Da da da Da Vinci!

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One of my best friends is going to Burning Man in a few months (hence the blog post title reference to this year’s theme) I don’t get to go this year (wah! just kidding, I am pretty cool with staying home this year). However, I’m trying to develop some fun body care products for her to take. Hopefully, after I get some feedback and make any necessary adjustments, I can then have all this and more ready in my Etsy shop next year to market to the festival crowd.

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First and foremost, I’m making a cooling mist. It’s based around a recipe I read on Humblebee & Me for “Air Conditioning in a Bottle”, only a little stronger and in a bigger bottle with an adjustable misting function. There are two things that wear on you out there in the dust, and one of them is the relentless heat, and the other is the lack of smell of anything but the dust. By making this strongly scented minty spray, with peppermint, camphor, menthol, tea tree, and wintergreen, I hope to help combat the dust smell for a brief few moments AND help provide a refreshing cooling sensation when misted on bare skin. My advice is to strip down as much as possible in front of your tent fan, mist your entire body, and enjoy both the smell and the brief little shiver from this spray even though there may be a dust storm outside.

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Another creation that’s been cracked is a lotion with an acidic component. It’s vital in the alkaline environment of the Playa to both moisturize and readjust the pH of your skin by applying something like vinegar. Now, you can use a double duty item like my new lotion, which can boast an oil component like either coconut oil or a rich oil, like wheat germ or jojoba (which is actually a wax, and very close in composition to human sebaceous gland oil), and also an acidic component like raw apple cider vinegar or citric acid solution. Of course, skin soothing essential oils can be added as well. For those of you who still prefer wiping down directly with your ACV, maybe consider a traditional lotion of coconut oil and shea butter with aloe juice to have on hand in your cooler after a hard day biking and checking out all the art. It would not only feel great, it would be great for your skin. I make traditional lotions upon request and with your input, helping you determine your needs and then constructing the lotion that will help you the most. I would like to mention that I can also make a more natural, paraben, artificial “yuckies” dupe of many items on the market upon request.

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Also, even though water is a luxury item and showers are unheard of at Burning Man, I made up two kinds of refreshing soap. Cooling and tingly mint soap in both liquid and bar form for anyone who wants it. Because it’s Burning Man, the liquid soap will be shimmery gold, and the bar soap will have a pretty bright green stripe with a fun swirl on top. Both have peppermint, spearmint, wintergreen, and just a touch of eucalyptus. I think you’ll enjoy them.

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And then, even though I STRONGLY believe in commercial and scientifically tested sunblock, I’m making some homemade sunblock that can be used as face and body paint. It “should” have an spf of approximately 20, which is too low to count on for all day wear in the desert, so layer this with a good commercial sunblock underneath. But these zinc oxide based body paints are colorful and fun for face and body, are water and sweat resistant, and their sparkly reflectiveness makes them unique. They come in silver, crystal white, purple, teal, yellow, and pink.

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I suggest you check out this awesome blog to read about how spf is calculated, the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens and sunblock, and other great information about using sunscreens in general that you should probably know. I have it bookmarked for easy reference because this blogger has her facts and ducks in a row! I use a different recipe than what she has on her blog, but her info is still awesome.

I don’t usually promote my shop this heavily on my blog, but I worked hard on everything for this event this year, and am hopeful that it will be utilized by friends and delighted new faces. I wish I could afford to gift all my creations to my community, but the best I can do is price them reasonably and competitively so that I don’t cause undue stress on the pocketbooks of the average attendee. I feel bad that it’s all coming together at this late date, but hopefully at least a few people will be able to utilize the fruits of my hard work and next spring I can use their feedback to make improved products for next year!

In the meantime, you can still email me suggestions and requests if there’s something you personally want for your trip to the Man or for another big trip, period.

Sunburn Spray

I don’t have a sunburn right now, so I can’t test this out. Because of my coloring, it’s also unlikely I’ll get a sunburn this year and need this, but after doing a lot of research online I came up with this simple spray. It’s preservative free so keep it in the fridge and watch it for signs of mold between uses or only make it up on an as needed basis (and hopefully you won’t need it often. 

