Category Archives: Thoughts from The Sage

Special Production Run – Paradise

MangoAre you ready? I have another special announcement to make! There are quite a few of you who have been begging for Paradise to return. Sadly, I can’t quite convince the higher powers to bring it fully back to the catalog, but I have gotten permission to have a special production run!

Can’t remember the description? Tropical and fruity with a twist of mandarin orange. This is my favorite mango scent of all the fragrances we have ever tested. Do you like the fruity citrus scent of Bath and Body Works Mango Mandarin? Use 2 or 3 parts Paradise and 1 part Tangerine Essential Oil. I can’t think of a better duo! Mango away!

If Paradise is a fragrance you can’t live without, e-mail
help@thesage.com
to reserve your bottle today! There is a deadline before this fragrance goes into production, so don’t delay! The last day you can reserve your bottle of Paradise is January 28th, 2015.

We will need your contact information and the quantity of Paradise that you want. Once we get all of your information, we will put your request in for the Paradise.

Don’t delay!
Andee

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Special Production Run – Amber Romance (type)

amberAre you ready? I have another special announcement to make! There are quite a few of you who have been begging for Amber Romance to return. Sadly, I can’t quite convince the higher powers to bring it fully back to the catalog, but I have gotten permission to have a special production run!

Can’t remember the description? Yet another in the Victoria’s Secret lineup. This rendition has rich amber notes, complimented by fruity top notes of irresistible black currant, plums and juicy pineapple. This fragrance will discolor cold process soap to a marvelous amber. We loved it, very unique!

Amber Romance scented soap on the left and control on the right.
Amber Romance scented soap on the left and control on the right.
If Amber Romance is a fragrance you can’t live without, e-mail
help@thesage.com
to reserve your bottle today! There is a deadline before this fragrance goes into production, so don’t delay! The last day you can reserve your bottle of Amber Romance is January 28th, 2015.

We will need your contact information and the quantity of Amber Romance that you want. Once we get all of your information, we will put your request in for the Amber Romance.

Don’t delay!
Andee

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Special Production Run – Somali Rose

Rose2Hear ye, hear ye! I have a special announcement to make! There are quite a few of you who have been begging for Somali Rose to return. Sadly, I can’t quite convince the higher powers to bring it fully back to the catalog, but I have gotten permission to have a special production run!

Can’t remember the description? “A customer called us desperate for a fragrance he could no longer get. Can you imagine a masculine rose? Here it is! Rose with chocolate, sandalwood, anise, musk and a twist of green moss. A unique smell that had many staff members say “mmmmmm”! Now don’t be too concerned about the rose in the name or the blend, this isn’t a strong floral type. Very masculine and sexy.”

If Somali Rose is a fragrance you can’t live without, e-mail
help@thesage.com
to reserve your bottle today! There is a deadline before this fragrance goes into production, so don’t delay! The last day you can reserve your bottle of Somali Rose is January 28th, 2015.

We will need your contact information and the quantity of Somali Rose that you want. Once we get all of your information, we will put your request in for the Somali Rose.

Don’t delay!
Andee

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Liquid Shea Oil VS Semi-Solid Shea

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Semi-Solid Shea vs Liquid Shea Oil

Have you ever compared our Liquid Shea Oil vs our Semi-Solid Shea? Both are awesome products but what is the difference? Why use one over the other?

Shea, in all of its various forms, is a wonderful product. I really prefer the Liquid Shea for lighter applications. Think massage oils and even hair serums. These are places where you want the delights of Shea without the heavy feeling.

Semi-solid Shea is fabulous in lip scrubs, body scrubs and even in lip balms and glosses. It adds a fabulous creamy texture without feeling too dense and heavy.

Shea Butter is the solid stuff we are all familiar with. It is heavy and is great for lip balms, lotion bars and soap. We don’t always want this heavy form of shea so having alternatives is awesome.

Taylor

 

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Hydrovance Lesson

We receive a ton of emails each week. Some are so easy to answer and others really challenge our brains. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer rubbing my forehead and reading your emails over and over again. I learn as I go. Not only does making things in our lab challenge my thought process but also your questions. Sometimes I must lean on hobbies outside of work to answer a few of your emails. Today’s email is one that really stresses “how” to work with a product and the reasons “why” we add in the first place. Read on for a quick lesson in how to use Hydrovance – which is my favorite humectant.

From the email bag:

Happy New Year! To say that this is my favorite site to research and order my goodies is an understatement! I absolutely adore you guys and look forward to another year with The Sage.

