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 will). Anyhow, it turns out there are several things I was told I should do that I didn’t do in the beginning, and I now wish I had. So; here are a few habits you should get into if you are making things. They may seem like a bit of a bother if you love to just dive headfirst into things as I do, but I promise you’ll see their merit quite quickly.

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Measure Things
This one seems painfully obvious for a reason. And no, drops are not really units of measurement after about 30 or 40 (and definitely not for soap!).

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Write down those measurements
You will not remember, I promise. Also, write down your procedures.

This is what my concoctions shelf in my fridge looks like. Figuring out what some of these things is an exercise in logic and memory at this point. Labels!

This is what my concoctions shelf in my fridge looks like. Figuring out what some of these things is an exercise in logic and memory at this point. Labels!

Label your final concoctions
Once there are more than 5 types of lip balm, your chances of being able to distinguish between them are shockingly slim. Especially if there are two dozen tubes of lip balm just sitting in your fridge.

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Take notes
If something explodes, moulds, fails catastrophically, succeeds wonderfully, or doesn’t do much at all, write it down. (Better yet, see if you can figure out why.)

Track it over time
It may be terrible today, tomorrow, and the day after that, but what about next week? Some things need time to improve. Let them have it. (Or, allow them the time to turn rotten in a matter of days and know a preservative is in order next time.)

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Get to Know Your Ingredients Individually
Just as with humans, it is best to know them inside and outside of their groups of friends. Learn how your ingredients act on their own before adding them to concoctions.

Take what the internet says with a grain of salt
Just because that guy writing for About.com says a 100% coconut oil soap is a bad idea doesn’t mean it is. Try it and see for yourself. Likewise, just because I got a shade of lipstick I love from this clay or that oxide, it doesn’t mean you will. Try, see, experiment, and try some more. It’s fun!

What are your favourite tips & tricks for DIY success?

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