Sunday, May 31, 2009

Biodegradable vs. Recyclable: Which is the Better Packaging Solution?

by Tom Szaky of TerraCycle, Trenton NJ on 12. 4.08

We all know that packaging waste is a major issue. But what is the most feasible solution? Today there are fundamentally three choices for consumer packaged goods companies: non-recyclable, recyclable and biodegradable (reusable packaging, a la glass milk jugs are a fourth option that is quickly disappearing.) This question is incredibly important as we as a society try to find a balance between consumerism, capitalism and environmentalism.

Please read on and join the discussion. My hope is to get the great minds of TreeHugger engaged in this vital debate.

Non-recyclable has very limited choices outside a landfill or incinerator. At TerraCycle we are pioneering upcycling solutions for non-recyclable waste streams through our free national collection programs, the Brigades. However, these programs (almost 12,000 collection sites strong) are merely a drop in the ocean when compared to the many billions of used packages discarded every year.

Recycling works for many papers, plastics and metals. While an amazing solution - the only catch with recycling is that only the polymer of the waste stream is viewed as valuable (the shape is viewed as waste). In the end, with an investment of energy (less than what it takes to extract and make virgin materials) the valuable raw materials of the package can be rescued and reused.

Finally, biodegradable packaging, the latest step in sustainable packaging design. Many folks within the consumer products industry are looking at biodegradable packaging as the ultimate solution to the packaging waste problem. Typically based on PLA, biodegradable packaging is a set of polymers that are derived from renewable raw materials like starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc., not hazardous in production and decompose back into carbon dioxide, water, biomass etc. when discarded properly. The challenges with this solution are as follows:

1. PLA is based on bio-plastics (just like bio-diesel) and according to estimates there isn’t enough land in the world to grow enough corn (and other suitable crops) to make enough PLA to substitute out traditional plastic consumption.

2. What do you do with the biodegradable package once you’re done with it? If you live in San Francisco (or a handful of other major cities in the US) you can put it into the green waste can for composting or you may put it into your personal compost pile (learn how here!) But if you don’t live in a city with a green waste collection program or you don’t have your own composting pile you’re out of luck since very little biodegrades in a traditional landfill (due to lack of oxygen flow).

3. Biodegradable and compostable plastics currently cost drastically more than traditional plastics (hopefully this can change over time). This price difference deters many companies, who are still focused on the traditional bottom line.

So the question is this: How should PLA be leveraged? Is it the solution, and if so for what is it optimal for? If PLA isn’t viable, what is the true mass market scalable solution to packaging waste and what should we be pushing major companies to consider?


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wilton Silicone Muffin/Tart Pan

If you are having problems finding the Wilton Silicone Muffin/Tart pan to make your massage bars, etc. Wholesales Supplies Plus ( sells them for $10 each. Or you can check out Wilton's website ( sells them for $9.99.

You also may want to consider checking out Ebay ( to see if anyone is having an auction on this item. In the search area of the site just plug in the words silicone bakeware to see what is available.

These pans have 12 cavities. I would recommend getting 2 pans in order just in case.

Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub

Homemade Spa recipe for a honey and lemon sugar scrub that gently exfoliates your skin.


* 2 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/2 cup sweet almond oil
* 4 teaspoons lemon juice
* 4 tablespoons honey
* 4 drops lemon essential oil


To make the sugar scrub, combine the sugar and sweet almond oil in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Add the lemon juice and stir again. Finally, add the honey and lemon essential oil and stir again to mix.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Ideas for Elegant Packaging for Handmade Soap

August 25, 2005 by

What is the best way to package your soap? For some soapmakers, the choice is easy - don't package the soap at all! But for others, packaging is an important part of soapmaking, especially if you plan to give away or sell your soap. But soap packaging shouldn't take more time than making the soap itself. If you need ideas for attractively packaging your soaps, but don't want to spend a lot of time packaging them, here are some choices for you.

Gift Wrap and Wallpaper

Gift wrap and wallpaper are wonderful materials for wrapping soaps because they comes in so many different designs. Be sure to match the gift wrap or wall paper design to the type of soap you will be wrapping. Here are two ways to wrap soap with these papers:

1.Wrap individual bars like a gift and tie with a ribbon.

2.Use the gift wrap as your soap label. Wrap a strip of gift wrap around your soap. Affix a label on top of it. Copy And Laser PaperCopy and laser printer papers come in many beautiful textures and colors. A simple way to wrap soap using copy and laser paper is to simply wrap a strip of paper around your soap.

If you use plain paper, instead of fancy paper, try one of these ideas for variety:

a. Embellish with rubber stamp designs. Use a design that compliments your soap.

b. Decorate with colorful stickers.

c. Emboss a design onto the paper for an elegant effect.

d. Make your label out of white paper and add color using metallic foil.

e. Layer a thin strip of paper on top of a wider strip. Use a pair of scissors with fancy edges to make an interesting border.

Cellophane and Polypropylene

Cellophane and polypropylene are clears plastics that are used to wrap many items. Cellophane and polypropylene come in sheets and bags. Cellophane and polypropylene bags can be used to wrap odd-shaped soaps and scented soaps.Cellophane and polypropylene sheets can be wrapped around soaps like gift wrap. Select in colors or patterns to add visual interest.


Wrapping fabric around soap gives a lot of visual interest to soap. Fabric can be wrapped around soap like a gift and tied with a ribbon. Experiment with a variety of fabrics for different effects.

