Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Years Eve

That's it. 2014 is done and dusted as of today. Let's put on our best skin and celebrate by bathing in champagne!

It's been an absolute pleasure sharing my thoughts, product development, discoveries and views with you this year.

Thank you.

Thank you for sticking around, commenting, and even critiquing. You are an inspiration and a pleasure to know.

Now, have an absolutely marvelous New Years Eve.

See you on the other side of '14.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Have Formula - Will Travel

Sooo, this gal is pretty much prepared for any situation now. By grabbing the trusty carrier-case you see here, I can now formulate on the run!

(insert Bond-style music)

(Clip to scene with gorgeous babe in high heels, sunglasses, and lab coat dashing down city street with carrier case)

OK, it's not all fun and games. I was actually kind of forced into this.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holiday - PJ Day

Does your family have a PJ day during the holiday season? That's a day where no one has to cook.

Or clean.

Or entertain company.

Or even get dressed if they don't want to.

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Holiday Tradition - A Visit to the Spa

There's nothing that says holiday time more than a trip to the spa!

During this dark month, a little self pampering is not only in order, but should be mandatory prior to the hectic holiday rush (insert winking eye here).

Feel free to join me in lighting up a few festive red candles and creating a little seasonal atmosphere in this juletide tradition that started – this year.

By my husband and me.

For real.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

No-Soap Ayurvedic Skin Brightening Cleanser

Quite unexpectedly, Ayurvedic ingredients have made their way into my life this year, bringing a world of discovery that has been both a pleasurable and inspirational experience.

Not only are these ingredients beneficial for both skin and hair – they're easy to work with!

Friday, December 12, 2014

When Soap Goes Soft - Super Soft

Above: a mix of mild surfactants and organic hydrosols. I've been using this particular formula for what feels like forever, and my skin hasn't 'grown tired of it' yet.

It's even received a few different names along the way- depending on how it is used.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Honey, Glucose Oxidase, and Preservative Power

Earlier this year I did a post about honey and why it lasts forever. The folks at Personal Care Truth or Scare asked to publish it, so how could I possibly say no?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

More Than 5 Easy DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

Holiday Season is coming up. Wouldn't it be great to be able to give a little gift to everyone you like? I mean, everyone? Neighbors, friends, the local greengrocer who always puts the choicest veggies aside just for you, and the lady next door who always offers to keep an eye on the house when you're away?

Being able to give everyone a little token of appreciation and recognition can be awfully taxing on the budget.

But. There are ways.

By creating a few select hand-made items in bulk, you can show your appreciation with a truly personal gift without breaking your budget and bring a smile to the face of everyone you want to include.

Here are a few DIY ideas to inspire you - all previously posted on this blog.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How To - No Soap Face Cleanser in a Jar

If you like my cleansing bar recipes, you may just love this fun little number. It's a marriage of a cleansing bar with my flower, food and dirt cleansers – except this one goes in a jar.

Hmm, Bar-in-a-jar? Flowers and bar in a jar? (we'll have to work on the name).

For this soap-free product, ayurvedic amla powder is combined with rose and a few other flowers to create a morning cleanser that not only refreshes and moisturizes the skin, but smells divine without the addition of essential oils.

The ingredients can be mixed and matched any way you please, so get ready to make your own, 100% personalized creation!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Luxury Lotion Bars - Now, to the Oils

I'm still on a quest for the most perfect, fabulous luxury lotion bars on the planet. You are probably at this very moment thinking 'now there's an oxymoron if ever I heard one: luxury lotion bars!'

And I do understand.

Lotion bars are easy-peasy to make and great-for-beginners.
Luxury smacks of pricey, exclusive, difficult-to-attain.

But that seems to be me in a nutshell. The idea of adding luxury to a simple, easy-to-do thing as a lotion bar is pretty much how I approach cosmetics making. Taking opposites and making them work together in an 'elevated' fashion is a 'self-inflicted' constant quest.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ayurvedic Brahmi

This lovely herb with succulent leaves has a history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. In English, it's known as Indian Pennywort. In Indian, it's called Brahmi (INCI: Bacopa monnieri).

Today we're going to take a look at this plant, which is showing surprisingly promising results as an aid for improving memory in scientific tests.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ayurvedic Hair Rinse and The Punch of Packaging

These are the easiest hair rinses to make in the world. As a matter of fact, if you've made the infusion from the how-to in this post, you're already done!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

How To Make Infusions with Ayurvedic Powders

If you've been following this blog for the past few weeks, you'll have gotten to know a bit about Ayurvedic ingredients.  Amla and Brahmi (post coming up on that soon) have multiple uses for both skin and hair care, and today, we're going to use them to make infusions.

