Research Red Flags & How to Learn About Your Ingredients

One of my favourite things about this community is the enthusiasm with which people research; the desire to learn more about ingredients, products, and processes is insatiable! However, as anyone who has done much poking about in this space will know, there’s a lot of dubious sources out there, so today I wanted to give a bit of an overview for things I look for when deciding if a source is trustworthy or not. Some of these “red flags” are bigger than others, and the presence of one or two doesn’t necessarily mean you should outright discard a source, but as always, think critically about claims you read and use common sense 🙂

Research Red Flags & How to Learn About Your Ingredients

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A Quick Guide to Stearic Acid & Liquid Oil Ratios

Today we’re looking at stearic acid, and how it behaves when melted together with olive oil at different ratios. Stearic acid is a pretty humble ingredient—mine is unassuming white beads that are bigger than cetyl alcohol, but not by much. We use it to thicken and harden our products when we want thickening and hardening, but we don’t want waxiness. Because stearic acid is an isolated fatty acid it thickens without adding the tack or brittle stiffness that wax can contribute, meaning waxes are typically not a good substitution for stearic acid as they’ll bring a few things to the party that weren’t invited.

A Quick Guide to Stearic Acid and Liquid Oil Ratios

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A Quick Guide to Cetyl Alcohol & Liquid Oil Ratios

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!

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A Quick Guide to Cera Bellina & Liquid Oil Ratios

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!

Get to know Cera Bellina

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10 Recipes to Make with Cocoa Butter

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 😉

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DIY Equipment I Use All The Time

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!

DIY Equipment I Use All the Time

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