Red Flags

Shared from Humblebee and Me:

http://www.humblebeeandme.com/research-red-flags-learn-ingredients/?mc_cid=d8f31e5c4a&mc_eid=13bd99fd60
Enjoy! 

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Things like Velcro, part 3 

The first time my anti-chafing blend was liquid oils and corn starch and it worked beautifully but over time it separated and became hard to mix back together, and also the liquid oils were messy and leaked from the container on to my night stand. So, not quite a win. 

The second time I attempted to turn it into a cream, with the corn starch suspended in the mixture of oil, mango butter, and emulsifying wax. It works, but I can’t help but think there’s a more simple solution for people who don’t have access to emulsifying wax and don’t want to invest in it. So I decided to try round 3: coconut oil. 

Right now, my house is so warm that all my coconut oil is liquid so I’m having to rely on my fridge to “resolidify” some of it. While I usually work in grams, for ease we are eyeballing this in cups. It’s very simple:

1/3c arrowroot powder

1/3c cornstarch (I like using both arrowroot and cornstarch because I feel like they bring different properties to the product but you can use all of one or the other; whichever you have is fine!)

1/3-1/2c melted coconut oil

10-20 drops essential oils of your choice (I used 8 drops each michelia alba and helichrysum, and 5 drops bergamot. It’s a light, citrussy smell with a little sweetness from the helichrysum-I’m also making lotion and shampoo with this same blend because it’s so awesome)

Add essential oils to dry ingredients. Slowly add melted coconut oil to dry ingredients, mixing well, til you have a thick paste. Add just enough to bring it all together, too much and it will be very oily and not leave enough powder behind when you use it.  Store in cool place where coconut oil will solidify again. If camping or traveling somewhere warm, try and keep in cooler so doesn’t melt and separate. I store this in a glass Mason jar so it’s easy to access and also easy to throw in the fridge or cooler if it starts getting soft in these warm temps. 

Skin in the game


Have you ever wondered what your skin is made of? Keep reading! 

Somebody was commenting recently about how your skin is your largest organ (true) and how you have to be careful what you put on it because it absorbs everything and that’s why we are all so sick nowadays (um, less true…your skin is an amazing and effective barrier that keeps out toxins and bad stuff, keeping you safe). So I decided to research the physiology of skin structure and post information here so you can learn about how your skin works and what the different layers and structures in your skin do. Please click on the links and go educate yourself! 

First up is Point of Interest. On Susan’s blog, as always, she’s done a tremendous job of being scientific without being so technical that it’s over your head. There’s a whole set of blog entries here on the skin and I suggest you read them all, you’ll be so much more informed about how your skin works afterwards! You can find her blog and the main page on skin chemistry HERE.

 Second is a brief overview of skin structures and anatomy, very brief and somewhat technical but very informative. I enjoyed it. You can find that page HERE.

 And finally we turn to Wikipedia. You can bash wiki all you want, but it’s still a great source of information at times. Search “epidermis”  and then, later, stratum corneum, and the other layers of skin individually, to get more detailed results. Here is the link for “epidermis”. I admit, the Wiki is much more technical than say, Susan’s writing, and less friendly, but there’s valuable information there, too. 

So there you have it. If you can only choose one, read the Point of Interest blog. It’s the most comprehensive and still manages to be entertaining. The others are definitely more dry and a little boring, but have good information so I included them. And if you read the Point of Interest blog, realize there are many entries linked on the same topic, so you may want to take advantage of the search box in the top left hand corner and search for “skin anatomy” or ” skin chemistry ” and see what pops up. See what your skin is made out of! 

Cough, Sneeze, Sniffle…go camping

I leave tomorrow for a week long camping trip, and because I didn’t have enough stuff to do to get ready to go, I decided to catch a little bit of a cold before I went. I’m blaming the husband, I definitely caught his cold, and it’s all his fault. So I’m taking a minute to drink hot tea and write this. But since I only have time for comfort care, and no time to lay around and be sick, I whipped up an essential oil roller pen filled with great stuff to relieve my stuffy nose and take the edge off my sniffles. You could use this blend in an essential oil diffuser; just leave out the menthol crystal and add a little more peppermint. Be sure to check the safety of the oils if you’ve got young children, there’s some question about peppermint and children under age 2. Better to be safe than sorry. Robert Tisserand has a great website about essential oil safety, and several books. He’s my go to guy. 

This makes a 10 ml roller bottle, and while I topped mine off with high proof vodka, you could also use perfumery alcohol-if you can find it-or a lightweight, fast absorbing carrier oil like grapeseed or sunflower. I like having cheap vodka around for projects like this (sure, you say, I can imagine you rolling your eyes now; but it’s McCormick vodka and not fit to drink) and it’s good for aftershaves as well. Buying the cheapest insures we won’t drink it and it stays dedicated for DIY projects. It’s 150 proof or about 75% alcohol, so it’s perfect in all kinds of projects that would normally require rubbing alcohol but where I don’t want that rubbing alcohol smell.

Here’s the recipe: 

Essential Oil Cold and Allergy Roller

30 drops eucalyptus essential oil

30 drops peppermint essential oil

20 drops clove essential oil

10 drops wintergreen essential oil

10 drops lime essential oil

10 drops lemon essential oil

10 drops cajeput essential oil

10 drops tea tree essential oil

5 drops rosemary

Three menthol crystals approximately the size of pencil erasers

High proof alcohol (70% minimum or 140 proof or  70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, perfumery alcohol, etc.)

OR

Lightweight carrier oil with low scent that’s fast absorbing like grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower. 

10ml glass roller bottle. Although there are plastic roller bottles and they can be slightly less expensive, I suggest you use glass with this high concentration of essential oils. 

