DIY Spray Dry Shampoo

As usual, Marie over at Humblebeeandme has the best ideas. She’s gone and made a DIY “dry” shampoo spray, and I modified it only slightly by adding essential oils and tripling the recipe. I enjoy making things in tiny batches to try, but I could tell this was going to be a keeper and making a 2 oz, single use bottle seemed ridiculous. Also I didn’t have a 2 oz bottle with the correct pump top, only larger pump bottles or smaller fine mist bottles, and I didn’t think a fine mister bottle would work because of particulate matter.

This recipe uses 120 proof vodka (60% alcohol), calcium carbonate powder, silk peptides, and bamboo extract. Marie used phytokeratin, but I am out right now so I decided to try using bamboo extract for its detangling and shine properties. Silk, of course, is a great moisture manager. Calcium carbonate powder is drying and oil absorbent, and has a very alkaline pH, which lifts the keratin scales on your hair and makes it seem cleaner and gives it volume. The whole mixture is suspended in the alcohol, which is also drying…the alcohol smell evaporates off rapidly, leaving behind the fresh essential blend I chose which is much better than sweaty dirty hair. I chose one part each tea tree, rosemary, and spear mint, and three parts lavender. It’s a “go to” blend I like to use for hair stuff that’s fresh and light.

Brief segue that needs to be a full post one day: as I work with essential oils more and more, and as I have started making lotions and perfumes and balms, I find I fall back on one of maybe a half dozen essential oil blends. I have a citrus one now, and a woodsy one, a “calming” one, this one, a ” manly” labdanum one, and a few florals. I can build from there, and I’ll go into that another day. But I’m proud I’ve gotten this far since when I started I had 12 tiny essential oil bottles, no previous experience with any of it, and no idea what a top note or base note was or how they worked together (hey, I’m still working on that!).

I was worried my hair world smell like I had just come off a three day bender but really, it did dry fast and it smelled a lot better than the canned dry shampoo and it’s propellants full of chemicals. If you’re very concerned, you can use half 91% rubbing alcohol and half distilled water, or 2/3 70% rubbing alcohol and 1/3 water and not smell like any “spirits” at all. I chose vodka because we had a handle of the cheap stuff around for this kind of thing…oh, ok, it was for punch and didn’t get used. I admit it. But nobody will ever drink it, so I need to figure out how to use it up. This seemed like a great way. And it works! I didn’t take pictures, but my hair went from being sweaty greasy and baby drooly gross to looking pretty good. And unlike dry shampoo that I massage in with my fingers, I was able to pin it up or brush it out and leave it down. It wasn’t forced into an messy bun.

Here’s my recipe:

2 tsp powdered calcium carbonate
1/2 tsp silk powder
1 tsp bamboo extract

240 ml high proof alcohol (approximately 40-60% or 80-120 proof; if using stronger, dilute with water)

Or rubbing alcohol as mentioned in description
You want it to be about 50/50 water/alcohol

40 drops essential oils of choice.
I used:
20 drops lavender, 5 drops spear mint, 8 drops each rosemary and tea tree

Using a funnel, measure the calcium carbonate, silk, and bamboo extract out into spray bottle with a trigger pump top. Add the alcohol (and water), and shake to combine.

To use, shake the bottle thoroughly (make sure there isn’t any powder resting at the bottom) and mist it over your hair, concentrating on the roots, tossing your hair around with your fingers like you might when blow drying to get the dry shampoo spread about evenly and encourage it to dry. I stuck with my temples and the crown of my head since that’s what’s notable the most. You’re done once your hair no longer looks dirty!

Because this spray is so high in alcohol it shouldn’t need a broad spectrum preservative.

I hear that both high proof alcohol and calcium or magnesium (separately, in anecdotal stories) might be good DIY deodorant. If I have trouble with mine causing a rash again, maybe I’ll try spraying this under my arms!

For the link to the original post where Marie put her recipe, look here at Humblebee & Me.

Addendum: I love this stuff. With a 7 month old baby, I don’t get a the chance to wash my hair-and I’m a no poo girl anyways-but I almost always have to go somewhere it seems, on days I look the worst. This stuff is the bomb. It beats any canned dry shampoo I’ve ever used. I had a crazy pump bottle and it clogged, so I poured a little in my hands and rubbed it though the roots of my hair around my face and along my part and crown. I let it dry completely, brushed it out, and my hair looked amazing. It even felt clean. It doesn’t work well two days in a row, but it totally bought me a day of “clean” hair three times now since I made it, and probably will again today. I’m a no poo girl, so I live for a good dry shampoo! I liked my powder dry shampoo and I’ll still use it because I’m nervous about dosing myself with this much alcohol often, but this is awesome.

