All About Olives, Bluebirds, and Cool Cucumbers!

During Summer I’m usually outside as soon as the sun is up. Early morning is an exciting time to be awake and out and about the farm. As I make my way to the garden, I hear the black capped chickadees call “fee bee – fee bee” and the Rufous-Sided Towhees call “drink your tea, drink your tea”. I notice how the rabbits sit perfectly still as they hope to blend into their surroundings. As I walk into the garden the ruby throated hummers zoom in to the feeders with a chit-chit, chit-chit which I suppose means good morning!!

As I work in the garden, I enjoy my breakfast of blackberries and blueberries and cucumbers! For several weeks we have been picking gallon after gallon of blueberries. We eat them fresh, give many away and then freeze the remainder. Blueberries freeze well and can be used throughout the year to make delicious smoothies, jams or jellies, muffins, etc.

During the hot afternoon, we cool off with blueberry smoothies

or afternoon slices of watermelon!

Our organically grown Cucumbers have produced beautifully this year! Last evening I made a Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Thai Basil. The recipe is easy – just one crisp, cold cucumber sliced very thin, one or two Roma tomatoes diced, toss in a handful of fresh Thai Basil leaves, a dash of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a dash of Balsamic Vinegar, some sea salt and ground pepper – toss all together – top off with Feta cheese. Nutritious and Delicious and Cool!

Botanicals From The Herbarie! – Cucumber Extract WS

We use these same organically grown cucumbers to process our wonderful Cucumber Extract WS! Our Cucumber Extract WS is NOT EDIBLE, but is truly fabulous for skin care and the perfect gentle astringent for summer.

Last week I came up with a simple, but very nice and emollient facial cleanser and eye makeup remover using our Cucumber Extract WS and Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters.

Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters

Multifunctional Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters (Olivem 300) continues to be one of our best selling products! Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters offers the rich emolliency of Olive Oil in a uniquely water soluble and oil dispersible product!

Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters is a lovely, multifunctional ingredient for dispersible bath oil blends, oil based facial cleansers, water based facial cleansers. It can also be used as a co-emulsifier in creams and lotions, and as a re-fatting agent in shampoo or body wash that will not compromise foam.

Cool Cucumber Olive Facial Cleanser and Eye Makeup Remover

15% Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters
74% Cucumber Extract
1% Cosmocil CQ

This simple formula is the best eye makeup remover I’ve ever used and just a few drops on a cotton pad will do it. All ingredients are safe for leave-on products so it doesn’t have to be rinsed off. I typically use this formula as an overall facial cleanser and eye makeup remover in the shower with rinse-off. It leaves my skin soft and smooth and feeling great! This formula is not thick, but I find it to be the perfect viscosity for my own use. I’ve packaged mine in a bottle with a dispensing cap.

But there are all sorts of possibilities with this formula:

  • To thicken this formula, it would be possible to use HEC or HPMC or XanThix or UltraMaize. I haven’t experimented with the percentages, but would try 0.5%-1.0% HEC or HPMC or UltraMaize. Maybe 0.1% XanThix. A thickened formula could be packaged in a tube or pump container.

  • Nice additives could include our Rose Phytolate, Olive Leaf Extract, Antioxidant Complex T5, Edelweiss Extract, Helichrysum Extract, Hibiscus Extract, Licorice Root Extract, Honeysuckle Extract WS, Tamarind Seed Extract, or Symglucan.

More From the Sacred and Noble Olive TreeThe ancient olive tree is rich in folklore and offers many wellness, skin and hair care benefits. I learned the benefits of olive oil at an early age from my southern Italian mother. She used Olive Oil for everything – cooking, skin care and hair care. I now do the same thing.

We’ve recently added two new Olive products to our inventory! In addition to our Organic Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters, Olivem 1000 and Olive Leaf Extract, we are excited to offer Oliwax and Oliwax LC!

Oliwax is a completely natural, multifunctional lipid obtained 100% from Olive Oil. Oliwax is rich in squalene and unsaponifiable olive oil fractions and recommended for both skin care and hair care. Oliwax is conditioning and will build structure and increase viscosity in creams and lotions as well as anhydrous products such as body butters, lip balms, and salves. The unique “crystal network” is similar to human skin lipids and promotes excellent delivery to skin. Unlike many other waxy lipids, Oliwax offers conditioning with a light, silky-smooth feel.

Clinical tests have demonstrated that Oliwax is hypoallergenic and an excellent choice for sensitive skin. Oliwax has not been tested on animals, is completely biodegradable and compatible with most cosmetic ingredients.

Oliwax is stable to oxidation, is odorless and colorless and offered in easy to use flake form. The melt point is approximately 55° C which allows substitution for waxy products such as beeswax and other waxes.

I’ve made a super emollient, conditioning lotion using Olivem 1000 as the complete emulsifier with Oliwax as the stabilizing, conditioning, and “bodifying” agent. Botanical Olive Natural Lotion is very moisturizing and conditioning, but doesn’t feel greasy, waxy or oily. I’ll outline the various ingredients and their functionality:

Cupuaçu Butter is one of my favorite butters for skin care and hair care. It contains phytosterols and unsaponifiables that help to regulate the balance and activity of lipids in the epidermis and it does not have a greasy feel when used in emulsions. It has a high capacity for water absorption which gives it superior moisturizing properties. Cupuaçu Butter offers a lovely emolliency that will restore elasticity and softness to skin.

