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Holiday Gift Ideas: D.I.Y. “Shimmer Body Products” Edition!

[Side-note: I know many of you sent in questions and I’m compiling a list of the latest so I can post answers to them tomorrow! In the meantime, hope you guys enjoy this post!]

Sometimes it’s fun to create your own beauty stocking stuffers. It’s personalized, shows care and effort, AND is a great way to get around a small budget during the holiday season. 
Here are a couple of quick ideas for shimmering lotions/creams, and shimmer body sprays, for those who are still looking for last-minute gift ideas!
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GLITTER aka SHIMMER aka FAIRYDUST

Most of the shimmery micas you use in highlighters and shadows are safe for use in sprays and lotions, but anything too fine will end up giving an overall pearly glow rather than a sprinkling of fairydust. 
If you prefer the fairydust effect, then you need to watch out for 2 things when it comes to glitter or shimmers in body products. Particle size and whether the glitter is solvent-resistant
  1. Super-finer glitters that can be dispensed via spray nozzles are usually about 0.004 hex/particle size or lower (sites like Coastal Scents will list the sizes in the Additional Information tab). If you’re not sure, don’t buy it, or only use it for lotions and creams, not sprays. Larger glitters can clog up spray nozzles easily. 
  2. If you’re not sure, get a sparkly mica instead of a glitter. They aren’t as dramatic but they will certainly not smell weird or bleed. Check out Coastalscent.com’s range of “Mirage” or “Sparkling” micas for the best balance between cost and drama.
  3. Not all glitters are solvent resistant. Some have a tendency to bleed (meaning if you buy a red glitter and drop it in alcohol or lotion, you might end up with weird-looking pink/red juice and bleached silver sparkles). It always helps if a site lists if the glitter is solvent-resistant. Tkbtrading.com has a range of solvent resistant glitters. If you are not sure, add a little bit of glitter into a thimble-full of alcohol and see if the color starts to come off overnight. Also make sure it does not have any noticeable smell.
Tip: One of the BEST ingredients are “reflects” glitters. These are very fine mineral flakes that sparkle like glitter, but don’t bleed. They ARE significantly more expensive than regular micas and glitters, but if you’d rather not have to choose between quality/safety versus drama/sparkle, then Reflects/Refleck pigments are the way to go.
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1. Shimmering Body Cream (1 oz)

You’ll need: 
  • 0.5 - 1 ml Fragrance oil or essential oil (optional, depending on your budget and preference)
  • 1 oz aqueous BP (any mild, unscented lotion without strong-smelling active ingredients)
  • 1 tsp of mica/shimmer powder for a subtle sheen, 1 heaped tbsp if your middle-name is Tinkerbell. (If you want a bronzing sheen for applying on the arms and legs, get a nice deep bronze-brown caramel shade!)
Steps:
  1. The simplest way is to dump the lotion/cream and shimmer into a clean ziploc bag and smoosh everything around until you no longer see clumps and lumps of shimmer anywhere.
  2. If you are adding your own fragrance oils, add that last, and always add a lot less than you THINK you need. You can’t reverse it if you add too much.
  3. Then when you’re done, snip one corner with scissors and pipe the contents out into your container of choice. 
Tip: If you have a favorite scented lotion, you only need to add the shimmer to it and mix everything up evenly!
2. Shimmering Body Spray (approx 100ml 3.3oz)
You need:
  • 2ml fragrance oil
  • 50ml denatured or grain alcohol
  • 20ml distilled water
  • 30ml jojoba oil or cyclomethicone
  • 1 tbsp shimmer or micro-glitter; a bit more if you’re Tinkerbell. (I don’t recommend using very fine-grained pearly powders because they won’t show up as nicely as more dramatic particles when sprayed in a mist.)
Instructions:
  1. Always mix the alcohol and fragrance oils first. That’s the only way the fragrance is going to disperse properly. 
  2. If you are adding any distilled water to the mixture, add it very slowly and in small quantities. Anytime you see the solution clouding up, add more alcohol until it clears up again. The simplest thing is to skip the water and use only oil and alcohol as base.
  3. When you are done with this base, add your mica/glitter. 
  4. Add your oil.
  5. Make sure you label your bottle with “shake before using”! This is going to be like those moisturizing body sprays where the oil and liquids are separate.
A note on fragrance: SKIP TO THE CHEATS SECTION AT THE BOTTOM IF YOU’RE NOT SCENTING YOUR PRODUCT!