To the question at hand, I live in the desert and its INCREDIBLY dry here with little humidity as it is in Utah. My poor skin is having a devil of a time holding on to what little moisture (read lots of water drinking and using a humidifier) I can get. I’ve been using a butter mixed with lanolin, argon, comfrey, horsetail, vitamin e, lavender and or chamomile, meadowfoam, allantoin and beeswax for a few years, and wondered if adding Hydrovance was a successful possibility. I know that Hydrovance is lovely in lotions but I’m just trying to figure out any other goodies I can add in to help my poor skin. I’ve taken to applying the butter right out of the shower and following it up with a nice layer of lotion and that seems to help, but it is more to do. I don’t have any allergies nor am I taking an medications; I’m pretty healthy overall.

I’ve been with the Sage team for 10+ years now and follow the blog with all of those great ideas. I know if anyone can help me improve this recipe, you folks can!
T

The only alterations I have made to this email are for clarity and for privacy. Here is my answer:

T,

I would not recommend Hydrovance in this situation. Hydrovance is a water soluble ingredient and your mixture is anhydrous. Years ago I thought this would be OK because the lanolin can hold 2 times its own weight in water. What happened was a superheated liquid on the bottom of the pan (all the oils floated on top) and when it started to boil it foamed out of control. Up over the top of the pan and much like a lava it flowed and oozed across the stove. To move the pan I jumped in and pulled the handle, just as the hot oil and Hydrovance flowed over my thumb. It resulted in the worst burn I have ever had. The oil mixture was sticky and I could not wash it off. I tried wiping but it just clung to everything and was so hot I cried. It doesn’t take much to get to this stage. Oils hot enough to melt the beeswax (140°F) will burn the body terribly. So, based on this experience I would skip this idea.

What I would do are two different things. First, I would add Orchid Extract to your list. I know it is one more thing but I really find that this one extract is a powerhouse. Holy cow! I can leave
calendula oil extract alone if I had to take only one extract with me. Calendula is my second favorite extract. Now, I would make a lotion that I apply before the shower. I know this seems counter
intuitive to apply a moisturizer and then go wash it off but the Hydrovance in the lotion makes the shower more hydrating. AMAZING! Once out of the shower I would apply a tiny bit more lotion once I was dried off. Then I would follow up with the butter in really tough areas (elbows, feet, hands, knees).

Butters can really help, but only if they don’t get in the way of living life. Ultra thin coats that can be reapplied during the day are awesome butter applications for the skin.

I hope this helps. May I use your question for our blog? I think you have some great things to share here.

T graciously gave permission to use this email question on the blog. YEA!

Here are some bullet points for using Hydrovance:

  • Use when you have an emulsifier or can use water. This product is water soluble and not oil soluble.
  • Use in smaller percentages when you change from another humectant to Hydrovance. If your recipe uses 3% glycerin, just swap out the glycerin and swap in the Hydrovance. Don’t jump to 10% Hydrovance immediately. Most often we find Hydrovance to be very effective at lower rates.
  • Watch when heating. All water soluble ingredients will be on the bottom and the oils will float to the top. If you have a small quantity of water soluble items they can easily heat to boiling while the top part appears to be melting. Stir often if not constantly.
  • Apply lotions containing Hydrovance to the skin before showering, bathing or swimming. If your schedule allows apply the lotion 30 minutes before entering the water. This pre-water application will make a huge difference to the skin.
  • If you are going outside don’t forget your sunscreen. I know applying a lotion feels like you have already coated the skin but sunscreens are important, don’t forget them!
  • If your skin feels like it needs more help trapping moisture inside then drop all fragrances (they are solvents and essential oils are included in this restriction). Apply your lotion and follow up with something heavier like a butter or lotion bar stick.
  • Great question! I hope everyone liked today’s lesson.
    Tina

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    Volume of my box mold

    We know how to calculate volume for the box molds, so far – so good. Do you know we get mold questions all the time? First I want to tell you that I am not a fan of dividers in soap molds. I think the bars become irregular and misshapen. When cutting soap I really strive for consistency. This does not mean your bars must be the same size, it just means that if you are thinking of molds that have dividers then I ask that you consider this concept before placing an order for a mold with dividers. If consistent sized bars are on your plus list then dividers are not for you. If irregular bars really make you happy then dividers could be very beneficial to you.

    COLD PROCESS SOAP

    Let’s cover cold process soap first. You need to know these things about cold process soap:

  • One pound of fat will make 20 to 22 ounces of finished soap.
  • A mold declaring it is a one pound mold will only hold one pound of finished soap, it is not the starting point of how much fat to use.
  • Your location (relative humidity) as well as any additives you add to the soap (oatmeal, clay, extra water or milk, lavender buds, etc) will determine the final weight of the soap which is why we do not list a specific weight, we list a range of possibilities.
  • One pound of fat will make approximately 44 cubic inches of soap. This could also be written that 450 grams of fat will make approximately 721 cubic centimeters of finished soap.
  • Your mileage will vary, testing and weighing is the ONLY way for you to know exactly what your recipe and location can produce.
  • To figure the 44 cubic inches of soap I am making these assumptions: 1) the amount of liquid you are using to mix with your lye totals 6 fl oz, no more and no less; 2) I am figuring a small amount of possible additives such as a Tablespoon of ground oatmeal, not 1/2 of a cup; 3) You are not whipping air into the soap, just nice and easy.