1/2 c aloe vera juice
1/2 c raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp colloidal silver (optional, aides with healing)
10 drops peppermint essential oil
Place in 8 oz spray bottle with mister setting and spray on affected areas every few hours.

According to everything I read and the comments, this should work great. I certainly plan to make some up the next time someone here turns pink or red! I hope it helps someone else! If you use the gel, it’s allegedly a little sticky, but not if you use the juice. Just an FYI. You can also add some lavender essential oil, if you have it. But be sure to use the peppermint for the cooling sensation it gives.

Summer Shimmer

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Today I made a really big batch of summer shimmer lotion. I made a larger bottle, as seen above, for myself, and five smaller bottles to give away in the hopes of getting people hooked on natural lotion.

The lotion has gold and bronze mica in it, which gives it its color and shimmer, but once it’s on your body and rubbed in, there’s very, very, little shimmer visible. I couldn’t get the camera to pick it up at all and I could barely see it on my arm, only in the sunlight was it really noticeable at all.

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It was a quick and easy lotion to make as I didn’t include any botanicals except aloe vera and I stuck with very basic carrier oils like safflower and olive with some shea butter. However, it should be a great summer weight lotion with excellent moisturizing properties and easy absorption. I’m enjoying it so far.

I used lemongrass and eucalyptus essential oils to make it smell good but still be off putting to most insects. At least, I hope so. It’s the best I could do without breaking into the really smelly stuff like citronella and lemon eucalyptus, and I didn’t want to do that.

The scent is light, anyways, and not overpowering. Overall, it’s a nice daily lotion for summer and I hope my friends enjoy it when I pass it out shortly. Getting feedback on these items helps me improve them before they go into my shop.

I also added some pages to my site here today in preparation for building an actual website eventually. I would like to get away from Etsy, and I feel like what I pay them monthly on advertising could host a website easily. I added a medical disclaimer, and a page about my organic/all natural status. I’m not certified organic and I don’t pretend to be, but most of my items are definitely natural items and made with cruelty free and organic ingredients. For now, that’s all I can promise. If you want to know more, go to my “about” page and you’ll find the links that go to the new pages.

Magnesium Anti Cramp Massage Roller

Using ideas and research into anti cramp essential oils, and the effects of topical magnesium on leg cramps, I worked up these anti cramp massage rollers.

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They are in nice, palm sized, 30 ml roller ball containers instead of the more typical 10 ml pencil sized rollers typically used for essential oil aromatherapy. This makes them the right size for rubbing on a tricky Charlie horse or other hard to reach muscle spasm but not so large they can’t be tucked in purse or gym bag.

The roller ball containers came from Amazon, and the recipe looks like this if you want to make it yourself. It should be up in the Etsy shop before the end of the weekend.

Ingredients:

10 drops clary sage essential oil(anti cramp properties)

10 drops  peppermint essential oil (pain relief)

5 drops clove essential oil (stimulates circulation)
5 drops cassia essential oil (stimulates circulation)
5  drops juniper essential oil- (stimulates circulation, anti cramp)
5  drops roman chamomile essential oil (calming, anti cramp)
5 drops lavender essential oil (calming)

10 drops black pepper essential oil (pain relief). You can also use red chili pepper oil, but I develop everything I make to avoid capsaicin as my husband is allergic. Black pepper oil brings some heat to the mix without the allergic reaction. The red pepper oil would be more effective. 

Emu oil: 15 g (pain relief, soothing to muscles)
Magnesium oil: 15g (helps with magnesium deficiency triggering cramping and spasms

Magnesium oil isn’t truly an oil, so you will have to shake this well before each use to mix the ingredients as they will separate between uses. It’s a good idea anyways.  
To make, simply add essential oils to bottle, then magnesium oil. Stir with bamboo skewer to mix. Add emu oil, assemble bottle, shake gently to mix the oils. Let sit a few days for everything to mix and mature before using if possible, but can use immediately if necessary. Shake well before each use. Roll o effected area and massage in well. Apply as needed to affected area. I personally have had some relief of muscle cramps in my bad leg with one of these, and also in my shoulders after slinging around 20 lbs of baby all day.

