Friday, December 31, 2010

The End of 2010

On this last day of 2010, I hope you are able to look back on what was a good year for you, your family and your friends.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Linden and Lemon Balm

Linden Blossom
I only recently found a supplier of Linden (INCI: Tilia Cordata) hydrosol. Having only ever worked with the essential oil (which smells absolutely intoxicating), I opened my first order to have a whiff. Like many hydrosols, Linden differs somewhat from its essential oil counterpart. It has the same lightness and Spring-like quality, but is not nearly as complex a scent. Neither does it have the intensity of the essential oil. It is perfectly lovely as a skin tonic ingredient, and promises to be an interesting partner to several of the hydrosols I work with. For the initial trial, I mixed it with Lemon Balm (INCI: Melissa Officinalis).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Resolutions

There is only once in my life I have made a New Years resolution and kept it all year. It was the year I promised myself that I would remember everybody's birthday and send cards (yes, real snail mail cards). This was before Facebook and electronic reminder systems, so as you may guess, it's a fair few years ago. I've put up a little poll about New Years resolutions – just for fun. Take it if you like.
Please note that any poll you see on this blog is completely anonymous (for both you and me. I can't tell who has participated or what anyone's individual answer is).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Carrot Seed – The Quietly Efficient Essential Oil

Science says you get less
from eating carrots
than Mom promised

Did you grow up being reminded by mom to 'eat your carrots, they're full of A vitamins'? If you were munching them raw, you got stiffed. Science (now) tells us you pretty much have to eat a ton of them to cover the daily recommended dosage. 

Wikipedia has this to say about eating carrots (and other A-vitamin-rich veggies) as a source of A vitamin
"The conclusion that can be drawn from the newer research is that fruits and vegetables are not as useful for obtaining vitamin A as was thought; in other words, the IUs that these foods were reported to contain were worth much less than the same number of IUs of fat-dissolved oils and (to some extent) supplements."

But The Oil Can
Now, Carrot Seed (INCI: Daucus Carrota) essential oil, on the other hand, offers not only a great source of A-vitamin, but brings a healthy dose of skin rejuvination (most particularly dry, mature and wrinkled skin). It's gentle touch is tolerated by most (although it is not recommended for use during pregnancy). Carrot Seed calms and battles skin rashes and excema, and is an antioxidant as well.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Beheneth 10 – The Quizzical Emulsifier

There are very few officially qualified organic emulsifiers on the market today. And, even though an emulsifier usually amounts to less than 5% of a product, it is the emulsifier that is most often the reason I am not able to call a product of mine 100% organic. Beheneth 10 (INCI: beheneth 10) is among these 'not quite organic' ingredients.

A Complicated Production
According to the description from my supplier, beheneth 10 is produced by 'combining natural, raw materials and treating them with chemicals or synthetic raw materials.' The end product is a semi-opaque, waxy, sticky substance that functions (beautifully) as an emulisfier for oil-rich lotions and serums. It is most definitely plant-based, but the closest I can get to answering "what's it made from" is that it is sourced from 'vegetable' oils. Needless to say, my research on this ingredient is ongoing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Sage Saga - Week On

I'm continuing with the sage hydrosol experiment and, at the time I write this, am 4 days into week 5. This week is 'with sage' in the same dose in my skin drench. I am continuing to apply the same amount in the same way. Guess what? The reaction pattern continues to be the same: the 'edge' is taken off the hot flashes and the intensity and length is lessened when I use the skin drench.

