DIY Layered Santa Soap (melt and pour)

It’s that time of year! I am one of these people who truly loves the holidays, I still feel the magic and excitement of the holidays. It probably helps that I always take two weeks off work at the end of the year, so that also gives me something to look forward to in addition to the holidays.

Over the years, I’ve come to learn that my homemade soaps are appreciated and looked forward to more than the presents that I buy my colleagues/friends/family. I now give a mixture of homemade items and bought items. As this soap is specifically Santa themed, they needs to given around the holidays, although I would find it utterly delightful if someone gave it to me in June, I do love when stores are eager and put out one or two items in June!

I have to say that I cant give measurements for this tutorial, as there are lots of little steps. Truthfully speaking, Ive never measured how much I put in each soap, as Ive always eye-balled it (sorry)!

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DIY Layered Santa Soap

  • Clear Melt and pour base – I use Stephenson
  • White Melt and pour base – you will need more white than clear
  • Mica powders (I use red and green) – do not use food colouring as this is not suitable for skin contact
  • Castor oil (or avocado, apricot kernel or almond old) – I use roughly 1-2% oil
  • Essential oil (Peppermint, pine, any holiday scent will work but avoid colours which make discolour the white base – see step) – 1% of overall weight to be used in essential oil, if you have 100g of base, use 1g of essential oil
  • Cellophane or any other kind of plastic to wrap your soaps in
  • Santa mould – I bought mine of Ebay but go wherever suits you
  • Soap moulds – I found Tupperware that suited the size that I needed to fit in Santa
  1. First you need to create your Santa embeds. Melt down a small amount of white soap base and add in the mica. As I only have 1 mould, I spend an evening creating the Santa embeds. I do not add any essential oils to them, I just use the base and mica powder. Once Ive popped them out of their mould, normally I have a bit of excess base around the edges(antlers, toy bag, hooves, etc) and I trim them with a toothpick (second picture). I follow standard melt and pour melting technique of melting it for 20-30 seconds at a time (even around 15 seconds) in a microwave, covered with cling film. I then stir in the mica powder until I get the desired colour and then pour into the mould. I then spray with alcohol to dissolve the air bubbles.

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2. Let your Santa embeds sit for at least 24 hours before you use them in creating your layered soaps. Please also ensure that the mould for your layered soap is big enough put fit whatever shapes you are putting in it. Ive found the Santa mould is slightly longer than standard bar soap moulds you purchase and I found a Tupperware box that suits the size I need. You will want whatever mould you choose to be flexible and made either of plastic or silicone, which will help with releasing the final bar of soap.

3. Melt the clear base and pour it half way into the depth of the bar of soap that you’d like to have. Following standard melt and pour melting technique of melting it for 20-30 seconds at a time in a microwave, covered with cling film. Spray alcohol over this once done (second picture). You need the temperature to be at approximately 120-125F, this will stop the embed melting when added on top.

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3. Spray again with alcohol and add on your Santa embed. This is where temperature makes a difference (120-125F), Ive ruined a number of soaps this way (see below). Spray again with alcohol. You will see that the Santa drops into the clear base, this is what you want, it should not sit on top of the clear base.

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When it doesn’t go to plan: below is what it looks like when you wait too long, you will see a film starting to form over the clear base, NOT good (go ahead and remelt, do not use it in its current state for layering). I thought I was better than the film, as you can see, I was not. When I put Santa on top of the clear base, it sat on top of the base, which is NOT good and then wrinkled when I push it in a bit. The second photo shows how much this does not work when it’s layered. It created air pockets between the clear and mould, when I added in the white base, it filled these air gaps. It also shows the how the film that had formed distorts the Santa and makes it less clear.

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4. Let the Soap and clear base sit for a few hours before adding on the white base. Even with the lower temperatures, you want to ensure there isn’t a tie-dye/bleeding effect. Melt your white base and add in the oil and essential oils (please note that EU regulation states that you should not use more than 1% of essential oils), spray the clear base with embed with alcohol and pour over the white base mixture. Spray with alcohol. Allow to set over night or several hours before removing from mould.

