How to Research Your Ingredients: Part 1

We’re kicking off 2020 with a bit of a multi-part guide on how to research your ingredients—a super important skill! I often hear from people who have bought something but they don’t remember what for, so they’re left with an ingredient with no defined purpose or use. I want to empower you to be able to figure out what to do with that ingredient on your own—you shouldn’t need a blogger for that sort of thing when there are so many wonderful resources out there!

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Things I Learned in 2019

Welcome to my annual “things I learned” post—and the last one of this decade (the first one was in 2012)! This piece of introspection and sharing is one of my favourite posts each year. The affection is not only for the reflection and distillation this post allows me, but also (equally) for the discussion in the comments, where you share the things that you’ve learned this year and offer further lessons. It’s wonderful. This year has been full of changes; another (unexpected) move; new friendships; wonderful music discovered; many books read; a few mountains climbed; loves found, lost, and grown; and many days and nights of great food and drink with wonderful company. I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot in the face of some very painful and surprising upsets and challenges. It’s been a doozy. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Things I Learned in 2019

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The Best of 2019

Happy it’s nearly 2020! I can scarcely believe we’re at the end of another decade. I can’t help but think about where I was ten years ago—in 2009 I was pretty sure I’d work as a graphic designer in an ad agency or fancy design firm. I never could’ve imagined I’d be here today—formulating, creating, sharing, and teaching full time. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone!

These projects are some of my favourites from 2019. They represent new and refined tools & techniques, ongoing ingredient love affairs, things I use every day, and things you guys fell in love with. I am so incredibly thankful for your support this year—I am so, so lucky to spend so much of my time making things I’m proud of and excited about, and then sharing them with so many curious, enthusiastic, and kind people ❤️ You guys are the best!

Winter Solstice Bath Bombs

Winter Solstice Bath Bombs

Today we're creating some striking bath bombs to celebrate the winter solstice (technically the solstice was the night of the 21st, but here in Calgary the 23rd is only 8 seconds longer than the 21st, so I think we can still call it solstice season!). A cool, purpley...

Cranberry Orange Conditioner Bar

Cranberry Orange Conditioner Bar

I'm pretty stoked to share today's project with you—it's a Cranberry Orange Conditioner Bar that I've been working on for months. Satiny cranberry seed oil, ultra-conditioning BTMS-50, shine-ifying hydrolyzed silk, and beautiful sweet orange essential oil come...

White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bars

White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bars

This beautiful cream-coloured White Chocolate Peppermint Shampoo Bar delivers oodles of bubbles and a wonderful minty-chocolate scent in one elegant package (so to speak—shampoo bars are packaging-free!). I've called it a shampoo bar, but it also makes a beautiful...

Chocolate Rhassoul Shampoo Bars

Chocolate Rhassoul Shampoo Bars

I've been working on these chocolatey, clay-spiked shampoo bars since early March, and I'm super excited to finally share them with you today! They've got a stunning, creamy lather that leaves your hair feeling fabulous, and I'm making them with my beautiful new...

Rich Shealoe Butter Cream

Rich Shealoe Butter Cream

This decadent Rich Shealoe Butter Cream is the first project I'm tackling in my Bee Better series; it's an update of the Homemade Shealoe Butter Cream I shared back in February 2014. The idea was to create my own shealoe butter type product, inspired by the plethora...

Creamy Autumn Grounding Salve

Creamy Autumn Grounding Salve

Today we're creating something simple—an aromatic, creamy salve with an intoxicating essential oil blend designed to ground and calm. It's a great DIY for beginners, with a relatively short ingredient list of simple, plant-based ingredients. I'm loving both applying...

Lavender Facial Cleansing Bar

Lavender Facial Cleansing Bar

Today we're creating a gentle Lavender Facial Cleansing Bar—a solid foaming facial cleanser with a skin-happy pH, creamy lather, and a lovely lavender scent. Several bees have sent in requests for another solid facial cleanser, with references to products from Cerave...

Rosé Conditioning Hair Foam

Rosé Conditioning Hair Foam

Today we're creating a fun new hair product—a lightweight Rosé Conditioning Hair Foam! This delicate foam contains some fabulous-for-hair goodies for smoothing and volumizing. It also smells fabulous and comes together in a flash. And did I mention that it's a hair...

