I think I've become addicted to making things. In the past few weeks, I've made several batches of soap. I'm using hot process in my crockpot (instructions and photos to come), and I've made a darn good imitation of Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap. I toyed with a few other recipes and scents, too. The lavender came out a bit iffy, but the lemongrass/clary sage oatmeal soap is nice, as is the oat and honey. I haven't quite gotten the hang of adding enough essential oil to properly scent the soap, but it lathers really well in my hard water - which is far more important to me. So many handmade soaps I've tried just don't have long-lasting bubbles, and I need to re-soap my pouf or washcloth halfway through my shower. But my soap bubbles, so I'm ecstatic. :)
Tonight, on a whim, I whipped up a mini-batch of chapstick. I'm utterly addicted to Burt's Bees peppermint (hmmm, I'm noticing a minty trend here...), but I'm on my last tube. I'm also not addicted to the $3.50 per tube price tag. After a bit of Googling and a peek at the ingredients on the real thing, I got busy. Here's my recipe:
.2 oz beeswax
.3 oz coconut oil
.1 oz shea butter
.05 oz avocado oil
peppermint essential oil, "to taste"
I melted all the ingredients, except the peppermint EO, using a 2 oz mason jar in my cast iron skillet with some water (sort of a mini double boiler). After the beeswax melted, I dipped a knife into the mixture, removed it, and allowed the chapstick to cool so I could check its texture. It was perfect; not too oily and not too hard. I removed the mason jar from the heat, added about .2 mL of peppermint EO, stirred, and poured the chapstick into 2 little tins I'd ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs ages ago.
Broke and Healthy, one of the sites I used while coming up with my recipe, breaks down the cost of making this chapstick from scratch. By their calculations, each .15 oz tube of chapstick costs $.08 to make. My recipe weighed about .6 oz, making each tin cost approximately $.16. My tins cost about $.70. Even including them, which is kind of silly since I'll use them over and over, the cost to make this at home was about 25% of retail. And it took less than 10 minutes. You can bet I'll be doing that again!
I love the feeling I get when I replicate something I usually buy. Yes, I'm still a consumer, because I have to buy my oils, beeswax, and other ingredients. But the "value added" part of the equation? That's me! I have total control over the ingredients; no petroleum products, preservatives, or artificial anythings. And, I'm not giving any of my money to corporations with questionable ethics or business policies. Good stuff!
EDIT - I sat down a few nights ago and figured out my actual costs, based on the real ingredients I had purchased, including tubes, which I didn't originally have. As made, it cost me $.20 per tube (of that, the tube cost $.14, so my chapstick was only $.06 per tube!!). If I were to make it using all organic ingredients, which I plan on doing when I sell these and/or run out of my current stock of oils, it would cost $.24 per tube.