Category Archives: Thoughts from The Sage

Fragrance Blending and Perfumery 101, Day 3

Wow! Do you feel like your brain is over loaded yet? Suzanne asked yesterday about using fragrance blends in soap. Do the parts come through or do they need to be changed?

overwhelmedIt depends on what your fragrance blend components are. If you are making a blend that has a lot of the delicate vanilla or citrus components, you may need to change the blend for different uses. There is a big international brand that we all may be familiar with that produces lotions, body butters, shower gels, scrubs, hand soaps, electric scent diffusers and even candles that all have the same scent. Yet, each one of these products may have a slight change in the fragrance formula so the fragrance works to the best of its ability in the intended product.

Let’s look at the blend again from yesterday.

  • 55% Amyris
  • 10% Thyme
  • 18% Natural Vanilla
  • 18% Pink Grapefruit

For soap, we may change the Natural Vanilla to a vanilla that will be a little stronger in soap like our Vanilla Cream Fragrance. We could leave the Natural Vanilla in the blend and try the soap. It might turn out wonderfully, just like Taylor’s Chai Latte Blend

Make a test batch of soap. Test if your blend is soap worthy or if it needs a little change to make it just right. Don’t worry or panic if your test batch didn’t work out. Just like all fragrances we use, sometimes we need to make some changes before we can sell the finished product.

Iceberg photo inspiration.
Iceberg photo inspiration.
Today I’m going to share one of my favorite blends that was inspired by a picture of an iceberg.

When I looked at the picture and let my imagination go, I could feel the cold nipping at my nose and the crisp scent of cold water. I wanted to portray the biting winds, the frosty iceberg and frigid water. I knew my starting point would be with Peppermint Essential Oil as the naturally occurring menthol would help give the blend a “cold” scent. I looked through the catalog to find a “water” fragrance that would balance out the blend. The first fragrance to immediately jump out at me was Icy Water Fragrance Oil. I decided to start with the two fragrances and make a blend. After I tested the blend, I would be able to tell where I would need to make changes.

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Fragrance Blending and Perfumery 101, Day 2

SmellMemorySo what did you think of yesterday’s blend? I think it was a fun start to our blending week! Did you notice the inspiration came from two things, a photograph and written memory? We can find inspiration from photographs or memories. You may be asking, how can we find fragrance experiences and inspiration in our memories? It is much easier than you realize because you already have a vast collection of fragrance experiences!

Smell is very important to us and our memories are often linked to scents. Think about it for a minute! Can you recall a memory that flowers, grandma’s house, romantic events, holidays, childhood summers or something else that also has a scent tied to it? I can! I can remember visiting my great-grandma and the smell of her perfume as it mixed with the scent of mandarin oranges and Little Debbie brownies that we would snack on as we chatted.

Yet, these scents and our memories are not single faceted things. There are many dimensions to scent as no scent is flat and one-dimensional. You may be asking “There has to be something that is one-dimensional. Surely roses are one-dimensional.”

Nope! You can smell any number of roses or rose scents and definitively say “That smells like a rose.” But, can you describe the different notes? Does the rose have a stronger musk, vanilla or citrus note? Are you smelling a cut flower? If so, are you in the grocery store or at your office or at home? Are you smelling a rose that is still on the bush? If so, was the garden recently watered? Is someone mowing a lawn nearby? Everything around you influences and contributes to the scent you are smelling.

Summer Flowers
Summer Flowers

When you are blending, don’t eliminate any fragrances immediately. Especially if you are smelling straight from the bottle. I’ll show you why today!

The photo to the right is of Black Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflowers, and White Swan Coneflowers. When you look at this picture, what do you smell or imagine?

  • Sunshine?
  • Flowers?
  • Earth?
  • Greenery?

Take a minute and write down things that you smell. I’ll give you some time to think about it, but come back here because I have some cool things I want to show you!

(hums Jeopardy! theme song)

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Fragrance Blending and Perfumery 101, Day 1

The world of fragrance blending often seems like a mystical world we can’t reach and we find ourselves too intimidated to even try entering. I’m going to bring you on a week-long adventure and I hope to inspire you to try something new. Step through the wardrobe with me and let’s go on adventure in a new world! (Just remember we have to pass the lamp post to be in Narnia.)