Our Organic Certified Golden Jojoba Oil is actually a liquid wax ester with characteristics similar to skin. Jojoba Oil is stable to oxidation, is absorbed quickly and has a feel that I love – I use it in almost all my products.
Olive Squalane is an emollient lipid with excellent stability and provides a nice slip to this formula.

XanThix is a water phase stabilizer and viscosity builder. At low percentages (0.1%-0.3%) XanThix will enhance the feel and slip in application. When XanThix is used at higher percentages, the esthetics of the formulation will diminish. XanThix is water soluble. Like most other gums, XanThix works by swelling in water. Even though XanThix is water soluble, it’s more easily added to the oil phase of emulsions. Other gums, such as HPMC or HEC can also easily be added to the oil phase of emulsions. First heat the oil phase to the desired temperature – usually around 175F – then add the pre-weighed XanThix to the hot oils/lipids with gentle stirring to be sure the particles have separated. Then proceed with the formulation as usual. Swelling will occur during cool-down and viscosity of the formulation will increase as a result.

SymGlucan® is an exciting multifunctional, antiaging ingredient manufactured by Symrise. SymGlucan® is made by a patented technology which refines Oat Beta-Glucan to produce a highly active soluble fraction. SymGlucan® has been clinically shown to penetrate the skin and help reduce the visible signs of aging. SymGlucan’s unique delivery system stimulates fibroblast growth and collagen synthesis which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Studies have also demonstrated SymGlucan® to be an excellent moisturizer that provides even better long-term moisturization than Hyaluronic Acid. SymGlucan helps to restore skin’s youthful elasticity and softness. I use SymGlucan at 5% in most of my emulsions and can definitely tell the difference when using it.

Chia Seed CO2 Extract is unique as it contains the highest concentration vegetarian source omega-3 linolenic acid. These high concentrations of alpha linolenic acid help both skin and hair to maintain moisture. In addition to moisturization, Chia Seed CO2 Extract promotes skin elasticity and can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Nutrient-rich Chia Seed CO2 Extract offers skin smoothing characteristics leading to soft, silky and healthy skin. Chia Seed CO2 Extract can also be used for effective moisturization in hair and scalp formulations. I add this oil at cool-down temperatures.

For the Botanical Olive Natural Lotion, I’ve chosen a blend of extracts and essential oils to provide a wonderful scent as well as antimicrobial activity. Lavender Flower CO2 Extract, Rose Geranium Essential Oil, Bergamot FCF Essential Oil, and just a touch of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil provide a fresh, green-floral scent that I just adore!

Nowadays, most customers are looking for less aggressive preservatives and “natural preservatives”. Unfortunately there is no one perfect natural preservative that we can simply put into our finished formulations as an afterthought. Creating an effective preservative system takes time and testing for each and every formulation. What works for one formulation, may not work for another. It’s always best to create a formula from start to finish with the preservative system in mind.

I’ve combined these antimicrobial oils to work in synergy with Rosemary Antioxidant CO2 Extract and Leucidal Liquid to offer a broad-spectrum preservative system in this formula.

The Herbarie offers many natural antimicrobials such as Leucidal Liquid, Aspen Bark Extract, Usnea Lichen CO2, Cucurma Xanthorrhiza, Geogard Ultra, Rosemary Antioxidant CO2 Extract and others. It will be up to the creative cosmetic formulator to mix and match and combine these ingredients for broad spectrum antimicrobial activity. Using hurdle technology, smart packaging and good manufacturing practices will definitely help. However, the only way to know for sure whether or not a preservative system is effective is with microbial testing. We work collaboratively with an independent lab and have developed a protocol for inexpensive “Normal Usage Testing”. If anyone is interested, please send me an email and I’ll be happy to share the information.

We are in the process of testing our Botanical Olive Natural Lotion, but our results are not yet complete. We are in our second round of microbial testing and the results are very promising – less than 30 cfu/gram for bacteria and less than 10 cfu/gram for mold/fungus/yeast. We will continue microbial testing on this formula for up to one year.

Here’s my formula with a 500 gram batch calculated. I hope you enjoy Botanical Olive Natural Lotion as much as I do!

Botanical Olive Natural Lotion

Part A or Oil Phase
5.0% = 25 grams Olivem 1000
2.0% = 10 grams Oliwax
8.0% = 40 grams Cupuacu Butter
5.0% = 25 grams Organic Golden Jojoba Oil
3.0% = 15 grams Olive Squalane
0.4% = 2 grams XanThix

Part B or Water Phase
65.95% = 329.75 Distilled Water
5.0% = 25 grams Symglucan

Part C or Cooldown Phase
2.0% = 10 grams Chia Seed CO2
0.05% = 0.25 grams Rosemary CO2 Extract
0.5% = 2.5 grams Lavender CO2 Extract
0.5% = 2.5 grams Bergamot FCF EO
0.5% = 2.5 grams Rose Geranium EO
0.1% = 0.5 grams Ylang Ylang EO
2.0% = 10 grams Leucidal Liquid

Total: 100% = 500 grams

Part A: Weigh XanThix and set aside. Combine remainder of ingredients and heat to 175F. Add XanThix to heated mixture and stir gently.
Part B: Combine ingredients and heat to 175F. Add Part B to A with high shear mixing. Cool to 50C/122F (or less)
Part C: Add ingredients, mix well until completely cool.

