Baby butt balm

My sister is having a baby in October. I will be an auntie! Of course I have been busy crafting for my nephew. I have knit sweaters and hats, crocheted hats and booties and today I want to make something different. I have been researching Baby Butt Balm/Cream. I found some great posts about making it, what it replaces and how to use it. I know my sister and her husband feel very differently about raising children, but hopefully that one night at 3 am when the baby can’t sleep and just keeps crying because of a diaper rash my sister will find my baby butt balm and everybody will feel better and get some sleep. My son is 8 years old now, and suffered from horrible rashes all over his body for his first two years. I found that letting the rashes air out and using the least amount of creams, lotions or pastes (even prescription stuff didn’t work very well) was the best. If I would have had the knowledge that I do now when my son was born I would have made his rashes disappear in just a few days. I hope my homemade balms and creams will come in handy and my sister will find them useful.

Here is the first one I found. It is from my favorite blog, The Humblebee & Me. Her blog site is worth looking around and reading as many posts as possible.

http://www.humblebeeandme.com/baby-bum-balm/

This one is REALLY simple. I like the very basic feel to the site as well.

http://www.simplyrealmoms.com/posts/diy-baby-butt-balm-safe-for-cloth-diapers/

I love that this one gives a lot of background info on the various causes of diaper rash. There is also a list of very expensive baby products that are very simple and have no extra additives. A great balance for the do-it-yourselfers and the buy-it-I-am-lazies.

http://www.greenchildmagazine.com/caring-diaper-rash-naturally/

This one is very well done. Nice photos, well done descriptions and it’s easy to follow.

http://blog.shoporganic.com/how-to-make-organic-diaper-cream/

Awesome photos, very pretty, easy to follow directions and I love the use of mason jars! This is one you don’t want to miss.

http://www.lovelifenaturally.org/naturally-made-diy-baby-bum-paste-aka-diaper-cream/

This one is from one of my favorite crafting/DIY/how-to sites, Instructables. It has great photos, step-by-step instructions and you can comment with any questions you have on each step. The person who posted it might even have other awesome how-tos to look through.

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Diaper-Rash-Cream/

Now I just need to get some squeeze bottles. I only have one right now. As I typed this I have had coconut oil steeping with chamomile. I made a small batch to see how it would turn out and I have to say I am quite impressed. Next step is to break out the mixer and whip the balm into a cream. I test every batch to make sure it works on my sensitive skin. So far I am loving this light baby balm on my knuckles and eczema patch. I bet it would be great on my cracked heels too.

Good luck and happy crafting hand-crafters!

-Bobby

Deodorant alternatives

My husband asked me to make some deodorant for him. He doesn’t like that ALL store bought men’s deodorant has aluminum in them. I have browsed Pinterest and come across a few. A google search yielded a lot of different recipes. It’s almost the same as most of the skin care products I make. There’s baking soda, arrowroot powder, beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil. The only thing I’m missing as the funny shaped tube to put the deodorant into when I make it. I don’t want to reuse an old tube, because I feel like the harmful ingredients will contaminate the home made stuff. Even washing it with hot water and soap I don’t feel like I could get all the icky goo out. That’s a technical term, “icky goo,” it refers to anything gross that is squishable.

 

After a little research I found that beeswax is great to add to a deodorant that you would use during hot weather, like Summer time. Like in lip balm adding beeswax stabilizes the deodorant. I once read about someone using a half a lime, stored in the fridge, as deodorant. You really shouldn’t have to refrigerate something that goes on a sensitive part of your body, it gives me goosebumps just thinking about smearing something freezing cold all over my pits!

 

Here are the beeswax recipes I found and liked:

http://wellnessmama.com/4901/deodorant-bar-recipe/

http://becomingpeculiar.com/homemade-summer-deodorant-that-wont-melt-in-your-cupboard/

http://www.scratchmommy.com/effective-easy-homemade-deodorant/

Personally I don’t like the way tea tree oil smells, even mixed with other oils. It smells too much like rotting leaves, mold and dirt. Tea tree oil also reminds me of a guy who got kicked out of culinary school (yes, I went to culinary school). This guy thought he could treat a gash on his leg, that needed stitches, with tea tree oil, after it got infected. He smelled like rotting flesh and mold. I did not like the idea of preparing food while the guy working next to me smelled like that. So, I avoid tea tree oil.

