You’re about to make your own skin-care product and have a great recipe but what else do you need to know?
After safety, one of the biggest things to consider is clean-up. Unused melted beeswax and oils will leave a residue in whatever you’ve used to melt the ingredients so I’ve included some ways to help with this.
When melting ingredients you can use the microwave or stovetop. I prefer using the stovetop and these tips are based on that. When using the microwave it involves heating ingredients for a few seconds, lifting the container out, stirring, putting it back in for a bit longer. That’s too much faffing about.
Getting ready tips
Lay newspaper, cardboard or newsprint on the work area to catch any spills.
Open all bottles and containers of products to be used. Get containers ready by laying them out in a line with the lids off.
Safety when melting ingredients
Generally the melted ingredients won’t be scalding hot but will still burn if splashed onto the skin – treat by running under cold running water.
Children should be supervised.
Tips for melting ingredients
- Melt the ingredients at a low simmer rather than a hard boil.
- Add the hardest ingredients first (usually beeswax) and melt that before adding the next.
- Oil is usually added last. Once the oil is added, keep it gently simmering for a few minutes to ensure the whole amount is heated through – otherwise it will start to set as soon as it’s taken off the heat.
- A chopstick or kebab stick makes a great stirring stick.
- If the liquid starts to set while pouring it into containers simply return to the heat to re-liquidfy.
Method for melting ingredients
– Pot straight on the stovetop
- Use as small a pot as possible. One with a pouring lip is ideal.
- Keep stirring the ingredients as they melt.
- Keep the heat low.
– Melting with a double boiler
The double boiler/bain marie method is my preferred option because you can easily adjust the heat and you’re less likely to ‘burn’ the ingredients. This involves melting the ingredients over a pot of boiling water (right) or by sitting a container in the pot of boiling water (below left).
- Decide on which container you’ll use to melt the ingredients. A heat proof jug (eg pyrex) works well as it has a pouring lip. You can also use an old glass jar or tin.
- Choose a suitable pot to go with the container. Fill the pot with water and bring it to the boil. If you’re going to sit a container in the pot, make sure the water level isn’t over the top of the container.
- Add the hardest ingredients first (usually beeswax) to the melting container and lower it into or sit it over the pot of boiling water.
- Use an oven mitt when lifting out the jug or jar of melted ingredients.
Melted beeswax and oil doesn’t clean up very well.
- Tip excess melted liquid into a container. Re-heat if it’s set hard.
- Use paper towels to wipe out the pot, jug or jar as much as possible. Also wipe any utensils used before trying to wash them.
- If you plan on making more products use a dedicated jar, jug or tin and wipe it out as much as possible in between use – it doesn’t need to be fully washed out. If you don’t plan on making any more still wipe out the jar or tin as much as possible and put it in the recycling. Second hand shops are great for finding inexpensive jugs (and all sorts of things!).