I love to experiment and try the unusual things. I love to push boundaries. I love to test the crazy or seemingly impossible. However in the world of soaps and cosmetics, I will also be the first to tell you that we have usage rates for a reason and you need to follow them. Those restrictions are in place for a very important reason. That reason? Your safety.
Allow me to explain. You can put more than 10% Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil into your soap, lotion, lip balm or foot cream. This doesn’t mean you should. In fact, you definitely should NOT! Your skin will tingle and burn to the point you will think your skin is on fire. You will not be able to use an unscented soap fast enough. You will send your spouse to the closest grocery store to clear them out of every type of unscented bar and body wash product they have lining the shelves while you proceed to drain the water heater in record time. This is not the time to test your limits.
Here is another excellent example. I recently purchased a new tube of toothpaste. It is a popular brand that is in most grocery stores. I have been using this type of toothpaste from the same company for at least 10 years. And the point is? (Hang with me, I am getting there.)
After two days of using my new tube of toothpaste, I started to develop these cold sore type sores in the corners of my mouth. I thought I had cold sores. After talking with Tina from our technical support department about how miserable I was, she asked if it could be my toothpaste. I was stunned! I hadn’t changed anything in what I was buying. I put it to the test. I used kid’s bubble gum flavored toothpaste the next morning. By evening, my sores were gone.
I wasn’t a complete believer yet. That weekend, I brushed with my new minty tube of toothpaste. The sores came back! Yikes! We had pin-pointed the source.
It is scary to think that a reputable brand like that can have a batch of toothpaste in which its usage rate is so high, it tests the limits of what someone can physically handle. So please, follow a manufactures given usage rates. They are given for your safety! More is not always better. (Plus, following usage rates means more money in your pocket. Sweet!)
If you aren’t sure how much fragrance or essential oil to use in your product, check out our fragrance calculator. This is an handy resource and it is even free! Happy (safe) crafting!
Halloween in bearing down upon us and I thought I would have a great blog this morning of a cute pumpkin inspired soap done in my PVC mold. After having the plunger pounded on, pushed on and almost pulverized, I discovered something I wish I had known earlier. It generally isn’t a good idea to pour more that 10 – 12 inches of soap into PVC tubes. In molds, soap can act like an octopus. It can glom on so tight to the mold that you think it is never going to come out! Cylinder molds are the worst because there is so much surface area of the soap in contact with the mold.
I was told by our experts in technical support that I could be waiting so long for it dehydrate enough for it to release it might as well be 30 YEARS! Let’s just say I am a little distraught. I don’t want to wait 30 years. I don’t want to wait another week! I want my soap now! The unfortunate part is that the only thing I can do is wait. I will have to wait for the soap to dehydrate enough for me to be able to push the soap out. Grr. This really sucks!
So, today I learned two really important things. First, do not pour more than 10-12 inches of soap into a PVC tube mold. Particularly a cylindrical one. Second, do not put projects so close to the due date that if something goes wrong you are left without the finished product. Planning ahead is important. Soap is one item that can only be rushed so much. If you are this close to a holiday, choose a smaller project. There are scrubs, bath salts, bath fizzies, lip balms and lotions galore!
Darn. Talk about a rough morning. It has left me frustrated and disappointed. Tomorrow, I will be sharing the recipe for this fabulous soap but I think I will try it in a different mold. At least until I can reclaim my PVC one. I promise to announce when I finally get this soap out. Then we can determine if it really takes 30 years.
P.S. I will also be making a label to put on my mold so I don’t forget! If you have molds like this, make labels that remind you how much they should hold. Remember what your mold can hold and what it should hold are sometimes very different numbers.
I love nothing more than a good life hack. What is a life hack you ask? A life hack refers to any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency in life. Life hacks include everything from using space more efficiently to saving money or even simplified cleaning. So you can imagine my delight when one of our customers emailed us with photos of a “life hack” for a lip balm tube filling trays!
