It’s making time!

I have a few larger shows coming up and I’ll be teaching all next week so I won’t have much time other than this week to prepare for my show at the Triton museum in Santa Clara, and The 4th of July show a week and a half later in El Cerrito.

Today I made about 100 lip balms. A Summer SPF 15 lip balm, A reformulated Smooth as Silk now with SPF 10, A new mica -free berry colored lip tint, and my Muted Merlot mica lip tint.

Since I’m allergic to all chemical sunscreens, that was fun to find out being as pale as I am, I sot out oils that have natural sunscreen, like Red Raspberry Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil to create my lip balms. The summer version has a bit of zinc to get the lip balm to be a board spectrum spf 15.

Making lip balm is super fun and a lot easier now that I have a mold, instead of having to make sure I didn’t over pour my little tubes before.

Here’s some photos of me making my new summer lip balm:

Cutting and Curing

Today I cut 8 lbs of my new  grapefruit soap and 16lbs of my very popular peppermint soap.  These are both 2 days old, I tend to cut my soap 1-4 days after it is made, when it is about as hard as cheddar cheese and then let the bars cure individually. In the above photos you can see how I cut my soap. I use a butcher knife and re-purposed old cookie cooling racks as my drying rack. While I still hand turn my soap every other day during the curing process, the wire racks help ensure that air it getting to all sides of the soap, helping it cure evenly.

A Brief Explanation of the Soap Making Process

Today I made some After Midnight soap, which is a toasted coconut lavender scent. This one uses a base of Rice Bran Oil, Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, and Castor Oil. I add black oxide and naturally purple clay to give it it’s color, and of course the essential oils for scent.  I included some pictures above to illustrate a little of what goes on in the process of making all my soaps.

I start by measuring all my oils by weight. Then I pour them all into a stainless steel pot and heat them just until they are all melted, usually the temperature doesn’t go about 120 degrees F.  Meanwhile, I put on goggles and gloves and mix the lye with water and let stand to cool, since the lye makes the water very hot. When the lye water and oils are both around 100 degrees F,  I mix them together using a hand mixer, which makes for a nice smooth blend.  After it is at a thin trace I add essentials oils and additives like clays and herbs.  After that I pour the mixture into a mold, and insulate with cardboard usually reclaimed from shipping boxes and old towels.  Often by the next day it’s hard enough to cut and then it needs to cure for 8 weeks before it’s sold.  At the end of 8 weeks the saponification process is completely done, which means there is no lye left, just solid gentle soaps.

Healing Salve

Today I made some new healing salve, which I tentatively have named Old Thyme Healing.  It’s based on antique healing herbs/ oils and herbs , thyme being the overall scent and a powerful antiseptic.

The herbs in this salve offer antiseptic and antibacterial properties that help prevent infection, speed healing, and relieve pain. It is intended for use on minor skin irritations such as cuts, burns, scalds, stings, and wounds.

I made 15 tins today, these will go out to my testers before I make tins for sale. I myself have some cuts I’m documenting to see if this  salve speeds healing as it should. So far it has reduced the pain of a cut on my face, which is thanks to the white willow bark that acts like a natural aspirin.

Hopefully I can update the healing salve progress soon. Below are pictures of what it looks like un-labeled.

Healing Salve

Making Lavender Essential Oil

I’m lucky enough to have a friend that grows herbs and flowers organically, and we work in trade.  I recently went over to harvest 2 lbs each, of rosemary and Lavender.  Today I’ve been making Lavender Essential Oil and  Lavender Hydrosol, they form together and I use both for different things. Hydrosols are also known as floral waters, hydroflorates, flower waters or distillates are products from steam distilling plant materials.

I’m still a small operation so I can not afford a proper still yet, but I make do  with one made from kitchen equipment,  it works well even if it’s a bit more time consuming. I use a double boiler, with lid inverted to act as condenser and a ceramic baking ramkin to catch the oils and hydrosol.  You can see my setup in the photos below. I lose a little bit of steam with this method because it is not sealed, but it works well for now.

Making Lavender Oil

Steam passes through the plant material and collects a small amount of oil, it all falls into my center ramekin, later I pour all my essential oil and Hydrosol in a tall thin glass to stand and separate, most oils float and I can pipe them off the top of the water.  1/2 lb worth of Lavender yields about  2 ml worth of essential oil for me.