Saturday, June 24, 2017

Tincture Making Failure

Tinctures with vinegars and alcohols, oil macerations and glycerites have been filling my stockroom and taking lots of lab time for well over a year now. It's because I have been doing a pile of research for of some upcoming publications (more on that soon).

Today, we're going to look at a tincture making blooper.

Above: a lovely herbal tincture in vinegar from earlier this year. At the time I started this brew, there were so many jars and bottles in use, I mindlessly grabbed what was on the shelf - a glass pickling jar with a metal lid.

You've probably already figured out what's coming, but it took me a while before I realized my mistake.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How To: Calming Skin Mist for Sensitive Skin

Sooo, you've got super sensitive skin and are prone to spontaneous rashy redness from things such as putting on a piece of clothing, eh?

Not to worry. There is help to be had. You will be misting away rash in no time with your own handcrafted skin mist.

Not only that, you can choose from a wide range of possible ingredients.

Cool, huh?

Let's make mist!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Living With Sensitive Skin

People with super sensitive skin experience all kinds of fun quirkiness – like an instant rash from the act of simply putting on a piece of clothing.

Sometimes, even the softest, kindest materials – with no scratchy bits – even with every torturous label removed immediately after purchase – will cause what you see above.

And just to be clear: the top is made of 100% knit silk and is washed by hand using the gentlest of cleansers.

Luckily, this doesn't happen every time I get dressed, but it does happen often enough to where I felt the need to create a product for instant skin-calming relief.

That product turned out to be a skin mist.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Positive Side of Portable Make-up

This has been my make-up 'table' for a while now. Think it looks cool? Organised?

Look again.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Why Shirodhara Made my Bucket List

What's happening here? Something that made my bucket list not too long ago. The woman pictured above is receiving a stress-relieving treatment called shirodhara.

The process is quite simple: warm oil (or other liquids) are gently poured over the forehead for a period of time. This simple treatment is said to induce a relaxed state of awareness, erasing fatigue and even making headaches disappear.

The purpose of shirodhara is to reestablish balance in unbalanced chakras.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

When Rhassoul isn't All That

I was chatting online with a client about rhassoul clay recently and a few things came up in the conversation that just didn't jive with my experiences. The mention of 'white' rhassoul was one.

I'd never heard of white rhassoul before. 

A new ingredient?

Interested and intrigued!

It wasn't long before I received a sample from my client. That's it up there on the right. Definitely lighter than the rhassoul I have in stock.

Let's put it to the test!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Difference 3 Drops Make

This happened last Fall while I was formulating a series of products for a client.

Part of the series included 2 versions of a balm: one unscented, one scented.

The balm ingredients consisted of butters, waxes, and a combination of special fixed oils.

Pictured: batch 1 of both versions. The little S sticker on the lid is the scented version. And I know you've already guessed what the U stands for.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Drain Saving Tip on Cleaning Up Fats

Every time I make melt-and-pour products such as balms, butters, or anything containing wax, there is an unavoidable film left in the beaker after pouring up.

Here's a quick and easy way to clean butter or wax-coated beakers and equipment that has always worked well for me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Dear Science - Are You Sure About The Test Results on Those Allergens?

I've written about this before a few years ago, and have been researching it on and off ever since, because quite frankly, there are some things that





What's worse, I keep hitting walls in my research. So I'll just throw the question out there – again.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

How To: Green Comfort Mask

Today we're going to mix green things together and put them on our face. Why? Because our skin is going to love it, and these particular green things feel downright comfortable and cozy while they are doing their skin-nourishing magic.

It's green synergy at its best!

Let's make a green comfort mask!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How To: Easy Scrubby Bags with Oats and Soap

These skin-friendly oat scrubby bags are the easiest thing in the world to make. Have kids? This is a perfect family project that you and your kids can have fun making and using.

The idea for these came about as a result of making 'colloidal oats' where I was left with a generous portion of oats that were too big to pass through the sieve. If you also make your own soap, then this little how-to is a double bonus!

Let's get started!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why Vetting Cosmetics Ingredients is a Bad Idea

Over the years, a lot of questions about cosmetics ingredients have been put to me. Being a curious souI, I ask quite a few myself. One of the reasons I started blogging was to collect the results of my research and experiences into a LisaLise Library of Cosmetics Ingredients.