The lip balm tube filling trays are fabulous pieces of equipment, but one difficulty is that they are designed to fill 50 tubes at a time. What if you want to fill 20 or 35? Are you forced back into the dreaded filling of each tube by hand? Thanks to Caleb and his ingenuity, not anymore!
Allow me to explain how to fill only a few tubes with the filling tray. Place the number
of tubes you are going to fill into the tray. Today, I put 20 tubes into my filling tray. On the top side, place 5 tubes going across the tray. These will act as a dam. Pour your heated lip balm solution into the tubes. Allow the material to cool. Remove the lip balm tubes from the top side and wipe off any material that may have collected on the outside of the tube. Scrape the top of the filling tray and remove the filled tubes. Cap the tubes and label!
This is a great way to simplify things and make a custom batch quickly. Wasn’t that great? We filled our tubes quickly and saved ourselves from the tedious job of filling each tube, one by one, by hand. Whew!
Tomorrow, I will share the recipe I used. It is our famous Java Juice Lip Balm recipe. You don’t want to miss out!
We are halfway through the month of October and time for one of the best deals ever is running out! “What is this deal? ” you ask. For the month of October, when you buy a 100 pkg of mini lip balm tubes, you get a free filling tray!
These filling trays HAVE to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. The filling trays make it so easy to fill several hundred tubes. Yesterday, we made 1,000 tubes for our shipping department in only three hours. (This includes making the lip balm, filling the tubes and labeling!) Wow! What a time saver.
Are you loving the idea of the tray but want to see a mini tube for yourself? We have 1,000 tubes containing our Soy Lip Solutions heading to the shipping department as you read. 500 tubes are with our Peach Flavor Oil and the other 500 are with our Root Beer Flavor Oil. These fantastic flavors are so much fun, you will have a hard time deciding which is your favorite!
Here is another plus for the mini tubes. Did you know one jar of Lip Solutions will make 112 mini lip balm tubes? Talk about easy! Create your own kit with a jar of Lip Solutions, 100 of the mini tubes and a flavor of your choice, we will include the tray this month. Hurry before this fabulous offer ends!
I need some help from our readers! A recent event gave me a different perspective on how lip balm can be marketed. Let me give you a quick run down.
Patient is checked into the hospital. A nasal cannula in inserted into the nostrils to provide a flow of oxygen. The patient has dry lips. My purse has Vaseline. (No hand-crafted lip balm! GASP!) So the Vaseline is used to help the dry lips of the patient. The nursing staff goes crazy! It is explained to us that Vaseline is a petroleum product and it is combustible so it should not be used with the oxygen providing cannula. I asked “Combustible or Flammable?” The answer was “BOTH!” The nursing staff offered a cherry flavored Chapstick brand product instead. My brain is now on “HUH?!” mode.
So, we can understand the need for caution when oxygen is being provided but lip products don’t cause sparks, and a product is either rated flammable or combustible but it isn’t both, and Chapstick is made with petroleum products.
For those of you in the nursing or medical policy field, would you educate us? Not only do I think that being aware as a medical patient/customer is a good thing, but I also think this can give lip balm makers a chance to market their wares to a new market.
Some helpful hints for those that want to market to hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and dentists:
1) make sure your claims can be substantiated!
2) less flavor to no flavor added is a good thing!
3) label clearly. No one has time to hunt down your ingredients or the safety of the product when the hospital stay is in the emergency room. Make your data CLEAR and easily found.
Go ahead readers! Research and teach us something!
Yesterday we talked about adding fragrance oils to your wax burner. But what about essential oils? We do not recommend using essential oils in wax light burners. Using essential oils in this application is actually quite dangerous. Allow me to explain why.
