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 🙂
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…
In my time working with emulsifying waxes, I’ve found that they vary quite a lot. There are two main categories of emulsifying waxes—complete and incomplete. We’ll be looking at complete emulsifying waxes (or e-waxes) here as incomplete e-waxes require co-emulsifiers to work, and that’s silly.
So, before we dive in—what’s e-wax? (more…)
You might not guess it, but I get a surprisingly large number of questions about how to clean up DIY messes. Beeswax, shea butter, clays, and other assorted powders can make some pretty mighty messes that outclass a kid’s pizza party pretty fast. Here’s how I deal with those DIY disaster zones.
As I’m sure you can tell, I’m not much for following recipes—I’d rather make up my own. Sometimes it works, sometimes it sort of works, and sometimes it’s a catastrophic, err, “learning experience”. Over the last few years I’ve learned some lessons when it comes to developing recipes, and I thought I’d share them with you.
Read up on your ingredients.
Learn about ’em. Learn what they do, what vitamins they have, what they’re good for. How do they feel—sticky, smooth, slimy? What temperature do they melt at, and what state is it at room temperature (liquid, soft, solid, brittle)? What do they do when added to a formulation—soften it, thicken it, harden it? Know your ingredients on their own so you know how they work in teams.
This is an experiment I’ve been meaning to conduct for ages. For as many DIY concoctions I’ve made over the years, I still found myself wondering how much beeswax to add to something to get a certain level of hardness or thickening. So, one short winter day I set out to settle that once and for all, and here’s what I learned.