So far, it hasn't seemed to make a bit of difference what I mix the sage hydrosol with – it neither gains nor looses potency. Granted, there are some hydrosols I would be less inclined to use (because they would likely clash with the scent). All in all, this experiment is becoming very interesting! More to come.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Cranberry

Whether you 
celebrate 
Christmas or 
a different 
Holiday Season,
I wish you a
wonderful time,
peace on earth
and beautiful,
healthy skin.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Make-up: Making Foundation

There is a little less than a half years supply
left in these containers.
Making a foundation is a several-step process that needs time and a bit of patience. It is however, great fun and quite rewarding when you are finished and can enjoy using your own 100%, perfectly-matched-to-your-skin-tone foundation. I do foundation once a year, making sure I have enough to last a year. Any surplus from the previous batch is thrown out as soon as I am satisfied with the new.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hazelnut Oil – Nougat For The Skin

I use only 100% organic hazelnut oil
Hazelnut (INCI: Corylus avellana) oil is one of my absolute favorite carrier oils. It is one of very few oils that I buy in larger amounts, always have in stock, and use in a number of products: creams, lotions and mixed with other oils for direct application (in personalized Face & Body oil blends). Hazelnut oil is tolerated by all skin types (oily, dry, mature, combination – even babies), and leaves the skin feeling as smooth as silk. It really is nougat for the skin.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sunshine In The Winter Darkness

J.R.R. Tolkien's 'Mordor' must have
been inspired by the Scandinavian winter
It's winter and it's dark. In Scandinavia, we live with a whole heck of a lot of darkness in the winter months. This time of year, it doesn't get light until 8:30 in the morning, and by 16:15 (that's 4:15 in the afternoon for those of you who don't do the 24-hour-clock-thing), it's pitch black again. If it happens to be a cloudy day (which it is more often than not), it doesn't really get light at all and the daytime hours are cloaked in an impenetrable, dull twilight. Despite the holiday season, dreams of light breezes and summer prevail.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Linden Blossom – The Complex Essential Oil

Linden tea is widely available.
The essential oil, not so.
The scent of the essential oil of Linden Blossom (also called Lime Blossom) is delicate and Spring-like, yet so complex that you'd swear you are sniffing a mixture of several scents that have been carefully composed to create an experience of smelling sweet Spring air. Perhaps this is why Linden is coveted as a perfume ingredient and predominantly used as such. When added to the right mix, it brings sweetness and lightness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Sage Saga - Week Off

Is sage the answer?
It's now 4 weeks into my 'highly scientific' hot flash experiment with sage hydrosol (one week on, one week off), and it's looking like there is a pattern emerging. Throughout the second 'week off', I experienced the same increase in intensity and duration of hot flashes. I realize it is still early days, and of course, it's still entirely possible that this is all coincidence. I've lived with hot flashes for about 7 years now, and there is an 'ebb and flow' to them of sorts – it's just an impossibly unpredictable and completely uncontrollable one. (I hear a number of you over-50's ladies asking why the heck I don't just take hormones. You may as well ask me to use a skin product containing mineral oil.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Winner of the Golden Gloss Pot

Congratulations to Laura Watson, the winner of the Golden Gloss Pot!
Your prize is in the mail!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Warning! Body Butter Can Make You Fat!

Throughout most of 2010, I have been working on creating a Body Butter with a consistent texture (For the full story, read about Super Soft Body Butter in previous articles The Butters That Be and Better Butter Batch By Batch).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Allantoin – The Extra Shield

Comfrey root is one
source of allantoin
Most people tolerate allantoin (INCI: allantoin). It has several functions in skin care, but the coolest is its' unique ability to help with tolerance of other substances. Even a small dosage will actually guard the sensitive user from other ingredients in the product that may otherwise irritate. It's like being able to add a little extra protection shield to a product – really useful in products for extra sensitive skin.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Case of Cracked Fingers

Over the past few months I have been working on some personalized oil blends for a couple of people with extremely dry, cracked and sensitive skin on their hands and fingers. Both of these people have struggled with the problem for years and have tried all sorts of solutions including prescribed medicines and creams, all with unsatisfactory results. The blends I have been doing for each of them are not identical, but do have similarities. I'll call the 2 people 'A' and 'B'. In this article we will begin to follow A's progress.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Cornflower, Sage and Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a member
of the mint family
The last Hydrosol mix of the week included 2 of the ingredients that are also in this weeks' mix (see the earlier article to read about Sage and Cornflower), so for this article, I will concentrate on Lemon Balm (INCI: Melissa Officinalis). The INCI name originates from Greek and translates to 'honey bee'. It is believed the plant got its name because of its excellent bee-attracting capabilities while flowering. If you know your herbs, you'll immediately recognize – by looking at the leaves – that Lemon Balm belongs to the mint family.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Does Lanolin Grow?

