Friday
Mar072014

Why I use refined shea butter (and not unrefined, raw shea butter)

Dear Renee,

     Do you have an opinion on refined vs. unrefined shea butter? I notice you use refined; what led you to that decision?

Thank you, Katie

I have experimented with unrefined shea butter several times, and I keep coming back to the same conclusion:

1. The odor of raw, unrefined shea butter is very heavy; some describe it as "smokey" - I would say it smells more like burnt rubber and the smell does not go away when added to the other ingredients.  The natural scent of unrefined shea butter is quite strong, and customers do not like it.

2.  Unrefined shea butter requires extra stability to keep the texture smooth.  The potential for graininess in the finished product is much higher with unrefined shea butter.

The process my supplier uses to refine the butter involves naturally extracting it from the shea nut and filtering out any impurities. This results in a creamy, off-white color and extremely pure product.

Should you choose to use a raw, unrefined shea butter when making your skin care products, you can purchase it at Bulk Apothecary and then follow the instructions in this link to take the extra steps to keep out the graininess.

Thursday
Mar062014

Is beeswax safe for babies?

Hi Renee,

Is beeswax safe for infants?  I didn't know if it could contain botulism, like honey, and be dangerous if ingested.  I love your Beesilk but am scared to use it on my hands around my 8 month old son since he is constantly chewing on his hands. 

Thanks, 
Brianne

Good news: your baby won't become sick if he's exposed to beeswax.

I did a search and found this statement by Marion Ellis, professor of Entomology and an expert on bees:

"I know of no evidence that there is any possibility of botulism spores being present on beeswax, and if present, they would be rendered inactive by the heat required to melt beeswax for incorporation in [a beeswax-based] product."

Read the rest of her statement here: http://www.motherlove.com/mm5/beeswax.pdf

 

Thursday
Feb062014

How to Make MadeOn's Tinted Lip Balm

Guest post by Heather Sanchez

My old college buddy, Heather, emailed me last month to ask about my iron oxide supplier for my tinted lip balms. She and I have traded skin care recipes over the years so I jumped on the opportunity to have her follow my recipe instructions, use my ingredients, and then write up a post based on her experience. Here's my tinted lip balm recipe, written from Heather's point of view:

I have been making my own lip balm for a while and love it.  Lately however, I have been on a quest to try and make a tinted lip balm.  Although, I’m not a daily lipstick wearer, I do like to have a bit of color while still protecting my lips.  My problem was, that many of the tinted lip balms, looked pretty in the container, but once I put them on my lips, there really wasn’t any noticeable color. I asked my friend Renee, owner of MadeOn skin care products for help.   She makes three different tinted lip balms, using iron oxide for the color.  Iron Oxide is a natural ingredient, which she explains in more detail here.  Renee was kind enough to share her recipe as well as some ingredients so I could experiment.  These ingredients can be found online and sometimes at natural food stores.  However if you don’t want to do the footwork, Renee also has a DIY kit, where you can make the natural lip balm and add the tint to it.  It doesn’t have the iron-oxide, (easy to find on-line) but has a generous supply of everything else you need.

You will need:

2 oz Beeswax

2 oz Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter

2.2 oz Coconut Oil

iron-oxide

lip balm containers

dropper

In a double boiler measure out the beeswax, cocoa butter or shea butter and coconut oil.  Warm until completely melted.  

Add iron oxide.

Remove from the heat and add a ½ tsp of iron-oxide per 3 oz of liquid. Mix well until the color is evenly dispersed.  I wanted to experiment with 2 tinted lip balms and one plain, so I separated mine into 3 separate batches.  In the first I used iron oxide red #180, in the second I used iron oxide red #160 and the third I left un-tinted.   

Fill Lip Balm Tubes

The plain white lip balm tubes are the ones I made.  The labeled ones are from MadeOn.

Using your dropper, add the liquid to clean containers.  I was a little slow as I was doing this and the liquid started to solidify on me.  If this happens, just put it back in the double boiler or pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds.  Once you have filled the containers, allow it some time to solidify.  As it hardens, it will slightly sink in the middle.  Add a final last drop or two to the top, to have that nice rounded look.  Put the caps on and you are good to go.

I REALLY liked these lip balms.  The color was strong enough to actually tint my lips, but not as bold as lipstick.  The fun part is, it’s an easy recipe to experiment with. You could definitely add a little more or less iron-oxide to lighten or darken the balm as desired.

 

Heather Sanchez, Colorado

Wednesday
Feb052014

10 Steps to Research an Ingredient

An ingredient on the container of Desitin near my baby's changing area read in bold letters: 40% Zinc Oxide.  Could the rash-fighting ingredient in my store-bought rash cream simply be zinc oxide? I was fairly confident zinc oxide was safe since I saw it in several other natural skin care recipes, but it would be expected of me to do my research before producing and selling a new product, and so I did.

