Cetyl alcohol is pretty unassuming. Give it a cursory glance and it looks like white dust—teensy little moderately glossy blobs and specks of nothing all too exciting. Cetyl alcohol is a saturated fatty alcohol derived from coconuts, with a melting point of 49°C (120°F), which still doesn’t sound all that exciting, frankly. I swear you’ll be stoked about it by the end of this post, though!
I’ve been having fun playing with a new ingredient lately—cera bellina. Cera bellina is derived from beeswax, and it does some really cool things. For starters, it makes oil gels! Think about ointments—that soft, creamy, translucent texture. Cera bellina does that! It also helps with even ingredient distribution, preventing sweating, and even preventing that irksome graininess we’ve all encountered with buttery concoctions. It can be used anywhere you’d use beeswax, albeit with different results—so even though you can, you might not want to. Anywho, I thought it was best cera bellina and I got better acquainted so I could have a good baseline understanding of how it works before I start diving into DIYing with it, which means it’s time for another one of my quick guides!
I’ve been thoroughly smitten with cocoa butter ever since my first tub of it arrived. This brittle, cream-coloured butter smells like super delicious chocolate, and it is a wonderful addition in all kinds of body butters, lotions, and balms. It melts around 34°C/93°F, which is slightly below body temperature, meaning it’ll slowly melt into your skin upon contact. It melts to a fairly thin oil that absorbs quickly, leaving you smelling lick-ably delicious. If smelling like chocolate isn’t your thing you can purchase deodorized cocoa butter, which works just as well.
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Because cocoa butter is so firm at room temperature it can be used to thicken up your concoctions, though it isn’t in the same league as beeswax, candelilla wax, or carnauba wax—the significantly lower melting point of cocoa butter means you need quite a bit of it to thicken concoctions. Check out this experiment I did on cocoa butter and olive oil combinations to see what I mean 😉
I’m often asked about what equipment type things are needed for DIYing. Most of it is fairly readily available kitchen gear that you’ll already have, thankfully, but over the years I’ve definitely found there are some things I use more than others. I’m also a bit picky about some things (like spatulas), as some are infinitely better than others. Here’s my list of stuff I use all the time when making my assorted concoctions, and why I love these things—hopefully you’ll find it helpful, whether you’re new to DIYing or have been at it for years!
I get asked about substitutions, additions, and swaps a lot—hence this guide to making substitutions. I’ve already got guides on carrier oil substitutions and essential oil substitutions, so this article is going to be a bit more scattered. I’ll look at some starter questions you should ask yourself before changing anything, some swaps I’m often asked about that aren’t good ideas, and some that are. Let’s get started!
So, you want to swap one ingredient for the other…
Today I’m continuing my series of clay experiments with a category I’m calling the “heavy” clays—rhassoul and bentonite. These are the two heaviest”miscellaneous” clays I have, so I figured I’d pair them for this part of my investigation.
Here are the questions I intend to answer about these clays: (more…)