Rosé Moisturizing Body Cream

Rosé Moisturizing Body Cream

If you love body-butter-esque creams, this one is for you. This Rosé Moisturizing Body Cream has a consistency that makes me want to dollop it on a big slice of pie, or perhaps eat it out of an artisanal waffle cone. It smells fantastic and is loaded with ingredients...

Rosé Whipped Body Butter

Rosé Whipped Body Butter

I am straight-up smitten with the whippy texture and skin feel of this Rosé Whipped Body Butter. It's fluffy and rich (like marshmallow fluff!) in the jar, but starts to melt quickly on skin contact. It glides across the skin lightly before absorbing in a flash,...

Sweetgrass Gel Moisturizer

Sweetgrass Gel Moisturizer

This silky, softly-scented gel moisturizer has become a fast favourite in my skin care routine. It’s beautifully light and packed with things my skin loves. It is focussed on lightweight hydration, making it the perfect thing to sandwich between skin cleansers and...

Rosé Hand Wash

Rosé Hand Wash

Today we're keeping up the Rosé theme with a shimmery, sudsy Rosé Hand Wash. This lovely bottle of bubbles also uses the Iselux Ultra Mild surfactant blend from Windy Point for ultra-easy making (we used it earlier this month to create a Sweetgrass Facial Cleanser as...

Mango Mango Cleansing Oil

Mango Mango Cleansing Oil

I am so in love with this simple, vibrantly orange cleansing oil. It smells wonderful, works beautifully, and is so dang easy to make that it feels a bit like cheating. Compared to my other cleansing oils I think you'll find this one lighter, perhaps a bit more satiny...

Rose Ceramide Facial Gel

Rose Ceramide Facial Gel

Today we're making a simple, fragrant facial gel starring ceramides. This gel not only moisturizes and hydrates the skin immediately, but it also helps strengthen your moisture barrier. This leads to stronger, more resilient skin and less transepidermal water loss...

Pemberley Conditioning Body Butter

Pemberley Conditioning Body Butter

Brace yourself for this Pemberley Conditioning Body Butter, as it is divine. This is a continuation of the Pemberley series I kicked off in February with my Pemberley Hand Lotion, featuring the same stunning scent blend and general theme of luxury. As I was trying to...

Silky Cream Foundation

Silky Cream Foundation

I'm really excited to share this recipe with you guys—it's a formula that's been heavily requested, and I've been working on it and testing it for months now. This is a beautiful solid cream foundation that you can put in a compact or a stick for easy application. It...

Micellar Water for Waterproof Makeup

Micellar Water for Waterproof Makeup

Today were taking something really simple (DIY micellar water) and amping up its cleansing power so it easily removes waterproof makeup. It's a super simple modification to a more standard micellar water recipe and I think you'll be pretty stoked about the results!...

Lipstick for Lottie

Lipstick for Lottie

Today's recipe is something fun I've been able to work on with my dog, Lottie, which isn't something I usually get to do. Lottie and formulating don't really go together—she doesn't need an under-eye gel, and what with her being so furry, lotions and body butters...

Soothing Under Eye Gel

Soothing Under Eye Gel

Today we're doing a thing that is long overdue—a Soothing Under Eye Gel! It's part of our soothing series, and it is lovely. It's also the first recipe I'm sharing using Aristoflex AVC, a very cool cold-process gelling agent and emulsifier that I've been working with...

Cacti Q10 Ageless Facial Serum

Cacti Q10 Ageless Facial Serum

This Cacti Q10 Anti-Aging Facial Serum features a base of beautiful plant oils spiked with some potent Coenzyme Q10. It's rich in antioxidants, has rejuvenating properties, and leaves your skin positively glowing. It's also a rather pretty orange colour, and comes...

Mango Mango Shampoo Bar

Mango Mango Shampoo Bar

Today’s recipe is definitely long overdue, but I wanted to make sure it was on point before I shared it—it’s a sulphate free shampoo bar. I started working on this back in January 2018 and have been testing and tweaking ever since. About six weeks ago I decided to...

