Category Archives: Thoughts from The Sage

DayGlo Discount!

Soaps made with the gorgeous Dayglo colors!
Soaps made with the gorgeous Dayglo colors!
I love the holidays and they are fast approaching which means plenty of preparations need to be made. This is the time of year where my UPS man and Postal Lady become very familiar with each other. I have plenty of gifts or the materials to make gifts that start arriving in the mail. It also means that I do what I can to make sure that my money is being stretched as far as I can. This is why I am delighted to announce we are having a Dayglo discount!

The manufacturer of the Dayglo colors has discontinued this particular line of colors but not to worry. They are going to be releasing a new line of very similar colors. So what do this mean for you? This means that you get awesome colors at amazing prices! Don’t wait! These prices will only last as long as our limited stock. Treat yourself to some budget friendly fun!

If you are looking for some inspiration, I recommend checking out Andee’s Music Inspired Swirl Soaps. If you have your own ideas, share them. We would love to feature you and your soaps. Happy soaping!

Taylor

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Planning for the Saponification Values of Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and 5%

Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
I love to learn. It is my passion. It is what gets me so excited to get up in the morning and start my day. And you, dear readers, contribute so much to everything I am exposed to. You also encourage me to continue to the question the “familiar”. I have some exciting news to share with you. Are you ready? Drum roll please.

Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and Rosemary Oleoresin 5% both have saponification values. Now what does this mean for you if you add it to soap? Well, this is dependent on how much Rosemary Oleoresin you are adding to your soap. Anything that is added 2% or more will greatly affect the superfat of your soap. This means unless you account for the saponifation value of the Rosemary Oleoresin, you are actually superfatting at a higher rate than what you may realize. It doesn’t mean it is bad, it is just something for you to be aware of.

If you make soap with either Rosemary Oleoresin, you may notice that batches that use it have creamier, silkier lather. Later this week I will be making soap with Rosemary Oleoresin versus without for you to try in samples. Request a comparison in your order! Don’t wait though. I only have a limited amount of samples.

If you don’t want to wait, make your own comparison batches to see the difference. And before you go off to make those tests, allow me to tell you the saponification values. Are you ready?

Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
has a saponification value of 260 mg KOH / g of Fat.
Rosemary Oleoresin 5% has a saponification value of 295 mg KOH / g of Fat.

Wow! Can you believe those numbers? I was pretty astonished myself. Those numbers are pretty high compared to what we generally deal with. See how that can make such a difference in your soap? I am getting more excited for this comparison batch. Stay tuned to see what happens!

Taylor

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Specialty Ingredients: Ingredient Listings Do Change with Location

ExoticOilMy experiences in China have opened my eyes to how location changes the ingredients that are viewed as specialty and/or exotic ingredients. Here in the USA, we often use ingredients that bring exotic and unique locations to mind. Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, and Argan Oil are all oils that we consider to be specialty ingredients due to their exotic origins and the higher prices that are needed to bring them to the USA. Marketing for big cosmetic brands has also helped bring these ingredients to the forefront of our minds (and our customers too).

Yet in other countries and even regions within the same country, different ingredients may or may not be considered to be specialty ingredients. Here is a comparison for you. Soybeans grow in most of the USA and we use a lot of soybean oil in cooking and frying. It is easy to purchase anywhere, including most grocery stores. While I was in China I could not easily buy any type of Soybean Oil, liquid or hydrogenated. They eat lots of soy based products, but they don’t use the oil in cooking. When I did find it, the price was almost triple the price of Coconut Oil! Sometimes we don’t think about the oils that we find locally as special and it takes new experiences to remind us how special that oil is.

Do you remember my blog post about Snake Oil? Many of you commented about how you found the snake oil to be interesting and some of you even said it had you grossed out! Do you remember Jerry helped me get some Snake Oil so I could try making my own hand cream and soap? Here in the USA, we consider Snake Oil to be a specialty oil because it is something so unique to our markets.

Would you want to try a small amount of Snake Oil? I’ve been able to get a small amount of it for testing purposes and I would like to share it with you! It isn’t something that we will add to the catalog so when my *very* limited supply runs out, I won’t be able to get any more. How do you get some? Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Contact Us page and select Blog Team.
  2. Send a message including your Name, Address, City ST ZIP, and a comment telling me what you want to do with the Snake Oil. Click SEND MESSAGE.