A perfume organ in Grasse. Photo credit to Taco Ekkel, https://www.flickr.com/photos/33118864@N00/2771616756
A perfume organ in Grasse. Photo credit to Taco Ekkel, https://www.flickr.com/photos/33118864@N00/2771616756

The picture to the right is of a perfume organ in Grasse*. What is a perfume organ? It is a place where a perfumer sits and blends scents together. An experienced perfumer can blend 16, 30 or even 60 scents together to make a fragrance or perfume. Knowing that little tidbit, a perfume organ looks very intimidating, right? Absolutely! So … How do we stop being intimidated by a perfume organ and fragrance blending? We start small and begin building our fragrance blending experiences.

*This picture was taken by Taco Ekkel and is available under the Creative Commons License.

When I begin fragrance blending, I do three things.

  1. I intentionally limit the number of scents that I work with. I will limit a blend to no more than 4 components.
  2. I often have a picture that is inspiration for me. I love using pictures that don’t have people and are of gardens, foods or landscapes.
  3. I use a note book to write down my ideas and blend experiments.
Pie photo inspiration.
Pie photo inspiration.

Today, let’s start with a fun and simple blend. My inspiration today is the holiday of Thanksgiving and specifically the day before when we make pies. The staples of my childhood are pumpkin, pecan and apple pies. When all of these pies are baked the day before, the comforting aroma of spices, fruit and sugar wafts through the house.

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2016 Calendar Contest FAQ

I know Taylor is in the middle of her Semi-Solid Shea Oil Recipe Focus week, but I would love to share some information with you about our 2016 Calendar Contest! Taylor will continue her Semi-Solid Shea Oil focus with a Body Lotion recipe tomorrow, a lip balm recipe on Friday and a Light After Shower Massage Oil on Saturday. (Thanks Taylor for letting me sneak in here!)

CalendarWe have gotten some wonderful submissions of products for our 2016 Calendar Contest and along the way, we’ve been asked questions about the contest. Here are the Frequently Asked Questions as well as a little bit of news about the 2016 Calendar Contest.

Q: Will I retain the copyright for my image(s)?
A: Yes! We ask that you grant us exclusive license for a calendar product. This means that you will not license these photographs for another calendar product, regardless of form displayed.

Q: What kind of photographs are you looking for?
A: Photographs of finished products, raw materials or processes! We are looking for crisp, clear images without distracting labels or watermarks.

Q: Will I have the opportunity to provide my contact information, website or e-mail with my photo?
A: Absolutely! You can provide any contact information you would like to give. It could be a website, company name, e-mail, phone number or even social media pages.

Q: Can I send you a picture of products that someone else has made?
A: No. You must be the owner of products in the photographs. Private label products may be considered on a case by case basis.

Now for the little bit of news! We have had so many wonderful submissions already that we have decided to print a weekly calendar (think weekly planner/organizer)! That means we have extended the number of fabulous makers in the 2016 calendar. Don’t miss this chance to share your EXTRAORDINARY products!

Andee

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Fixed Oil Focus – Semi Solid Shea Oil!

I have some awesome news that I am super excited to share. I have over forty 6 oz size jars of Semi-Solid Shea Oil that are being sent to our shipping department. If you have never tried this incredible fixed oil before, you should really get in on this opportunity. That is right. You get 6 oz all to your self to try! This next week I will share a variety of recipes that highlight the wonderful uses of this oil.

If you want to get a jar of Semi-Solid Shea Oil, just leave us a comment in your next order. Our shipping department has a limited number of these jars so get one while you can. When they are gone, they are gone!

Taylor

 

 

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 4

As the week draws to a close, I am ready for some time at home in my kitchen. While I don’t have plans for making soap or lotion, I was going to whip up a quick batch of lip balm before moving on to preserving and drying some of this yea’s harvest. I was planning on making the Strawberries and Champagne Lip Soother.