It seemed like a useful thing to do.

"Panthenol? Why yes, you can real about panthenol on my blog" I would find myself replying to ingredients-inquisitive folks.

Having a rudimentary understanding of what you're putting on your skin or hair is not at all a bad thing.


Somewhere along the way – over the past decade or so – it became trendy to hunt for and expose toxins, 'nasties' and 'undesirables' in cosmetics products and place them on watchdog cosmetics ingredients lists.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Three Tips on Using Clay in Balms

This past winter has been all about skin-loving balms in my lab.

I've been working on a few melt-and-pour less-is-more formulas to see how minimalistic it is possible to get without sacrificing function (or luxury factor).

This kind of create-the-perfect-synergy 'roots' formulating has become a bit of an obsession. It's both fun and educational all at once, and you can't help but get real up close and personal with every aspect of every ingredient in a formula.

So let's talk about clay!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Art of Keeping Notes

Today, we're going to talk about the art (and importance) of keeping notes when developing cosmetics products. I'm not going to tell you what to do – just show you how I am able to zippy-fast find exactly what I'm looking for – even if it goes back over a decade.

Maybe you'll find some of this useful – even if you prefer working 100% digitally.

Personally, I find pen and paper synonymous with thinking, wondering, developing and finalizing an idea. I'm old fashioned that way (as is pretty evident from that pic of a few of my notebooks up there).

Friday, March 31, 2017

Formulating Green Comes Naturally if You Already Think Green

I recently read an article about cosmetics formulating that caught my interest. The author maintained formulating with plant-based/natural/green ingredients was akin to working with ones hands tied.

Interesting standpoint.

Not having worked with very many petroleum based ingredients throughout my formulating years (subtle pun intended), It took me a bit to process this line of thinking.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Straining Tinctures, Extracts, and Glycerites

It took me a mere moment to strain this chamomile tincture because of a vegan drinks maker. I know that sounds odd, but it's absolutely true.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Important Stuff Goes in Front

I've been working on a new book for a while, and it has everything to do with that picture up there.

The book is about making tinctures, infusions, glycerites and other ingredients-nerdy stuff only cosmetics making folks (and very patient husbands) could understand.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

What Makes Colloidal Oatmeal Colloidal?

I've been on an extensive, several-part research session that turned up differing answers, more questions and a whole lot of interesting info about microns, particle sizes, and oats for skincare that we're going to be looking at today.

Who could imagine oats could be such a mind-blowing ingredient?

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Get ready for a bit of a ride as we examine colloidal oats, because there are going to be a few twists and turns along the way!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Stinky Skincare Ingredients: How to Work With Cocoa Butter

Welcome to part 4 in this mini-series of working with stinky ingredients!

Now that you've been exercising your nose and making all kinds of amazing discoveries at how clever your nostrils are at picking out subtle details and undertones (if not, check the links below to previous posts), let's get busy with today's project.

We're going to 'bend' the scent of a very popular ingredient for skincare and haircare: cocoa butter.

It almost seems unfair to call this a stinky ingredient. Most people love the smell and taste of a chocolate bar. I know I do. I actually also love the scent of cocoa butter if I am thinking of food.

But we're putting it on our skin.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Babassu Oil - Worth Falling in Love With

That creamy-looking balm up there is actually an oil. It's from Brazil and goes by the name Babassu Oil.

I started getting acquainted with it sometime last year (or was it 2015?). I'll admit I've had quite a bit on my plate for longer than I care to admit, so when my first order arrived (way back when), it just sat there in the stockroom cooler for a couple of months.

When I finally got around to testing it out, I fell in love.

A whole lot.

Let's have a look as what Babassu (also called Cusi) oil has to offer.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How To: Easy Face Mask with Fresh Cucumber Juice

It's at least a zillion years since we did a fresh food mask around here. Correction: it's a zillion years since we even did a mask around here.

You think I'm exaggerating? Do a search and see for yourself. The last one was in 2014. That's three (zillion) years ago!
(insert small gasp)

That changes right now!

Do you have a bit of cucumber?

A bit of clay?

You've already got the basics at hand. Let's get busy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Infusing Oil With Coffee

If you have been following this blog or my Instagram account, you've probably noticed all kinds of different infusions and straining techniques going on throughout much of last year. (I've been working on material for an upcoming book.)

