Monday, January 31, 2011

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Chamomile, Neroli and Carrot Seed

They say the devil is in the details, meaning 'there is a mysterious element hidden in the details'. I agree. It is exactly the 'going into detail' part that makes creating skin care products a fascinating process for me. Hydrosols are some of my absolute favorite components to work with, and mixing them is kind of like composing a pastel-like, fragrant liquid that nourishes, tones and balances the skin. You can't go completely wrong (for the most part), but if you really get into the finer details and keep tweaking, you can achieve nothing less than skin-loving magic.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How Does Soap Work?

I stumbled upon this piece yesterday, and just had to share it. The conversation: a (chemistry professor) father explains to his 3 year old daughter how surfactants work.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The LisaLise Discount Solution - So It Begins!

I don't mind a good discount, darling,
but it has to be top-quality!
I am well aware of the fact that my products cost a pretty penny to develop. They're right up there next to some of the more costly commercial brands. Then again, you have to consider that hand-crafting as little as 100ml of product at a time (thats 3.4 ounces for those of you who don't do the milliliter thing), using pricey, hard-to-source natural ingredients, tweaking (almost) every formula to accomodate the end user, hand-preparing and hand-filling each container, personally making every label and informational insert, and ensuring proper delivery of the final product to each person. There is simply no way to do that at supermarket prices.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meet The Mask - 10 Minute Lavender Detox

Outrageously Purple!
White Clay is a great 'basic clay' for all skin types – even sensitive. Combine it with lavender for a purifying and detoxifying mask that leaves your skin feeling toned and fresh. I know this mixture is purple, but it is made with a white clay that has been tinted with violet – just for fun*.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roman Chamomile - The Gentle Giant

I find it a rare household that doesn't have a stash of chamomile somewhere in the kitchen. In my family, this gentle herb tea is a catch-all remedy offered for any number of ailments: cold, flu, stomach upset, sore throat – even sleeplessness. Chamomile infusion is so mild and soothing, it is even recommended for small children and babies, helping calm little tummies and sooth teething pains. What a contrast to its essential oil and hydrosol counterparts – both so potent that they come with cautions about dosage!  For the hydrosol (by far the milder of the two), a maximum of 10% is recommended in any solution to be used on the face. In concentrated form, chamomile is indeed a powerful, effective (and surprisingly pricey) ingredient.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Multi-Vitamin Voucher

Earlier I wrote about a voucher I gave to my niece for Christmas where she could choose any cream or serum. Pictured is the batch of Multi-Vitamin Intense Care Cream that includes her gift of choice. Because I had to air-freight the product, I used a practical and travel-friendly (but admittedly less sexy-looking) plastic container for her gift. The container on the bottom is a frosted glass jar with bakelite lid. That one will be on my nightstand as soon as I finish the product I am testing at the moment.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Benzyl Alcohol – Preserving With Plants

Jasmine is one source
of this preservative
Since several of the parabens have been put on the poo-poo list, I have been working with alternative preservatives, trying them out in different products. One of these newbies (for me) is Benzyl Alcohol (INCI: Benzyl alcohol).
Natural Source
Benzyl alcohol is produced naturally in many plants, fruits (such as strawberries) and some essential oils (such as ylang ylang and jasmine). As it derives from aromatic material, it has an inherently pleasant scent. You'll find it is frequently used as the preservative for intravenous medicines, as well as – of all things – photographic developer.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Feedback from the Winner

At the end of last year, I did a giveaway of one of my lip care products: the Ultimate Balm Gloss Pot. As this was to be a prize, I decided to give the pot a gold lid (normally I use a black lid). Laura, who won, sent me the following feedback and has graciously allowed me to share her words with you.

"I received the lip gloss/moisturizer and I LOVE IT!  I am in the sun all the time and always applying some sort of lip moisturizer.  This stuff is so smooth and really lasts!  Really a superior product, honestly!"

Thank you for sharing Laura.

Aside from being pleased with Lauras positive words, I couldn't help making note of her comment about being in the sun all the time.  Speaking from this dark Nordic clime, I envy anyone who can – in January – write that they are in the sun all the time!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Good Hair Day Spray

Whip that hair...
This past weekend I was just finishing making test batch number 4 of one of my products under development (lavendar shampoo), and as I was getting ready to pack everything up, had a sudden idea for a nourishing hair and scalp combination that could double as a body-giving and styling hair spray – a spray that would make every day a good hair day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet the Mask - Rhassoul and Aloe Vera Toner

The Rhassoul I use comes in chunks
and needs time to soak up the liquid
Cleanse, Soothe and Tone
Rhassoul clay is a great cleanser for all skin.  Combine it with Aloe Vera  and honey for a soothing, toning, cleansing mask. If you are not able to get hold of the Aloe Vera juice, make an infusion of chamomille tea. It (obviously) won't be the same, but the rhassoul and honey combo has definite benefits. This is enough for one application for face and neck.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Rose in Any Other Bottle...