An infusion is quite easy to do and doesn't even call for all kinds of expensive equipment.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Make Your Own Cream Concealer

Several of you have asked for this, and it's been on my to-do list for ages. Now, thanks to a comment from 'Anon' (sure wish you'd posted a name!), I'm going to share this formula for cream concealer/highlighter with you.

The original formula is not mine and is not even in English. Aroma Zone had it on their website (but only in French - évidemment). But since their recent major site overhaul, it seems to have disappeared.


No need to panic.

You can thank me now for being such a diligent and copious note-taker.

You can also rejoice in that fact that I have tried this out before sharing it with you, because I have tweaked the formula (dare I say improved?) a bit. My production process is also slightly more newbie-friendly than the original.

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.

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.

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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When Bigger Isn't Better

Mini sized anything fascinates me - but I find mini sized cosmetics particularly irresistible. Aside from being so adorable looking you just want to put them your purse and carry them around, the mini-sized container can actually be preferable to a normal sized container.

I discovered this with these sample-size mascara containers. They hold a mere 4 ml (check them next to my normal sized business card), but they're perfect – not for mascara samples (well, ok, yes, that too), but for my eyelash conditioner.

Sometimes, bigger is definitely not better.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Connection Between Itchy Scalp, Hair Dye, and Artificial Sweeteners

This had me scratching my head a year ago when my friend posed a question. It started a research session, and another, and another.

It would seem there haven't been a whole lot of studies done on itchy scalp (otherwise known as pruritus).

Nope, sorry. That's a complete and utter exaggeration.

The fact is – in the entire world of scientific examination and study – there isn't a single study to be found on itchy scalp.

Not a one.


Yes, really.

I'll bet you're itching to know where we go from here, aren't you? (sorry, I just had to throw that in).

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stir-Free Salt Scrub

For the longest time, I've wanted to get serious about developing a new kind of exfoliating scrub – something apart from the usual salt + oil combos so common to both the natural and commercial market. My own scrub was developed ages ago, but despite how lovely it makes my skin feel, I've almost stopped using it.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Better Butter Test - Who Won?

Approximately 10 months ago, I started a series of test batches of lotion bars using the same formula for each batch. Only the butter was different for each version.

The goal: to find the ultimate butter for lotion bars – one that would hold firm, yet soften and deliver the perfect amount of lotion upon skin contact. It would moisturise and pamper tired dry skin, chapped skin, rough patches, and cracked heels in the most luxurious and effective way.

Although it has been hard work slathering my feet, hands, legs, lips, elbows, and even face with lotion bar buttery goodness, it's a sacrifice that had to be made (insert winking eye here).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Guest Blogging at Personal Care Truth or Scare

I'm incredibly flattered that Personal Care - Truth or Scare has asked to publish one of my blog posts on their site.

Being published alongside so many esteemed scientists is truly an honour, and I have been strutting about like a peacock ever since the request.

If you follow this blog, you may have already read the post 'Why raw honey lasts forever', but if not, please pop over and read it right here!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Self Challenge Face Mask- Update

Guess what. I seem to have found a solution to my 'can't be bothered doing a mask' laziness.

It's in those 2 bottles up there. An invisible, easy-to-use leave-on mask.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Easy Peeling Mask

If there was a spoon instead of a brush in the cup above, this might have looked like the remains of breakfast.

In fact, it's the remains of an easy peasy peeling mask.

Today, we're going to combine chemical exfoliation with flowers, dirt, and food to freshen, tone, and nourish the skin.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have already made your own flowers, dirt, and food face wash with your fave ingredients.

If that's the case, you're pretty much ready to rock and roll!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spirulina - Going Green (And Clean)

Spirulina is fabulous. I know because I've been using it regularly as an ingredient in my morning face cleanser for about half a year.

Although mostly tested and used as a food supplement, spirulina also has a lot to offer with topical use.

Let's take a closer look at the dark green powder that many have been raving about.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Skin Routine

It's the middle of summer and we all want to be outdoors, active, relaxing, or just generally doing something other than everyday drudgery.

Me too.

During summer, I actually use less time on skin pampering (not that skin pampering is drudgery!)

But during summer, quality moisturizing with less effort is desirable.

I've had a few questions from you lovely readers about my summer skin regimen, so here it is: my all-time fave summer skin regimen.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Perfect Sunblock

It's summer. There is sun. There is need of sun protection.

