Friday, December 30, 2016

Thank You for 2016!


Thank you for sticking with me throughout 2016. It's been quite an eventful year!

If you've been reading along, you've undoubtedly gotten acquainted with how to make extracts with fresh foods.

We've explored powdered face cleansers, looked at cosmetic clays, examined shea butter, learned how to match our own skin tone with 4 pigments and discovered some exciting ingredients.

We've had all kinds of make-up fun with powder foundation, foundation stick, highlighter stick, lip and cheek tint, and more.

Let's look at the headlines.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy After Merriness



We're still in serious holiday mode around here. There simply isn't going to be any work for the next few days.

After enjoying family time and partaking of the traditional Christmas Eve meal and goodies, there are many many important things to do.

I made a check list.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Holidays



It's holiday time in Denmark and the country (well, pretty much all of Scandinavia) has closed up shop and is busy making mulled wine, setting out trays of goodies and preparing for non-stop hygge.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Summer Holiday in One Day


This tradition started a mere few years ago. My husband and I had decided to visit a spa prior to the 'holiday rush'.

Our reasoning was simple: this would be our summer-holiday-in-one-day as we hadn't had any vacation time that year.

We both discovered it was indeed possible to cram an entire holiday into a single spa visit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The 2016 Self-Appointed Deodorant Challenge in Review



It's (already) the last month of the year – time to look back and take stock of what's been going on.

This first peek at some of my 2016 activities has not been documented much on this blog – partly because this project is not a success story. Yet.

To be honest, it has been batch after batch of tests and many fails.

But did you notice I said 'yet'?

That's because I haven't given up on this idea.

Yet.

Above: some carefully selected ingredients
The Object: to combine them into an easy-to-make, functional, DIY deodorant.

The white ingredients are 'acceptably natural' (read: what folks who aren't used to working with INCI names would most likely feel comfortable working with).

The green ingredient is dried plant material.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Working With Stinky Ingredients - Part 1




Working with natural (plant-based) ingredients has its occasional challenges. Some of the (beneficial) ingredients I work with have an inherently heavy, sharp, pungent, musky, or otherwise less than appealing scent.

Ok, that was the diplomatic description.

Some of them are so stinky that there is instant nose-wrinkling and the instinctive pull-back when the seal is broken and the package is opened.

Yes, that stinky.

At the same time, they have all kinds of skin-loving goodness to offer, so they do deserve a chance.

Choices must be made.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Vanilla Infused Oil - Straining


A couple of weeks back, we started a vanilla oil infusion and did a comparison test of vanilla bean quality.

Today, we strain and check out the final product and, as promised, I'm going to share an easy peasy straining tip that is perfect for smaller amounts.

Shall we strain our vanilla-infused oil?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When Price Gouging Probably Isn't


This happened on a forum for cosmetics-makers recently. The subject of discussion was a luxury, pricey face serum made by a small cosmetics company.

There were quite a few opinions being offered, and the discussion got a little heated.

One participant (let's call her Sally) was utterly appalled and angrily accused the company of price gouging.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Infusing Oil with Vanilla


Throughout this year, I've been making all kinds of infusions in all kinds of things. This particular infusion is one I keep coming back to. It's easy to make, fun to do, and smells so delicious it's pure pleasure for the nose.

I mean, who doesn't love the scent of vanilla?

As you can see from the picture, you don't need all kinds of things to make a great vanilla-infused oil:
  • Vanilla beans
  • Sweet Almond Oil (or Jojoba or Apricot Kernel)
  • Clean jar with tight-fitting lid (canning jars are perfect)


Shall we get started?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shea for the USA


Holiday season is fast approaching, but you still have time to make your own fabulous skincare products for yourself and family.

And you can do a good thing for someone across the planet at the same time.

Now, there's even more reason to get busy with shea for all of you fabulous readers in the USA.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shop Local - Globally


Holiday Season is fast approaching the Western part of the world, and many are trying to find unique gifts to give their loved ones.

Well guess what.

I happen to know a few people who make fabulous unique things that would be perfect gift items.

Not only that, they're all over the world!

Below is a list of artisans and makers of unique items to delight and inspire you. May I suggest you begin your holiday shopping right here?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Learning From Failures



While finishing this book, I have been working on a 'side-project' throughout most of this year. So far, it hasn't been much of a success.

Correction.

It has been a series of stinky failures.

(you'll get the little subtle pun I threw in there in a moment)

The entire experience, however, has been quite educational, so I thought you might like to read about some of the interesting bits.

But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Solo Formulas - Because You Asked



I get so many good questions from you guys, it's not even funny.

