Shark Sauce Part 2: The Tutorial & Giveaway!!!

I'm so excited to hear that DIY week has inspired some of you to try some DIY of your own!  Here's part 2 of the Shark Sauce series.  Another reason to love this, and give it a shot?  It's way easy to make.  Also, super exciting news at the very bottom!


Note:  This recipe took a lot of time, money, and work to develop.  Please be respectful and do not redistribute this (especially without credit).  This is meant for personal use only, not for commercial or profit.  It is provided for free, so please show some consideration or I will not be able to provide future recipes.




Again, these will be my crappy Snapchat pictures.  Maybe I'll have Mr. Snails record me making it one day, and get y'all some better quality pictures/video, but in the meantime, it's just me DIYing in one hand and taking pictures in the other.


When I get new bottles or when I empty out an old one, I run them through the dishwasher on the top rack, or I boil them for a couple of minutes.  After that, I close them tightly until I'm ready to use them.  When that happens, I wash them with hot, soapy water using dish soap, rinse them thoroughly, and do a second rinse with 70% rubbing alcohol.  I lay them out on paper towels to evaporate.  It does not say on here or at the end, but when the ampoule is finished, and I'm ready to pour them into the bottles, I'll rinse the bottles out with distilled water or aloe vera juice or whatever I have on hand (the droppers too).  This way, I get rid of any leftover alcohol in the bottle without contaminating my stuff.  I use regular nitrile gloves and pour rubbing alcohol over them like hand sanitizer to limit contamination.


Print out a copy of your recipe and grab a pen in case you need to make adjustments or notes.  Gather up all your ingredients.  I wipe down everything with sanitizing wipes to avoid contamination and then lay down napkins in case of spills.  This includes the scale, calibration weight, pen, and my phone since I use it quite often during the process.  Calibrate your scale using the required calibration weight, and I always double check.  I think some people have said that you only have to calibrate it once in a while, but I do it before every session.


This part is super boring.  You're just going to go down the recipe and measure everything out into separate cups.  I use shot glasses to mix ingredients a lot, but I don't use shot glasses to measure, because the max on my scale is 100g, and it tends to be a pain with a heavier glass vs. little 1g plastic cups.  You'll see in the picture that at one point, I spill a bunch of Seamollient all over the scale, because I just tried to free pour it.  This is why you should always use disposable pipettes or oral syringes.  I also recalibrated after I turned the scale off to clean it.


My favorite part, because you get to feel like a wizard here.  There isn't necessarily a right order to add everything.  My general rule is to put everything liquid in the water phase together, add the dry stuff, and then move on to the next phase.  If you use something like ceramides, it is easiest to add a little aloe vera juice, hyaluronic acid, or water to the ceramides while stirring to water it down.  If you try to dump a bunch in to the ceramides, or if you just dump the ceramides into the water phase, it'll end up being little floating globules and takes a while to break apart.  If you're working with sodium lactate, at least with LotionCrafter (which is where I got mine, I don't know if it's different elsewhere), it comes in large flakes, like kosher salt.  This makes it so you have to crush it down in water to dissolve.  You can probably let it sit there for a while, or just stir constantly, and it'll dissolve on its own, or heat it up, but I prefer to just crush it with my glass stirring rod.



OMG y'all, I had so much trouble with this picture.  It just did not want to work.  I think it's STILL not working, so click here to view the .gif in its actual entirety.  Anyway, this part has to be handled pretty thoroughly or it will be a pain.  Combine your oils, Vitamin E, and Polysorbate 80 together and STIR. WELL.  Here's also where I went wrong:  I doubled my batch size to 60 ml instead of my usual 30 ml and still used the same sized cups, which meant I couldn't fit everything in and I stirred the oils into the water phase in two different sections....which means you get floating cheese curd things.



What I should have done (and did do in the next batch) was move my water phase into a larger container first.  From there, stir rapidly with the glass stirring rod while drizzling the oil phase (that you mixed really well) in slowly.  You can see the cup that looks like it's full of frosting?  That's the oil phase added to some of the water phase, but I had to stop, because it filled up the cup.  It's nice and creamy and smooth, which is what we want.  But then I added that lovely creaminess to the rest of the water phase, and it just....it was already more solid, and didn't want to drizzle in nicely.  So it floated on top in little curdles instead.  This is easy enough to fix, just a little annoying and tedious, as you basically have to go in and smush to break up all of those little globules.  Another option is to bottle everything, put the lid on, and shake the crap out of it, although that's not exactly guaranteed to break up everything.  This typically does not need any pH adjusting, but ALWAYS test pH on your products and always patch test!  Ideal range for this is between 6-7.  Bottle it up, and dispose of trash and wash your glassware.  Celebrate!