Essential oils are very volatile and because they are also very potent we feel that burning in a light burner or candle is not advised. It is too easy to fill the room with irritating vapors that burn eyes, nose and throat. We would far rather you make a room freshener that is over salt, in clay or some other carrier where you can place a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
Room fresheners are a safer use of these potent oils. If you would like some inspiration for making beautiful salt potpourris or even ones where rose petals and salt have been mixed, click on the links. They are very beautiful and you don’t need to worry about a fire hazard or irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.
Please make sure that whether you are using fragrance oils in wax or essential oils in an un-heated carrier (or either in a potpourri) that you keep the finished product out of the reach of children and pets.
Light Wax Burners from companies like Scentsy® or Yankee Candle® seem to be all the rage right now. It seems almost everyone I know has one. One question our Technical Support Team gets on a regular basis is “Can I just add a pipette of my favorite fragrance oil to my wax burner?”
The safe answer is no and here is why. We don’t know how much material there is in your wax melter and we don’t want to be adding excessive amounts of fragrance willy-nilly. For a wax melter, we want our fragrance load to start at 1% or 2%. There are several benefits to starting at these usage rates.
Let’s pretend you have a wax melter that you had on and you just added a couple good squirts of your favorite fragrance oil. You get distracted on the other side of the house doing laundry, reading a book or whatever else is calling your name. Before you know it, you are starting to smell that fragrance like it is being continuously sprayed in a cloud around your head. You will reach for your drink and swear you can taste the fragrance. You rush back to your wax melter and turn it off but it won’t stop sending billowing clouds of scent into the house. Your wax melter gets banished to the patio while all of the windows are frantically thrown open so the house can be aired out and the occupants may breathe. Your whole neighborhood smells like a perfume bomb went off. People will be able to smell their way home from work! Yikes. Once the eye-watering intensity has worn off, you will complain that you can NOT smell your favorite scent. This is what we call olfactory fatigue. Olfactory fatigue is when you have been smelling something for a prolonged period of time and the scent “weakens”. This is actually your nose saying that a particular odor is ordinary and normal. When you are able to take a break from an odor, your sensitivity to the odor will return.
One second advantage is that using your wax melter becomes more economical. Because we are not scenting the neighborhood we actually get to enjoy a cost savings. We are able to enjoy the fragrance of choice and keep our pocket books plump and happy.
Q. So how do I know I am using 1% -2% of fragrance oil in my wax melter?
One good way to to measure how much wax fits into your melter. I like to use wax beads. (Beeswax is my favorite.) I fill my shallow dish with the beeswax beads all the way to the rim. Don’t create a heaping pile. Just level them out in the dish. When the wax starts to melt, it will fill in all of the spaces in-between the beads. Weigh how much material there is in the dish. For most melters, this is about an ounce. However each light burner has a different capacity. Now, this is where we will need to do a little bit of math. It will be quick and painless, I promise. Multiply the weight of what fits in your melter by .01 (1%) or .02 (2%). This is the amount of fragrance you will add to your wax melter.
Let’s pretend that I have a light burner that holds 1.3 oz of beeswax beads. I will be choosing the fragrance Dirty Mimosa and I want a more intense smell. I will be using 2% fragrance in my melter. So lets multiply 1.3 x 0.02. Answers anyone? The answer is 0.026 ounces (or 0.74 grams) of Dirty Mimosa Fragrance Oil.
If you need help with the math or want other questions answered, just leave a comment below. We are here to help! Tomorrow we will talk about using essential oils in a wax melter. See you then!
I love creating and making new recipes as well as using bases of lotions, butters, and scrubs. The next best thing to making products is trying to find a way to contain the finished product! If you are like me, you have a space for all of your containers and gift giving supplies. All clearly labeled of course! (Ha! Ha!)
How do you decide on which container to use? Let’s say we are making a new batch of lotion and it is all completed with a fabulous “enter your favorite scent here” fragrance. Now is the time to decide where the finished product is intended to be used and what size of container is the best to use. When I make body creams for slathering everywhere, I like to use the 16 oz Deep Jars, 8 oz Low Profile Jars, or 4 oz Low Profile Jars. These jars are intended for places like my nightstand, office desk, and my reclining TV chair.