Like this one.

You: "Lise, are you going to make some of the formulas in your shea butter book available as separate products so we could maybe try out a formula or 2?"

Me: "How clever an idea is that? You rock for asking me! Of course I will!"

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Let's Get Real About Self Pampering












Even though self pampering might sound like silliness and unnecessary luxury, it is something we benefit from – both physically and mentally. The need for 'recharging our batteries' is often overlooked and dismissed.

"That's just not humanly possible in my house."

"Maybe I can slot some time in this weekend, we'll see..."

"Well, first I have to take care of everyone else, and then maybe I can find some 'me' time."

Sound familiar?

Then consider this: when you are at your best, then you are also a better able to give more of yourself to your loved ones, friends, and everyone you happen across.

This is why it is not frivolous to allow yourself a bit of time for self-pampering.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nigella Seed - The Miracle Herb


Above: nigella seeds (and nigella seed oil) – also known as black cumin, black caraway and fennel-flower.

Until relatively recently, I have mostly enjoyed these seeds in a culinary context. And because I absolutely love the warm, rich, peppery taste and scent of nigella, getting serious about using the oil for skincare was a no-brainer when a special offer from a supplier appeared.

And then I started researching.

oh.

my.

goodness.

Looking at this plant and its properties is a non-stop journey of happy discoveries that just keeps getting better. Not only is Nigella Sativa a bit of a miracle herb, there's a whole heck of a lot of science behind the claims.

With the results this modest-looking seed is showing in studies, it's understandable why everyone is getting increasingly excited about the prospects.

As a matter of fact, it wasn't even a passionate 'greenie' (such as myself) that dubbed Nigella the Miracle Herb, but a scientific paper from the National Library of Medicine.

Are you starting to get a little excited too?

Then join me and we'll take a peek at the headlines of what Nigella has to offer in the way of health and beauty miracles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working With Shea Butter - Skincare Formulas, Tips & Tricks


Hello, you lovely, inspirational reader of this blog! That book up there is my attempt at answering every question you have ever asked me about shea butter.

I think it's quite fair to say you inspired this book.

When I started working on it, I honestly expected it to be a rather small-ish, not-too-many-pages, handy-dandy little DIY guide, but it just kept growing. There were so many things to get to the bottom of, and more questions popped up, and then more things had to be examined and tested.

So it ended up taking 2 years and grew to a full 72 pages of non-stop shea buttery-ness.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How To: Glycerite with Fresh Blackberries


Well, it's official. I've become a fresh food glycerite addict. So, before we start getting serious about other Fall-related activities, allow me to share with you the final summer berry glycerite of the year.

We're going to be more hands-on with this one with a slightly different straining process, so don your latex gloves and let's get busy with blackberries!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Liquid Lotion


I developed this product recently for a lovely lady in her late 70's with very sensitive skin. When I say sensitive, I mean very very sensitive.

She cannot wear any make-up, and her face is frequently 'dotted' with dry patches that are flakey, itchy, irritated, and red.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Whipped Shea With a Non Greasy Touch



I'll bet with all the stuff going on around here lately you thought I forgot all about updating you on the shea testing I have been working on this (and last) year.

Nope.

See?

There it is up there.

A whipped shea that melts in without that typical 'shea-greasy feel'.

The greasy feeling has reduced to nothingness – a mere whisper.

And after all the tests and batches and tweaking and more testing, the answer seems so simple and straightforward. (It always does when you finally find it, doesn't it?)

There's a single teensy bit of magic you need to add to achieve this light-as-air, non-greasy feel, and because I think you're the best – ever – I'm, going to share it with you.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Colored Foam - The Natural Way


Well this is a super cool discovery! Check the colors of the foams that just came out of these 2 hair and body washes!

Not only do they have a tint of color, they also carry a distinctly recognizable scent of the original fruit from whence they come.

(insert little happy dance)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Jojoba - Family Style



In  all my years of working with jojoba, I have never known it to have the rich, golden color you see in the bottle above. Neither have I known jojoba to have any scent.

That changed when tried this smoky-warm scented liquid, organically grown and processed by a family in Arizona who have been doing nothing but making jojoba for the past 35 years.

I asked Allison Aronstam to share a bit about how her family at Oro de Sonora makes their jojoba. She not only accepted, but she rushed out and took these exclusive photos of their facilities.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ingesting Essential Oils (and Applying them Neat) is Asking For Trouble



It has apparently become a 'thing' to ingest essential oils and/or apply them neat to skin. People are getting hurt because of this dangerous trend and there has even been a rise in children being admitted to poison centers.

