Author Archive

Lip Balm: How to use 2 Flavors with two different usage rates

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

I recently received a great query through our technical support email that inquired about how to create a lip balm with two different flavor oils and how to calculate for each. The two flavors in question are Chocolate Cream Flavor Oil and Peppermint Essential Oil. As some of you know, my answers often appear to be questions instead.

Here is the dialog so you can follow along and learn how to use two flavors AND how to do the math.

Customer: I would like to combine your chocolate cream and peppermint for a holiday lip balm. My recipe is a total 4.6 oz and makes about 26 tubes. Can you please help me figure how much of each flavor oil to use?
MMS: Do you weigh the items to make your lip balm mixture? If so, do you weigh in ounces?

Customer: Yes, I weigh in ounces. Thank you.
MMS: Does your scale offer metric units? Grams? if so, what is the readability (the smallest unit the scale can weigh and how does it increment upwards)?

Customer: My scale does offer grams….1 g is the smallest and it goes up 1 gr at a time.
MMS: These answers are awesome! You ask a good question and the answer is difficult to calculate without these answers.

Chocolate Cream is generally used at 2-4% of your mixture. So we calculate 4.6 x 3% to give us a good chocolatey flavor. Without a percent sign on the calculator it looks like 4.6 x .03 = .138

I doubt the scale goes to 1/1000 of an ounce so it becomes hard to weigh. This is where weighing in metrics can help. The 4.6 ounces becomes 130.4 grams, and the .138 ounces becomes 3.9 grams. We are still dealing with some limitations on the scale but now we know how close we can really get. The peppermint is even harder. I would make the test batch with 3% Chocolate Cream and 0.3% Peppermint Oil. It is easy enough to add more flavor but more difficult to add more fixed oils to make a double batch of lip balm.

4.6 oz x 0.003 = .0138 oz Peppermint
130.4 x 0.003 = 0.039 grams Peppermint

It looks to me that making a master batch of this flavor mixture is the better route to go. It would be 10 grams Chocolate Cream and 1 gram Peppermint Oil. From there you would calculate 3.3% or multiply by 0.033 to get the weight needed.

Long explanation isn’t it?

Customer: Wow! Now I don’t feel so bad about how much trouble I was having trying to figure this out. I think you are right, a master batch would be the best route. I am so grateful for your help. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
MMS: I would love to hear how your master batch turns out.

Customer: Just an update for you – the master batch was great. I made the lip balm this morning, and I like it. I’ll pass out a few over the weekend and see what others say. You can smell the chocolate right away and the mint is not overwhelming but you get it. I think it is just what I wanted. Can’t thank you enough!
MMS: Yippee!

From our team to yours: any time MMS can make your project seem more enjoyable and successful from the very first test batch then we are thrilled! It is what we work for each day. If you have two flavor oils that you would like to combine, offer them here in the comments and I will assist with some math and suggestions. If you don’t want a public answer, go ahead and send in your request to us in email. We will keep that private for you.


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Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Today I received a very important email request. I want to share it with you.

I see you have an impressive line of lip balm tubes.
Would you consider adding MASCARA containers to your line?
With the prices they’re charging, it is becoming a thing to make.

Dear TheSage customer and all blog readers,

I know you want me to say yes, but I can’t. MMS will not ever carry mascara tubes and brushes.

Let me explain. Mascara is not just a cosmetic, it is a VERY regulated cosmetic. In order to be sold – mascara must be made in a very sanitary environment, use only materials that are tested, approved and retested to be OK for the eye area. The preservatives used must be OK for use in the eye area and the whole product must be tested on a formulation level as well as a batch level. Mascara is the closest one can get to a drug and still remain a cosmetic. The potential problems for mascara are HUGE! And the cost is not even in this galaxy. A tube of mascara, being 12 to 25 USD is a true bargain when considering all the testing that must be done AND the cost of liability, because the risk is not just an eye infection but loss of sight. Each tube should be replaced every 3 months, if not sooner.

Your vision, whether you have baby blues, pooling greens or rich browns, is so important to your enjoyment of life it is not worth risking for a tube of mascara. Please reconsider this choice. Your sight is never something I want to gamble with, and I hope you feel the same. Knowing someone is offering supplies to make mascara in an uncontrolled environment makes me cry. It also makes me angry because I want everyone in this industry of self-sufficient, make-it-yourself to be as passionate about safety as I am. I know they aren’t and this makes me very sad.

