A Quick Guide to Colourants

When you want to add a bit of colour to something, there’s a lot to consider. What colour do you want? Do you want opacity along with the colour? How long do you want the colour to last? What is the end use of the product? And let’s not forget the all-important solubility. I often get questions about using one colourant instead of another in recipes, so I thought I’d write an overview on the different types of colourants I use, why I choose them, and what they’re best suited for.



A Quick Guide to Bayberry Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

My series of wax to oil ratio experiments continues today with bayberry wax and olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada). Bayberry wax is a plant-based wax made from the fruit of the Myrica faya shrub. The resulting wax is dry, crumbly, and green, and smells wonderfully of the forest. Candelilla and carnauba waxes are both popular vegan alternatives to beeswax, but they’re incredibly smooth and glossy, meaning balms and salves made with them tend to lack the staying power of beeswax balms. Bayberry wax has more in common with beeswax in terms of being a softer, tackier wax, making it a fantastic addition to any vegan wax collection.

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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 (USA / Canada). 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 body temperature, and it doesn’t really have a soft stage, making it rather unique in skin care formulations.



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 finished that lot, I was surprised by how different my first bucket of unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) from New Directions was in comparison. Now I’ve figured I might as well go and try all the types of unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) I can get my hands on, and see how they stack up.


My [sv slug="shea-butter"] collection.


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 a plant based wax, derived from the leaves of Copernicia prunifera, a plant that only lives and grows in northeast Brazil. It is a very brittle wax, with a melting point of 82–86 °C, compared to beeswax’s ~63°C melting point. It’s used in everything from shoe polish and dental floss to mascara and eyeliner, and I wanted to understand how it works a bit better.

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