Here at the office, I am known as the lip balm addict. I always have a minimum of 3 lip products in my purse. As I type, I count 4 (make that 5) tubes of lip balm, 2 bottles of roll on perfume and one jar of lotion. That being said, I am not immune from over flavoring a batch of lip balm. One way you can avoid an over flavored batch of lip balm is to use the plate test.

We have featured the plate test on the blog before but it is such a useful technique, it is worth sharing again. You can use the plate test to determine color, flavor, texture and even firmness!

Testing color again
Testing texture and color with the Just for Her Glossy Lip Balm

To do the plate test, grab a ceramic, glass, china or even metal plate. You want something that is cool to the touch. Place a few drops of your product on the plate. Wait for it to cool and solidify. Once it is completely cool, you can evaluate color, texture, and flavor.

If you want to make any changes to your batch of lip balm, you can do this prior to pouring them into their containers. If you make any changes, be sure to place a few more drops on your plate to make sure your finished product is exactly what you want.

It is a quick and easy method to test without wasting great gobs of materials. Isn’t that awesome? I think so!

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 3

I love perfumes. I have since I was a little girl. I remember the beautiful bottles that lined up like little dancers that both of my grandmothers had. One had her bottles lined up in the bathroom, where their crystalline bodies reflected in the mirror. My other grandmother had hers on her dresser, clustered atop  a lacy doily.

I remember sniffing at each bottle and wishing I were old enough to have just one beautiful bottle of my own. Fast forward to today. I have several bottles of perfume on my vanity. While they do not sit on a lace doily, their classic beauty charms me.

So what do you do when you have purchased, made or been gifted a perfume that you absolutely adore but it is too powerful for an elevator compartment? If it is in a bottle that has a stopper or applicator wand, it is much easier to control how much you apply. What if it is in an atomizer or spray bottle? How do you apply a 1/4 (or less) of a spray?

One thing you can do is hang your clothes up and spray them from a distance of 12 inches or greater. It is hard to do when wearing your clothes but it is great because your clothes will release their subtle scent throughout the day. Your clothes will release more scent the more you move and the warmer your body is. This method is great if you are looking for your perfume to last all day.

You can also spritz a cotton ball with your favorite perfume and then apply it to skin. This method is great because it keeps the fragrance close to the skin. This is my favorite method for applying perfume when attending weddings, dinners and other social events. It keeps me smelling nice without a cloud of my perfume announcing my arrival.

Try spraying your legs rather than your decolletage. It gives your nose, and the nose of others, a little bit of space from the fragrance. (This is a great way to keep your perfume from being overwhelming when hugs are going ’round.) With this method the fragrance softly and slowly wafts up throughout the day. I prefer this method when I am in a dress or skirt and will be spending most of my time outside. Family picnics are a great time to try this method.

Another option is to spray your hair brush then run it through your hair. Hair holds on the fragrances very well. (Have you ever noticed you can smell your hair detangler long after your perfume has faded?) By spraying your hair brush, you avoid an overwhelming amount of perfume while still smelling great! This is my favorite method on date nights.

The last method is to take a cotton ball or even a sachet card and spritz the card. Extend your packet of sachet cards by cutting them into small pieces. You can now tuck a few pieces into your pants pocket or even into your bra. This provides subtle yet constant scent all day long, perfect for on the go or rushed mornings!

What other methods do you use for intensely scented perfumes? I want to hear!

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 2

Okay, so we have covered how to rescue an overly scented soap. What else can you save when things go wrong? Today I will talk about how to save a lotion from being overly colored. Let’s get started!

One thing I tend to rely on when working with a large group of kids are easy and interactive activities. They may range from making Peanut Butter Playdough to using one of our lotion bases. They keep the kids entertained and constantly learning.

A few weeks ago, I was showing a group of kids how to make lotion using a base. They helped choose our fragrance. (I found them clamoring for the Punch Party Fragrance Oil.) After we measure the fragrance into the lotion and started to mix, we decided to add some color. The options were yellow, pink and blue. They decided on blue.

Let’s just say one drop of color would have been sufficient for the 10 oz of lotion we were working with. I regret to say I don’t know how much color was added. It certainly enough to color the skin blue. Heavens above! What would the parents say if I sent their children home with blue skin. It would be a disaster to say the least.