Here's the steps I take when determining which ingredients I use for MadeOn products and recipes:

1. Does it do the job I need it to do? If zinc oxide can't fix a rash or protect the skin from sunburn, if iron oxide can't color a lip balm, if citronella can't repel mosquitoes, what's the use? This is the most important step: the ingredient must be effective.

2. Does the FDA allow it in cosmetics? For selling purposes, I obviously have to follow the law. I found that while cocoa powder does color lip balm as well as lips, the FDA does not approve it as a colorant, so I can't sell a lip balm tinted with cocoa powder. The FDA does allow ingredients that I personally wouldn't use, so I don't stop here....

3. Is the ingredient approved by the FDA in the U.S., but banned in other countries? This is easier said than done, but I will use keywords similar to the language in this article to do my search: 12 cosmetic ingredients legal in the U.S. but banned elsewhere.

4. What rating does the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database give the ingredient? If you haven't checked it out, this database is an amazing resource of products and ingredients with a "safety rating" (0 is the safest rating).  As not every ingredient listed has extensive research done with it, EWG also notes how much data is available with each ingredient, as well as links to various articles proving the research that's been done.  By the way, do a search for "MadeOn" and you'll find we're in there with a 0 rating. (That's good!) 

5. Is the ingredient edible? While I won't rule out an ingredient if it's safe in every other way except consumption, I prefer that it be so safe, that having your toddler take a bite out of it won't harm the child.

6. Is it a common allergen? Everything appears to be an allergen to someone in the world, but I avoid the obvious ones (peanut oil, fragrance oils, wheat germ oil AKA vitamin e). Unfortunately, those who are allergic to tree nuts may likely be allergic to shea butter, but this one I'm pretty passionate about including in my products, so it's in.

7. What does Wikipedia say? While the popular online encyclopedia isn't the final answer to every question, it does link to well-researched documentation that gives me confidence in understanding the ingredient and its benefits as well as potential controversies.

8. What do other skin experts say? There are some investigative bloggers who do a wonderful job of researching ingredients and recipes, testing them, and reporting back to their readers, while keeping up with the hundreds of comments and feedback left on their blogs. Two are Katie from Wellness Mama and Leslie from Crunchy Betty.

9. What do particular Facebook groups say? Choose carefully, or it will feel like the blind leading the blind, but overall, I've found a few private Facebook groups that do a good job of sharing information, run by a moderator or two who really know their facts.  Why are they kept private? Like any group who wants to keep like-minded members together, you need to sift out the trouble makers (a.k.a. friends of the members who see the posts in their feeds, and are quick to critique your healthy lifestyle choices).

10. What do my readers and customers say? If the ingredient can pass the above nine steps, I'll use it in a recipe or product, and eventually I will be contacted by someone questioning my choice. Sometimes it's misinformation that I can help them with ("Oxide? Is that a chemical??"), sometimes it's clarification on something they've read in the news ("Do you use nanoparticles?") and sometimes it's new research that I haven't come across that requires my attention ("Is the coconut oil you use bleached with actual bleach?"  Answer: no).

In the end, I'm very glad we've been able to come up with recipes that are made with as few ingredients as necessary to get the job done. As for the zinc oxide in my Simply Soothing rash cream and sunscreen recipe, I've blogged about that here: http://www.hardlotion.com/blog/2012/6/28/can-we-trust-zinc-oxide.html

 

 

Tuesday
Dec312013

Quick and Easy Hair Spray in 2 Ingredients

If you can make simple syrup in the kitchen, you can make simple hair spray... because that's pretty much what it is. 

I credit my 'ol college buddy Heather Sanchez for passing on this recipe. Actually,  college would have been the ideal place to try and perfect it: 1.) it's cheap, and 2.) it's so strong, it could hold up to our Saturday trips to Huntington Beach. 

Here's the recipe:

Combine 3 tablespoons sugar with 1 cup hot water. Dissolve, put in an empty spray bottle, and it's ready for use. 

It has the stiffness hold of Aqua Net, so it can handle windy beach weather with ease.

Tuesday
Dec312013

Mica: All that Glitters is not Gold?

I had high hopes of producing some glittery skin care projects for Christmas and sharing the recipes with you here. I ran into a couple snags...

1. I ordered "gold, all-natural, cosmetic grade mica" from an Ebay merchant because I didn't want to pay the $15 shipping charge from my regular supplier for such a small purchase. The gold mica I received was actually gold mica, as described, but it was also blended with titanium dioxide, which wasn't mentioned in the description. While it still matched the "all-natural" claim, titanium dioxide leaves the skin white when used in a skin care product.  LESSON LEARNED? Watch your sources for your cosmetic ingredient supplies.

2. Next, I ordered gold mica from GloryBee. It's not cheap, but I figured it was worth the try. What I didn't expect was how extremely fine the powder is. Sneeze and the room turns into a snow globe of gold dust. (I'll save some of the mica I bought to make a DIY snow globe ornament next year).  LESSON LEARNED? Beauty is both expensive... and messy.

