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Tracy von Elling

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Hi Everybody,

I am wanting to find some help and resources in making lotion. I did a class a few months ago but found the method a little confusing. We did the heat and hold method and the quick microwave method. I am seeing a few on here on some old threads recommend Switch craft Monkey as a resource, but when I click the link it says it's private. Is there any way to view this website and does anyone else have any recommendations on an e-class or something for beginner lotion making? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks so much,
Tracy
 

Mobjack Bay

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I learned how to make lotion by reading the HumbleBee and Me website (link)and watching Marie’s videos on YouTube. The swiftcraftmonkey site was probably open access when those links were posted, but now there’s a fee or monthly subscription required. I don’t make enough lotion or have enough time to delve into that site, so I stick pretty closely to the formulations given at open sites I trust.
 

Tracy von Elling

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Thank you so much. I'll check out HumbleBee and Me for sure. I just realized now that there is a subscription fee for that.
I appreciate the suggestion etc.
 

AliOop

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I recently paid for the $1 per month subscription to Swifty Crafty Monkey. Here are my thoughts so far:

1. She offers a lot - no, a TON - of information for $1 per month. Recipes, ingredient explanations, science... it's all there.

2. Since it is basically a blog with new posts added over decades of time, the organization aspect of the site is... challenging. You start with one article that sounds promising. Then you have to click through multiple links, and then find your way back, and then forward again. For someone like me, who thinks in outline form, and who needs to put stuff into a logical chronology to make sense of it, this is a bit frustrating. I'm hanging in there for now since I really want to make syndet shampoo bars that make sense for my hair.
 
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AliOop

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$1 a month! I guess I never read the fine print!
Yes, even a cheapo like moi will pay $1/mo ... for awhile, anyway. 😉.

I paid $3 for a monthly subscription to someone else’s Patreon page. Within a few days, I’d read most of it, and wasn’t inclined to stay due to bad organization AND the use of many ingredients I’m trying to avoid. I mean, why make your own if you are going to put all the same toxic stuff in it? Making is fun, but it needs to be more than that for me to pay someone $3/mo.
 

Tracy von Elling

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I recently paid for the $1 per month subscription to Swifty Crafty Monkey. Here are my thoughts so far:

1. She offers a lot - no, a TON - of information for $1 per month. Recipes, ingredient explanations, science... it's all there.

2. Since it is basically a blog with new posts added over decades of time, the organization aspect of the site is... challenging. You start with one article that sounds promising. Then you have to click through multiple links, and then find your way back, and then forward again. For someone like me, who thinks in outline form, and who needs to put stuff into a logical chronology to make sense of it, this is a bit frustrating. I'm hanging in there for now since I really want to make syndet shampoo bars that make sense for my hair.
Good to know there is a lot to read etc if one pays the $. It's hard to pay without knowing. It looks good though and I appreciate your feedback.
It does look like it isn't set up in order of 'topic' etc and one would have to sift through all the blog pages but that may be okay. Different but hopefully I will find what I'm looking for :)
 

Tracy von Elling

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Yes, even a cheapo like moi will pay $1/mo ... for awhile, anyway. 😉.

I paid $3 for a monthly subscription to someone else’s Patreon page. Within a few days, I’d read most of it, and wasn’t inclined to stay due to bad organization AND the use of many ingredients I’m trying to avoid. I mean, why make your own if you are going to put all the same toxic stuff in it? Making is fun, but it needs to be more than that for me to pay someone $3/mo.
I think like that too. If I am making it myself it is because I want something specific. There needs to be a substantial amount if I am going to sign up and pay. I guess one could pay for a month and then withdraw from it. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

cmzaha

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While Humblebee and Me info are okay in my opinion. I have tried a few of her recipes that have been complete failures so I prefer the info you can gain at Swifty Crafty Monkey or over here. Learn to Make Natural Lotion, Cream, Moisturiser & Body Butter There is a lot of knowledge about preservatives etc.

When it comes down to it, making lotion takes a lot of time and testing. You just cannot expect all recipes to be completely perfect. As much as I do not like Brambleberry here is a good lotion to start with although I do not like her methods. We use the heat and hold method. I have to confess our very first lotion which I still make over 10 yrs later is loosely based on this recipe. This is the recipe my daughter started with. Make Lotion from Scratch on Soap Queen TV - Soap Queen We have had the recipe plate tested and challenged tested over the years.
 