Count out the drops of essential oils into your roller bottle, then add the menthol crystals. This should fill it about halfway full, maybe a little more depending on how large your menthol crystals were. Don’t panic, in other words.  

Use a small funnel, an eyedropper, or a pipette to fill up the roller bottle with the alcohol or oil. Add the roller ball and cap. Shake gently to combine. The menthol crystals will dissolve in about 30 minutes. 

Once the menthol crystals have fully dissolved, shake well, then roll over neck and shoulders, across temples, and down chest. Inhale deeply to clear the sinuses and relax. Enjoy! Feel better soon! 

This will last about a year before it loses its potentcy. If you use oils and not alcohol, they may turn rancid so watch for any off smells that might indicate old oil. Otherwise, use it up in that time frame! Makes one (1) 10 ml roller pen. 

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Thighs like Velcro…in November

Last spring I shared my creation for beating off thigh and under boob chafing, and it worked fine for the most part. It’s literally nothing but carrier oil and starch (wheat, corn, arrowroot), and it’s effective. The problem I had with it was that it separated-way too easily-into a oil layer and a starch layer, forcing me to either shake the container very, vry, very vigorously or get a fork and agitate the mixture up until it was somewhat homogeneous. It’s messy and inconvenient, and a good product shouldn’t be either of these things. 

I got to thinking of a recent face moisturizer I made, that’s mostly  mango butter with arrowroot starch and works as a silky smooth face primer before applying mineral makeup. It’s light and dry because of the mango butter and oil absorbing because of the arrowroot. It got me to wondering; could I turn my thigh chafing stuff into an actual balm? How would I do that? I still wanted a large percentage of liquid oils, and I didn’t want to use beeswax because it gets hard and too sticky and hard to rub in. I needed something that would merge with the liquid oils and make a nice, soft, creamy ointment like balm. I needed….Emulsifying Wax NF! 

Emulsifying Wax is a cosmetic emulsifying ingredient. The ingredient name is often followed by the initials NF, indicating it conforms to the specifications of the National Formulary.  It is made out of Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, PEG 150 Stearate, and Steareth 20. It has the characteristics of cetyl alcohol (a fatty alcohol) combined with the viscosity building effect of steAryl alcohol as an effective thickener and helps form stable emulsions. 

Other uses? Well, when mixed with a liquid carrier oil, 50/50, it makes a fantastic soft balm that’s firm enough to handle some high temperatures and getting battered in a tin, but pliable enough to still be scooped out and rubbed on in any conditions. I made some bug off balms with sunflower oil and Emulsifying Wax NF, and Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, and Pennyroyal. They were useful for purses and pockets, and the diaper bag and car. Spillproof and leak proof, the balm rubbed rubbed in smoothly and warded off noxious bugs. I wish we had remembered it more often and gotten more use out of it, but it will take some getting used to, relying on a balm instead of a spray. 

Back to the anti chafing ointment. 

So I had only ever measured my original recipe by volume, which meant my first step was converting everything from tbsp to grams. I knew I wanted to make a very small batch-a few tablespoons of each ingredient -and now I had to weigh them as they went into the double boiler for future reference. 

Ingredients:

2 tbsp= 20g Emulsifying Wax

2 tbsp mango butter= 25g

2 tbsp grapeseed oil= 22g

Add weights of mango butter and grapeseed oil. You will need that much cornstarch or arrowroot powder. 47g let’s round down to 45g! 

I want to use part corn starch and part arrowroot as they have different properties. 

20g cornstarch

25g arrowroot powder

30 drops essential oils of choice (I use 10 each lavender, tea tree, and rosemary as all three are good for skin)

Directions:

Melt mango butter over v low heat, hold for 20 min. Add Emulsifying Wax and melt pastilles. Add grapeseed oil. Add starch and mix well. Beat or whisk vigorously. Add eos as desired.

Makes about 2.5 oz
Final recipe for 4 oz jar

 (tweaked slightly after using balm a few times)

35g Emulsifying wax 

40g Mango butter

35 g grapeseed oil

35g arrowroot 

40g cornstarch. 

2g essential oils (I actually used 15 drops each lavender, tea tree, and rosemary, which is slightly more than 2 grams but close enough)

Follow directions as above.
So far working it’s  working well but weather got suddenly cool before I could really try it out under a dress all day in hot weather. When I go braless around the house it helps with underboob chafing and doesn’t sweat off easily but once again, not sweating overly much right now while braless. It does help thigh chafing at the gym the couple times I’ve used it there while J was in Canada this last time. 

I like that it’s a balm and that it doesn’t seperate. I’m debating swapping the mango butter, which is dry and silky, for shea butter, which would be more oily and slick. I had hoped using mango butter and a fast absorbing oil like grapeseed would be a good combo and compromise, but I’m wondering if perhaps I need to flip that and try a fast absorbing oil like castor for part of the oil, and maybe even cocoa butter (which absorbs fast imo) for part of the butter. If I used cocoa butter, I could reduce how much Emulsifying Wax I need by a few grams. So many possible combinations and so much potential! 

Well, there’s the base recipe, and ideas on how to personalize it just for you. I firmly suggest picking up some Emulsifying Wax or possibly Ecomulse (Ecomulse is an ECOCERT emulsifying wax that I actually prefer for lotions and creams over Emulsifying Wax, and you can buy it at Lotioncrafter’s right here.) You’ll find all kinds of great things at Lotioncrafters. Have fun shopping! I hope to publish some lotion recipes very soon, so be prepared with your ingredients! 

Addendum:

Made a new batch with mango butter, fractionated coconut oil, and BTMS 225. The texture is very silky and it absorbs almost instantly. 

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.