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Scrub a dub

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From time to time, Wholesale Supplies Plus puts up recipes for different things to DIY. Often they are melt and pour soap ideas, which is great if that’s your thing, but it’s not mine. However, they just put up a recipe for a Blue Agave Body Scrub and I was intrigued. I didn’t have the right colorants or fragrance oil (and I always prefer to use essential oils when I can anyways), so I thought of ways to change it up to fit what I already had. Also, their recipe made a very big batch, and I wanted a very small batch, so I divided it in half. Finally, I didn’t have two of the carrier oils they called for, but knowing what I do about oils I made appropriate substitutions.

You can find their recipe here. I decided to change it from Blue Agave to Citrus Blast, and instead of making four 8 oz jars, I made four 4 oz jars. Finally, I included a teensy bit of surfactante with mine so it will be ever so slightly foamy and cleansing, even with the oils. I love having a surfactant with oils, I feel like I get very clean with the combination since dirt will bind to oils and dead skin will, too, and a surfactant will help release any bad oils from the skin like petroleum products you may have picked up.

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This recipe called for a lot of ingredients! It’s simple to make, and you could combine all the oils down into one medium weight carrier oil like olive oil, I guess, to simplify it. You could also leave out color and use one essential oil instead of a blend. Using a blend definitely took up some time, but it smells so juicy and fresh it was worth it. I used orange and lemon essential oils first, then bergamot to balance that, and rosemary, then small amounts of grapefruit and lime. The end result is amazing and I’m glad I wrote down the measurements. I would love this for a soap.

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The main butter or oil for this is shea butter, which you see here being melted with Emulsifying Wax NF and some stearic acid. The stearic acid is also an emulsifier and has cleansing properties, it’s not just there for no reason.

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

30g Safflower Oil
45g Avocado oil.
30g Sweet Almond oil
60g Emulsifying Wax (I used Emulsifying Wax NF this time)
30g Stearic Acid

15g Cetyl Alcohol
55g Shea Butter
15g SLSa

15g SCI (either get the finely ground kind or finely grind the noodle kind)
5 oz Sugar
1/4 tsp Sunshine yellow mica (or other color of your choice)
7g Optiphen or Phenonip
4g essential oil blend (mix and match drops of orange, lemon, bergamot, rosemary, lime, grapefruit to get to 80 drops. Or other blends of your choice of course; and skin safe fragrance oils like Crisp Cotton or Green Smoothie by Brambleberry are fun). 

Recipe Directions
Weigh the Emulsifing Wax and Stearic Acid and place in double boiler. Weigh the Shea Butter and add to pot with waxes. Place over low heat on stove until just melted
Weigh the oils out, and add to the melted wax/butter mixture. Stir gently and remove from stove. With hand mixer or whisk, blend on low until ingredients have emulsified.
Let product cool down and thicken up.
Add granulated sugar, SLSa and SCI, and mix in gently to incorporate.
Add colorants as desired. Making sure product is cool, add fragrance and preservative and mix well. Blend with hand mixer until product gets fluffy and smooth.
Place product into jars, filling each to approximately 3/4 full. If more product remains divide up evenly.
Product will thicken up once it has completely cooled.
Place lids on the jars and label accordingly.
To Use: Scoop out a small amount of scrub and add a small amount of warm water. Mix together in your hand and then apply to wet skin. Rinse thoroughly, then pat dry.

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Small things, part 2

It occurred to me that my last blog post was kind of boring. No pictures, and it was very stream of consciousness with very little cohesive structure.

Ah, sleep deprivation. It’s a thing. Let’s try again?

So I made some one ounce solid perfumes, and I was impressed with myself because I did it while carrying the baby in the baby carrier on my chest. She was happy. I was happy.

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I actually made three, one of these-the one with the most missing-is an experiment from another day.