3. Onward to the recipes. Up first was the "add to lip balm" test. It was a beautiful process. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dChmb3LEVY8

The problem? It didn't leave much glitter on the lips. Some, but not enough to be noticed. 

Next was the "add to lotion bar" test. Again, absolutely beautiful. As for the glittery addition to the skin? Still not very noticeable, though it would still make a nice gift. It worked better if I dipped the lotion bar in the glitter, especially for the product's presentation. As for some added glitter to the face, I just swiped my finger in the mica and applied it to the eye lids and cheek bones and that alone did the job. I didn't need any lotion or moisturizer to keep the mica on; my natural face oil was enough, and so was my 12 year old daughter's. 

 

Finally, I made up some homemade hair spray and added the glitter. It was a beautiful combination but  the mica eventually clogged the spray bottle. Then the glitter spray that did get applied to the hair was faint and not very obvious. It could be because my hair, and my daughter's hair, are both blonde and brown respectively, so silver glitter may have shown up better than gold. In the end, I sprayed the hair spray, and then sprinkled on the mica. Then it was pretty.

LESSON LEARNED? Better to add the mica directly to the skin or hair for the glitter look.

4. Then came the "Is Mica Safe?" question.  Checking in with the Cosmetic Database first, I found that mica earned a score of "2" which is good, but the amount of data they had on it was fair, meaning there wasn't enough research to prove one way or the other.  It does pass FDA's test as being safe for cosmetic use. Ask Dr. Oz, though, and he claims it's unsafe. Several other bloggers are also posting their warnings, citing Dr. Oz as their source for their information. Why the unsafe claim? Apparently construction workers using products containing spackle that used mica would inhale the powder over a period of time and suffer from lung problems. I can see that this could be an issue if you have a snow globe of mica glitter all around you as you work with it, (all day long), but I would imagine a soapmaker takes a much larger risk in working with lye than a cosmetic maker would incorporating tiny amounts of mica into her products. 

CAUTIONARY LESSON? 1.) Don't inhale. 2.) The fine pixie dust around the eye could get into your eye and cause irritation. 3.) Your teenager daughter is likely responsible enough to use it, but keep it far, far away from your toddler. :)

 

My take on mica? If I were heading out to a New Year's Party tonight, I might brush it on my face for a glitter effect. I may use it for next year's homemade beeswax candles as an outer glitter for the finished candle. For cosmetics, until I hear otherwise, I'll occasionally bring it out to play with, as I feel safe using it. For now, it seems far simpler to use mica in its pure form rather than attempt to mix into cosmetics or lotions. 

Monday
Dec092013

Beesilk hard lotion as shoe polish? Yes!

I have a pair of shoes that I'm embarrassed to wear because they ned some polish and shine. Little did I know that the answer was lying in my hard lotion tin.

Angie G wrote this to me back in November:

Hi Renee! I've ordered your DIY kit a few times, and I love this product. So far, so has everyone I've given them to as gifts. I recently discovered a new use I wanted to share: shoe polish! The hard lotion shines and conditions my Dr. Marten boots like a dream. :)

I had to ask for more details, so here's how she did it:

I used just the regular hard lotion, although I added lavender essential oil to this last batch. I either rub it in my hands and then rub my hands over my boots, or sometimes, when my boots are dirtier, I rub the bar into a tissue or paper napkin and apply it that way. I imagine you could just rub the bar right over your boots, then buff with a tissue, etc., but the bar might get dirty.

And then this morning, she followed up with a photo and allowed me to add some text and share it with you:

I just used it this morning on my beat-up old Dr. Martens Mary Janes and thought I'd snap a picture -- I think the difference  is pretty clear! (The left is the hard-lotion-shined shoe.)

Amazing! Thank you Angie!

Monday
Oct072013

Beesilk and Celiac: Gluten Free Skin Care

I learn more about skin conditions from my customers than from any other source.

I received this email from Mary over the weekend:

At the end of November 2012 my husband was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease at the age of 57.  One the things the lead to the start of the tests was the condition of his hands.  They were cracked and painful and had been for over a year.  Nothing helped.  He had been on several topical prescriptions and tried every hand cream and ointment you can imagine and nothing improved the condition of his hands.

I found your site while wandering around the internet looking at information about Celiac’s disease and gluten.  I ordered 2 bars of Bee Silk.  When I gave them to my husband I did get kind of an eye roll because when you have truly tried everything you get a little tired of it.  Well, the next evening he mentioned his hand did feel better.  He continued to use the bar and his hands continued to improve.  After about 2 weeks he had a doctor’s appointment and they ended up talking about his hands.  His Doc keep going back to his hands and asking “What are you using” “What is it made of” “What is the website”.    

We were recently on vacation and he tells the story about his hands and this amazing bar to many people.    It feels like a miracle to have it his hands back.  While we were traveling he only had a sliver of the first bar and the full second bar and he took suchgood care of those 2 items.  They were irreplaceable.

