I have allergies. I've had them for a little over a decade. When I was initially diagnosed the reactions were very scary and often landed me in hospital. Over the years (and as I've gotten better and eliminating the "bad" foods from my diet) the reactions have gotten less severe. I still suffer from impressive eczema on my hands which flares when I come in contact with things I'm allergic to (ingested and contact reactions).
For the most part the eczema is under control and the reactions are infrequent. When it does flare up I use topical steroid cream and ingest antihistamines to reduce the severity of the reaction.
It probably comes as no surprise that skin care is a bit of a pain. The hypoallergenic skin care lines are good, but very limited. (I buy Cliniderm from Shoppers Drug Mart although I'm sure it's available elsewhere too.) When I get adventurous I have to read all of the ingredients on the label and then try to decipher what the ingredients actually mean (for the love of a flying duck why can't they call water, WATER?!).
A few weeks ago I got really excited by the LUSH line again. Over the course of the week I was in Vegas with my family I stopped into one of their shops three or so times and spent about $200 on products. In between visits I read every single ingredient in their entire product catalog (this took me hours--literally). And then on the last visit I had an unfortunate sales experience. Nothing too horrendous, but something that could have been better. I sent (what I felt was) a very polite and useful review of the experience to LUSH USA. I didn't expect to get much of a response, but I certainly expected to get an acknowledgement of receipt. I waited. And waited. And then complained a little on Twitter.
I was running out of moisturizer and had to make the decision on whether or not I wanted to order a top-up from LUSH. At $40 a tub (plus tax and shipping to Owen Sound) the moisturizer I was looking at buying is not exactly cheap.
There's only so many times you can wipe the bottom of a container before you have to admit it's empty. I waited a few more days after the container was well and truly empty before finally giving up on LUSH. Customer service is important to me--especially when I'm paying premium prices for a product that has a "high touch" appearance in their sales/delivery (I shower every morning with Ric and Ryan...the dudes who apparently made my shampoo and conditioner). LUSH is proud to have their products made-by-hand. Where's the best place on the Internet to find more handmade things? Etsy!
Tired of reading ingredient lists, I wanted to find a cream with as few ingredients as possible--and listed in English please. I hopped over to Etsy and started searching for "handmade lotion." There are hundreds of options and no ability to refine the search based on ingredients. Everything I looked at in the first few pages of results had at least one ingredient I was allergic to (usually one of soy, almond or avacado). After having spent hours going through the LUSH catalog I wasn't looking forward to having to go through the hundreds of items on Etsy to find something that might work for me. But there were *hundreds* of results...which made me wonder....how hard could it be to make lotion?
And that's when things got interesting.
Within a couple of evenings of Internet research I felt I had enough information to make my first order of raw ingredients from Saffire Blue (they were great, I'll order from them again). Within a week of my order my ingredients had arrived.
Around 4PM I checked my bookmarked pages of skincare lotion recipes and printed off a few different options. Dinner needed to happen at 6PM sharp and I was cooking. I made fresh squash soup, pasta and hand lotion before sitting down to eat at a few minutes after 6.
Look! it's lotion! In a jar! That I made! I was so excited I wanted to moisturize everything in the house (pro tip: do not try to moisturize the cat).
I broke all the rules on this first batch of lotion. I used tap water, not distilled. My kitchen thermometer was broken, so I guessed at how hot 70C was instead of being precise. I didn't sterilize my containers...and even worse, they are recycled jars. Even with all of my short cuts I got two huge jars of cream with less than 30 minutes of work. Better yet: it feels fantastic and cost me well under $5 in ingredients!
This batch has seven ingredients: water, shea butter, jojoba oil, rice bran oil, emulsifying wax, stearic acid (solid palm oil) and a preservative. It leaves a bit of a greasy film on my hands...but considering the amount I've put on over the course of the last three hours, I'm not entirely surprised. I have a lot of lotion to use up before I can make another batch, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Thanks, LUSH. Don't worry about getting back to me about that email. I think I've got this one covered from here.