Aloe Cactus Flower Melt & Pour

Aloe Final

It is finally warm and beautiful here in Bellingham! But with the wonderful sunshine comes sunburns, especially for us local PNWers ūüôĀ That’s why we decided to dedicate a whole month to the wonderfully healing aloe plant! This rejuvenating plant helps soothe dry, sunburned skin. Our first blog of the month utilizes Aloe M&P, a particularly soothing melt and pour soap with an amazing lather. We also decided to try out one of Bramble Berry’s newest fragrances, Cactus Flower! This super sweet-smelling fragrance is perfect for this fun summery project!

What You’ll Need:

3 lbs Aloe M&P
1/8 tsp Coral Mica
1/4 tsp Kermit Green Mica
1/4 tsp Forest Green Jojoba Beads
12 mL Cactus Flower FO

***You can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! And they will ship directly to you!***

10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
Temp Gun
2 cup Glass Pyrex
4 cup Glass Pyrex
Dropper
Measuring spoons (1/8 tsp & 1/4 tsp)
Stirring utensil

Directions:

Melt 16 oz of Aloe M&P in a microwave-safe container (we used a 2 cup glass pyrex) on one-minute bursts, stirring in between bursts.

When completely  melted, add 1/8 tsp of Coral Mica and mix well. You can disperse the mica in alcohol or glycerin first to help incorporate the mica, but it is not necessary.
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Add 4 mL Cactus Flower FO and mix well.

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Tilt the 10″ silicone loaf mold to one side using the mica jars as shown below.

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Slowly pour the coral mica M&P into the loaf mold and spray with rubbing alcohol.

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Allow to thicken enough to layer (about 30 min).

Melt 32 oz of Aloe M&P in microwave using the same method as above (we used a 4 cup glass pyrex).

Add 1/4 tsp of Kermit Green Mica and mix well.pic7

Add 8 mL of Cactus Flower FO and mix well.

Add 1/4 tsp of Forest Green Jojoba beads and mix well (we scooped two 1/8 tsp, as shown in the picture).pic8

The soap needs to be around 130 degrees Fahrenheit for jojoba beads to suspend properly.

Spray the Coral layer with rubbing alcohol to help the layers stick.

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Pour the Kermit Green layer with the 10″ silicone loaf mold sitting flat on the table.

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Spray with rubbing alcohol and let harden at room temperature (about three hours).

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Unmold carefully by burping the sides of the silicone loaf and allowing the soap to fall out.

Aloe Final 2

Enjoy your adorable Summer-y soap!

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Not sure how to do layers but want to try this project? Check out this Soap Queen blog on a gorgeous layered soap inspired by the PNW!

Don’t forget, for the month of July take 15% off all Aloe-related products here in-store at Otion!

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Vanilla Coffee Cupcakes

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How could we not wrap up Coffee Month without some celebratory cupcakes? We decided to combine melt and pour AND cold process to make this delectable soap treat. We love how the discoloration of the Vanilla fragrance oil gave our frosting this unique swirl design. This is definitely a tricky technique, but once you get it down it yields wonderful results that are good enough to eat! These cupcakes make the perfect birthday gift-but be sure to warn the person receiving them that they are actually soap!

What You’ll Need:

Melt & Pour Bottoms:

42 oz Goat Milk M&P
13 mL Vanilla Select FO
13 mL Vanilla Color Stabilizer
Large glass pyrex
Fork
Scale
Silicone cupcake mold (2)
Rubbing alcohol

Cold Process Frosting:

2 oz Coconut Oil
3 oz Pure Olive Oil
3 oz Palm Kernel Flakes
9 oz Palm Oil
.4 oz Vanilla Select FO

2.43 oz Sodium Hydroxide
5.61 oz Distilled Water

1-2 tbs Coffee Grounds
1-2 tbs Whole Coffee Beans

1M Frosting Tip
Frosting Bag
Hand Mixer
Silicone Spatula
Temp gun
Scale
Glass pyrex (3)

**If you are not local, you can get most all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

Cupcake Bottom Instructions:

Weigh out 42 oz Goat Milk melt and pour soap. Melt in microwave on two minute bursts. Be sure to mix well in between bursts.pic1

Add 13 mL of Vanilla Select FO & 13 mL Vanilla Color Stabilizer and mix well.