It has been about 2 months now and my husband is making his own lotion bars.

Thank you for your wonderful product and your kindness in telling people what is in it and how you make it.

Sincerely,

Mary

A person with celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, so he or she must search for gluten-free foods. Eating gluten would cause them damage in their small intestine, and symptoms can include diarrhea (or constipation), joint pain or brain fog. Outwardly, a person with celiac disease could have an itchy rash known as dermatitis, like Mary's husband.  The ultimate treatment would be to eliminate gluten from your diet completely, and this includes your skin care products.

Tuesday
Sep032013

Dead Sea Salt Scrub Recipe 

That title should say "Sea Salt from the Dead Sea Salt Scrub", but I shortened it for obvious reasons.

I found a pound of unopened dead sea salt in my apothecary, and decided to finally put it to use. When I search new recipes, I usually go with one that has happy comments associated with it, ingredients I have on hand, and preferably something I can make in less than an hour. This scrub was done before the family awoke, and I was able to put it right to use in my morning shower.

What I wanted: a scrub that would clean my feet, and contain no water in the ingredient list.

The result: this scrub worked like a charm. Even my husband noticed. It was easy to use, had a pleasant lavender scent, and didn't take long to make my summer-barefoot-walking feet look very, very clean, and feel very, very smooth.

A couple warnings: it IS salt, so cuts will feel it. If used in the shower, don't forget that the floor may be slippery after use. Do NOT apply to legs after shaving. Store in a screw top container.

Now for the recipe:

  • 4 oz coconut oil
  • 1 oz shea butter
  • 3 oz liquid oil of your choice (almond, castor, jojoba, olive...)
  • 1/3 oz beeswax
  • 16 oz sea salt (buy it here*)
  • 1/2 tsp essential oil of choice (optional)

Mix all but the sea salt and the essential oil in a Pyrex glass container (large enough to also fit the sea salt). Using a double boiler, melt those ingredients. Remove from heat and stir in the essential oil(s) and then the salt. Stir well and pour (or rather scoop) into containers, trying to even out the salt and oil mixtures so they're evenly spread throughout the containers. You can also add in dried lavender or rosemary bits.

Fills a bit more than four 4 oz containers.

To use, scoop scrub out using a spoon and apply directly to hands and feet, or use a washcloth to cover and scrub the skin. Rinse well.

Thanks to Homemade Toast for the recipe. Check out her complete instructions and suggestions here: http://www.homemadetoast.com/2013/08/sea-salt-scrub.html (read her mom's comment at the end for a chuckle).

*affiliate link to FromNatureWithLove

Original photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/skampy/6533434953/ with permission to modify and use.

Friday
Aug302013

Caring for your bare feet

I posted the following question on Facebook:

Are you in your bare feet right now? What percentage of the day are you shoe-free?

Within 10 minutes, 10 responses were a resounding "Yes!" with most responses as "all the time!"

I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

As much as I love the feel of tile, wood, cement and dirt under my feet all day, by the time I crawl into bed, I'd rather have clean feet that have been pampered and scrubbed before they hit the sheets. 

Choose any of the following (preferably all!) to care for your feet:

  1. Loofah sponge: It's a fruit, believe it or not, but when fully ripened and developed, everything but the fibers can be removed and the result is a loofah sponge. 
  2. Vinegar soak: Mix 1/4 cup Listerine, 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup warm water. Soak feet for 10-20 minutes.  I tried this and my feet felt energized. Blue Listerine will leave your toenails temporarily looking blue. 
  3. Epson salt scrub: Mix a cup of Epson salt with 1/2 cup of a liquid oil (jojoba, almond or other oil). Drop in several drops of a favorite essential oil (I'd choose peppermint or tea tree). You now have a foot scrub to scrub those calloused feet. Rinse and pat dry.
  4. Rub in your Beesilk and slide into bed. 

 

photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/dd/Loofah.jpg

 

Saturday
Jun082013

Man Lotion?

 

Is Beesilk manly enough? The ingredients certainly are (you saw this guy lathered in shea butter, right?).

Let's ask the customers:

Melissa from MIMy husband has had such great success with your product; it is amazing! We truly are thankful!  I have placed three orders so far because my husband keeps handing the bars out to his co-workers.

Rebecca in WA: My husband specifically mentioned how much he likes the feel of your products, because he does not like the thick greasy lotions. He said it felt the most like natural skin oils of anything I have used.

Joan in MD: Renee, the hard lotion is wonderful! My husband likes it too.

Diane in WA: My husband uses it for extremely dry hands and his forehead, wonderful results. My husband insists I buy the large bar now.

Laura in MI: My husband especially has dry, cracked and bleeding hands from excessive washing (I do too, but not as bad as him). This lotion has made both of our hands feel normal again, even soft!