    UPDATE! Our Measurement Calculator will help you figure the volume of a rectangular prism. By clicking here the Measurement Calculator link will open in a new tab or window. You can enter your box mold measurements and get an answer. Proof your work and know your calculator entries are correct.

    So, now what? Once we know how many cubic inches (or centimeters) are in your mold, we can work to find out the starting weight of fats for making soap.

    Your mold: Length x Width x Height = Volume of Retangular prism soap mold.
    Using cubic inches? Volume of your mold divided (written as /) 44 = weight of fats in POUNDS needed to fill mold to desired depth
    Using cubic centimeters? Volume of your mold / 721 = weight of fats in POUNDS needed to fill mold to desired depth
    To convert from pounds of fat to grams of fat you must do this: pounds * 454 = grams

    You might wonder why these have a reference of one pound of fats – it is ONLY because I find one pound of fats is easy to weigh and it is a good test-sized batch. One kilogram of fats is too big for a test batch for me. Another thought, I do not think of each oil using a lesser amount than 1/2 ounce. No tenths of an ounce here! If at all possible I formulate with whole ounces in mind. What does this mean?

  • OK to use: 1 ounce, 2 ounces, 3 ounces, 4 ounces, etc. These are whole ounces.
  • NOT OK to use: 5.1 ounces, 5.2 ounces, 5.3 ounces, etc. These are using 1/10th of an ounce. This takes too much time and is not beneficial to the finished soap. Keep it simple!
  • Tomorrow I will share how to figure volume of a cylinder. This sounds tough, doesn’t it? It isn’t. Calculating volume of cylinders is easier than making ice!

    Anyone ready to share their math in the comments? Tell us your mold size, the cubic inches of your mold, then the amount of finished soap your mold holds, and finally the amount of fat you need to make the soap to fit your mold.

    Tina

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    Volume – can you hear me now?

    Today I am starting with volume. This word has many meanings in our daily lives. For our kids it means turning up the sound projection of the music. For people who work in purchasing it means a greater number of items for a lesser price per unit. For people who work in shipping it means taking the lion’s share of a freight truck trailer, rail container, or cargo ship container. For soapmakers it is much closer to the meaning used by shipping specialists.

    Remember, we are talking about our favorite 4-letter word…. MATH.

    Let’s be square. Sort of. Most bar soaps are cut in a rectangular prism shape. This means starting with a rectangle and adding one more measurement to take a 2-dimensional product to a 3-dimensional product. Rectangles are 2-dimensional, rectangular prisms are 3-dimensional. Isn’t this cool? It is hardly past breakfast time and you have already worked a new phrase into your vocabulary! The best thing so far is you don’t even need those silly glasses to see a 3-D rectangular prism! It is just right there! Cookies boxes, blue Kraft dinner boxes, shoe boxes and more, are all rectangular prisms.

    Together we have taken the first step. We added words to our vocabulary and can see examples around us.

    So….. Let’s calculate volume. Don’t panic. This is simple stuff here. If you can make ice then you can calculate volume. Don’t even think I will buy the story that you can’t make ice. I’ve heard of people claiming that only one person in the family can make ice and they go as far as taking the secret recipe to work with them. Well, I’m going to write the secret recipe right here so you can calculate volume any time you desire.

    Length x width x height. Or height x length x width. Or width x length x height. It does NOT matter which order you put them in. Just get out the tape measure or ruler and take each measurement. L x W x H. Simple. Remember! Take the inside measurements!

    Why do soapmakers need to know volume? Simple, how do we know the amount of soap a mold can hold? Volume. This calculation is important to soapmakers. Very important.

    Have you ever called our office to ask how many bars are in a specific amount of soap? The answer is always “ONE, until you cut it.” Soap bars vary in size. Some of you make 2 ounce bars, some make 8 ounce bars. If two different makers have 8 ounces of soap then the 2 oz bar maker has 4 bars of soap and the 8 oz maker has 1 bar. The 2 ounce maker does NOT have more soap, just more bars of soap.

    Are you ready to talk about molds? Most of you have questions about how much soap to make to fill your mold. If your soap mold is 2 inches deep you are NOT required to fill it to the top. If you want a 1 inch deep pour of soap then calculate the volume of the mold as 1 inch deep. The length and width of the soap are not easily changed so figure those numbers as set in stone. Deep, depth and height will mean the same thing when we are talking about soap molds. Length and width are the sides.