The recipes for each are as follows:

I posted this first one on the last blog post, but here it is again:

(For each one ounce jar)
1 tbsp beeswax (approximately 8g) 
1 tbsp emulsifying wax (like Ecomulse, Polywax or Emulsifying Wax NF-which is what I used) (approximately 8g)
1 tbsp lightweight carrier oil (I chose safflower) (approximately 9g)

You can make several perfumes’ worth of base at once and leave the container in simmering water while you work on each. I put the essential oils in the small, 1 oz containers and proceeded to top off with the base, then stir with chopsticks until mixed well. It was relatively mess free that way, even with baby in her carrier reaching for everything. 

Melt these together in a double boiler. You can improvise a double boiler for the microwave with a glass measuring cup inside a small mixing bowl, but I still advise always using a double boiler when working with beeswax as it’s melting point is so high most plastics melt before it does. It’s also extremely hot when it’s in liquid form, so use oven mitts to handle your container and avoid getting this liquid mess on your bare skin! Defiitely don’t spill it on the baby!

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Perfume one: J’s Favorite.
3 drops vitamin E oil to stave off rancidity
30 drops bergamot essential oil
3 drops clove essential oil
3 drops cardamom essential oil
20 drops patchouli essential oil
1-3 drops vetiver essential oil- start with one, swirl it in, wait, and then add the others one at a time. This is powerful stuff and it will be stronger the next day. So if you like it, leave it alone, it will be awesome later.

This smells so good. It’s really very gender neutral and has that good mix of woodsy and spicy, with some fresh citrus from the bergamot and a little mystery and smoke from the vetiver that you can control by dialing it up or down. I went for the full three drops because I love the way vetiver smells and I don’t mind a more “masculine” scent on myself. I could rub this all over, everyday, and may adapt this scent combo to a nice, light lotion soon!

Because of the bergamot essential oil being in the citrus family, this perfume could make you photo sensitive. Either use the bergapetene-free version or be cautious if rubbing it all over you and playing in the sun. I admit I put this on pulse  points and my neck and chest, so if I were out riding my bike in a tank I could be risking a sunburn. Personally, I’ve never had an essential oil cause a sunburn but I’m not prone to sunburns (I have darker skin and I tan easily)… But I’ve heard some stories though. So be cautious with the citrus oils.

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This perfume and the next one are labdanum based, and labdanum is more of a gooey resin than an essential oil. When I say “drops”, I hope you understand I was dipping a chopstick in the bottle and counting every blob that fell off as two drops because they were so big. That is how I did it…labdanum and benzoin have to be measured in blobs, not neat drops. Addendum: you can put the bottle in very, very hot (but not boiling!) water to get it to be less gooey and more liquid. Leave it in the hot water approximately 15 min. 

Also, because labdanum is such a complex scent, I’m waiting a few weeks to let it mature. I keep sniffing the jars, though 😉 Addendum: these were so great my kid stole them from me and I need to make more

Labdanum Light Perfume:

Base for one ounce solid perfume
3 drops Vitamin E oil
26 “drops” (or 13 “blobs”) labdanum essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops grapefruit essential oil
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
10 drops fir balsam essential oil

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Labdanum Dark Perfume:

Base for one ounce solid perfume

3 drops Vitamin E oil

36 drops (or 18 blobs) labdanum essential oil

24 drops michelia alba leaf essential oil (I’ve had a hard time finding michelia alba at a reasonable price. You can order it off Amazon but it comes from England so be prepared to wait a bit on that order. Rumor is also New Dimensions Aromatic has it, but I don’t shop there because I often want one oil at a time and they have a $100 minimum order thing I think is b.s.)

8 drops cedarwood atlas essential oil

10 drops cardamom essential oil

12 drops vanilla essential oil (benzoin would also work, about 6 blobs)

12 drops palmarosa essential oil

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This perfume I made a few months ago when I first got a bottle of hydacheim essential oil. It’s dry and spicy, with a hint of citrus, but otherwise very much like patchouli. I love it. It brings out my hidden hippie side, lol. At first it’s overpowering but the scent soon mellows and becomes lovely.  If you don’t have hydacheim, and don’t want to invest in it, try making this with dark patchouli. It should still be awesome but I haven’t tried it yet. 

When I made this perfume I was horrified and almost tossed the whole thing in the trash, but now I’m glad I didn’t as it has developed into a really nice little tub of (admittedly very hippie-esque) of perfume that is reminiscent of incense from my childhood. I can’t give you the recipe, because sadly I didn’t keep track of exactly what went into it. I can tell you what, just not how much exactly.