Some of what I've been experimenting with has been coffee in oil, and that's what we're going to do today: make coffee oil!

Friday, February 17, 2017

How to: Calm Steam Face Tea

This is simple, fun, inexpensive, and ridiculously easy to make.

And it's beneficial for the skin.

Not only is a face tea a perfect gift or giveaway, if you package it up a little fancy (check the glass tube up there), it's also a bit of eye candy.

That's just got to be a win win win.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

How to Dose Essential Oils in a Formula

In connection with this previous post, today's subject details a bit about why precision is so important when making formulas for skincare products.

We're going to touch on something some DIY'ers hardly even give a thought  –  how to dose essential oils in a formula.

You: Seriously, Lise? We need lessons in counting drops?

Me: You mean you're measuring by the drop?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Working With Stinky Ingredients - Part 3

Last time we talked about stinky ingredients around here, I listed a few of my 'favorite' stinky cosmetics ingredients and promised to show you how to bend said stinkiness into pleasantness.  

To do this, we need to do a bit of nose exercise (and no, you don't need to learn how to wiggle your nose)

The first step to working with stinky ingredients is to get our perfuming noses on. Let's start whipping a few stinky ingredients into shape!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Colloidal Oats - Let's Make Our Own!

This is simply a matter of patience and a couple of good tools. And, if you happen to bake, there's double bonus here (all shall soon be revealed!).

Today, we're going to make our own version of colloidal oats! Shall we get started?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Working With Stinky Ingredients - Part 2

Late last year, I asked a few fellow formulators who use predominately natural ingredients if there were any particular ones they would categorize as stinky and hard to work with.

There was a literal flood of replies.

Apparantly, I am not the only one who finds some ingredients a little, pretty, awfully, ridiculously challenging to work with.

Friday, January 20, 2017

It's Called a Formula

This is not a rant. It's a question of semantics and you might even find it a bit nit-picky.

You might even be right.

I hear this term used constantly by home-crafters and DIY enthusiasts (which is understandable) but also occasionally from colleagues (which confuses me a bit).

Every time someone uses the word 'recipe' when they are talking about a formula, it tugs on a cringe-muscle.

Just a little teensy bit.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Discount Offer on Working With Shea Butter

It's the middle of January and in these cold, Northern parts where I live, the middle of the winter.

I've pretty much been slathering myself in skin-loving shea butter products since New Year: Oatmeal and Clay cleanser in the morning, Bare Basic Hydration Lotion for arms and legs, Super Soft Body Butter for feet, Lip and Cuticle Balm, and Whipped Butter has been my go-to nighttime moisturiser for face and neck.

It suddenly dawned on me that every one of these formulas is in the e-book you see up there.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How To Treat Baking Soda Burn

Baking Soda Burn has become an unexpected and painful reality for a heck of a lot of people who are simply trying to live a greener life.

Misinformation about commonly used deodorant ingredients continues to flourish, causing many to seek alternative solutions.

Unfortunately, a great number of these 'greener deodorant solutions' involve applying a chemical compound more commonly known as baking soda to the delicate skin of the armpits, causing a wide range of unfortunate reactions.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

How to Make Face Tea

In truth, this is simply a new name for a facial steam, but I quite like the idea of calling it face tea. It is not only easy to make, but in the dead, dark of (this Nordic) winter, there's no better time for a little skin pampering treat.

Let's make Face Tea!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Roots Formulating - a Quest for Ultimate Minimalism

When I started making cosmetics, there weren't nearly as many plant-based ingredients to choose from as there are today.

The list of vegetable oils was laughably short, the choice of emulsifiers was – let me think a moment – one (?), and hydrosols were so rare, it felt like Christmas to find a supplier who happened to carry any at all.

Happily, the direction has shifted dramatically toward greener solutions in recent years.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

It's already 2017! Did the New Year sneak up on you too? It sure did for me.

Even though it was all quite clearly right there on the calendar, it still managed to take me by surprise.

How did 2016 disappear so fast? Shall we dwell on it?


New Year, New Stuff to Do

We're going to get busy with all kinds of fun things around here this year.

But first, we're going to quietly ease into the fact that we have actually entered a New Year and crawl back into bed for a bit of a nap.

Tomorrow, we'll get a serious.


Stay tuned.