 

For those of you who don’t like, or don’t have, beeswax I found a few recipes without beeswax:

http://doterrablog.com/diy-deodorant-stick/

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Stick-Deodorant

I really like that these two are so well done. Great pictures (or gifs) that are clear and make sense. A step-by-step breakdown. Clear ingredients lists. Proper use of tools. I really couldn’t do better myself. When so many great blog posts already exist I find it hard to try and out-do the 100s of recipes that are so easily found on the internet. 

 

I hope these links help anyone interested in home made deodorant. I have been meaning to try it, but just haven’t had the time, or ALL of the supplies. I still need to pick up some Shea butter or Cocoa butter and some deodorant tubes.

 

Happy crafting, and good luck

-Bobby

Manly spa products

I know a lot of manly spa products exist. Shaving cream, shaving soaps, scrubs, lip balms, and even bubble bath. I want to make some very manly scented products, even some gender neutral products. I have been talking to some people to get some ideas. Scents and flavors that are manly, but still pampering. So far sage, pine, coffee, musk, tobacco and grapefruit have been discussed. I could even make lime, lemon, orange, chocolate, or grapefruit lip balm for a very gender neutral line. I think most lip balm is pretty gender neutral. I have witnessed many men use cherry, cotton candy or even bubble gum flavored lip balm. I think the real difference is in the other spa products. Men don’t usually talk relaxing baths, and they don’t want to smell like flowers or fruit usually. I don’t believe I possess the skills to make a bar of shave soap, but I could certainly make manly scented bars of soap for body washing, salt scrubs and lotion bars. 

 

I was also considering a line of kids spa products. I LOVED cherry shampoo when I was a kid. It would be fun to make kid’s bubblegum scented bubble bath, or a grape scented salt scrub. I have used a very plain salt scrub ob my son’s body for sure, but wouldn’t it be more fun if it smelled like monkey farts? Seriously, there is a monkey farts scented oil for sale all over the internet. I think it would be easier to make spa products for kids than for men, but I really like the challenge. Some day I will make the kid’s spa line, but for now I’d like to move on to manly spa products.

 

What would the men in your life want in a Spa-in-a-box? I’m imagining lip balm, soap, lotion bar, salt scrub, black or white scrubby pad (just in a circle) and MAYBE deodorant. I have been researching deodorant making. Also, hair care products, but I’m not sure if men want hair balm and leave-in conditioner. Maybe something like pomade would be a manly hair care product? I have a lot to consider, and a long process from concept to product. 

 

My process starts with conversation. I want to talk to people I know about my idea. I ask questions, listen to input, reformulate, ask more questions then get more input. It takes a few days of conversations with a lot of people. Next comes the notebook product sketches and scent/flavor lists. Maybe even for days and days I will draw the product packaging in 20 different ways. I have a sketch book, but I never have it at my desk. All of my idea sketches happen at my desk, I spend the most time during the day at my desk. After a few days of sketching and listing I might actually have a recipe to try. A lot of my products contain beeswax, coconut oil or salt. I have boxes and boxes under my desk full of supplies. I make small test batches to make sure the recipe is going to work. If I like how the small batch turned out I might make a bigger batch and labels. If a product turns out to my liking I end up having my husband help me set up a photo shoot. From start to finish this process can take a few days to a few months. The last product I considered, before this manly spa line, took about a week for the samples to be made. I liked it enough that I want to make a larger batch and photograph the finished product. The last step is promoting and sell products. I haven’t quite got that part down yet. I send out free samples when I can and I use social media a little bit. I have read a lot about the topic, but it’s just not clicking with me so well. It’s my last heddle to get over to be successful. New products can be developed over and over but what is the good of producing products that don’t sell?! 