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Carefully pour into cupcake molds and spray with alcohol.

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Let harden at room temperature or pop into freezer. If popping in freezer be careful! Wait until they have hardened a bit (15-20 min) before carefully sliding a cutting board under the cupcake tray to move to the freezer. If they wrinkle on top a little it’s no big deal! The frosting will cover this.

After the soap has completely hardened, unmold.

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Frosting Instructions:

COLOR/FRAGRANCE PREP:

We will be using the discoloration of a Vanilla fragrance to be coloring half of our frosting. Weigh out .4 oz of Vanilla Select FO and set aside.

LYE PREP:

Make sure you have gloves, goggles and long sleeves on before beginning to process the lye. Measure 5.61 oz distilled water into one glass container, and 2.43 oz lye into another. Carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir with a stainless steel whisk until solution is clear. Allow the lye to cool to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit by placing into a designated freezer. We recommend using Bramble Berry’s Infrared Thermometer. These are amazing because they are so easy to use and you don’t have to worry about getting your thermometer covered in lye water!

While the lye is cooling, weigh out all the fixed oils (and the Palm Kernel Flakes) in a large glass Pyrex bowl.

For this technique we want our lye and our oils significantly cooler than usual. We want our lye to be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and our oils around 70 degrees before combining.

Once the oils have cooled to around 70 degrees, begin whipping with a hand mixer. They will be gelatinous and opaque before mixing with the hand mixer. Whip JUST THE OILS into a soft consistency using a hand mixer.

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Slowly pour a small amount of the lye into the whipped oils, and use a spoon or spatula to incorporate. Be careful not to splash any of the lye water. This soapmaking process is a lot more laid back that normal cold process because you have much more time to work with your soap. Take your time adding the lye! Spoon the lye into the oils and then mix with the hand mixer.

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Once the lye has been incorporated into the oils (this can take a few minutes), turn the hand mixer or stand mixer on low. Scrape any batter that has splattered on the side of the container and then turn the mixer to a medium setting. Continue to whip for several minutes.

Continue mixing until you have achieved a frosting-like consistency. A good test is to lift the mixer out of the soap and if it keeps a peak, it is ready. This process can take between 20 and 30 minutes. Sometimes the soap will actually increase in temperature because of the lye reaction, so testing the temperature regularly and popping the mixture into the freezer for a few minutes can help this process.

Once the soap has reached the frosting-like consistency, split the frosting in half and add the Vanilla Select to one half. Mix the fragrance in well with a spatula or whisk. You can also give it a quick mix with the hand mixer. The Vanilla Select will discolor the frosting, so we are only fragrancing half of the frosting to create a swirled design.

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Cut off about a half inch from the tip of the frosting bag and push the tip through. Scoop the frostings into opposite sides of the bag until full. You will have some frosting left over, and will need to fill the bag again during the frosting process.

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Squeeze out some of the frosting to burp any air pockets that may be in the bag.

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Squeeze a dollop of frosting onto the middle of the cupcake bottoms.

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Pipe the frosting around the dollop of frosting in a circular motion until you have reached a peak.

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Sprinkle with coffee grounds and top with a couple of whole coffee beans.

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This recipe yields anywhere from 10-13 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make your frosting. We were able to make 11.

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Your soap will start to discolor after about three days. Let soap cure for 4-6 weeks before use. Enjoy your soapy cupcake treats!

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Don’t forget, for the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrances here in-store at Otion!

And for the month of July take 15% off all Aloe-related products!