I am horrified to see some essential oil purveyors instructing their customers how to 'safely' use essential oils.

One advises to 'dilute 1 drop essential oil with 3 drops of carrier oil for topical use'.

Another recommends applying neat to different areas of the body and have dubbed this 'raindrop technique'.

Excuse me?!?!!?


Friday, September 16, 2016

Wash Your Hair With Mud - For Real


You've been watching me fool around with this stuff for ages, and there's a reason for it – I've fallen head over heels in love.

It's been (just shy of) 2 years since I used shampoo and there isn't a hair conditioner in sight anywhere in my home, yet my hair is soft, clean, shiny, manageable, and feels absolutely fabulous.

Yes, really.

But as much as I love this stuff to bits and pieces, it is admittedly fiddly to use.

So that bit simply had to be solved.

And because rhassoul clay is completely scent free, the longer I used it, the more I wished for a subtle, magical whiff of natural freshness with my hair cleansing experience.

Challenge: remove fiddliness and introduce a touch of magic – can't be much of a problem to solve, can it?

Who would have imagined it could take this long...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Glycerine, Glycerites and Preservative Power


A lot of you lovely readers have been inspired by the glycerites I have been making lately, and several of you have asked me about the preservative power of glycerine.

Can glycerine function as a stand-alone preservative in a glycerite?

This is an excellent question.

Why?

Because the answer is not as straightforward as you were undoubtedly hoping it was going to be, but stick with me and we'll take a serious look at the hows and whys of glycerites and the preservative power of glycerine.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Brand New and All Because of You!


You made all this happen. Yes, you!

Loads of you fabulous people have been asking me for natural skincare products you can make yourself without needing a ton of experience, equipment or ingredients.

You know I can't say no to you, don't you?

So that's exactly what I've been working on – for a while now.

As a matter of fact, if you read this blog regularly, you've been following the development of many of these products right here over the past year. (cool, huh?)

So, thanks to you and your inspiration..

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Glycerine - Uses and Properties


Even though glycerine has been a staple in my stockroom for ages, it has remained one of those 'background ingredients'.

But that all changed this year.

These past few months, glycerine has made its way into a front and center position due to a series of glycerite how-to's on this blog.

Since you ask.

A glycerite is an extract made with herbs (flowers, or other substance) using glycerine as the main medium of extraction – a glycerine extract, if you will.

That picture up there is a lemon glycerite being strained (and yes, it smells deliciously of fresh lemon).

My recent glycerite how-to's have been so popular with you lovely readers that I have gotten all kinds of feedback and questions from you, so today we're going to take a closer look at glycerine.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

LisaLise's Guide to Cosmetic Clays


Clay is a fabulous and incredibly diverse ingredient to work with. Clays are great in masks, cleansers, color cosmetics – even emulsions and toothpaste (something we'll be getting into a little later on around here).

There are so many clays with so many different names that it can be hard for a clay-newbie (yes, that is an expression I just made up) to decide where to start.

Several of you have asked me for a quick overview of the most common clays used in skin and hair care products, so today – just for you – we're going to get down and dirty with clay!

LisaLise's Guide to Cosmetic Clays

  • Bentonite 
  • Diatomaceous Earth 
  • French Green Clay 
  • French Illite Clays 
  • Fuller's Earth 
  • Kaolin
  • Rhassoul 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How To: Blueberry Glycerite



There have been glycerites galore around here lately, and before the summer season disappears completely, let's make one more, luscious, lovely extract with glycerine.

Because we can.

We're getting a bit advanced with this one, because blueberries can be a bit tricky to work with, but you can totally do this, so get out your equipment and let's get busy with blueberries!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Tattoos, Skincare and a Man on a Mission


Although I have never had a tattoo, a couple of years ago I developed a special-order product for after-tat skin care. During the process of creating Tattoo Soothe Skin Mist, I got acquainted with the world of ‘getting inked’.

One thing that struck me at that time (and doesn’t seem to have changed much since) was the general lack of information about pre and after-tat skincare – everywhere!

But that is starting to change, thanks to the gentleman you see above.

Meet Dan Hunter – he's all about skincare – particularly in relation to tattoos.

Earlier this year, Dan launched Authority Tattoo which is quickly gaining recognition and attention from folks all over the tattoo industry.

I asked Dan if he would share his story with me, and he kindly agreed to let me share it with you.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Newsletter News - You Tell Me



I've been working on several projects this Spring and Summer that have kept me super busy with absolutely no time for vacay. One of these projects has been a complete overhaul of my website.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

DIY Spa Day - Tips for Serious Self Pampering


Today, we're going to pamper ourselves silly!