Karen via email: "My husband and I are still using our lotion bar and think it's the greatest! Thank you for your efforts to come up with such a great product and for even giving others the freedom to make it for themselves. "

Meg in MI: My husband Bruce, saw a huge difference in the smoothness of his hands. I didn't realize how dry my hands were until I saw how soft they could be!

Carisa in PA: It's my husband and my son that have dry skin, mostly in winter. My son's hands get VERY dry and cracked. The lotion is the only thing that gives them relief. They LOVE it!!!!

Jen in ID: Your product is AWESOME! I love it! My husband hates the greasiness of regular lotion so he will rarely use it. Our family has been devouring the first family sized bar and I can see that we'll need a bar in every room. =0)

There are plenty more - just do a search for "husband" in the search box above. 

If you need some for Father's Day, order by June 9th.

 

Tuesday
Jun042013

How Effective are Sunsticks? 

The day after making the sunsticks, we headed to the Coast.... Santa Cruz, to be exact.

We arrived at noon, and apparently half the Bay Area had the same idea... it was crowded. It was also a beautiful, balmy 85 degrees, a perfect day to try out the sunsticks. We were there at the height of sun exposure: noon 'til 5 p.m.

Here's the outcome of trying out the sunstick: I applied the sunstick all over my arms, shoulders, chest and legs. I came away with a nice bronze tan in front and lobster-red burn on my back, the only area where I didn't apply. Had I stayed out any longer, my shoulders would have been next. I only applied the sunstick once, but I would have been wise to apply it one more time. 

I applied it all over my 2 year old daughter. She didn't burn at all, and she didn't go in the ocean.

My 9 year old and 7 year old did get burned, but I realize now that they were primarily in the water most of the time we were there. I only applied the sunstick once but I should have at least two more times in the five hours we were at the beach. 

This certainly is not scientific, but I would conclude a few pros and cons with the sunstick:

 

  • Compared to nothing, the sunsticks definitely work to keep the skin from sunburn.
  • This will definitely replace any sunscreen or sunblock I buy at the store.
  • I would re-apply as necessary, and more often if in the water.
  • It took a bit more work to apply than my other sunscreen recipe, but having this keep the hands grease-free was very nice.
  • I'd recommend it more for having on-hand at the pool or park rather than an extended period of time at the ocean. 
  • It leaves a very light whiteness on the skin, which is handy to know where the sunstick has been applied, and it can be rubbed in easily.
  • In temperatures cooler than 85 degrees, I'd use less beeswax in the recipe.
  • If I wanted more spf protection, I'd leave out some beeswax and add more zinc oxide (although that would leave more whiteness on the skin). 
  • Applying the sunstick and then playing in the sand will cause a "sand-trap" on your skin, a mess to remove... on the positive side, sand makes a great exfoliant  :) 
  • I have other sunscreen-related blog posts, like this one about its safety, this one about sun exposure, reasons why you should make your own sunscreen, sunscreen clean-up (after making it), a photo gallery of a customer's sunscreen, and of course, how to make your own sunscreen sunsticks
  • According to the zinc oxide to lotion recipe, the spf calculates at about 15 spf, but I'd lower that to be on the conservative side. 
  • ALWAYS be cautious in the sun not to overburn. I need to listen to my own advice. 

 By the way, that roller coaster in the photo above... I rode it! My 13 year old double-dog-dared me, so I had to. Ride a roller coaster at age 41: cross that off the bucket list. 

 

Friday
May312013

How to Make Sunscreen Sunsticks 

The "pro" about applying sunscreen, even homemade sunscreen, is that you can quickly apply the lotion wherever needed. The downside is that you can't help but get your hands greasy from the sunscreen as you apply it.

Enter: sunscreen in a stick: or, SUNSTICK

Ingredients:

3.5 oz 76 degree coconut oil

3.5 oz shea butter

3.5 oz beeswax

1 TBS zinc oxide

Using the double boiler method**, completely melt the first three ingredients. Add the zinc oxide and using a stick blender, blend the ingredients well. Pour into a recycled deodorant tube or large glue stick-type container. You can also treat these as hard lotion bars and use cupcake or ice cube trays as molds.

Don't forget to clean up while your equipment is still piping hot!

* This recipe can be made using the ingredients from the DIY Lotion and Lip Balm KIT by also adding a zinc oxide to your order.

**Have a pot of boiling water on a low simmer, place your ingredients in a Pyrex or similar glass container, place the Pyrex with the ingredients in the bowl of hot water and allow to melt. Make sure no water can splash inside your Pyrex of ingredients!

Watch video instructions here:

 

Wednesday
May082013

Why MadeOn's Post-Purchase Survey Results Matter

Yesterday I spent two hours reading through last month's survey answers and posting testimonials here. I do this once a month and although time-consuming, it was worth it.

Since the start of our business in 2009, I follow up with customers every month by email. We set up a survey online to make it easy for people to give honest answers about their experience with our products. In the early days, it was all about the hardness of the bar - do you prefer it softer, harder, or the way it is... Who did I listen to the most? Those who had dry skin issues. We also listened when people weighed in on what was more important, the organic qualities of the skin care or the healing properties (you'd think people would say both equally, but the healing properties came in as a stronger preference). We found out what needs people had and worked to come up with product solutions for specific requests.  

