The How's & Why's of What I Make

I don't typically offer a variety of scents or scent combinations in my products. I know that many makers of similar products have a large variety, but I think I set myself apart a little bit. Each of my products are mindfully and meticulously developed for their specific purpose. It's not just a random DIT recipe off the internet. I carefully choose the butters, oils, plants and essential oils that I use for each product for their collective properties and to reach a very specific outcome. Changing out the essential oils to create different scents could change the desired result and, if using fragrance oils, they are no longer offer as many therapeutic properties. I also spend a lot of time formulating. It's not just a cup of this and a tablespoon of that. Measurements are done by weight so I can calculate batch sizes appropriately and scale up or down as needed.

Part of the reason why most of my solid or semi-solid products contain beeswax – is because at this time, there is no vegan alternative that offers all of the same benefits. It's also the reason I have one "flavour" of lip balm and only a handful of bath products. Fortunately though, my deodorant is vegan! I felt comfortable substituting the beeswax for a plant wax AND the substitute doesn't retain moisture like beeswax does, so it makes an overall better product in this case.

For each product that I develop, I look at the overall purpose, then I analyze which plants and essential oils I'll need to use to achieve maximum effect. The plant and essential oil phase usually takes a while to figure out. I try to ensure that I'm using materials that have the least number of contraindications possible, in order to make it safe for more people. The hardest product to-date was my Outdoor Clothing Spray! There are a lot of essential oils that can be used for this purpose, but a lot of them have contraindications for adults, children and dogs, so making sure I review and research these all can be quite time-consuming, but ultimately worth it in the end.

Once I have the plants and essential oils figured out, I'm on to the oils and butters (if applicable). Again, I'm looking at the purpose of the product and which oils and butters will be the best for the product. I have a trusted top 3 oil/butter combo that I usually use for most products because they are simply amazing for your skin. Depending on use though, I have a list of 4 oils that I use most often – olive oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and jojoba oil (in that order). For butters, my main go-to is almost always cocoa butter because it offers a lot of wonderful qualities, plus it provides such a nice texture. I have experimented with mango butter with mediocre results (it likes to sweat) and shea butter usually smells unappealing. I am eventually going to experiment with cupuacu butter and kokum butter because they have some serious potential.

Once all of that is figured out, it's time to make a recipe. Salves and balms usually share a similar recipe to each other. Other products take a little more time and work. Once I have a recipe that seems to have worked, I try out the product (or get some of my testers to try it out). Sometimes they're horrible and the whole batch gets thrown away and sometimes they're ok, but need some tweaks, sometimes I re-work it 3 or 4 times until I get the desired result. There are even times where the recipe has turned out just right, but the product doesn't do what it's intended to do! I've been working on a zinc balm for over a year, if you can believe it!

Finally, I want to make sure everyone knows that I take this seriously. All of my bath & body products are registered with Health Canada and have cosmetic numbers. My water-based products (body lotion) do contain a preservative – it is a vegan-friendly, ECO cert and COSMOS compliant preservative, so I feel comfortable that it's retaining it's "natural" label. "No Preservatives" is a dangerous game to play because as soon as you add water to a formulation, bacteria will grow and you will end up putting it on your face or body. And while ingredients like essential oils and honey have some bacteria fighting properties, they aren't a preservative. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, so while it may help extend the shelf life of carrier oils, it won't prevent bacteria and mold from growing in a product, often unseen by the naked eye.

So there you have it. My process in a nut-shell and why I don't have a ton of scent varieties and some information on how I develop and formulate my products.

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