Blue Marble Soap

Blue Marble Soap

This beautifully marbled soap is a wonderful example of things not turning out quite how you expected, but being wonderful anyways. My working title for these bars was "Indigo Swirl", but this batch of soap had different ambitions. The particular level of trace in the...

The Tale of the Curdling Body Wash

The Tale of the Curdling Body Wash

Today we're doing something a bit different; I wanted to walk you all through the experiments I did while I was working on last year's Christmas Tree Body Wash as The Tale of the Curdling Body Wash. It was a really interesting puzzle that I worked at for quite a...

Pemberley Hand Lotion

Pemberley Hand Lotion

I'm really excited to share this formula with you guys—this Pemberley Hand Lotion was my Formula Botanica final project, and I received a mark of 100% for it! The project was to create a product for a specific customer. I designed this gorgeous hand lotion for...

Rose Aloe Body Cream

Rose Aloe Body Cream

Today's recipe is for a rich, fragrant body cream designed to soothe, soften, and hydrate dry and irritated winter skin. It is super thick and creamy (definitely not pumpable!), making it incredibly decadent to use. You'll scoop up a silky dollop of this Rose Aloe...

Soothing Facial Lotion

Soothing Facial Lotion

Today we're continuing our soothing series with this beautiful Soothing Facial Lotion. It's a fairly lightweight facial lotion, positively packed with potent moisturizers, skin-soothing actives, and ingredients that help strengthen barrier function so your skin can be...

Smooth & Shine Hair Serum

Smooth & Shine Hair Serum

With these dry winter days I've been finding I've been reaching for this fragrant hair serum a lot recently—whenever my hair needs a bit of smoothing, added shine, and general oomph. I'll run a pump or two through my hair from about the ears down and it leaves my hair...

Soothing Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum

Soothing Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum

Today's recipe is kicking off a new soothing skin care series that is perfectly timed for the driest, darkest, and often coldest part of the winter here in Calgary. The formulas in this series star a beautiful selection of wonderful, effective ingredients that have...

Indigo Lagoon Balm

Indigo Lagoon Balm

This rich blue balm is a DIY version of a very popular and very expensive shop-bought balm. This particular balm is known for its striking dark blue hue that comes from a hefty dose of expensive blue tansy essential oil. I've created a more budget friendly version you...

A Quick Guide to Ozokerite Wax and Liquid Oil Ratios

Today we’re getting better acquainted with ozokerite wax—a very hard mineral wax similar to ceresine wax. Historically “ozokerite [is/was] a naturally occurring fossil wax found near soft shale“, but today what we call “ozokerite wax” is made from petroleum waxes like microcrystalline wax and paraffin. Unlike most waxes we work with, ozokerite wax is a pretty varied product because it is manufactured from blends of petroleum wax, and those blends can vary. A search of UL Prospector turns up quite a few results for products that have a fairly large range of melting points (as low as 54°C/130°F and as high as 101.7°C/215°F!). The different waxes have trade names like “Ozokerite 2095” and “EU Ozokerite 167/175”, but the INCIs for all of these waxes is plain ol’ “ozokerite”, leaving room for general confusion as all the ozokerite I’ve seen for sale to home crafters is just listed as “ozokerite”. The wax I’m using today is from TKB Trading. I haven’t had an opportunity to try ozokerite from any other suppliers.

A Quick Guide to Ozokerite Wax and Liquid Oil Ratios

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Humblebee & Me is 8!

Oh my goodness, Humblebee & Me is eight! My little blog is a third-grader, and if it takes after me, it’ll be learning and forgetting long division (for the first time, at least) this year. This last year has been full of making things, learning things, and meeting Bees all over the world!

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10 Recipes to Make with Cetyl Alcohol

If you’re on the fence about investing in some cetyl alcohol I’m hoping this post can help convince you to pick up a couple ounces of the stuff. I first started working with cetyl alcohol in early 2017 and it has quickly become something I’ll never want to be without. It’s inexpensive (a kilo/roughly 2lbs is typically in the $11–13 range), has a long shelf life, and is insanely versatile. I use it in everything from lotions to balms to shampoo bars, and it tends to make everything better!

10 Recipes to Make with Cetyl Alcohol

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