 

Every day is a struggle. For the small shop owners to the corporate employee trying to raise a family on a part-time salary. It helps to hope. To dream. To look forward to tomorrow. It won’t always be this way, but someday when it becomes some well oiled beautiful machine the struggle to get there will be well worth it. Someday it won’t be small batches on my desk, being inspected for flaws. Someday it might be a product lab. Someday I won’t have to tell my 8-year old that I can’t discuss the finer points of being a Pokemon trainer because I am “working” at the moment. It helps to dream, but don’t forget the process. You can’t dream about having a nice product lab to develop new products if you have no ideas for products, or supplies to test with. 

Good luck small hand crafted store owners/crafters! Enjoy your hand crafting.

-Bobby

Hair care

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. The last two weeks of school were nuts. Lots of events going on, then it was SO nice to relax for the first week of summer vacation. We got the garden established and even had a chance to put some seeds in the ground, hopefully they sprout soon and we can nourish and love some carrot, turnip and potato plants in addition to our cucumbers, sugarsnap peas, marigolds, tomatoes, chives, bail, garlic and snap dragons planted three weeks ago. with the garden started I have been spending more time outside. My hair has lightened and gotten fizzy. Like a mop. 

At one point in my adult life I took VERY good care of my hair. Every day. I used Garnier Fructis anti-frizz serum for years. I blow dried, straightened and curled my hair. There was a lot of cutting and dying too. After I got married I didn’t dye my hair. I have only cut it once since I got married in 2012. Basically I have put it in lose bun on my head and ignored it. It’s dry at the ends, always frizzy and really only looks good bundled up in twin braids. The state of my hair got me looking into leaven-in conditioner and hair balm. Well, looking into making my own. 

My mom had a leave-in conditioner spray when I was a teenager that worked like magic. I was always in wonder when I put it in my, even dry, hair. So hard to believe that my hair could be that soft and shiny. To this day I have NEVER found anything that works as well, and the stuff my mom used has since not been manufactured. I started looking for it when I was in my early 20s with no luck. Aside from going to beauty supply stores that sell $20 bottles of shampoo I couldn’t even find leave-in conditioner at all. Target, Wal-Mart, Wallgreens, CVS and Rite-Aid didn’t carry the leave-in conditioner in a spray bottle. I doubt that I could replicate the same product I loved when I was 16, but I have read a lot about making some different hair care products. Hopefully my research will help anyone else willing to put the effort into making a natural hair care solution.

 

This lady, Marie, who writes the Humble Bee & Me blog, is amazing. Natural beauty product tutorials like crazy. Really great tutorials and recipes for a whole universe’s worth of effective beauty products. I can spend hours, or even days, going through all her posts. Beautiful bright photos, very detailed directions and usually she mentions alternatives if you can’t easily find what she uses. I highly recommend this blog for a variety of beauty d.i.y.

I haven’t tried this one yet, but I really want to try making it. It looks like a great replacement for my Garnier Fructis anti-frizz serum.

http://www.humblebeeandme.com/ultimate-homemade-hair-serum/#more-1887

 

A list of REALLY simple leave-in conditioner recipes. A lot of them are made with items you will find in most kitchens.

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Leave-in-Hair-Conditioner

 

I believe this site’s target demographic isn’t married white women, but it still seems like the do it yourself leave-in conditioner would be really effective for anyone and everyone. I can’t say I like the adds all over the side of the page, but the directions are easy to read.

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2014/04/4-simple-recipes-for-homemade-leave-in-conditioners/

 

This one is complex with a long list of ingredients. Hyperlinks are helpful to identify and possibly purchase ingredients. I recommend this to the adventurous DIYer with a few extra dollar to spend. Some day I would love to try this one, but not in the next few months.

http://www.naturalbeautyworkshop.com/my_weblog/2013/09/hibiscus-silk-leave-in-conditioner.html

 

Hair balm is a very new concept to me. Lotion bars are something I discovered about 8 months ago. The idea that something I use to soothe dry cracked lips might actually help my hair is very new. Hair balm is not the same as lip balm. Hair balm doesn’t need a sweetener, but it needs a stabilizer, like wax, and oil. I find that straight coconut oil and beeswax stays a lot softer and might be better suited to something like hair balm than lip balm. I usually add coconut oil to my lip balm, but I add it with olive oil so the balm is more solid and stays in the tube a little better. 

