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» Listings for July 2010

  1. Lip balms are used to moisturise and protect the lips. They are especially beneficial if the lips are dry and cracked.

    With the use of natural ingredients lips can be cared for and protected without the need for repeated applications throughout the day, as is the case with lip balms produced from petroleum-based products.

    Natural lip balms are made using solid fats and waxes, vegetable oils and essential or flavour oils. The recipe can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual. The method is as follows:

    1. Heat all ingredients together, with the exception of the essential/flavour oils, in a ceramic/glass container which has been placed in a double boiler.

    2. Melt completely while stirring.

    3. When all the ingredients have melted, add the essential/flavour oils.

    4. Pour into lip balm pots or cylinders, and leave to set. In the case of cylinders, the mixture will contract with cooling, so pour the mixture up to 75% of the cylinder, leave for ten minutes, then pour in the remainder. (you will also have to reheat your mixture in the double boiler at this stage).


  2. INCI name: Vaccinium Macrocarpon seed oil



    Cranberry seed oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of cranberries grown mainly in the USA.


    The oil contains linoleic, alpha-linolenic and oleic fatty acids, and natural antioxidants and tocopherols. It is easily absorbed by the skin and helps it to retain moisture.


    Cranberry seed oil is emollient, moisturising, anti-inflammatory and good for mature, dry or rough skin. It can assist in the relief of irritated or itching skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis.


    Add it to face and eye creams/lotions, lip balms and body balms. Cranberry seed oil has a long shelf life of up to two years.







  3. A gel is a clear or semi-opaque substance made from water and a thickener. We use gels when we want to make a product that has little or no fat, although up to 5% of an appropriate vegetable oil can be used. Essential oils, too, can be added up to 5% of the total volume of the product.

    The thickener can be a natural polysaccharide such as Carageen (from seaweed Carageen), Alginates (from algae), Pectin (from citrus peel), Cellulose Gum (from wood fibre) and Xanthan gum (grown from bacteria). Thickeners also come in synthetic form.

    Although different thickeners have different qualities, I use mainly Xanthan gum in my gels, with the exception of toothpaste, for which I use cellulose gum.

    Before you start to make your gel, you will need a hand whisk and a thermometer to hand. The method for making a gel is as follows:

    1. Boil the water (this is so that the Xanthan Gum will melt more easily).
    2. Pour into a heatproof container.
    3. Sprinkle in the Xanthan Gum slowly, and using a hand whisk beat thoroughly until the granules are dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
    4. At 40 degrees C, add the remaining ingredients (e.g. oils, active ingredients) except the essential oils.
    5. At 25 degrees C, add the essential oils.
    6. Pour into bottles or jars.


  4. INCI name: Gossypium herbaceum seed oil




    Cottonseed oil is pressed from the seeds of the cotton plant. It is rich in vitamin E, palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid and has a natural sun protection factor, resisting up to 30% of UV rays. In addition to its sun protection properties, cottonseed oil is anti-aging and moisturising and helps the skin to retain moisture.


    Cottonseed oil is a useful ingredient for soapmakers, as it helps create quick and lasting foam.


    Use cottonseed oil in soaps, sun care creams/lotions and skin care preparations for mature, dry and rough skin.







  5. Making your own skin care creams requires nothing more than the ability to properly read and follow a recipe, just as with a cooking recipe. You will also require some equipment as follows:

    Accurate scale - a digital scale able to weigh as little as 1g is best.
    Measuring cups
    2 glass/ceramic containers for heating the ingredients
    Cooking thermometer
    Hand blender/electric whisk
    Bottles/jars for the finished product.

    The recipes that I will post to this blog will require that you:

    Measure fats/oils into one of the glass/ceramic containers.
    Measure waters into the other glass/ceramic container.
    Heat both containers in a double boiler to a temperature of 75 degrees C.
    Trickle the fats into the waters, whisking continuously.
    Keep the mixture hot while mixing continuously for five minutes.
    Take the glass/ceramic container and place it in a bowl filled with cold water. Continue blending/whisking until the temperature drops to 40 degrees C.
    At this stage add any active ingredients called for in the recipe.
    Continue mixing until the temperature drops to 25 degrees C.
    Add essential oils and mix in well.
    Pour finished cream into bottles/jars.

    If you follow the above method, and use the correct ingredients, you should be able to make a perfect cream every time, with none of the dreaded separation that so often happens in homemade skin care recipes. With a bit of practice, you will eventually be able to design your own creams to a professional standard.


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