Monday, March 29, 2010

Pot O' Gold Lip Balm (Or Any Color You Like!)

I don't do tinted lip balms (YET!), but if you are interested, here is a quick an easy tutorial. You can substitute your own balm recipe! The more mica you use, the more coverage you get; the less you use, the more sheer the color is. Very easy for you to control your end product. Give it a try and be sure to check out the blog I got this from. She has lots of great ideas!

You Will Need:

2 oz Natural Lip Balm Base

0.5 ml Flavor Fragrance Oil
(We combined Cafe Latte, Mint Chill & Buttercream Flavor Fragrances to make an Irish Coffee!)
1 cc Radiant Gold Mica

  • Place Lip Balm Base into double boiler and set your burner to medium.
  • Items will melt in less than 1 hour, if you have a thermometer, check temperature, it should be around 65-70c / 140-160f.
  • Use Mica for this oil based product. Add your color and mix thoroughly. Pour a small amount in a clear container and wait for it to set for 20-30 minutes. You will notice the colors tend to lighten as the product goes opaque.
  • Only add Flavor Fragrance Oils deemed suitable for Lip Products. Strength will vary on the type of scent.
  • Pour into your choice of containers.
Allison B. Kontur

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guacamole For Your Face

Last night I decided I needed to do a face mask. You should do one a couple of times a month to help keep you skin looking healthy and glowing. I love doing masks, I love feeling all tingly and when I rinse my skin just feels good. I really just threw this one together, but I loved it! The bonus is, you could pull some out and don't put the clay in it and it would be a great dip!

1/2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp honey
2 spoonfuls of sour cream
enough kaolin clay to make it firm and not runny

Mash the avocado up with all the ingredients. Mix well and spread over clean skin. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and follow with a toner and moisturizer. I really enjoyed this one! Avocados are full of vitamins and other good stuff for your skin, honey is a humectant that will draw moisture to your skin, any cream will really help add moisture to your skin, and the clay helps to draw out impurities and tighten the skin.

What are some of your favorite homemade face mask ingredients?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pumpkin Soap

Yesterday, I made another batch of my wonderful Pumpkin Spice Soap. It is made with real pumpkin puree (of course), pumpkin pie spice, a little ginger, and then scented with cinnamon, clove, ginger, and orange essential oils. Many people ask why I would put orange in there and my only real answer is because I wanted to and because pumpkins are orange. Besides, everyone I've talked to said it was the perfect addition because with all the spiciness the hint of orange just made it perfect!

This is a milk soap and I love milk soaps. Although to be honest the first time I made my lye mixture, it was quite a disgusting disaster, but the next was fine. I also add hemp oil to this soap. I love the way hemp oil feels period and in a soap is no different. Hemp soaps are so smooth and just amazing to use, that I can't help but lather a couple of times with this one.

The Pumpkin Spice Soap is by far one of my favorites. I originally made it as a limited edition, but I wanted it so much that I made more! There is just something about cinnamon, clove, and orange that I can't resist. What are some of your favorite scent combinations?

Monday, March 22, 2010


Just read that my stuffiness may be linked to my pregnancy. It is apparently pretty common after the first 15 weeks. Well that's good to know. I guess allergy meds won't do much good.

Down for the Count

Before I begin, let me say that I don't have any major medical problems and I know there are people who do. They have horrible times that knock them out for weeks. So, I know that I really shouldn't complain. I'm in good health, I don't have and regular meds I have to take.

HOWEVER, last week was pretty awful. I started feeling a little stuffy and had a scratchy throat on sunday. Monday, I was a little bit more stuffy and sneezy. The problem is, there are very few things I know for sure I can take because I'm pregnant and whether its stupid or not, you can really turn into a freak reading ingredients before taking anything. So, on Tuesday I bought some Claritin thinking it was allergies. Didn't help. Wednesday, I bought Tylenol Cold, my eyes kept watering so bad and I was so stuffy, my students kept asking if I was crying. Thursday, took the Claritin again and felt ok, at least no tears. By Friday, I was pretty much better.

I'm still a little stuffy, but I prefer not to medicate if I don't have to. I think it was probably allergies, but I felt horrible. I've never had allergy problems like that! So, my week pretty much consisted of: go to school and make it through the day, come home drink lots of OJ, sleep, wake up to eat, sleep some more. I guess all that matters is that I feel better, but I feel behind. I didn't make anything because I didn't want to chance sneezing or sniffling around lip balms or lotions. Uh, can you say YUCK!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thought for the Day

I have a sign hanging in my office, it reads "Failure Teaches Success." I couldn't agree more. We learn more from our mistakes (or others' mistakes) than we do from being right all the time. As long as you can learn a lesson and make a change that allows you to move forward toward your goal, then the mistake was worth making. The only failures that are true failures are the ones that we refuse to learn from.

