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.


Monday, November 17, 2008

How to make homemade candles (video)

If you would like to learn how to make your own candles, here is an instructional clip on You Tube:

Have fun!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beeswax Profile

Beeswax is produced by the (female) worker honeybees. The wax is secreted from wax glands on the underside of the bee's abdomen and is molded into six-sided cells which are filled with honey, then capped with more wax. When honey is harvested, the top layer of wax that covers the cells, or the cappings, must be removed from each hexagon-shaped cell. Just to put it into perspective, one pound of wax requires the bees to consume about ten pounds of honey! Beeswax works well in cosmetic products because of the “wax esthers” that exist in both beeswax and human skin and it is these compounds which help to bind and emulsify ointments, lipsticks and lotions. As a natural hydrating ingredient that increases essential moisture in skin, it is commonly found in hand and body creams that help retain natural skin moisture and in the relief of itching from sensitive skin. Beeswax has an irritation potential of zero, and a comedogenicity rating of 0 - 2, which means that when formulated and used correctly in cosmetic formulations, beeswax will not cause a problem or clog the pores, but brings a host of very positive attributes, such as general healing and softening, as an antiseptic, and an emollient to cosmetic products. In foaming cosmetics such as skin and body detergents, beeswax improves skin compatibility and reduces the aggressive properties of surfactants, while in shampoos and hair conditioners it improves the condition and the manageability of the hair. Even after processing, it still remains a biologically active product, retaining some anti-bacterial properties and also contains some vitamin A, which is necessary for normal cell development. In folk medicine beeswax was used as an antceptic for wound healing and beeswax ear candles were used for ear wax removal. They are believed to be able to heal ear infection and improve hearing by removing the wax inside the ear.

Listed below are some of the many reasons Beeswax is used in cosmetics:

It is easily incorporated in water and oil emulsions
It is an excellent emollient and support for moisturizers
It gives skin protective action of a non-occlusive type
It gives good "body" (consistency) to emulsions, oil and gels
It reinforces the action of detergents
It increases the protective action of sunscreens
Its elasticity and plasticity improve product efficacy by allowing thinner films and
It provides greater permanence on skin and lip surfaces
It does not provoke allergic reactions4
It is compatible with many cosmetic ingredients

Beeswax is very frequently used in the following cosmetic applications:

cleansing creams
cold creams and lotions
emollient and barrier creams
lipsticks - protective sticks in general
nail creams
sun protection products
eye and face make up
foundation creams

Of particular note:

The melting point for Beeswax is approximately 140 to 150 Degrees F. Beeswax should only be melted in an approved electric wax melter, crock pot, microwave oven, or double boiler.

Do not melt beeswax in a pan directly on a stove under direct heat. Beeswax is mildly flammable and will start on fire if the wax comes in direct contact with a flame

People with bee allergies should not use beeswax as it could cause interactions.

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


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Coloring Soaps & Toiletries


Bath Salts, Lotions, Etc.For coloring bath salts and lotions (which are cosmetics) you should use a color additive that is approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics. There are manycolor additives that are approved for cosmetics. However, some of them do not work well in bath salts or lotions, etc.

Ultramarines are basically made by heat treating kaolin clay and sulphur. At low pH's (which is the range where bath salts and lotions are) ultramarines tend to break down and release sulphur giving off that lovely rotten egg smell. Not a very nice surprise for your customers or someone you give your product to as a gift. While ultramarines in these products stink, they do not fade.

Iron Oxides will work, but may also leave a residue in the tub and on the skin. The good thing is they don't fade.

Micas will work. Some will fade and some won't. They will most likely leave a residue in the tubor on the skin. (See below under soap for a further explanation about micas.)

There are also natural colorants on the FDA's approved colorant list. These are annatto, caramel, carmine and beta-carotene. There are a few more, but nothing that you would probably want to use in salts. These will all fade in sunlight or UV rays. There are no flowers (like blue malva - which will make water a lovely blue -- too bad it does not hold up in soap) or chlorophyll listed on the approved list and using these "simply for the purpose of coloring" your salts would make them an adulterated product, you don't want that.And, there are dyes. These offer the biggest color choice of all. You want to make sure that what you are using in on the approved list for cosmetics.

And as with natural color additives, eventually dyes will eventually fade, particularly if exposed to UV rays. There are a couple dyes that are limited in the amount you can use in a product, Green 8 and Red 36, but generally you would have to add so much of these dyes to a product that it would start coloring other items before you reached that limit.

