Beauty & Wellness

Lightning Luxurious Lotion

Lavender Lotion (Whipped Up in a Jiffy)

It's been a busy couple of weeks as the shop comes together. Though we're still making and creating every day, most activity centers around big-scale projects like countertops and shelving units. As the shop-building process rolled on, I found myself needing something smaller scale and more familiar to sooth my soul. The obvious solution: lotion.

Bottled lavender lotion

Lotion is a great project for your maker fix. It's quick, easy, and the gratification is nearly immediate. No sitting around and waiting to unmold something a day or three later, or to ferment for a number of weeks, or to cure who knows what for who knows how long. Nope. Make your lotion, give it a test drive, and you're good.

Feeling Balm-y

DIY Lip Balms for Winter Weather

Lip Balms
Lip Balms

It's wintertime and windy, and this means chapped lips for a lot of us. Lips are somewhere one would think you wouldn't want to be putting products with unrecognizable names or odd ingredients, but we often do just that with our standard Blistex, Chapstick, or whatever moisturizer of choice you have in mind. It doesn't have to be that way, however. Lip balm is really easy to make using simple ingredients, and it is lots of fun, too. In fact, we already had all of the basic ingredients already on-hand, what was crucial was the tubes. Once we got that straightened out, and then we picked up a filler tray a few weeks ago, it became obvious that a massive batch of lip balm was needed. Best be prepared for the colder temps!

We used the standard recipe from Soap Queen TV, mostly because um... yum BUTTERCREAM, but there are other great recipes out there, including Imitation Burt's Bees from Wellness Mama and the really fun alternatives proposed in 20 Deliciously Simple DIY Recipes from B+C.

Whatever recipe you choose, essentially you'll want to have coconut oil, beeswax, and then some other variety of oils to work with for your balm. If you're going for a completely natural option, you can stop there, but we went the whole nine yards with adding color and fragrance.

Too much mica
Too much mica

The first batch was our sample batch and the colorant was way more potent than expected. Not to worry! What was going to be a lip balm turned quickly into a lip tint, and honestly, it turned out even better as a result. However, 50 tubes of lip tint was more than we needed, so we were far more conservative with our color once we got to the larger batch. In fact, this is why one makes a test batch first; we patted ourselves on the back for learning our lesson on the small-scale attempt.

We also learned the power of the disposable dropper during this experiment, as the lip balm hardens quickly and got completely stuck in the dropper after a point. In other words, it is reasonable to assume that after doing this project, you won't be getting your dropper back, and it's best to be ok with parting ways from the outset.

Lip Balm Tray
Lip Balm Tray

The tube tray was a new adventure and honestly delightful! In the same amount of time it took to make one tube, we made 50, so that felt pretty good. We lost a few tubes to a hasty dismount once the lip balm was dry and ready, mucking up the top layer of the balm within the tube. This was essentially just an esthetic problem, so it  just meant more freebies for us. Again, winning. It was also important to have a cookie sheet beneath the tray, as part of the task of getting the balm into the tubes required jiggling the tray a bit, and spilling was inevitable.

All total, the project took less than an hour. We had a little bit of lip balm left over from the tray (and onto the cookie sheet), so we mixed it with some milk melt & pour soap base to create a soft creamy soap. It smells delightful, too! Part of the beauty of working with ingredients you can name is that you know when you can use them elsewhere, as well! Win-win.

Bath Bombs Bonanza

Sometimes it just feels great to try out new recipes. Naaahhh, just kidding, it ALWAYS feels great. That’s half the fun of it! We explored new territory recently by giving Brambleberry’s Glitter Bath Bomb recipe a go, and overall had good results.

Bath Bombs Bonanza!

The all-in-one kit comes with just the right amount of all the ingredients you need to make ~15 bath bombs in flat, disc shapes, including the plastic molds. The instructions are provided on a sturdy sheet of paper, and they are concise and clear. One drawback is the the instructions are for you to make all of your bath bombs in one shade, and how can you be expected to choose between the three colors provided?

Instead, we opted to split our bomb dough into three separate bowls, and attempt to make bombs of each color. Admittedly, we were pretty cavalier in this part of the process, as the bath bombs came out about three times stronger in color than we had anticipated. Next time: go easy on the mica.

The instructions also caution heavily against having the bath bomb mixture be too dry before placing into the molds, but that was absolutely not our problem. Our first round of pink was the perfect consistency, no witch hazel needed for spritzing and moisturizing. Our second and third rounds were purple and blue, respectively, and both of them were waaaaay too wet. This was something we possibly could have anticipated, instead of just throwing caution to the wind when we combined the dry ingredients with the oils. Turns out, Portland is NOT a dry climate and, if anything, liquids should be added slowly for optimal texture.


As a result, the blue dough was put in the molds too wet (pressure was on!) and they poofed up a bit, a natural consequence. No worries, though, they still made for effective bath bombs a few days later.

The concept of putting glitter in bath bombs has always been mystifying. It makes them look cool, yes. And who doesn't love glitter?!? But, it also means that you end up with glitter in your bath water, and therefore in your hair and toenails. Obviously, this requires a full rinse after indulging in your bath bomb of choice. In our case, we let the kids go glitter bath bomb crazy and had a fun time mixing colors in the tub. Again, because the colors were a little too strong (our fault), there was some pretty significant clean-up required after the bath. Still, they all remarked on how good their skin felt when all was said and done, we we’re calling this one a success.