Not a lot of equipment is needed to make beauty products - a scale, thermometer, and a vessel in which to mix your ingredients are just a few of the bare essentials used. But, what if the directions call for melting or heating your ingredients? In a lab, a chemist would use a hot plate with a water bath. At home, most people don’t have hot plates. Introducing the double boiler!
What is a double boiler?
A double boiler is a two-pot system that allows for the gentle heating of an ingredient. This prevents overheating or burning by avoiding direct heat. The bottom pot is filled with water. This is the pot placed on the heating element of your stove. The top pot is filled with the ingredients to be heated. This pot is placed into the bottom pot. Once the heating element is turned on, the water in the bottom pot will begin to heat. This will in turn heat the top pot, slowly melting everything in there.
A double boiler is convenient to heat your ingredients because you can easily monitor and control the temperature the recipe calls for. Additionally, you can stir your ingredients while heating them up.
What if I don’t own a double boiler?
If you do not own a double boiler system, you can create your own water bath on the stove. Simply fill a shallow pot with water and place a glass, heat-resistant measuring cup into the pan, so it is partially submerged in the water. Begin heating. We like this method because you can use small glass equipment for melting, while still having the advantages of mixing while heating, as well as monitoring the temperature. Our favorite measuring cup is the Pyrex Glass Measuring Cup because it has excellent heat resistance and is designed to heat up.
Alternatively, you can utilize a hybrid method where you take a standard sized pot and fill it with water. On top of the pot, place a stainless steel or heat-resistant glass bowl that is slightly larger than the opening of the pot. It should not be submerged in the water. We prefer this method the least because the bowl can shift around.
No matter the method used, do not use plastic or non-heat resistant items when melting your ingredients. Plastic is not heat tolerant and can degrade. Non-heat resistant glassware can become fragile with heating and reheating and will eventually shatter.