Here are some ideas:
•Corduroy and velour for a rich, plush look.
•Silk, for an elegant look
•Denim for an all American look (If you use denim, consider tying it down with a thin strip of leather instead of ribbon for a western look).

Boxes and Baskets

Boxes and baskets are nice containers for soap. Consider filling your box with one of these materials :

a)If you are making an herbal soap fill the box or basket halfway with an herb that matches the scent of your soap. For example, if you are making rose soap, fill the box or basket with dried rose buds. If you are making lavender soap, fill the box or basket with dried lavender. Put your soap on top of the herb. Wrap in cellophane.

b)Fill the box or basket with excelsior or gift basket filling. Place soap on top.

c)Place one or several washcloths or sponges in the basket with your soap.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Difference Between Body Butter, Balm, Salve, Ointment, Liniment, Tincture, Infused Oil, Infused Vinegar, Lotion, Cream (Natural Skin Care/Medicine)


What is difference Between Body Butters, Balms, Salves, Ointments, Liniments, Tinctures, Herbal Infused Oils, Herbal Infused Vinegars, Lotions and Creams?

Body butters are usually made with a combination of carrier oil (liquid fats) and butters (like cocoa butter, etc. So solid fats) and often a wax (like beeswax). It does not contain water. It is a thicker and harder product than a lotion or cream (though it melts on the skin on contact), and often takes longer to absorb. It may also leave a slightly oily barrier on the skin for several minutes to a few hours, depending on the types of oils used and skin type,

Butters also refer to just the butters/solid fats themselves, such as cocoa, shea, mango, or kukui butter. They vary in texture and hardness, and absorbancy; some may leave a slight oily barrier on the skin, and others may absorb instantly.

A balm or salve is similiar to a body butter except it may or may not have butters in it, and body butters contain a higher percentage of butters than balms or salves. Balms and salves are made with carrier oil and a wax, and sometimes solid fats/butters. They do not contain water. As to the difference between a balm and a salve, it depends who you ask. Most herbalists, aromatherapists, and skin care authors mention that there is no difference. From looking at products on the market, I always thought salves were usually made with herb infused oils (see below for definition), while balms were made with either infused or non-infused carrier oils, and may contain essential oils. Looking at recipes though, there is little difference between the two, and as to what each product is called, it depends on the herbalist/author/crafter! I swear I once read somewhere that there was a difference but I can't seem to find it now!

Many authors also say that balms or salves are essentially the same as an ointment. For some reason I can't fathom, I always thought that ointments were made with the same ingredients but that they were thinner/softer in texture since they usually contained less wax. But all of my sources mention they are the same thing, so I just must have been thinking of something else!

I've found several different definitions on what a liniment is. They are made for external application for the skin, to soothe or disinfect. Basically you infuse herbs in a solvent. The difference in opinion that I've seen is what kind of solvent. One source said that the solvent is witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, while another said it is a carrier oil (and made it a point to mention that a liniment did not contain wax like a salve). Another book had a bunch of different recipes that included solvents or thickeners such as wax, oil, alcohol, or cider vinegar. I guess the true definition is any infused herbal solvent for external/skin usage!

A tincture is basically when you infuse herbs in alcohol or glycerin. Some books also mention cider vinger, though most tend to think of infused vinegar as a totally different product. A tincture is for internal use, but you can use it for external use too. Tinctures are a highly concentrated product. Many herbalists prefer using tinctures, as they have a longer shelf life than fresh or dried herbs, and they utilize less shelf space.

An herbal infused vinegar is herbs infused in vinegar, usually apple cider vinegar, and occasionally red wine vinegar. There are many cosmetic, medicinal, as well as food uses of infused vinegars.

Herbal infused oils are herbs infused in a carrier oil, such as olive or other carrier oils appropriate for your skin type. There are many cosmetic, medicinal, and food uses.

You can also make herbal vinegars and herbal oils by adding a few drops of essential oils. While these can be used for cosmetic purposes, they are not recommended for consumption, since essential oils are very concentrated plant substances. Herbal oils make awesome aromatherapy body, bath, and massage oils.

Lastly, all natural body lotions or creams are made with oils and waters (water, aloe, hydrosol, herbal infusion, etc) and also either a wax (like beeswax), thickener (like xanthan gum), and/or other emulsifier (like borax). It can have butters/solid fats in it, but not always. Lotions and creams are thinner, and 'runnier' than body butters. Lotions are thinner than creams, as they contain a higher percentage of water than creams.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to Make Bath Bombs for a Dog

Does your dog need a bath?  Then why not make the bath extra special by making this Bath Bomb Recipe for a Dog. This recipe by eHow Pets Editor will really make your dog smell great plus with all of the rich emollient ingredients, it will their skin healthy and help with any dry skin/itching that they may be experiencing.

To tell you the truth, I thought this recipe was abit strange because you do not associate making bath bombs for a dog.  But what the heck, why not give it a try!  They may just like it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Lip Balm Recipe

Submitted By: Aaron of Mulberry, FL

Summary: An invigorating balm that will make your lips smile!

1 oz beeswax
1/4 cup coconut oil
2-3 drops carrot seed EO
2/3 oz butters (cocoa,shea,mango)
1/4 tsp Honey
3 - 5 drops Peppermint EO

For the butter mix above, I mix equal parts cocoa, shea, and mango. The cocoa makes the chocolate, and the shea provides much more moisture and healing ability than cocoa alone. Mango is wonderful for lip balms. Melt the butters and coconut oil over a double boiler and allow the mixture to reach 175 degrees. Let it remain over the heat for at least 20 minutes. Add the beeswax and stir until it melts. Allow to cool briefly. Add the peppermint essential and a drop or 2 of chocolate flavor oil if you wish. You can add some cocoa powder to the balm for the natural brown color. This balm turns out mainly a natural color versus anything else, even with the honey added. This balm has a tingling, a very refreshing feeling. The smell is delightful and it doesn't taste like anything. Pour into lip balm tubes or jars. Let sit, harden, and enjoy!