Perstephanie’s Hippie Perfume

1) Lavender (I believe it was about 50-60%)

2) Hydacheim (20%)

The rest in tiny amounts, like 1-3%. If I remake this perfume I will leave out most of this stuff…see the notes!

3) Patchouli-to “compliment” the Hydacheim. Gone! They are too much alike! I may someday make this with 10% hydacheim and 10% patchouli, but that’s a fun variation to consider.

4) Cassia-to amp up sweet spice notes of Hydacheim.

5) Clove- to amp up spicy notes, I think I would keep cassia or clove, but probably not both. I will decide after I wear the perfume more and I decide which one comes through better and works with the mix. (Addendum: you really need both, or possibly clove and nutmeg would be awesome).

6) Black pepper, woodsy and peppery. Gone. It’s a more expensive essential oil and doesn’t really shine in this perfume. I can’t justify wasting it here. The cedar and juniper work, but not pepper.

7) Juniper, for more a sweet woodsy note. I love this alot. 

8) Frankincense, for woodsy note. I will keep either juniper or frankincense, probably juniper. I can get hints of juniper now and then and it works with the hydacheim and lavender. I’m not smelling the frankincense and I think it may be just a little to close to hydacheim and patchouli to work.

9) Cedarwood, for smokey woodsy. Def keep, and possibly increase. It’s enough different from the hydacheim that it complements it well. Other options would be to try cade or vetiver, but I think they would be too smokey where the cedarwood is just right.

10) Litsea Cubeba for citrus top note. Defiitely keep a citrus note, although I may use red mandarin instead for all or part because lemony isn’t quite right, and litsea cubeba is pretty lemony. Petitgrain might work too, in full or at 50%. My favorite idea is a combo of grapefruit, lime, and sweet orange (I really like this idea, or the petitgrain instead of sweet orange) The citrus note needs to be worked out! Next version, I will have to figure this out. 

That means next time, I’m looking at:
25 drops French Lavender

10 drops Hydacheim (or 5 hydacheim and 5 dark patchouli)

4 drops each cassia and/or clove (maybe 50/50, or 50/50 clove and nutmeg)

6 drops juniper- keep! 

4 drops cedarwood, and maybe increase to 6 drops!

6 drops red mandarin, or other citrus blend (like 2 drops each lime, grapefruit, and sweet orange OR petitgrain…or maybe 50/50 litsea cubeba and petitgrain)
3 drops vitamin E oil

Base for one ounce solid perfume
TIME! THIS TAKES TIME TO MATURE! As in, minimum one month. The longer you leave it, the better it smells. 

The problem was that the hydacheim overpowered everything initially. So nothing I put in, no matter what, came through. Even cedar, which usually is a great smell and strong, was lost. Cassia and clove were lost. That’s why I almost tossed the whole thing. The fact that it was about half Bulgarian Lavender essential oil wasn’t making a difference, it was like working with sodium hydroxide: all the scents changed and morphed on me. Of course, now that it’s mellowed and blended, it’s significantly nicer and I like it much more.

 I will be making solid bug away balms here soon, and when I do I will take a minute and remake this perfume so it has a few months to mature again. (Addendum: it’s been six months and I’m finally making more perfumes, lol). 

There are some great DIY perfume ideas online, and I found a collection of them to stimulate my imagination by looking here.

However, I ultimately went off of sources I trusted and what I already knew I liked, as well as some research into good essential oil blends. In the end, your nose and what works for your body chemistry once it’s on you will be the final judges. That’s part of why I make such small amounts. 

Theoretically, you can also mix these same oils into a 5 or 10 ml roller pen and top with either 91% alcohol, perfumer’s alcohol (hard to source), or a nice light oil like grapeseed that is easily absorbed by the skin. You could also make body spray in small, 2 oz spritzer bottles (or double your essential oils) for larger bottles, add red turkey oil or polysorbate 20 in the same volume (not weight, but volume) as the essential oils, and top with distilled water that’s been boiled for 20 min and then brought to room temperature. If you do make a body spray, add a broad spectrum preservative at the manufacturers intended rate. I like using Optiphen or Liquid Germall Plus at 1% in these sorts of things so that’s 0.5g preservative for a 2 oz bottle or 1g preservative for a 4 oz. Be sure to check the manufacturers recommend use for the preservative of your choice and make sure it’s appropriate for a suspension that’s largely water. Phenonip, for example, would be a poor choice here since its intended for items that are largely oil. Make sense? See my preservatives page (it’s linked to my “About” page) for more details. But please don’t make a body spray that’s water based with no preservative.

