Tag Archives: Exploration

Recent explorations in skincare alchemy…

Some of theapothecary_case-bottles new items I have for this year include soap-free scrubs/masques  in several varieties, decorative bath fizzers, and that elusive Elixir of Wahoo.


The soap free scrubs are a result of co-conspiracy with a friend in Australia, and a remembrance of the ‘beauty cleansing grains’ Helena Rubenstein made when I was a kid, and that my Mom gave me when I first got the dreaded acne.  (This was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, evidently!).

Cleansing Grains

soap-free beauty scrubs

My updated versions of that idea are blends of colloidal oatmeal, flower petals and herbs plus gentle clays.  Perfect for scrubbing up after a day in the garden or on city streets, or as a gentle, soap-free beauty scrubess scrub to polish and smooth.  My favorite is made with damask rose petals, (of course!) but I also came up with lavender & calendula, cucumber & French green clay, and the latest is ‘Wake up and smell the coffee (scrub)!’ with finest ground espresso beans.  Yumm!

The fizzefizzybathcakesrs will get their own post, but for now, let’s just say, a marriage of holiday cookies and sparkle-fizz.



And lastly, the elixir.  It has been super popular at the Market already this spring, selling out and prompting emails for more.  It’s a blooming bath oil, scented to be a spring tonic, reviving and restorative, with luscious avocado oil fElixir of Wahooor the skin, and tangerine, spruce and lavender essential oils to uplift your senses… and no bathtub ring!  Woohoo!



Farmer’s Market 2013

Our local Farmer’s Market starts in little over a month from now; winter seems to have whizzed past.  I spent a good part of it studying and doing product development–making the sparkliest bath fizzies, blending new soap scents, finding better packaging for non-soap items, formulating new shampoo bars,  more sparkly fizzy bath treats, and soap free facial cleansers.  Plus Elixir of Wahoo.

What’s Elixir of Wahoo?  You’ll have to check back and find out ;)


Green and leafy, fruity, spicy and sweet

Spring green soap 'Bright Green'The amazing smell of chlorophyll, that green life that drives the planet, is in full force now, and heavy on the air with all the rain we are having.  I tinkered a bit with essential oils to evoke that GREEN, fresh scent, and ended up with a blend of lime, lime leaf (my new favorite citrus/green scent; bright and lively with a hint, just a hint, of rosy somewhere in the background), lavender, lemony may chang and a splash of black spruce, with its jammy sweet, rich and ethereal notes.

The black spruce wanted further investigation, and I paired it with folded tangerine; those two essential oils are divine together!  They want to be together.  A sprinkle of poppy seed sparkled through the batch gives a nice visual interest, and by some twist of luck, the scent and those speckly seeds make for a very mango-looking soap.  All in all, satisfying scent exploration leading to two blends I will definitely use again, and a fun use of botanicals from the garden.

I had the Tropics on my mind, and made a batch of Gardenia, a floral that is hard to do well, as fragrance oils usually are overly sweet or metallic to me; but I had some Monoi on hand from a splurge (you splurge once in a while, don’t you?  I love splurging on things I can share, like Monoi)–it’s virgin coconut oil, infused with Gardenia blossoms, in far off Tahiti.  I lifted the scent just a wee with the nicest Gardenia fragrance oil I could find, but when I make the next batch, I won’t need it, as the Monoi came through very nicely.

Carrying the warmer-climates theme forward, I restocked ‘Cardamom’, and this time used some infused oil I had prepared from a pound of Cardamom pods; mmmmm!  Often customers say they feel like taking a bite of my soaps, it’s a running joke at the Market (I even have a sort of Victorian sign, tongue in cheek, “Please Don’t Eat the Soap”)—but the Cardamom makes me feel like taking a nibble!


Group Research Project

A bunch of fellow soapers and I are working on a research project, investigating the effect various additives have on lathering qualities in soap.  Included are milks, chelating agents, proteins, resin, and more.  We all used the same exact base oils and procedure, and made the soaps within the same week.

It should be fascinating to get my bag of soap bars and start testing!  I contributed oatmilk, a strained oat-water solution I have been experimenting with as an alternative to silk in soap (silk gives a ‘slick’, smooth feel to lather; but it’s not a vegetarian item, so I don’t use it.)  It’s been a pleasant surprise to note that the oatmilk also boosts lather in the un-silk bars, (including the Pink Grapefruit and Winter Tropics bars).  Now it will be interesting to see how this additive compares to over 20 others!  (Thank you Shannon for organizing this!)

My oatmilk bars went out yesterday, and here is a pic of them, with a bar of the unscented cocoa butter, and two other full sized bars for comparison:

Oatmilk latherswap bars

Oatmilk samples, with cocoabutter and goatmilk bars for color comparison






(And no, I can’t cut a straight line with a ruler!  Which is why I love my log-soap cutter.)

Oakmoss & plinky bubbles

I collected more oakmoss last week, (bonus to the weird weather; woke up thinking it’d be a good day to look for it, after the gale and downpour)–I think I will try tincturing it just for fun.

It’s that or find a perfume locket for a chunk of it, I do like the smell….. at reasonable amounts.  The absolute is not only very very pricey, it is incredibly strong.  That and the possible irritancy of the tree mosses hold me back from soaping it.  There are a few fragrance oils that dupe it, and I have smelled a couple that come close, but haven’t yet found one I want to soap.  But since I keep returning to the moss fragments on my desk, and find myself stuffing bits in my pockets, I have to do something with the oakmoss that falls from the sky.  Even if that only ends up as a personal scent, or a perfume locket, and a guide for what fo to use when I give up and soap with a duplication.

LOL, Unreasonable amounts would also include the bathbomb I treated myself to the other day; some store brand, it was a nice scent but OVERPOWERING and CLINGY.  I had to take 2 showers afterwards, the smell was that hard to remove.  And then bleach the tub!  It’s too bad, cause the tech was there; it was nicely fizzy (the sound is my favorite, I think; those plinky bubbles), it emulsified well, left a nice emollience behind, it was pretty (pink and white) but the owls could probably smell the bath out on the county road.  I’m not sure a quarter of the remaining one wouldn’t be too strong!  Still, it was nice, and I will have to find a recipe and make some un/barely scented ones, using some favorite or new essential oil blends.  I could really see crawling gratefully into a eucalyptus or ginger-orangey fizzy bath to warm up after a day of shoveling and plowing.