Just because we CAN do something, does not mean we SHOULD.


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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Watson and Gracie - They aren't sleeping, they are growing!

Watson and Gracie – They aren’t sleeping, they are growing!

Have you ever wondered what kinds of questions we get for our Technical Support team? Well, I can tell you the questions are all over the place and we must learn new things every day. I’ve learned about horses, armadillos, snakes, gophers, ingrown toe nails, threading eyebrows and more in just the last month. Our customers have a varied collection of interests and experiences. Sometimes we have brilliant answers and sometimes we ask just the right question that allows the asker to solve the problem themselves. The synergy that happens is amazing. Our guest blogger today is the result of this type of question.

You can imagine what I thought when I was asked if our tins were magnetic and if a magnet would stick to the bottom. I wondered what kind of lip balm was going to have a magnet! Come to find out, it has nothing to do with lip balm. Let’s have Megan explain.

My name is Megan and I’m a soapmaker and dog lover/trainer (as well as a handspinner spinning wool from our sheep mixed with “fur” from our dogs!). I make soap under the Cowdance Soap label. I began soapmaking in 1998 when our Jersey cow, Fiona, started producing far more milk than we could drink. I turned the surplus creamy milk in to soap and fell in love with the whole process, especially the fragrant scents used in the soaps. Scents are terrific in all sorts of “forms” and recently I have started using several essential oils with my dogs, training them in a new, rapidly growing sport called Nosework (or Scentwork). Nosework training is similar to training a dog to “alert” to drugs or bombs only in our sport we train our dogs to detect three different essential oils: Sweet Birch, Anise (Pimpinella Anisum or Aniseed), and Clove.

I knew where to go for my essential oils (the Sage, of course) but I also needed little tins to hold the scent-impregnated Q-tips used in training. I found the perfect tins, the lip balm tins, here….so now perhaps they should be re-named “lip balm and NOSEWORK tins”!

Nosework or Scentwork is not only a fun sport but it is wonderful for dogs with special needs. It is used very successfully in shelters to provide shelter dogs with mental stimulation and build their confidence, helping them to be more easily adopted. Senior dogs, dogs with disabilities, ALL dogs love this “game” because it uses their natural ability to smell odors. People love it because the training is completely positive and motivational …. and, the essential odors used smell wonderful!!!

Check out these website for more information: and

So many uses for essential oils…..soap, canine scentwork….and, of course, I always add a dash of essential oil to the fleece I wash and handspin!

I now have another handspinner to chat with (YEA!) and I learned what I can do with Gracie, our Golden Retriever mix, that has a nose like no other. Eating? She knows. Leave a dirty sock in the sofa? She’ll find it. Missing a cat? She’ll track her down to the hiding spot at the top of the book case and remind the kitty it is time for dinner. Going for a ride? She knows the box of Milk Bones is hidden in the haul from Home Depot. She does the: “I think I’ll stop for a treat before I leave the garage, OK?” type of maneuver. Dogs are amazing and so many are eager-to-please breeds. I can see why dogs that need a job to feel they have value really respond to this sport.

So, you might be wondering if the tins actually can be held by a magnet. The answer is yes, they can.


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Meet the Crew!

Friday, May 3rd, 2013


Have you ever wondered who does all the running to get orders out our door so quickly? I know I am sometimes curious about companies and how they operate. Well….. I have a new photo for you. Unfortunately it does not include all of our staff, someone has to hold the camera you know!

We are missing the Beijing crew, our Salt Lake correspondent, our purchasing manager and our graphics dude. This photo comes about because I have knitted these felted slippers for my family for years. I have knit clogs for extended family as well. At times my schedule was so overwhelming that I paid someone else to knit for me. Egad! Anyway, our current crew was curious about the sheep shearing happening this spring so we started a knitting night to teach those who wanted to learn. Our project was felted slippers! We met on one evening each week and as we progressed we had a few non-knitters want slippers too. I’ve spent my evenings and weekends chewing up my yarn stash to make slippers for everyone on staff. I’ve had some great help. I have new knitters – my hobby away from my job – or as my husband calls them “Cohorts in Crime!”

You have a family photo now with most of our crew. You have our best foot forward to make your order fly through this place and on its way to you.


