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.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let Me Just Make a Note of That

A selection of my notebooks
I take copious notes on every product I develop. I write pretty much everything down: ideas, thoughts, bits of 'AHA!' information about a certain ingredient, and of course the formulas themselves (every version), complete with any tweaks made to ingredient amounts (or if it came from a new/different supplier), production date, how many ml the total batch was, what the PH value was (and whether it was different from last time), whether the formula looks like a winner or a dud, what kind of container was used, how the texture felt, product smelled, etc etc etc. This makes for a lot of notes. What's worse, I never throw anything out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meet The Mask - Deep Cleansing

Deep Cleansing Rhassoul Face Mask
One of the first masks I made was with Rhassoul Clay (INCI: Moroccan Soap Clay or Moroccan Lava Clay) and it was for adult acne. Although I (happily) never suffered from acne as a teen, I had a short bout of it at the beginning of my 50's – entirely hormone-related (as acne usually is). I found this mask incredibly effective and have continued to use it long after the acne disappeared.