Thursday, March 14, 2013

Non-Petroleum Jelly

I have a (growing) list of things that I use regularly and would like to try making on my own.  Close to the top of the list is Non-Petroleum or Un-Petroleum Jelly, usually referred to as Vaseline.  There are a lot of different uses for this type of jelly, some are:
  • To smooth dry patches of skin
  • To provide a protective layer or barrier
  • Around your hairline when coloring your hair so the color doesn’t get on your skin.
  • As a lip gloss
  • Any way in which you might use a petroleum based jelly, like Vaseline. 
My main reason in wanting to make it was to use it as a barrier cream in #4's diaper.  This little one gets wicked diaper rash when she is teething and I needed something to help keep her dry and offer some healing as well.   We've been using it for a few months now and along with the Boo Boo salve I make, it seems to really be helping.  I have not noticed any issues with our cloth diapers, but I make sure to use a liner in her diaper when we apply this.  I have also used it on the backs of my hands, which get really rough in the winter.  I put a little on each night before bed and it helps keep the dry/cracked skin at bay.  A little definitely goes a long way though.  I tried it a couple of times as an eye make-up remover.  It felt a bit too thick and sticky, but I could have been using too much. 

If you do a Google search you will find many different recipes.  Here is the one I started with, I have made a few modifications though.  I replaced a small amount of the Castor oil with Neem oil.  If you have never heard of Neem oil before here is a great website with a ton of information.  I chose this oil because it is said to have antiseptic and healing properties.  The downside is it stinks!  I also added essential oils of Lavender and Tea Tree, along with some Vitamin E.  The end result has a slight Neemy smell, but I don't notice it that much once applied.  I would love to show you a picture of the finished product, but my computer has decided to hide the picture from me and the little bit I have left is in the room with the sleeping baby.  So sorry but no pictures of our Stinky Jelly!

Have you tried making your own Non-petroleum jelly?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Something For Scrapes and Bruises

When you have four children (or any for that matter) you need something for the inevitable 'boo-boos'.  I found this recipe for a Calendula salve a few years ago and since then I have tweaked the heck out of it.  I have added Lanolin since it provides a protective barrier on the skin and helps to hold moisture into the skin.  I added Candelilla Wax to make it a bit harder.  And I added a bit of Coconut oil because it's supposed to have anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
We use this for everything scrapes, bumps, bruises, dry/cracked skin, basically anything you can think of.  I have even used it as a diaper rash/barrier cream.  As I've mentioned before we use cloth diapers and you have to be very careful about the type of creams you use.  I've used this off and on since #4 was born and I have not had any issues with her diapers repelling or stinking.  Which is what most Zinc based creams will do.
I have little pots of this salve all over the house and the kids run and get it whenever there is an 'incident'.  I think it also helps to take their mind off the pain and get them doing something for it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Natural - What Does It Mean To You?

hmmmm, is this soap natural?
Natural is defined as: Existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.  This makes me think of trees, flowers, fruits and veggies, etc.  But when I see/hear the word 'natural' I think as close to nature as possible.  (I should change my company name to Sincerely Natural As Possible!)  Many things need to be minimally processed in order for us to use them.  For example, any oil I want to use in my soap making has been processed by some sort of machine (most likely) before I can use it.  Olives are pressed to make Olive Oil.  Coconut oil has either been refined, bleached and deodorized or pressed as well.  So are oils no longer natural since they have been processed?

The problems I see are when companies use this word on their labels as a way to get people to buy their product, thinking that natural means better for you.  Is it possible for those gummy fruit snacks to be natural?  Check out this post on  It defines what natural is supposed to mean on food labels.  I think we all need to make sure we read labels and if there is something in the product we are not sure of?  Research it.  Find out what it is, where it comes from and if it fits in with your definition of natural.

The other problem is when it comes to bath and body products.  I agree with and really like this blog post at Point of Interest!  I make my own lotions and creams for myself and my family.  That requires me to use an emulsifier, not natural, and a thickener, no longer natural (it may be derived from vegetables but it is then processed).  I'm willing to sacrifice having a completely 'natural' product in order to keep my family safe.  So I use a broad-spectrum preservative at .5% in anything I make that has water in it.  That is my personal choice and if you decide not to use preservatives in your products that is your choice.  I have done the research and I don't want to take the chance and have beasties grow in my lotion.   I'll never say that my lotions are natural, I may say that they are better than anything I have bought in the store, but that is just my opinion!

So, what does Natural mean to you?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Liquid Soap Using Glycerin - Fragrance Oils

Please go here to find out how I make liquid soap and here to find out how Essential Oils behave in liquid soap.

I wanted to test more fragrances but I ran out of containers (oops, needed them for strawberry jam).  Anyways these are the results of the ones I used.  They are all from New Directions and I added 1% fragrance to my diluted soap paste.

Ylang Ylang - a few minutes after adding it was thick, had some bubbles and what looked like tiny white beads in it.  Now it is a milky white colour with some separation, no scent morphing.

Margarita - stayed cloudy like in the picture, little bit thicker than the base soap.  The lime seems more pronounced as well.

Lilac & Lilies - at first it went cloudy and thickened up.  I stayed really thick but cleared up and only has some tiny bubbles in it.  Scent stayed the same.

Coffee Cake & Spice - this one started out cloudy then went a brown/peach colour.  It is now slightly darker and still a little cloudy, but it smells really yummy.