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Soap Class and Tea Tuesday

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

TeacupWe have two soap making classes on Saturday. They are at 10 AM and 1 PM. This beginners class is to help ease the mind of what happens in the soap pot and how to become a successful soap maker. Certainly one can not learn everything about soap in a few hours but one can start out on the right foot! If you are interested in this class, please call our office to sign up. The class is $ 80 and you will be given all your beginner supplies. We make soap in the actual class and you take home what has been made. Whew! I love these classes! They are so much fun.

So, long before you stress about the situation you can come in and learn from experienced soap makers on how to avoid the pitfalls.

Tea Tuesday!

I have been wanting to do a Tea Tuesday but documents like taxes have buried my desk. I think the avalanche has worked its way into a mole hill and is now manageable. Do you remember how Tea Tuesday works? If you do, go right to the Contact Us page and choose the Community Pursuits radio button.

If you have never participated in Tea Tuesday, here are the steps:

1) Choose a tea type you would like to try.
2) Go to the Contact Us page and select Community Pursuits
3) Send a message including your Name, Address, City ST ZIP, and a comment telling me what you like about spring. Include the tea type you have chosen and click SEND MESSAGE.

So, what happens after all of this? Well, I send each valid MMS customer who submitted information a sample of tea AND a handwritten note. (See the catch? You must be a Sage in order to participate.) Who gets handwritten notes nowadays? Our customers do! It takes me nearly a week to write all of those notes and in the end I need a cup of tea. WHEW! This activity is one of my favorite things to do. It definitely tops washing the dog.

I hope to see you in the soap class and I hope to send you REAL MAIL!


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Goat Milk Cream is back!

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Our Goat Milk Cream is back in stock. We were worried it would be much later but this is NO APRIL FOOL’S JOKE! IT IS HERE!!!!

Click here to find Goat Milk Cream in the catalog.

I would also like to share with you that twice today I have taken phone calls from customers to add to their order. Both times the order had been placed just a few hours earlier. In BOTH CASES the order had already shipped. We’re speedy! We’re fast! We’re so efficient that we ship before you can change your mind! So, breathe easy and know we have your back.


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Central Soapers

Saturday, March 16th, 2013
Watson and Gracie - They aren't sleeping, they are growing!

Watson and Gracie – They aren’t sleeping, they are growing! 3 month old Golden Retriever mixes.

WHEW! I’m home. I had a fantastic time at the Central Soapers Workshop in Overland Park, KS. Toto, I’ve never been to Kansas before, but I am definitely going back!

People who live near the mountains have a terrible time navigating prairies. We just keep looking for mountains so we know which direction we are going. Had it not been for great directions from the rental car personnel I would have landed in North Dakota. On the way back to the airport I took Crystal Decker on the scenic route, which means a 28 minute trip actually took over an hour because I got lost took a right when I should have gone left. Thanks for putting up with me Crystal!

Do you know what impressed me the most about this trip to Kansas? Everyone was willing to learn. Kenna put up on the site what to bring to a conference. If you have not read her post and the link to Little Miss Mocha’s blog about conferences, you MUST! Not only is Kenna’s blog and the Central Soapers site a great intro to this group, it is also really inspirational. When I arrived I wasn’t sure what to expect, I just knew I was going in my regular work shirts and my newly chewed shoe that I didn’t have time to replace before leaving (Thanks, Watson).

When I arrived I found people working hard, greeting with smiles, being beyond friendly, sharing their knowledge and being open to learning new techniques. The people there are brilliant! I learned about things I have never tried, never seen, and never used. WOW! This group was really ready to try anything to make awesome and unique soap. I was impressed beyond words. After I spoke about water replacement in soap making I put away my tutu, tiara and magic wand (my wand was correctly identified as a nostepinne – yarn ball winder – by Crystal Decker) and started a list of things I wanted to try when I got home. Colorful soaps like Amy Warden made at the workshop topped my list. Most of the time I am a utilitarian soap user. I figure it is for my own use so it doesn’t need to be colorful. Well, I decided to change my shower collection to be more colorful. These soaps were down right fun!

I brought home some Bath Fizzies made by Holly Port during the conference and they were a hit with the crew at MMS. I heard “my skin felt so good after that bath!” more than once. We even had a mistake. We have people on staff who English is not their primary spoken language. One staff member thought it was a room fragrance bomb and should be put in the toilet. After our good laugh we learned her bathroom did indeed smell nice after being bombed.

Column Swirling was demonstrated by Tanya Rasley. Ah! Gorgeous soaps! They really don’t take much more time than my basic soaps and the colors are incredible. Really incredible!

