and offer both tactile and fragrant variations on the butters we already are familiar with. Add 1-5% to melted opaque or clear soap base. NOTE: Bases with butters added will need an antioxidant to prevent oils from going rancid. It is suggested that rosemary oleoresin extract or vitamin E T-50 be added at amounts between 0.1 - 0.5% to melted butter before adding to melted soap base.

Clays: Many types of clay are reputed to be good for removing toxins from the skin. One of the most popularly used is Bentonite clay which is formed from volcanic ash and is also known as calcium bentonite. Bentonite clay is used extensively in natural healing circles for its purported ability to absorb toxins from the body. Usage levels for soaps are between 3 - 5%. Dilute with distilled water, working out any clumps. Experiment with both opaque as well as clear soap base, adding natural colors and herbs. Other suggestions: Rhassoul, red , pink, black, and French green clay.

Colloidal Oatmeal: Oatmeal adheres to the skin and forms a protective barrier giving a soothing feel to damaged skin. I fell in love with all body care products containing oatmeal when I accidentally left a fruit acid skin peel on for too long and my skin became raw and tight. I purchased a tube of a famous brand of unscented oat flour creme and that was the only thing I could use on my face that did not sting. Thus began a quest to create as many body care items with oatmeal (See bottom of page for link to a recipe for oatmeal creme). For years I searched for an affordable oatmeal soap base. I have yet to find one. So I made my own and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was just as good as and even better than the premade base. To opaque soap base add 1-10% colloidal oat flour diluted in a small amount of distilled water. Colloidal oatmeal can be found in your drugstore in the bath and body products aisle.

Opaque: To get that creamy white soap base start with a small amount of water-soluble titanium dioxide diluted in a small amount of distilled water, then add to melted clear base. It is best to start off with a small amount of titanium dioxide, about 1/4-1/2 tsp. and then increase amounts. Mix thoroughly in and add more if base is not white enough. Other suggestions: Superfine ingredients such as clay, when added to clear soap produce an opaque product that is more natural in appearance than titanium dioxide.

Milk: Milk has always been associated with gentle, emollient care for the skin. Powdered milk is loaded with protein and vitamins making it a natural emollient for the skin. Most people are familiar with milk based products used for skincare. Milk along with oatmeal remains one of my favorite basic ingredients to use for quick and simple body care. Milk reminds me of farm living, of eating the sweet cream off the top of fresh warmed milk and of the joys of outdoor living. To make soap base that is better than pricey soap bases, use from 3-5% powdered cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Dilute thoroughly with glycerin and distilled water. Want some variation on that? Instead of powdered milk, try dried coconut cream. Add a bit of virgin coconut oil for a luxurious soap that has emolliency and a wonderful scent.

Sources for supplies:

New Directions Aromatics - is an Australian based company with branches in the US that carries some hard to obtain ingredients like rainforest butters, fruit and herbal extracts, Australian clays, and unusual packaging. In addition, they carry standard supplies for soap makers such as base oils, essential oils, Vitamin E T-50, Rosemary Oleoresin Extract, etc.

Wholesalesuppliesplus - has been one of my favorite suppliers for years. They exemplify what great customer service is. They carry one of the largest varieties of soap bases and they have thousands of supplies for the soap making enthusiast, including, colloidal oatmeal, powdered goat milk, Rosemary Oleoresin Extract, some butters, such as Coffee and Shea butter, Vitamin E T-50, clays, etc.

Lotion Crafter - Great site for so many wonderful ingredients that are hard to find, like colloidal oat flour, powdered goat milk, lotion and face serum kits, a variety of scales, ph meters and much more.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sodium Hydroxide aka Lye for CP or HP Soapmaking

If you are just starting out making your soap by either the cold process method or hot process method and you do not know where to purchase lye in small quanities then may I suggest the following online site:

Most other sources sell in it in 50 pound bags and for the someone who is just starting out making their soap by CP or HP that is alot. That amount can be difficult to store. So I recommend checking Certified Lye.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Metric Conversions & More

If you are interested in converting your recipes from different measurements, I found these online metric conversion tables that will help you in all your conversions:

Or from page 126 of Handcrafted Soap by Delores Boone, here is a conversion chart for the most commonly used conversions:

pounds to kilograms multiply by 0.45
kilograms to pounds multiply by 2.2
ounces to grams multiply by 28.4
grams to ounces multiply by 0.04
fluid ounces to milliliters multiply by 29.57
milliliters to fluid ounces multiply by 0.034

For fragrance calculations use the following:

For your cold process and hot process soapmaking here is a link to a lye calculator:

If I find any more that may be useful for your recipes, I will let you know.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Scented Body/Dusting Powders

Body or dusting powders are used to absorb and keeps the skin dry. These poweder can be used as deordants, baby powders and even foot powders. Most of the commercial body and baby powders on the market consist of talc. Talc is a mineral (magnesium silicate) produced by the mining, crushing, drying and milling of talc rocks. The problem with talc is that it is closely related to the carcinogen asbestos. Talc particles have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs. The good news is that making your own body powders is very easy and inexpensive natural alternative by using vegetable starches and clays. It should be noted that inhaling powders of any kind is bad for the lungs, so try not to made a cloud of dust when you are making your powders.