Troubleshooting Consistency

Is your serum too sticky?  Too many humectants will make it feel sticky - try decreasing or dropping them out entirely.  Is your serum too runny?  Increase oils and Polysorbate 80 (a 1:1 ratio between those two) for a creamier solution, or add some xanthan gum to thicken it to more of a gel.  Increasing the amount of sea kelp bioferment or seamollient will also help give it more of a jelly consistency.

What Can I Leave Out?

Literally everything except for the preservatives.  If you want to use Vitamin E though, make sure you use an emulsifier, or it will just sit there, on top of your serum...mocking you.  If you use only Vitamin E and no oils, and you use it at 1%, then you only need 1% of Polysorbate 80, although it will be difficult to pour, which is why I suggest a carrier oil.  If adding in the oil phase intimidates you, you can definitely leave the whole section out and just bump up that lovely SKB.

My serum is separating!

Sometimes that happens after you've finished with the product and bottled everything up.  This means you didn't emulsify it properly - whether you didn't add enough Poly 80, or you didn't stir everything well, or you didn't break up your little cheese curds all the way.  Or sometimes, it's none of those things, and you should've added a little xanthan gum to stabilize the solution.  It's an annoyance, but it doesn't bother me personally too much.  When I make it for other people though, I toss the batch (or keep it for myself), and start over again.  I really want to emphasize that if you want to do an oil phase to really stir that Poly 80 in and then drizzle the whole oil phase slowly into the water phase while stirring steadily with your other hand.  It makes everything go so much smoother.  When in doubt, you can definitely sprinkle in a pinch of xanthan gum, which will help keep things from separating.

I don't wanna make it....

Hey, I can help with that too!  Check it out - a giveaway!  Please read the Terms & Conditions.  This is a U.S. only giveaway (although I might open up a new giveaway worldwide later), and you must be 18 years or older to enter.  Remember, YMMV, and I am not responsible if you have a bad reaction with this product.  (Patch test!)


a Rafflecopter giveaway


95 comments:

  1. I've never been so tempted to DIY anything. I love how you explain everything so well and even have a section for if (or in my case, when) something goes wrong. Thanks so much for doing this!

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  2. Does the Hyaluronic Acid need to be premade beforehand? I noticed it comes in powder form from Lotioncracters (http://www.lotioncrafter.com/hyaluronic-acid.html) and yours is in a dropper.

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  3. Thank you so much! I'm glad it helped you. Give DIY a try! <3

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  4. It doesn't NEED to be premade, but it makes the process WAY easier. I'm doing a mini tutorial for that tomorrow, but its basically because hyaluronic acid takes like 20 minutes to dissolve in water, so instead of having to wait the whole time, its easier to just make a stock solution. :)

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  5. This is so freaking cool and so awesome of you to do a giveaway! So much inspiration! Just gotta get back from my trip and I think I'll finally dip my toes in the DIY world.

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  6. I have been so inspired by this series! It honestly has never even occurred to me to DIY my own serum! My recipe that I think I will make is water phase only: aloe juice, SKB, MAP (?), NAG, niacinamide, green tea , licorice and optiphen. Is there anything about this recipe that seems off or won't work? Thanks again for the inspiration!

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  7. Waaaant. No, NEEEEEED. I'm still in serious envy of the quick and dramatic results you had with PIH. I had 5% niacinamide in my PocketDerm Anti-aging and used that for 6 months, but didn't notice much results on acne marks and sun spots. I'm hoping it's not because my skin doesn't respond to niacinamide.

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  8. someone has to say it.. shark sauce hoo haha!


    you're amazing btw. just liked you on FB. I'd tweet about the giveaway but this time I'm being selfish

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  9. You know. I'd read about making my own Vitamin C before and had ZERO
    interest, because... commercial vitamin C, what need have I? But shark sauce? I might have to try making shark sauce.

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  10. like, i woulddddddd DIY this but i probably won't. i'm lazy. your snapchats give me life tho tbh.

