Equipment For Making Cosmetics
The list of equipment for making cosmetics is not an “in an ideal world, I would like to have” list, but pretty much a “I must have this” list. Sure, you could use your old towels to clean up instead of kitchen paper towels – your choice. But the most of this list is a must-have list, and for very good reasons.
This is to disinfect and cleanse the equipment before you use it, and it’s a good idea to do the same afterwards too before you put your equipment away. You can also use Everclear, Rubbing Alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol instead. Any of them can be used in a spray bottle for convenience.
I really want to emphasize the importance of good hygiene here. Clean your work surface first and wash your hands. Lay down some kitchen paper to put your equipment on after you have cleaned it with the alcohol. Don’t pick the ingredients up with your fingers – use the clean tools you have.
I have seen attempts at using some of the ingredients I use in my book and in their video, the person is pushing butters off the spoon with their fingers and not using ingredients correctly. They go on to say that the preservative is only good for about 3 months. Really? Keep your hands out and use the materials correctly, and that product with preservative in is good for 12 months.
Kitchen Paper Towels
For cleaning up after yourself, but they are also very useful for putting your tools down on. If you have just used the spatula for stirring, get used to putting it down on a piece of kitchen paper to ensure it stays clean. Get your usual brand when you go to the grocery store.
A small, narrow one is excellent for stirring. Silicone is hygienic and better than a stainless steel one, which can cause your glass containers to crack. Definitely do not use a wooden spoon – not at all hygienic!
Flat Bottomed Whisk
This is often called a sauce whisk, and it is definitely not a balloon whisk. A balloon whisk is specifically designed to aerate and lift a cake mix or batter. This is the exact opposite of what we want. A flat-bottomed whisk stays lower in the emulsion, and when used slowly, does not aerate, It does, however, move the emulsion around and ensure the emulsifier comes into contact with the fat and water components as much as possible, giving it all the best chance of emulsifying. You could use the silicon spatula if you don’t have this. This is a really sturdy one that will last a long time.
Immersion Blender / Stick Blender
Some emulsifiers require high shear to form an emulsion successfully, and you and a hand whisk are not going to get anywhere near the speed you need. Don’t think of using your kitchen mixer because, just like the balloon whisk, that is designed to aerate. Not good for these emulsifiers. It does not need to be a fancy one with all the attachments or endorsed by some celebrity chef – just a basic, cheap one is all you need.
Another essential because you weigh everything – even the liquids. Grams are accurate, and they allow you to know the percentage ratio exactly, every single time. They need to weigh from 0.01g upwards. Try to get a set that weighs to about 600g. More than that and they tend to jump up in price hugely, less than that, and they are really annoying having to measure everything separately. Always remember to check the settings before you use it to make sure you are weighing in grams and not carats!
A thermometer is equipment essential for making cosmetics. You have need to know what temperatures you are working at. Some emulsifiers need to reach a certain minimum temperature before they are able to work and some active ingredients and preservatives need to be below a certain temperature as they are damaged by heat. Don’t be tempted to use that old meat thermometer in the back of the drawer with a picture of a chicken, pig, and a cow on – you need to know specific and accurate temperatures.
Every temperature in my book is given in Centigrade and Fahrenheit, but a digital thermometer is going to have a button to allow you to switch to whichever you prefer. They do not need to be expensive ones from a chef supply shop. I don’t like the glass ones because I break too many of them. You can certainly use them if you want and are less clumsy than me.
2 x Stainless Steel Or Borosilicate Glass Jugs
These are for heating your fat phase, water phase and for making gels. You can safely use an immersion blender / stick blender in a borosilicate glass jug, just be careful. The old Pyrex jug you make gravy and custard in scratches a bit too easily to be hygienic.
If you think you might break them, get a pair of stainless steel jugs with handles instead. No other metals please, no plastic, copper, enamel and definitely no aluminum. You may not realize, but the measures on the sides of these items are not usually very accurate. That doesn’t matter for us because we are weighing everything, remember?
This is a cheap and simple way to make your own double boiler. Use any saucepan made of any material, as it is only the base of the boiler and your product does not touch this. Half fill with boiling tap water and drop a silicon coaster or folded tea towel in the base. This means that when you put in the stainless steel jug or borosilicate glass container, they do not touch the bottom of the pan and are only heated by indirect heat from the boiling water. The saucepans you have in your kitchen will do just fine, whatever they are made of because the product you are making goes into the borosilicate glass or stainless steel jug.
As above, this is to raise up the stainless steel or borosilicate jugs so that they do not touch the bottom of the saucepan. These are fun, and you can use the spare ones for your drinks.
Stainless Steel Sieve
After you have infused your herb, you need to strain it to get the oil out. Don’t be tempted to use your small tea strainer from the back of the drawer – your precious herb can too easily flow over and be wasted. You also want to be able to press the herb to get every last bit of oil out, and a plastic strainer can easily rip. That’s why I recommend the conical stainless steel type.
Yeah, I know it sounds obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have picked up one of my own jars of finished product and wondered what it was or what percentage of weed was in it, just because I didn’t have some sticky labels on hand at the time. “I’ll remember,” I think. Yeah, right!
Specialist Equipment For Making Cannabis Cosmetics
In my book, read the chapters on How To Decarb and How To Infuse to see the different equipment for making cosmetic infusions and other ways to do this. If you are interested in buying one of the machines, read the information on my blog to help you decide which one is best for you.
These low smoke, cotton wicks are already dipped in wax to make them rigid, and one end is set into a small metal base. This helps them to stand upright in the candle jar when pouring the wax in.
You will need cosmetic jars and bottles. These are still considered to be part of the equipment for making cosmetics, and reusing old cosmetic jars can cause a lot of problems for the preservative! Many jar lids have what are called “wadded inserts” which are made of laminated cardboard to stop the contents from leaking out. You just cannot clean these effectively to reuse them. Also, not all food safe plastic containers are suitable for long term storage of cosmetics, as they may react with the ingredients. Make sure they are cosmetic safe containers and also legally compliant if you intend to resell your products.
These jars are easy to fill and can be washed and reused over and again.
These bottles are made of silicone, so they will not crack if you carry them in your bag or luggage, and they are also leakproof. They have a wide neck, so they are easy to refill.
This type of spray bottle is really strong, doesn’t leak, and can be washed and refilled time and again.
These tincture bottles with pipettes are small enough to be carried in a pocket or bag during the day for a micro-dosing top up.
Lip Balm Cylinders
These lip balm cylinders are easy to fill and look stylish as well.
These molds are reusable. They can be a bit fiddly but do work. An alternative is to use a silicone ice stick mold that is designed to make frozen sticks for water bottles. Sure, they are bigger, but can be filled slightly less and when turned out, cut to size.
That about sums up the required equipment for making the cosmetics in my first book. Some of it you already have at home, and none of it is difficult to get. I have given the links to what I believe to be good quality products at fair prices, and the links do not increase the cost to you at all.
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