The ingredients for making your own body powders are:

4 oz bottle
1/2 cup Arrowroot Powder or cornstarch (absorbing)
2 tablespoons Kaolin White Clay (helps with adhesion)
1 tablespoon Baking Soda (deodorizing)
Approximately 1/8 teaspoon Mica Pearlescent Powder (optional for slight shimmer)

Equipment Needed:

* Sandwich size plastic baggies to start initial mixing
* Fine mesh strainer or sifter to incorporate the scent
* Stainless steel or glass bowl to mix when sifting
* Whisk or spoon for stiring/combining mixture
* Funnel for packaging into finished bottle/jar
* Optional face/dusk mask (or mix powders outside)
* Packaging; 4 oz shaker bottle and label


(1) Measure out and combine all dry ingredients into a zip lock bag. Carefully close the zip lock and with your hand over the zip lock portion, shake well to combine.

(2) Slowly add 20 drops of scenting oil (fragrance or essential oils), one drop at a time, directly onto the powder. When adding your scent try not to have the oil contact the plastic bag directly.

(3) Carefully close the zip lock bag again and work in the scent like you were kneading dough. If there is too much air in your bag, stop and let some out, then continue.

(4) After mixing for 5 minutes, go outside and transfer the powder to a mixing bowl and sift several times through a mesh strainer until the small balls of scent are completely incorporated.

(5) When everything is mixed well, use a spoon or funnel to transfer to a shaker bottle.

This is just one receipe. You may want to consider looking at the following websites other recipes:


On page 34 of Natural Body Care...Recipes for Health and Beauty by Julia Meadows has a recipe. She recommends that you should keep your powders from sunlight, heat or excessive moisture.

Here is her receipe for unscented dusting powder:

1 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 tbsp white clay powder
2 tbsp baking soda

Carefully measure the powders and pour them into a glass bowl. Mix slowly with a wire whisk. If you want to add essential oils at this time. The author recommends adding 10-15 drops of essential oil/s to each 4 oz (1/2 cup) unfragrant powder base. Add your scent drop by drop, ensuring the drops are broken up in the powder as you go. Continue to stir the powder (in concentric circles according to the author) until the entire mixture gives off the desired aroma intensity. Let the mixture sit for 10 to 20 minutes. If the scent is not to your liking after the resting period, then add more oils if desired. Then place your mixture in a small shaker type or plastic jar. The author suggests that salt and pepper shakers, grated cheese dispensers and small flour dispensers are great for body/dusting powders.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Craft Show Tips from Wholesale Supplies Plus

Contacting Craft Show Organizers

In preparing to sell your product at craft shows, it is a wise idea to find out which craft shows are well attended and have many booths of quality crafts. The following places are good locations for craft shows: public high schools, private high schools, public middle and elementary schools. Indoor shows tend to attract more buyers than outdoor shows. You can contact PTA Presidents about their upcoming shows in May of the prior year after the new President has been chosen. Contact the organizer early enough to fill out an application.

Things to ask the craft show organizer:

- Size of tables.

- Are tables and chairs included in price.

- Are there runners available for the crafters. Runners are used for change, food and bathroom breaks.

- Do they advertise and how do they advertise.

- What is the historical attendance. What do they expect this year.

- Is there an admission price for customers? (Free shows are better attended)

- Is it a juried show where each crafter must submit product to for acceptance and for competition. (Juried shows tend to have better products)

- What is the availability of unfilled tables and where are these tables located. Ideally, you want to be in a busy area away from others with crafts like yours.

Pricing your products

Many people make the mistake of setting their prices after they have determined their final cost. I feel this is a grave mistake. First determine how much your craft will retail for in a store. This will vary from region to region. For example, a store in a trendy part of California may successfully sell a bar of soap for $8.00 while a store in Michigan may struggle to sell the same bar of soap for $5.00. You have to spend some time and shop around. See how much money retail stores are selling soaps for and then find out if they are actually selling much soap at that price or do they have to depend on sales, such as 2 for $1.00, to move their inventory. Consider giving a price break for more than 1 bar. For example: one bar of soap for $4.00 or 3 for $10.00. If you plan on packaging your bath and skin products in baskets, the general rule of thumb is that those that sell between $5.00 and $10.00 tend to be better sellers than over $10.00.

