Happy tenth birthday, Humblebee & Me! I can hardly believe it’s been a decade since I launched Humblebee & Me. Back in 2011 Humblebee & Me was just a way to share the things I was making with friends and family—how I bound a book, the recipe for the cookies I brought to the office, and of course, how I made lip balm, lotion, and soap. As the years passed I focussed more and more on formulating, phasing out posts on other topics, and then in April 2016 I was laid off and decided to try and make Humblebee & Me my full-time job. Since then I have launched the Humblebee & Me YouTube channel (and seen it grow to 100k+ subscribers!), travelled internationally to attend and speak at conferences, and hosted Humblebee & Me meet-ups from Tasmania to Toronto to Prague to Portland. I’ve earned two formulation diplomas from Formula Botanica and learned so, so much. It’s been an amazing decade, and I’m so excited to see what the next decade brings. Thank you so much for all of your support ❤️

Humblebee & Me is 10!

Today’s post is a sort of celebratory retrospective, while today’s video is a look back at five of the worst things I’ve ever made, and what I learned from them.

What I learned from making leg lipstick (whoops)

Watch Now

Some 2020/2021 highlights

Hitting 100k subscribers on YouTube and getting my 100k plaque!

The Humblebee & Me YouTube channel hit 100k subscribers in November 2020—something I wasn’t sure would ever happen. I’m absolutely blown away ❤️ It took a while, but I finally got my 100k subscriber plaque from YouTube about 6 months later.

Lipstick with Safiya Nygaard

I was super surprised to see my book, Make it Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup and Skin Care, featured in a Safiya Nygaard video this past summer! The entire video is all about making the long-wearing lipstick formulation from my book, and its release really boosted book sales. As of this writing, her video has been viewed over 3.6. million times 😱

Experimenting with new post & video formats

As part of my ongoing efforts to teach people how to formulate and how to troubleshoot their own formulations, I’ve started creating posts and videos that are deep-dives into single questions and ingredients. This is the sort of content I’ve typically relegated to FAQ posts in the past, but my analytics (and the questions I get) show me that people rarely end up in the FAQ when they’re looking for answers to big questions. I’ve also started including lists of recommended reading and further resources in each post 😊

Continued studio organization + another move

I moved again, and I really hope this is the last one for a very, very long time. In the months since my move, I’ve been working on continuing to organize and optimize my studio for the best possible formulating and filming setup. In more recent videos you’ll notice I’ve been employing some new camera angles—this is thanks to an August re-organization that has freed up more space!

Working with Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate

I’ve had so much fun formulating with Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate this year, creating everything from emulsified body butters to creamy cleansers to body yogurts (and heaps more!). I love the flexibility this emulsifier offers and I’m excited to keep working with it.

Ten DIY Ingredients for Beginner Formulators kits from YellowBee

Earlier this month I shared Ten DIY Ingredients for Beginner Formulators Part 1 & Part 2. As I was wrapping up part two I reached out to YellowBee to see if they would be interested in putting together a kit of the ten ingredients, and they were! You can find the kits here. A few different versions are offered, depending on what you’re interested in (read my posts for more information). This isn’t sponsored and I don’t get a cut of the sales—I just think it’s a great way to get started!

What I learned from making leg lipstick (whoops)

Watch Now

My Annual Top 5 Lists

5 Most Popular Posts

  1. A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions
  2. A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios
  3. Super Simple Whipped Shea Butter
  4. A Quick Guide to Different Emulsifying Waxes
  5. Cocoa Coconut Emulsified Body Butter

5 Most Popular Encyclopedia Entries

  1. BTMS-50
  2. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI)
  3. Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate
  4. Polysorbate 80
  5. Panthenol (Vitamin B5)

5 Most Popular Videos

  1. How to Make a Basic DIY Lotion (from scratch!)
  2. How to Make a DIY Moisturizing Overnight Lip Mask
  3. How to Make DIY Perfect Massage Oil
  4. How to Make a DIY Simple Clay Face Mask
  5. How to Make DIY Watermelon Mint Whipped Sugar Scrub

My 5 Favourites from 2020/2021

  1. Long-Wearing Shimmer Cream Eyeshadow
  2. Gentle Oatmeal Almond Body Wash Bar
  3. Strawberry Kiwi Body Yogurt
  4. Macadamia Vanilla Emulsified Body Butter
  5. Clear Lip Gloss Base (without Versagel!)

My 5 Favourite Innovations/New Things I Tried

  1. Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate
    Oh my goodness—the ability to separate thickening and emulsifying has been a total game-changer!
  2. Polyamide-3
    I’ve had SO much fun with this thickening + film-forming ingredient.
  3. TKB Trading’s Mousse Medium
    I finally made the cream eyeshadow of my dreams with TKB’s Mousse Medium and I’m having tons of fun working with it in other formulations, too!
  4. Working with more preservatives
    Last September I started a preservative experiment, documenting and sharing it in a series of Patron-exclusive videos. I learned a lot about preservatives and how they perform, and I’ve been having a lot of fun working with new ones in the last year.
  5. “Why is my…” videos
    I’ve started making videos that are deep-dives into frequently asked questions because it seems the FAQ doesn’t get very much traffic. It’s fun to really thoroughly cover topics like melting and graininess, and I hope it’s helpful as well!