Tracy von Elling

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While Humblebee and Me info are okay in my opinion. I have tried a few of her recipes that have been complete failures so I prefer the info you can gain at Swifty Crafty Monkey or over here. Learn to Make Natural Lotion, Cream, Moisturiser & Body Butter There is a lot of knowledge about preservatives etc.

When it comes down to it, making lotion takes a lot of time and testing. You just cannot expect all recipes to be completely perfect. As much as I do not like Brambleberry here is a good lotion to start with although I do not like her methods. We use the heat and hold method. I have to confess our very first lotion which I still make over 10 yrs later is loosely based on this recipe. This is the recipe my daughter started with. Make Lotion from Scratch on Soap Queen TV - Soap Queen We have had the recipe plate tested and challenged tested over the years.
This is helpful. It's hard to know which recipe to use. I do like the recipe we made in the class. I just am having a hard time with the method and a little confused as to what to melt when and what to add to what and about the temperatures at different stages. Not sure if I am expressing myself well. So the recipe I have I enjoy, although not sure how it would work out if I did it on my own. I had thought lotion making would be easier than making cold process soap. Maybe the soap is easier because I am confident and have made so many batches over just the last 2 years. I know that once I have made a few batches of lotion I will become more confident... I just have to get there! Thanks so much for your feedback.
Thanks so
 

earlene

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Good to know there is a lot to read etc if one pays the $. It's hard to pay without knowing. It looks good though and I appreciate your feedback.
It does look like it isn't set up in order of 'topic' etc and one would have to sift through all the blog pages but that may be okay. Different but hopefully I will find what I'm looking for :)
You don't really have to sort through all the blog pages, if you know what you are looking for. Instead, you can fine-tune a search using Google, rather than searching on the actual site. By doing it this way, it will save time and direct you to the areas you wish to find without all the sifting through on your own, which is what I prefer when doing research. The sifting through may be fun, but it is rather time-intensive.

Example: Say I want to know about shampoo bars and what Susan has to say about it and some recipes, etc, This is what I type into the google search engine:

"shampoo bar site:swiftcraftymonkey.blog/ "

OR

"swiftcraftymonkey.blog/ shampoo bar"

Google gives me lots of results on her pages and can just pop over to those links for a quick read. As long as I keep the search page open, I can sort through them all, until I decide I want to change my search parameters. I tend to have a lot of pages open at a time, but it makes finding what I'm looking for easier.
 

AliOop

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@earlene I do something similar, but different. 😁 I use the search bar on the SCM site to bring up all the possible links. Then as I scroll through them, I right-click and choose to open it in a new tab. Like you, I do end up with a lot of open tabs, but I can always go back to the first one (the one farthest on the left) to go back to the search results.
 

Tracy von Elling

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You don't really have to sort through all the blog pages, if you know what you are looking for. Instead, you can fine-tune a search using Google, rather than searching on the actual site. By doing it this way, it will save time and direct you to the areas you wish to find without all the sifting through on your own, which is what I prefer when doing research. The sifting through may be fun, but it is rather time-intensive.

Example: Say I want to know about shampoo bars and what Susan has to say about it and some recipes, etc, This is what I type into the google search engine:

"shampoo bar site:swiftcraftymonkey.blog/ "

OR

"swiftcraftymonkey.blog/ shampoo bar"

Google gives me lots of results on her pages and can just pop over to those links for a quick read. As long as I keep the search page open, I can sort through them all, until I decide I want to change my search parameters. I tend to have a lot of pages open at a time, but it makes finding what I'm looking for easier.
I will do this - thank you :)
 

cmzaha

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In my opinion, lotion really has more of a learning curve than soap but I was selling so I am pretty paranoid with lotions, not to scare you off because it is fun. Usually, all butters, waxes, and oils are melted together. Water and other liquids such as glycerin, and held as are your oils. With lotions you usually have 3 phases, Oil, Water, cool Down. Cool Down can include additives such as your preservative, additives such as silicones. As a side note, I always weigh my distilled water before I heat and hold and have an extra container of hot water that has been heated and held to make up for evaporation. Always tare all your containers and write the empty tare weight on the bottom. It can save you a lot of grief.
 

