This hobby, moreso than many others, seems to have people opening up their own Etsy shops and stalls at local markets within months of making their first lip balm. And frankly, that’s a bit concerning. If you told a friend you’d just learned to make a great marinara sauce, they wouldn’t encourage you to open an Italian restaurant straight away, but it seems like as soon as you hand somebody some homemade body butter, they’re asking you why you don’t have your own brand and business yet. These words of encouragement are usually coming from a place of love and excitement over your new hobby (and their new source of super awesome lip balm!), but it’s really important to understand that selling your kitchen creations to the great wide world isn’t as simple as printing some labels off your computer and popping up a table at a craft fair.
This is by no means a complete list of things you should be considering when starting up your own business, but it’s a good starting point. Also: this is also not a warm and fuzzy “go for it, you can’t fail, what can go wrong!” sort of article, so consider yourself warned.
Back in 2012 I published a short post on DIY sunscreen, the gist of which was “don’t make it, you can’t know if it works.” That post continues to get a lot of traffic and quite a few comments, many of which aim to convince me that DIY sunscreen is (or can be) a good idea. So, with warmer days on the horizon (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), I wanted to write a more detailed post on the topic. Today I’m tackling the arguments I hear from internet people who want to make their own sunscreen.
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.