Shark Sauce & Vita-Sea F.A.Q.!

I am overwhelmed with how receptive everyone has been toward DIY week and my concoctions in general!  Really, I am so happy to hear that so many of you were inspired by this to try your own DIY.  There were a lot of questions that I saw over and over, so hopefully this will help clarify things.  Let me know if you have other questions, I am happy to answer them even if it might take me a day or so to get back to you!

Where can I buy the raw ingredients to make my own Vita-Sea-Rum or Shark Sauce?

I have personally used Lotion Crafter (US-Based) and Skin Essential Actives (Taiwan-based) to get my ingredients.  I then used Amazon Prime to grab most of my supplies.  This guide on /r/DIYBeauty has a list of suppliers as well.

Are you going to sell Vita-Sea or Shark Sauce?

Update:  Yes!  You can buy them at the Holy Snails Shop!

What scale do you use?

I bought this one from Amazon for $10, but I've seen it fluctuate from $8-14.  You also need a calibration weight to use it, which is sold separately for ~$3-5.  I picked this one because it was the cheapest, and had a lot of positive reviews.  It's not the bee's knees, but it will work.  If you get this model, I suggest removing the battery cover on the bottom so it doesn't rock around.  There are many 0.01g scales in this price range, and I'm sure they work just as well or even better.  Do not feel obligated to get this same one.

Can you write out the directions?

Yes, absolutely.  I've updated the spreadsheets to include directions.  I hope that helps.

I can't find the ingredients you used!

Sorry about that - I didn't use the full names they're listed as from where I got them, and there can be a variety of products similarly named.  Let's see...

What is the difference between Sea Kelp Bioferment and Seamollient?  Do I need both?

You don't need both.  I used both because I had them.  Check out this thread on SkincareTalk for more information, but in short, SKB is fermented, Seamollient is not.  SKB can be a little stickier, and Seamollient less so.  I bought both to make some hair care stuff, but if you're only interested in facial stuff, I think SKB is better.  That's just a personal preference.  :)

Will you do another giveaway?  A worldwide giveaway?

I'm definitely considering it.  There was WAY more interest in this than I expected (I seriously thought maybe 10 people would enter) so maybe after I reorder some supplies, I'll hold another giveaway and open it up for everyone.

These recipes have too many ingredients!  Can you simplify it?

There is a Basic CE+FE recipe available here.  I've made a simplified version of Shark Sauce, let's call it Holy Snail Water, available here, and it's literally the easiest recipe ever.

Ingredient % (g)
Niacinamide 5 1.42
N-Acetyl Glucosamine 2.5 0.71
Licorice Root Extract 5 1.42
Sea Kelp Bioferment 86.5 24.52
Optiphen 1 0.28

If the consistency is too jelly for you, you can substitute out part or all of the SKB for Aloe Vera Juice, or even just plain distilled water.

How do you know what you can substitute?

The short version of this is knowing your ingredients.  No, no, hang on!  It's not hard, you just have to know if your ingredient is oil-based or water-based, really.  Aloe vera juice?  That's mostly water.  Sea Kelp Bioferment?  Gooey, but water-based.  Rosehip oil?  That's an oil.  Hyaluronic Acid?  Mostly water as well.  So once you see that, it's easy to substitute.  If a recipe calls for 80% Distilled Water, you can easily fancy it up by adding 80% Hyaluronic Acid Stock (recipe/tutorial coming next) instead.  Or if it calls for 50% Distilled Water, you could do 25% Sea Kelp Bioferment and 25% Aloe Vera Juice.  Does that make sense?  Even your botanical extracts are made up of water, as they're typically a 1:1 ratio of water and glycerin to extract the compounds.

I don't have a Chemistry background and am scared of messing this up...

Shia Labeouf believes in you.  I believe in you.  We all believe in you.
The backbone of DIY is that it's a bunch of amateurs with a can-do spirit.  If you had to have a Chemistry degree and years of cosmetic formulations to do this, it wouldn't be DIY.  You'd be a professional.  These recipes definitely look intimidating - I remember when I first got interested... there was SO much out there to absorb.  It took me weeks before I finally bit the bullet and even ordered the materials.  The recipes were literally just that - recipes, with no directions.  I had to learn a lot on my own through trial and error, and hopefully my mistakes will help you avoid making the same.  (I didn't know how to dissolve the ferulic acid, or emulsify with the Poly 80, or so many other things.)  I suggest starting out with tiny batches - my first couple were 10 - 15 ml.  That way if it doesn't turn out the way you want, you're not wasting a lot of product.  This isn't as easy as mashing an avocado to smear onto your face, but it's not hard.  It's literally just measuring out ingredients and mixing them together, except sometimes it has to be done in a certain order, and sometimes some things have to go into a water bath.

Also, don't forget that there are wonderful communities out there who are full of supportive, friendly people, who've been there, done that.  r/DIYBeauty has an outstandingly knowledgeable mod and everyone is very friendly.  I lurk around on Essential Day Spa's DIY section for some killer recipes.  I'm still a novice too, and we can all learn together.  I think the more people who get in on the #DIYRevolution, the more we can inspire (or force) big cosmetic companies to shape up and start making products that actually have a good enough concentration of the right ingredients to produce the same dramatic results that we can get, playing mad scientist in our pajamas in our kitchen.