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5. Wrap your soaps after they have set in either cellophane or a plastic of some sort. I completely forgot to take pictures of the soaps before I wrapped them! These were my finished soaps. The green top soaps are where I screwed the process and let the white layer set before adding in the embeds, the red soaps are the happy soaps where everything went to plan.

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Tips: Use an essential oil which will not discolour your base. I thought I was being clever (which normally means I’m not) and used cherry and vanilla for a number of soaps, within hours the discolouration started and its only gotten darker. You’ll see the top 5 soaps are darker than the bottom soaps, this is where I used the cherry and vanilla essential oils… They have since gotten much darker! For the bottom soaps I used peppermint and pine. (I also made coffee soaps as you can see, no guessing what home made soaps everyones getting this year) ūüôā

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I hope this tutorial inspires your Christmas soap creations! Please borrow/steal my idea and share with friends. Id love to see Santa soaps in June!

Remember to share with friends!¬†ūüôā

DIY: Soothing bath bombs for dry skin

Winter skin is not only a REAL thing, its painful. My skin is somewhere between tree bark, elephant skin, and the dessert. I woke up in the middle of the night with pain on my back from dry skin, where it hurt to just lie in the bed, that was really not pleasant. In addition to all my body butters, which have made things better, I wanted something more (more, more, more!!!). Baths are really not my forte’, they are a good sign that Im dying of flu and sickness. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. Ive come up with these bath bombs that are meant to soothe and nourish dry and unhappy skin.

The below information tells you what makes these bath bombs so good for your skin:

  • Baking Soda:¬†antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Citric Acid: can brighten skin, shrink pores, treat mild acne, and correct dark spots and fine lines.
  • Ground oats (colloidal oatmeal):¬†moisturising, restores the skin barrier, reduces itching, and regulates inflammation.
  • Himalayan Pink Salt: full of¬†minerals that makes the overall body happy, detoxifies the skin,¬†¬†balances your skin pH, and soothes aches and pains.
  • Cornstarch:¬†soothes irritations of the skin, including sunburn and skin allergies.
  • Castor oil:¬†fights skin disorders and infections,¬†reduces itching and swelling on the skin, and moisturises skin.
  • Tea tree essenital oil:¬†relieves many types of skin inflammation, aids healing and protects from infection.
  • Sweet orange essential oil:¬†anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and aphrodisiac (wink).

I wont lie, bath bombs are a labour of love and effort, its not like mixing everything, banging them together and calling it done. Its a series of steps and trial and error until you get the recipe and bath bomb that you are happy with.

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DIY Soothing Bath Bombs for Dry Skin

Makes: 4.5 large bathbombs  Prep time: HOURS  Making time: 20 mins Setting time:8-12 hours (best over night)  Total time: A LOT

  • 1 cup¬†baking soda
  • 1/2 cup¬†citric acid
  • 1/2 cup ground pink Himalayan salt (if you dont grind it down, you’ll find yourself sitting on lumps of salt until they dissolve)
  • 1/2 cup ground oats (do not use quick oats, put them in a coffee grinder to make a fine skin friendly powder)
  • 1/4 cup¬†cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons castor oil
  • 1/4 c rubbing alcohol
  • 10 vitamin e capsules (that I cut in half and then squeezed into the mixture)
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 15 drops sweet orange essential oil

For the embeds I used 1/4 c baking soda and 1/4c citric acid (you use a 1:1 mix) and combined with rubbing alcohol, it made 10 medium sized embeds. Experienced bath bombers swear by them, insisting that they help the bomb move around your bath and give extra fizz. You dont HAVE to use them but Im kind of bored with mine sinking like the Titanic and thought Id give it a try and see, not like I didn’t have the ingredients. Many people use mica/coloring in their embeds but I prefer my bath bombs to be more natural (and not dye my bath tube or me), so I dont use colourings in my embeds or bath bombs.

Now to make these skin happy bath bombs (dont forget to use gloves and a face mask when making these).

1. Sift your baking soda and citric acid into a bowl. Break any lumps that remain at the bottom of the sifter and throw away any that wont be crushed. Next add in your ground oats, pink Himalayan salt, and cornstarch.