The link to the FDA's list of approved color additives is

You can look up the individual colors in 21 CFR part 73, subpart C and 21 CFR part 74, subpart C. Unless you are making make-up or lip stick and eyeshadow, you don't really need to worrying about what you use as long as it is on the approved list for cosmetics.

When it comes to fading, the simple truth is that you need to protect your products from UV rays. With some natural color addtives you need to protect from both time and UV rays. Not only does the sun cause fading, but florescent lights give off UV rays. However, florescent lights are much slower acting than the sun. The sun is particularly cruel to both natural color additives and dyes. So whether you are outside or inside, it's possible that some fading may happen. Your best bet is to protect your products with packaging. There are bottles and jars that are treated to resist UV rays, and then you have the good old brown paper bag approach to things. Sometimes a decorative opaque container can be just as or even more attractive than a clear container. It just depends on your marketing niche and how you want to present things.


Unless you are making cosmetic claims about your soap, you can use just about anything, within reason of course, to color your soap. If you make cosmetic claims, then your soap is a cosmetic and you must use something from the FDA's list of color additives approved for use in cosmetics.

Ultramarines work well in soap. Because soap has a higher pH they do not break down and give of the sulphur smell. They are the most stable colorants to use in soap and are fade resistant. You do not want to use pigments that available at the art supply store and are made for painting, as these may contain lead, mercury, arsenic and other impurities.

Iron Oxides - ditto above. Manganese violet, which is a pigment, will not work in soap. Save your money, honey. ;-) Micas - there are lots of micas. Micas are made by depositing things such as titanium dioxide and various lakes, dyes and other ingredients on to a mica substrate, or lets call it a plate of mica for explanations sake. Ferric ferocyanide and Ferric ammonium ferocyanide, contain iron (are in most blue micas) and micas containing these ingredients will morph in CP soap. You will need familiarize yourself with the particular ingredients in a mica so that you can better judge whether or not it will work, this info is found in the INCI name for the mica. And it's always a good idea to know exactly what it is you are using. Natural color additives - again, is your soap a soap or is it a cosmetic? If it's just soap, you can use lots of things. See our the results of our recent natural colored soap swap at You will want to take into consideration what the properties of a particular herb before you use it to color soaps with it. For instance, you probably don't want to use bloodroot to color your soap with, (and I don't even know if it will work, but) it is a very harsh herb and can be destructive to skin. Dyes again give you a vast array of colors. Some dyes will morph and change colors in soaps. Reds shift to orange. Blue 1 gives you a mauve color. Green 3 makes a lovely blue. If you're going to use dyes, please do your customers and fellow soap makers a favor and use dyes on the FDA'a approved for cosmetics list and not candle or clothing dye. Likewise some color additives for food contain Blue 2 and Red 3 which are not approved for use in cosmetics. OKAY. How did I do? Did I miss anything? Let me know.>br? If you want to know more about something inparticular just ask. I have lots more info. And tons of experience using these things.

Got questions? Let me know. I'll be glad to help. Use the "Contact" link on the right-hand side menu of this page (click on the source blow and follow the directions) and write me. Ellen


Friday, November 14, 2008

Orange Blossom Lotion

This recipe makes 16 fl oz.

1.25 grams citric acid
7 grams glycerin
10 grams stearic acid
20 grams emulsifying wax
40 grams sunflower Oil
35 grams Grape Seed Oil
2.5 grams Cocoa Butter
378 grams distilled water
3.75 grams germaben II
2 grams orange essential Oil


Follow your basic lotion making instructions.

For more recipes check out


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Soap Fragrance Oils - Making Your Own Custom Scented Bath Products

Why don’t you consider making soaps scented with natural essential oils in your own home? While it might seem difficult at first, it just might turn out to be one of the easiest and most relaxing things you’ve ever done. Essential oils and herbs are a way to bring plants’ healing properties into your daily routine. Frequently used in aromatherapy, you can also bring essential oils into your life by making your own soaps.

Some essential oils have stimulating fragrances, while others have completely the opposite effect and can help you relax. Every essential oil has distinct and unique properties. For example, rose oil comes in handy for treating sore throats, sinus congestion, or puffiness. Rosemary helps treat physical and mental fatigue, rheumatic pains and aches, and respiratory problems such as asthma.

Each of the natural essential oils has specific, beneficial properties. Chamomile has long been used to help with digestion, but many people don’t know that it helps ease premenstrual pain as well, and applied to the skin, it will help clear up acne, eczema and other sensitive skin problems. Eucalyptus is administered orally to help coughs, colds, bronchitis and viral infections; when applied to the skin, it eases muscular aches. Many people find geranium oils useful for healing sores, infections, and other skin problems. And lavender not only smells pleasant; it can also be useful for soothing headaches, healing bruises and insect bites, and reducing swelling.