So, what happens after all of this? Well, I send each valid MMS customer who submitted information, a 2 fl oz sample of Snake Oil AND a handwritten note. (See the catch? You must be a Sage in order to participate.)

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought and even something to play with!

Andee

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It’s Our 18th Birthday!

It's our 18th Birthday! Grab some cake and celebrate with us. Birthdays are so much fun! Since it is our 18th birthday, I couldn’t resist doing something special for all of you!

We are offering a shipping special ALL month to you to celebrate our 18th birthday. If you were thinking about placing an order, then this month is the perfect time to do so!

  • Any orders that have an item total of $150 or more will have a $10.00 shipping discount.
  • Any orders that have an item total of $200 or more will have a $20.00 shipping discount.
  • Any orders that have an item total of $300 or more will have a $40.00 shipping discount.
  • If your shipping is less than the amount discounted, you get FREE shipping!

How do you get this awesome special? Enter the code 18-BDAY into the Item Code field in your shopping cart, then choose a quantity of 1 and you are ready to go!

This special ends on September 30th at midnight Mountain Time.

Don’t miss out on this awesome shipping special! Don’t have enough on your order to qualify? Get together with your friends, sisters-in-law, sisters, and even your neighbors to place a qualifying order! This special is the perfect reason to get stocked up for your holiday gift giving and/or sales. What will you get?

Andee

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Labor Day 2014

Labor Day2Somehow, Labor Day was able to sneak up on me this year. I don’t know why! It’s always the first Monday in September. I’m popping in to wish you a wonderful day and to remind you that MMS is closed today for the holiday.

We will be back tomorrow to process your orders and ship as many of them as possible. (We’re hoping to ship all of the orders placed over the holiday weekend!) We’ll also be back helping answer any questions you might have about products, recipe troubleshooting and more.

All orders placed after 12:30 P.M. Mountain Time on Friday, August 29th will be processed on Tuesday, September 2nd. Remember that UPS and USPS will be closed today and will not be able to pickup or deliver any packages. Both will resume their shipping services tomorrow.

If you need to travel today, please travel safely. I’m going to be staying home and enjoying a glass of Fresh Fruit Punch while I hang out with my family. I hope you enjoy your day and we will see you tomorrow!

Andee

P.S. Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow because I have some really awesome news for you! I’m so excited that I’ve barely been able to keep this news under my hat for as long as I have and tomorrow I can finally share it with all of you!

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After Exercise Massage Oil

One thing I really enjoyed during my stay in China was visiting all of the beauty and personal care shops. Some of the items seemed normal, while others were very exotic. I saw products that were to help lighten the color of your skin. I saw additives like lotus extract, snail secretions, and even hydrolyzed bird’s nest. Needless to say, shopping in these stores was an adventure. Since my return, I have been talking to my coworkers about my adventures overseas. One of the gals on staff, Hyun, is from Korea. Just the other week we got talking about the differences and similarities of Chinese, Korean and American beauty trends. We have embarked on a rather exciting project. We will be making some recipes that are common among handcrafters from each country. If you have recipes from abroad, please share them! We would love to post them on our blog.

One thing that Hyun had mentioned that I had noticed but never paid much attention to was an after-exercise massage oil. After exercising and getting all hot and sweaty, people was up and then apply a massage oil that gives a cooling sensation to the skin. I have seen people applying it after going hiking, running, dancing, etc. However, I never really thought of the specifics of the product. Come join Hyun and I as we make a wonderful after-exercise massage oil.

Ingredients
Calendula Extract
Jojoba Oil
Vitamin E Acetate
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Menthol Crystals
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
60 grams Calendula Extract
32 grams Jojoba Oil
4 grams Vitamin E Acetate
1 mL Tea Tree Essential Oil
1 mL Lavender Essential Oil
1 mL Peppermint Essential Oil
1 small crystal Menthol Crystals
Recipe in Ounces
2.12 oz Calendula Extract
1.13 oz Jojoba Oil
0.14 oz Vitamin E Acetate
1 mL Tea Tree Essential Oil
1 mL Lavender Essential Oil
1 mL Peppermint Essential Oil
1 small crystal Menthol Crystals
Recipe in Percentages
59% Calendula Extract
31.75% Jojoba Oil
3.5% Vitamin E Acetate
0.5% Tea Tree Essential Oil
0.5% Lavender Essential Oil
0.5% Peppermint Essential Oil
0.25% Menthol Crystals