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.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

How to Make Skin Balm Bars

Ever since I took a class on how to make body balms, I have been heaven or my feet heaven - they are not cracking anymore.This means that the recipe I have is so much better than any commercially made product that I will now make my own from now on. 

Since the recipe works really well but it is in a jar and I was wondering if it was possible to make individual bars.  I was searching to find an answer to see if I needed to just my recipe, but I came across this interesting recipe from an eHow Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor on How to Make Skin Balm Bars.

I have not tried this recipe for Skin Balm Bars, but I plan to do so when my current body balm recipe runs out.  I am not sure which one I want to try first, the mango or the gentle.  It is a tough call even the recipe for problem skin sounds interesting.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Properties of Jojoba Butter

Jojoba Butter profile from Oils by Nature

Jojoba Butter (Simmondsia Chinensis)

Jojoba Butter (Oil) comes from a shrub that grows well in the arid and semi-dry regions of southern California, Arizona and northwest Mexico. The Jojoba plant begins bearing seeds once it reaches its fifth year of maturity.

Highly regarded by Native Americans for its cosmetic properties, Jojoba butter’s ability to heal the skin also created a belief that the oil had mystical properties.

This natural butter is expeller pressed from the fruit (nut) of the jojoba plant that grows up to 10 feet high and is found in the deserts of the U.S. and Mexico. This odorless butter makes it an ideal base conditioners and suntan lotions.

Jojoba oil is the most similar to our own sebum which is secreted by our sebaceous glands and helps to lubricate and protect your skin and hair and is now available in butter form.

Jojoba butter contains protein, minerals, natural tocopherol, high content of eicosenoic acid and long chain monounsaturated long chain fatty acids, as well as a waxy substance similar to collagen. Hypo-allergenic and pure, Jojoba butter is perfect for any skin type, especially those with a large molecular structure.

Common Uses of Jojoba Butter

* Creams
* Lotions
* Soaps
* Pomades
* After sun creams and lotions
* Sun protection products

Benefits of Jojoba Butter

* Reduces wrinkles and stretch marks
* Helps lighten and heal scars
* Acts as a humectant by creating a protective film over skin and hair shaft that seals in moisture
* Dissolves clogged pores and returns skin to natural pH balance
* Penetrates pores and hair follicles rapidly to reduce water loss
* Feels non-greasy* Aids spreadability and lubricity
* Effective conditioner, moisturizer and softener for skin and hair


Friday, May 22, 2009

Creamsicle Body Polish tutorial

Jennifer Worick, contributor

Makes approximately 2 cups

I’m not much of a baker; I make cookies around the holidays, but otherwise my baking ingredients sit idly on a shelf while I reach for the ice cream tub. I thought I’d reuse a few ingredients for a sweet treat to use on the outside of my body. This sugar body polish is downright decadent; just remember not to eat it. While you can use whatever essential oil you fancy, I infused mine with a dash of vanilla extract and sweet orange essential oil for a calorie-free but no less delicious creamsicle treat.

Rub this over your body for a calorie-free treat.

You’ll need:
1/2 cup light olive oil or another vegetable oil
15 drops sweet orange essential oil
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vitamin E capsule or 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E
1-1/2 cups raw sugar
Large pot
16-ounce glass or plastic container with lid
Measuring cups
Metal spoon
Metal tongs

Step 1: Sterilize the jar and tools in a hot-water bath: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. As it’s roiling, dip your jar (if you're using glass), cups, and spoon into the water bath using a pair of metal tongs. After 10 minutes, remove from the water with tongs and set aside to air dry thoroughly. If you use a plastic soup container (I have loads of plastic tubs, thanks to Chinese takeout and Whole Foods), clean thoroughly with soap and hot water, or clean chemically by wiping with hydrogen peroxide.

Step 2: Add the olive oil, essential oil, and vanilla extract to a small bowl. Puncture your vitamin E capsule, squeeze out the oil into the bowl, and mix thoroughly.

Step 3: Add the sugar to the mix and stir thoroughly with a metal spoon. When mixed, scoop into your container.


Instead of salt, sugar is the less-abrasive way to polish the skin.
A light olive oil is a perfect moisturizer for the skin.
Add an essential oil to enhance the scrub's scent.
Make sure to mix your oils thoroughly; otherwise they will look like this and not blend evenly with the sugar.

To use: Simply stick a finger or popsicle stick in the jar, mix up the body polish, step into the shower, scoop up a handful, and rub it on dry skin. Rinse off with hot water and marvel at your skin’s velvety texture.

Scoop your scrub into a plastic takeout tub.

Note: Clean up the tub after use so you don’t leave an oil slick for the next unsuspecting bather.

Packaging ideas: Fill out a recipe card and cut to fit the tub’s lid, coat both sides with Mod Podge, and affix to your lid. Let dry and then add two more coats of Mod Podge to the card to preserve it. Or reuse a glass container, such as a large salsa jar, and affix a label to the lid to cover the previous text. Cover the label with clear plastic tape to preserve it (sugar and oil can wreak havoc on your label). You can also affix buttons or shells to the lid with a hot-glue gun for a more decorative presentation.

To see full color pictures -


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vegetable Glycerine Profile

Botanical Name- Palm derived
Origin- Malaysia
Extraction- Isolated glycerol fats through an Hydrolysis method
Shelf life- 5 years

Notes- Stores well under dark and cool conditions and is extremely volatile to light exposure. This variety of Glycerine is suitable for food and cosmetic use and is USP standard 99.7% (the rest is water) with no added stabilizers, preservatives and other ingredients.

Color- Clear
Odor/Taste- Flat aroma, very sweet flavor resembling syrup.
Glycerol content- 99.8%
Fatty Acids and Esters- 0.3
Specific Gravity- 1.29
pH- 7
Heavy Metals - <5>Chlorides - <10>Chlorinated compounds-
<30>Sulphates- <20>Moisture- 0.13%
Organic Volatile Impurities- None detected
Diethylene Glycol and related compounds- No trace amounts detected

Vegetable Glyceine
Vegetable glycerine comes to us through a very complex and sophisticated method of extraction known as Hydrolysis, and the end product that we refer to as "Vegetable Glycerine" is usually the by-product of another oils production. The basics of this system is that the fats and oils of a raw ingredient (usually palm or coconut oils) are split into crude glycerol fats, under the combined action of water, temperature and pressure. These temperatures can exceed 400° degrees and the material is usually kept under pressure for 20-30 minutes. What is actually occurring is a sort of "counter-flow" where the water absorbs glycerol from the fatty acid phase of the oil production. After this phase this glycerol is isolated and further distilled to give buyers a standard 99% Glycerine product.

Vegetable Glycerine is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid with an incredibly sweet taste having the consistency of thick syrup. It is used as an agent in cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoos, soaps, herbal remedies, pharmaceuticals, and other household items. Because it is soluble in both, water and alcohol, its versatility is a major benefactor in its purported growth and popularity within the manufacturing sector. It is invaluable as a natural source ingredient with emollient like properties which can soften and soothe the skin and it assists the outer epidermis is retaining moisture. This helps to explain why it is one of the most popular cosmetic additives used today.

Other uses include its solvency action which aides herbalists in extracting botanical properties from plant materials without the use of alcohol. This is especially helpful for those with alcohol sensitivities as most liquid herbal extracts contain alcohol. But given its severely limited shelf life, extracts made from Vegetable Glycerine typically have a shelf life of 14-24 months whereas alcohol extracts can have an extended shelf life of 4-6 years.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How to Make an Herbal Tea Bag for the Bath

Do you like to soak in the tub?  This recipe by Meri from ehow incorporates the best of a milk bath and a tub tea to make one great soak.  Use your favorite herbs like lavender and your favorite powdered milk to create this wonderful recipe.  I really like the idea of putting your mixture in a muslin bag.  This will help prevent any of the herb from going down the drain and plugging it up.

If you are a vegan you can still make this recipe, just subsitute the regular powdered milk with alternative non-dairy powdered milk such as powdered rice milk. So check out this recipe How to Make an Herbal Tea Bag for the Bath by Meri from ehow.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How to Make Bath Oils

Want to make your bathing experience alittle more luxurious?  Why not add this bath oil to your next soak. . According to EHow Health Editor, aromotherapy has carved a big niche into our culture.  It is really big business with all of the aromatherapy candles to bath and body products out on the market that I agree with the editor that with a few simple ingredients that it is so easy for people to create their own aromatherapy products.

The one caveat that I have with this recipe is the adding of the herbs.  Just make sure that do not add really big piece or too much that it will clog your drain.  You do not need an added expense of calling a plumber to clean your drain,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Commercial vs Handmade Soap

Soap, in it's most basic and fundamental form, is the result of a chemical action between a fatty acid and a caustic alkali. (See How Is Soap Made?) However, the method by which that chemical action is accomplished can vary widely. There are some similarities and vast differences between commercial and handmade soaps.

Generally, when one speaks of commercial soap one is referring to soap made in huge batches (100,000 pounds or more) in a mechanized process where the glycerin is removed and fillers and sometimes synthetic detergents added. Often a commercial soap manufacturing plant has facilities for refining oils, recovering and purifying glycerin (which is then sold separately) and producing soap in various final forms.

Many companies that produce soap and soap related products (such as shampoos, cleaning agents and even toothpaste) buy the basic soap and then add their own ingredients and packaging to the final product.

Handmade soap, on the other hand, is generally thought of as soap made in smaller batches with personal attention, where the naturally occurring glycerin is retained in the soap. Fillers or detergents are rarely added to hand-crafted soaps because these require facilities and chemistry unavailable to (and unwanted by) most hand-crafted soap makers.

Often the hand-crafted soap maker does the entire process from start to finish, including manufacture, scenting, curing, cutting, trimming and packaging.

There is also a hybrid form of soapmaking, called melt and pour. It is a commercially produced soap base which is chemically formulated (through the use of various additives) to be able to be melted and then poured without changing its consistency. The soap base is then purchased by a soap maker who melts it down, adds colors, scents and other artistic touches and packages it for final sale. Melt and Pour soaps can be true soaps and are generally considered to be "handmade" if more than 50% of the entire process from recipe formulation through to packaging is done by hand.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to Make Decorative Bath Soaps Using Soap Decals

Do you have a favorite bar of soap that you want to make extra special?  Why not add a soap decal to you next new bar of soap?  A beautifully decorated soap can really spice the decor of your bathroom.  These easy step by step instructions on  How to Make Decorative Bath Soaps Using Soap Decals by Kristie Leong M.D. of ehow shows you how you can do this in a matter of moments. Hopefully, your guests will not hestitate to use your soaps.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Epsom Salt - Facts from Wholesale Supplies Plus

by Debbie May, President of Wholesale Supplies Plus

Have you ever take a bath in Epsom Salt and noticed your legs float?If so, it likely means you a good amount of Epsom Salt in your bath. Epsom Salt is made of Magnesium Sulfate. Magnesium Sulfate raises the water's specific gravity, making the body more buoyant.

Have you noticed you wrinkle less in an Epsom Salt Bath? This is because the ionic strength delays the wrinkle "pruning" effect of a bath soak.

Have you noticed you feel better after an Epsom Salt Bath?T his is likely due to the Magnesium Sulfate being absorbed into the skin. This absorption is thought to reduce inflammation.

Take a look at what the Wholesale Supplies Plus says about Epsom Salt....Epsom Salt is a pure mineral compound (magnesium sulfate) in crystal form that gently exfoliates skin and smoothes rough patches. Dissolved in a bath, Epsom Salt is absorbed through the skin to replenish the body's levels of magnesium. Researchers have found that magnesium increases energy by encouraging the production energy packets made in the cells. Experts recommend soaking with Epsom Salt at least three times a week to look better, feel better and have more energy.If you are looking to add to your skincare line, I highly recommend this simple addition!

Wishing You Much Success!


Friday, May 15, 2009

How to Make Heel Balm

by Karen Cotton

Cold weather and outdoor activities wreak havoc on your feet. Using a good heel balm will soothe and heal cracked soles and allow you to put your best foot forward every time.

Things You’ll Need:

2 oz beeswax
2 oz shea butter
2 oz cocoa butter
2 oz coconut oil
2 oz avocado oil
2 oz apricot kernel oil
2 oz aloe vera oil
2 oz jojoba
2 oz emu oil
40 drops orange essential oil
10 drops ylang ylang


Step 1 In a heat-safe bowl (pyrex) place all ingredients except for orange oil and ylang ylang.

Step 2 Place bowl into a water bath over medium heat to melt the butters, wax and oils.

Step 3 Remove from heat as soon as beeswax is nearly melted.

Step 4 Stir thoroughly.

Step 5 Add ylang ylang and orange oil and mix.

Step 6 Once cooled, place your mixture into a sealed container.

Blogger Note: If you have a favorite fragrance or essential oil than what is described in this recipe then go ahead and adjust the amounts. If you try this recipe, please let me know what you think.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Homemade Lotion w/Aloe Vera

Homemade Spa Recipe for homemade body lotion with Aloe Vera that will leave your skin soft and moisturized.


* 1 cup aloe Vera gel
* 1 teaspoon lanolin
* 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
* 1/3 cup coconut oil
* 1/2 to 3/4 ounce beeswax
* 3/4 cup almond oil
* 1 teaspoons essential oil


Combine the aloe Vera gel, lanolin and vitamin E oil in a food processor. Microwave the coconut oil and beeswax in a glass bow over a pot of simmering water. Stir the almond oil in the wax mixture. Slowly add the hot wax mixture to the aloe Vera mixture while the food processor is running on low. You are using the same principle as making mayonnaise. The mixture will turn white and creamy. Add your favorite essential oil and just pulse it in. Do not over blend. Pour the body lotion in a glass jar and let it cool.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Citrus Slice Soap

Submitted by Sara to the Wholesales Supplies Plus Forum.


A 4-6" length of 2" diam. PVC pipe
A 4-6" length of 3" PVC pipe
Clear base
White base
Colorants (pink, yellow, green, orange - non-bleeding is best, but some color migration can add to the charm)
Citrus fruit scents - Lime, orange, lemon, grapefruit
Plastic wrap (i.e., Saran Wrap)
Rubber bands


Step One: Melt your clear base. I'm embrarrassed to say, I never pay attention to how much I melt, but for a 4" length, start with a cup. You can always reuse the leftovers. While your soap is melting, fold a piece of plastic wrap in quarters, keeping it as tight as possible, and fasten it to the end of the 2" PVC pipe with the rubber bands, effectively sealing off that end. Once your clear base is melted, add your colorant and scent (I usually go just 8 drops per 4 ounces of base, but you can go up to 3% for FOs.). Pour into PVC pipe and spritz with alcohol to kill off any bubbles. Let it set up. To unmould it easier, stick it in the freezer for about half an hour once it's cooled. Remove it from freezer and let it come completely back to room temp before unmoulding. It'll take a while. This makes the "meat" part of the fruit, the part you eat.

Step Two: After you've removed your soap from the PVC pipe, stand it on end and cut it into 6 slices, like you would an orange. Don't worry that they're not perfect. These are fun, whimsical soaps. Stick them in the fridge.

Step Three: Melt your white base. While that's going, seal off your 3" length of PVC pipe just as you did the other one. Since this pipe is bigger, you can lightly grease the inside of the mould with a little oil on a paper towel if you want. Scent the base the same as you did for the inside part. For lime, I make this light green. For pink grapefruit, you'd make the inside pink and this part light yellow. Orange and lemon, you'd leave white. Let the melted white base cool down until a skin forms on top. Stir that in and let it cool until another skin forms. Stir that in, and you're ready to pour. While you're waiting for the second skin, carefully place your cold slices inside the 3" PVC pipe. Again, perfection isn't the goal here.Just before pouring your white, give the slices a good spritz of alcohol; this will help the soap adhere better. Slowly and carefully pour the white over the slices. You will likely have to hold them in place as you pour, so be careful not to burn yourself. This next part is a test of coordination. Keep holding the slices for about 30 seconds and spritz the top of the soap with alcohol. That little window of time is usually enough for the bottom to set up a little, holding the slices in place.

Step Four: Let harden and unmould just as you did in Step One. After the soap is completely finished, slice it in 1" segments and wrap.

Good luck! To see pictures of this soap, click on the link below.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Homemade Stick Deodorant

In the DIY world of home health and beauty products, deodorant seems to be the the most feared replacement. Stinking is NOT OKAY in our culture, right?

But aluminum crammed in your pores cannot be good for you, and it seems in recent years that store-bought deodorant is becoming less and less effective anyway. This deodorant uses a natural moisture absorber (cornstarch), a natural deodorizer (baking soda), and a natural anti-bacteria/fungal oil (tea tree oil) to keep any stink from developing in the first place.

So, here's what I suggest....make this stuff ahead and use it on SATURDAY, or a sick day, or any day you aren't going to see anyone special, so you'll feel secure and not look like a nut obsessively sniffing your underarms all day. Once you get over the stink phobia, let your body get used to it, and you'll never go back.

Homemade Stick Deodorant

1. Put 1/4 cup each of baking soda and cornstarch** in a bowl with 10+ drops tea tree oil. (I like 20 drops, but I'm a tea tree oil nut. I hear lavender oil will work as well.)

2. This deodorant can be used as a powder, but if you want a stick, go to the shortening section of the store and buy this solid-at-room-temperature-awesome stuff:

3. Stir 2+ TBSP in until it's the consistency you like.

4. Smash into empty deodorant container. (Will be a bit sturdier once it sets a day or so.)

When applying this deodorant, use a lighter hand than you would with normal stick deodorant, especially the first couple of days or it'll drop little balls on your bathroom rug.Used correctly, this stuff is invisible and lasts for ages, as it works with a very light layer. You should not be able to SEE it once applied.

**If you have especially sensitive skin, increase the amount of cornstarch to 6T and decrease the baking soda to 2T.

Source: and

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vitamin E Stick Recipe

Lip and under eye protection was never this convenient and effective! Vitamin E Stick--in its handy JUMBO stick tube, moisturizes, soothes and protects against dryness, and wind damage.

Features protection with vitamin E, and nourishing oils--in a natural beeswax base.
Easy to make, easy to use.

Ingredients: (weighed)
4 ozs Organic Soybean Oil
3/4 oz or .75 ozs of Candelilla Wax
1/2 oz or .5 ozs of Beeswax Pearls
1 oz of Castor Oil
1/4 oz or .25 ozs of Vitamin E Oil
4-5 Jumbo Lip/Lotion Tube

Add all these ingredients to a small pan and heat over a med-low heat until liquefied. Pourinto our Jumbo Sticks, let harden, label and use!

This recipe makes 5-6 Jumbo Lip/Lotion Tubes.

For extra protection add Micronized Titanium Dioxide as an SPF factor. See chart for SPF scale.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

How to Make Herbal Bath Oil

By eHow Fashion, Style & Personal Care Editor

Adding a few drops of homemade herbal bath oil to a warm bath is a delightful way to relax after a busy day. The warm water and herbs will not only soothe your skin and release tension in your joints and muscles, but will benefit your mind and spirit as well. Read on to learn how to make herbal bath oil.

Instructions Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:

2 oz. grape seed oil
2 oz. jojoba oil
1 ½ oz. dried herbs of your choice
Liquid food coloring (optional)
Slow cooker
Unbleached muslin
Dark colored glass bottle, sterilized


Step1 Put the oils and dried herbs in the slow cooker and stir thoroughly. Make sure the slow cooker is on the lowest setting so that the mixture won't overheat.

Step 2 Allow the herbal bath oil to infuse in the slow cooker for two hours, stirring every 15 minutes. Stirring the mixture is crucial, so it's a good idea to use a timer to remind you.

Step 3 Fold the unbleached muslin and place it in a strainer. Strain the oil mixture two or three times, making sure that all of the herbs are removed from the oil, as they can cause the mixture to turn rancid quickly.

Step 4 Pour the mixture into the glass bottle, and label. This herbal bath oil is very concentrated and makes enough oil for at least four baths. Add a few drops to the running water when you fill your tub.

Tips & Warnings
Nearly any oil can be substituted for the grape seed and jojoba oil, according to your preferences.

Sweet almond oil, sesame oil, wheat germ oil or extra-virgin olive oil are all good choices.

Add about 20 drops of essential oil before straining the mixture if you want your herbal bath oil to double as an aromatherapy bath. Use any fragrance that you like.

Double the amount of herbs if you prefer to use fresh herbs.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Anti-Flu Therapeutic Aromatherapy

With H1D1 (Swine Flu) in the news these days, I found this article on Joan Morais's blog about creating Anti-Flu Therapeutic Aromatherapy Recipes that I would like to share with you.

In her article, there are a couple of easy recipes you can create with esential oils that you can create at home. She has links to which essential oils companies that she uses. You may want to check out your local health food store or Whole Foods Market because they carry Simpliers Essential Oils and Aura Cacia Essential Oils.

She also has some really nice photos that appear in her article. I am planning to try these recipes. Try these recipes and let me know which one is your favorite.