Again, The Humble Bee & Me is my go-to and a great place to start my search for hair balm recipes:

http://www.humblebeeandme.com/make-your-own-super-nourishing-hair-balm/#more-125

 

If you want a great starting point with hair balm, though it’s not called hair balm but instead pomade, this is great. Very clear and many alternatives listed.

http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/diy-all-natural-hair-styling-pomade-that-rocks/

 

Over the last few days I have read a lot about how great rosemary oil is for hair, but I don’t like the way rosemary smells. This is an amazing way to deal with the rosemary oil AND add a floral feminine touch to the hair balm.

http://www.freshpickedbeauty.com/2012/09/jasmine-sandalwood-hair-balm.html

 

I love how simple and straight forward this post is written. It’s not that different than the last few, but I wanted to include it because it looks so nice.

http://www.chicandgreendaily.com/2009/06/diy-thursday-natural-hair-pomade.html

 

This is a video, and I don’t normally like videos about beauty products because the ladies who they find to stand in front of the camera usually have such shrill annoying voices. I don’t know if it’s just me or if more people feel that way. This particular video isn’t that bad. It’s short and very well done.

http://www.bellasugar.com/DIY-Hair-Skin-Moisturizer-Recipe-31023726

 

Don’t by shy, do a google search, or just explore a few blogs here on WordPress. Read as much as you can about what hair care products you want to try and make. There exists more information than one person can absorb in one lifetime on the internet. Find out what hair type you have and go from there. I have thick curly hair prone to frizz and grease buildup. My scalp gets sunburnt sometimes then I have itchy dryness for a few days. That is a great starting point for me to research how these home made hair care products might effect my hair. If you have straight hair maybe you want to look up heat-less curls? The possibilities are endless, and I hope I gave a great starting point for anyone to jump from. Now it’s time for me to find an empty spray bottle and get to work. 

 

Happy DIYing crafters.

 

-Bobby

Skin absorption of titanium dioxide

I caught a terrible cold from my kiddo and husband, and last week I was unable to write anything useful. I apologize for not posting anything. I really would like to post something every week, but I just can’t do that sometimes.

 

Over the last few weeks I have been doing internet research on Titanium dioxide, and other “minerals” like mica powders. Someone I was chatting with at my kid’s school asked me, “Isn’t titanium dioxide powder dangerous when absorbed through the skin?” and it made me very curious. A lot of… well, I would have to call them hippies, get very caught up in this, “I heard it was bad for you so I avoid it at ALL costs!” idea. One person can start this chain reaction. One person can decide, “I don’t want to use it on MY skin,” so they say something to a friend, or 10 friends, who all tell 10 friends. That’s how it starts. No research, just blind faith. The mentality that you put more trust in what ONE person says to you about something they don’t know anything about really bothers me. I do research. I have been known to go to a library and look through books to find some answers. The internet isn’t always as trust worthy. You can find 10 blog posts, articles or “published scientific studies” to support or not support any idea you might have. I mean, I am writing a blog post about that right now. Speaking of research and blog posts, let’s get down to business.

How does our skin absorb something?

I assume that a lot of people just don’t understand how our skin works. Think of skin like blocks. Like Lego bricks. Each cell is next to and on top of another skin cell. Water can get in-between those blocks. So can salt, bacteria and ultraviolet rays. Anything you put on your skin that is considered a nano particle can potentially get in those areas between your skin cells. Some of those things might make it all the way through those cracks and into your blood stream. Not much and not many of them, most of the products you might use on your skin only penetrates the top layers. Moisturizer, like lotion, only really effects the top layer, maybe as deep as three layers. 