Weigh the Calendula Extract and Jojoba Oil into microwave safe container. Heat them gently until they are warm. Add the essential oils and menthol crystal. Stir until everything is cohesive. Pour into bottles. Cap and label. Enjoy!
Taylor

Finished Skin Soother
Finished Skin Soother
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils
Adding Vitamin E Acetate
Adding Vitamin E Acetate

Adding Essential Oils
Adding Essential Oils
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Melting Lip Solutions Using the Stove

When melting a jar of Lip Solutions, I often recommend using the microwave to melt it quickly. However, I’ve now lived in places where I did not have easy access to a microwave. A recent question to our Technical Support Team reminded me that sometimes we don’t have access to a microwave and yet we still need to melt a jar of Lip Solutions. Let’s talk about how this can be easily resolved!

Today I’m going to use the Soy Lip Solutions to make a batch of lemon flavored lip balm.

Ingredients

Equipment

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
286 gram jar of Soy Lip Solutions
3 grams Lemon USA Essential Oil
6 grams Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Ounces
10.08 ounces jar of Soy Lip Solutions
0.11 ounces Lemon USA Essential Oil
0.21 ounces Sugar Baby Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
97% Soy Lip Solutions
1% Lemon USA Essential Oil
2% Sugar Baby Flavor Oil

Collect all the equipment you will need. I’ve used the Lip Solutions for many years now and I still forget one item or another. So while you are collecting your equipment and ingredients, I just hang out here!

Got everything? Good! Begin by placing the wire rack/perforated plate in the bottom of your pan. The goal is to prevent the jar from sitting on the bottom of the pan and prevent it from cracking due to uneven heat. The last thing you want is to have a broken jar of Lip Solutions that is no longer usable and leaves a mess in the pot.

Add enough water to the pot to fill the pot till is is about one third full. Your jar of Lip Solutions should not be submersed more than 2 inches. If you need to pull out your measuring tape and mark the side of the jar, go ahead and do it! Then you can add water to the pot until you have reached the mark on the side of your jar. If you add too much water you could cause the water to splash and get inside the jar of Lip Solutions. Remove the lid from the jar of Lip solutions and place the jar in the pot. Turn the stove burner heat on to medium low and allow the water to gently heat. The water will have eventually heated enough to simmer, but not enough to be at a rolling boil. The Lip Solutions will melt as the surrounding water heats. Do not leave the stove unattended to prevent any accidents!

As this method takes time, I HIGHLY recommend using this time to clean the kitchen, label items, knit or any other small tasks that are not attention hungry projects. Do not start a project that needs all or most of your attention. My jar of Lip Solutions had melted in about 10 minutes, but times will vary based on your stove, size of your pot and amount of water.

Once the Lip Solutions is mostly melted (a few small solid chunks), turn off the heat and remove the jar from the water. Stir until the remaining chunks have melted. If you overheat the lip balm, this will cause your pipette to melt, bend and no longer work! Then you will need to wait for it to cool completely and Add any of your desired flavors, extracts and/or colors. I added the Lemon Essential Oil and Sugar Baby Flavor. After stirring well to ensure the flavors had been mixed in completely, I filled my lip balm tubes and allowed the filled tubes to cool before capping.

Don’t forget to check the consistency of your lip balm with the Plate Test before you fill your lip balm containers. This will save you from discovering that your lip balm is too soft or too hard!

Andee

Placing the perforated plate in the saucepan.
Placing the perforated plate in the saucepan.
The perforated plate and water in the saucepan.
The perforated plate and water in the saucepan.
Placing the jar of Lip Solutions on the perforated plate.
Placing the jar of Lip Solutions on the perforated plate.
The Lip Solutions is starting to melt!
The Lip Solutions is starting to melt!
The Lip Solutions is mostly melted!
The Lip Solutions is mostly melted!
The Lip Solutions is completely melted.
The Lip Solutions is completely melted.
Now we are ready to add our flavors and other desired additives!
Now we are ready to add our flavors and other desired additives!

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Fragrance Testing in Cold Process Soap: Emmett, Osmanthus, Cucumbers & Melons and Frosted Cupcake

I have more photos for our Fragrance Testing Series! While these tests are a good indicator of how these fragrances will behave, this does not eliminate the need for you to test each fragrance with your own particular formulas.