You only want me for my emoillience.
Lanolin (INCI: Lanolin) has some wonderfully protective properties and is one of very few ingredients I use that is not plant based (the other being beeswax). Lanolin comes from sheep's wool. To be perfectly correct, it is wool grease (not to be confused with fat, which would require that it contain glycerides). While we're being technical, the composition of lanolin actually places it in the wax category.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Itchy Eyebrows

Someone asked me the other day why I do my own make-up. It all started with itchy eyebrows. Have you ever had itchy eyebrows? Constantly? I did. Every time I scratched

Friday, December 10, 2010

Perfume? Never!

I talk a lot about scent and how important it is, but have never really been a fan of perfume. Almost every perfume I have ever smelled has instinctively made me pull away. It seems they are either too strong, too sweet, too cloying, too acidic, too overpowering, too musky or – worst of all – too gosh darn chemical-smelling!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Sage Saga - Can Sage Tame Hot Flashes?

Hot flashes may look funny to
the observer, but they feel
a little like this.
To test whether or not sage has any effect on hot flashes, I did a skin tonic and drench the other week that included a modest dose of sage hydrosol. After a weeks use, it did actually seem to have some effect (though nothing earth shattering).

One Week On – One Week Off
After a week 'on', I took a week 'off'  and made mental note of the hot flash situation. There was a slight increase in frequency, but to my surprise, there was a noticable increase in intensity. Now, I know I'm not being incredibly scientific about this. I should be taking notes

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Aloe Vera – All Natural Magic

Aloe Vera belongs to the lily family
Aloe Vera (INCI: Aloe Barbadensis) has a number of documented beneficial qualities, whether taken internally or used externally. Its all-purposeness makes it a must for every household. Spritz pure Aloe Vera juice on sunburned (or burned) skin to help 'take the sting' or apply it to small cuts and scrapes to soothe and help promote healing. A tablespoon (or 2) a day of Aloe Vera juice helps digestion and helps strengthen the immune system.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Skin Drench Tonic & Mist FAQ

I have had a few questions about Skin Drenches, Tonics and Mists. Here is a mini FAQ.

What is a Skin Drench?
Just as a skin tonic functions for your face after cleansing, so does a hydrosol-based skin drench function for your body after showering/bathing.

Are All LisaLise Drenches, Tonics and Mists Hydrosol-based?
Yes. There will on occasion also be Aloe Vera and/or a splash of

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meet The Mask - White Clay & Honey Toning Mask

Honey and orange blossom
together smells divine
Tone and Moisturize
White clay is great for all skin – even sensitive. Combine it with Orange Blossom and honey for a luxurious, gentle-yet-effective toning and moisturizing mask. If you are able to get hold of orange blossom hydrosol, not only will the effect of this mask be greater than with any of the other liquids, but the scent of orange blossom with honey is a positively delicious experience. This is enough for one application.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Am I The Only One?

Do you read the ingredients label on the cosmetics you use? I'm talking about cream, shampoo, deoderant, make-up or any skin care product. I've put up a mini-poll that I hope you will take. For me, reading ingredients labels on cosmetics has become a kind of 'something to do while standing in line' thing. Ok, I can hear how weird that sounds. The question is – am I the only one?

Totally Dedicated

A peek inside my ingredients refrigerator.
When I started out doing my own cosmetics, the oils and hydrosols that needed to be stored 'cool and dark' were assigned a single shelf in our refrigerator door. Dry ingredients and containers were placed on a shelf in the bedroom cupboard. That was all the space I needed. That was then.