You could make a body spray that’s 30-50% 91% rubbing alcohol instead, and that should allow you to eliminate the preservative. However, it would be drying on your skin so I don’t recommend it. Yoid also have to wait for the alcohol to evaporate before you could smell the perfume, which is sad. The amount of preservative is negligible but saves you from invisible microbes like bad bacteria and also prevents mold, which can take over your product in mere days. It’s totally worth it to invest in the preservatives you’ll need to make safe skin products. If nothing else, purchase Liquid Germall Plus for your everyday things and something like Phenonip if you’re making sugar scrubs. 

All that being said, you may wonder why these perfumes don’t have preservative. It’s because they are oil based and water free. If there was concern you’d be dipping wet fingers into them, I would recommend adding Phenonip, but since we apply our perfumes with clean, dry hands then we can skip the preservatives and focus on anti-oxidants like Vitamin E which should extend the shelf life of your perfume. However, should your perfume start to have an off smell, particular that of old crayons or canned nuts, it’s a good idea to toss it and start again. That’s a top sign it’s gone rancid (which shouldn’t be for at least a year, possibly longer). 

Clean up for beeswax based items is often difficult. I recommend warming the container up til you can use a small spatula to scrape any and all excess into the trash. Then rinse the container several times with scalding water (the hottest your faucet puts out) and that will melt off the remaining wax. From there, I use nearly boiling water (pop a cup in the microwave to boil water) and my DIY scouring powder (1 bar homemade soap, which is 50/50 lard and coconut oil and only 1% superfat-if you want to make that someday, or you can substitute a bar of something like Ivory or Fels Naphtha), plus 3/4c each washing soda or baking soda and Borax…grate the soap then process it all in your food processor til it’s a nice powder. It works; the microcrystalline structure of the soda actually scrapes grease and oils, the soap works as a surfactant, and the Borax binds to certain things and you end up with everything sparkling clean. Just let that water cool before you scrub the container out; this scrubbing powder needs time to work. This scrubbing powder is so awesome to have on hand when making things like lip balms or other high wax items. It will also work on baked on goods with your everyday dishes, so make a double batch and store in a coffee can in your kitchen. It’s also good for cleaning bathrooms and especially bathtubs. You can add some oxyclean if you need a little kicker on stains or soap scum. If you simply can’t be bothered to make the DIY scouring powder, you can try a bleach based one like Ajax or Comet. I admit, I still use Ajax on my toilet bowl. 

Small things…

I’ve found with the help of the 6 month old kitchen assistant, that there are still small things I’m able to DIY to break up the monotony of being a stay at home “mom” again. And there are times it is monotonous, no lie. This week, we made some solid perfumes.

I made a big batch of “base”, then put the essential oils for each into the tins I was using for the perfumes and just stirred well after I added the melted base to each one. However, for each 1 oz tin, it comes out to approximately 1 tbsp each beeswax, emulsifying wax, and carrier oil of your choice (I used safflower oil).

I made three perfumes, two with labdanum that need time to mature and blend before I wear them or gift them, and one that J loved right away that has patchouli, vetiver, clove, cardamom, and bergamot. It’s really nice and I’m glad I made it. I have a perfume I wear all the time, but I’m willing to wear this as a daily one for fun for awhile.

Next up in this vein is making aftershave or men’s cologne. I’m curious to see if I can get Bay Rum right and I think I know of a few other scents you men would enjoy.

Also today, I was gathering ingredients to make sugar scrub with Tater in my arms and she fell asleep! Definitely have to put her in the baby carrier from now on!

Perfume recipe:

Solid base as above
4 drops vitamin E oil
30 drops bergamot essential oil
1-3 drops vetiver essential oil (how smokey do you want it? A little goes a long way!)
3 drops cardamom essential oil
3 drops clove essential oil
20 drops dark patchouli essential oil

Mix well with melted solid base then let set up in tin. Will make a soft salve like perfume. For a more firm perfume, use equal amounts beeswax and oil and leave out emulsifier.
I just like using the emulsifying wax because it makes a nice, unscented base for perfumes that has more glide than pure beeswax, but you could also make a blend that is also beeswax, oil, and a butter like mango or shea. It will be significantly softer than one with emulsifier, but it’s possible. You’ll have to play with the ratios to get it just right. 