Emmett scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Emmett scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Our first fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Emmett. According to our catalog, Emmett is a “very masculine scent of bay, rum, lime, mahogany, amber, vanilla and bergamot.” Emmett is a smooth and clean scent that makes me think of mountain air . This masculine combination of wood and citrus makes Elements of Bamboo bring peace, tranquility and balance to mind.

There was very slight discoloration of note, a light tan color. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.


Our second fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Osmanthus. According to our catalog, Osmanthus is “sensual, fresh, fruit and herbaceous and wonderfully calming. I think it is the best ever! It can be a personal signature scent so easily.” Osmanthus is a charming fragrance and is one of our most popular scents when we have personal projects that we need to find a scent that almost everybody will like. This fragrance is incredibly true to the fresh Osmanthus trees that I got to smell at the Summer Palace in Beijing!

There was not any discoloration of note and this means you can make any swirl you have always been dreaming of without worrying about the fragrance causing discoloration. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.

Osmanthus scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Osmanthus scented soap on the left and control on the right.

Cucumbers & Melons scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Cucumbers & Melons scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Our third fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Cucumbers & Melons. According to our catalog, Cucumbers & Melons is “A perfect blend on melons and cucumber with incredible results in cold process soap!” I find Cucumbers & Melons to be … indescribably refreshing. I know the scent is a combination of melons with cucumbers, but this fragrance always makes me smile and feel like I can tackle my day head on!

There was not any discoloration of note and this means you can make a green and yellow swirl without worrying about the fragrance causing discoloration. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.


Our fourth fragrance in Cold Process Soap is Frosted Cupcakes. According to our catalog, Frosted Cupcakes is a “blend of sugar, cinnamon, caramel and pecans. Imagine a German chocolate cake (without the cake) in a graham cracker crust. That caramel scent seems like home-baked fun.” This fragrance is one of my favorites! I love using it in room sprays and salt potpourri because it makes the kitchen smell like I’ve been slaving away over dessert when in reality, it only took me a few minutes to pull something from the freezer and pop it in the oven!

There is a moderate amount of discoloration of note, a very nice shade of soft brown hues. We used the maximum suggested usage rate of 2.5%, which is 0.4 ounces of fragrance in our 1 pound test batch.

Frosted Cupcakes scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Frosted Cupcakes scented soap on the left and control on the right.

Here are the details about our test batches before we added any fragrances!

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Shea Butter
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Immersion Blender
Soap Mold

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.26 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

Our temperatures for lye and oils are between 125°F and 130°F.. We make our soap with a 6% superfat. All of the batches we make are mixed to light trace and then the fragrance is added. After the fragrance is added we mix until the fragrance is incorporated and then we pour into the mold.

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New Products Review!

We’ve been having a blast adding some new products to the catalog! I’m so excited to tell you about our newest products and I couldn’t wait for more products to be released! We have two new fragrances and another type of Tamanu Oil. Come on, let’s go talk about the new goodies!

JustForYou2Just for You Fragrance Oil
If you have ever been so lucky to receive a bouquet of flowers that was unexpected and not for a specific special occasion (or apology), then you already have an idea of what this fragrance smells like. Just for You is that big floral arrangement that has the ability to bring a smile to your face every time you walk by the fragrant blossoms. When I smell this fragrance oil, I can smell roses, peonies, lilacs, violets and gardenias. This fragrance is my new favorite floral (and that is saying something as I’m not a floral person!)

Want to make your day a little more cheerful? Make a room spray with this fragrance and I promise you will smile a little more as this happy floral brightens your day! I even have a smile on my face as I write about this fabulous fragrance.


Cabernet3Napa Valley Vineyard Fragrance Oil
A few years ago, I got the chance to tour Napa Valley with Jerry and I’ll have to say that it was an amazing experience. When I got to smell our Napa Valley Vineyard Fragrance for the first time, I was instantly transported back to the beautiful Napa Valley and tasting some of the wines as we sat on sunlit terraces and looked over a vibrant green landscape under a vibrant blue sky. This fragrance has the full-bodied aroma typical of a Cabernet made in Napa Valley.

If you have considered adding a unique fragrance to your product collection, look no further! Worried that you won’t like this fragrance? The name will be the first to draw you in, but the scent will keep you coming back!