Recently, I was interviewed by a lovely lady named April for the American publication, Natural Awakenings. She asked me to share some of my best tips for DIY spa treatments that could be enjoyed at home with simple-yet-effective, easy to source ingredients.

How could I possibly say no to that? The interview inspired me to gather all the tips into this post - just for you!

Many of these are covered in more detail in separate blog posts – there are links to each post.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rose Skin Tonic with Strawberry Glycerine Extract



On the left: strawberry glycerine extract (the one we made not too long ago). On the right: rose (rosa damascena) hydrosol with a titch of strawberry glycerine extract.

Can we just talk about color for a moment?

Is this not the most
pinky
girly
feminine
oh-my-goodness-what-a-delicate-shade-of-delicious color you have ever seen?

(insert appropriate oohs and aaahs here)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How To: Strawberry Glycerine Extract




It's summer and it's strawberry season around these parts of Scandinavia. I've been waiting for the ripest, plumpest, freshest strawberries to be available so I could make this glycerine extract.

And here they are - fresh picked and deliciously aromatic.

Shall we get busy?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Overpreserving - As Bad as Underpreserving



Preservatives are powerful. They have to be. They have a pretty important job: keeping bacteria, fungus, and mould at bay without otherwise compromising the product.

Working with preservatives is tricky and very demanding, so it's not surprising a lot of DIY skincare makers are uncomfortable working with them.

It's not the kind of ingredient where you can 'wing it' when it comes to type or dosage. The amount added – when it is added – and which one functions best is specific to each formula.

It's definitely not the kind of ingredient where you can add 'an extra dash to preserve even better'.

It just doesn't work like that.

An extra dash can cause more damage than one might imagine, which brings me to today's story: what can happen if you overpreserve a product.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lip and Cheek Tint in a Stick




While playing around with foundation colors, pencil bases and other such make-up making fun things, I decided to put together a quick lip and cheek tint stick.

The chunky-sized balm containers I ordered from a new supplier just arrived.

Perfect timing!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Grapefruit For Skincare


I love the lip-puckering tart freshness of grapefruit in a tossed green salad or in a dessert, but to be perfectly honest, I love it even more as a skin care ingredient.

Let's take a look at what this tangy fruit has to offer with topical use, shall we?

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How To: Let's Make a Highlighter Stick!



This was supposed to be a yellow-y corrector stick - the kind you use to dab here and there to conceal unwanted reddishness. Not that I have a lot of reddishness, but I wanted to try out a few ingredients, and this fit the bill.

The original recipe was for a trio of 3 correctors (one of which is green), but I only used the part concerning the yellow corrector.

I followed Aroma Zone's recipe to a T (or is that tea? or tee?), yet the end product came out not as a corrector, but as a highlighter.

And you know what? That's kind of ok.
I can use a highlighter.
Maybe you can too, so let's get busy!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

How To: Lemon Glycerine Extract






After discovering how fabulously glycerine captures the freshness of cucumber, I had to see if it was just as good at capturing lemon.

Guess what!?

Yeah, you guessed - it's GREAT!

Let's make lemon glycerine extract!

Monday, June 20, 2016

How To: Lip and Eye Pencil Base



Today, we're going to make an easy, basic lip and eye pencil base that can be used for color cosmetics such as lip pencils, eye pencils, eyebrow pencils, and cheek tint.

You're probably wondering how it is possible to make a texture that is equally good for all these uses. A lip pencil needs to go on smoothly and be firm enough to where the tip doesn't break off. An eye pencil needs to be softer, smoother and not even come close to dragging on the skin. For cheek application, a firmer texture is ideal.

Well, I've been scientifically testing, experimenting, and meticulously logging my results for a few years now (read: I've been having a ball fiddling around with these textures for ages),  and with enough tweaking, testing, and diligence, I finally succeeded in creating a – for me – sublime texture that is great for all of these uses.

This formula has good slip and nice staying power without feeling gluey or sticky.

Note: skin type plays a role in which texture/stiffness/glide-factor feels best, so even though this texture is ace for me, it might not be perfection for you.

However – even if it isn't 100% perfection for you, you can still use it as a base to tweak and fiddle with proportions until you have created your own version of perfection.

Let's Get Busy with the Base!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Foundation Stick - Batch 2 - That's Better



A while back I made a foundation stick that worked, but was a fail. The color was fine, coverage was OK, but there was a serious texture issue that turned up after a short time of use.

Here's batch 2. This turned out much better – no hard, lumpy bits and nice, even texture all the way through.

