Articles & Experiments

A Quick Guide to Cocoa Butter & Liquid Oil Ratios

A Quick Guide to Cocoa Butter & Liquid Oil Ratios

Now that I've worked with three different waxes for these quick guides, I thought I'd try . Cocoa butter is a wonderful ingredient—brittle, cocoa scented, and velvety soft on the skin. It melts at about 34°C, which is just a few degrees below...

read more
A Quick Guide to Different Shea Butters

A Quick Guide to Different Shea Butters

Shea butter was one of the first ingredients I fell in love with. First argan oil, second—shea butter. I kicked things off with a wee tub I found at the St. Lawrence Market, and followed that up with a bulk buy through a shop in Toronto's Kensington Market. After I...

read more
DIY Project Clean Up Tips

DIY Project Clean Up Tips

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...

read more
A Quick Guide to Carnauba Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

A Quick Guide to Carnauba Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

After the rather surprising success of my Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios post, it seemed like a good idea to do more of them, with different ingredients. So, today I'm venturing further into vegan wax territory. Carnauba wax, also called Brazil wax is...

read more
A Quick Guide to Coconut Oil & Beeswax Ratios

A Quick Guide to Coconut Oil & Beeswax Ratios

I find my quick guide to liquid oil and beeswax ratios so useful that I knew I'd have to extend it out to soft oils as well. Today we're looking at beeswax and coconut oil, a perennial favourite in DIY body products. Coconut oil is a soft oil, solid at room...

read more
My Soap Mould

My Soap Mould

My wooden soap mould is really awesome, and I get a fair amount of questions about it, so I thought I'd do an entry on it for anybody who'd like to re-create it. My dad made this for me a couple years ago, and it's awesome. There are a few things that are particularly...

read more
A Quick Guide to Candelilla Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

A Quick Guide to Candelilla Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

After the rather surprising success of my Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios post, it seemed like a good idea to do more of them, with different ingredients. So, today I'm venturing into vegan wax territory. Candelilla wax is a plant based wax, derived...

read more
Ingredients That Aren’t Worth Buying

Ingredients That Aren’t Worth Buying

It's probably no surprise to you that I have an ingredient problem. So many things are just $3–$5 for the smaller size, and then the descriptions and reviews sound so promising... and before I know it I've justified a cart full of mysterious powders, oils, and...

read more
Tips on Creating Your Own DIY Recipes

Tips on Creating Your Own DIY Recipes

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...

read more
A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios

A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios

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...

read more
DIY For Beginners

DIY For Beginners

Happy New Year! If one of your resolutions is to make more and buy less (well, buy less finished stuffs and more ingredients, that is), this is the post for you—especially if you're super new to this whole DIY thing. I'm going to walk you through which ingredients to...

read more
A Quick Guide to Buying Your First Essential Oils

A Quick Guide to Buying Your First Essential Oils

So, you're getting into making your own body products and household cleaners. You've found a supplier, you've found their essential oils section... and whoa. There are hundreds. And they all sound amazing. The reviews rave about how this one cured their epilepsy and...

read more
DIY Habits You Should Get Into

DIY Habits You Should Get Into

As much as I have resisted the idea, a lot of my assorted DIY-ing is scientific-ish. Drat. My high school science teacher was right (though I have never bothered to balance the equation of surplus electrons for anything I have ever made, and I can safely say I never...

read more
Natural Hair Care: Washing Your Brushes & Combs

Natural Hair Care: Washing Your Brushes & Combs

One of my favourite articles on natural(ish) hair care dates back to the early 1900s, and is written by Mlle. Aline Vallandri, a woman who is famous for the length and health of her hair. The article is accompanied by a rather shocking (to modern eyes, at least)...

read more
A Quick Guide to Solubility

A Quick Guide to Solubility

Let me preface this by saying I am no scientist, and this guide is definitely a quick one (and based very much on personal experience). I took 12th grade chemistry, and that's it—and that was a while ago. I did, however, convince my brilliant friend Adrian to...

read more
Why You Should Give The Metric System a Chance

Why You Should Give The Metric System a Chance

Canada, for all of its wonderful traits, is a wee bit confused in the measurement department. We officially switched over to the metric system in the 1970's, but we did a pretty half-assed job of it. We measure distances in kilometers, and temperature in Celsius, but...

read more
The Different Properties of Make-Up

The Different Properties of Make-Up

I am the first person to admit that I was a terrible teenager. Not in the “sneaking out, smoking, drinking, and destroying private property” way, but in the “dismisses typical teenage behavior as being stupid & irrational, and therefore behaves mostly like an...

read more
A Guide to Essential Oil Substitutions

A Guide to Essential Oil Substitutions

After writing about carrier oil substitutions, I couldn't wait to write more about swapping this ingredient for that, and why things do or don't work. So, today I'm writing about essential oil substitutions. There are fewer variables here, so it'll be a shorter entry,...

read more
A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions

A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions

One of the questions I am asked the most is along the lines of "I don't have ingredient X, can I use ingredient Y or Z instead, or just leave it out?". Sometimes the answer is a quick yes, and sometimes it's a complicated no. So, I put together this guide to help you...

read more
Why There is No Such Thing As How to Make Soap Without Lye

Why There is No Such Thing As How to Make Soap Without Lye

For anyone who makes soap, this whole entry will be fairly redundant. However, I've been getting a lot of questions lately from people who say they are scared of lye, and want to know how to make soap without lye. They're either afraid of working with it, or they...

read more
Make Your Own Herb Infused Oils

Make Your Own Herb Infused Oils

Herb infused oils are awesome for lots of reasons, but my favourite reasons are 1) you get the benefit of the herb without having funny chunky bits hanging out in your lotions and balms and 2) they just get better as they age, like whiskey, but cheaper (and you can...

read more
8 Ways to Naturally Colour Soap

8 Ways to Naturally Colour Soap

I've been asked a few times over the past couple months how I colour my soaps. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing a store like Lush or The Body Shop branding itself as "natural", and seeing how many artificial, petroleum-derived colourants they use in their...

read more

Love making stuff?

Sign up for my emails for new DIY skincare & haircare projects 2x a week!