Tracy von Elling

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In my opinion, lotion really has more of a learning curve than soap but I was selling so I am pretty paranoid with lotions, not to scare you off because it is fun. Usually, all butters, waxes, and oils are melted together. Water and other liquids such as glycerin, and held as are your oils. With lotions you usually have 3 phases, Oil, Water, cool Down. Cool Down can include additives such as your preservative, additives such as silicones. As a side note, I always weigh my distilled water before I heat and hold and have an extra container of hot water that has been heated and held to make up for evaporation. Always tare all your containers and write the empty tare weight on the bottom. It can save you a lot of grief.

This is so very helpful! I have been pretty nervous. The class was good but I didn't get all of my questions answered and felt confused after I left so I haven't had the confidence to make any. But I LOVE my lotion from the class, although it is a very thick consistency. I don't know if we accounted for evaporation. It would be hard to go back to buying lotion now. So you have an extra container of hot water that has been heated etc, but may I ask how much extra you add to account for the evaporation that may occur?
I really do appreciate the help. I had thought of buying the tutorial on lotion making from 'lovin soap" and may still do that.
Thanks again :)
 

linne1gi

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While Humblebee and Me info are okay in my opinion. I have tried a few of her recipes that have been complete failures so I prefer the info you can gain at Swifty Crafty Monkey or over here. Learn to Make Natural Lotion, Cream, Moisturiser & Body Butter There is a lot of knowledge about preservatives etc.

When it comes down to it, making lotion takes a lot of time and testing. You just cannot expect all recipes to be completely perfect. As much as I do not like Brambleberry here is a good lotion to start with although I do not like her methods. We use the heat and hold method. I have to confess our very first lotion which I still make over 10 yrs later is loosely based on this recipe. This is the recipe my daughter started with. Make Lotion from Scratch on Soap Queen TV - Soap Queen We have had the recipe plate tested and challenged tested over the years.
I'm totally surprised that you don't like humblebee's lotion recipes. I've made many of them and they have all been a success, as far as their outcome. I haven't been in love with all of them, but that's mostly because of my poor choice of scent. I'm also not crazy about many of the SoapQueen's recipes - well maybe not the recipes per se, but her technique.
 

glendam

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I learned a lot from watching the videos from the Lotion Making group in fb, it is from the same website that @cmzaha listed (from Jane Barber).

She (Jane) does no give out a formulation (she does not like to call them recipes) but does give out a lot of specifics on how to formulate your own.
 

DeeAnna

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Susan (Swift Crafty Monkey) can be overwhelming at times since she likes to try all kinds of unusual ingredients, but that's also part of her reputation -- the willingness to test new stuff and be honest about the results. I trust her and the Making Skincare website over most other online resources. Humblebee and Brambleberry and the Majestic Mountain Sage blog are other good resources, but sometimes their lack of understanding about the science really shows.

In another recent thread about hair conditioner (basically a lotion that's used on hair), someone complained that she didn't want to make conditioner formulations (aka recipes) with unusual or "not natural" ingredients. I think my slightly edited reply to her also applies to this thread --

You can make a super simple hair conditioner or body lotion with a blend of BTMS emulsifier (or e-wax or other all-in-one emulsifier), water, and a decent broad spectrum preservative. That's all. If you want simple, this is the place to start.

When you get more comfortable making a super simple product like this, you can add stuff that makes the product even more pleasant and effective. That's what the other stuff is all about.

The cetyl alcohol or stearic acid in Swift's ingredient list is a thickener that modifies the texture and helps the emulsion stay more stable. Cetyl alcohol also provides additional conditioning properties for the hair and skin. Adding either thickener is the first thing I'd do to upgrade.

The oils and butters add fat to the product. You can use oils only or butters only or both. Oils add shine and smoothness to the hair and soothe and protect the skin. The butters, because they're solid at room temp, also provide some thickening power to the product.

All of the other ingredients in Swift's recipe/formulation do nice things for hair (or skin if talking about a body lotion). These additives make it easier to comb the hair and reduce frizz (the -cones), soothe and reduce itchiness of the scalp and strengthen the hair shaft (panthenol), add moisture to the hair (honeyquat), reduce static in the hair (centrimonium chloride), etc. If you don't want them or don't have the budget to get them, don't use them.