Oliwax LC is a Liquid Crystal Promoter derived from Olive Oil fatty acids. Oliwax LC is designed to stabilize oil in water emulsions while enhancing the texture and feel in application. The unique “crystal network” is similar to human skin lipids and promotes excellent delivery to skin. Unlike many other waxy lipids, Oliwax LC offers stabilization with a light, silky-smooth feel.

Suggested Applications:
● Daily Moisturizers
● Night Creams
● Eye Creams
● Products for Sensitive Skin
● After-sun Creams and Lotions
● Sun-care products
● Makeup Foundation

I’m currently using a really nice moisturizer made with everything Olive! Olive Tree Skin Renew Lotion is moisturizing and conditioning, yet leaves my face feeling soft and smooth – no greasiness and no whitening effect in application. This antiaging formula is based on the complete emulsifier Olivem 1000 with Oliwax LC to enhance stability and improve texture. The Liquid Crystal structure of Oliwax LC allows for greater emulsion stability and moisturization capabilities.

Here’s some information about the other wonderful ingredients:

Olive Squalane provides superb emolliency and slip and Organic Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil provides good nutrition for skin.

Olive Leaf Extract (Eurol BT) is a multifunctional active ingredient from a natural blend of diphenolic structures such as Oleuropein. Olive Leaf Extract serves as a free-radical scavenger and antioxidant, but also offers hydrating and anti-inflammatory characteristics.

Matrix Peptide is an active antiaging ingredient suitable for creams, lotions, serums and toners. Matrix Peptide can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by promoting the synthesis of collagen.

The active constituents of Tamarind Seed Extract are of great benefit in skin care. Studies have shown that Tamarind Seed Extract significantly improves skin elasticity, hydration and smoothness.

Coviox T-50 or mixed tocopherols, serve as the antioxidant in this formula to help delay oxidation of oils and provide a longer shelf-life for this formula. Germall Plus Liquid is a robust preservative for this formula.

And here’s the formula:

Olive Tree Skin Renew Lotion

Part One or Oil Phase
5.0% Olivem 1000
3.0% Oliwax LC
5.0% Olive Squalane
5.0% Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
0.5% Coviox T 50

0.1% XanThix

Part Two or Water Phase
75.85% Distilled Water

Part Three or Cooldown Phase
0.25% Olive Leaf Extract
4.0%Tamarind Seed Extract
1.0% Matrix Peptide
0.3% Germall Plus Liquid

Part One: Weigh XanThix and set aside. Combine all other ingredients and heat to 175F. Add XanThix to hot oils while stirring gently to separate particles.

Part Two: Heat Distilled Water to 175F, add to Part One with mixing. Using a stickblender for small batches works fine. As emulsion begins to cool, switch to a handheld stir tool such as our stainless steel wire whip.

Part Three: When temperature of emulsion cools to 115F or less, combine ingredients and add to combined Part One/Two. Mix well until emulsion is completely cool.

Tip: For small batches weighing 500 grams or less, I often use a gallon or quart size plastic freezer bag for dispensing emulsions into bottles. When batch is complete, scoop into the freezer bag and seal. Cut off the tip of the bag and dispense into bottles – easy peasy!

Happy Formulating!


A Bit More Stoney Hill Farm News!

-Update on Sally!

Sally has finished her 19 radiation treatments – yay! – and she is doing very well! These treatments were Monday through Friday and Sally had to be anesthetized each day. Even though it’s been “ruff” she has maintained a positive attitude and even has pep in her step on the good days 🙂

Sally is pictured here with the wonderful oncology team at Upstate Veterinary Specialists in Greenville, SC. Everyone has been so good to Sally and she will miss seeing them. Sally’s oncologist, Dr. Sarah Kraiza (in dark gray behind Sally) is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Dr. Kraiza is a talented doctor, but also has an extraordinary gift of kindness and truly went the extra mile to make this experience as good as it could possibly be for all of us.

We are looking forward to a full recovery and many good times ahead!


-We were happy to have a family of Eastern Bluebirds build a nest close to our office and garden. Yesterday Earl spent several hours observing Mom and Dad Bluebird trying to teach the last little one to leave the nest.

Bluebird House Near Office

Bluebird Male

Feeding the last little one.

Last But Not Least

What If I Can’t Fly?

Bluebird Dad demonstrates how it’s done and is ready to offer positive reinforcement. As of this morning, all babies were out of the nest and flying on their own!

Best Wishes for Fearless Flying, Fun Formulating, and Staying Coooool As a Cucumber this Summer!