Sandalwood not only smells great; it’s calming and soothing, and can help heal dry, cracked lips. Jasmine helps you when you’re feeling down, and neroli treats anxiety and insomnia, and will help improve your blood circulation as well. It’s a good idea to try to find ways to bring essential oils’ beneficial properties into your life.

Herbs are low-growing aromatic plants that can be used either fresh or dried; these include annuals (which must be seeded each year) as well as perennial herbs (which survive the winter to grow again in the spring). Usually, it’s herbs’ leaves that are used to enhance skin care products’ benefits.

For more on handmade herbal soap making as well as candle making and other do-it-yourself crafts visit the soap making resources center at Pure and Natural Soaps where you’ll find articles, recipes, instructions, ideas and tips.

To discuss these and other craft projects visit the Soap Making Forum - a community message board for soap and candle making as well as other crafts and do-it-yourself projects. Discuss techniques, share ideas, learn new methods, post your favorite recipes and meet new friends.

Article Source:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to Make Homemade Sugar Scrubs

If you have taken my salt scrubs class or from someone else and you wanted to learn about sugar scrubs, here is a 4 part series on sugar scrubs that I found on You Tube.

What You Need to Use to Make Your Sugar Scrubs

Making Your Sugar Scrubs

How to Use Your Sugar Scrubs

Differences between a Sugar Scrub vs a Salt Scrub

I hope you will enjoy these and come back for more instructional clips I find on making your own bath and body products.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loofah Soaps

One of the best things you can do for your skin (other than to use a quality soap) is to exfoliate. It helps rid your skin of dead cells and promote the growth of new ones. Many of you have tried using Natural Exfoliants in your soap already. One of the most popular (and easy) exfoliants to use in your soap is loofah. (It's also often spelled luffa or loofa...but it's all the same plant.) Loofahs can be used in either cold process or melt and pour soap. You can use it in slices, ground up, or whole. This project uses melt and pour soap base and a 12" piece of loofah in a 3" pvc pipe mold.

For this project, you'll need:

About 4 lbs of clear melt and pour soap base
A 12" pvc pipe mold with end cap
A quality 12" piece of clean, dry loofah (I get mine from Loofah by the Inch)
Fragrance and/or color as desired
Basic soap making equipment - pyrex pitcher, whisk, scale, knife, cups for fragrance oil, towels, microwave

Take your mold and make sure that it is free from any dust or dirt on the inside. Put the end cap on firmly. If you don't have an end cap, I have known soap makers just use several layers of plastic wrap and some tight rubber bands to seal the end. The caps are only about 25 cents at the Home Depot...and I think they're well worth it!

Put the loofah down into the mold. If it's longer than the mold, just cut the end off. If it's shorter, just add another piece to fill the mold.

Cut, weigh and melt your soap base.

This 12" pipe mold held about 40 oz. of soap base. Because you don't know exactly how much space the loofah is going to take up, I usually melt a little more than I have to - just to be safe.

Put the soap base in the microwave and melt it at 1-2 minute intervals. Heat it, stir. Heat it, stir, until it is hot (about 180 degrees) and completely melted.

Add your fragrance oil (I'm using about 1 oz. of fragrance per pound of soap) and stir.

Add in your colorant. I'm using a Ruby Red Gel Tone liquid dye from SunFeather Soap Company

Stir well.

Slowly pour the melted soap into the top of the pvc pipe mold. Don't fill the mold all the way - leave about an inch or two from the top.

Tap the mold on the counter top to dislodge any air bubbles from the soap. After you've thumped the mold on the counter, fill it the rest of the way.

Set the mold aside to cool. It should take 2-3 hours to completely cool.

After the soap has cooled completely, it's time to get it out of the mold. This is the only difficult part of the project. Sometimes the soap will just not want to come out of the mold!

I like to pop the mold into the freezer for about 20 minutes before I unmold. It seems to help the soap pop out better.

Pop the cap off of the soap. Then, place a standard size vegetable can under the mold. With the 3" pipe, it will just fit inside the pipe.

Slowly push the pipe down onto the can. The log of soap will start to come out the top. Press slowly and firmly. It will move very slowly at first. Keep pushing! It will come.

Another tricky thing with loofah soap is slicing it. You'll need to use a sharp serrated knife to cut through the loofah. I like to slice the soap as it's coming out of the mold.

Push out an inch, slice. Push out another inch, slice. The edge of the mold gives me a nice straight even cut.