Never omit the preservative, however. It may seem to be a small ingredient, but it's vital.

I recommend Anne L. Watson's book Simple Lotionmaking as a good, inexpensive book to get started making safe and effective lotions.

Source: Issues with Hair Conditioner Bar recipe
 
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cmzaha

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I'm totally surprised that you don't like humblebee's lotion recipes. I've made many of them and they have all been a success, as far as their outcome. I haven't been in love with all of them, but that's mostly because of my poor choice of scent. I'm also not crazy about many of the SoapQueen's recipes - well maybe not the recipes per se, but her technique.
But do you test or have your lotions tested? When I was testing I had a rack full of lotions that were in test mode. Believe me, I am not bashing her formulas in the least and even a temp difference can make a lotion fail as can a slight difference in water evaporation. So to take an off the shelf recipe and think it is perfect is not a good way to go if you are going to sell a lotion. Also, I have severe skin problems and not up to the risk of germs. Also, keep in mind her blog is for making her money, which she does well at. I also so is Susan's at Swifty but she also has an extensive chemistry background in cosmetics. FYI I have not liked all of Susan's Syndet Shampoo bars but that is a personal preference, the formulas worked.

@tracy, I account for evaporation by weighing by original heated and held liquids. Remember I tare my empty pots and write down the tare weights. Before I pour my oils into my water I re-weigh my water and add in more if necessary from my reserved. After emulsion and the cool-down stage I will again check my weights to see if they match what my total lotion should be. If necessary by that time I can add in more of my reserved water which by then should be cooled down. You do not want to up your lotion temp after adding in your preservative.

I have two recipes if I do not have enough water the emulsion will break so I have to keep the fine line of enough water, and it usually breaks after adding in the Preservative. Hence my paranoia with measuring my liquids when making large batches.

I think I mentioned this before never heat and hold silicones. Add them at cool down, or you will not get emulsification. I make and love a no oil lotion, which is actually our favorite lotion.
 

Tracy von Elling

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But do you test or have your lotions tested? When I was testing I had a rack full of lotions that were in test mode. Believe me, I am not bashing her formulas in the least and even a temp difference can make a lotion fail as can a slight difference in water evaporation. So to take an off the shelf recipe and think it is perfect is not a good way to go if you are going to sell a lotion. Also, I have severe skin problems and not up to the risk of germs. Also, keep in mind her blog is for making her money, which she does well at. I also so is Susan's at Swifty but she also has an extensive chemistry background in cosmetics. FYI I have not liked all of Susan's Syndet Shampoo bars but that is a personal preference, the formulas worked.

@tracy, I account for evaporation by weighing by original heated and held liquids. Remember I tare my empty pots and write down the tare weights. Before I pour my oils into my water I re-weigh my water and add in more if necessary from my reserved. After emulsion and the cool-down stage I will again check my weights to see if they match what my total lotion should be. If necessary by that time I can add in more of my reserved water which by then should be cooled down. You do not want to up your lotion temp after adding in your preservative.

I have two recipes if I do not have enough water the emulsion will break so I have to keep the fine line of enough water, and it usually breaks after adding in the Preservative. Hence my paranoia with measuring my liquids when making large batches.

I think I mentioned this before never heat and hold silicones. Add them at cool down, or you will not get emulsification. I make and love a no oil lotion, which is actually our favorite lotion.
I have re read this thread twice today as I finally made my first lotion and had some challenges.
Just want to say thanks for your last comment as I see I never did reply but I did read it and everyone is so helpful.

I seem to be doing it differently to everyone else. I'm heating my water and adding heated Cetyl/E-wax to it and then holding that heat and heating up my oils and adding my oils to my heated water when they are 170 degrees F. Then stick blending a little until it cools and then adding preservative and FO/EO. I have no idea if this is the best thing to do. I have read what I can online but learn way better by videos etc and the things I am seeing on you tube is different. Maybe there are a few different ways? Anyway, thanks again for your comment. I know this will all take time to learn. I lost my home and had a bit of a sad time recently and in my mind I was always looking forward to finally being able to make some lotion LOL, and finally I did! So I was a bit sad that it didn't work out well but I do know it's a science.
 
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