Archive for the ‘Skin and Hair Care’ Category

 handmade lotion making
I’ve received a number of questions about handmade lotion. Today, I am sharing portions of these conversations with you.

Is lotion difficult to make? 

No, no, and no.

For years, I made soap and nothing more.  I had this idea that lotion making would be extremely difficult to grasp. It ended up being so easy. My thoughts were, what took me so long to do this?

The mixing of water and oil…

So, how does water mix with oil? An emulsion is a suspension of water and oil, and to obtain this perfect blend that does not separate, an “emulsifier” is added to the formula. 

Does all-natural lotion require a preservative? 

Yes! Trust me, I attempted to make lotion without a “real” preservative. The green nasties wasted no time in turning my skin-nourishing lotion into something that looked and smelled (and was) toxic. Who wants mold smeared on their skin? If you sell your products, you definitely do not want that liability.

What else can I do to keep the nasties out of my lotion formula?

Speaking of formula preservation. Scruptulously clean, sanitized equipment and containers, is a must first-step in lotion making. 

Always use DISTILLED water in a water-based formula. Both tap and bottled water contains contaminants. These contaminants compromise the safety of your lotion formula, and may also lead to inconsistent results from batch to batch. 

Pour before the lotion batch cools down…

When I initially set out on my lotion crafting journey I made 16 ounce batches at a time. This is one of joys of making your own cosmetics. By using simple math, you can made a 4 ounce bottle of lotion or face cream, or 16 ounces (pick your size), in no-time flat. I often made 110-pound batches of lotion in my soap studio. I used a large stainless steel stock pot and a commercial stick blender (which weighted in at 26 pounds). Tip to eliminate pouring woes when making large sized batches: pour as soon as soon as blending is complete. When lotion cools down it may become difficult to pour.

What else can I tell you?

You know, one of my joys in life is to teach others. To be helpful. So, this is why I wrote a simple lotion making book, Essential Lotion Making: Skin Care Made Easy, to share what I have learned with you. 

Okay, final thoughts of wisdom here, can you match the absolute truth of knowing what you put on your own skin? Your skin is the largest organ of your body, treat it with love!

(Please note: lotion is considered a cosmetic. The sale of cosmetics is governed in the United States by the FDA,      http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/default.htm. I also outlined basic labeling, testing, and other requirements and safety recommendations in my book.)

Read Full Post »

indexEssential Lotion Making: Skin Care Made Easy has published! The paperback is available (here), and the Kindle is listed (here).

After I made soap for a number of years I purchased pre-made lotion bases in bulk because I thought lotion making was going to be too difficult to tackle. Lotion formulating ended up being less difficult than soap making. This lead to the writing of this book, to teach others how easy lotion making really is.

I included a list of the most common preservatives in this book, in answer to the many questions I have received, as well as how to make and preserve goat milk lotion.

Handmade cosmetics are so good for the skin…and a big part of that reason is when we know what goes into the bottle, we also know what we are putting on our precious skin!

Read Full Post »

start writing www.anniesgoathill.com

Annie may not have goats in the barn at this point, and she is only in the thinking stages of returning to soap making, but she is definitely glued to some major tasks – book writing!

Update on my books:

Annie’s All About Goats is in the hands of my trusted, talented and extremely appreciated editing team! Progress!

Annie’s lotion making book is approximately 80% complete. In this book I teach the simple process of basic lotion making for the crafty person that wishes to personally benefit from their own made-from-scratch lotion, with goat milk as an ingredient as well. If that were all that I wanted to include in this book, however, the manuscript would be finished. I am in the process of adding product information for people that desire to sell lotions and creams as a business. I have also included my Annie’s Goat Hill formula in the book, which is a creamy viscous lotion that easily squeezes out of thicker pump tubes. A former customer said, “This is goat milk cream!”

Annie also has a youth fiction book which is in the advanced stages of completion. The antics of those two kids! Need I say more?

At this point, I’ll not go into detail about my other book projects – most of which are handwritten on notebook paper and in journals.

Let me know if you have any questions…and look for my books to come!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps…Where You Smell and Feel the Goodness!

Read Full Post »

essential oil safety, aromatherapy www.anniesgoathill.com

Be careful…be very careful.

I am speaking out about formulas, recipes and instructions that I’ve seen in print – over the internet (Facebook, social media in general, soap making lists), and in books that I’ve downloaded, that have included very poor and/or misinformation about essential oil use.

So, today I am sharing a compilation of basic truths that I feel cannot be expressed enough.