My favorite part of reading through the surveys is finding out how something as easy as a few ingredients melted and then hardened together could ease some discomfort that people face. Here are just a few sentences I read on the surveys:

Maggie in UT: My hands are dry; I live in Utah where it is very dry. I like that the hard lotion bar leaves a nice covering and the texture is very comfortable. It's handy to have in my pocket at work as a flight attendant. 

Natalie in VA: I have mild psoriasis and BEESILK hard lotion worked well at reducing symptoms. Beesilk Jr was very hydrating and gentle on baby's skin. Also, I really like the soap!

Nicolle in CO: I have dry hands. The hard lotion bar gets rid of my cracks in a day!! The lip balm is my favorite Chapstlck. I will never use anything else - it moisturizes my lips.

I had over 50 similar testimonials from one month of surveys (see them here). Yes, my husband makes me go read them when I'm having a down day. That's not to say that every single person is 100% satisified. One woman told me the tinted lip balms "stink" and she can't stand the odor of them. (I surprised her with a refund, but I won't stop using the cocoa butter.)  Someone else was disappointed that it didn't cure her keratitis pilaris. I wish it did.  But then there's someone like Cynthia, who writes, "My elbows used to cut people.... I tell everyone about you and will never buy any other lotion"  That's what I love.... providing skin care to people who used to hurt people <grin>.

So what's in it for you? These testimonials provide confidence to the hesitant buyer. Skin care can be such a delicate and complex matter, and people who struggle with various issues have a chance to check if one of our products could help them, by reading what other people have to say. Although I offer a money back guarantee, I do understand that people would prefer to make an informed decision and then purchase, rather than "hope it works and then beg for a refund if it doesn't."

And, there's a coupon code for those who take the survey.

Thank you to the thousands of survey-takers who have contributed their time, suggestions, reviews, and opinions to help us succeed at our business. If you've purchased before and would like to leave feedback, email me for the survey and I'll give you the link. (renee@hardlotion.com)

Here's what the survey looks like, with answers from the latest survey-taker:

 

Wednesday
May012013

5 Reasons I'd Buy the Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle

EBOOK BUNDLE SALE IS OVER

Although I'm a contributor to this ebook bundle (one of my ebooks is included), I finally took a peek at what all is included in the bundle. Here are 5 reasons I'd buy the bundle:

 

  1. My favorite sea salt is free.
  2. I'm a huge Instagram fan now and need the iPhone Photography guide for pointers.
  3. The neighborhood pool opens this month and I'll need something to read while the kids swim.
  4. My son has been making sourdough breads and baked goods for us and I can get a free sourdough starter from Cultures for Health.
  5. I need an ebook called "The No Brainer Wardrobe"

Click here to visit The Ultimate Homemaking eBook Bundle.

 

For 6 days only, more than 75 widely-known bloggers and authors in the homemaking sphere have joined together to offer 97 of their most popular eBooks and eCourses, valued at just over $600, for the incredibly low price of $29.97! More than anything, our goal for this sale was for it to be, well… ultimate! We firmly believe that you will not find a more comprehensive collection of homemaking resources anywhere on the web, and particularly not in this price range. For this low price, you gain access to every single one of these resources, so that you can customize your own collection to contain exactly the ones you want and know you'll use. This library of homemaking helps include topics such as mothering, organization and cleaning, recipes and kitchen helps, home education, spiritual growth for both moms and kids, home décor and DIY, pregnancy and baby care, frugal living, health and fitness, and even work-from-home and financial tools. To sweeten the pot, we’ve also teamed up with 10 companies to bring you over $140 in bonus offers, giving you an affordable opportunity to get products you’ll use and love for only the cost of shipping, or in some cases, entirely for free!

 

What's Included in the Sale?

When you purchase The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection, you will get instant access to any of the 97 eBooks and eCourses listed below.

PLUS over $140 of FREE Bonuses

Each The Ultimate Homemaking eBook collection comes with more than $140 of FREE Bonuses from 10 companies that we know you'll love. More on these bonuses below.  

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered.

