Category Archives: Product Assistance

We Have Dirty Dogs and Other Soap Molds!

Dirty DogWe have dirty dogs! We released the cutest mold yesterday and I am in love. Our newest mold lets you clean your canine friend while telling them in no uncertain terms that they are a dirty dog. I think it is the funniest thing and I can’t wait to have my own dirty dog soap!

SlipperyWhenWetThe other soap mold that we released reminds the user that soap is slippery when wet. When I first saw this mold, I couldn’t stop laughing. This is the cutest safety warning I have seen in a long time.

What kind of soaps do you envision in these molds? I want to know!

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Lye Calculator News for Liquid & Cream Soap Makers!

Are you one of the many soap makers who makes or wants to make Liquid and/or Cream soaps? Has one of the things that has scared you away been the horrible four letter word – math? Breathe easy!

The Lye Calculator that you have trusted since 1996 now has the ability for you to calculate Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide Blends! This means you make liquid soaps following the 75% Potassium Hydroxide and 25% Sodium Hydroxide that some soap makers have been using. This helps you make thicker soaps.

Making Cream Soap Booklet.
Making Cream Soap Booklet.
It also means you can make cream soaps using ingredients you have on hand. Use Catherine Failor’s Making Cream Soaps Booklet as a guidebook and find yourself on the path of easy cream soaps.

To help you get started, I’ve made a batch of cream soap that has rotted (aged) for about 4 weeks. I made this cream soap for the programmers as a “Thank you” for updating the lye calculator for us. I’m sending out samples of this cream soap for you to try.

This cream soap has been lightly scented with Peppermint Essential Oil and Menthol Crystals. I have been told the scent and menthol could be stronger next time for shaving purposes. Whoops! I don’t have to shave a beard, so I guessed!

Looking for the cream soap recipe? Follow this link for the PDF to the Lye Calculator printout. I’ve marked the PDF so you see what I did and what percentage of excess fat was left.

Please try out the updated Lye Calculator and give us your feedback! What do you think?

Andee

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Sea Glass Salt Potpourri

Sea Glass Salt Potpourri
Sea Glass Salt Potpourri

I really like using salt potpourri to scent my house rather than use candles or even light warmers. I can be a little forgetful and I don’t want the fire hazard that comes with forgetting to turn off a lamp or blowing out a candle. None of my favorite scents are worth risking the roof over my head.

That being said, I still want to have my home smell nice. Here is where salt potpourri comes to my rescue. It is visually pleasing and requires very little care. I can place it in glass or ceramic dishes or vases. I can even color it or even make it sparkle. I also don’t have to worry about whiskers or fingers getting burned on hot lights.

Ingredients
Extra Large Crystal Salt
Ocean Blue Color, Premixed
Lemon Yellow Color, Premixed
Grape Color, Premixed
Ocean Rain Fragrance Oil
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
907 grams Extra Large  Crystal Salt
Q.S. Ocean Blue Color, Premixed
Q.S. Lemon Yellow Color, Premixed
Q.S. Grape Color, Premixed
3 grams Ocean Rain Fragrance Oil
Recipe in Ounces
32 oz Extra Large  Crystal Salt
Q.S. Ocean Blue Color, Premixed
Q.S. Lemon Yellow Color, Premixed
Q.S. Grape Color, Premixed
0.11 oz Ocean Rain Fragrance Oil
Recipe in Percentages
99% Extra Large  Crystal Salt
Q.S. Ocean Blue Color, Premixed
Q.S. Lemon Yellow Color, Premixed
Q.S. Grape Color, Premixed
1% Ocean Rain Fragrance Oil

 

Half the washed salt
Half the washed salt

Measure out your salt into a colander. By rinsing off the dust, you get clear, glass looking pieces of salt. I like the appearance of washed salt vs. unwashed salt. If you like the appearance of the unwashed salt, go ahead and skip this step.

Adding Lemon Yellow and Grape Color
Adding Lemon Yellow and Grape Color

Shake as much water as you can off the salt. Pour half of the damp salt into a plastic bag. Add the premixed Ocean Blue Color and Lemon Yellow Color to the salt. Once you have achieved the color you desire, shake well.

With the other half of the washed salt, add the premixed GrapeColor and Lemon Yellow Color to the salt. Once you have achieved the color you desire, shake well.