Ionization is a different way your skin can absorb what you put on it. Basically ionization disrupts the tinny building blocks of your cells, atoms. It causes the electrons and protons to separate from the neutrons. Usually the atoms come back together and continue being a regular atom other times the atom is mutated. It can also cause DNA to mutate. Sometimes ionization is what radiation does to your skin cells, like with UVA and UVB rays from the sun. Some minerals can be used and absorbed by ionization from the surface of the skin. Usually the minerals don’t cause free radicals (mutated cells) to form but the ultra violet rays can.

 

Nano particles.

How do nano particles get absorbed through the skin? I’ll tell you this-it’s not through ionization. No electrons or protons are separated from any neutrons. No mutations in skin cells will happen. Nano particles are small enough to slip through the cracks between skin cells. Eventually with enough nano particles build up in your system other cells might be effected, but no extended studies on living mammals has really been conducted. Science seems to have better things to research. I don’t blame science. I have better things to do too. Worrying about nano particles in your sunblock is like wording about your kids getting hit by a car walking to school-it only stresses YOU out. Your kids look both ways and hold hands when crossing, they are doing the best they can, if it happens they took every precaution they could and that wasn’t enough to stop it from happening. Without really knowing what nano particles of titanium dioxide really do in the human body people seem to be getting stressed out about something they can’t control. Either they can go back to school to become a scientist and do the research, or they can just chose not to use the products containing the nano particles.

 

Why use nano particles in sunblock and beauty products?

Nano particles, unlike fine mineral powders, can bend, absorb or reflect UV rays while still appearing clear. Fine powdered titanium dioxide appears white and solid. Ultrafine, or nano particle, powdered titanium dioxide appears clear or transparent. When you go to the beach and you see the surfers with the white goo or powder on their nose, that’s fine or coarse zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. The two minerals create a barrier on the skin that prevents water or UV rays to penetrate your skin cells. Your skins tends to absorb more of the nano particles when combine with a moisturizer, like sunblock. 

 

Is Titanium dioxide safe for you?

In my opinion-Yes, it is safe. Without further studies and research no one, not even the FDA, will really know for sure how titanium dioxide effects our systems. There have been few studies on lab rats and lab mice, but mostly for inhalation of the ultra fine powdered titanium dioxide consistent with an employee in a distillation and production factory of the mineral powder. That sort of information really just lets us know that we should try not to breathe in the powdered mineral, it doesn’t really help us with the skin absorption issue. Whatever damage some nano particles might do to our bodies, the damage the sun’s rays can do is much, much worse and using sunblock with nano particles isn’t that bad of an exchange for preventing skin cancer.

 

This is a site that was very helpful:

http://www.organicmakeup.ca/ca/titaniumdioxide.asp

 

This was a very technical site:

http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/123/1/264.full

 

This was a…. not very helpful blog post:

http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/does-titanium-dioxide-cause-free-radical-damage/

 

This was a very bias article that lacked any kind of useful information that supported their claim, mostly they just took two unrelated outdated lab studies, with no citation or credit, and manipulated the “data” to suit their bias:

http://www.mvorganics.com/blogs/mvo/5913861-how-safe-is-titanium-dioxide

 

Try a Google search about Titanium Dioxide, it may help you make up your mind. Google searched are usually how I find out about new minerals, beauty treatments, food or hygiene items I am curious about.

Good luck with your research, hope I was helpful

-Bobby

Behind the Scenes

Last weekend (not yesterday and the day before) we set up a photo light box for a product photo shoot. My husband took some photos of me while I was using his fancy camera to take product shots. It was really warm, so my arms were exposed. Normally I don’t like photos of myself, unless I am all dressed up and only from certain angles, but these photos turned out alright. I’m not going to go and make one of them my profile picture on Facebook or anything, I just don’t mind showing them here.