The other upside to using an emulsifying wax is that it makes the perfume more “dry” going on and less greasy. I do highly advise it. 

Giveaway! Free stuff! What?!?

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I’m a big fan of Orange Is The New Black, and to celebrate the third season coming out on Netflix here in a few weeks, I made up a batch of themed soap. And I’m giving it away. If you want a bar, I’ll put your name in a random generator and get you entered, and ship the bars in three weeks when they have cured. I am having to request that you cover the cost of shipping (about $5-6) but that’s it. If you’re local to me, I’ll deliver. If you’re placing an order, and you win, obviously I’ll pack it in for free.

I made the black bars first by making a batch of black soap:

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And then cutting it into slices and letting those slices harden up for a few days.

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Then it was time to select colors to make the perfect jumpsuit orange.

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I had hoped to do a darker orange swirl on top but because I ended up kind of piling the soap up and not leaving it flat, it wasn’t possible to do a fancy design with swirls. Oh well.

It was harder than it looked, getting the black imbeds of soap into the orange. And messy. So I don’t have any photos of that process.

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But I do have a pic of my constant companion:

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My beloved coffee cup!

The soap turned out well. I went with orange and slightly brighter orange swirled in, and overall it just looks orange. The scent is mango peach lemon, which somehow ended up just peachy and citrussy and fresh, and I like it.

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There are ten bars up for grabs! You have between now and June 19th to contact me using one of the methods available to you (my email is scseery@gmail.com, many of you are my FB friends, etc), and get into the drawing. I’ll randomly draw ten names and announce winners here or if there aren’t ten entries, everyone gets soap! Caveat: if we don’t know each other in real life, you need to be comfortable with giving me your address. You’ll be able to do that privately via email. And reminder once again: I will need the winners to pay shipping. I apologize, but 10 bars times $5 shipping each stops being a fun give away for me and starts being painful.

I need to focus on some domestic tranquility over the next week, and filling some paid orders for jelly and a few things my mom wants. After that I hope to be able to make my new log mold and look into saving towards a bar mold. I found a bar mold with the good non stick inserts for $45 on EBay, and it would be ideal for the Purple Rain soap I want to make or any other bar swirl design in the future. It’s just not a priority, however. Still have it on my watch list! I’m also excited about trying out the coconut Tres Leches Soap, because I thought of it myself and have never heard or found any other soap maker doing it. However, since little bit is officially crawling, I’m doing a lot of chasing and baby proofing and not much else with my time.

Also in the future look for an anti acne roller ball treatment stick, my insect repellent recipe, and my review of Badger Balm’s kids sunblock. I may make a few lotions as for some friends and family with skin conditions, I’ll try to blog as I go!

Happy DIYing!

Tasty, tasty

Recently I broke down and purchased a tiny (and very inexpensive) kit of flavored oils for lip balm making. I really only wanted strawberry and cinnamon, but for the price of the two, I could get the kit with ten…so why not?

The other new lip ingredient I got in the mail that thrilled me were two tiny packets of carmine. Stop being grossed out! Yes, carmine is made from bugs. People all over the world eat bugs as a high protein and dense energy food, and the only reason we don’t here is because of societal taboos about insects. Regardless, carmine has been used for years in cosmetics and foods, and is not replaceable by any other natural colorant.

Armed with the pomegranate flavoring and the carmine, I mixed up some coconut oil and beeswax lip balms. Adding flavoring was pure guess work, though. After some research I decided on one gram per batch. I added carmine, a pinch at a time until I had a awesome cranberry color, and then a teensy bit of gold mica because I love the shimmer and it never shows at this concentration on the skin, just in the tube. Let cool, stirring constantly, until the consistency of runny honey, then pour into tubes quickly. Ta day!

I’m afraid I don’t have pics this time, because of the munchkin. I can apparently make lip balm with one hand (excerpt for pouring, she went into her walker for that part), but my camera on my phone is being wonky and using my 35mm Fuji is great except I need two hands AND I have to use my laptop to transfer photos. So no pics today of the pomegranate lip gloss. You can’t smell or taste it anyways, which is the whole point. The flavoring is definitely there, although I have to admit I don’t care for it. I think my favorite lip balms are flavored with a smidge of lavender and some cardamom, or just a touch of rose geranium and then spearmint. These fake fruit flavors and alcohol based sweeteners aren’t for me. However, I’ll keep them around in case anyone requests one. And I may still buy the cinnamon eventually so I can make a safer chai spice lip balm. So far it’s been difficult to find a lip safe cinnamon. 