    Here are the points to remember:

    • Length x Width x Height = Volume of a Rectangular Prism
    • To determine the volume of a potential mold measure the inside of the box and not the outside of the box.
    • Keep your unit of measure the same. Use inches or centimeters, it doesn’t matter. But DO NOT make the length centimeters and the width inches. No mixed Units of Measure!

    I’m going to break today’s post into two. I think if I let you work through the information here then go forward it will help cement the idea that math is easy.

    Tina

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    A four letter word problem

    LemonsOK, I need to come clean. There is a four letter word that drives all soapmakers crazy. Sometimes they gasp when they hear it, other times they choke on their coffee. Of all the phone calls I receive this four letter word strikes more fear and anxiety into the lives of soapmakers than any other single thing. Ever.

    Put down your spoon, put down your beverage and prepare to read what upsets more of us than any other thing.

    Brace yourself. The word is…… MATH.

    Math is more likely to stop you from making soap today than anything else going on in your life. Forget the kids, forget dinner, forget the mail counter is piled so high there could be an avalanche. Forget all the rest of your life – math is your biggest hurdle. I know this. I feel this. I hear this every single day. For those of you who think that women are afraid of math and men are math geniuses – I’m telling you right now that is wrong. People are afraid of math. All people. Fear of math is not restricted to certain races, religions, sexes, ages, or any other classifier. All people have fear of math. Some of us just don’t get it. Some of us need to hear the lesson 100 times before it sinks in. Some of us fear being on the list of math dummies. Every single one of us has had this fear at one time or another. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there is no such thing as a math genius at birth. No. Such. Thing. There are those of us that practice more math and those of us that practice less math.

    This week I want your math questions because I am going to cover every single math area that soap makers use. Yep, every single one. And I am going to explain these in real words with real life situations. No one is putting two trains on the same track and asking when they will meet as they race toward each other. Every one of us knows two trains racing toward each other on the same track means accident. We aren’t stupid! No math needed here. Whew! And I am not going to give you a word question with a math problem like: Suzy has a dog, 3 apples and is walking 2.4 miles to the park. What color is Suzy’s hair? No math needed here either. The real question to ask is what breed Suzy’s dog happens to be. My bet is the dog is a retriever or retriever mix. ;-) Retrievers love human food and apples are amazing.

    This week you need to send in your questions (private or public comments) and find a calculator and ruler or tape measure. By the end of the week you will feel smarter because we are going to make math fun. Practice this mantra any time you are in wait mode (at the grocery store check out line, waiting for a red light to turn green, drying your hair, making dinner). If you are standing still or tethered to an action then repeat these words. “Math is only a 4 letter word. With practice I will tame this former beast and math will become my friend.”

    My email is on and ready for your math problems.

    Tina

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    Cupboard Creations – MMS Help

    testingDo you ever get creators block? Formulators fatigue? Well, we are here to help. Send us a list of what is in your cupboard and we will help you create some goodies from what you have on hand. How easy is that?! We can help make Christmas gifts or just goodies for the sake of making goodies.

    Just leave us a comment or send us a message here. We will get to you as promptly as possible so that you can get to the fun part of creating.

    Taylor

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    Recycling and Repurposing Containers from MMS

    Crafting your own lotions, soaps and lip balms is extremely rewarding but what does one do with all of the extra containers?! Re-purpose them! Let me share with you just a few ways I reuse and re-purpose my containers.

    My fancy pen holder
    My fancy pen holder

    Have a Lip Balm Base Jar hanging around? These jars are great for holding and storing little things. I have one that acts as a button jar, another that is a coin jar and yet another that holds paper clips. Here at work I use another jar to hold all of my pens and pencils. These glass jars are great!

     

    My tea/drink mix holder
    My tea/drink mix holder

    Just emptied out a 16 oz jar of Shea Butter or other oil? These plastic jars are great for storing tea bags, brown sugar and other things in your cupboard. I even use one of the jars to store cornstarch. They are handy and durable. I never have to worry about crazy messes when it is in a jar versus a box. What do you store in yours?

    Fantastic flour storage bucket!
    Fantastic flour storage bucket!

    Okay, so these smaller containers are are great for storing other materials but what about those big buckets that hold 25lbs of oil?! These are my favorite containers to put to use. I store flour, sugar, beans, corn grits and oatmeal in these containers. I love these containers because they allow to purchase things like flour and sugar in bulk without worrying how I am going to store it. I always know I will have a clean bucket on hand.

    Are you ready to share how you repurpose your MMS containers? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or Intagram using #TheSageRecycling. We want to see your photos! Hurry quick. All submissions made by December 12th 2014 get a chance to win an Extra Large Handmade Tray Mold. We will be giving away two of these wonderful molds. You must be an existing MMS customer to win.

    Taylor

     

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