300-1361Tamanu Oil, Dewaxed
I love using Tamanu Oil for special skin pampering projects. It is well known for its ability to help skin that has been irritated or inflamed as well as helping soothe very dry skin. I could talk about why Tamanu is one of my favorite oils all day, but that won’t let me tell you about our new type of Tamanu Oil.

Our newest Tamanu Oil has been dewaxed. This means that this oil is clear with a dark yellowish-green color. It can handle cooler temperatures without looking like a semi-solid product or acting like a thick goop. I’ve already been brainstorming about potential uses and I really won’t change how I used this fantastic oil. It just depends on the formula I want to use it in. If you have questions about this oil and which one would be best for your formulation, use the Contact Us form and send a message to our Technical Support Team.


Borage Oil
I know, I know! This isn’t a new product, but I am excited to announce that the Borage Oil is finally back in stock after a long wait. If you were waiting for it to return to the catalog, I’m excited to say “It’s back!”

Which new products do you want to try first? Is there one that jumps out at you and begs to be used?

Andee

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Weekly Recap of Telephone Questions: Colors and Bases vs Raw materials

QuestionQ) How much of the Amethyst Pink color should I use? I tried this a year ago and it was too much! I don’t want to make that mistake again.

A) Amethyst Pink is a dye. The color is migratory and can move throughout the bar of soap, making this color not a great option when attempting swirl bars. We recommend diluting this colorant into liquid glycerin because the color is very intense when used as a powder and it is far too easy to use too much. The customer had already put a 1/2 oz jar into 16 oz of liquid glycerin and the bottle was capped and shaken. For an 8 lb fat batch of cold process soap, we recommend starting with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for the whole batch. Add until the color is just a bit too dark for the desired soap. Why too dark in the pot? Because soap is translucent in the pot and opaque in bar form so while translucent it appears darker and while opaque it appears lighter. This is why when we add a bit too much it is not nearly so alarming when we look at the soap the next day. Remember, the color should only be a BIT darker in the pot than you desire in the finished soap.

Q) How do I fix a batch of soap where I used too much color?

A) The solution to pollution is dilution. An overly scented bar of soap (I mean OVERLY!) is the same as a brilliantly colored soap – unusable. The best bet to diluting this problem is to either chop or grate the finished soap into shreds or mini cubes then toss them into a new batch that is uncolored or very lightly scented (if at all). I’ve had 2 lbs of fat converted to soap and had the soap maker use 4 ounces of essential oil to scent. That is a polluted bar of soap! Dilute and save the day, and the batch of soap! How do you know if the soap has too much color? Use a white wash cloth and test. You should be able to rinse the cloth completely at the sink and not need a washing machine to finish the job. How do you know if too much scent is used? You can’t smell anything else and when in the tight quarters of a shower your eyes may even burn!

Q) How does a person use the bases? I mean like the lotion or body butter.

A) Scenting the body butters, lotions, shampoo and all of these other bases is easy! Add fragrance and color as desired. Most of the fruit, fresh or herbaceous fragrance oils will need 1 fl oz (sometimes less!) for the entire gallon of base. Add a few drops of color and stir until the whole gallon is evenly colored and the fragrance has been added. Using a strong essential oil or fragrance oil? Use our Fragrance Calculator to get the correct amount of scent! You are always ahead by scenting with half the amount of scent today, mixing well, and leaving for tomorrow. A fresh nose and a clear head do wonders for thinking and finishing a project. Because lotions can be used over and over and over throughout the day it is best to scent more subtly because the layers will build upon each other. You still want to a be socially acceptable in an elevator compartment!

Q) Should I start with the bases or the raw materials to make lotions and lip balms? I have a very limited budget.

A) Starting with the bases means your costs are the base, color (if desired), fragrance (if desired) and containers. This means you can get started for less than $50 for your project. If you start with the raw materials you will need a scale and a wide range of supplies. The MMS bases are not economy type products, they are premium, top-notch, and comparable to what you can make on your own. We know you are seeking quality products and we don’t ever cut quality. If you have a budget of at least $500 to play and you want to make lotions, lip balms and similar products then I would suggest you start with the raw material route. Being honest with yourself is very important. There are lots of raw materials you will wish to try and having a quality scale will make your time far more enjoyable. Fighting your scale is never a fun time and this one item can make or break your success with this hobby. I think those who invest in a quality scale at the onset will find their hobby to be more profitable than those who scrimp on this one purchase. If you don’t know about budgets, may I suggest Dave Ramsey?

Tina

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