Today I want to introduce you to Amanda from Butter is Better, who is one of my twin sister’s friends. Amanda makes her own line of handmade skincare. She mostly sells her products to family and friends.
I found her story and information so interesting that I thought I’d share it with you in the form of an interview. You will enjoy it as much as I did.
You can find Amanda and her products on Instagram.
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1. Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m a wife and mother of 2. I’m a college and university grad who had a great job in the mining industry but decided to put a pause on my career a few years ago to raise my children.
At 24 I became a cancer survivor and since then I pretty much question everything and read every label. There’s a lot of misinformation out there – it’s hard to know who to trust – so you have to be your own health advocate.
2. Why did you start making your beauty products?
I wanted to give my children the best start possible – I thought I was already buying natural and safe skincare products for myself and them but realized I was being duped.
When I looked into the cost of products that met my new safety criteria – I realized I could make it myself and make it cheaper. I’ve always been handy and crafty – a real DIY kind of girl so it was an easy transition for me.
3. How did you get started?
I read Deep Nutrition by Dr. Catherine Shanahan – that’s where I learned about toxic inflammatory, skin-damaging PUFA (poly-unsaturated fatty acids) oils.
They’re highly oxidized and chemically unstable. They react to heat, light and oxygen, so when I found grapeseed oil in the all-natural zinc sunblock I was using, I was shocked. A cleanout of my pantry, fridge and bathroom ensued.
I started researching online for alternatives and recipes for skin care. I came across some blogs and articles that recommended avoiding PUFA oils as well, but most recipes I found, even fellow natural skincare makers were still using “bad oils” so I played with the recipes a bit and swapped the carrier oils.
4. Without giving away your secret recipes, what natural products does Butter is Better add to your beauty products?
I keep it very simple with raw, unrefined and organic (when possible) natural butter, non-nano zinc, oils and steam-distilled essential oils with no more than 10% PUFA in their fatty acid profile.
I mostly use shea and mango butter, coconut, jojoba, castor, and olive oil. They’re nutrient-dense and a mix of saturated and mono-saturated fats which is best for skin care.
Other ingredients I use in some products are beeswax, arrowroot powder, diatomaceous earth, Epsom salts, baking soda, non-nano zinc, and clay.
Tallow and lard (if the animal was grass-fed and didn’t eat a diet high in PUFAS) are really good for your skin as well and I’ve been working with a local business to make custom lard and tallow products for their natural pharmacy. It’s fun to experiment and work with new ingredients.
5. What products should we avoid using on our skin and why?
Too many to list! The chemical industry is a free-for-all-all. It may be FDA-approved and on the shelves in your local drugstore, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Skincare products are full of endocrine disrupters, synthetic vitamins, allergens, preservatives and lots of water. Stop paying so much for water.
A really good resource is the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website. That’s where it started for me.
But then you need to take it a step further and avoid seed oils as well. Even some nut oils are high in PUFAs. The extraction process is the problem. So eat all the salmon, almonds and sunflower seeds you want (omega 3 and 6 in the right ratio are good for you) – but pass on the oils.
6. What’s your favourite item to make and why?
I have a few 🙂 It all started with sunblock. Most importantly it works and nourishes your skin at the same time. My lip balm is the best I’ve ever tried! The whipped face and body butter are all I use from head to toe. Finally the soap. It’s so simple. I use it on my body and hair.
7. What is Butter is Better’s best seller?
They’re all pretty even actually – but I’d say the whipped butter, lip balm, soap and hand and foot balm were favourited this past holiday season.
I’m amazed at how much my mother’s skin has improved since she started using my whipped butter. She’s amazed and even has my father using it now as well.
8. I love your soaps, can you tell me a little about the process of soap making?
I was surprised how easy it is! There are different ways to make soap, but I use the cold process. I was nervous to work with lye at the start, but just be careful and everything should be fine.
I watched one youtube video, read a couple of blogs and 1 book and then I got started. I mostly use a basic soap recipe with about 67% olive oil, 30% coconut oil and 3% castor oil.
You melt your oils, mix your lye and water – then mix the two together. Once it’s at the right consistency (they call it trace) you pour the soap into a mould (I use silicone moulds) and let it set. In 24 to 48 hours, you cut it and let it cure for at least 2 weeks.
9. What advice do you have for someone who’s looking at starting making/selling some handmade beauty products?
Go for it! You’ll be amazed at how few skincare products you really need. Your regime will simplify and your skin will thank you.
Start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. Even just switching to one product like Jojoba oil or shea butter with a drop of your favourite essential oil is really all you need to moisturize your skin.
I’m still basically a friend and family operation and that works well for me. I make stuff as gifts and have some core friends that order from me regularly so it keeps it economical to buy my ingredients in larger quantities. You’ll always save when you order in bulk.
10. Any else you’d like to share about Butter is Better?
I thought the name was catchy, but butter really is better for you. 🙂