Fragrance is an optional thing for many, and it really depends on your own preference and whether the recipient/s are sensitive to smells and fragrances. If  you aren’t sure, it’s always better to just skip the fragrance altogether.
If they happen to love scents and scented products, then just take note of a few things.
Essential Oils

Essential oils are extracted from natural materials. Patchouli oil from the patchouli plant, rose from rose petals, etc. Some essential oils (e.g. citrus and some spices) can be sensitizing in high concentrations, and while many of them do not cause reactions in the majority of people, it’s advisable to play it safe and use the lowest concentration possible.
Always remember that most of the aromatherapy and skin therapy oils made for topical application and massages ARE already diluted to about 3% concentration or less because 100% essential oils are extremely expensive, AND can cause sensitivities if applied directly to skin. The other 97% is usually made up of non-reactive carrier oils like sweet almond, grapeseed, or jojoba.
When you are purchasing an essential oil, it’s always important to find out if what you are looking at is diluted or concentrated. The first indication is usually the price, since uncut (concentrated) essential oils tend to be VERY costly. Usually, 3-10% concentration oils do still smell quite strong, although you’d need to use more in your products than with uncut oils, of which you’d need only a few drops.
Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are not essential oils. They are created in laboratories, sometimes from a mixture of natural and synthetic compounds. Before you go screaming about synthetics being a bad thing, just remember that a lot of common notes like lily, musk, fruits, and candy smells in the products we use daily cannot be extracted from nature. You can’t extract any cotton candy essential oil, so chemists simply isolate and identify the aromatic molecules in it and create stable versions for use in bath and body products.
Just like essential oils, some fragrance oils can be sensitizing in high-doses, but  that doesn’t mean they are any more harmful than natural ones. (In fact, some natural oils are far more reactive and potentially harmful.)
Aside from being able to capture scents that you can’t extract from nature, the other benefit of fragrance oils are that you can recreate the scents of rare and expensive plants for much cheaper (real mysore sandalwood can cost over a hundred dollars for a tiny bottle while a large bottle of the synthetic version often costs less than $10). They won’t all smell as good or complex as the real thing, but most of the time they come pretty close.
Note: All fragrance oils usually come in 100% concentration. 
Where to buy:
  • Most aromatherapy stores would have good essential oil blends.
  • For fragrance oils, these are usually sold only by online distributors who supply soap/tart/candle makers. Try naturesgardencandles.com and newdirectionsaromatics.com.
Scent Ideas:
  • Vanilla Cream (New Directions Aromatics) - Smells like vanilla ice cream or vanilla frosting!
  • Pink Sugar (Natures Garden Candles) - Candy, candy, candy. And more candy.
  • Absinthe (Natures Garden Candles) - for a spicy-sweet, more grown-up deliciousness
  • Midnight Jasmine (New Directions Aromatics) - The most GORGEOUS synthetic jasmine for floral lovers.
  • Sandalwood Extra (New Directions Aromatics) - A rather good sandalwood for sandalwood lovers; many smell stale and unlike the real thing.
  • Peppermint Patty (Natures Garden Candles) - O-M-G. VERY good dark chocolate and mint. Don’t drink this.
  • Mountain Hazelnut Cafe (Natures Garden Candles) - Incredibly delicious smell. Use this in a room spray or add a few drops in your oil burner and your room will smell like a real cafe.
Tip:
If you are creating a customized blend using a few different oils, always remember to mix it in a separate container first rather than adding them haphazardly into your body product, because it might take a few tries and a lot of tweaking before you get a blend you really like, and by that time, you’d either have ruined your body product or added way too high a concentration of aromatic oils. 
THE CHEATS’ SECTION!
1. Technically you CAN turn an existing fragrance into a shimmering body splashes, but I only recommend it if you are able to decant or extract the fragrance without having to spray it. If you try to slowly spray 30ml of Taylor Swift Wonderstruck into a bottle spritz by spritz, what will happen is your final mixture will be missing a lot of the top-notes because these disappear upon spraying.
  • 50-60ml fragrance
  • 10ml distilled water
  • 1 tbsp shimmer
  • 30ml cyclomethicone or jojoba/sweet almond oil (add this last)
2. The other SUPER-EASY way to do this without any mess is to buy a body splash, split it into any number of smaller bottles and add glitter to all of them.
Approx proportions:
  • 100ml (3.3 oz) body splash
  • 10-20 ml glycerin (optional, but helps to make a body spray more moisturizing)
  • 1-2 tbsp shimmer
This can be split into two 1.7 oz bottles for two friends, or 3 smaller 1 oz bottles for 3 people! Again, remember to label with “shake before use”!
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