Home & Property {Cleaning, Organizing, Decor}

31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99) Getting it Together: Your Guide to Setting Up a Home Management System that Works by Kayse @ kayse pratt ($3.99) Pulling Yourself Together: Implementing a Cleaning Routine that Sticks by Becky @ Clean Mama ($10.00) Simple Living by Lorilee @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99) NOT a DIY Diva by Melissa @ The Inspired Room ($3.99) One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh @ Simple Mom ($5.00) 28 Days to Hope for your Home by Dana @ A Slob Comes Clean ($5.00) Organizing Life as Mom by Jessica @ Life as Mom ($9.00) Clean Enough: Simple Solutions for the Overwhelmed by Jenni @ Live Called ($4.99) 10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa @ Lisa Woodruff.net($5.00) Handmade Walls by Jamin and Ashley @ the handmade home ($9.95) Easy Peasy Chores: An Easy-to-Use Chore System That Brings JOY Back Into Family Chores by Alina Joy @ The Good Old Days Farm ($17.99)

Educational Children's Resources

Princess Training by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($3.99) The Armor of God by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($2.50) My Bedtime Learning Book by Richele @ Under the Golden Apple Tree ($1.00) Think Outside the Classroom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($6.97) Raising Rock Stars — Kindergarten Bundle by Carissa @ 1plus1plus1equals1 ($10.00) The ABC's For Godly Boys Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00) The ABC's For Godly Girls Curriculum by Lindsey @ Road to 31 ($8.00) K4 Curriculum by Erica @ Confessions of a Homeschooler ($15.00) Write Through the Bible (print) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00) Write Through the Bible (cursive) by Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($5.00) Balcony Girls (books 1 & 2) by Sandy @ Reluctant Entertainer ($19.90) The Dig for Kids: Luke (Volumes 1 and 2) by Patrick, husband of Ruth @ The Better Mom ($5.98) Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Ryan @ Resound School of Music ($6.99)

Budgeting {Finance & Time}

From Debtor to Better by Barry @ From Debtor to Better ($10.00) Tell Your Time by Amy @ Blogging with Amy ($2.99) The Homemakers Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy @ Raising Arrows ($4.99) Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne @ Authentic Simplicity ($7.99) Finding Financial Freedom by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($5.97) Become a Frugalista in 30 Days by Susan @ The Confident Mom ($3.99)

In the Kitchen {Recipes and Cooking}

Crock On by Stacy @ Stacy Makes Cents ($5.00) Real Food, Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95) Wholesome Mixes by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00) 20-Minute Meals by Leigh Ann @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99) Restocking the Pantry by Kresha @ Nourishing Joy ($9.99) Money Saving Mom's Guide to Freezer Cooking by Crystal @ Money Saving Mom ($3.99) Simply Summer by Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama ($7.95) Do the Funky Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($4.95) Real Food Kids: In the Kitchen plus 1 month access to select Real Food Kids eCourse videos by Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS and Jami @ Eat Nourishing ($20.00) Seasonal Menu Plans on a Budget: A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours by Diana @ My Humble Kitchen ($4.99) Just Making Ice Cream by Marillyn @ Just Making Noise ($12.00) The Curative Kitchen by Susan @ Handy Pantry ($20.00)

Pregnancy & Baby Care

First Bites by Hilary @ Accidentally Green ($9.99) Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95) Stress-Free Baby Shower by Sara @ Your Thriving Family ($4.00) Unbound Birth by Jenny @ The Southern Institute ($2.99) My Pregnancy Journey by Mindy @ Simply Designs ($9.99) My Buttered Life Baby Edition by Renee @ Made On Hard Lotion ($5.00) The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year by Rachel @ The Minimalist Mom ($5.00) Redeeming Childbirth: Growth & Study Guide by Angie @ Redeeming Childbirth ($3.99)

Holidays & Special Events

Festive Traditions by Jill @ Modern Alternative Kitchen ($7.95) Holiday Mixes: Gifts in a Jar by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00) Flourishing Spring by Michele @ Frugal Granola ($5.95) Family Camping Handbook by Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship ($6.95) Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda @ Oh, Amanda! ($7.99) Plan a Fabulous Party by Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect ($4.99) iPhone Photography: The Visual Guide by Alli @ Alli Worthington($9.97)

Spiritual Growth

Pursuit of the Proverbs 31 by Amy @ Amy Bayliss ($3.99) The Best of Visionary Womanhood by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($5.00) God’s Word in my Heart: A Scripture Memory Learning Guide with Verses {all 4 versions} by Jenn @ The Purposeful Mom ($3.99) Kept: a 13-Week Inductive Study on 1 Peter by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($4.99) Love Like Him: an 8 week Inductive Bible study on 1 Corinthians 13  by Lara and Katie @ Quench Bible ($2.99)

Marriage & Romance

Rekindling Romance by Jason & Jami @ A Biblical Marriage ($4.99) Good Wife’s Guide by Darlene @ Time-Warp Wife ($2.99) 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse by Ashley @ Ashley Pichea ($4.99) 31 Days to Great Sex by Sheila @ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ($4.99) Entangled: Recognize Your Emotional Affair by Amy @ Amy J. Bennett ($4.99)

Motherhood

The Heart of Simplicity by various authors @ The Heart of Simplicity ($9.99) True Christian Motherhood by June @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home ($7.00) Hula Hoop Girl by September @ One September Day ($4.99) When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97) Mindset for Moms by Jamie @ Steady Days ($4.99) From Cube to Farm by Heather @ From Cube to Farm ($2.99) 4 Moms of 35+ Kids Answer Your Parenting Questions by various authors @ 4 Moms, 35+ Kids Parenting E-book ($7.99) That Works for Me! by Kristen @ We are THAT Family ($8.00)

