Quick Guides

I've done lots of experiments on ratios with different thickeners—you'll find those here, plus other quick guides!

A Quick Guide to Cetearyl Alcohol & Liquid Oil Ratios

I've been itching to get my hands on some cetearyl alcohol for a while now—readers keep asking me about it, I see it in ingredients lists all the dang time, and I've been reading all kinds of lovely things about it! Now that Windy Point has it available in smaller...

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A Quick Guide to Almond Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

If you read my A Quick Guide to Olive Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios, you know Dale also sent almond wax along with the olive wax for me to play with. Whee! As usual I set out to make the acquaintance of almond wax with my standard ratio experiments so I could get a...

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A Quick Guide to Olive Wax & Liquid Oil Ratios

Earlier this year Dale got in touch to ask if I’d ever worked with olive wax, and when I replied I’d never worked with it and not found it for sale in Canada, he generously offered to mail me some olive wax and some almond wax. Several months later they arrived in a...

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A Quick Guide to Stearic Acid & Liquid Oil Ratios

Today we're looking at stearic acid, and how it behaves when melted together with olive oil at different ratios. Stearic acid is a pretty humble ingredient—mine is unassuming white beads that are bigger than cetyl alcohol, but not by much. We use it to thicken and...

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A Quick Guide to Cetyl Alcohol & Liquid Oil Ratios

Cetyl alcohol is pretty unassuming. Give it a cursory glance and it looks like white dust—teensy little moderately glossy blobs and specks of nothing all too exciting. Cetyl alcohol is a saturated fatty alcohol derived from coconuts, with a melting point of 49°C...

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A Quick Guide to Cera Bellina & Liquid Oil Ratios

I've been having fun playing with a new ingredient lately—cera bellina. Cera bellina is derived from beeswax, and it does some really cool things. For starters, it makes oil gels! Think about ointments—that soft, creamy, translucent texture. Cera bellina does that! It...

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A Guide to Making Substitutions in DIY Recipes

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...

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A Quick Guide to Different Emulsifying Waxes

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...

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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...

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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. 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...

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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. 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...

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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...

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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...

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A Quick Guide to Coconut Oil & Beeswax Ratios

I find my quick guide to liquid oil and beeswax ratios so useful that I knew I'd have to extend it out to soft oils as well. Today we're looking at beeswax and coconut oil, a perennial favourite in DIY body products. Coconut oil is a soft oil, solid at room...

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A Quick Guide to Candelilla 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 into vegan wax territory. Candelilla wax is a plant based wax, derived...

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A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios

This is an experiment I've been meaning to conduct for ages. For as many DIY concoctions I've made over the years, I still found myself wondering how much beeswax to add to something to get a certain level of hardness or thickening. So, one short winter day I set out...

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A Quick Guide to Buying Your First Essential Oils

So, you're getting into making your own body products and household cleaners. You've found a supplier, you've found their essential oils section... and whoa. There are hundreds. And they all sound amazing. The reviews rave about how this one cured their epilepsy and...

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A Quick Guide to Solubility

Let me preface this by saying I am no scientist, and this guide is definitely a quick one (and based very much on personal experience). I took 12th grade chemistry, and that's it—and that was a while ago. I did, however, convince my brilliant friend Adrian to...

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A Guide to Essential Oil Substitutions

After writing about carrier oil substitutions, I couldn't wait to write more about swapping this ingredient for that, and why things do or don't work. So, today I'm writing about essential oil substitutions. There are fewer variables here, so it'll be a shorter entry,...

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A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions

One of the questions I am asked the most is along the lines of "I don't have ingredient X, can I use ingredient Y or Z instead, or just leave it out?". Sometimes the answer is a quick yes, and sometimes it's a complicated no. So, I put together this guide to help you...

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