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As you can see we purchased a photo light box, but I have seen a few tutorials that give very detailed instructions to make them. I like having one that folds up and is ready to use in just a few minutes. The homemade ones are usually a cut up box with fabric glued or taped to it. I just didn’t have the right color fabric in my stash to pull it off, so we decided that it would be more cost effective to buy the already made light box instead of buying the fabric and other supplies. We have many empty boxes (I never let my husband toss out smaller Amazon boxes, they are just the right size for shipping my Spa products) but not big cube shaped boxes. The kind where each side is perfectly square. I really like having this fold up light box around. The lights we bought with it have been amazing. 

 

Here are some of the finished photos. We had to edit the photos slightly, balance out the whites a little. Not a whole lot was done to the raw photos.

 

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A total of three new items were listed in my Star’s Reach Etsy store over the weekend. Lip balm, salt scrub and bath salt. A lot of curious views, but very little sales so far. It has been so few sales that it’s an exciting event for me to take a package tot he post office. I hope some day it seems like more of a chore, more like working. My son is having trouble understanding that when I am typing-or mixing, melting and pouring-it IS work. My work isn’t like other parents. I don’t go to a job site and work outside the home. He will understand some day. Life is different for us here. I make Spa products and my store isn’t a physical store where a shelf is stocked and browsed. My products are made to order in small batches. The photos are very important to the digital store. High quality, bright images make for better sales. Details can be zoomed in on and viewed with confidence. I really feel like the images could sell the product better than a door-to-door salesman. No snake oil here.

 

This part of my post is where I apologize for not posting last week. The end of the school year is very quickly approaching and my son’s school is trying to fit a lot of events into the last few weeks. I happen to volunteer a lot. Field trips, fundraisers, teacher appreciation week. I do a lot so that the children get a better education. There is a lot more to Second Grade than walking my son to and from school every day. My normal amount of errands, extra volunteering, photo shoots and pets can take up a lot of my time. I feel so much more accomplished when I can get a blog post in during the week!

 

Currently I am testing a small batch of concealer, hopefully next week I can write about my hopes and goals with adding natural make-up to my Pamper ME Spa Products. The next few weeks I will be experimenting with rations, bases, oils, beeswax and pigments. I may need an excuse to dress up along with my make-up trials 😉

 

Happy Crafting everyone, until next week ❤

-Bobby 

Without failures we can’t move forward

I did some research on making make-up. My foundation is amazing, and I would love to get more of the preservatives out of my other make-up. Particularly the concealer that I put on before anything else. I want to hide the blemishes on my skin and have a nice even base. I read about making concealer on a few different blogs and supply sites and got to work on making some. After adding the powder to the beeswax and oils it was too dark. After trying a swatch on my hand it was too translucent. When I cleaned the bowls out after pouring the melted mixture in lip balm tubes I noticed the grains of beet root powder and cocoa powder. After letting it set up in the tubes I took a step back and looked at the tubes on my clean kitchen counter top. With a huge sigh I realized this was a failure. I failed. I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t disappointed. It just was what it was-not concealer. It was flavorless lip balm. I capped the tubes and put them in a bag. 

 

It wasn’t the end of the world. I reviewed the process, read the directions from the various sites I visited then looked at the various lists of ingredients. I didn’t strain the mixture before pouring it in the tubes. The color was too dark because I didn’t add colors slowly to the wet melted mixture, I added unmelted ingredients to the already mixed powder then melted it all together. I was missing a key ingredient. Titanium dioxide. An ultra fine powder that makes lip balms, lipsticks, blush, foundation and sunblock solid. Next time I hope I have ordered some titanium dioxide to add to my concealer. It would be so nice to have it for cream blush, lipstick and liquid foundation. Also, I read about ultra fine clay powders that can be added to foundation and concealer. 

 

From this failure I learned something. Too much success was starting to make me feel like I was never going to learn anything new. Like I was untouchable by the failure bug. It happens, and you never know what it will happen with. No matter how good your day goes one little thing might go wrong, and that’s okay. I hope my little reminder that every project doesn’t go smoothly helps other crafters with their struggle. 

 

Goo luck with your projects crafters. See you next week.

 

-Bobby