Olive Massage Butter

by Allison B. Kontur

You will need:
6 oz Olive Butter
2 oz Shea Olein (Liquid Shea Butter)
2.5 ml (1/5 tsp) Lavender Sage Fragrance Oil

Phase 1: In a double boiler over low heat, heat olive butter & shea olein until liquified and remove from heat.

Phase 2: Transfer liquid oils to a glass mixing utensil and add fragrance.

Phase 3: Using a hand mixer with a whisk attachment (equipment you have reserved strictly for formulating and not food use), begin to whisk liquid until lightly whipped. This may take some time to achieve and you may find it helpful to pop the container into the fridge or freezer to speed up the process.

Phase 4: When thoroughly combined, package in an airtight container. To Use: Dispense a small portion of butter into the palm of your hands and rub together vigorouslyto warm the butter before massage application.

Other Uses: Hand & Nail Treatment, Foot Balm, Solid Bath Oil


Friday, May 8, 2009

Properties of White Beeswax

White Beeswax (Cera Alba) from Oils by Nature
From the words “Cera” (waxy) and “Alba” (white)…

For every 100 pounds of honey produced, only about one to two pounds of Beeswax is obtained. Beeswax that is thousands of years old differs little from new Beeswax. It does not oxidize and is unaffected by mildew, salt water and other elements.

Ancient Romans are thought to have developed the first Beeswax wicked candles based upon Egyptian tallow-soaked torches.

Today’s phrase “mind your own Beeswax” was coined centuries ago when women used Beeswax to soften the skin on their face. Hence, when they would catch another woman staring, they would use the phrase.

Of course, when the women smiled, the Beeswax would crack. Thus, the popular “crack a smile” …phrase was born.

This natural wax has the same properties and characteristics as yellow beeswax and has been processed through a non-chemical bleaching process to achieve the white color.

Beeswax is a natural emulsifier as well as one of the oldest and purest waxes. For hundreds of years, natural beeswax has been used in creams, candles, lipsticks and other cosmetics.

During production by the honey bees, beeswax begins as a white substance but then darkens after contamination from pollen and contact with the bees. With a high melting point between 142-149o, white beeswax burns slowly.

Common Uses of White Beeswax
* Creams
* Lipsticks
* Lip Balms and salves
* Perfume base
* Candles

Benefits of White Beeswax
* Adds hardness
* Natural emulsifier
* Offers a high melting point
* Burns slowly* Stable
* Low sensitivity and allergic reaction

For full properties, visit here.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Shea Sugar Scrub Recipe

It's almost bikini season and that means time to treat those dry, flaky trouble spots before you have to bare your beach-baby body. Sugar scrubs are ideal for taming dry winter skin or even as a pre-epilating treatment. The addition of calendula oil in this formula helps tame post-epilating troublespots too!

You will need:
4 oz Shea Olein (Liquid Shea Butter)
2 oz Calendula Oil, Infusion (Organic)
6 oz Organic Cane Sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) Pomegranate Pucker Flavor Fragrance Oil
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) Phenonip (Preservative)

Phase 1: In a double boiler over low heat, melt shea olein until liquified and remove from heat. (In warmer summer months, you may omit this step as the olein will be liquid at warmer ambient temperatures).

Phase 2: Add Calendula Infusion to the melted shea olein and mix well to combine. Pour liquid oils over the organic cane sugar and stir well to combine. Add preservative and then fragrance oil, blending thoroughly for each ingredient.

Phase 3: Spoon into your choice of containers/packaging.

Allison B. Kontur


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Your Invited to Pt Richmond Stroll

For my students who were interested in visiting The Nova Studio to check out what Lori has to offer there is the annual Pt. Richmond Stroll on May 13 from 4 pm to 8 pm. If you go to Lori's blog and print out her coupon you can sign up for a class and get $5 off.

For more information about the event and to print out a coupon, please visit this link -

If you go, I hope you have a good time.

A New Melt and Pour Soapmaking Book

There is a new melt and pour soap making book going to be released sometime in Sept. 2009 on by Soapy Love herself - Debbie Chialtas. She made the popsicle soaps famous and now has written a book! It has 128 lucious, full color pages of tutorials and tips, with chapters about cutwork, color, molds, and unusual materials.

Soapylove: Squeaky-Clean Projects Using Melt-and-Pour Soap (Paperback)by Debbie Chialtas from North Light Books for only $13.59!

I have pre-ordered the book and cannot wait to get it. If you would like to pre-order this book, please visit the following link -

Once I get it I will let you know what I think! It definately looks like a winner! Debbie also has a colorful newsletter for sale. If you would like more information check out her blog @

Making your Glycerin Soap Sparkle

For those who have taken my melt and pour soapmaking class and used glitter for extra sparkle and wanted to purchase comestically safe glitter, go to Go Planet Earth ( They have various bright colors to choose from. Price starts out at $3.19 per ounce.

I am planning to add some colors like bright yellow to my upcoming class in October.

Pina Colada Lip Balm

October 24th, 2008
Soapcrafters in

2 tsp Beeswax
8-9 tsp Sweet Almond Oil (8 if you like it more waxy, 9 if you want it more glossy)
5 drops Coconut Flavor
5 drops Fiji Fruit Flavor
9 Lip Balm Tubes
3 Pipettes

Melt the beeswax in a small sauce pan on low heat.When wax is melted, add almond oil and flavor ( use 2 of the pipettes as droppers for your flavors); stir well.Use the 3rd pipette to fill the tubes. They should set up in about 15-30 minutes.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Monoi De Tahiti Summer Salt Scrub

During the summer, Monoi De Tahiti remains in a liquid state as long as the weather remains warm and sunny. This makes July the perfect month to feature Monoi De Tahiti in a Scrub of The Month recipe. The subtle aroma of Tiare has been blended with Tangerine, and Ylang Ylang Essential Oils, and Ginger Lily CO2 Extract. The warm, sunny aroma of this scrub is perfect for a summer spa session or a salt glow massage.