Half the unwashed salt
Half the unwashed salt

Spread the damp salt out on a layer of paper towels or cardboard and let it dry. Once the salt has dried, mix the two colors of salt together. Now you can add your fragrance.

I like to start out with a small amount of fragrance and adding a few drops of fragrance oil every few weeks to keep the scent strong and fresh. If you add a lot of fragrance to the salt up front, it is often too strong.

Adding Ocean Blue Color
Adding Ocean Blue Color

Taylor

P.S. Try this sea glass potpourri with any ocean type scent. Consider our Lighthouse, Rain Orchid or even Green Mango!

 

 

 

 

Adding Lemon Yellow Color
Adding Lemon Yellow Color

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried Salt
Dried Salt
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Coffee Body Lotion with Isopropyl Myristate

Finished Coffee Body Lotion
Finished Coffee Body Lotion

I adore the smell of freshly brewed coffee. There is just something about that aroma that makes me feel safe and cherished. Perhaps it has something to do with my grandparents making coffee first thing in the morning. I remember waking up at their house with the scent of coffee permeating the house while the sun sent golden hued beams of light into the guest room.

While I can’t turn back time and lounge in the security of those mornings, I can enjoy the memories. Since scent has such a huge influence on memories, I wanted to make a coffee scented body lotion. Come join me!

Weighing Ingredients
Weighing Ingredients

One of the things I include in almost every lotion formulation I create is a humectant. While it is generally a tie between glycerin and Hydrovance, today I wanted a lighter feeling lotion. Hydrovance helps me achieve that!

I added Apricot Kernel Oil to this lotion because it adds this soft feeling to the lotion. Whether in massage oils, lotions or lip balms, Apricot Kernel Oil adds another element for pure luxury. Who wouldn’t want that kind of luxury oil?

Weighing Coffee Butter
Weighing Coffee Butter

I also added some Isopropyl Myristate. While it is a mouthful to say, it is definitely worth adding. It helps the lotion from feeling too greasy or heavy on the skin. It also lends a silky/velvety feeling to the skin while being applied. You may find that Isopropyl Myristate is added to some of your favorite hand lotions and face creams.

Ingredients
Emulsifying Wax
Hydrovance
Coffee Butter
Wheat Germ Oil
Stearic Acid
Isopropyl Myristate
Water
Liquid Germall Plus
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
16 grams Emulsifying Wax
12 grams Hydrovance
64 grams Coffee Butter
24 grams Apricot Kernel Oil
8 grams Stearic Acid
24 grams Isopropyl Myristate
282 grams Water
2 grams Liquid Germall Plus
Recipe in Ounces
0.56 oz Emulsifying Wax
0.42 oz Hydrovance
2.26 oz Coffee Butter
0.85 oz Apricot Kernel Oil
0.28 oz Stearic Acid
0.85 oz Isopropyl Myristate
9.95 oz Water
0.07 oz Liquid Germall Plus
Recipe in Percentages
4% Emulsifying Wax
3% Hydrovance
8% Coffee Butter
6% Apricot Kernel Oil
2% Stearic Acid
6% Isopropyl Myristate
70.5% Water
0.5% Liquid Germall Plus

 

Ready to Mix
Ready to Mix

Weigh everything except the Liquid Germall Plus into a microwave safe container. Heat gently until everything is liquid. Using an immersion blender, mix the solution well. Allow it to cool to below 120° F before adding the Liquid Germall Plus. Stir well. You want to make sure that the preservative is mixed into the lotion completely.

Scoop the lotion into a bag so you can pipe it into your jars. I find that using a bag saves me time, reduces clean up and prevents wasted product. They are a huge help! I highly recommend them.

Cap and label the jars of cooled lotion. Enjoy!
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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Formulating from Your Cupboard – Day 1

ChemistOne question I hear on a regular basis is “How do I formulate with materials I have on hand rather than needing to place an order for XYZ product(s)?” This week I will share my secret by showing how to make a variety of lip balms. Once you learn this method of formulating, you will never want to go back!

The first thing we will need is an “inventory” of all of the materials we have on hand. I like to separate them into categories. I have waxes, liquid oils, solid oils. (I like to separate my solid oils into two categories. Things that are brittle at room temperature and the rest of them. This makes formulating much easier.) I also have categories for my extracts and flavors.