  • Essential oils are not safe for ingestion! Do not drink them, and do not include them in your food.
  • Essential oils cannot be derived from each and every species of plant. Other than citrus, a fruit scented liquid that is labeled essential oil is not so! A fruit scented oil (such as strawberry, blueberry, banana, apple, coconut, etc…) is a fragrance oil.
  • Essential oils should not be applied neat (oils must always be diluted – normally with a carrier oil – before applying to the skin).
  • Essential oils must be used with caution – and even more so with the elderly, people that are sick or weak, and children. Use extra caution, or avoid usage altogether, on infants and animals.
  • An absolute diluted in a carrier oil does not equate to a pure essential oil. (Example: Vanilla is in its best form as an absolute. It does not distill well as an essential oil. Vanilla absolute can be diluted with a carrier oil, but the result is NOT to be labeled as pure essential oil). 
  • Any book that teaches essential oil blending, aromatherapy, or the formulating of products that contain essential oils, should include safe usage instructions and warnings.
  • Your nose knows! When an aromatherapist is in training, oils are studied by the book (chemistry make up and how the oil is derived), and through scent. The trained nose becomes familiar with good oils (oils that have not been adulterated). Trust your nose! If you suspect that an oil is not as labeled, you are more than likely correct. Do not use an oil that smells “off”.

Please help protect the freedom we have to use these oils. Misuse and misinformation will speed the boat up that could carry regulation to our doors, or worse, someone could die or become very sick. Stop the dreaded words, “It is natural, so what can it hurt?” It can hurt much…natural does not equate to safe or non-toxic.


My background: I am a base level aromatherapist. I took a course through a well-known school, completed projects with actual people, made formulas and products, took a detailed final exam, and received a certificate. Even at that, this does not make me an expert. I have a good understanding of the basics of aromatherapy – safety, usage and chemistry.

Annie’s Goat Hill, Smell and Feel the Goodness!

Read Full Post »

Advanced Soap Making; Removing the Mystery www.anniesgoathill.com

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, Advanced Soapmaking: Removing the Mystery, co-authored with Alyssa Middleton of Vintage Body Spa.

Coverage from our Amazon.com page, where the book is available, “Enter the world of progressive soap making through Advanced Soap Making: Removing the Mystery. As if you were attending one of their private classes, the authors, Mary Humphrey and Alyssa Middleton lead you through step-by-step instructions, tips and formulas: * How to create unique soap formulas and size the formula to any mold * How to make luxurious goat milk soap * How to beautifully swirl and layer * How to blend natural scents like a pro * How to embed and rebatch natural soaps You will also gain extensive knowledge of common and exotic soap making oils, butters, herbs, unique liquids, hardeners and waxes. The glossary and resource guide erase any remaining advanced soap making doubts with easy to read terminology and locations to shop for ingredients, packaging and other soap making needs.”

My personal goat milk soap making techniques are included in the book, as well as the formula that I follow. Goat milk soap, including most made from scratch soaps, are worth every penny you either put (or pay) into them! Learning how to make the soap yourself really does pay off – for the health of your skin!

If you are new at soap making, or even if you are more experienced, I feel you will find this book to be a great resource.

Happy reading, and happy soaping!


Share, Encourage, and Grow

Read Full Post »

shampoo bar www.anniesgoathill.com

Shampoo Bar

I have been a happy soap experimenter the last several days.

For the 1001’st time (at least that is how I see it), I am testing a new shampoo bar recipe.  One of these days I’ll come up with a formula that I feel is as good as I expect it to be.

Not everyone has soft water.  I know this because I have experienced it.  I will eventually design a bar that works well in hard water!

How about the pretty top on this one? Soap can just be gorgeous! Don’t you agree?


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Where you can smell and feel the goodness!

Read Full Post »

Have you ever tried a natural deodorant?

I became concerned about using antiperspirants (which reduce or block perspiration), after several allergic bouts.  So I began testing various recipes.

I settled on this simple deodorant recipe:

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (this is the solid, 76 degree coconut oil, not the fractionated liquid)

Baking Soda 1/4 cup (Bicarbonate Soda)

1/4 cup Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

10 – 11 drops of essential oils

The essential oils that I chose were based on their antiseptic, skin-soothing, and cooling properties:  3 drops Patchouli, 3 drops Lavender, 3 drops Ylang Ylang, and 2 drops Peppermint.

I purchased a deodorant applicator from a supply distributor, but to save money, you can carefully wash an empty deodorant applicator, re-use it for this recipe.  Before you do so, I warn you, you may be surprised by the sticky mess that ensues, even when washing the containers using a lot of hot water and soap detergent.

Mixing Procedure:

Gently heat the coconut oil on the stove top or in the microwave (on a low setting), just until melted.

Add the baking soda, arrowroot powder, mix by hand (you can use a fork or a whisk).  Add in the essential oils, mix again.  Stir until all of the ingredients are dissolved.

Pour the mixture into a deodorant applicator.

Note:  you can add a tiny amount, approximately 1/4 teaspoon, of bees-wax to firm up the deodorant.