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  11. You don't have to have any chemistry background to DIY! It's as simple as measuring and mixing! :D

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  12. How I convinced my hubby is I would be saving money by not having to replenish my Vitamin C serum every month or so at ~$20 a bottle... ;)

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  13. Shark Sauce is also WAY easier to make. Dooooo it!

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  14. Hahahaha <3 I totally think that too every time I write out the label for a new one. I think I'll put a little Shark cartoon on the label, and name him Brucey. XD

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  15. I've heard others say the same thing about the niacinamide in their PocketDerm. It might have something to do with the N-Acetyl Glucosamine in here too, because they are like a power couple together.

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  16. Thank you so much! You've no idea how happy that makes me to hear that! And ugh, I would love to try out MAP, but that's going to have to wait a while until I can save up some for a DIY replenishing. I think the only problem there is the NAG, because I think the recommended usage rate for it has a max of 3%? Let me know how it goes!

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  17. Yesssss! Join the DIY revolution! :D

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  18. Valerie LeBretonJuly 17, 2015 at 2:40 PM

    That's a good way, but he already makes me use my spending money on skin goodies. And in his defense, my quilting supplies take up half the living room and most of the garage and attic.

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  19. I wish I could buy this!

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  20. I've been following your DIY process on Instagram and on your blog and am so impressed. I am thinking about getting on to Snapchat too since it sounds like you post a lot about this on that platform. Watching you do this has definitely given me some things to consider. I can't promise that I'll be DIY skincare any time soon, but your updates let me know that it's definitely a do-able endeavor! :)

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  21. I wish you made this for general sale... I'd love to be able to whip this up at home but don't have the time/space.

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  22. I've been getting more interested in DIY and I love that I can refer back to these posts when I actually get into it. Things are a bit busy now, but it's something I'll probably do in the future.

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  23. I'm watching your snap gifs slowly compiling a shopping list of everything I need to recreate this! I don't think I've ever DIY'd anything in my life before!

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  24. I want to do this DIY but I'm afraid I can't even cook anything edible so I can't possibly do this. I wish I could win the giveaway though!!

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  25. I signed up with Disqus just to leave a comment! As I commented on 50 Shades of Snail's site, if you ever sold these serums, I would buy them + pay for shipping. Both the Shark Sauce and your Vitamin C serum (I'm sorry I can't recall the cool name) look amazing. I would easily pay whatever the going rate is for the OST Vitamin C serum + shipping for either of these. So, just in case you ever feel like making some extra $$… From the comments, I don't think I'm the only person who shares this sentiment! I'm not ready for DIY yet as I am a horrible baker because I hate measuring things--I'm afraid I'd screw up amounts or contaminate something unknowingly. Also, I have no idea how to calibrate a scale. So in short: do think about making yourself some extra cash! :)

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  26. Also: where do you get your ingredients?

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  27. This shark sauce looks amazing!! Action shots are hot.

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  28. Ohhh man this really jives with me. I work as a researcher all day, but you mean I can play lab scientist for my skincare too? :O

    This has a beautiful line up of ingredients. Thank you for doing the snail's work by posting up a DIY on this. :)

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  29. This seems amazing for real

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  30. This post and your Vit C post is making me seriously consider trying out DIY.

    I went to the Lotion Crafter website and put all of the ingredients in a cart and the total was a lot more than I thought it would be, and that's not even counting the need for a scale, pipettes, gloves, alcohol, and amber bottles. Some of the ingredients seemed to be pricey for the amount you can buy.

    Out of curiosity, how much do you think each bottle of shark sauce costs to make? If it seems economical then I'm all for spending more upfront just to be able to make this. And thank you for giving us this recipe, that's really awesome of you (:

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  31. ʇoqɯǝ ɐqɯǝJuly 17, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    holy carp! i'm still unsure about the upfront cost for stuff from lotioncrafter, but i have a lot of lab equipment lying around from distance-learning science classes. HMMMMMM...

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  32. OMG! Want so badly to make this right away, but pretty sure my husband will kill me if another random cosmetics box shows up at the house.

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  33. both the shark sauce and the Vitamin Sea Rum sound awesome. I'll have to try my hand at this for Cristmas presents!

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  34. Wow this is a miracle product. Why isn't this on the market?!??