Cupcake Soaps done by Amanda Griffin were darling! I even saw the pair of cupcakes that looked more Dolly Parton-esque than cupcake-like. We giggled more and more!

By the time I got home I had laughed myself silly. I had a great time and it was worth every minute of lost sleep.

I WILL be there next year. I hope anyone that wants to learn more about soap will also attend. If you will check out the site you can subscribe to the information feed so you can be sure to sign up and be there next year. I’ll be looking for a room mate and navigator. I know how to get lost, I’ll need someone to make sure my 28 minute trip is really 28 minutes. ;-)

See you next year in Kansas!


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Tea Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Wow! If I had waited much longer it would not be Tuesday! This last week has been very weird. I spent a few days in Tacoma Washington and really put in my head that there is no snow on the ground and spring is coming. Well, I got home and promptly went straight to bed with a cold that turned to pneumonia. Well, when I woke up from my ill slumber the world was white! I wondered where spring went and why everything was covered in snow. Well, it actually never melted here in northern Utah. I guess I just imagined the warm and sunny days.

Our crew is happily planning our company garden and the tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn and other garden goodies that grow in our side acre. We are planning for harvest this year, unlike two summers ago when the nearby cattle found that pushing the fence down to devour our garden was the best day of the week. Are you ready for spring? Have you seen any little hints of the new season in your area? Crocus? Birds? Green tips on trees? Have you started your garden seedlings?

I’m sending Raspberry Quince and Peach Oolong Tea as my primary teas this week. If you would like tea on this fine Tea Tuesday, along with a spring-themed hand-written note from me, then please submit your name through our Contact Us link. You should give me your name, address, desired tea to receive and a fine comment about spring coming our way. I’ll get the notes out the door with some wild postage and send the smiles to you.

Please note, I will only send tea to existing MMS customers. Thank you for being honest. This *free* offer gets put on relays and various scammer blogs and I get a ton of messages.

Second, go to our Contact Us page and choose the Community Pursuits radio button.

It isn’t hard to do and I am sure a few of our regular Tea Tuesday pen pals will pop in here to tell everyone how much fun it is to get fan mail. ;-)


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New Zone Chart

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Want to know your zone? Check this chart! Your zone is listed by your ZIP code’s first 3 digits on this Zone Chart!


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Bottles must go!

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

16 oz bottle, on the right

16 oz bottle, on the right

We have some 16 fl ounce bottles that are a size 24. These are HDPE and a bullet shaped bottle. The bottle height from foot to base of the neck is 7-1/4 inches. We have many cases of these bottles and our construction project for our work area is about to begin. These cases must be moved or the bottles will be sent to the recycler. Here is the deal. We will sell these bottles for the cost of transfer from us to you. The rates for these bottles are:

  • UPS Zone 8: $ 48.00
  • UPS Zone 7: $ 44.00
  • UPS Zone 6: $ 40.00
  • UPS Zone 5: $ 36.00
  • UPS Zone 4: $ 32.00
  • UPS Zone 3: $ 28.00
  • UPS Zone 2: $ 24.00

Here is a run down of the specifications:

  • 16 fl oz size
  • natural HDPE plastic
  • full case of 230 bottles
  • closure is 24-410
  • only full cases will be sold
  • height of bottle from foot to top of shoulder 7-1/4 inches
  • diameter of bottle is 2-7/16 inches
  • Stock is limited to what is on hand.

Want to know how to order these bottles? It is very different from the way you will order your regular supplies. You must go to our Gift Certificate page. Once there you need to:

  1. Enter your name and shipping address
  2. Enter your address as the Recipient Address
  3. Enter your payment information
  4. Write in the Gift Message box that you are ordering the Construction Bottles.
  5. Choose the Other Amount and enter the value according to your shipping zone from us to you.
  6. If you don’t know your shipping zone then enter the Zone 8 value of $ 48 and write PLEASE CHECK MY ZONE
  7. We will NOT charge your card until we know your zone. We then process your order and ship the bottles immediately. Cool, eh?

Our construction team will be so happy to have these boxes moved and we hope these bottles will help your project. As of February 22 all remaining bottles will be recycled. We must clear this area so construction can begin.

Want to know your zone? Check this chart! Your zone is listed by your ZIP code’s first 3 digits on this Zone Chart!

Thank you! Have a great week!

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