2. Add in your oils, essential oils, and vitamin e. Mix thoroughly with your hands, dispersing the oils throughout the mixture.

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3. Add in your rubbing alcohol, mixing thoroughly. The mixture should now form clumps in your hand when you squeeze it.

4. Now to form your balls. The best bath bombs are those that aren’t over packed, they should be light.¬†Fill each half of the mould, packing the mixture in slightly until it’s overflowing. Fill both sides of your bath bombs, making a hole in the middle of one, insert your embed into the hole and then smoosh them together.¬†Lightly tap the mould and gently pull it apart to remove the bath bomb.

5. I take the tops off my moulds (as above) and allow them to sit over night, which allows them to harden and the alcohol to evaporate. When you are ready to remove your bath bombs from the moulds, tap the mould against a spoon/table to loosen the bath bomb and then slide out.

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Your bath bombs are now finished and ready to be used. I allow mine to sit out a few days to ensure that all the alcohol has evaporated.

 

Notes: Why I dont use water in my bath bombs? I always use alcohol because it doesn’t cause of the ingredients to react. Water is reactive with the citric acid and it will automatically start to ‘blossom’ and too much water will ruin your entire batch. I can be a bit heavy handed to, so using alcohol stops this. As the bath bomb is being dissolved in gallons upon gallons of water, it dilutes any remaining alcohol making it safe to use. Alcohol also gives your bath bombs a hard texture, making them less delicate than those made with water. Because alcohol evaporates more quickly than water, you can use these bath bombs quicker than those made with water.

Colours: You can buy something called Polysorbate 80 which ensures that the colours dont stick to you or your bath tub, awesome. However, Im weird about these things and my own personal luck means that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I personally, dont like the idea of bathing in colour. The idea of a bath is to get clean, not cover myself in glitter or colour (very ungirly of me I know), but this is why I dont use colours or glitter in my bath bombs. I want them to be true treat for your skin.

Moulds: I remembered that years ago I bought some empty Christmas baubles and went through all my Christmas stuff and found them, HORAY! I have found these easier to use than standard metal moulds. If you are removing the bath bomb entirely from the mould to dry, you MUST pad the area, professionals tend to use egg crate foam, as they will dent otherwise, as per the pictures below with my last batch that I made with metal moulds.

Ground Oats: I use a coffee grinder that I use purely for my crafting but as long as you clear is thoroughly, its not a problem. Chuck your oats in the grinder and grind away until you have a very fine powder. Never use ready/instant/quick oats for bath soaks or bath bombs.

Ground pink Himalayan salt: Using your grinder, grind down the salt. This is help it to dissolve more quickly in the water. I found out when I didnt grind down the salt, I was sitting on bits of salt, whilst thinking ‘What is that?!’.

You WILL need to rinse down your bath and yourself after your bath bomb experience. You will find little bits of oat on yourself and all over your bathtub.

Baths should be relaxing and a bit of a personal spa, with these bath bombs, you’re giving your skin a treat, whilst providing a great dose of aromatherapy whilst indulging in ‘me time’!

Create your own spa and share with friends!¬†ūüôā

DIY Whipped Body Butter For Men

Man products (as I like to call them) are totally underrated. I get that lotions, potions, balms, and scrubs are a girls paradise BUT men have needs too! Ok, we’re not talking about those kinds of needs… We’re talking soap, skin and lotions. I’ve been making what I call ‘Man Soap’ for a few years, it’s a basic soap with sandalwood essential oil with a bay leaf in the middle, giving it the essence of man and nature. I like to think men smell it and they automatically flex their muscles and beat their chests, ok ok ok, I know I’d be boring without my imagination! Seriously though, when you think products, you think girly stuff galore but you don’t really think dude wash, man lotion, or¬†man maintenance products!

Cedarwood essential oil is GREAT for the skin and is known to treat eczema and other skin conditions. My aunt has had great success (within a using it a few times) with treating her psoriasis with this whipped body butter, where other ointments haven’t previously worked.