 

FYI: none of these statements have been researched by the FDA and I am NOT a healthcare professional, and you shouldn’t mistake my information here for medical advice. These are claims made by the people who make and sell the essential oils and other ingredients. Muscle cramps can be the sign of other health conditions. This blog isn’t designed to replace the advice of a health care professional, or to dispense treatment. I can’t emphasize that enough. Please see your health care professional if you have persistent symptoms about anything and don’t rely on website DIY remedies.

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Glossy

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I recently splurged a few bucks and bought the little sample pack of lip colorants in the photo above. Added with some of the colors I already had, as seen above (the top three), I was ready to make some mischief and mayhem.

I decided on a beeswax lip balm recipe that’s not unlike Burt’s Bees, and was pulling out ingredients when I was stopped by my 5 yr old granddaughter. She wanted to help. She’s the reason I don’t have more pictures and why we made strawberry favored princess pink lip balm instead of the mocha coffee summer shimmer lip balms I had in mind.

I don’t take pics of my grandkids for this public blog, but I have pics of the finished product for you.

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Our lip balms sitting, cooling off.

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A heavy layer of pink lip balm so you can see the color.

My mocha summer shimmer lip balms will wait till next week! 😉

Molded to fit

I have a new soap mold, thanks to the husband! I have him the plans and he bought the wood and built me a fantastic mold. The plans came from Modern Soapmaking’s website and you can find the link here. I decided against using her plans, but Marie at Humblebeeandme also posts about her soap mold right here if you’re interested, and gives dimensions and useful information.

You’ll notice that my soap mold does not have a lid. I never concern myself with getting my soap to gel, and right now I’m more concerned with keeping things cool than warm as it’s summer in Kansas and my house doesn’t have central air. My kitchen is pretty toasty most of the day, meaning I soap in the morning and at night, but saponification is happening during  heat of the day and no insulation is necessary. It’s why I haven’t made beer soap, or tres leches soap yet, or anything else that needs things cool and cooler instead of being able to take a little heat. No milks or sugars or honey in my soap. The honeybee idea I had is on hold. But I have plenty of ideas. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to be a soap maker who has signature soaps and no creativity. Maybe I could have three signature soaps and one that changes all the time?

Sorry about the segue. Having a hard time focusing today.

If you click the link for Modern Soapmaking you’ll also get exact dimensions, but essentially? It’s long enough to accommodate parchment paper precisely and wide enough to allow easy calculation for oils. Each inch equals 100 grams of oils, so if I use all 15 inches of the mold, I can pretty much guarantee I will need 1500 in oils, and whatever water and lye that uses, and if I want to use less I measure off, put in the spacer, and work from there. Look at these pictures:

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My mold, from the top. See the one inch markings?

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My mold with a spacer wedged in there. It will now make ten 1″ bars or 1000 g of oils or about 4 lb of soap. By making sure the end bolts are very tight, the spacer stays in place.

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To make two, 700 g oil batches of soap (what I will be doing today, in fact). This is better for the first few batches so the center block can soak up some water and swell a little and also so the weight of the soaps push against each other.

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The ends. To remove the soap, you unscrew the bolts and remove them, then pop the long board near the wing nuts free. It’s held on strictly by pressure. Only the other long board is screwed and glued down. Then remove the ends, using the blade of a chef’s knife if necessary to pry free (although if you oil them with mineral oil or Vaseline before hand it isn’t usually necessary), and lift your soap and parchment paper free. Peel the parchment off and you’re ready for slicing. I also grease up the spacer bar with petroleum jelly so it pops out easily. All in all, it leaves very little residue on the soap, and only on the ends which I trim anyways before slicing to cure.

