Handmade Beauty Box II

As you regular readers no doubt remember, I was lucky enough to win a free, 3-month subscription to Handmade Beauty Box. A few weeks ago, I received HBB II in the mail and as soon as Avital came home from school, that box was in motion.

Avital is so excited!
Avital is so excited!

Do you not love the wonky front tooth? It fell out yesterday. But it hung on, moved around, was practically sideways before it did.

Anyway! We removed the paper squiggles, which I fed to the compost bin (the worm bin is still working on last month’s squiggles; don’t want to overload them). And this is what we saw:

Pretty!
Pretty!

Keep in mind that I make fizzies. I am not short on fizzy supplies. If my workshop ever floods, the amount of baking soda and citric in there will create a fizzy-cano that will turn my whole house into a luxurious bathing experience.

But there were four things in the box that I don’t use in my fizzies: witch hazel (note the bottle–they provide the bottle! genius!); micas (I don’t use them); fragrance oil (I’m an essential oil girl), and those saturn-type molds. I use a meat ball maker.

You can’t see it in the photo, but the box also includes labels and some blue ribbon for attaching them. With HBB I, I mistakenly composted the raffia ties. This time, I nearly composted the ribbon when I pulled out all the squiggles–it was among them. This time, I read the directions (RTFM, we used to say, when I was a sysadmin–Read The Manual), and discovered I was missing a ribbon. No, I wasn’t. I had (nearly) chucked it in the compost.

Last time, we made the soap project for Avital’s teachers–it was end of the semester, and the timing was perfect.

Loofa Soap from HBB I

This time, we were making these puppies for us. And despite having massive fizzy supplies in my workshop, I was glad to get these for a few reasons: I have not tried these plastic molds before. I like the idea of mold and packaging all in one–provided the plastic is recyclable. It’s a fine line I try to walk: minimize plastic in my business… but if fizzies aren’t protected from moisture, you’ll get premature fizzification. And that ain’t fun for no one.

I also liked the chance to try micas. I don’t use them in my soaps, and haven’t used them (or Bramble Berry’s La Bomb Colors, which also looks bright and fun), because my customers prefer a more natural vibe. But both have been talked about in fizzy groups (yes, such things exist!), and I’d wondered how they worked. Now I know!

I also don’t make mine with just witch hazel. I add corn starch (which gives the water a lovely, silky feel), oils, butters, sometimes other salts and clays… and I use a mixer (a la Holly Port’s book), so plain-old just baking soda and citric isn’t something I’ve tried in ages.

I got out the gloves (gotta use gloves) and we got started, carefully following the directions. I let Avital do most of it, as you can see. It should either be comforting or humbling that a 6-year-old can pretty much make the same things I do. (OK, not cold process soap, though she begs to.)

Mixing the baking soda and citric
Mixing the baking soda and citric

We split the batch, added scent to all, blue mica to half, and then mixed, spritzed witch hazel to a damp, sandy consistency, and packed the molds.

I don’t have pictures of this part, because taking pictures while handing stuff with gloves on is awkward and likely to get the phone and/or iPad all gross. But you can imagine it all.

For someone used to using a meat ball maker (like this one–I’m not advocating that brand, just letting you know what it looks like), packing these saturn-type plastic mold-and-package-all-in-one was a little awkward at first. Even though they’re for us to use, I wanted to see if I could get a clean edge to them, no material caught in the seam, and so on. By the last couple, it was getting better. With practice (and without a 6-year-old), I would be able to do it pretty quickly.

Within half an hour or so, we had these:

Fizzies accomplished
Ta-DAAAAAA Fizzies accomplished

There was little leftover mix–we could have packed them tighter, I think. We used the leftovers in that night’s tubby, so no problem there. On the whole, though, they turned out really cute, and I may well do some mixed-color fizzies for sale. Rose clay, purple Brazilian clay, yellow clay, and other things make really nice colorants for fizzies, too!

We have one month left to our freebie, so it’s time to start thinking about extending the subscription.

Pros? Avital really likes doing them, and it gives us a mom-and-daughter project every month. That it comes in the mail and is a surprise is a real bonus. And everything is included, so I don’t have to come up with new packaging if we want to give them as gifts.

They also give me ideas for things that I could make, or ideas for doing things differently. I was able to try the saturn molds, for instance–I might have tossed those into a Bramble Berry order anyway, but my current method works fine, so there wasn’t much reason to look further. Now, I’m wondering if it’s something to use.

Cons? Mostly thrift. (Though it won’t break the budget to do it.) I have most of the ingredients or totally acceptable substitutes, and if I was a certain kind of mommy, I could come up with monthly (heck, weekly…daily) projects for Avital and me to do together. Melt and pour, fizzies, lip balm, lotion bars… all are well within her skill set.

The only other potential con is that if a project comes up that isn’t suitable for her age group, she’s gonna be wicked disappointed. Of course, learning to handle disappointment is a skill everyone needs to learn.

What do you think? Yeah or nay? Continue or not? 

Comments

  1. Alyssa says

    I love these pictures and hearing about the HBB. I have an 8 year old and she’s always asking to make products with me. I know she’d be thrilled to receive a package each month with ingredients just for her and I to use to create goodies for our frequent spa days. But I’m like you – I think I could just sit down and map out a few projects for her and I to make together and she’d be just as happy! Look forward to seeing what you decide to do.

  2. Lesli says

    Hi Alyssa,
    My daughter is a bit younger, and still in the capricious stage. If I create the project, she wants to improve it, as only a 6-year-old can. With these, she accepts the project as-is because, ya know, it came from Bramble Berry, where they have an endless fountain of melt and pour, mountains of body safe glitter in a rainbow of colors, unicorn erasers by the truckload! Wonka can keep his factory, this little girl want CRAFTS! I’m waiting for her to suggest the next family vacation be in Bellingham, WA.
    Good luck! Maybe we can start a KidCraft subscription business inspired by our girls. Oh, hey, wait… I like that…

  3. Roslyne says

    Hi Lesli, this looks like so much fun! You are creating such special memories with your little girl while encouraging her creative side. My daughters are 16 and 21 and (thankfully) still enjoy this aspect of the business. I haven’t been as good at documenting with photos, but I am thankful for my memories. Continue to enjoy!

    • Lesli says

      Hi Roslyne,
      It was a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see what next b=month brings.

  4. So happy that you got to try some new ingredients in your bath bombs! And once again, your daughter is a cute little rock star =)

    You can always email us to find out what the upcoming project will be just in case there’s something she wouldn’t be interested in like Bronzer or Eye Shadow. She would probably still have fun making makeup though.

    Thanks again for the fabulous blog post!

    Courtney

  5. What fun! I supported the Kickstarter campaign. While I was not lucky enough to win three months of boxes, I did receive one, and I have not yet opened it up! I’ve got to get on that. These pictures are wonderful, and I love that you are also providing an honest review while you are engaging your daughter in a fun activity. Triple bonus! Thanks for sharing some of your experiences with Handmade Beauty Box. I love it, and look forward to the next one.

    • Lesli says

      Thanks, Donna Maria! Find a buddy and get crafting–these are a lot more fun with company, I think. 🙂

  6. Anne-Marie says

    Glad Avital had fun making them =) They turned out awesome =)

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