Health & Fitness

100-pound Loser by Jessica @ Muthering Heights ($4.99) Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Danielle @ Domestic Serenity ($2.99) 42 Days to Fit by Brandy @ The Marathon Mom, Emma @ Real Fit Moms and Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($4.99) Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95) Personal ePlanner by Jennifer @ ListPlanIt ($5.00)

Beauty

Frumps to Pumps by Sarah Mae @ SaraMae.com ($4.99) The Cottage Mama’s DIY Guide by Kristy @ Little Natural Cottage ($4.00) Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy @ A Delightful Home ($3.99) The No Brainer Wardrobe by Hayley @ The No Brainer Wardrobe ($7.99) Embracing Beauty by Trina @ Trina Holden ($9.00) Reuse, Refresh, Repurpose by Kristen @ The Frugal Girl ($3.99)

Working from Home & Blogging

Your Blogging Business: Tax, Talk and Tips by Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger ($4.99) The Bootstrap VA by Lisa @ The Home Life {and Me} ($12.99) How to Grow Your Blog and Manage Your Home by Jacinda @ Growing Home ($4.99) How to Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too by Mandi @ Life Your Way ($12.00) Simple Blogging: Less Computer Time, Better Blogging by Rachel @ Small Notebook ($8.00)

Ecourses

Learning in Love: The Preschool Years by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99) Homeschooling from the Heart by Renee @ FIMBY ($7.99) Grocery University by Carrie @ Colorado Bargains ($24.95) Vibrant Living Strategies for Moms by Lisa @ Well-Grounded Life ($59) You Can Do This! The First Five Steps to a Real Food Kitchen by Laura @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.00)

PLUS, You will receive FREE Bonuses from these companies...

A FREE Two-Month Membership to Fit2B Studio, where their wholesome workouts for the whole family are tummy safe and particularly target Diastasis Recti (split abs). ($19.98 value. No shipping restrictions.) A $15 store credit to TruKid. With products like their aware-winning sun care, they are dedicated to providing all natural skin and hair care for kids, babies, and now pets. ($15.00 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.) Your choice of incredible natural products like sea salt and clay for FREE. Choose from the Redmond Trading Earthpaste Bundle ($24.90 value) or the Facial Mud Bundle ($26.90 value). (Standard shipping applies. Continental US only.) Your choice of a FREE heirloom sourdough starter or FREE yogurt starter from Cultures for Health, the leading supplier of starter cultures and supplies for making cultured and fermented foods ($12.95 value. US & CAN addresses only. Standard shipping applies.)

Your choice of: a FREE 3-Month Subscription (for new accounts) or 30% off a One Year Subscription. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.) A FREE Culinary Herbs Assorted Seed Pack Check just in time for spring planting from www.wheatgrasskits.com, a living whole foods company. ($11.95 value. Standard shipping applies to all US states and territories- no international shipping for seeds.) Get $10 off Union28's original "my husband rocks" tee. Their marriage apparel lets you celebrate your spouse in style. ($10.00 value. Standard shipping rates apply. International shipping available, but free shipping only available within USA.) A $10 store credit plus 1 FREE lip balm from Bee All Natural. Their whole body products nourish and heal, and are made using only the highest quality, food grade, organic ingredients. ($13.49 value. Standard shipping applies. International shipping available.) A FREE 2 oz. bottle of your choice of liquid herbal formula from TriLight Health. They specialize in fast acting, great tasting natural herbal remedies. ($12.95 value or more. Standard shipping applies, within the USA only.)
Your choice of 3 FREE ePlanners OR a 3-Month FREE Membership to ListPlanIt, whose mobile lists will help to organize your life. ($15.00 value. No shipping restrictions.)

The fine print:

Bonus Offers
  • Each bonus offer can be redeemed once only per eBook Bundle purchase.
  • For each bonus offer, transaction numbers or proof of purchase may be required at the time of redemption.
  • All bonus offers are free gifts from the bonus sponsors, are their sole responsibility to provide, and are subject to availability.
  • All bonus offers expire at midnight on May 19th, 2013 (2 weeks from the last day of this sale).
General
  • It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase within the 1-month download time-frame. With proof of purchase, we can renew download links up until August 1st, 2013. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download.
  • Due to the nature of this sale, there will be no refunds available. However, we would invite you to read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the file types, the download process, how the bonus offers work, etc.

Please note: This collection is only available from 9 a.m. EST on April 29th to 11:59 p.m. EST on May 4th. There will be no late sales offered, so make sure that you get your bundle right away!
Particularly for those wanting to read these ebooks on their mobile devices (iPhones or iPads, Android, Kindle, etc.) you will want to learn more about the file types, how to download them correctly, and how to transfer them to your device.
This post includes affiliate links, and I make a portion of the sale of each ebook bundle. Thanks for your support of this site!

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