Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Whatever your plans tonight, I hope you have a wonderful time.

Thank you for reading, commenting, participating in giveaways, asking questions, and being such an inspiration throughout 2013.

Here's a New Year's toast – to you.


See you next year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Icy Season

Although I haven't yet experienced an ice-sculpted building in person, it is one of the things I would love to try - if only once.

Here is a peek at the beautiful ice building in Kiruna, Sweden.

For more about ice hotels, check out this link.

PS: I'll be back with more skin care tips, articles about ingredients, case studies, product development, giveaways and more in the new year – promise!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Happy Holidays

Tonight, all Scandinavians make merry and celebrate Christmas. It is indeed the Eve where the family Christmas dinner is enjoyed, games are played, and presents are opened.

The day-long family festivity is filled with home-baked goodies, traditional roast pork and duck, mulled wine, singing and dancing. The evening culminates with the celebratory opening of gifts.

For many children, today is agonizingly long, but the day is also filled with activities to keep them occupied – baking, table setting, watching the Christmas specials – there's plenty to do.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yalda, Kwanzaa or any of the other many winter festivals, I wish you a wonderful holiday season.

Now excuse me, I have a roast duck to check on!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's in The Bag

This is the last order of this year – ready to be personally delivered.

In the background, the latest addition to my ongoing quest for packaging – the final touch – a proper gift bag!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lotion Bars Followup

Recently, I made a very small portion of lotion bars using 2 different beeswaxes from a local beekeeper who's lovely hand-crafted honey I have been enjoying throughout this Fall.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunshine in a Bottle

Wouldn't it be great if it were possible to capture the warmth of summer and joy of lovely fresh flowers – all in one little bottle? We would have the power to stave off mood-dampening wintry darkness with a few drops of golden sunshine.

Well, I've got a little surprise for you. It's possible – and all because of the lovely plant you see above.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lotion Bars with Local Beeswax

Not long ago, we looked at some down-home local beeswax – straight from the beekeeper. To test out both beeswaxes, I decided to try them out by doing a very small portion of lotion bars.

Then it occurred to me.

We've never done lotion bars on this blog!

Double fun!

Prepare for some easy peasy, fun-loving lotion crafting, because lotion bars are actually so easy to do that you (almost) can't go wrong. They're also both fun to use and effective skin care for the whole family.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Bees Knees

Bees are life. They are such an integral part of keeping this planet functioning that they deserve our reverence, admiration, and celebration.

If you ask me, bees are, well, the bee's knees.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Calendula - The Healing Flower

Isn't this just the image of sunshine and freshness? These lovely plants have all kinds of great things to offer us - both internally and externally.

The common name of calendula officinalis is Pot Marigold. The fact that Calendula's INCI name ends with officinalis means this plant has a history of medicinal use. Let's have a closer look at the properties of this lovely flower.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Eye Love You Giveaway Winners

3 winners have been found for this giveaway. Are you excited? I am!  People generally seem to be shy with my giveaways, so everyone who left a comment had a pretty good chance at winning.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Mixing Ingredients - is More Always Better?

Tina asked in this post
"I always wonder when I read those very long ingredients lists with good oils, butters and stuff. When you add so many different things, you end up with such a small amount of one specific ingredient on your skin - how much good will it do my skin? Would it be better to keep it simple?

This Q applies to my own oil blends and creams/body butters as well – is there a limit to how many oils I should mix? Does it actually make a product better to keep adding ingredients or is there such a thing as too much of the good stuff?"

This is an excellent question Tina!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

When Cocoa Loco went Uh Oh

If I had all kinds of super expensive fancy equipment to test my products, I would be able to finish developing them a lot faster.

My products are all tested 'in real time'. Sometimes that means having to dump a product after months of it 'behaving nicely'. Some products will actually fool you and behave nicely for what seems like forever – then go wonky (practically) overnight.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cucumber Eye Mask Giveaway

Party season approaches with rapid steps. It's time to get serious. You may be working extra hours, partying hardily or just in need of a pick-me-up.

Eye Love You Moisturising Mask is waiting to sooth and smooth your tired eyes.

No samples sizes this time. I'm getting into the Christmas spirit and giving away full sized products for 3 lucky winners.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Marrying 2 Deodorants

Here it is. creamy, lovely and nothing at all like the mush from this previous post. After working on perfecting the texture of my stick deodorant since 2012 and reintroducing ingredients I feared were on the way out (but seem to be on the way in again), it looks like this might just be the winner.

Looks like.

I say this with a certain hesitation.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A is for Arsenic

Arsenic is a known carcinogen.

Carcinogens are bad. Period.

Agreed? We don't want them at all, do we? Not even the slightest hint of carcinogenic exposure!

Let's remove them from every product we may use, consume, or otherwise come into contact with. Let's obliterate them from the planet!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clay and Butter Gentle Cleanser

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember 2012 as a 'year of cleansing bars'. After developing my first one and experiencing how much my skin loved it, I continued making them. Before long, there was a collection of 18 different bars.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Aloe Vera - Hip, Hype or Hazardous?

I know the title sounds odd. Aloe Vera isn't normally associated with anything even close to being hazardous.


Chris asked me to have a look at the growing concerns about the possible hazards of aloe vera. In researching this, I came across several new studies that prompted me to take a fresh view of this succulent.

Let's examine how such a popular ingredient with such an innocent reputation can be any kind of hazard, and also take a look at whether or not it can actually do what proponents claim it can do.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Robot Raid

Rikke wrote me the other day and mentioned that she always enjoyed reading but that it was a bit of a chore to leave a comment from a mobile device due to the 'captcha' window popping up and asking you to 'prove you aren't a robot'.

Personally, I'm not crazy about having to jump through all kinds of online hoops to leave comments on blogs either, so I decided to untick the function to see if it mattered all that much.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How To – Soothing Skin Spray with Calendula Tincture

A while back, I did a couple of posts about how to make, strain and bottle your own tinctures. It's fun, easy, relatively inexpensive, and quite rewarding! Tinctures offer a world of different uses. Extra bonus: you simply can't avoid getting to know more about your herbs and their properties when you start making tinctures.

Fair warning: making tinctures is fun, educational, and a little addictive.

Today I'm going to show you how super easy it is to make a soothing skin spray with calendula tincture.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Eye Love You and the Entire Universe Too

This has actually happened several times.

The first time, I thought it was an amazing coincidence, but it kept happening. After a while, I started accepting it as 'normal'.

I seem to be connected to some sort of odd brainwave frequency somewhere.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tinctures - Internal and External Uses

This year has proved to be a truly tincture-filled one as I found a renewed interest in infusing different herbs in alcohol late this Spring. Getting re-aquainted with my favorite herbs 'in an alcohol setting' has been fun and has inspired a few new products.

Above are the herbs presently 'brewing' in my tincture cupboard:
on the left – lavender
on the right – cornflower

These were both started the other day, and the lavender one has already turned a gorgeous deep purple color.

Below are links that will show you how to make your own tincture, but first, let's take a look at tinctures and see what they can be used for.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween - Moisturizing Make-up Removal

Happy Halloween! If you've ever wanted to do a bit of artistic face painting, today is the day to let your imagination go wild.

When you're finished creating the most fantastical, gorgeous make-up – go celebrate 'All Hallowed's Eve' without a worry in the world.

Even if you party through the night and arrive home almost too tired to remove your make-up, I'm going to show you how to remove your make-up, cleanse your face, and moisturize your skin – all in one go.

Not only is this method budget-friendly, but it's good for all skin types (even sensitive).

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Rooibos Has to Offer Skin

Rooibos is one of those things that trended its way into our lives on the wave of the other 'power foods' that promised eternal youth and anti-oxidant amazingness.

African Red Tea.

It just sounds all kinds of exotic, sexy and a whole lot of other easy-to-sell things, doesn't it?

Cosmetics brand Ole Henriksen offers a African Red Tea series of skin care products. I'll be honest: I try the Mist every time I come across a tester bottle. I love the look of the bottle, the scent of the product, and the whole idea of a tea being good for your skin just agrees with me somehow (and yes, I have read the ingredients list and realize full well Ole Henriksen's African Red Tea Mist contains a whole lot of other things besides rooibos).

So what does rooibos have to offer? Let's have a look!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Caffeine and Hair Growth - Mr. Bee's Photos

This is Mr. Bee's head – photographed at the end of January of this year. Mr. Bee is 30-something and otherwise healthy, but I think we can agree there is a visible thinning of the hair.

Mr Bee has been testing my hair and scalp boosting product – Stuart's Formula – since taking this picture.  He has also been doing the 30 second head massage daily (or "as often as he remembers") for the same time period.

Monday, October 21, 2013

On-The-Go Luxury Skin Care on a Budget

Some people don't really want on-the-go skincare, but because of their demanding schedules, simply need on-the-go skincare.