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In this photo, you can see I pulled the board away and popped the end off. It is a very easy soap mold to use and I am very happy with it. I wanted to have J make me a 10″ one to replace my silicone mold which is getting very battered, but I don’t think we had enough wood for the sides left. That’s the size I use the most often and it would have meant I didn’t have to pull out this beast every time. However, I think I will enjoy working in grams very quickly-I like working in metric usually-and if it means whipping up two kinds of soap in smaller batches at first to “balance” the mold, well, that’s ok by me. It’s not breaking my heart.

Note: Unless I need the extra water for a very slow trace-or in the case of the fishing soap, a slow cure-I work at a 33% or 30% water discount, not 38% in Soap Calc. That decreases how much water I have in my batches slightly and makes them a little smaller. However, I don’t like my soap to be really huge and piling up over the mold like some people do, I want it pretty flat. Just take that all into account when I say these calculations work for me, ok?

Today I have planned fishing soap in anise and garlic. Sounds delicious, right? Probably not, but it catches catfish and I like catfish. Catfish are weird in that they bite on bait based on their sense of smell and they like odd smells…like soap and garlic and anise. Whatever, because I like catfish.
I smoked the last one on the grill and it was amazing.

I also want to make a whipped soap. This is like Ivory Soap in that it’s whipped so full of bubbles it actually will float. The technique sounds interesting and I’m curious to try it. I also want to add blue, yellow, and white color to it and have Swedish colors in my whipped soap today. Let’s see how creative I can get with this mess.

I need something in the other half of the soap mold so I’m putting in a batch of green clay face soap. When I made this the very first time, it didn’t turn out, so I rebatched it with some milk and made it into a soft scrub cleanser that EVERYONE liked. I now need to send out small bars to people who had the soft cleanser and ask which they prefer. I can also attempt to recreate the original with half this batch. I also want to take some liquid soap paste and dilute it with green clay and make a cleanser for my friends to test out. So there’s a lot going on there. But first, the bars of soap today!

And finally, today, I have to get more liquid soap in the crock pot. I didn’t realize how low I until I got a call for more and I ended up diluting out my last jar of concentrate for them. So except what’s in my hand wash container and dish soap bottle, I’m officially out of liquid soap.

I need to make lard and coconut oil laundry soap but I think it may have to wait until J gets home. I think we should be ok. If I make it in ten days, and it takes three weeks to cure, that means what I have needs to last a month. I have two more bars I can grind up beyond what’s in the coffee can, which is half full. It’s good. If we get deluged with bedding, I will break out the soap nuts, and if we get hit with a bunch of mud and filth, worst case scenario, I’ll can back up to my liquid soap and oxyclean. Period. I just hate tearing through the liquid soap because it is time consuming on a level that bar soap isn’t. Bar soap is all down time. You make it, you ignore it while it chemically reacts quietly on the counter. Liquid Soap needs attention. It’s the attention whore of the soap world. And I just added “whore” to my dictionary!

On that note, I’m out! 

Miceller water!

With pricey bottles of assorted high end brands getting scooped up on Amazon and U.S. beauty corporations scrambling to keep up with the trend, it looks like micellar water is quickly becoming a “must-have” item. I recently received a sample in the mail of a drugstore brand miceller water, and was given a sample size of a DIY a friend made. The DIY was pretty good, but needed a little tweaking, and has me on a quest.

Plenty of beauty bloggers have written about how awesome these magical waters are, how they remove stubborn makeup, don’t require rinsing, and feel oh-so-gentle on the skin, but few have actually cracked the code and made their own. There are more You Tube video tutorials than written directions and I hate watching videos. I feel good about adding to the written direction pool.

The basic premise of micellar water solution is so simple it might shock you: soapy water. That’s really it! By using the science of surfactants like detergent and soap to work with us, we can create our own simple formula that makes a nice sized replacement. 

Now for the science.