When your soap is all sliced, it's ready to use.

Some people find that loofah is a bit too scratchy for use in the shower and prefer to just use it as hand soap. That's fine. There are different qualities of loofahs as well...some are harder, some are softer, I've found. However and wherever you use your loofah soap - enjoy it!

If you want to use loofah in some less scrubby variations, check out Loofah Soap Variations.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Infused Herbal Oils

To infuse the herbs into the oil you will need a stainless steel or enamel pot, make sure that the enamel pot has no chips in the pan. You do not want rust to contaminate your oils. You can use 1/4 to 3/4 cup of whole herbs for 16 oz. of oil, this again is really according to how strong you want the herbs to be in the soap, ointment or cream. You can use more if you like.

I have used 3 different methods of making oil infusions. Double Boiler, Direct Heat and Crock Pot. I have found that the Double Boiler works very well because the temp of the mixture is much easier to control and if I have lots to do and want that infusion strong, I can leave it to warm gently and not worry about the herbs burning. And because of this I am getting a much better infusion therefore making my ointments and lotions that I make with them much more healing and wonderful for dry skin, rashes, etc. Because the heat is kept low, the herbs do not fry or over heat which destroys the healing properties on the herbs. The oils come out with a wonderful herbal aroma instead of the cooked burnt herb smell that will happen when using high temperatures. Direct Heat and the Crock Pot also works, but just has to be monitored as the temperature can very greatly. Someone asked if they do not have a Double Boiler, how could they make a double boiler type system. Just take a boiler that is the size you need to hold the herbs and oils and find one that is a bit larger and place water in the bottom boiler and place the smaller one on top. I have 1 pot that I used that way when making Icings and candies and it worked very well until I purchased a Double Boiler.

Place your herbs in the top boiler and cover with the oil. Heat slowly, not going over 130° or so, so as not to fry the herbs or destroy the properties in the herbs. If using Direct Heat or Crock Pot and you don't have a long time to stay with it, heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, then set it aside and let it cool to room temp. When you can, reheat for about the same amount of time, allow to steep again. For the Double Boiler method, let the herbs heat on low for a few hours to several hours, do not allow the herbs to fry, but to heat slowly, then allow them to cool a bit and strain them out. Another infusion can be done with any of these methods, using the same herbs or by adding more of the same herbs and replacing the oil that was lost in the first infusion.

To strain them, warm the herbed oil just a bit, just till they are a little warmer then room temp. Then put your gloves on and place the herbs in 3 or 4 layers of cheese cloth or a couple of layers of Muslin Fabric that is cut big enough to gather up around the herbs and squeezing as much oil out of the herb as possible. Add enough oil to make 16 oz. again and add more dried herbs to make a stronger infusion if you wish and do the process again. This will give you a colored oil, light or dark, according to how much herb you use and what herbs are used.

Before adding this to your other fats for the soap, weigh the oil and add back in what was left in the herbs. You can even add a bit of the type of dried herbs that you infused into the oils, in powdered form, into the oils or at trace if you like. Whole herbs or just pulverized herbs, can cause scratching of the skin, so will not be loving to the skin at all. I do prefer to use the powdered herbs by adding them into the warming oils as that gives them a chance to infuse into the oils before I process the whole thing into soap. Yes the powdered herbs are left in.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Marvelous Moisturizing Bath Fizz

Create a colored bath by adding about 1/2 teaspoon powdered food coloring or liquid food coloring.


1 teaspoon fragrance oil
1 teaspoon olive oil, shea butter or cocoa butter
1 cup citric acid
2 cups baking soda


You can substitute some of the baking soda, up to 1 full cup with dehydrated milk either from regular milk or goat’s milk.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together well in bowl.

Drizzle the melted cocoa butter, olive oil and fragrance oil over the dry mix.


Coloring Bath Bomb Receipes

When I have made my bath bombs I have always used liquid colorant. I saw this demo of someone using powdered food coloring to color their bath bombs. Has anyone used powdered food coloring, mica powders or ultramarines to color their bath bombs? How much did you add? Could you let me know what your experience was because I find that liquid colorants sometimes makes the bath bombs fizz slightly when I mixed it in? I would like to use an alternative.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Spicy Carnation Hot Process Soap

Posted by Rebecca at 4/21/2008 7:16 AM and is filed under Soap Stuff,Instructions
Author unknown.