Your Display

You will want to display your products in a way that will be appealing to the shoppers. You will need to take into consideration the size of the space that you will be renting, if you need to provide the table or if you need to be bringing your own table/displays. If you are just starting out, you may want to attend a few craft shows to look at the type of displays that other crafters have. Wood crates are an easy way to display items as you will be able to have different levels of products. One way to attract customers is to have a bright, such as red, tablecloth. Felt, which comes as wide as 72", is perfect as it will cover the top of the table as well as the front. Tables are 6-8 feet in length, so if you buy long enough for an 8 foot table, you can use it for both. Use a piece of cut lace on top to add a touch of elegance!

Amount of Product

The general rule of thumb for those starting out is to bring 10% of attendance. Therefore, if they expect 5,000 would bring 500 pieces to sell.

Common Questions

How much money/change should I bring to the craft show?

$50 in small bills and change should be enough for you to start as long as there are runners available to get change for you. Make sure you have a cash box for your change and a place to keep larger amounts of money as the day goes on.
How do you get all of your products there yourself?

I LOVE collapsible crates. They are easy to organize and store prodcut. They collapse to flat when empty.

I LOVE this hand dolly on wheels. It is perfect for working a craftshow alone. Getting product from car to your table will be a breeze.

Should I bring food or drink?

It is good to bring something to drink and snack type food. If it is a good show you will have people at your booth all day. I personally think it is rude to eat in front of anyone so I eat a big breakfast. A cheese-it cracker is easy to sneak here and there. Bring breath mints for bad breath. Chewing gum can be offensive to some customers.

Should I bring a book?

Never bring a book. Never read the paper.

When someone approaches your table stand and ask them if they have any questions. Look interested with a SMILE on your face. Be happy. Make happy small talk and NEVER complain about anything.

When there isn't anyone at your table, come around the front and see how it looks to a potential customer. Fidget with your display. It is amazing how customers are attracted to tables with people in front of them...even if it is you!

What do I say to people?

A very seasoned crafter once told me "Don't talk too much. It will only show that you know nothing about their wants because you have not listened." Here are quick common phrases that are good ice breakers.

- "It is not chocolate...although it smells as good.

- If you eat it you get bubbles in your mouth".

- "Come on over and take a sniffy...sniffing is free and there is not muchfree at the show."

- "Do you have kids? These make great teachers gifts...a nice way for ateacher to pamper themselves after a day of work."

- "These make great inexpensive stocking stuffers for teens....they are sointo this stuff."

- "These are great for secret Santa exchanges or last minute hostess gifts. I leave 10 or so bars in my closet with some small gift bags because you never know when you need something special."

- "This is a great gift idea. It is something that people will want toactually use and not re-gift to someone else."

- "Have you ever noticed how some retail bars lose their scent after a while?This is because the majority of fragrance is sprayed on top of the bar to help reduce costs. I make my soap with extra scent throughout the bar so even the last little nub of soap will smell outstanding."

- "This is made with shea butter. Shea butter is an outstanding moisturizerfor the skin. I then give them a small test of the goat’s milk lotion."


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Brown Sugar Body Scrub


2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 - 1/2 cup almond oil
1/2 tsp of vitamin E
45-60 drops of fragrance or essential oil


Mix almond oil, vitamin E and fragrance or essential oil together in a glass bowl. Add the brown sugar and mix in well. Divvy up into jars and have a great time using it!

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


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hot Process Soap Making Tutorials & Articles

If you cannot find classes in the Hot Process Method, I found some sites that have links on this method on soapmaking. For those who would like to see a tutorial on the Hot Process Soap Making by the Crock Pot method, here is a link for you:

or better yet try this website for step by step tutorials:

If you are interested in learning more about this method of soapmaking, check out the following blogs or websites:

If you do not have a crock pot but would like to create soap by the Hot Process Method, check out this link about using a double boiler instead:

For swirling and layer techniques by using the hot process soapmaking method check out:

or take a look at this link:

There are many more site out there on this particular method. And I have to be honest, I have never tried this method of soapmaking before. I am interested in learning how and will be taking a class in the near future. I recently took a class on the Cold Process Method and I feeling more comfortable with the idea of working with lye. I will be looking for more information on this subject to pass along. So look forward to recipes and other information on this process of soapmaking. See you soon!