Monoi De Tahiti Summer Salt Scrub (Makes 4 ounces of scrub.)


1/4 cup Sea Salt, Fine
4 tablespoons Monoi De Tahiti Oil
1 tablespoon Apricot Kernel Oil
20 drops Ginger Lily CO2 Extract
20 Drops Tangerine Essential Oil
5 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil


In a small mixing bowl combine the Sea Salt, Monoi De Tahiti, and Apricot Kernel Oil. Mix well, then add the Essential Oils and CO2 Extract. Mix once again before packaging.


This scrub looks great packaged in a Flat PET Jars.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Making Cream Soap in a Crockpot

When I was at Juniper Tree in Berkeley last month purchasing supplies for an upcoming body balms and butters class, I found that they were selling a booklet by Catherine Failor on making cream soap for $5.95. I went ahead and purchased it. As I was reading the pamphlet on my return trip to Union City on BART she makes her recipes on the stove top, but you can make whipped cream soap in a crockpot. Since Catherine sells soap mold via her website ( I thought I would contact her to see if she could provide information on how to do so. She responded back to tell me the best way to find out make cream soap with a crockpot was to join a online group such as cream soapmaking on Yahoo.

While searching the internet I found this link from Soap Making Essentials that describes how to make Whipped Cream Soap in a crock pot -

These instructions include very simple instructions with color photos of each step. The author also recommends joining the Yahoo Cream Soap Group. If you are interested in joining this group here is a link that will take you there -

I am continuly looking for other recipes to share with you. If you have a recipe that you would like to share, please contact me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Basic Balm and Salve How-to

from Janice Sheplar, soap and toiletries maker extraordinaire (and the creator of our wonderful Baby Powder, from My Grandmother's Garden.)

For those of you who want to make something to soften your skin but are afraid or don't want to go the Cream/Lotion route which involves water and preservatives, there are balms and salves.

A Basic Salve starts with:

2 oz. Wax of your choice (Beeswax or for those allergic to it or opposed to animal products, Candelilla Wax)

8 Oz. Carrier Oil Of your choice

Essential Oil of your choice ( for this amount of ingredients @1-1/2%, it would be 90 drops) You can infuse your oils with herbs if you wish.


Melt all ingredients together, when melted, blend thoroughly, let cool to about lukewarm, add Essential Oil and then cool completely. Your personal choice of oils will determine the end product (For dry flaky skin, oily skin, damaged skin, normal skin, etc.,)

A Basic Balm is simply a choice of hard & Liquid oils whipped together. I also add cornstarch to give it a "dryer" feel.

4 oz. of one or combination of the following - Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Coconut Oil (76 degree)
1 to 2 oz. Liquid Oil of your choice (Depends on what you want to accomplish)
1 oz. Cornstarch
2 Teaspoons Antioxidant (Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamin E, Low Alpha Tochopherals.)

Combine the oils and beat on high in your mixer or with hand beater until light and creamy looking. Start adding cornstarch and beat in thoroughly until complete.

I keep mine @ room temperatures and it is fine. It appears to melt into your skin and feels like velvet.

(I thank Janice for sharing her secret Balm recipe. I make a lot of salves, and they DO tend to leave your hands a bit greasy feeling. She's right; the balm leaves a wonderful soft velvety feeling behind it. I've experienced it in some wonderful solid perfumes that Janice has shared.)

And if you want to create a smaller amount of the Balm:

2 oz. Shea or Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
1 oz. Calendula or Rose Hip Seed Oil (fixed oils)
1 Capsule Flax Seed Oil
1 Capsule Vitamin E.

Start with .5 oz. Cornstarch & go up to 1 oz. Use the same procedure as above.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Foot Bath Recipe

by Allison B. Kontur

Winter weather wreaks havoc on tired, neglected feet. Give yourself a break with a foot bath! The following recipe combines relaxing salts blended with moisturizing coconut oil. The use of tapioca starch yields a dry end-product that is not "oily" to the touch!

You will need:

8 oz Dead Sea Salt - Fine Grain
8 oz Epsom Salts
2 oz Tapioca Starch (about 2 cups)
2 oz Coconut, Fractionated Oil
10 ml (2 tsp) Euphoria* Essential Oil Blend


Phase 1: Place tapioca starch in a blender reserved for formulating (it is helpful if your blender has a top with a removable plug in the center). Cap your blender and with blades on, pour oil and fragrance through center of lid and mix until thoroughly combined. The tapioca starch should still be powder-like in appearance and may look slightly lumpy. If it looks like a paste or has the consistency of tiny balls, you have used too much oil. (It is imperative that you weigh your ingredients for your recipe to turn out successfully.) Pour tapioca starch/oil blend into a sterile glass or stainless steel bowl and set aside.

Phase 2: Add dead sea salt and epsom salts to the tapioca starch mixture from phase one. Using gloved hands, mix ingredients gently until thoroughly combined. Phase 3: Package in an airtight container.

To Use:

Measure out product into a very warm foot bath. Soak feet for 15-30 minutes before toweling off and applying moisturizer. We used 1/4-1/2 cup per bath. This treatment is ideal prior to foot massage.