Monday, October 27, 2014

Ayurvedic Amla - Natural Skin and Hair Care

Today we're going to take a closer look at one of the unexpected surprises that recently appeared on my doorstep due to a mix-up in an order delivery. So far, it's been quite a pleasure getting to know this ingredient.  Although I am currently using it in powdered form, it originates as a fruit that is native to India.

Let's get acquainted with this bitter, green berry known as Amla.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How To Tell If Your Product Has Gone Bad

There's no way around it. Sometimes a product you've made goes bad. In my lab there is - at any given time - a selection of creams, gels, and serums from a week to 5 years old standing around specifically for the purpose of being tested, monitored, and studied.

Above is a clear indication (pun totally intended) that something inside this bottle just isn't very happy any more. The cloudiness at the bottom is not supposed to be there. Its presence is a fail-safe visual warning that this face gel has turned into a bacterial bomb and is suitable for one thing only – being discarded.

Let's imagine (for a brief moment) that we don't have access to advanced microbiological testing equipment. What to do?

There are ways.

Today I'm going to pass on a few basic tips on how to check your homemade products and how to know when to toss them.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aromatherapy inhalers

Not long ago, I showed you how to make an anti-stuffy nose inhaler. It all came about as a result of these handy dandy little inhaler-containers one of my suppliers started carrying.

And anti-stuffy nose inhalers are great, but who's going to stop us from getting creative?

No one! We can have fun and play around with all the essential oil combos our heart desires. And that's just what we're going to do today.

We're going to make aromatherapy inhalers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Journey of Ayurvedic Powders

Sometimes a mistake turns out to be a good thing – like the time my ingredients order accidentally got switched with another persons. This happened quite recently, and I'm pretty sure we both came out ahead. For my part, I was allowed to keep the package, so I'm guessing the other person received the same message.

The supplier will surely also come out ahead from this. Letting both of us keep and use ingredients we might never have otherwise tried will undoubtedly result in additional future orders.

Thanks to this little mix-up, I have thrown myself into researching and getting acquainted with 2 exciting new discoveries - both of which are ayurvedic powders.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bamboo Hydrosol - Soothing Mystery Mist

This is a brand new acquaintance for me. Who knew it was possible to make hydrosol from bamboo? Ask the French, and you'll find it most certainly is. Bamboo hydrosol has a lovely, light, subtle scent that is both pleasant and mild.

Monday, October 6, 2014

DIY Anti-Stuffy-Nose Inhalers

Cold season is coming on –  the perfect time to think about keeping sinuses clear and battling stuffy noses!

Today, I'm going to show you how to make your own anti-stuffy-nose vapor inhaler. Not only is this is an easy peasy project for beginners that won't break the budget, it's also a great idea for a personally-made gift for family, friends, young or old. (not for children under 6)

Sniff sniff - let's go!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Recurring Procedural Glitch

Not long ago, I made a small batch of orange flavoured lip balms and without fail, I made the same procedural mistake I've been making for years.

After so many years of making lip balms, one would think I'd wise up and at the very least write a reminder on my formula notes in big red letters with thick underlines, exclamation points, and arrows...

...but no.

Instead, I just repeat the error.


And again.

Granted, this time was a little different, because this time, I pulled out the camera, documented it, and am now sharing it with you. (Don't you just love seeing other peoples' mistakes?)

Must be 'cuz it's Been a While

I usually make small batches of about 5-6 lip balms at a time, and it is quite normal that a fair amount of time passes between my balm-making sessions - sometimes months.

That must be why I always end up with sinkholes, overfill, and spillover.

Lip balm must be poured while liquid (read: hot). As the mixture cools, it shrinks a bit, creating an indent in the middle of the balm.

Many soapmaking forums recommend overfilling, which is fine if you're making 50 lip balms in a special filling tray where the excess can easily be scraped off and remelted, but I'm hand-pouring 5 cases most of the time...

...and they always end up looking like this.

The excess balm that has spilled over the edge has to be carefully, but completely removed. Because if it isn't all removed, the label won't stick or stay on.

How it Should Have Been Done

Fill the cases 3/4 full
Allow to cool for a minute (so the necessary sinking can take place)
Fill to the top
Voilá - perfect balm

The Ingredients

The ingredients for this balm (named Feed my Lips) are: organic cocoa butter, pesticide-free lanolin, hand-filtered beeswax from a local beekeeper, organic thistle oil, organic sunflower oil, e-vitamin and carnuaba wax. Because this order included a flavor request, orange and mandarin essential oils were added.

Do Tell

Do you have a glitch you repeatedly make in your work process? Then do please leave a comment below and tell me I'm not the only one!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Microcurrent Face Lift - Is it the Real Deal?

Microcurrent face lifting or the 'non-surgical face lift' is the promise of youth in a box. By purchasing an instrument of microcurrent-delivering properties and using it with a 'specially designed gel' (or cream), you can tone your skin, decrease wrinkles, increase your skin's thickness, and plump up your collagen levels – all in the comfort of your own home.

So say those who sell these devices.

Sound like a miracle cure? I thought so too, so I had to check it out.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Serious Make-Up in The Purse Test

I know this isn't the prettiest sight you've ever seen on this blog (or probably anywhere else), but what you're looking at here is hard science – kind of.

Sometimes, my product testing gets ugly.

Real ugly.

Like, being-dropped-into-a-purse-and-banged-around-and-mistreated-for-a-good-long-time ugly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sample Sized Lotion Bars and The Continued Quest

Ever since finding the ideal containers for sample sized lotions bars, I've been on a hunt for the ideal form so I could fill these cute little tins and start using them.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Men, Lip balm, and Change

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that most men are a pretty conservative bunch. Men just don't like change very much; not with what's served for dinner, not with where things belong (anywhere) in the house, not with clothes styles and, well, pretty much anything else.

Children are the same in many respects, but in my experience, men are more reluctant than kids to try something new.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Logic of 'If A, Then B'

The term 'if A, then B' is regularly mentioned on this blog, and a couple of you have asked me to explain this in a bit more detail.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Making of a New Serum: Orange Blossom

Here's one of my latest personal-formula products: Orange Blossom Serum. It's a special order product from a regular client.

The request description: "My skin is beginning to feel drier in general and I need something that really sinks in and moisturises. Can you make something light and non-greasy-feeling that really has staying power and can be used on the face as well as eye area? Oh, and can you make it so I can use it either day or night?"

Happy to!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Cucumber Seed Oil - Sublime for Skin and Hair

Cucumber and oil in the same sentence seems a little odd, doesn't it? Cucumbers are all about droplets of watery freshness and a mild scent of green dewiness. Cucumber doesn't associate with anything oily.

Nevertheless, there is an oil that has its origins in cucumber – the seeds to be exact – and I've been in love with it ever since I started working with it last year.

Cucumber seed oil is a skin-loving joy to use that I don't expect to grow tired of any time soon.