11 ounces olive oil
11 ounces sunflower oil
8 ounces coconut oil
4 ounces mango butter
4 ounces palm kernel oil
10 ounces Crisco or soybean oil
1 ounces stearic acid
6.6 ounces sodium hydroxide
14.5 ounces distilled water
1.7 ounces Spicy Carnation fragrance oil or scent of your choice
1 teaspoon pink mica
1 gallon white vinegar (for clean up)

1. This hot process recipe calls for using a crockpot with a removable ceramic insert and a lid. Clean the kitchen countertops and bring out your materials. Turn the crockpot on "high" and measure the olive oil and 10 ounces of sunflower oil into a large Pyrex glass container. (Set the other ounce of sunflower oil aside for step 4. A digital scale comes in handy here. Add the measured oils to the crockpot. Measure all of your solid oils (coconut oil, mango butter, palm kernel oil, soybean oil, & palm stearic acid) into a second large Pyrex glass bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave for about 3 minutes on "high" to melt the solid oils. Add these melted oils to the crockpot

2. Prepare your lye-water mixture in the sink with the crockpot close by on the counter. After donning goggles and appropriate gloves, measure your cold water. Slowly add the lye to the water while stirring with a long-handled spoon. You want to stir well but not to the point where the mixture splashes about in the bowl. Once the water starts looking clear and the lye is fully dissolved, carefully pour the lye water mixture into the crockpot with the oils. Take care not to splash. Once that is done, put the spoon you stirred the mixture with and the bowl you used into the sink and immediately douse with white vinegar - this will deactivate any remaining lye. If you think you've splashed the mixture anywhere on yourself, your gloves, or your goggles, douse with vinegar.

3. Leaving your gloves on, plug in a stick blender and place it directly into the mixture all the way to the bottom - make sure the bottom of the stick blender is directly on the bottom of the crockpot. (NEVER pull the stick blender out while your finger is still on the "on" switch. Instead, to prevent splashes, turn the blender off let it stop spinning before removing it from the mixture!) Turn on and with fluid motions, stir slowly moving in clockwise and counter-clockwise movements. After about 3 to 5 minutes, your mixture should start thickening up. This is called "trace." This means all the lye is mixing with all of the oil to begin the saponification (soap making) process. A trace is reached when you take the stick blender out and touch it to the top of the mixture and it leaves a very good indentation. Unplug your stick blender and place it directly into the lye-water bowl (which should be full of vinegar).

4. Now it's time to cover and cook the soap. Cooking time differs from batch to batch - 30-50 minutes is a usual time, but I've seen it take longer than that. The soap will often rise up and start looking like ocean waves from the edge of the crockpot inward. It can sometimes rise high enough to hit the top of the lid - I usually grab a thick plastic spoon when this happens, take the lid off, and stir the soap around to pull it back down.

5. While your soap is cooking, wash everything used earlier and prepare the molds. You can use 4-pound wooden molds with lids on top to help "squish" down the hot-processed soap when it has been poured into the molds. Line the molds with freezer paper, shiny side up. Also use this time to combine the remaining ounce of sunflower oil in a zip lock bag with the mica. Place both in the zip lock bag and mix them together using your fingers on the outside of the bag. When that is finished, measure your fragrance oil or essential oil if you are using them.

6. By now, the mixture will start looking almost see-through and yellowish, like a big pot of petroleum jelly. This gives you an indicator that it is pretty close to being done. To test this, perform what is known as the "tongue test." Grab a spoon and pick up a bit of the soap mixture, blowing on it several times to cool it down. Gently rub the tip of your tongue back and forth on the soap and wait to see if it tingles. You are not eating the mixture, and expect to feel some heat because the soap is hot! If there is no tingly feeling, the soap is done. If you feel a tingle against your tongue, replace the lid, cook for another 10 minutes, and try again. The tingle means that there is still some active lye in the soap, and you want to wait until you feel absolutely no tingle before moving on to the next step. When there is no tingle, the soap is done. There is no real substitute for this tongue test, so if you feel uncomfortable doing it, DO NOT DO IT. If you do it, you do it at your own risk.

7. When your soap is done, turn off and unplug the crockpot and remove the lid. Stir the soap around a bit and then add the mixture of mica and sunflower oil, stirring well. If you don't stir until it is completely blended, you will get very neat marblized swirls in your soap. Once the color has been added, wait about 5 minutes or so before adding the fragrance or essential oil. If the scent has a low flash-point (point of evaporation), if you add it while the soap is too hot, you will not be able to smell the scent in the finished soap because the high heat evaporates some scents. After adding the scent, stir the mixture to incorporate it. Using the spoon, spoon the soap into the mold. You can use a long piece of Saran wrap and place on the top of the soap, evening it out a bit with your hand, before putting the lid on and squishing the soap down with the lid. Using potholders, pick up the ceramic insert from the crock pot and place into the sink, filling it full of hot water. You don't need to add detergent - it's just soap in there! Allow to soak before rinsing. Wait approximately 5-7 hours before removing your soap from the mold. Cut into bars. This is a hot-processed soap, making use of heat to accelerate saponification, so the soap is ready to use immediately after it cools. If you'd like, you can leave it out on wire racks for a week or so to harden. You can use Spicy Carnation fragrance oil for this recipe, You could also use whatever fragrance oil or essential oil you'd like.