My dad has super sensitive skin, something that I inherited. As a result he is incredibly limited in what he can use, as am I. My dad is also what you’d call a ‘mans man’, not the type that smashes beer cans on their chest but more the type that spends 80% of his life outdoors and wears a LOT of camouflage and not just when he’s outside. He’s also not the type to go to the store and spend more than 30 seconds in an aisle looking for lotion or comparing what the best or more natural product would be for him.

I wanted to make a super moisturising non greasy lotion that he could use in the winter or generally for dry skin that had a ‘manly’ scent, allowing him to avoid the beauty isle entirely.¬† I came across this recipe that I realised I was able to alter and make it my own!

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DIY Whipped Body Butter For Men

Makes: 210g(ish) Prep time: 5 mins Cooling time: 3+ hours Overall time: 4 hours minimum

  • 1/2 cup (110g) Shea butter
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (55g) Mango butter
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Sweet almond oil
  • 1/8 cup (30ml) Castor oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • 20 drops cedarwood essential oil – I added a few more to get a more intense scent
  • Clean pots to put your product into or when all else fails, tupperwear!

How to make these manly products:

1. Over a double boiler combine the shea butter, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and mango butter. Once its all completely melted, combined and no lumps at all, remove from the heat. 20171113_110835

2. Allow your mixture to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once it has cooled down, add in your essential oil and vitamin e oil. If you add the essential oil whilst its melting or still very hot, they can be damaged by temperatures in excess of 100F (38C). This can result in reducing their therapeutic value and may cause skin irritation.

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3. Now the waiting game starts, you need to wait for it all to cool down and start to solidify before you can start whipping it. For me, this literally took HOURS. I tried beating it a few times in hope that it was ready and it just really wasn’t! So I’d leave it another hour and then go back. The picture on the left was an hour before it was ready. Once it is good to go, use your hand mixer and whip it good! I whipped mine for easily 5 minutes but probably closer to 10, you want medium peaks but not soft floppy peaks.

4. You need to put it in pots. This for me filled 1 large pot and 2.5 medium pots.

I also created labels for the pots, so that there wasn’t a mystery as to what is in them. I ensured that the logo was consistent with my soap and TADA my dad has his own range of man maintenance products!

The great thing about this whipped body butter is that you dont need much at all, a little really does go a long way. Start with the amount that is the size of a pea and work from there.

A female scented version of this recipe can be found here.

This is a great example of how truly easy it is to make your own products or to save your dad the hassle of the beauty isle!

*Notes: When making body butters, potions, lotions, soaps or any body product, always make sure that the equipment, spoons, bowls etc you use will NEVER be used for edible purposes again and are only used to make body products with.

*When using any essential oils directly or indirectly on skin, ensure that you stay out of sunlight or UV rays for up to 12 hours after application. This might sound quirky but as per this article, the combination of sun and essential oils can cause the skin to severely burn and blister.

**Before I forget (again), you can also make this for your boyfriend or husband, however, as you can tell Ive now been single for such a long time (after 5 years, you stop telling people the real amount of time) that I dont even think of these things and when I think of love, I have visions of my cat and only my cat. Yes, she is also the screensaver on my phone…

Remember to share with friends or your Dad!¬†ūüôā

*Edits: Ive been told that this whipped butter treats psoriasis exceptionally well and other dry skin conditions as quickly as within a few times of using the body butter. Cedarwood essential oil is well documented in treating eczema and other skin conditions, which I believe is the element that makes this so good for psoriasis. I used it specifically for its woody masculine scent but it is also great for the skin!

DIY Exfoliating Coffee Sugar Soap

I truly love the smell of coffee, there are very few things that even compare to the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  Having said that, I am a weirdo (well, duh!) and only drink my coffee cold, occasionally lukewarm but NEVER hot, EUGH! Now lets mix two things that I love, showers and coffee, giddy up!

Im currently on a soap making kick, I had forgotten how nice (and fragrant) is it to make soaps. Great for a gift to others or yourself (win!). I also cheat and use melt and pour bases, why? If it weren’t for bad luck, Id honestly have no luck and there is something about using Lye to make soap that just gives me visions of horror. Its also impossible to get clear lye based soap for obvious reasons (ingredients used) and I like the effect you can get with a clear base, based on what you’re doing.

