What to put in your well stocked apothecary
This article is the second in a series on setting up your own home apothecary. In this article, I will cover the next items I recommend for having a well stocked (and planned) home apothecary.
If you missed part 1 of this series, you can read it here
What you will need to start: supplies
Now let’s dive into these other categories, shall we.
- Essential oils (covered in part 1)
- Carrier oils, butters, waxes
- Storage supplies like bottles and jars etc.
- Mixing and blending items (upcoming article)
- Herbs and dried supplies (upcoming article)
- Labels and misc. (upcoming article)
- Small, medium and large storage (upcoming article)
Carrier oils, butters and waxes
My top recommended items for this category include:
- Shea butter
- Sunflower oil
You can do a lot with just these actually. Shea butter is easy to melt over low heat and can be used to make ointments or body butter. Sunflower oil is suitable for all skin types and can be used at 100% as a base oil for massage. Sunflower oil is also widely available and reasonably priced. It also has low risk of allergy and sensitivity. Jojoba is my first choice when it comes to facial oil as it works with all skin types, and it also plays well with other oils. However, it is a lot more expensive. If you aren’t vegan, beeswax is an absolute must have if you want to make ointments or salves of any kind. I prefer pellets (as opposed to chunks or bricks) as they are easier to measure and melt down quicker. Alternatively, you can also use Polawax, Carnauba Wax or Candelilla Wax.
Other useful items in this category include:
For massage oils
Grapeseed oil– Lightweight, and can be used at 100% as a base oil. Suitable to use on oily skin, as it has a slightly astringent quality. Grapeseed oil is widely available and reasonably priced.
Apricot kernel oil– This oil is heavier, and therefore more emollient than some other oils. It’s useful for dry and mature skin. You can use it at 100%, but due to a bit higher cost, you can also blend it with another oil, such as sunflower oil.
For skin care
Rosehip seed oil– Budget for this luxury oil. I don’t like to use it straight up, as it actually irritates my (sensitive) skin, but I like it blended with oils such as apricot kernel or jojoba.
Rice bran oil– I like to use this oil for sensitive skin. It absorbs very nicely into the skin and can be used alone, or in a blend of other oils. Rice bran oil is also reasonably inexpensive.
Cocoa butter– You should add cocoa butter into your apothecary if possible. I often use it mixed with shea butter and a couple of carrier oils to make body butter or lip balm. It’s a more dense butter than shea, and takes longer to melt down, but is WORTH it. Tip: if you don’t mind the aroma, get the unrefined type. Its one less step in processing and one step closer to its original state.
I like to have various sizing available in my bottle selection. The ones I use the most are 1oz/30ml, 2oz/60ml and 4oz/120ml. I use these for making massage oil blends mostly, but if you make other items such as shampoo or a hair rinse, these will work for that, too.
To store items like ointments, it’s best to use a dark, glass jar. I like an average size of 50 or 60ml (around 2oz). These are good to have on hand for making gifts, or smaller quantities of face moisturizer. Use a smaller size jar for lip balms (5-15g) and medium size for face creams (1-2oz). For body scrubs and butters, I’d go with larger sizes, such as 4-8oz (these could be a plastic container if you wish).
Perfect for lip balms and salves, and body butters. Tins are a lighter option to a glass jar, and can be easier to travel with. Your own personal preferences will direct you as to which type of container you will use the most. Generally, tins stack more easily than jars, so have a look at your storage space area to see what makes sense for you.
Source tins USA: 4oz round salve tin
Source tins CAD: 1oz round salve tin
Other storage containers that I often use are:
- Glass mason jars. These are perfect for storing loose dried herbs. I prefer using the wide mouth type, as scooping out the contents is much easier.
- Larger glass jars with screw on lid. I actually have several of these because I store larger amounts than a mason jar will hold. They add to the apothecary ambience too!
If you find that you tend to collect bulk herbs in smaller amounts, you can use Ziploc bags. Be sure to label these with the type of plant material, as well as the date you acquired it. Sometimes I’ll also store dried herbs in a brown tie tin bag. Be sure to store these away from light and heat to preserve freshness for as long as possible.
Planning is key
Having appropriate containers is essential to operating your home apothecary easily and successfully. Start out with small quantities and get an idea of what you use the most before you go nuts and start collecting everything. Your wallet will thank you! Also, be sure to implement a strategy for using older supplies before the newest. This will keep down the amount of wasted supplies. Your goal here is zero waste!
|Shea Butter||Canada purchase here|
|Sunflower Oil||Canada purchase here|
|Jojoba||Canada purchase here|
|Beeswax||Canada purchase here|
|Grapeseed oil||Canada purchase here|
|Apricot kernel oil||Canada purchase here|
|Rice Bran oil||Canada purchase here|
|Cocoa Butter||Canada purchase here|
|Rosehip seed oil||Canada purchase here|
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