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Coffee Candle

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Bramble Berry’s 100% Handmade Mug is just too cute, we HAD to incorporate it into our coffee themed month! One of the best parts when using a mug as a¬†candle jar is the extended burn time! How can you say no to a candle that burns longer?! The mug can handle heat better than normal glass, so the warmth of the container will not melt the wax quickly like a glass container does. This candle had a burn time of almost 40 hours! WOW!

What You’ll Need:

14 oz Nature C-3 Wax
CD 20 Wick
.9 oz Espresso FO
Orange Candle Dye Block
Black Candle Dye Block

100% Handmade Mug
Scale
Large (4 Cup) Pyrex
Butter Knife (2)
Fork

**If you are not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

**Quick Tip**
Put a butter knife in the freezer. This comes in handy when you want to check on what color your candle will turn once it has completely cooled and solidified.

Weigh out 14 oz of Nature C-3 wax into a microwave safe container (we used a 4 cup Pyrex). Melt in microwave on 30 second bursts until fully melted (Approximately 3 1/2 min and 160 degrees Fahrenheit). Using a butter knife, shave about a third of the Black Candle Dye Block and mix into melted wax and mix well until fully melted.

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Using a clean butter knife, shred about half the amount of Orange Candle Dye Block and mix well until pieces have fully melted.

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It can be difficult to know what color your wax will be once it hardens, as it will look much darker when it is melted. Take the butter knife out of the freezer and dip it in the melted wax. It will instantly solidify to the color your candle will become.

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Once you have reached your desired color, add 0.9 oz Espresso F.O. and mix well.

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¬†Take the CD-20 wick and dip the end into the melted wax. Follow with ‚Äėgluing‚Äô the wick to the bottom of the mug. After the wick is adhered to the mug, grab a pen and lay it on top of the mug and carefully clip the wick into the pen as shown in the below picture. This helps the wick stay in place when you pour the wax.

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Slowly pour the melted wax into your mug until it is ALMOST full.

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You may have some extra wax. Bramble Berry offers Small Cube Wax Tarts for Wax Melts which are perfect for any extra wax.

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Cover your candle to help it insulate and cool slower. Let sit at least 24 hours before use to ensure the candle has completely solidified.

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Like this blog? Check out this Soap Queen blog on geometric candles!

Don’t forget, for the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrances here in-store at Otion!

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Espresso Cream Melt & Pour

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This week’s blog was inspired by a dreamy dark Espresso drink with just a splash of milk. This exciting melt & pour project is definitely a more advanced one, but is sure to please even the most avid coffee lover. Fragranced with Espresso F.O., this soap is the perfect way to start your morning off with the wonderful aroma of coffee. It’s sure to aWAKEn your senses!

What You’ll Need:

40 oz Aloe M&P
8 oz Shea M&P
25 drops Liquid Black
5 drops Liquid Brown
10 mL Espresso F.O.
99% Isopropyl Alcohol

Scale
4 Quart Pyrex
Easy Pour
10″ Silicone Loaf Mold
Skewer
Dropper
Forks (2)

Weigh out 40 oz Aloe M&P and 8 oz Shea Melt & Pour.

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Melt Aloe Melt & Pour in microwave on 90 second bursts. While continuously mixing, add 25 drops of Liquid Black and 5 drops of Liquid Brown.

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Add 10 mL of Espresso F.O. and mix well.

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Pour into silicone loaf. Spray the top with rubbing alcohol to rid the top of bubbles.

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Once the first layer has formed a thick film on top but the middle of the soap is still liquid, we will begin to melt down the white soap. Melt the 8 oz of Shea M&P in the microwave on 30 second bursts. We want this soap to be very hot so it will break through the first layer. We will also not be fragrancing this layer, as we want it to be as white as possible.

When the Shea M&P is around 160 degrees Fahrenheit you can pour your next layer. Pour from as high away from the mold as you feel comfortable. Again, we want this layer to break through the first. Make your pours random, throughout the loaf so the white layer breaks through in a random pattern.