 Maple Sugar - I knew this one would eventually turn brown, which is okay since it goes with the name.  Initially it got thicker, but has now gone back the the original consistency.  This picture was taken soon after adding the fragrance.  The picture below shows the colour after a few days.  This scent also did not morph.

Ylang Ylang, Maple Sugar and Coffee Cake & Spice

Base soap and Maple Sugar
Base soap and Coffee Cake & Spice.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Liquid Soap Using Glycerin - Essential Oils

As I mentioned in my first post on this method I decided to do some experiments with scents.  I started with essential oils because that is what I use in most of my bar soaps.  My recipe was 90% Olive Oil, 10% Castor Oil and I substituted Glycerin for the water.  I diluted using 1 part soap paste to 2 parts distilled water.  I took 1 ounce of diluted soap and added 1% (0.01 oz) essential oil.  My notes are based on immediate reactions, after about an hour and one week later.  They all sat, covered, on my kitchen counter for the week.  I also didn't notice any of the scents changing.  Here are my results:

Lavender & Eucalyptus
 Lavender French:  turned into cloudy jello, after a week, still jello but clear.  I'm going to try thinning this out later and see what happens.

Eucalyptus:  turned cloudy and thick.  After a hour it was clear and a bit thinner.  A week later it had a clear, thick layer on top with thinner soap underneath.

Orange & Peppermint
Sweet Orange:  First it turned cloudy then clear and seemed like it was going to be thin.  After a week it is a light orange colour and is the same thickness as the base soap.  Surprise!  Usually orange EO thins liquid soap and so far it hasn't.  I will definitely be watching this one.

Peppermint Japanese:  this one turned thick and had lots of tiny bubbles suspended in the soap.  The bubbles have gone away and it is now clear and thick.

Spearmint & Citronella
Spearmint:  At first cloudy and a bit thicker, it has now cleared and is thick, much the same as the Peppermint.

Citronella:  As you can see in the picture it also turned cloudy and a little thicker.  After a hour it was clear with tiny bubbles suspended in it.  It is now thick and clear after sitting for a week.

Lemon & Rosemary
Lemon 5 Fold:  This EO turned cloudy and didn't seem to want to mix in very well.  I had to mix it again after a hour it looked like it had separated.  After a week it is clear and slightly thicker than the base soap.

Rosemary French:  This behaved almost the same as the Lemon except it got thicker and had cloudy pockets.  After a week it has cleared up and thinned out.

Anise & Patchouli
Anise Star:  Started out cloudy then turned clear and thick with tiny bubbles.  Now the bubbles have gone away but it is still thick.

Patchouli Light:  Let me start by saying "This smells like dirt!"  I'm sorry I know lots of people love 'Patch' and I don't know if it is supposed to smell that way or if it is because it is Light.  Anyways this clouded up like the rest, but it is now clear and the same consistency as the base.

 Vanilla 10 Fold:  I figured vanilla would discolour to brown but I wanted to see how it would affect the thickness of the soap.  So here you go brown, very thin soap.  I think it would work great in foamer bottles.

Now I am going to put these away and check on them in a month to see if there have been any changes.  If you would like to see more (or bigger) pictures check out my Flickr photostream.  If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will try to answer as best I can.  Coming up next, Fragrant Oils.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Liquid Soap Using the Glycerin Method - Part 1

There was a discussion over on the Dish forum about making Liquid soap using Glycerin instead of water.  It is a very long thread but very informative.  
When you make liquid soap you use a different type of Lye called Potassium Hydroxide (KOH).  I make mine in a crock pot and once it is finished it is a hard paste that you then dilute with water to make a liquid.  This is the only way I have been making Liquid soap since it makes it very easy and quick.  I recently made a big batch using 90% Olive oil, 10% Castor oil and Glycerin in place of water.  I use the Summer Bee Meadow lye calculator because that's what I have always used for my liquid soap.  Just make sure the Alkali is set to Potassium Hydroxide not Sodium, otherwise your soap won't turn out!
Because I made such a big batch I thought I would do some experiments with scents.  You see essential oils (EO) and fragrance oils (FO) can do all sorts of funny things to liquid soap (bar soap too).  Some can turn it into thick jello (Lavender EO) and some can thin it out like water (Orange EO).  But I haven't really tried that many scents with this new method and I wanted to see if there is any difference from the traditional liquid soap method.
When I diluted this batch I used approximately 1 part paste to just less than 2 parts water.  Soaps high in Olive oil usually require more water to dilute.  I will be taking 1 ounce of the diluted paste and adding 1% essential or fragrance oil.  I will then document the immediate effects and then wait and see what happens after a week then a month.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Is Coming!

Summertime, I can't wait!  It means my icky springtime allergies will be gone.  Strawberries, raspberries, jam making, oh my!  It also means summer themed soap.  I made this soap using the hot process method because it feels like it takes less work/effort on my part.  I just melt my oils in the crock pot add in the lye, hit it with the stick blender then let it 'cook'.  I'm still not a fan of 'glopping' the soap into my molds, but I kinda like the rustic look.  This is how it turned out..... 
Introducing Sincerely Summer

I scented with Citronella, Eucalyptus and Peppermint essential oils.  I may have been impatient and added them before the soap cooled enough, because I only really smell the Citronella.  (Always check the Flashpoint of your essential oils, if the soap is too hot your essential oils will burn off.)   In this recipe I used Olive, Coconut, Palm, Canola and Castor oils.  It is very creamy and bubbly.  It will be cured and ready to go by May 25th.