For more on making hot process soap refer to this pictorial. Check out Camden-Grey for great prices on soapmaking supplies. You may also want to swing by Tennesse Candle Supply for a wide variety of skin safe fragrance oils.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Phenoxyethanol (Preservative)

Product Name: Phenoxyethanol

Green Code: 2 Manufactured in USA

INCI Phenoxyethanol
CAS Number(s) 122-99-6 EINECS:204-589-7
Usage Rate:
approved to a maximum concentration of 1%
Appearance Colorless liquid.
Odour Characteristic
pH 7B
oiling point approx. 245 °C at 1013 hPa
Melting point approx. 13 °C
Flashpoint approx. 120 °C
Specific Gravity approx. 1,11 g/ml at 20 °C
Solubility in water in water: approx. 24 g/l at 20 °CAssay 95%
MinWater 0.1%
MaxPhenol 5 ppm
MaxEthylene Oxide 1 ppm
MaxChemistry: Phenoxyethanol is the product of the reaction of 1mole of ethylene oxide and 1mole of phenol.


Paraben and Formaldehyde free Cosmetic Preservative with an excellent low toxicity profile, and non-sensitizing, an aromatic ether sometimes referred to as Rose Ether. It is a good general bactericide (most active against gram negative bacteria) but a weak fungicide and is generally used in combination with other preservatives. We recommend combining it with Potassium Sorbate to a more efficient coverage.

Phenoxyethanol can be inactivated by highly ethoxylated compounds. In surfactant preparations the water needs to be saturated with it (add to water and mix well before adding other ingredients).

There are no pH restrictions in formulating with phenxoyethanol and, it is not inactivated by any ingredients or raw materials used in the personal care industry. It is easily added directly to a formulation either during pre- or post-emulsification at or below 80°C (176°F).

Even though phenoxyethanol is found in products and listed as a natural preservative for the most part it is synthetic.

Hazard Identification Non Hazardous

Extinguishing Media Dry chemical, CO2, foam.
Risks Arising from Combustion Noxious Fumes.
Protective Equipment Self contained breathing apparatus.
Conditions to avoid Extreme heat.
Materials to avoid Strong oxidizersHazardous decomposition products Stable under normal conditions.

Blogger note: If you would like more information about this perservative, check out this link This article also includes the safety of this particular perservative.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cold Laundry Soap Recipe

Making soap can be dangerous. You use lye which is caustic. Follow the directions carefully and use safety precautions. You might want to read my other soap making posts for additional information on the procedure. Never make soap with small children around and make it in a well ventilated area. Lye can burn the skin and the fumes are nasty ! USE LYE SAFETY ! Rubber gloves and goggles are recommended

This is a simple recipe for Cold Laundry Soap that works wonderfully. However Melissa might have a story or two about the hazards of grating the soap, as fingers and knuckles often get in the way ! Melissa was always the laundry soap grater person in our family and did a wonderful job but I don't think it was a job she was anxious for.

Cold Laundry Soap
2 quarts strained rendered beef fat. I prefer to use the fat around the kidneys as its harder and whiter
1 can lye (16 oz)
1/2 cup ammonia
2 Tablespoons borax dissolved in 1/2 cup water.

Combine the lye and water in a glass jar.... it will heat up fast so be careful

Stir until dissolved. Cool the lye water solution to 98 degrees. I do that by putting the jar in a sink filled with cold water and ice.

Cool the melted beef fat to 98 degrees also

Add the lye water into the beef fat and stir well. Add the ammonia and the borax and continue to stir until it is as thick as honey.

Pour into wooden mold or a glass baking pan that has been coated with a light coating Vaseline.

I usually cut into bars after 24 hours, let harden in a dry place.

Gate and use after 3 weeks time.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Measurements vs. Percentages in CP Soap Recipes

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

A Soap-Making Way to Look at Recipes

You are probably familiar with recipes that call for one cup of this, two tablespoons of that. You mix it up and pour it into a standard pan and cook it. You may double or halve the recipe at some point, but they're otherwise pretty standard.

