Friday, July 29, 2016

Why are cosmetics homogenised?

Most people are familiar with the term ‘homogenised’ milk, which basically means the milk has been mixed so that the fat is evenly dispersed through the bottle. When I was a child and the milk was delivered in glass bottles to our gates, there was only ever 1 type of milk- silver top. This had the cream settling on the top 1/6 of the bottle and it was always a battle as to who would get the ‘top of the milk’. In quality skin care the same process is used where by the fats /oils are mixed at high speeds with the water phase. Combined with a surfactant or emulsifier (which helps water and oil combine), the end product is a cream.  A homogeniser is more than just a mixer- think of your kitchen stick blender which whizzes things up and makes nice soups or puddings.
Homogenisers do way more than just blend everything together- they break down the individual particles into microscopic sizes and force them to mix and very high speeds (upwards of 30,000 RPM). The end results from a cosmetic cream point of view is a very smooth, fine cream or lotion which is completely homogenised. This is especially important if there are special active ingredients in the cream which need to be dispersed fully and evenly through the cream. Some products are vacuum homogenised which extracts out any surplus water, giving thicker more stable creams.

Here at From nature all the creams are homogenized at speeds varying from 10,000-3000 RPM depending on the type of product. This latest experiment involves just using a hard fat (illipe butter) and 2 softer oils (macadamia and hemp seed). the fats and oils are homogenised while still hot to give a consistent mix. The sample batch is left to cool to around 40 degrees and further high speed  homogenisation occurs. the idea is to create a whipped butter product which is entirely preservative and water free, but has a creamy melt on the skin texture. Other ingredients include a small amount of organic lavender oil to take away the oily smell (hempseed has a nutty aroma), coconut oil and olive ester to further aid in the smoothness.

Illipe butter, also called Beurre d’illpe is produced from the nuts of the Shorea stenoptera tree. It is a very hard butter, similar to cocoa butter and is used in lipsticks and rich cream products. it is in several of the products I make at From Nature. The fatty acid profile is palmitic acid 16.4%, stearic acid 43.5%, oleic acid 31%, linoleic acid 1.5%.

How to use a whipped body butter- many commercial body butters also contain water so they are a very thick cream. This whipped butter is slightly different in that it doesn't have water. It will sit on the surface of the skin first and then soak in over time so has a very protective and hydrating effect. The illipe butter also gives a barrier action so perfect for babies bottoms or where you need to protect the skin. In cold weather the butter will be quite firm. Best applied to the skin after showering when the skin is warm. it can also be used as a massage balm. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

From Nature Outlet Store now live!!!

NZ customers can now purchase on line from Wendy's outlet store on Trade Me- short runs, production over runs, samples etc all at reduced prices. All stock strictly limited.
NZ customers only.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Borrowing Ideas' to make your own products

Visit From for base products
If you love creating your own products, then it always good to have a look around and see what other companies are making, their aromas and ingredients. Of course I am not suggesting you copy them and try to claim them being the same and selling them. However if you read ingredients you can get some ideas for your creations. Always check for allergies and if you are using pure essential oils please note any possible allergies or cautions.

One company which often as some intriguing combinations of products is LUSH.  I used to use quite  a lot of their products but sadly as many of them do contain synthetic fragrances which I am allergic to I just can't tolerate them too much. I made a giant bath bomb for my honey moon many years ago- a 500 gm bomb filled with expensive jasmine absolute, rose petals and glitter which my ex husband and I enjoyed in an outdoor bath over a gas fire under the stars, drinking champagne. I gave the female members of my new family smaller versions of the same bathbomb as a small wedding favour, along with greenstone jewellery.

Bath bombs can be quite drying on the skin unless some sort or moisturiser is added. Also the colours used can leave a mark on the bath.

I have just recently replaced my small 1.5 person bath with a large deep tub with comfortably holds 2 people stretched out. The plumber moved the taps so there is no awkward moment of 'who gets the taps' and I had a handy little shelf inset into the wall, big enough for scented candles and 2 champagne glasses.

I love making bath melts, with have the same effect of diffusing aromas, but also contain luscious butters so your skin is beautifully moisturised afterwards. No glitter -nothing kills romance more quickly than a glittery pink stain around the bath tub!

Bath Melt Recipe

Cocoa butter 25%
Coconut oil 10%
Shea butter 20% 
Carrier oil (e.g almond, jojoba, macademia) up to 45%
Essential oils/aromatics up to 2%
Rock salt, Raw can sugar, petals up to 3%

Melt fats and oil together and when starting to coll (around 40 degrees Celsius add the essential oil.  Add petals to the bottom of your moulds and pour liquid on top. if using salts or sugars then pour oil mix first and when almost set add the salts, sugars to the top so they don't melt.  When set hard pop out the mould and store in an air tight jar by your bath.
use as desired!