Take parents with small children. Imagine this:

  • The luxury of a shower without interruptions
  • A full 5 minutes to apply make-up
  • Enough 'me time' to style the hair

These simple luxuries may very well seem like a distant dream to parents with babies or toddlers. But never fear! You don't have to wait until your child is a fully grown before you can once again allow yourself a few extra minutes of me time.

You Are Appreciated

I herald you dedicated and loving parents for putting your childs' needs first. You – of all people – deserve extra special pampering!

So, just for you – here is a list of all-natural, instant-satisfaction beauty tips that will fit most skin types, hair types, budgets, and time tables.

Now Go!

Be Pampered!


Friday, October 18, 2013

A Successful Failure - The Deodorant That Died

This looks a bit worse than it is. Well no, maybe it doesn't. But there is actually quite a bit of good news in the story of the stick deodorant you see here.

Ok, let's be honest, it doesn't look much like a stick. It looks more like a mush deodorant.

It also acts and feels like mush. Despite that, it is an effective deodorant that goes on smoothly and has staying power.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lab Rats and Baking Soda Burn

What do lab rats have to do with baking soda burn from DIY deodorant? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot.

I get scads and scads of visitors to my posts about skin reactions to baking soda deodorant, and it does keep me on a constant lookout for new information.

Here's something I came across recently.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Caffeine and Hair Growth - Case Study Update

Ages ago (January), I started a case study on caffeine and hair growth. The original intention was to take and show bimonthly pictures with myself as well as the participating testers.

Sorry for the delay, but if you have been waiting for this update, I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed. The results so far have surprised even me.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Skin and pH - What's Natural?

Our skin is built up of many layers that are all fascinating to get to know, but today we're 'just' going to scratch the surface – the outermost, protective layer – also known as the acid mantle.

Monday, October 7, 2013

What's on Your Mind?

Although I often get questions about 'everything cosmetics, skin and hair care', I recently realized I have never asked you wonderful readers to tell me what you'd like to read about. What's on your mind?

Do you have any questions about cosmetics making, ingredients, production, skin care, hair care? Are you dying to know about soap-free cleansing? Pressing eyeshadows? What makes AHA's work? Why hydrosols do what they do? The best way to exfoliate? Why konjac glucomannan has such a long and unpronounceable name?

Voice your thoughts!


When people ask me something that requires research, I always try my best to do a thorough job of it (read: I may end up using quite a bit of time on it). Therefore, please don't be too disappointed if I can't provide an instant answer.

Here's a shortlist of what I've been researching and am working on at the moment – all questions that have been put to me by customers, readers, interested friends etc.:
  • natural sun protection - does it exist? (I haven't forgotten, Alicyn!)
  • tinctures and what to use them for
  • calendula - what it has to offer
  • rooibos and skincare  - is it healthy or hype?
  • how can artificial sweetener ease an itchy scalp

Don't be Shy

I look forward to your questions, comments, input, and inspiration!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Maybe This is How Polyparaben Was Born

This might very well be the true story of how little 'Polly Paraben' was born.

Yes, I know it's spelled polyparaben, but I figure if we're going to misspell a name, we may as well give it a bit of pizazz and throw in a pic of an adorable little baby.

So stick with me and hopefully you will be entertained.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lavender Essential Oil - All That and More

Before I started working with essential oils in earnest, I wasn't the biggest fan of the scent of lavender. It seemed a bit too 'clean' and 'soap-like'.

But that was then.

After working with it and becoming familiar with what lavender has to offer, my perception changed dramatically.

A recent article with new study results inspired me to revisit lavender and touch on some of the many uses of this wonderful essential oil. We'll get to the study in a minute, first let's get reacquainted with this wonderful plant.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Natural Preservatives That Aren't

The other day I happened across an article in an e-zine about natural beauty and health. It had an article title that caught my eye. The description promised to 'reveal which natural ingredients could act as preservatives for homemade beauty products'.

This sounded interesting.

And it was.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Palm Oil and Politics

There are some cosmetics (and food) ingredients that invoke passionate reactions from people. In recent years, several have been spotlighted, inspiring protest groups, lobbyists, and media campaigns.

Today, we're going to take a look at the politics of palm oil production.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Vitamin C – New Creamy Formula

This Vitamin-C based skin lightening formula has been part of the nightly routine of several ladies for months now. I just wanted to show you the (brand new) label for this reformulated product and tell you that a few new testers have recently been enlisted.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Second Skin Body Frappé Giveaway Winners

Body Frappé winners! Yay! Ready to wing its way to the winners are 5 pots of Second Skin Body Frappé.