However, in soap making, it’s best to use percentages for a couple of reasons:

It allows you to easily adjust the recipe to any size mold.

It allows you to easily adjust the proportions of the various oils in your recipe to affect the quality of the soap.

For example, let’s say you have a recipe that makes two pounds of soap. In it you might have 1/2 cup of coconut oil. You try the recipe and the lather isn't as good as you'd like, so you'd like to increase the proportion of coconut oil. With measurements, this is hard, with percentages, it’s easy.

So, let’s convert a recipe from measurements to percentages. We’ll start with a simple recipe-(Remember we're weighing everything, not using liquid measures.)

12 oz. Olive Oil
10 oz. Palm Oil
9 oz. Coconut Oil
8 oz. Canola Oil
2.5 oz. Castor Oil
2.5 oz. Cocoa Butter

This will make about a 4 pound batch of soap. But what are the ratios of each oil? Is this a well balanced recipe? And what if you want to make 7 pounds of soap? Here’s what we do:

- Total up the total number of ounces of oils. In this case, it’s 44. Divide each individual weight by 44 to get the percentage of that oil in the recipe.

12 oz. Olive Oil – divided by 44 = 27% (I’m rounding.)
10 oz. Palm Oil – divided by 44 = 23%
9 oz. Coconut Oil – divided by 44 = 20%
8 oz. Canola Oil – divided by 44 = 18%2.
5 oz. Castor Oil – divided by 44 = 6%
2.5 oz. Cocoa Butter – divided by 44 = 6%

So your recipe is:

27% Olive Oil
23% Palm Oil
20% Coconut Oil
18% Canola Oil
6% Castor Oil
6% Cocoa Butter

A pretty well-balanced recipe.

So let’s say you want to make a 7 pound (112 ounces) batch of soap. (Remember, that’s just the measurement of your oils. Leave room for the lye and water.)

Multiply the percentage by the desired amount.
27 % Olive Oil x 112 oz. = 30.2 oz.
23% Palm Oil x 112 oz. = 25.8 oz.
20% Coconut Oil x 112 = 22.4 oz
18% Canola Oil x 112 = 20.2 oz.
And so on.

Now, whether you’re creating a recipe from scratch, or have found one online, you can both understand the proportions of the oils, and scale it to any size you like.

Happy Soaping!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whipped & Push-Up Body Butters Class by Joan

This class is a great addition to your repertoire. Even if you have previously taken Lori's class. You will learn how to create two types of body butter - one whipped and one solid push-up version- which are all made with natural and organic ingredients.

Just to let you know that this class is a 3 hour demonstration style class. So, Joan first starts out the class discussing the ingredients. This is a great way to start out, but sometimes it gets to be too much and it seems like she has to rush to complete the class by the ending time. I would suggest condensing the discussion of the ingredients in the beginning in order to accommodate ample time to complete the products. This is only a minor thing which does not diminish the overall atmosphere of the class.

Joan is very easy going and is more than happy to answer any questions one may have. Her handouts are very easy to follow and have wealth of information from ingredients to suppliers. By the end of the class, students will take home with them a jar of whipped body butter, a solid stick body butter bar.

I really liked the feel of the whipped butter. And the recipe is pretty easy, but the most time consuming part of this recipes is whipping and cooling down the hot mixture over a an ice bath. The push up lotion stick is very convenient to travel with and makes the product easy to apply. What is really great about Joan's recipes is that they are small enough to make a small batch of products to make. And it is really easy to multiple up to make more. That is a definite plus! Because I do not want to have to make 20 lotions sticks when I only need to make 10 for gift giving purposes.

I would highly recommend taking this class. So, if you would like to see when Joan is teaching this class next at the Nova Studio, go to the studio's website at or check out Joan's website at If you would like to see a full description of this class, then check out this link,

I would like to take Joan's Aromatherapy Soy Candles class. I am not sure if I am able to take it the next time it is offerred since money is on the tight side. She also teaches a beeswax candle making class. I think it may be offered on the same day. If you can take these classes, I would suggested it. Because candles make great gifts and this is the right time for it. It always seems that friends and family like to receive gifts that you make, especially the type they can use.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What is aromatherapy? Advice Tips

Aromatherapy is the practice of using volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being. Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants to heal, alleviate pain and regulate mood. Aromatherapy can help ease a wide assortment of ailments; easing aches, pains, and injuries, while relieving the discomforts of many health problems. Aromatherapy works on our sense of smell and by absorption into the bloodstream. About 15 per cent of the air we inhale goes to the roof of the nose, where olfactory receptors transport odours straight to a part of the brain called the limbic system. Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

When inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves. Essential oils are also believed to be absorbed through the skin. There are around 150 essential oils used in aromatherapy, which are thought to have a number of benefits – including antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antidepressant properties.Essential oils are the highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences of plants. Essential oils may perform more than one function in living plants. In some cases they seem to be a part of the plant's immune system. In other cases they may simply be end products of metabolism. Essential oils can contain hundreds of organic constituents, including hormones, vitamins and other natural elements that work on many levels.