If you think that means this was a total success, I'd have to say 'only partly'. We're still not quite there, but I'll get to that bit in a minute.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

What to Do With Excess Press-Ready Make-Up Powders



Here's a quick little tip for using the left-over colors after pressing shadows. Transfer all of the excess to a compact powder container without mixing them together, and press.

Voilá! A multi-colored palette in one pan.

Here's how my recent palette of skin tones became an all-in-one shadow and toning combo.

Have fun!

Before This

Mixing PIgments to Match Skin Tone
Pressing a palette of skin colors
Easy Matt Powder Foundation

Check the sidebar under TOPICS for more make-up making how to's on this blog. You can also visit the HOW TO page.

Monday, June 6, 2016

LisaLise Tries [M] Botanicals




One of the great things about meeting other makers of hand-crafted cosmetics is having a chance to compare notes with someone who has the same interest.

Being able to chat about ingredients, discuss the challenges of creating the perfect viscosity, agonize together over finding suitable packaging and labels – and other such things that are truly vital to the continued existence of the world – is really enjoyable.

And if you think I'm exaggerating about the continued existence of the world thing – just ask anyone who is passionate about making cosmetics. You'll soon realize I'm right on target with that one.

Above is a selection of products I have been trying – all hand-made by a clever lady named Bexy. Bexy's products are all about marrying nature and science (my kind of philosophy). Her company – based in England – is called [M] Botanicals.

As an extension of our numerous note-comparing conversations, Bexy and I have been sending each other a few of our products to examine, try out, and talk about.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to: Pressed Powders in Skin Tones



Soo, now that you've made an entire collection of skin colors. What to do with them? How about making a face-sculpting and toning palette of pressed powders?

Today, we're going to use a finished base powder mixture, so we can (almost) dive right in to the fun part - building up our palette!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Free From? Really? Aren't We Past That Yet?




The other day I got an email from a company who wanted me to test and review their 'all natural' products. They were ready to send me a generous selection of creams, lotions, cleansers, and more.

For reasons unknown, this kind of thing happens to me regularly.

I mean, this blog is about how I go about developing a bespoke product, or what I discover while researching ingredients, or DIY's and How-tos.

It has, to my recollection never, ever, ever – not even once – been about reviewing commercially-made products.

Nevertheless, I get these mails.

This one was actually pretty long, and I read the entire text.

(I'm polite like that)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How To: Make a Complete Skin Tone Palette


A while back I showed you how to match your skin tone using a mere 4 components. Today, we're going to use that foundation color to create a collection of skin tones – from highlighter to blush to contouring.

Here's the coolest part: you're only going to need one additional pigment to make an entire palette of skin tone sculpting colors.

Shall we get started?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Touched HandMade Soap






Making soap is nothing new, and most people don't give soap a second thought, but really, it's an amazing craft. Watching simple ingredients undergo a chemical reaction to create a useful product like soap is fascinating.

I am seriously impressed with people who handcraft soaps. And these days, I've been getting to know quite a few people who do just that.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Refined vs Unrefined Shea - Testing Batch 1


Above: batch one of the 2 whipped shea butters undergoing stringent testing – identical in every way except for the shea itself. The goal: to discover which is the better shea – refined or unrefined.

As I write this, I have been using both butters for about 4 weeks.

Let's have a look at how things went, shall we?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

How To: Easy Matt Powder Foundation


Now that you've learned how to mix pigments to match your skin tone, let's make a matt powder foundation! The only thing you need aside from your pigment mix is a base powder mixture.

Here's the best part:  the base powder is a snap to make.

Seriously.

A snap!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Lanolin - Now Unscented



Here's my latest new ingredient arrival: lanolin!

You: New? I distinctly remember reading several posts where you work with lanolin, Lise.

Me: This isn't just lanolin, but ultra-pure refined lanolin. So it's brand new – to me!

This lanolin has all the lovely, skin-loving properties that lanolin normally provides, but it is not heavy-smelling, sheepy-smelling, or anything else undesirable-smelling.

It's scent-free!

(insert little happy dance here)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Skin Cleansing with The Konjac Sponge


Several people have asked me for my take on these 'new' sponges for face care.

New?

All right, you can stop giggling now. I know it's been a while since the konjac sponge hit the market. In my defense, there are quite a few questions that make their way to my to-do list. It's unfortunately pretty rare that a question can be answered by merely dashing off a few lines of text.

So basically, this is all your fault. If you didn't ask me so many interesting, intelligent and inspiring questions, I could have answered this ages ago.

Now let's have a look at this rather unusual little beauty product and see what it has to offer.