I think that says it all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

For Your Belly

I was asked about the difference between belly products. I make a wonderful belly butter, but there are belly balms, creams, oils, etc and it can be confusing as to what each is. So, I decided to explain.
  • Butter-made with oils and butters. These will have a harder texture that usually melts on contact with your skin. The color and texture will depend on the butters used. For example, a product with a high amount of cocoa butter will be quite hard, but will leave you skin so soft and smooth. Oils are sometimes added to give additional benefits to the product and to soften it for spreadability (think real butter vs margarine). Butters are great for lubricating the skin and relieving that tight feeling you get as your belly expands, but some feel they are too greasy. I think these are great for night time or just out of the shower and a little goes a long way.
  • Balms-made with oils, butters, and wax. Beeswax is the most common wax used for balms, but there are vegan alternatives. Think about a lip balm (a good one, not carmex) and that is essentially what a belly balm will be like. The will usually be a little softer than the butters and do not tend to melt on your skin the same way. However, the ingredients used are generally chosen for the skin benefits they provide and the wax helps to create a barrier so your skin retains moisture. Again, great for lubricating your stretching skin, but some feel they are too greasy. I think these are great for night time or just out of the shower and a little goes a long way.
  • Oils-similar characteristics to a butter, but these will be liquid. The oils are chosen for the skin care benefits and these will also be good lubrication for the skin. These might also seem too greasy. Go easy when dispensing, a little goes further than you think.
  • Creams/lotions-made by blending oils, butters, or waxes with water. This is done through the use of an emulsifier. The more water used the thinner and lighter the lotion will be. Heavier creams usually have the minimum amount of water needed to emulsify the product. Water is helpful because it will hydrate your skin and the oils will lubricate it. Keep in mind all products made with water MUST have a preservative or be stored in the fridge. Lotions and creams do not generally leave an oily feel (heavy creams might) and I like to use these during the day when you need a little more moisture.
Experiment with different product and find what you like and what suits you best. You may also find that you like to use a combination of products to meet your skin specific needs. For example, when I'm done showering, I pat dry and use a body butter all over to seal in precious moisture and then when if I feel a little dry throughout the day, I'll apply a light lotion. This also changes based on where I am and the humidity. Butters and balms can be too heavy during very hot, humid weather.

What is important is that you find a system that works for you and stick to it. Don't let someone else that doesn't have YOUR skin tell you what you are doing wrong.

What kinds of products do you prefer: butters, balms, oils, or lotions?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Trying to Show Support

Our school started a Gay-Straight Alliance, which really excites me because the last school I was at wasn't allowed to call it that because they would talk about naughty things. Instead, it was the Diversity Club, sponsored by a woman who's son is gay. The school I'm at this year did not have a very close minded person fighting against the formation, so the club formed. The sponsors offered to make the teachers little rainbow signs to put up to show support; so if a student feels they need to talk to someone, they know where to go. I asked for one and since I'm a traveling teacher, I put it up in the science office that nobody uses as an office but me and the other traveling teacher. I left after my plan and came back for lunch to find that my sign had been pulled down and put in the trash. I know it wasn't a student, so that leaves the staff I work with. This is really, really upsetting to me. If you don't want to show your support, that is fine, it is your decision. HOWEVER, do not take away from my decision to support gay and lesbians in our school.

I know it is a divisive issue, but here are my reasons for showing support:
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth represent 30% of all teen suicides. (Thomas Marino, Counseling Today, May, 1995) and considering this was 14 years ago, I worry that it has gone up.
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth are more likely to have attempted suicide than their straight peers.
  • Gay, lesbian & bisexual youth represent 25% of all homeless youth in the U.S. (U.S. Department of Health Services, 1989). I wonder why we don't have more recent data.
  • The average high school student in the U.S. hears anti-gay slurs 25 times per day.
  • 1 out of 6 gay teens has been beaten badly enough to require medical attention. (Center for Disease Control)
  • Gay men and lesbians (26%) are second only to African American men (33%) as the targets for hate crimes in LA County.
I think this is a civil rights issue that a large majority of the population wants to ignore because they believe it is morally wrong. They believe that there is something wrong with gays, lesbians, or bisexuals and think it can be cured. As I recall people used to think that as a group black people were lazy, dirty, ignorant, and all sorts of other things. We know that isn't true! A person cannot be defined by the color of their skin, the religion they practice, their gender, or their sexual orientation. Shouldn't we judge a person by the content of their character rather than any other physical characteristic (I know, I totally stole that line, but I love it!). The world needs more love, not less.

