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1  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Petroleum Substitute? on: May 22, 2007 04:08:35 PM
Snowdrift farm has a castor-oil substitute for petrolatum.
http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/castorlatum.html
2  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: which fragrances are suitable for "men's" soap? on: May 22, 2007 04:06:35 PM
When I worked at a bath and body boutique, we sold soooo many spruce/mint soaps to guys.  This was the soap that men picked out for themselves as soon as they smelled it, and it had these components in the blend:
spruce
fir
spearmint
peppermint
cypress
sandalwood and frankincense (just a little to bind the fragrance)

Some were essential oils, some were fragrance oils.  Anise and a typical "ocean" soap were close seconds.
3  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Uh...where can you buy witch hazel? on: May 22, 2007 04:02:44 PM
I've found it at Target, Wal Mart and CVS.  It's not the "all natural alcohol free distillate," but it works.

PS - If you're making bath bombs with it, plain old water does the trick just fine.
4  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Question about making lip balm on: May 19, 2007 10:20:45 AM
You can use SOME essential oils also as flavor oils, such as grapefruit.  Many citrus EOs are photosensitizing, though, so you might not want to use much in your lip balm if you're going out in the sun. 

Some essential oils should NEVER be ingested; they are highly toxic.  Don't mess around with them without performing an essential oil "background check" on Aromaweb or similar sites.  I am hardly an EO expert - I just know enough to be careful, since I don't know much!

In general, soap fragrance oils taste horrible.  The thing to use is flavor oil, and most places that sell soap fragrances also sell flavor oils for use in lip balms.  You can also use honey / honey powder, which tastes great and has an added benefit of extra moisturizing.
5  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Making Flower Perfume on: May 11, 2007 12:25:51 PM
Haha, yeah, I love perfumery.  The best part is that anyone can do it - even most industry perfumers are just people with a good nose and creative ideas for scents.

For an eye-opening experience, go to Whole Foods or Wild Oats and see how much they sell their natural perfumes and aromatherapy products.  I saw 2.5 ounces of rose hydrosol (the leftover water from making absolutes) sell for $16!
6  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Anise blend suggestions on: May 10, 2007 04:17:15 PM
I use anise all the time in blends!  I love it with pink grapefruit; this blend is weird and modern, but I think it's cool.  They're both top notes, though, so they don't linger on the skin for more than 30 minutes.

Anise also works well with wood and grass type scents, like sweetgrass, osmanthus, frankincense, and sandalwood.  Lavenders come in many varieties, and they don't all smell the same.  Lavandin is a much stronger, more camphorous scent than Bulgarian lavender, and used in many men's toiletries.  It also has great staying power.

I love the goats milk soap idea, too.
7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Making Flower Perfume on: May 10, 2007 02:59:43 PM
Ok, this is probably way more than you wanted to know...

Jasmine wax does have a good scent, but be careful because you have to melt it.  The heat may break down the jasmine fragrance.  The reason that there's no such thing as "jasmine essential oil" is because it can't be steam distilled; jasmine blossoms are too delicate.  The heat from distillation for many flowers destroys the scent. 

You may see "jasmine essential oil," but it is really a jojoba dilution of jasmine absolute, which is solvent-extracted. 

With the oil experiments, you're attempting to do "enfleurage," which is a method of extraction still in use today (though solvent extracted is replacing it in many cases.)  It takes many, many blossoms to get anything strong enough to use as perfume - as in, 8,000 jasmine blossoms makes 1 gram of absolute.

In addition, there are different kinds of jasmine.  The two most often used in perfumery are jasmine grandiflorum and jasmine sambac, and they smell quite different. 

Grandiflorum generally smells sweeter and more floral.  Sambac is described as "animalistic," masculine, or musky.  (Strange perfumer's fact - it has indoles in it, which smell fecal in intense concentrations, just like civet.  Diluted, it smells pleasant.)

One variety may smell good on you, and the other might be horrid.  They're both absolutely awful on me; they have an undercurrent of rotting vegetables, and I go with a synthetic.  But if you want to make true botanical perfume, my advice is to get a small bottle of absolute dilution (3-5% in jojoba oil) and make simple perfume with it. 

It's not that expensive.  You can get it here:
http://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/jasmine-grandiflorum-3-p-422.html

They also offer the full absolute, undiluted, but I don't recommend starting with it if you're a beginner to working with absolutes.  It will probably smell very strange because it's so strong, not like sniffing a jasmine flower.  When it's this concentrated, you detect all kinds of trace elements you'd normally never notice.  To some, absolutes smell very chemical until you dilute them. 

With the 3% dilution, you can make oil or solid perfume, but remember - only heat the solid perfume to the absolute minimum temperature.  I don't know what the heat tolerance of jasmine absolute is, but it's got to be pretty low.

If you use absolutes, you're best off diluting them with pure ethanol.  It is the best solvent; some absolutes are too resinous and thick to be dissolved by anything else, even oil.

Hope this helps!
- Cat.
8  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / I need critiques on my latest manual on making designer perfume copies. on: August 14, 2006 11:52:46 AM
Hey all,

I just wrote another DIY bath and body manual.  This one's more of a beginner project - how to make designer perfume copies.  It's the same format as the Bath Bomb Manual, only it needs a lot more work.  I know that it could be improved 100%, but I need your feedback and critiques for guidance.

If you're interested, dowload it at:

http://www.excellentlivingguide.com/fastguide.html (PDF, 38 pages)

And tell me what you think could be clarified or improved.

Thanks so much!
- Cat
9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: Help -Can I decoupage with stuff I print out on my computer?What paper do I on: August 07, 2006 12:44:42 PM
My mom does this, so I know a little about it.  Here's what she had done, and they're both methods that will give you good results.

1) You can use waterslide decal paper, made by Lazertran.  Though this is usually done with a color laser printer, you can also get it for inkjet.  Whole packs are expensive, but many people sell one to five sheets on Ebay, if you want to try it out.  Here's some info on it:
http://www.lazertran.com/products/lazertran_products_inkjet.htm

2) You can also get waterproof inkjet decal paper, but it only comes in white.  It comes in "1 label per sheet" size, so you can just print out your images and cut them up freehand.
http://www.onlinelabels.com/material_vinyl_inkjet_labels.htm
http://www.onlinelabels.com/material_crystal_clear_inkjet_labels.htm -> clear, but not as waterproof.

Hope this helps you out.
- Cat
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: transforming old manga on: August 07, 2006 12:35:18 PM
I'd reccomend buttons. That's what I do with all my old stuff. Cut out a good pic of your favorite bishi and show off your obsession! ^_^ The shinier the hair, the better. I reccomend taking the pictures from really dramatic scenes, or introductory ones. You know...the mysterious stranger looks over the plains, sword in hand...

That's *awesome* - I'll do that with the comics that get too battered to circulate in my library!
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