Happy DIY! 

Pining Away…

OMG I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO GET TO USE THAT TITLE! And now, I finally made Pine Tar Soap! And it smells SOOOOOO good. But more on that in a minute.

First of all, you may have noticed a drop off in the number of blog posts. There’s a bunch of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that my husband and I are temporarily the guardian of our 6 month old granddaughter, so we are very busy lately with baby this and baby that. She’s awesome. And unless we are FB friends, that’s the last you’ll hear about her. Except that my usually cluttered house and kitchen are now downright horrible because of lack of time and mobility, and it makes making anything impossible. I did throw some lip balm together this morning because I was completely out of unflavored, shea butter aweseomeness lip balms. So I made up a big batch of ten and now I have them on hand to stash all over the house. As soon as I print off labels for them. Or hand write labels. Or don’t, and let everyone guess what they are…always an option and a great until a month from now when I forget I did it. Sigh.

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Back to the soap: I was excited when I found pine tar at a great price online and decided to splurge and get some. I had a few people express interest in pine tar soap because of it’s alleged skin and hair  saving benefits (it’s supposedly excellent for things like acne or eczema, and a great cure for dandruff), so I thought it would be worth making. Also, because it’s tricky to make by all accounts, I was curious how hard it would be to do. Always up for a challenge…and the soap challenge was just over. It turned out to be too easy. I increased my water discount as suggested and used a slow tracing recipe, but honestly I could have used the regular water (or even a lower water discount) and it would have been fine. The slow moving recipe was probably a good idea; I left out pomace and stuck with canola oil, coconut oil, lard, and a smidge of castor oil. I made sure everything was completely at room temperature and it was a breeze to do.

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I was at light trace when I poured it and it wasn’t even thick enough to do much of a design on the top, as opposed to the brownie like batter I had been scared I was going to get according to all the tutorials. Must have been all that water, because it needed three days in the mold before I could take it out and I still smooshed up one end (glad we trim those off) and I gave it another day out of the mold to set up more. It sliced great in my new slicer! I love this thing! So much better than eyeballing the loaf and getting “about right” slices that are all wobbly. (Best Mother’s Day present ever, btw, dear hubby who is reading)

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Because of the extra water discount, and how very soft these are, they are going off into the storage room with the soap from the soap challenge to cure for two months instead of one. I’ll try out the end slice in a month and see how it’s going, but I’m almost certain it needs at least 6 weeks which would put it ready to sell around the 4th of July. I’m ok with that. That reminds me that I need a patriotic soap ready and done in the next week or so and ready to go…or that I should have done it already, actually and should consider it for next year. I do want to make a soap for Thanksgiving that’s high in shea butter that needs a 6 month (give or take) cure time, and that means I need to get it done this month or next and get it on racks. It will be “pumpkin pie” and should be very luxurious with all that shea butter in it. I also have ideas for Christmas soaps that I should start working on in August and marketing THEN.

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However, as you can see, we haven’t gotten my new wood soap mold built yet (it’s strange how you can’t use power tools and hold a squirming 6 month old, or put her in safety gear and keep her distracted while you use a skillsaw) so I’m still using my less than optimal loaf mold that has seen better days. I have the stuff to make the goat’s milk soap I’m curious to try, and it occurred to me that a tres leches soap would be fun to make with goat’s milk, coconut milk, and cow’s milk, with amaretto or coconut fragrance oil (or vanilla, or jasmine) and in small, round molds. It would be such a mild soap with such great lather. If the recipe was right, with tallow and luxury oils, it would be a really mild and amazing soap. Hmmm……how much fun would THAT be to make? I really shouldn’t be allowed to have so many ideas! I know most people create one or two soaps and than make just that, but I am tempted to say that every batch from Incidentals will be unique and reflect the artistry of the soap maker. Is that a viable business option? Probably not. Sadly…

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I can’t tell if it is soda ash forming on the outside of the soap or if they will just lighten up naturally as they lose water. I guess I will make that determination as they lose water and harden, but unless they seem very ashy I’m not going to steam them before they sell. If they are very ashy and not brown at all, I’ll give them a steam and see if they look nice again but let’s wait a month and see what happens. Fingers crossed! I did spray the loaf well with alcohol so maybe it’s natural water loss.

Happy soaping and DIYing!