I put my sign back up and if anyone takes it down again, I'm duct taping it up!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Buying Ingredients

I need neroli hydrosol, peppermint hydrosol, and helichrysum essential oil for different purposes. I would like to be able to purchase them all from one place because I hate to waste all the resources that go into shipping by ordering from different places. I've had several sites that looked promising, but they all fell through. One was selling floral water (water with a little essential oil) instead of the true distillates I want. One is out of the neroli. Yet another, the smallest size of helichrysum is $200. Sure, I would eventually use it all, but that's pretty pricey for me at the moment.

I guess I will have to order from two different companies. I do know for certain that I don't need to order anything else. Usually the day after an order, I'll realize I need more of something else. I swear, I really am organized! Well, this was really more of a ramble than anything else, its just been a little stressful trying to get all of these things I need that I've never ordered before, so I don't already have a list of things that I buy from the same company. Ahh, it feels like a Monday to me, how about you?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rushed Morning

This morning was hectic. I was just dragging. I drove about 8 hours on Friday night to got to a friend's wedding in Lubbock, TX. We got in about 2 am TX time. We did sleep late, but still, long drive. Went to the wedding from 7-11 pm, then over to a friend's for the after party. We stayed there til 2 am. Got up Sunday, had lunch with the folks and then headed home. We got in about 8 last night, so it wasn't too late, but I was exhausted, so off to bed I went.

This morning, I COULD NOT get going. I snoozed entirely too long, couldn't figure out to what the wear, I spent to long making breakfast, it was just awful. When I have mornings like this, I just don't have time for my morning shower to wash my hair. BUT, I can't not wet my hair because my hair is too short and it is all crazy. I also have a problem if I don't wash it because it will be a little too oily by the end of the day. WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO?!?

Here is my solution: sprinkle a little bit of baking soda in my hair and comb it through; rinse it over the sink. My hair is soft and manageable, it doesn't look oily by the end of the day, it isn't white from sprinkling baking soda, and it takes about 3 minutes to do. This is the one thing that went right this morning and I had a good hair day. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Colorado Bill Defeated

The great news for all of us small business owners and all the independent consultants for companies like Mary Kay and Avon (although I'm not sure how many of them knew they were in danger) is that the bill was defeated. It was defeated for a number of reasons because the bill had a number of short comings. While we can all breathe a sigh of relief for the moment, we can't assume this won't happen again. There are a number of states that are looking at something similar and there has already been work for federal legislation. The problem with all of these bills is that they ignore the potential repercussions for small businesses. As Donna Maria states, we have to remain vigilant and continue to work together as a small business community if we are to protect ourselves.

So for now the good news is this bill failed, but the bad news is that more are in the works.

If you would like to read a detailed summary of why the bill failed and what the legislators had to say you can find two great summaries at the Soap Queen blog or at Donna Maria's Indie blog.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Everlasting Oil

I had a request for a toner made with everlasting oil. It is not something I normally make and not an oil I keep on hand, but the customer really wanted it. I don't blame her everlasting oil, also known as Immortelle is quite wonderful. Not just for skin either!

Helichrysum italicum is used in aromatherapy to help combat depression and shock. Everlasting oil is also used in skin care because of its cell renewal properties. It will help heal scars and rejuvenate tired worn out skin. It is also thought to be effective against acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. This oil is also useful on skin that has been damaged by burns, bruises, cuts, or other wounds. Some even recommend using it on injured joints to help heal sprains or other inflammatory problems.

Whatever you use it for, this oil is extremely versatile. As with all essential oils a little goes a long way and more is not always better. Everlasting oil is quite pricey, but since it is active a dilute concentrations, you should get a lot of use out of a small quantity.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Here is what I love

The Colorado Safe Personal Care Products Act is up for discussion today and what I love about being a small business owner is knowing that I am not alone. If you google the Act, you will find MULTIPLE blog posts from other business owners opposed to this law. Most are not in CO, but they recognize the potential repercussions for their own businesses. They are all taking a stand against this to protect small businesses. It is so nice to be able to look around and find people that are on your side and are working for the same goals I am. Donna Maria of the Indie Beauty Network even posted a letter template to send to legislators about why it is a bad idea. How wonderful is that? For those of us with multiple jobs (and no background in law or legislation) this is perfect. It is a very well written letter, but it would show how many people are against this and it lists the reasons very clearly.

That is what I love about being an Indie business. I am not alone!