Surfactant molecules have a water loving (hydrophilic) head and a water repelling tail (lipophilic or hydrophobic). These molecules attract grease and oil to their tail and are carried off when the head meets its friends, water molecules. Micelles are crystal-like groups of surfactant molecules which have pushed all of the hydrophilic tails into the center, allowing the spheres to be suspended uniformly in an aqueous solution with a little help from heat and an emulsifier.

Note: I decided NOT to use homemade soap, either liquid or bar, for this recipe. I also decided against soap nuts or other saponin containing natural ingredients, although I may revisit that in the future. For convenience, this recipe uses up some old face wash I have (from Bare Escentuals) because you can use it around your eyes which you can’t do with homemade soap, or at least not nearly as easily. If you want to stay completely natural, feel free to sub the face wash for Dr Bronners, homemade liquid soap, or twice as much homemade grated bar soap. But realize you’ll have to keep your eyes shut tight when using to remove eye makeup as it will be potentially irritating to your eyes, more so than if made with face wash.

Now! You will need:

1/2 tsp Lecithin (soy or sunflower work well, I used soy)
1/4 tsp Jojoba Oil
1/4 tsp Red Turkey Oil (optional, can just double on jojoba oil and shake well)
Pinch guar gum
1 tsp Face wash of choice (I used Bare Escentuals)
1 tsp Vegetable Glycerin
12 oz, divided Heated distilled water (not boiling)
2 oz hydrosol of choice (optional, can use something like rose water…or just more water: I used green tea)
2 oz Witch Hazel (May use rose or lavender witch hazel, I used lavender witch hazel)
Essential oils as desired (lavender, tea tree)
Tinctures/extracts for skin as desired (chamomile, myhrr for example)
Non-metal mixing bowl
Non-metal stirring implement
Measuring jigger
Measuring spoons
Funnel
Bottle to store formula (at least 16 oz.)

I used 2 oz. Green tea, 2 oz. witch hazel, and 4 oz. heated distilled water, then added 1 tsp each glycerin and face wash. Stir gently.
Following that, I added 1/2 tsp lecithin, 1/4 tsp red turkey oil, and 1/4 tsp jojoba oil (or 1/2 tsp jojoba oil) and pinch guar gum. Mix well, using small whisk if necessary for guar gum and lecithin.

Let sit about 30 min while the lecithin forms micells, and then place in your bottle. Add extracts and essential oils, then add another 8 oz or so of hot water to top off. Shake well before each use, especially if you didn’t use red turkey oil to help emulsify the oils. It will need to be shaken a little regardless, however.

A note about preservatives (again). Ideally this watery, bacteria breeding ground should get about .12 oz, give or take, of the preservative I use (I would probably round up to .15 to be safe because I don’t wear make up often so it’s going to take me a few months to use all this). Another trick will be to store the bulk of it in the fridge and just keep out a small, 4 oz jelly jar with a small amount in it or a 2 oz squeeze travel bottle with some and refill that as needed, watching for mold or funny odor. You could be smart and do both! Remember when using preservatives to check the manufacturer’s recommended usage rates! Each one is different, so don’t go off my dosing here.

And that’s it! It works very well to get makeup off! I think it took two passes before my skin felt truly clean when I used it with a full face of make up on, but that day I was also hot and sweaty. I like to pack a 4 oz jelly jar full of those little round make up remover pads and saturate them with solution. You only get a few in there, but once they are gone it’s convenient and easy to refill if you keep your solution in the fridge.

Thanks for DIY’ing with me!

* This is yet another photo free post. I apologize, I will try to make sure my next posts have photos to help jazz up my writing.

**Speaking of preservatives, I’m switching mine. I’ve been using Optiphen, but it has a bad side effect in that it can break an emulsion like a lotion and cause it to separate if I add it when the emulsion is still too warm, but if I wait until the emulsion cools too much, it’s often so thick it makes getting it into pump bottles very difficult. Liquid Germall Plus is also safe and paraban free, and economical. I just ordered a small bottle to try out as it has many good reviews. I hope it works better and I’ll save the Optiphen for my non-lotion needs, like micellar cleanser.