So we scented another 10 oz of Head to Toe Cream and added maybe a 0.25 oz of our brightly blue cream. The bag was distributed and everyone took turns mixing. While I still felt the color was a little strong, the kids loved it and it wasn’t ready to turn their skin to smurf blue. (I tend to like ultra-soft colors. Colors so light they might be considered an off white.)

That was a relatively easy fix. As my chemistry teacher used to say “The solution to pollution is dilution!”

 

Taylor

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Creative Fixes and Ideas – Day 1

Okay, so I have made some doozy mistakes when making  lotions, scrubs and soaps. While mistakes can be rather disheartening, the good news it that many are fixable. This week we will be covering a number of mistakes that can happen and how you can fix them! Come join us. This is one week you don’t want to miss!

So let me start at the beginning. When I make a mistake in my math, it tends to leave spectacular results. Anyone remember my conversion catastrophe? That was a mathematical disaster!

Anyway, as we have has a few days of cooler weather recently I started thinking about making soaps for fall. After all, one does need to make sure the bathrooms and showers are fully stocked with good soap. As I perused the fragrance collection, I decided on using Honey Almond.

I love the smell of Honey Almond. It reminds me of a fresh baked Almond Loaf or of a decadent Bee Sting. Both pasties are absolutely divine. These items always remind me of the days where the nights suggest impending fall yet the days still feel like summer.

I sat down and planned out my soap. I planned on making a 3 lb batch. I calculated my lye and my fragrance. I decided on a strong scent. For a 3 lb batch, our fragrance calculator recommends 2.25% fragrance. Or 1.08 oz of fragrance. I neglected to ensure I had enough Shea Butter to make my soap. (Some of you may be able to see what it coming.)

So I went to the kitchen and started to weigh my materials. I actually weighed my fragrance out first. Then I moved onto my fixed oils. I started with my Shea Butter and discovered I only had enough to make a 1 lb batch of soap. Just as I was finished redoing my calculations, the doorbell rang.

After coming back from answering the door, I got back to my soapmaking. Except I forgot to adjust my amount of fragrance oil! After all, it was already measured out.

I proceeded to make my soap. I remember picking up my container of fragrance and thinking “Gosh, that seems like a lot.”  After I added my fragrance to my soap I was assaulted with an eye-watering cloud of Honey Almond Fragrance Oil. As I stirred my soap, I thought “I wonder why this is so intense. I don’t remember it being this strong.” I poured my soap into my mold and left it for the next day.

Fast forward to when I unmold my soap. The fragrance was still overpowering! So I went to check my notes and found I had not adjusted my amount of fragrance oil. (Notes are so critical!) Whoops! Now what do I do with this overly scented soap? This is way too strong to be elevator friendly, let alone bathroom friendly.  So how do we fix this?!

Well, we can either shred the soap and make a confetti soap or we can cut it into chunks and make a mosaic style soap. I personally tend to prefer the confetti style soaps because I can quickly shred my soap and move onto my other projects. Choose whichever you prefer. Because I used almost 7% fragrance, I will need to make 2 lbs of unscented soap. (It is what I had planned originally. Sort of.)

I shredded my soap and place my shreds into my mold. I then poured my unscented soap over those shreds.  Whew! A near disaster averted. Now just to wait to cut the soap. What do you think? Pretty cool for a soap.

Taylor

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Getting Help from the MMS Team!

Our Team is always here to help. Just give us a call or email!
Our Team is always here to help. Just give us a call or email!

You know the Beatles song, Help!, where the writer asks for help and sings their woes of growing up and now needing assistance because they are not so self assured. Well, we’ve all been through those feelings.

I want you to know about our TheSage.com HELP LINE! We know sometimes you need some help, so what do you do? Email our HELP TEAM, that’s what!

Our newest email address, help@thesage.com, will get you right to a team of people who can help. This address can assist with anything from ordering questions to formulating questions. We can even help with gift or party ideas. Just ask!

Did you know our Contact Us form has been going to this address for several months now? We have over 2000 resolved questions from our help team. That is a lot of know-how at your fingertips.

Have a great Monday out there, and above all, be safe.

Tina

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