Shelf Life of Handcrafted Creams & Lotions

This post was inspired by finding a jar of thick lotion I made for my sister last year in one of her cupboards. It was a fragrance free cocoabutter lotion made with a strong calendula tea. 

Why? Although everything looked smelled and felt okay, it had passed the ‘fresh by’ date on handcrafted lotion (with preservative) that I’m comfortable with and its not always that nasties growing in product is visible to the naked eye. Especially if you live in hot, sticky high humidity areas like I do. 

Unlike commercially produced lotions which are usually no more than chemicals that help preserve the emulsion for a very long time and under stressful conditions, handmade creams are not meant to last forever.

Also, unlike handcrafted soap which tends to get better with age (unless one or more of your oils go rancid) creams and lotions are best used up within 6 months. Some may last up to a year if kept in pump bottles away from direct heat, etc, but I would err on the side of 6 months and just make a fresh batch with active ingredients.

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Whipped Hair and Body Butter

I don’t often get the chance to make whipped body butter because I really don’t have any patience for the cleanup. If you have never heard of a whipped body butter, you are not alone 🙂 I’m surprised how often I’m asked to explain what it is.

Hard and soft oils are combined and whipped till its the consistency of frosting (depending on how hot it is where you are, in my experience)

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Whipping in progress. Picture courtest holosticsquid via Google

Its best to start whipping when the mixture is firm and cold but if that’s not possible, you can still impart beautiful fluffy melty texture to your whipped butter. It can be used all ovev the body and also in the hair based on the oils you add to the butters.

Here’s half of a very recent custom order I made. I can’t tell you exactly what’s in it because the client supplied the recipe. But I can tell you its goooooood.

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Custom order of whipped butter. Melty goodness ❤

Would you believe you are looking at just under 4kg of whipped butter?!! Thank you beautiful lady customer 😉 for the opportunity to serve your business.

On Soap and Skin Lightening

Hands down, the most popular question I get asked about soap is related to natural skin lightening.

My answer is usually no. The essence of what I do is to create soap and other body products that are free of unnecessary chemicals. Even the fragrance oils I use pass strict standards and I can provide their MSDS.

However, some customers have reported that since they switched to using real soap, they have noticed their skin getting lighter and more glowy (I don’t even know what that really means 😀 ) to the point that people they live and work with notice. Co/incidentally these soaps have milk and or yogurt included.

I’m not a dermatologist but from my research, I can conclude that using products that nourish skin and are not chemical laden DO help the skin to regenerate and reverses the effects of sun exposure, which automatically leaves you one or two shades lighter than before!

Of course you need to follow up with a moisturiser with sun protection and stay out of the sun (10am to 4pm) as much as you can to prevent further sun damage to your skin. Soap is a wash off product but it sets a good foundation for what you put on it.

So based purely on anecdotal evidence and customer reviews, it appears I DO make all-natural skin lightening soap 😉

Remzo Creations Original Black Soap with a ‘surprise’

One of the beautiful things about soapmaking is the creative expression it allows. Soap can be basic and functional, a work of art, or both. This definitely falls into the ‘both’ category.

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This soap (isn’t that pillar intriguing) was created by Funmi at Remzo Creations. This is her original recipe black soap and would you believe those cream coloured chunks are raw Shea Butter! This takes the luxury skin-loving rating of this soap through the roof! I wish I had thought of it 😀

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Remzo Creations original black soap with shea butter chunks

This particular recipe is targeted at people who want to even out their complexion and achieve a healthy glow. Want some? You can hook up with Funmi by email.

Nini Original African Black Soap

Back when I was a wee lass I used native black soap because I had to. Even then I used to tinker with it because I wanted a soap bar that I could use directly on my skin. Fast forward a few decades and I’ve finally done it…well, sorta.

Where I’m from, black soap is made with Palm (/Kernel) Oil and Shea Butter, in addition to burnt plantain skin and cocoa pods. The resulting brown and black crumbly soap is always surprisingly gentle on the skin.

Personally I’ve never been interested in making black soap from scratch so that’s not what this is about (sorry!)
My inner TinkerNini led me in 2 directions: cold/hot process and a clay blend.

For cold and hot process, I used a recipe with PKO, Palm Oil, Shea and Cocoa butter (90%) and softened black soap and camwood at 10% of the recipe. My PKO had been infusing orange peel for a couple of weeks and I also added orange peel powder into the soap batter. My great grandma would have protested but I added kaolin clay and honey also.

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Hot process Nini Original ABS. I know, Funmi, i have to work on my pictures 😀

Here it is, a gently exfoliating black soap I can hold 😀 This soap is not fragranced and leaves a warm bathroom smelling smoky (in a good way 😀 ) As much as soap can, it leaves touchably smooth skin behind. Which got me thinking of a baby (or super sensitive skin) soap like Castile with 10% ABS instead of just a swirl like I made a while ago…

The second route needed a little more elbow grease and I will blog about that another day.

Chocolate Orange Soap

Orange peel powder is so fragrant, it almost totally overtook the natural fragrance of the virgin coconut oil I infused it in within the first day.

I soaped the infused oil with 20% Shea butter and a full tablespoon of unsifted orange peel powder, dark unsweetened cacao powder, honey and kaolin clay.

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I left this soap unfragraned to see how the orange smell would come through and at the end, I threw in some soap shreds I had made a few days prior just for visual interest. Next time I may make orange shreds in keeping with the chocolate orange theme.

I couldn’t wait to get this soap unmoulded and kept sniffing it as I walked by 😀 The orange doesn’t hit you in the face but its there…nice and subtle, waiting to be activated with warm water. The orange peel grounds make for very gentle exfoliation so this is one to use directly on the skin.

This is a keeper, perfect for people who don’t want or can’t handle fragrance in their bath products.

Aloe Vera Soap

When a dear friend asked me to make soap for her son at his request, I felt I had to make him something special. His mum usually gets the French Red Clay soap but I switched it out for Activated Charcoal.

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Soap in my very busy crocpot 🙂

I also switched half the water for aloe vera gel.

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In the mould

I’m also tickled to be using this silicone loaf mould for the very first time. I’ve had my eye on one for about 2 years. I now own 2 🙂

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The cut...

This soap is scented with a blend of Black Tea fo and Eucalyptus eo  because he’s in university in the UK (they love their tea!) and its getting colder as autumn/fall progresses. It smells really good!

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You can see the poppy seeds in flashlight

It was a real pleasure to fill this order.

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It's a wrap!