The Exponential Explosion
As time passed, my stock of everything increased exponentially.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You Can't Give That Away!

First I thought nobody liked Lip Balm. No comments on a giveaway?? Then I started realizing people were posting comments left and right and the comments were disappearing into cyberspace.

Can we try again? I think I finally fixed the problem with comments on the Giveaway Page. After researching the help forums, it appears the settings on the comments for this blog needed a bit of fiddling and twiddling to be able to work on all browers. Now, if you haven't completely given up yet, please give it another go. I'm bound and determined to give away this Lip Balm!

Thanks for your patience with this blogging novice!

How A Freebie Inspired A New Product

The container on the right is the freebie.
Each of these containers holds 5 ml.
One of my suppliers had a delay with a recent delivery and, as compensation, added a couple of extra items to my order – free of charge. One of the items was a cool make-up container in the shape of a ball. The top half lifts up to reveal a mirror, and the bottom half holds a 5 ml well for lip gloss, cream blush, cream eyeshadow, or even solid perfume.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giveaway Goof!

I have received some mails from people that have not been able to view their posting on the Giveaway page, and I am so sorry this function doesn't seem to be working for some of you.
I feel like a bit of a dunce, because I am not even able to pinpoint what the problem is. If you have been trying to post on the giveaway page without luck, please feel free to either leave a post right here (which should work) or send me an email at LiseATLisaLiseDOTcom and I'll add it to the page right away!
Anyone out there savvy at using Blogger is welcome to explain what the heck I am doing wrong...

Paraben Ponderings

I wonder how Ethyl and Methyl
are getting on
I've been working on several new formulas for shampoos and bath products for a while now – ever since having to bid farewell to the paraben preservatives. I have only ever used parabens in my products containing soap, so luckily, the 'paraben-thing' has only affected a few of my products.

Why Use Parabens in the First Place?

Parabens are excellent broad-spectrum preservatives (read: the correct mix will efficiently keep all of the different bacteria at bay).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Herbal Energizer Lives!

Striking a blow for herbal power
One of my latest hair and body washes is the product of some elaborate experimentation -– so much so that it has taken me a few weeks to find a fitting name for it. I wanted to try something a little outrageous and do an ingredient mix that would both feed the hair and scalp while helping to balance sebum production in the skin – a kind of all-in-one hair & body cleanser for men and women with (almost) any skin/hair type. (Nothing less than reaching for the stars will do).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Siberian Ginseng – The Natural Lift

There are a total of
11 species
Siberian Ginseng (INCI: Eleutherococcus senticosus or E. senticosus) has some pretty impressive capabilities. Now, this is not to be confused with ginseng of the Panax variety, which is an entirely different genus – though from the same plant family (which is called Auraliaceae if you really want to get technical). As far as I am informed, Siberian Ginseng got its common name through some sort of slick marketing trick. I'm guessing someone decided to try and make a fast buck by selling it as Panax Ginseng without explaining the difference between the different species (there are eleven).

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creating A Personalized Skin Tonic

Neroli & Hamamelis on the left.
Melissa & Chamomille on the right.
Tonic For The Nose
Anything that is applied to the face as a stay-on product should first and foremost have a pleasing and inviting scent to the person using it (ideally also to the person they are intimate with). The first thing we humans do when we are presented with a cream or any other skin care product is sniff it. If we find the scent unappealing, we instinctively put it back. Like it or not, we are all guided by our noses.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Cornflower, Neroli and Sage

This past week I have been using a new skin drench mixture to test out some of my more recently aquired hydrosols. This week's mix consists of 3 main ingredients: Cornflower, Neroli and Sage

Cornflower
I am still getting to know this lovely liquid that is ranked among the absolute gentlest of hydrosols. Cornflower (INCI: Centaurea cyanus) is recommended for use as eye wash as well as for its skin soothing and toning properties. It is even safe for babies. It functions well on its own, but it's properties can be enhanced when blended with the right "mates".