If I have it on hand, I will include Conditioning Emulsifier in my list under the waxes category. The Conditioning Emulsifier gives emolliency to the lip balm but it also makes it easier to use vegetable waxes without the formulation becoming to brittle or hard to apply. Consider Conditioning Emulsifier to being the secret to making a superbly successful vegan lip balm.

Once I have my “inventory” listed in a spreadsheet, I make notes on what I would like my finished formulations to be like. If I want a formulation to be vegan, I note that so I don’t forget during the formulating process. I generally don’t name my formulation until later but feel free to name yours anytime inspiration strikes!

When I start to formulate, I fill my boxes with numbers with the assumption that they are a percentage. This way it is easy to convert from a small recipe to a large recipe. I can even make a small 100 gram test batch!

Check out how I set up my formulation spreadsheet!

I like to use spreadsheets because I can add new products when they arrive or delete ones I have run out of. I always know what I have on hand. I can also make sure that my total is exactly 100. No need to track down floating numbers in my notebook. For me, that is a relief.

For the rest of the week, I will be making all of the lip balms that I formulated today. You will get to see how it is made, why I used the oils I did, what I thought of the formulations and the fabulous labels that Shayla has created for us! Stick around. This week is going to be awesome!

Taylor

 

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Sizing Your Soap for Shrink Bands – Part 2

Putting shrink band around soap
Putting shrink band around soap

Okay, so now we have done the hard part. We have collected our soap and our handy-dandy tape measure. For the sake of simplifying things, we will be assuming that the right and left sides will have the open ends. If you want the open ends to be on the top and bottom, rotate your bar so that top and bottom become right and left. It will make it much easier for you to determine what size band you will need.

Soap Sample Shrink Bands

Shrunk Shrink Band (Boy, that's a mouthful.)
Shrunk Shrink Band (Boy, that’s a mouthful.)

This shrink band can hold a soap up to 2.5″ wide and 5.75″ in circumference. This is perfect for small specialty soaps, travel bars, half bars or sample bars.

Bar Soap Shrink Bands

These shrink bands have been in our catalog for a long time. This band will hold a bar of soap that is up to 3″ wide and 5.75″ in circumference. This size has long been a standard for soaps in the kitchen or bathroom sink.

Dan’s Soap Bar Shrink Bands

Dan’s Bands are just a little bit larger that our Bar Soap Shrink bands. If your soap is just a little longer or fatter around the middle, Dan’s Bands should work for you. Our Dan’s Bands can hold a bar of soap up to 3.4″ wide and 6.75″ in circumference.

Jumbo Bar Shrink Bands

Our Jumbo Bar Shrink Bands are perfect for those giant, man bars. Today we have seen a trend moving to large and even over-sized bars of soap. This band will cover some of the larger bars of soaps we have seen. This band will hold a bar up to 5″ wide and 8″ in circumference. If your soap is larger than this, don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.

Jumbo Decorated Bar Shrink Bands

Perhaps you make large bars of soap with those elaborate decorated tops. Does this mean you have to give up on shrink bands? No! Try our Jumbo Decorated Bands. This will hold bars up to 3.75″ wide and 10″ in circumference. That is one big bar with some pretty lofty peaks! Go ahead. Make those decorated tops. We have a shrink band that will cover your soap and all your special needs.

 

Remember, if you shrink a band around your soap and you think that there is just too much material on the sides, feel free to trim off the excess. Make sure that your shrink band is doing exactly what  you want! In the mean time, happy soap making and may all of your shrink bands shrink smoothly!

Taylor

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Sizing your Soap for Shrink Bands – Part 1

Measuring the width
Measuring the width

Today is going to be a rather unusual day here on Adventures with the Sage. We are going to be sharing a series of posts that will help you determine which shrink bands will fit your bar of soap. Are you ready?

Measuring the height
Measuring the height

To start, you will need a bar of soap and a tape measure. (We recommend that you choose one of the larger bars that you have.) We will need three measurements. The width, the height and the circumference. Once we have those measurements, we can start choosing the right shrink band!

Measuring the circumference
Measuring the circumference

The measurements of the soap I am using today are 3  1/8 (width) by 2 3/4 (height). The circumferences of this soap is 8 1/4 inches. Once you have your soap measured, we can work together to determine what size band you will need.

Taylor

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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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