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If the Shea Melt & Pour does not appear to be breaking through the first layer, use a skewer to poke holes in the first layer.
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Allow to cool and harden enough for you to comfortably move it to the freezer.

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Allow to sit in freezer for about an hour until it fully hardens before unmolding. You can let it harden at room temperature, but it will take about 10 hours to fully harden.

Enjoy your Espresso Cream Melt and Pour Soap!

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Don’t forget, for the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrance Oils!

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Coffee Cold Process Soap

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Ever wonder what to do with your leftover coffee in the coffee pot? Or the coffee grounds? Well worry no more, soaping is the solution (isn’t it always?)! Using coffee instead of water to make your soap is surprisingly easy, and incorporating local coffee helps with the “locally handmade” aspect of artisan soap. When first combining your lye and your coffee, the solution will smell quite foul! But once your soap has been made, that will disappear, leaving behind Hazelnut Toffee and Turkish Mocha to make a hearty coffee fragrance. Keep caffeinated and keep on soaping!

What You’ll Need:

12 oz Brewed Coffee
5.26 oz Lye

12 oz Coconut Oil
12 oz Palm Oil
5 oz Sweet Almond Oil
3 oz Castor Oil
4 oz Hazelnut Oil

.9 oz Hazelnut Toffee FO
.9 oz Turkish Mocha FO

1/2 tsp Titanium Dioxide
1/2 tsp Cappuccino Mica

About 4 tbs Ground Coffee (unbrewed)
About 2 tbs Whole Coffee Beans

Hardware:

Scale
4 cup glass Pyrex (2)
12 cup glass Pyrex
Stainless steel whisk
Ramekin or Dixie cup (2)
Measuring spoons
Mini Mixer
Silicone Spatula
Small container to measure fragrance
Fork (2)
Easy Pour (2)

**If you are not local, you can get all of this and more at Bramble Berry! They will ship directly to you!**

If you’ve never made Cold Process soap before, stop here! I highly recommend checking out Bramble Berry’s FREE four part SoapQueen.tv series on Cold Process Soapmaking, especially the episode on lye safety. And if you’d rather do some reading, Bramble Berry carries a wide range of books on the topic, including Anne-Marie’s newest book, Pure Soapmaking. You can also checkout the digital downloads for that instant gratification factor.

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DIRECTIONS:

COLOR PREP:

In a small ramekin or dixie cup, measure out 1/2 tsp Titanium Dioxide and add about 2 tbs of any fixed oil (we chose Avocado Oil). Then combine using Bramble Berry’s mini mixer.
In a separate small ramekin, disperse 1/2 tsp of Cappuccino using the same method.

OTHER PREP:

Weigh out .9 oz Hazelnut Toffee FO and .9 Turkish Mocha FO into a small container and set aside (you can combine the fragrances in the same container)

Mark both of your easy pour containers at just below the 500 mL line.

Begin by organizing your area so that everything is ready to go. Place your ramekin of Titanium Dioxide by one of the easy pour containers and your Cappuccino Mica by the other. Have your coffee grounds and coffee beans ready to go.

COFFEE PREP:

Brew your coffee relatively strong. We used 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of coffee grounds. The stronger the coffee, the darker your soap will be. Allow the coffee to cool room temperature, if not cooler. The cooler your coffee is the less it will smell when you add your lye, and the less it will discolor your soap.

We chose to use unbrewed coffee grounds for the veins in between layers and for the middle layer in which we incorporated the coffee grounds. Unbrewed coffee grounds can discolor your soap, but our soap was already so dark it did not affect our final product!

LYE PREP:

Measure 12 oz of coffee into one 4 cup glass Pyrex, and 5.6 oz of lye into another. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area, and you are wearing long sleeves, gloves, and goggles. Carefully add the lye to the Coffee while gently stirring with a stainless steel whisk until the lye has completely dissolved. The lye coffee will smell super bad! Allow the lye to cool to around 115 degrees by either labeling and setting aside, or by placing into a designated freezer. We recommend using Bramble Berry’s Infrared Thermometer. These are amazing because they are so easy to use and you don’t have to worry about getting your thermometer covered in lye water!