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jojoba - The Oil That Isn't

Jojoba is native to the Arizona desert
If you ever hear anyone mention jojoba as an oil, feel free to correct them, because there is no such thing. Although it looks and behaves like an oil (for the most part), jojoba (INCI: Simmondsia chinensis) is, in fact, a liquid wax.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sage – Proceed With Caution

Powerful Stuff
Sage (INCI: Salvia officinalis) in its essential oil form is so powerful and comes with so many warnings that I have simply been too wary to use it in any of my products. It is said to be so close to the female hormone estrogen, that even a small dose (of very few drops) can affect the body in much the same way the hormone does. One would think that would make it a perfect plant-based relief for hormonal problems (and I believe it is included in some 'natural medicine' solutions), but sage essential oil is incredibly tricky to work with. Likewise, a sage infusion is too impractical to use and can't be accurately dosed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dissing The Big Guys

Go ahead, make my spray!
I am occasionally asked by friends or family to read the label of this or that cosmetics product to check for undesirable ingredients. I generally oblige as I enjoy in testing myself on whether or not I am able to recognize every ingredient. I have only been able to give myself a score of 100% on 6 occasions. That may sound impressive to some, but 6 out of hundreds (if not thousands) isn't really very impressive at all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AHA! - Peeling With Fruit and Milk

Yes, tomato is a fruit!
AHA is short for Alpha Hydroxy Acids. These acids can be derived from a number of different plant sources – among them: sugar cane, apples, citrus fruits, grapes, tomatos (and probably more). AHA's can be mixed and matched in a variety of combinations. For skin care, they will sometimes be paired with lactic acid and a moisturizing agent. You will find AHA's in peeling creams, masks and other skin-revitalizing products.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meet The Mask - Sensitive Skin

Pink Clay for Sensitive Skin
Pink clay is great for sensitive skin. Combine it with rose for a luxurious, gentle-yet-effective skin firming and rejuvination mask. This is enough for one application.
You will need the following ingredients

- Ionized Pink Clay
- Demineralized water, rose hydrosol, or chamomille tea
- Sweet almond or hazelnut oil
- 100% pure rose essential oil
- 100% pure sandalwood essential oil (optional)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sweet Almond Oil - The Common Classic

Sweet almond oil (INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) has been around for centuries – definitely long enough to establish itself as a common and widely used carrier oil. Documented domestication of almonds dates back as far as 2000-3000 BC!

Characterization and Uses
Sweet almond oil is characterized as semi-fatty (read: it spreads easily and evenly, and has a semi-slow absorbtion rate on the skin). This makes it ideal for most skin types and multiple uses. Coupled with it's relatively neutral smell, ability to mix well with other oils, and general stability when heated, it is an ideal ingredient for face creams and body lotions. Because of it's relatively slow absorbtion rate, it functions beautifully as a massage oil. It also does very well combined with fattier oils for winter-protection creams.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hydrosol Mix of The Week - Frankincense and Lavendar

The dominant scent
gets first billing on
the label (for now)
When I test hydrosol mixtures, I will usually combine them with a few tried and true active ingredients (moisture-binding extracts), then give the solution time to 'marry' (read: I let the concoction sit undisturbed for about 24 hours before use). It will then be tested as a skin tonic (on the face after cleansing) and skin drench and/or mist (on body after showering).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden Gloss Pot Giveaway -Take 2

 Is a lip gloss worth this much trouble?
The participation for this giveaway has been slow and I happened to mention it in a conversation today. Lucky I did, because the person I spoke with responded with all kinds of great input! She said it was confusing with all the registering and clicking around. She also commented  "if I didn't know you, I would think you were trying to build up a customer mailing list so you could spam me later." Oops!

If you have been hesitant about participating for any of these reasons, I do apologize. My sole purpose of doing a giveaway was to get to know a bit about the people reading this blog.