    Also, is there a specific place you purchased all your ingredients? And do you recommend a specific type of scale? I have one I use for baking but it's not so sensitive that it can measure a tenth of a gram. If I don't win your giveaway (cross my fingers!), I'm definitely going to try to DImyself :)

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  35. Thanks for writing up this detailed process! I am new to AB, so DIY feels a bit advanced, but I love that making beauty potions at home is possible (and from 50 shades of snail: crazy effective). I have stumbled on /r/DIYbeauty but I am curious to know if there are more blogs that have detailed posts on making ampoules. I would love to know more before plummeting further down the AB skincare hole.

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  36. This is amazing. I am so tempted to try this myself but the lack of solid research into the effectiveness of cat hair in EVERY potion makes me hesitate. I mean, who wants to end up like Hermione after her polyjuice mishap?

    That being said, you are an inspiration. Thank you!

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  37. I'm definitely interested in DIY my own serum/ampoule, but I'm put off by the initial costs. Plus, there's the fact that I'm a complete spaz who manages to make huge messes/mistakes out of simple tasks. Instead, I would sooooo buy this if you were to put them up for sale!

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  38. I wish I had more space to do DIY stuff like this (my house is crowded and messy haha D;). The furthest I've done is oil blends.

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  39. +1 for selling this! I would totally buy it. Thanks for doing the giveaway!

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  40. This is awesome, I really want to try this DIY! Selling this would be awesome as well and I would definitely buy!

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  41. Please think about selling your creations.

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  42. Love it! TY for the giveaway.

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  43. I would totally do this... if only I had the materials :( but it looks amazing!

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  44. Been super into this as soon as I saw it on your snapchat~ Glad it worked out

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  45. I love DIY stuff but have never done anything this complicated--it's intimidating!

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  46. This is amazing, you're like a mad scientist Chel! Thank you for posting this! And the best part? The results are impressive... you should make more bottles and sell them! I will definitely promote on IG ;)
    -Justine (@yourskinwithin)

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  47. I love lotioncrafters, and honestly can't tell if it's fear or laziness that keeps me from DIYing. Fearziness? You should absolutely start selling serums!

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  48. I love DIY! can't wait to try this out :D

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  49. I did my first serum DIY in the past few weeks. It's very simple, with sea kelp bioferment and niacinimide. I'm still seeing how it's working, but it's clear it works better than other things I've tried.

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  50. I have to say that you have far more patience than I do. I read over the instructions a hundred times and still cannot quite grasp it. Maybe I'll get lucky and win the giveaway and that will inspire me to make my own. So - should we be hailing the snail or the shark now?

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  51. As amazing as DIY-ing it sounds, I'd totally buy this from you. Please consider selling some of your favorite serum recipes! I'll definitely be first in line for them!

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  52. This is so amazing, you seem to be getting even better results than from what cosmetics companies come up with!! I would 100% buy this if you decide to sell :)

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  53. Your guide is so straightforward! It almost seems like I'm following a Qiagen protocol for serums instead of PCR... Very helpful guide! (And to be honest, who knew how to do this? Pretty sure none of us thought this was possible!) So thank you so much for this possibility!!

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  54. This is freaking awesome - I just hauled all the ingredients on LotionCrafter and it came out to be almost 100 dollars :((( My wallet cries, but I'm so excited :D

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  55. I read a lot of DIY recipes before but Im still too chicken to jump on it yet. The initial set up cost does put me off a bit. Maybe one day when I get my own place? Because i already get side-eyed enough for the amount of skincare I purchased, I don't want them to think Im nut diy my own skincare stuff. Thank for the giveaway~

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  56. This wins for best comment. I'm wiping tears from my eyes! XD

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  57. OMG TELL ME WHAT YOU GOT!!! I'm excited too!! :D

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  58. Eeee, I'm so glad that's working for you! Seriously, I got such lightning fast results with DIY Niacinamide, there's no way I could go back to commercial versions with like 0.5%. -_-

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  59. There are simple versions of these recipes! I've posted a FAQ! :)

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  60. My house is totally the same way. I clear out some space on my dining table before I DIY, and I have a little drawer in my crafts room specifically for my DIY stuff. I also have DIY supplies in the little butter shelf in my fridge in place of butter! XD

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  61. The thing with "ampoule" is it's just a name. In general, it just means a thicker feeling serum, whereas "essences" tend to mean thinner feeling. You can make anything an ampoule if you throw some xanthan gum or other thickener in it. Using SKB makes a lovely gel consistency. Some awesome DIY blogs I read are Swift Craft Monkey http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/ and My Funny Valentine http://myfunnyvalentineblog.com/category/diy

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  62. Hi there! I posted a FAQ that hopefully answers these. :) http://www.holysnails.com/2015/07/shark-sauce-vita-sea-faq.html

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  63. This is very helpful. Thanks!