Do not attempt to pour the mixture into the deodorant container if it is too hot.  Burns can occur, and the applicator can be destroyed.

Once poured, allow the mixture to sit for several hours to harden.

That is it.

You will not get the exact same results as you would with a strong commerically-made antiperspirant, but I can say the natural deodorant has not caused any allergic problems for me (always keep your own allergies and medical conditions in mind when selecting these types of products and ingredients).  The formula has worked well for the purposes intended.

Note, if you do not wish to use a deodorant applicator or container, you can pour the warm deodorant mixture into a jar with a wide mouth.  Allow to cool for a few hours.  To use, simply dip your fingertip into the deodorant to remove a pea sized amount and apply it to your underarm area (the deodorant softens via skin temperature).

There, you have it, worry free deodorant, and very easy to make.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness

Read Full Post »

Natural is good, to a degree.  I like natural.

My husband recently developed hives and then his arms and legs began to swell.   He downed antihistamines for a few days before we sat down with a calendar and tracked the start of the itching to one particular week.  That week he went to the dentist and was prescribed antibiotics.  A few days later he quit taking the pills, blaming them for the developing welps.  A new truck also came into play.  I was the one allergic to the truck (sneezing, stuffed nose, etc…).  And then we also remembered that we had switched to hand-made natural laundry soap that very same week.  Bingo.

The natural laundry-soap helped me with my sensitivities to certain fragrances, but it certainly did not help my husband with his skin.  Once we realized the laundry soap was the culprit I immediately re-washed every fabric that he comes into contact with, and just like that, at a snap of a finger, his arms and legs quit swelling.

There is a reason we have conveniences.  There is a reason some products are commercially made.  And sometimes natural isn’t the best, not for everyone.

Yesterday someone mentioned a supplement that they wanted to try for weight loss.  My interest was piqued, and my questions followed.  How does it work with your prescriptions? What side effects does the supplement have? Has it been time-tested, or safety tested? The person replied to me, “It is all natural, it has to be good for you!” Wrong! Very, very wrong!

An all natural body cream, with no preservatives (and there is NO natural preservative that works effectively), is trouble waiting to happen.  Do you want to spread invisible fungus on your body? An all natural supplement does not guarantee safety (Google all natural supplementst that have resulted in permanent health damage and death).  A mushroom is natural, but that does not mean we can pick just any mushroom from the forest and cook it for dinner.

As I said, I like natural.  I like foods and cosmetics made from whole ingredients, but natural does not mean safe.  And natural does not mean no chemicals, every natural thing that exists on this Earth is made up of chemical compounds.  Chemistry and chemicals are not four letter words.

Buy smart.  Live smart.  Be smart.  Natural isn’t always the answer.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

Read Full Post »

goat milk body cream www.anniesgoathill.com

goat milk body cream http://www.anniesgoathill.com

No, we are not stopping production of a product, we are simply going to re-name and describe it better!

When I began the Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soap journey I was a a soap-maker, one that only wanted to make soap.  It was my passion.  Period.

After a few months of initial soap sales we decided to purchase a goat milk lotion base.  We were not happy with it.  Our thoughts, lotion manufacturing would be too difficult.  Well, we were wrong.  It was not easy, but it was not impossible either.  We did end up changing our original simple lotion formula a number of times (at last count, 8).

The final formula change included adding nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, aloe vera and raw shea butter.  It was divine.  But, as hard as we tried, there was no thinning the end product down to a lotion consistency.  The lotion seemed to have a mind of it’s own, and now, we feel it was stubborn for a reason.

To make a long story short, we are updating our goat milk lotion description to what it really is, goat milk body cream.

It is thick, creamy, and loaded with whole ingredients that make it beautiful.

So, there’s the rest of our story…see you next time!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

Read Full Post »

Floating around the cosmetic world is a lot of talk surrounding the ingredient SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate).  SLS is a surfactant, a detergent, that can be found in shampoos, toothpastes, body washes, and other personal care products.  The waves of fear regarding SLS come roaring in, carrying the messages that SLS causes cancer, hair loss, and that SLS is the most dangerous ingredient in cosmetics.  None of these safety claims have been substantiated by a proven scientific study.

I personally do not feel SLS is dangerous to our health, however, I do know that some individuals are more sensitive to the ingredient than others.  I am one of them.  My own personal fact:  the use of shampoos and toothpastes containing SLS leave me with scalp and gum irritation.  I do feel (as in the case of any cosmetic ingredient), there are some people more sensitive to SLS than others.

So, at Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps, we continue to work on development of products that are SLS free.

Our current project (pictured above) are shampoo bars.  Shampoo bars are definitely not a new item on our store shelves, however, our current testing is focused on usage in hard water.

We plan to release our newest version of Annie’s Shampoo Bars within the next several weeks.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »