Category Archives: Product Assistance

A Lip Balm Tube Filling Tray Hack

My set up filling tray
My set up filling tray

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!

Pouring in my Java Juice Lip Balm
Pouring in my Java Juice Lip Balm

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

Allowing my lip balm to cool.
Allowing my lip balm to cool.

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!

Removing the upper tubes
Removing the upper tubes

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!

Finished Lip Balm!
Finished Lip Balm!

Taylor

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Rosemary Oleoresin 2% and 5% in soap

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:

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Olive Oil
Rosemary Extract
Water
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
Equipment
Scale
Spoon
Soap Bucket
Pipettes
Mold

 

Batch 1:

Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
0.5 oz Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
6 fl oz Water
2.31 oz Lye
Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
142 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Olive Oil
14 grams Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
178 mL Water
65.5 grams Lye
Recipe in Percentages
37% Coconut Oil
31% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31% Olive Oil
3% Rosemary Oleoresin 2%
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Lye

 

Batch 2:

Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Olive Oil
0.5 oz Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
6 fl oz Water
2.31 oz Lye
Recipe in Grams
170 grams Coconut Oil
142 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Olive Oil
14 grams Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
178 mL Water
65.5 grams Lye
Recipe in Percentages
37% Coconut Oil
31% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31% Olive Oil
3% Rosemary Oleoresin 5%
Q.S. Water
Q.S. Lye

 

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.
Taylor

Rosemary Oleoresin Soaps 2% is on the right and 5% is on left.
Rosemary Oleoresin Soaps
2% is on the right and 5% is on left.
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 1
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Weighing Batch 2
Adding Lye Solution to Batch 1
Adding Lye Solution to Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Ready to Mix Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Mixing Batch 1
Pouring Batch 1 into mold
Pouring Batch 1 into mold
Batch 1 in the mold
Batch 1 in the mold
Ready to mix Batch 2
Ready to mix Batch 2
Mixing Batch 2
Mixing Batch 2
Pouring Batch 2 into the mold
Pouring Batch 2 into the mold
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
Watching Batch 2 change colors
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Shelf life of a fixed oil

Shelf Life of a Fixed OilWe 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!

Cheers!
Tina

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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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Margarita Lip Balm Samples

Imagine tart limes, sunny orange and sweet agave with a hint of saltiness. What do you get? A margarita of course! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite flavors while showing how easy it is to use one of our lip balm bases. 

These bases make everything from wedding favors to kids activities a cinch. No mess and no worry all in an affordable package. And the best part is you can choose any flavor you want! How cool is that?

If you need to make several hundred lip balms, consider one of our filling trays. They make it so fast and easy. I was able to make 650 of these delightful lip balms for our shipping department in 3 hours! This was from start to finished label! Isn’t that incredible? Visit this post for a great tutorial on how to use these fantastic trays.

Collect Needed Materials

Ingredients
Shea Butter Lip Solutions
Margarita Flavor Oil
Equipment
Scale
Transfer Pipettes
Containers for Lip Balm
Lip Balm Filling Tray

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
285.76 grams Shea Butter Lip Solutions
5.67 grams Margarita Flavor Oil
Recipe in Ounces
10.08 oz Shea Butter Lip Solutions
.2 oz Margarita Flavor Oil
Recipe in Percentages
98% Shea Butter Lip Solutions
2% Margarita Flavor Oil

Gently heat the jar of Shea Butter Lip Solution in a microwave until liquid. You will want it to be clear. A haze means the oils are not completely melted. Add the Margarita Flavor Oil and stir well. Pour into a lip balm filling tray complete with tubes. Allow the solution to cool. Using a plastic putty knife, remove the top layer of solution. Remove tubes from tray and cap. Enjoy!

 

Taylor

Finished Lip Balm
Melted Lip Solution
Adding Flavor Oil
Stirring In Flavor Oil
Filling Lip Balm Tube Tray
Filled Lip Balm Tray
Filled Lip Balm Tray

Tray Scraped Off
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Cigar Band Tutorial

One of the hardest things about soap making is presentation.  How are you going to present your soap to family, friends and even customers? How are you going to label it? How are you going to identify what is it or even what is in it? One of the simplest labeling styles is a cigar band. Come join me to make cigar band labels for your soap!

 

For this project, you will need:
A bar of soap
paper
scissors
tape
flexible tape measure

I want to print on my cigar band label then cut it out so I can wrap my soap. To start, I grabbed a bar of soap, a standard size bar from my mold. I decided I wanted the band to go across my soap horizontally. I measured how wide the bar was. My bar was 9 inches around the bar horizontally. My cigar band will need to be longer than 9 inches so I can tape the paper together.

To determine how much space I have at the front of the bar for my design, I took a blank sheet of 8.5×11 printer. I wanted to determine how tall I wanted my cigar band. I played origami for a while until I found the size I wanted. I then cut that out and wrapped it around my bar. If I want text on the sides of my bar, now is the time for that to be determined.

I went to my computer and created my cigar bands. I used Open Office but you will need to play around with the various programs your computer has. I filled in the blog title and what I wanted to call the soap. I decreased my margin size to 0.25 inches on all sides of the paper. I flipped the page to landscape. I then printed my paper. I checked to make sure my cigar band was longer than 9 inches.

I then wrapped the paper around the bar, centering the text in the front. I taped the paper in the back. Tada!  I now have a labeled soap. How easy was that?

 

What program do you use if you create cigar bands? I want to know!

 

 

Taylor

Soap and Measuring Tape
Soap and Measuring Tape
Measuring soap
Measuring soap
Trying to determine how tall I want my cigar band.
Trying to determine how tall I want my cigar band.
Still too tall!
Still too tall!
Just right!
Just right!
Measuring how tall I want my cigar band.
Measuring how tall I want my cigar band.
My cigar bands
My cigar bands
Cutting out my cigar bands
Cutting out my cigar bands
Placing cigar band on soap
Placing cigar band on soap
My ends are too long.
My ends are too long.
Trimming my ends
Trimming my ends
Applying tape
Applying tape

Finished Cigar Band!
Finished Cigar Band!
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Lip Balm: How to use 2 Flavors with two different usage rates

I recently received a great query through our technical support email that inquired about how to create a lip balm with two different flavor oils and how to calculate for each. The two flavors in question are Chocolate Cream Flavor Oil and Peppermint Essential Oil. As some of you know, my answers often appear to be questions instead.

Here is the dialog so you can follow along and learn how to use two flavors AND how to do the math.

Customer: I would like to combine your chocolate cream and peppermint for a holiday lip balm. My recipe is a total 4.6 oz and makes about 26 tubes. Can you please help me figure how much of each flavor oil to use?
MMS: Do you weigh the items to make your lip balm mixture? If so, do you weigh in ounces?

Customer: Yes, I weigh in ounces. Thank you.
MMS: Does your scale offer metric units? Grams? if so, what is the readability (the smallest unit the scale can weigh and how does it increment upwards)?

Customer: My scale does offer grams….1 g is the smallest and it goes up 1 gr at a time.
MMS: These answers are awesome! You ask a good question and the answer is difficult to calculate without these answers.

Chocolate Cream is generally used at 2-4% of your mixture. So we calculate 4.6 x 3% to give us a good chocolatey flavor. Without a percent sign on the calculator it looks like 4.6 x .03 = .138

I doubt the scale goes to 1/1000 of an ounce so it becomes hard to weigh. This is where weighing in metrics can help. The 4.6 ounces becomes 130.4 grams, and the .138 ounces becomes 3.9 grams. We are still dealing with some limitations on the scale but now we know how close we can really get. The peppermint is even harder. I would make the test batch with 3% Chocolate Cream and 0.3% Peppermint Oil. It is easy enough to add more flavor but more difficult to add more fixed oils to make a double batch of lip balm.

4.6 oz x 0.003 = .0138 oz Peppermint
130.4 x 0.003 = 0.039 grams Peppermint

It looks to me that making a master batch of this flavor mixture is the better route to go. It would be 10 grams Chocolate Cream and 1 gram Peppermint Oil. From there you would calculate 3.3% or multiply by 0.033 to get the weight needed.

Long explanation isn’t it?

Customer: Wow! Now I don’t feel so bad about how much trouble I was having trying to figure this out. I think you are right, a master batch would be the best route. I am so grateful for your help. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
MMS: I would love to hear how your master batch turns out.

Customer: Just an update for you – the master batch was great. I made the lip balm this morning, and I like it. I’ll pass out a few over the weekend and see what others say. You can smell the chocolate right away and the mint is not overwhelming but you get it. I think it is just what I wanted. Can’t thank you enough!
MMS: Yippee!

From our team to yours: any time MMS can make your project seem more enjoyable and successful from the very first test batch then we are thrilled! It is what we work for each day. If you have two flavor oils that you would like to combine, offer them here in the comments and I will assist with some math and suggestions. If you don’t want a public answer, go ahead and send in your request to us in email. We will keep that private for you.

Tina

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“What is wrong with my lip balm tubes?”

A clear lip balm tube. Do not twist before filling!
A clear lip balm tube. Do not twist before filling!
“What is wrong with my lip balm tubes? My lip balm is stuck and isn’t coming out even when I twist!” Our Technical Support Team has been asked this question MANY times and I thought this question that could be answered for our readers.

There are three possibilities that can cause this issue.

  1. The propel-repel mechanism was adjusted by twisting before the lip balm tubes were filled. Lip balm tubes come from the manufacturer with their propel-repel mechanism set at the correct point for. Never adjust this mechanism. This happens most with the Clear Lip Balm Tubes. Why? The space under the propel-repel mechanism has people thinking they have been “cheated” on fillable lip balm tube space! This space is important for the lip balm tubes to work properly and is in all tubes, no matter their color.
  2. Your customer (or a child) twisted the lip balm up and then twisted it all the way back down and disengaged the propel-repel mechanism. We’ve even done it ourselves on accident!
  3. Your formula has a high percentage of waxes and/or oils with high stearine content. This doesn’t mean that having 20% of any wax will make your lip balm tubes stick! It will depend on your formula. Your formula may have a high percentage of wax and yet still be fine because you don’t have any brittle oils and lots of liquid oils. If you aren’t sure if your formula is causing the lip balm to be stuck in the tube, test your lip balm using the plate test.

I hope this has helped you learn more about lip balms and lip balm tubes!

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All about Plastics: LDPE

Ready to continue the various plastics? Today we are covering recycling number 4 which is LDPE, Low-density polyethylene. LDPE is like HDPE and MDPE as all three plastics are polyethylene. The biggest difference is that LDPE is not as strong or dense as HDPE and MDPE, but it does have the ability to handle more stretching forces without breaking.

LDPE is the original polymerization of the monomer ethylene. The first industrial synthesis of polyethylene was in 1933 by British company, Imperial Chemical Industries, and it was made by accident! However, the experiment was not easily replicated and it wasn’t until 1935 that a replicable method was discovered. This discovery became the basis for industrial production of LDPE in 1939. Due to the breakout of World War II, LDPE was deemed to be important for the construction and safety of the cables used in devices using Very High Frequency (VHF) electromagnetic radio waves. The use in military radios, radar sets, as well as other communication devices, meant the production process was a necessary secret. In 1944, two American companies began large commercial scale production of LDPE under license from Imperial Chemical Industries.

Where is LDPE used?

LDPE is used in plastic wrap, plastic coatings on wires, computer components, snap-on lids, six-pack rings for canned drinks and laboratory squeeze bottles. Like HDPE and MDPE, LDPE also has a lower cost which helps keep final product costs down.

Pros:

  • Has the ability to be very squeezable
  • Has a lower cost than PET or other plastics
  • Is naturally translucent
  • Is recyclable
  • The best way to sanitize is to dip in water/Hydrogen Peroxide solution containing 3% Hydrogen Peroxide and allow to air dry.
    • When dipped in a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution to sanitize, any remaining dry water marks are less obvious.
  • Shatterproof and ideal for slippery bathrooms!
  • Can handle rapid temperature changes.

Cons:

  • Can’t be transparent or clear
  • Lower density of this plastic does mean that there is more gas permeability

Whew! I loved the history aspect about LDPE today. What did you think? Don’t miss out on tomorrow’s post on PP (Polypropylene)!

Recycling symbol for LDPE plastics
Recycling symbol for LDPE plastics

LDPE Lab squeeze bottle.
LDPE Lab squeeze bottle.
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