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  64. Even the Holy Snail Water sounds good (Nia+Nag). If you change your mind about selling, you could do advance orders/advance payments and limit the work with a set # of bottles per round so all your costs are covered up front. Too bad DIY still requires the Y ;) --Angela

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  65. I love DIY! Thank you for sharing this!

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  66. Why is a ph of 6-7 good?? isn't it bad for the skin because the skin has a ph of 5,5??

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  67. This is great! Thanks for all mixing tips!

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  68. Ah this made me want to dive right back in!

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  69. This is really cool! I've dabbled in the "natural"/crunchy skincare DIY scene for a while but I never thought it was even possible to DIY skincare with SCIENCE! :D

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  70. I am so trying this! That is if I don't win the giveaway. So, I'm sure I'll be trying to do this! I've really been loving your blog!

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  71. Courtney NicholsJuly 19, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    I thought I was cool when I made my own lotion as Christmas gifts last year. Nevermind.


    Seriously though, this looks amazing. I'd buy it!

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  72. The results look so absolutely incredible! I really want to try to make this, but since I don't live alone, have to figure out a good lab space first. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  73. This was very informative. Thank you the post.

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  74. Make that +2
    Paging Holy Snails...if you ever want to start selling this, I'm willing to be a partner and fund you just so I can try out this awesome sauce concoction. Based on the comments here, seems like I'm not the only one. tee hee :)

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  75. Everything for shark sauce + everything for Vita-sea-rum. And pipettes. And beakers. And a sketchy drug scale. I..uh...don't do halves XD

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  76. ooh! looks amazing!

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  77. I have dreams of being able to make this... I did pass Chem lab, after all 😁

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  78. This is amazing! You got me very interested in doing this DIY! But the initial ingredient list and cost might be a factor that I might hold off. Please sell this!

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  79. I want to make it. 0.0 I, too, desire to be a potions master. I haven't even tried commercial skincare besides drugstore moisturizer though. I still have a lot to learn about which ingredients work for me. I just really love the concept of the at-home chemistry project.

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  80. those snap chat gifs are giving me life!

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  81. Sofia BlackthorneJuly 21, 2015 at 9:45 PM

    Oh man, this is going to be fun. SCIENCE!

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  82. I used to do a heavily DIY routine but I started getting serious about my work and suddenly all the time I spent doing DIY ended up going to that, which meant r&d suffered.

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  83. This is very amazing but i'm really uncertain that i could do this with the degree of precision required to feel like i'm not going to do something scary that messes up my skin (be careless cleaning/get the proportions right)

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  84. Nicole M JohnsonJuly 22, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    I printed the recipe and am hoping I find the courage to DIY this. Thanks for the chance to win some thats already made by you1

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  85. I've DIY-ed before and I may in the future thanks to your DIY posts.

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  86. Biggest science boner!! Thanks for doing the giveaway!!

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  87. This looks amazing, I would love to win this but I'll try to make my own very soon, I really have nothing to do this summer and I've been experimenting with DIY recipes and masks for the past weeks so I might as well try and do this, but I'll most probably fail at it because my masks are really really simple to do and I'm really clumsy most of the times.

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  88. Argh, now I'm craving for some shark sauce. :(

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  89. I came here from an article calling out companies as to why they cannot do this- and it's a good question. If we are able to sit down take the time and make such a seemingly amazing product in the comfort of our own homes, how come it is impossible to see something as simple, effective and to the point on our store shelves?
    Oh well- their loss time to take skincare into my own hands hehe

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  90. Wow!! Thanks for sharking this! I hope someday I can get the guts up to make it :P

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  91. I just found out about shark sauce from 50 Shades of Snail today. How timely!

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  92. I am from New Zealand and I would totally buy this at least 10 times. If you could sell this, I will pay for shipping and everythaanng.

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