Shall we proceed with the name picking ceremony?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Herbal Tincture How To - Straining and Bottling

Straining and bottling a tincture is pretty straightforward stuff, but there are a couple of tips you might find useful, so I photographed my latest project and put together this step by step to show you how the mallow tincture that started out a few weeks back came out.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lash Nutrition - The Mascara is Named

This name came to me while I was brushing my teeth. (Yeah okay, maybe that was too much information). But it fits. The main goal of developing this mascara was to create a color mascara that was actually good for lashes,  one that could 'feed' or nourish lashes while functioning as a mascara.

Lash Nutrition Mascara.

Makes sense, don't you think?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Second Skin Body Frappé Giveaway

With the colder weather fast approaching, it's time to think about extra skin protection. Here's something that may just fit the bill – just for you (and 4 other lucky winners) – Second Skin Body Frappé.

This product has been a winner with the client it was developed for, my testers, and it has already become a staple amongst my daily-use products.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bugs, Bacteria and Beasties

This fresh tidbit of info on bugs and beasties crossed my path the other day. I know I'm always preaching about bacteria in DIY products and how you need to add broad spectrum preservative as soon as you add plant material to a water-based mixture, and blah blah blah – seriously?

I can already hear loud yawning and eye rolling.

OK, I guess you're allowed to roll your eyes just a little. But let's – for the briefest of moments – celebrate the amazing capabilities of microrganisms, because these teensy little critters are actually quite remarkable.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lash Conditioning Giveaway Winners

This (and one more) bottle of Lash Love Eyelash Conditioner is ready to wing its way through the mail to the giveaway winners! Thanks to everyone who left a comment.

Shall we proceed with the name picking ceremony?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Second Skin Body Frappé

What happens when you combine 3 skin-loving butters with skin loving oils, add a dollop of lanolin, and whip the mixture to a fluffy, light frappé? You get a concoction that smooths on like a second skin.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Natural Crystal Deodorant - Can The Stone Stand Alone?

Over the past few years, I've had to come to terms with something: researching armpits and how they work as well as deodorant ingredients and how they work is apparently my cosmetics destiny. As unsexy as the care of armpits may sound, it has become quite clear to me that armpits are overlooked and neglected far too often. Armpits deserve every bit as much pampering and care as the face, hands and every other part of the body.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lash Conditioning Tester Giveaway

I'd like two please. Two ladies with lashes. Two ladies who are ready to add an additional minute to their preparing-for-bedtime-routine and test this lash conditioner for a month.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cocoa Loco - A New Lip Balm

Even though Feed my Lips lip balm has been a fave of mine forever and ever, this spring and summer I have been revisiting lip moisturizing ingredients and trying out a few additional goodies.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Witch Hazel is Much More Than You Think

I got an interesting comment from Penny on this post about witch hazel not long ago. It prompted me to write her, and I'm glad I did. She had all kinds of interesting information to share and it has developed into this little mini-series about the witch hazel, its production, and its many uses.

Along the way, we're also going to get a first hand look at the distillation process by two passionate artisan distillers of witch hazel – Penny and her husband.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Ultimate Mascara - We Have a Winner

This mascara is still holding up and behaving like a champ: through wind and rain and even extreme sweaty summer heat. It even stands up to direct comparison with a quality commercial brand (Elizabeth Arden's Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara – specifically acquired so I had something to compare with).

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Does DIY Baking Soda Deodorant Cause Skin Reactions? An Almost Poll

The other day Amanda posted a great comment. She suggested doing a poll to determine how many people get skin reactions from using DIY baking soda deodorant. Was it a majority or a minority of people who had problems? I've been curious to know the percentages myself.

But it's a bit of a toughie.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mallow - The Natural Skin and Hair Softener

I fell in love with this plant ages ago and feel like apologizing for not doing a post on it sooner. Mallow (INCI: Malva Sylvestris) is not only beautiful, it has some lovely (and surprising) properties that make it an ideal addition to a skin and/or hair care product.

The name derives from the Latin Malva which means soft, or capable of softening.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Melissa Deodorant - a New Deo, a New Label

This is just a quicky post with a super short update on this deodorant – awaited anxiously by a few special folks. After a successful reformulation of my lavender deodorant earlier this year, I recently finished the Melissa one. Here it is! Yay!

The formula is a hit, the label has been redesigned, and all I need to do is replace the pics on my website.

Coming up next on this deodorant reformulation program: Geranium!