Making skin care products is like cooking: the ingredients you use are the most important part. Especially if you are not planning to use chemicals like flavour enhancers in cooking or silicones in skincare, you really have to get the highest quality to create an outstanding product. But the end result is the difference between a ready meal and a gourmet restaurant experience.
The most important things to consider are freshness, origin, how it is grown and how is it extracted. For every component of my products I have tested at least five different alternatives and for every product I create I make at least six different prototypes to see what the ingredients do together, how people experience them together and what it does to the skin.
Since producing my own ingredients I have completely changed the way I see and source my base oils. I have been making organic products for a long time but it took me a while to appreciate the quality of a fresh, cold pressed, organic oil. When you compare different suppliers you notice how they can either be a palette rich in fragrance, viscosity and all shades of yellows, reds, greens and even browns or a selection of liquids that all look and smell pale, even if they are organic.
You really need to spend the time building trust with the suppliers, quiz them on the details of how they grow and produce and how they store the oils and how long for. That is why some of the oils are marked as either “organic” or “certified organic”. A lot of the time smaller producers like ourselves could never get the certification for organic farming but actually have the highest integrity and incredible quality.
Essential oils are not fragrance and they are not essential fatty acids. They are concentrated plant essence full of fragrance and medicinal properties. Depending on what the producer focuses on different varieties and extraction methods are used. If you were making soap and you wanted a lot of fragrance you’d go for a cheaper oil with higher yield for example. It won’t stay on the skin anyway and using an expensive, medicinal oil would be wasted when washed down the sink.
For our essential oils, lavender, sage, rosemary, chamomile and a few more, we focus on the medicinal qualities and have a smaller amount of a very complex and well rounded fragrance. If you have tried our products you will notice how the lavender is quite mild and friendly. We extract it in copper, at low heat and over a long period of time. There is a long article on the oil production here.
We really want to emphasise that besides being an incredible fragrance, lavender is a total allrounder when it comes to skin care! It is one of the most active essential oils out there, with incredible anti-ageing properties. Full of anti-oxidants, phytonutrients fighting free radicals and effects of sun damage. It is also antibacterial and even better - a skin probiotic, helping your skin cultivate a healthy balance of microorganisms working to restore and replenish your skin. In a really gently and inside out kind of way :)
Preservatives have come into focus in natural health products in recent years and there is so much confusion and fear around parabens and co. Did you know for example that Japanese Honeysuckle is a natural paraben? It is natural and still an endocrine disruptor so natural doesn’t equate to safe every time.
You might know that every product containing water has to have preservatives while some companies claim to not use any preservatives. They are both true: every product has to be preserved but you don’t have to use ingredients classed as preservatives in order to preserve them. As long as you can pass the challenge testing, as a formulator you can play around with organic extracts until you find the right combination for your product. It is better to do research in advance though, the testing is costly and takes time.
For me the best combination is a mixture of basil leaf and aniseed extract. The shelf life is comparably short but for me it is the safest solution both in terms of health and irritation potential.
In terms of active ingredient additives I always chose the natural version over the synthetic one. Willow bark extract over salicylic acid is a great example. Both are incredible exfoliators, willow bark is naturally occurring salicylic acid and I find it much gentler on the skin compared to the synthetic version.
In order to make a cream you have to add more than oil and water together. They have to stick together and stay together. This is achieved with emulsifiers and stabilisers. A lot of the consistency will be determined by those. Every product on the market has to go through testing to prove that your personal creation is safe and effective.
A natural and organic solution is our highest priority for safe and toxin free cosmetics. We also really care about the consistency and I personally got so fed up with sticky and greasy creams that just don’t feel nice and are not compatible with make up. So I tried and tested dozens of different natural versions until I found a combination that feels right, works effectively and doesn’t compromise on the health side. I use a combination of olive wax and xanthan gum which is often found in organic food products as well as skin care.
If you have any questions about our ingredients, please get in touch. I am more than happy to help.