What makes this soap so good? It exfoliants whilst smelling awesome and doing great things for your skin = win win!

Coffee: Coffee grounds are soft, allowing them to naturally exfoliate dead skin, leaving skin silky smooth without irritation. Coffee is a diuretic, creams it can temporarily minimize the visibility of cellulite by drawing fluid away from fat cells. Coffee’s acidity helps to boost the skin’s protective barrier too, which keeps your skin healthier and happier.

Sugar: Its fine texture gently exfoliates the skin without leaving harmful residue that can clog the pores. It has moisturizing properties that prevents the skin from drying. It is safe to use even on children’s sensitive skin and to soothe chapped lips.  Sugar is tough on cleansing the skin while retaining its natural moisture.

Cinnamon:¬†Cinnamon helps remove dead skin cells and helps restore shine and suppleness to the skin. It has¬†antifungal and antibacterial properties, helping enhance the complexion.¬†Cinnamon improves blood flow and brings the oxygen and blood to the outer surface of the skin. (which backs up my claim that ‘Life is better with cinnamon’!)

Sweet orange essential oil: Sweet orange essential oil is full of antioxidants and has known benefits that spam a wide spectrum, including but not limited to increasing circulation, decreasing wrinkles, improving complexion, and decreasing hypertension.

Castor oil: Castor oil has many amazing benefits but must be used sparingly when making soap, as it can turn it sticky quickly. Castor oil heals skin inflammation that can be caused by sunburns, acne, and dry skin. It can also treat acne, fade blemishes and scars, and can provide relief from the joint and tissue pain.

Word to the wise: This soap is a messy soap, which forms part of the exfoliating experience. Exfoliating is a fun messy experience, sugar scrubs get everywhere, this is no different. Those who use this soap will notice a dirty shower/bath afterwards of coffee grounds, THIS IS A GOOD THING, it makes its has worked! Just make sure you wash down your shower/bath after you get out. AND avoid getting your bar wet between uses, this extends its longevity.

DIY Exfoliating Coffee Sugar Soap

Makes: 10 smallish soaps  Making time: 15 minutes  Dry time: 24 hours minimum Overall time: 25 hours

  • 1lb/.5 Kg of Melt and pour base
  • 1/2C (100g) sugar
  • 1/2C (100g) coffee grounds (Ive found that flavoured worked great!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon essential sweet orange oil
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin e oil
  • 1 teaspoons castor oil (or any other oil, oilve, almond, coconut etc)
  • 1 teaspoon essential vanilla oil (optional but smells great!)

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Now to make this amazing smelling GOOD FOR YOU exfoliating soap.

1. Have your moulds ready! This soap sets quickly and you dont want to have it mixed and ready to go and then be faffing with getting yours moulds.

2. Cut your base into chunks and then melt it. I microwave mine at 30 sec intervals, when I start out. If using a large amount,  I start at 90 secs and then go with 30 secs after that. If you are microwaving your base, ALWAYS cover your own with cling film. You can also use a double boiler/ban marie method to melt your base.

 

3. Once your base is fully melted, now the fun starts, making all the smells and having a fantastic sensory sensation! Add in your coffee, sugar, oils, and cinnamon. I always throw in a little extra coffee for good luck. Stir and mix to fully combine, giving a thick even mixture.

4. Now to pour into your moulds. You can spray with alcohol at this stage if you have a lot of bubbles, which this recipe, Ive never really had this problem but wild if you like.

5. Leave to set for a minimum of 24 hours.  You can take them out of the moulds after a few hours but its never advised to use the soaps before 24 hours have passed.  20171021_184828

A very cute finished produce that smells amazing and does great things for your skin.

I package my soap in cellophane and attach a small label that explains what the soap it, it adds that something special.  These are great for yourself or as gifts for friends and family or heck, turn your hobby into cash and sell them (for a good cause).

Remember to share with friends! ūüôā