While the lye is cooling, weigh and combine your oils (making sure you are PRECISE!) and then microwave on 45 second bursts until the oils are around 115 degrees.

Once both the lye solution and the oils are around 115 degrees (between 10 degrees of each other) you can begin soaping!

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Place the stick blender into the oils at an angle and burp the blender by gently knocking the stick blender on the bottom of the Pyrex. Pour the lye solution down the arm of the stick blender and start mixing until you have reached a thin trace.
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Once you have reached a thin trace, pour the soap batter in the designated easy pour containers to the line.

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Add the cappuccino Mica to one of the easy pours, and the Titanium Dioxide to the other. Mix well.

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Add about half of the fragrance to the Cappuccino Mica easy pour. You can eyeball this. Mix well.

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Pour the Cappuccino layer into the 10″ Silicone Loaf Mold.

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Using a mini spatula, texture the layer using a swooping method.

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Sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the first layer, avoiding the sides to help prevent separation.

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Add about 2 tbsp of coffee grounds to the uncolored layer of soap. Mix well.

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Add the rest of the fragrance and mix well. Using a silicone spatula to help prevent breakthroughs, pour the coffee ground layer on top of the Cappuccino layer.

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Using a spatula, texture the second layer using the same technique as before.

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Sprinkle coffee grounds on top of the second layer, again avoiding the sides to help prevent separation.

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Using a silicone spatula to help prevent breakthrough, pour the Titanium Dioxide layer on top of the coffee grounds layer.

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Spoon the soap to the middle to create a small peak. You may need to wait a few minutes until the soap thickens up enough to do this. Be careful to not spoon too deep into the top layer, or you may scoop coffee grounds up to the top layer. We want this top layer to be uncolored, without grounds.

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Add coffee beans to the top of the peak.

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Allow to sit out at room temperature, uncovered, for three days. Unmold carefully, as the coffee prolongs the hardening and curing process.

Cut the soap on it’s side to help prevent the coffee beans and grounds from creating scrape marks on the soap.

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Allow to cure 6-8 weeks before use.

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Want to learn more about making coffee soap? Check out this Soap Queen blog.

Don’t forget, for the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Fragrance Oils here in-store at Otion! **This sale does not apply to flavor oils or special orders**

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Coffee Butter Lip Balm

final coffee lip balm

¬†It’s no secret that us Pacific North Westerners love our coffee. So we decided to dedicate this month to our favorite morning beverage! We’re kicking off Coffee Month with this super simple, super luxurious lip balm made almost entirely our of coffee butter. Coffee butter is safe to use in lip balm up to 100%, but we decided to add a little bit of beeswax to harden it just a tad, and a little bit of jojoba oil for an extra touch of amazing moisture. No need to flavor this wonderful product, as the smell and taste of the coffee butter is enough on its own. Coffee lovers rejoice!

**This recipe yields about 12 sliding lip tins**

What You’ll Need:

2 oz Coffee Butter
.3 oz White Beeswax
.35 oz Jojoba Oil

Hardware:

Scale
Microwave safe container
Spoon

Directions:

Measure 0.3 oz White Beeswax. Melt in microwave on 30 second bursts.

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Once completely melted, add 2 oz of Coffee Butter. Pop back in microwave on 10 second bursts until fully melted. Make sure to mix well in between bursts. We want to add as little of an outside heat source as possible, as the Coffee Butter can crystallize and form a grainy lip balm if melted too quickly.

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Add .35 oz Jojoba oil and mix well.

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Pour into sliding lip tins.

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Wait about 10-15 minutes for balm to cool before putting the lids on.

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Enjoy your caffeine-bursted lip balm!

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Like coffee butter? Then check out this Soap Queen blog on Whipped Coffee Butter.

For the month of June take 15% off all Vanilla Flavor Oils here in-store at Otion!!

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