Take 2
I have made some changes to the page and slimmed down the process.  You no longer need to click to the LisaLise site, nor do you need to give me your email or any other information up front. You only need to post a comment on the Golden Glosspot Giveaway page to participate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Apply a Face Oil

Work quickly, but gently
A lot of people ask me what's so special about putting oil on your face. My answer is always the same: a properly mixed personalized face oil will nourish, soften, balance sebum (helping either very dry or very oily skin), strengthen the underlying cellular layers, fight wrinkles, heal scars and acne, and help firm the skin. (not all at once, but almost!)
A properly applied oil will not leave your face feeling greasy or oily, but will simply melt into your skin and do it's work, providing you with the perfect base for your daily moisturizer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pump it Up!

Cosmetics geek that I am, I admittedly get just as excited about finding new packaging possibilities as I do when I discover new ingredients. The luxury of being able to tailor the look and finish of a container as well as its custom made contents allows me to offer the kind of service bespoke cosmetics should offer.
So, when one of my suppliers recently introduced a new serum pump that fits one of the existing bottles I have been using successfully for years, I simply had to place a test order to check it out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Frankincense - The Exotic Essential Oil

Frankincense (INCI: Boswellia Carteri or Boswellia serrata) is mysteriously rich and exotic. Also known as Olibanum, frankincense boasts a rich and long history of various uses – from medicinal and religious to cosmetic. The ancient Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder they called kohl and used it as – you guessed it – eyeliner!
Native to dry, harsh climates such as Somalia and Ethiopia, the essential oil process begins by making incisions in the bark of the tree, causing 'tears' of resin to form. The hardened resin is then collected and steam-distilled to produce the essential oil.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let's Hope It's Not The Perfect Eyeliner

For testing purposes, the plain-jane
containers will have to do
I just love it when an experiment works! I've needed a black kohl pencil for a while and finally got around to doing one the other day. Normally, I will make a batch of base-mixture once a year, then just weigh out the amount I need, melt it and add pigment for a pencil at a time. Because the mixture stiffens almost immediately as it is poured,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Golden Giveaway

I can see from my stats that there are some pretty loyal readers following this blog. Over 80% of the people that visit these pages return to read more. I'm incredibly flattered! But I am also curious. I'd love to hear from you - most particularly on how you care for your lips. I have therefore decided to do a giveaway of a specially made Ultimate Balm Gloss Pot. Are you willing to share? Then please check out this page to participate. PS: Man må godt deltag på dansk!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lavender Essential Oil - Where It All Begins

Should you ever have a desire to get aquainted with essential oils, may I suggest starting with lavender (INCI: Lavendula Angustfolia). It has a multitude of uses, offers several uncontested beneficial properties, and is gentle enough to be tolerated by the most sensitive of skins.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Who Needs Lipstick?

A selection of the lip liners I am using right now.
The only downside to doing your own lip pencils
is the neutral design. Applying any type of
label makes sharpening difficult.
The upside? 100% personalized color!
I've tried numerous kinds of brand name lipsticks – even those 8-hour-won't-come-off-no-matter-what-the-heck-you-do ones. If they didn't dry out my lips, they would either migrate to unwanted areas of my face, feel like I had just applied a layer of sticky jam to my mouth, or magically disappear within a moment of having put them on.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Lupine Peptides - Botox in a Bottle

The Lupine Peptides got it goin' on!
One of the newer darlings of plant-based active ingredients for skin care has earned itself the nickname 'botox in a bottle'. It is actually a they, and they have the super-trendy name of Lupine Peptides (almost sounds like the name of a cheerleading squad, doesn't it?)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brush Your Face

I find the long-handled brush
easiest to work with
How using a face brush will help firm your skin
One the first things on my to-do list if I ever become a millionaire will be to have a daily facial. If you've ever had one, you'll know how fabulous it feels, and how your face is refreshed, stimulated, and visibly firmer afterwards.
There is a way to acheive that freshness and firmness on your own – by washing your face daily using a soft-bristled face brush and a good skin cleanser. The entire process only takes about 5 minutes, and it's a great way to start the day.