Here are my inspirations. I use my massage bar recipe and pour into small chocolate moulds and pop 1 or 2 in the bath as it is running. My bubbles fix comes with the champagne!

If you like Lush Lord of Misrule try this combination : black pepper*, patchouli, vanilla and ylang ylang (lush use gardenia but this is synthetic- ylang ylang is more amorous!). Make up a 1.5% blend with your bath melt blend. Note black pepper is a dermal irritant and dose dependent so maximum 0.25% of your total essential oil mix as the warmth of the bath will increase its action. No one wants a night of romance looking like a cooked lobster!

If you like Lush Sex Bomb try this combination-jasmine, ylang ylang, clary sage and myrhh essential oils. The original sex bomb uses synthetic musk which can smell a bit cloying at times. Clary sage essential oil is not recommended during pregnancy. If you can get cassie absolute then this can replace the myrhh.

My personal favourite is the Frozen Bath Bomb which has neroli oil, rose oil and grapefruit oil. A euphoric combination!

If you wish to make your own bath bombs there are numerous you tubes and blogs with details on how to do this. I just never have the time to make them now and prefer my little bath melts which takes just moments to put together!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Aromatic Adventures: Heavenly Scents from the garden

Aromatic Adventures: Heavenly Scents from the garden: I often co distil where I use a commercially produced hydrosol as a base (usually lemon geranium or lavender) and redistil with fragrant ...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Home Made Soap

It has been a very long time since I made soap for commercial sale, however I do still make my own batches for personal uses when the mood takes me. I often use it as way to use up random carrier oils, oils which may be starting to turn (and can't be used in the skin care products I make), or with hydrosols which are starting to bloom. I filter and boil these. this bog isn't a detailed 'how to' of home made soap making. If you have not done it before there are a number of careful considerations to take with regards the handling of caustic soda (which can dissolve skin if you mishandle it, or cause blindness if you splash it in your eyes!). My mum had a nasty accident with caustic soda where it had been put in an unmarked container and somehow she was cleaning out the laundry cupboard and water got into the caustic soda (which makes it highly volatile). It splashed in her eyes and she had to have her eyes painfully irrigated for over an hour in the ED with a very painful contraption fitted under the eyelids. She is fine now but it was a very scary reminder of basic home chemical safety. This blog here identifies the steps you need to take with photos. There are numerous other blogs and you tube channels as well.
This is my 'fail safe recipe' from the wonderful book by Carolynn Stubbin ' Do it yourself pure plant skincare'. It's now out of print and seems to be highly desirable as suggested by this outlandish price on Amazon. I treasure my autographed copy. So keep an eye out in second hand book stores!. What I like about this recipe is it gives the basics but I have used many variations of it, using different oils etc and they all seems to come out fine for home use.

Her basic recipe is: 
  • 500 gm hydrogenated coconut oil or olive oil, 
  • 200 ml purified water
  • 70 gm caustic soda
  • emollients up to 20 gm
  • exfoliants up to 20 gm
  • colourants up to 20 gm
  • pure essential ils 7-20 mls
For this recipe I used the following
Organic coconut oil and organic hempseed oil weighted

My own calendula infused sunflower oil added after the saponification

A small amount of moisturising base cream left over from a commercial batch

The caustic soda added TO the hydrosol- sometimes it goes clear

Caustic soda mix added slowly to the melted fats (avoid spalshes!)

Mixing after adding the caustic mix

Calendula oil approx 80 ml

Argan face exfoliant added last

And some spare
  • 400 gm coconut oil
  • 100gm organic hemp seed oil
  • 200ml lemon verbena hydrosol
  • 70 gm caustic soda
  • pre made moisturising cream 100 gm*
  • argan face exfoliant 50 gm*
  • lavandin essential oil 15 ml
  • 50 ml calendula infused sunflower oil* 
  • Mixing again
Cream added after mixing then mixed again
One little trick I have always done is add some additional fat after the saponification stage - this makes the soap highly moisturising as the fats are 'outside' of the chemical bond of the caustic soda and other fat. I also like to add an exfoliant to my body soaps.

Final result
As you can see from the photos once I added the argan exfoliant the mixture became a reddish brown and had the look of a chocolate mousse! I poured it into the moulds as it went thick very quickly. I then leave on top of the hot water cylinder for a few weeks and then take out the container and leave for another few weeks until quite hard. Enjoy! Wendy

Thursday, March 24, 2016