My 5 Favourite Giftable DIYs from 2020/2021

  1. Clear Lip Gloss Base (without Versagel!)
  2. Long-Wearing Shimmer Cream Eyeshadow
  3. Birthday Suit Solid Body Wash
  4. Dry Argan Oil Hair Mist
  5. Oat Cardamom Chai Emulsified Body Butter

My 5 Favourite DIY Purchases/Gifts

  1. My 100k subscriber plaque from YouTube!
  2. Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate
    A gift from Mystic Moments—thanks!
  3. TKB Trading’s Mousse Medium
    A gift from TKB Trading; thank you!
  4. Professional movers for my move
    I’m not super-sure this “counts” but it’s my list and I’ll do what I want 😆 When I moved I hired professional movers to move all my belongings, but I think the object I was most excited to have professionals for was the marble table I film on. That beast is heavy and I am so glad I didn’t have to be part of the lifting team for that this time.
  5. Cranberry seed oil from Plant’s Power
    It’s just so lovely! I love how tangy and bright it is 😊

My 5 Favourite Non-DIY Purchases

  1. Second-hand Blundstones
    I’d heard good things, so I picked up a pair second-hand on Kijiji. They are so dang comfortable and light! Kind of like Crocs, but somewhat more fashionable and definitely more versatile 😂 I ended up liking the first pair so much that I hunted down a second, more feminine pair (also second-hand!) and ended up wearing those to a wedding under my bridesmaid dress.
  2. A better waffle iron
    I have been making a lot of waffles this year, making use of the second-hand waffle iron I purchased about 15 years ago. They were tasty. Then, I happened across a Cuisinart upright waffle iron at the Goodwill for $15 and holy moly. I’m using the same batter recipe, but the waffles are 10x better. It’s such a huge change that could only happen with a better waffle iron that I might be a bit peeved if I wasn’t so dang pleased with my new levels of waffle deliciousness.
  3. Second hand enamelled cast iron cookware
    After years of loving my Staub cocotte, I decided to keep an eye out for some other enamelled cast iron pieces on Kijiji so I could use enamelled cast iron for pretty much all my cooking. I found some great vintage Le Creuset saucepans and a beautiful all-purpose sauté pan thing for very reasonable prices and I’m very pleased 🙂
  4. Antique Davenport desk
    I found a lovely antique Davenport desk that I now use as a vanity/jewellery box; it’s adorable and unique and I love it!
  5. A big comfy down-filled sectional
    This was another second-hand find, and it’s divine. It’s massive and modular—put all four pieces together in a square and it’s about 5m². It is the perfect film-watching sofa.

My 5 Favourite Non-DIY Discoveries

  1. Using a shop vac to do yard work.
    I started using a hand-me-down shop vac to clean up leaves and whatnot in my yard and it is GREAT.
  2. Sometimes the more complicated thing is worse.
    I had a really complex food processor that did everything—chopping, shredding, citrus juicing, merengue whipping, some task involving an ever-so-slightly bumpy spinning basket, and an assortment of other tasks that justified this food processor having something like 42 separate pieces. I traded it in for one that just slices, shreds, and chops because that’s all I need a food processor to do and it is SO MUCH BETTER. I actually use it and don’t have to piece together half a dozen bits of interlocking plastic to shred a carrot. Heck yes. The fancier thing isn’t always better.
  3. How easy it is to replace faucets.
    I hated my kitchen faucet, so I picked up a used one on Kijiji and replaced it myself with the help of a few YouTube videos. It was easier than installing my bidet. Heck yes.
  4. The Good Food Box
    This isn’t a meal prep service—it’s a box of very affordable mystery produce. I used to run the GFB program for my dorm when I was in uni, and recently discovered that Calgary has it, too. I spend $30 once a month for a ton of fresh produce. I’m also happy to be supporting a program that helps improve the accessibility of fresh, healthy food. Yum!
  5. Adding marshmallows to cake frosting
    I had some jumbo marshmallows leftover after a camping trip and got to thinking… a frosting with the gooey texture of a fresh Rice Krispies treat would be lovely. I took this recipe, more or less (I added cocoa powder to counter the added sweetness of the marshmallows) and used it to frost a cake with. OH MY. It’s amazing.

What I learned from making leg lipstick (whoops)

Watch Now


Gifting Disclosure

The Mousse Medium was gifted by TKB Trading. Links to TKB Trading are affiliate links.
The cranberry seed oil was gifted by Plant’s Power.
The Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate was gifted by Mystic Moments.