Patients with cancer, particularly in the palliative care setting, are increasingly using aromatherapy and massage. The different types of Aromatherapy are cosmetic, massage and olfactory. Cosmetic Aromatherapy joined essential oils with facial, skin, body and hair care products containing all natural ingredients. Massage Aromatherapy combines the healing touch of massage therapy with the aromatic benefits of essential oils. Olfactory Aromatherapy releases essential oils into the environment around you either by inhaling or diffusion. Aromatherapy can be used for treatments from acne (Rosemary and Geranium) and other skin problems such as eczema (Chamomile), dry, chapped (Rose, Lavender, neroli) , oily, insect bites, athletes' feet and other fungal infections.

Grapefruit essential oil is a pleasant and refreshing scent with a lot of health benefits. It must be cold-pressed, but when it's been properly prepared, grapefruit essential oil has the same bright, clean perfume as the peels of a fresh grapefruit. People with certain chronic illnesses or conditions should not use aromatherapy. These illnesses and conditions include skin allergies, lung conditions such as asthma and pregnant women should not use aromatherapy. Some oils (such as juniper, rosemary, and sage) may cause uterine contractions. The effects of aromatherapy tend to vary from person to person, and no two people will be affected by the same essential oil in exactly the same way. Even the same person can be affected differently by the same oil depending on their surroundings, time of day or mood.

About the Author
Juliet Cohen writes articles for">skin care blog and picture.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Basket Building Techniques

Combine lip balm, soaps and scrubs into one fantastically rejuvenating gift basket.


basket or other container
shredded paperbath and beauty products
24" or 30" clear cellophane

optional: a printed card that includes a personal message and the product ingredients, or additional bath items such as towels, a rubber duck, etc.

1. Place shredded paper in the bottom of the basket/container. Arrange the bath and beauty products on top of the paper. If desired, add a card.

2. Cut a piece of cellophane 24" longer than the total length of the sides and bottom of the basket. Place the basket in the center of the length of cellophane and gather the ends together.

3. Tie the cellophane ends together with a small piece of ribbon; tape the sides of the cellophane down, if necessary.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Perfect Pumpkin Whipped Soap Loaf

This soap is so cool. It will impress all of your customers. Great for the fall!!

5 lb. Crafter’s Choice Ultra White Soap
1 lb. Crafter’s Choice Foaming Bath Whip
2.5 oz Crafter’s Choice Perfect Pumpkin FO
0.5 oz Crafter's Choice Vanilla Buttercream FO
Crafter’s Choice Red Liquid Pigment
Crafter’s Choice Citrus Orange Liquid Dye
Crafter's Choice Bronze Mica Powder
1 Silicone Loaf Mold
1 Jelly Roll Pan
Hand Mixer
Spatula or Spoon

Directions for Loaf:

Melt 4 lb. Crafter’s Choice Ultra White Soap. Add pumpkin fragrance. Set loaf mold on jelly roll pan (this will allow you to move the loaf while cooling). Pour fragranced soap into silicone loaf mold. Fill the mold approximately 2/3 full. While soap is cooling, prepare whipped topping. When soap has cooled enough to support whipped soap topping, add soap topping directly to loaf soap. (Do not spritz the loaf with rubbing alcohol before adding topping) Create peaks on loaf with spoon or spatula. Sprinkle topping with bronze mica powder.Allow soap to cool for 12 hours. Carefully remove from mold. Wait 24 hours to slice. Topping should be hard at this time. Package as directed.

Directions for Whipped Topping:

Measure Crafter's Choice Foaming Bath Whip and place in large mixing bowl. Melt 1 lb. of Crafter's Choice Ultra White Soap. Add fragrance to soap. Add soap to bowl with foaming bath whip. Using a hand mixer, mix well. As contents being whipped begin to return to room temperature, peaks will form on your topping. If you are having trouble getting peaks to form, add more melted soap. Once peaks have formed, your soap topping is now ready for use.

Working Hard for Your Success!
Debbie May