If your skin is anything like mine – fair, sensitive, burns easily, doesn't tan at all – anything less than 100% protection just doesn't cut it.

I make the most lovely, silky-smooth sun lotion you can imagine.


I don't use it as a sun lotion.

Monday, July 7, 2014

When Parabens Won The War

If you look at the cosmetic industry's top 10 list of most commonly used preservatives in the world, you will find 5 parabens present.

Not only that, the 5 parabens are actually among the top 6 on the list.

There are over 6 parabens used in cosmetics.

The war on parabens, it would appear, is over.

And Ethyl, Methyl, and the rest of the Paraben family members can (finally) get back to doing what they do (and maybe celebrate just a little).

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Exfoliation - Chemical

Welcome to the forth in this mini-series about exfoliation. Today, we're going to look at chemical exfoliants - what they are and how they work, and we're going to learn how to do DIY chemical exfoliating.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Why Raw Honey Lasts Forever

Ever wonder why the raw honey you have in your kitchen can sit in the cupboard for months on end (or even years) without going bad?

It's because of GOx.

GOx is short for glucose oxidase.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hydrosol Wand Giveaway Winners

Yay! Summer hydrosol wands are going to be made and sent to 4 lucky winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered – it does look like the comments function is finally working without a hitch.

And now for the moment of truth!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Self Challenge Face Mask

As much as my skin loves face masks, I really don't do them often enough. A face mask is really a great 'skin pick-me-up' and arguably worth the time and effort it takes – yet, despite my once a week goal, it is often only once a month that I find the time to actually do a face mask.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What Goes in a Purple Airless Jar?

I love finding new suppliers. I also love it when my fave suppliers add little extras to my order - like a sample of oil or butter, or, in this case, an airless container.

Above: some new airless containers filled with a formula I am tweaking.

The contents? My latest batch of cucumber day & night serum. This batch is with a new emulsifier that is - so far - both easy and fun to work with.

But we're going to look at the packaging today. And I'm really interested in your input.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Kpangnan Body Frappé - How a New Product 'Just Happens'

Getting to know raw ingredients is always a pleasure, and the star butter in this product has been no exception. After liking everything kpangnan butter had to offer in a lotion bar, I decided to do a simple whipped body butter – just to test this butter out in a different type of formula.

The texture turned out so light, creamy, and non-greasy that I have been using this buttery-smooth frappé everywhere from face to feet since the first batch. What started out as an ingredient test grew into a new product.

Suddenly, a scent was being composed, labels were being designed and a few testers were being contacted.

I didn't plan this product. It really just happened.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Giveaway - Summer Hydrosol Wands

Well it's been a while since we've had a proper giveaway, and with summer fast approaching, there is dire need of refreshment!

Above are 4 empty spray-bottle 'wands'. They're waiting for 4 lucky winners to tell me what to fill them with before they are whisked off in the mail.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How to - Microdermabrasion, but Proceed With Caution

Contrary to dermabrasion (which requires a professional dermatologist), microdermabrasion literally 'skims the surface' and can be done either by you or by a professional. It can even be done effectively with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard.

Today, we're going to do our own microdermabrasion. The best part? It's hardly going to cost a thing! The worst part? It comes with a few precautionary warnings.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Container Quest - a Rant and a Small Victory

If you've been reading this blog a while, you know I am on a never-ending, die-hard quest for quality, classy-looking cosmetics and make-up containers of all kinds.

Considering the laughably low order-placing capabilities LisaLise has, my requirements are ridiculously lofty.

There is logic behind the madness – even though perfection may not be attained, there's always the chance of getting pretty darn close.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Magic Hydrosol Wands - Kind Of

Sometimes, I wish I had magical powers.

If I did, I'd make magic herbal potions that could remove pain, eliminate sickness, and bring strength and courage to those who needed it.

When I was finished with that, I'd make more potions – to calm and sooth worried minds and instantly revive and refresh troubled spirits.

I'd put my magical potions into special wands that could be carried around. Then, any time it was needed, the wand could be waved and the potion could do its magic with the mere touch of a finger.

That's what I'd do if I had magical powers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Facial Exfoliation - Let's Get Physical

Originally, I planned on writing about exfoliation in a single article, but the text just kept growing until it was quite clear that exfoliation had decided – quite by itself – to become a mini-series.

So, welcome to part 2!

Today, we're going to have a look at physical exfoliants for the face and how to use them. I've worked with quite a few exfoliants over the years – both physical and chemical – from the scott free kind to the super pricey kind.  Some physical (and even chemical) exfoliants can be used 'as is', and some need to be added to a cleansing product you either make or buy.