When it comes to options that need to be more portable, I like to use the 2 oz Low Profile Jars or the 1 oz Jar Set. You can often find a 2 oz Low Profile Jars in my purse, or until the kids have rifled through the purse leaving just a small amount of lotion for me. Plus, the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule says I can take as many 3.4 oz (100ml) containers that can fit into a small baggie. This means I can put in several of my 2 oz sizes to use on my vacations. I know, I know, I’m a planner all the way.
Choosing the right size also is dependent on your product! You don’t want to put the Body Butter Base in an 8 oz jar when a little of this base goes a long way. The best sizes for this particular base are 1 oz or less. I promise a 2 oz jar will be too much!
Remember, if using for yourself, gift giving or selling, one size might fit all, but having multiple sizes available can double the fun!
About two weeks ago, I announced that Rosemary 2% and 5% both have saponification values. I must admit, I was rather startled how high those saponification values were. If you missed the post, read up on it here!
Today I wanted to make two soaps comparing the Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and Rosemary Oleoresin 5%. I wanted to know if the difference between the saponification values would make a noticeable difference in finished soap. Come join me to try these two soaps! Collect Needed Materials:
Weigh all of the oils of Batch 1 into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until liquid. Add the lye to the water to for a lye solution. Allow the oil and lye solutions to cool. This recipe has some material that can accelerate trace. Cooler temperatures are better. Mix the oils and lye solution and blend until a light trace is achieved. Pour into a molds and allow to sit for 24 hours. Repeat the process with Batch 2.
After 24 hours cut the soap. Allow the soap to cure. Longer curing time will result in a harder bar. (If you aren’t sure if your soap is fully cured, check out this post. It helps make sense of a confusing topic.) Test your soaps and write down your notes. Which did you like more? Why? Would you ever make these again? Enjoy!
Notes: I washed each hand with each soap. My right hand used the 5% soap and my left hand used the 2% soap. After patting my hands dry, I was surprised that I could tell a difference between the soaps. The soap with the Rosemary Oleoresin 2% had a lighter feel. My left hand felt clean, smooth and normal. My right hand felt clean, velvety and like I had just rubbed in a tiny amount of Dimethicone into my skin. I definitely like the soap with the Rosemary Oleoresin 5% more. It left my skin soft and velvety without a heavy feeling residue.
I will be sending out 27 samples containing both soaps for you to try. Request one in your next order! I want to hear which one you like best.
We are regularly asked about the shelf life of a fixed oil (you know, the animal and vegetable oils we use for soap making). There are a few things we would like to address for storage.
To have the freshest material I would like you to use up any oil you purchase from us within 1 year from the date of purchase.
To get the longest life you should store your oils in a dark, cool, dry place. Dark because UV rays break down the oils. Cool because microbial activity, including oxygen exchanges, happen slower at cooler temperatures. Dry because moisture encourages growth of yeast, bacteria, and mold which can contaminate the oil by either growth inside the oil if water is introduced or by odor from growing populations of these organisms.
In the event you live in a very moist and warm climate I would recommend refrigeration, including freezing. The one reason I hesitate to mention refrigeration to most people is they do not have a dedicated refrigerator for low odor vegetable oils. There is nothing like an oil that was stored in a refrigerator next to a cut onion. Your soaps and lotions will have an onion odor that can not be removed.
Freezing will not harm a fixed oil. Liquid oils may congeal but they will melt when warmed to room temperature and it takes nothing more than removing the oil from the freezer and setting it on the counter. Zero energy melting of a congealed oil! There are some oils (waxes) that really have a long shelf life and I rarely worry about their stability. These are beeswax, jojoba oil and lanolin. If you plan for the 1 year rule and treat your oils with care, you will have a fine time making soaps and lotions!
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Thoughts and ideas from the world of Majestic Mountain Sage.