New label design and bottle
Some time last year I found a new supplier of bottles for my skin tonics & drenches and decided to give the label design a bit of an overhaul to match the straightforward, no-nonsense look of the new container. I'm quite pleased with the 'frosted-yet-clear' quality of these new bottles, and find them ideal for the 'very liquid' products I do. Shown is the Rose Skin Tonic I just finished making – an irreplaceable staple in my daily skin care routine (guaranteed to start the day with a smile). Below is a picture of the initial bottle (I actually still use these as well). The 'old' bottle has softer lines and is completely clear (which has its advantages for some products).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hyaluronic Acid - The Amazing Skin Plumper

We loose it as we age, but hyaluronic
acid can now be added after the fact
We have plenty of it when we're born. Hyaluronic Acid (INCI: sodium hyaluronate) is actually native to the skin – being one of the main components of the extracellular skin matrix and a significant contributor of cell growth. It is also found in the connective tissue of many parts of the body, where it performs cushioning and lubricating functions. In the skin, hyaluronic acid's job is to give volume and fullness. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Case of Cracked Fingers - Part 2

The Reparative Hand Salve
I made for 'A'
We are following 'A' , who has been using a personalized oil blend for extremely dry and cracked fingers for about 6 weeks as I write this. When we left A last, the fingers had been doing better, but 'A' told me there was a feeling that additional help was needed to keep the problem at bay. The oils were absorbing well, but, as 'A' described it, "it feels like I need more protection."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rosehips Oil - The Natural Healer

They say Rosehips (INCI: Rosa Rubignosa) Oil has the ability to heal scars – softening their appearance. I've tried this and agree, and although I wouldn't call it a miracle worker that magically wipes away all signs of unevenness with a single application, it definitely makes a visible difference.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Applying Cream - Shall We Slather or Scrimp?

I gave a voucher to my niece for Christmas. It was good for one skin cream (or serum) and one personalized skin tonic. Happily, she enjoyed the gift, and immediately reminded me of a sample I had given her a while back of my Multi-Vitamin Intense Care Cream, saying this was her product of choice for the 'cream/serum'.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cetyl Alcohol - The Natural Stabilizer

Cetyl alcohol (INCI: Cetyl Alcohol) is one of those 'background' ingredients that helps keep a product 'behaving as it should'. It performs as a thickening agent in creams and lotions, helping stabilize the texture of the product.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is There Mercury in Your Mascara?

If you're shopping for mascara, it might be a good idea to check the ingredients list for Thimerosal. With the exception of the State of Minnesota in the USA, it is perfectly legal to use this mercury-based preservative (also known as Merthiolate) in mascaras as well as in tattoo inks. Thimerosal is also often used as a preservative in vaccines. Minnesota decided to ban the use of mercury in cosmetics i 2008. Nobody else in the USA has!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The LisaLise Library is Open

This past week I rounded 100 posts, and suddenly realized it would be convenient to start a library. For an overview of the different cosmetics ingredients I have written about (along with direct links to the different articles), please visit the library page. I will add to this as the list grows. If there are any requests for articles on any specific ingredients, please feel free to post a comment here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Make-up: Making Blush

The 2010 foundation and blush batch.
Earlier I wrote about making foundation. Making blush is incredibly similar, and, once the foundation is done, relatively quick and easy.  Not being a huge blush-user, I will usually do a relatively small portion. My preferred type of blush is mineral powder (as opposed to cream), because I will just as often use the color as an eyeshadow (either on the globe area, or in the outer corners of the eyes).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hydrosol Mix of the Week - Neroli and Carrot Seed

It's funny how some hydrosols smell almost identical to their essential oil counterparts, while others are so different you would swear they didn't come from the same source. Carrot Seed (INCI: Daucus Carrota) and Neroli (INCI: Citrus Aurantium) both fit somewhere in between categories 1 and 2.

Neroli (also called Orange Blossom) essential oil is light and delicate while the hydrosol is heavier, sweeter and – illogically – stronger smelling. The essential oil will happily step into the background of a blend, while the hydrosol is so dominant, it has a tendancy to overshadow everything else in the mix.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why Mix Essential Oils or Hydrosols

Since starting the Hydrosol Mix of the Week series on this blog, I've been asked a few times what the purpose of blending hydrosols (or essential oils) is.
Although it may look like mixing is just trying to find out 'who likes who', it is a quest to optimize and strengthen the characteristics of each part. Blending creates a synergistic effect that makes a difference in how well a product works, as well as being instrumental in how a product smells.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Make-up: Making Mascara

Far left is the container from Urtegaarden
I have a confession to make: I have as yet to make mascara 'from scratch'. I've considered it, but always end up thinking 'why bother when I get the perfect result every time from (Danish) Urtegaarden'. Mind you, if you're looking for a 'lash-lengthening miracle' or an 'amazing, lash-thickening experience', stick with your present brand. On the other hand, if you prefer all-natural, safe ingredients that quietly do their job, I recommend this solution – most especially if you occasionally get mascara in your eye when applying it and want something that won't sting (at all!), cause redness, or blind you for the following 3 hours.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Julia Lahme tests LisaLise

In November 2010, I had occasion to supply the well-known Danish author, journalist and speaker Julia Lahme with a few of my products for testing. After a short briefing about her skin care routine, desires and needs, I created 2 personalized skin tonics and gave her a sample of my Herbal Repair Eye Toning Solution as well as a sample of my Bare Basic Deep Hydration Lotion. On Dec 28, Julia posted her feedback on her blog. With her permission, I have translated the article here. Below is a link to the original article.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Sage Saga - Let's Get Scientific

I am now 2 months into the sage vs. hot flash experiment. The first few days into this 'week off', I experienced a continued low intensity of hot flashes – as if I was still using the mixture. OK, so it was a fluke....

Sorry We're Late
Then, just as I was getting ready to chalk this whole experiment up to coincidence and wishful thinking, the intensity and frequency of the hot flashes returned with a vengance – almost as if to say "oops! Sorry we're late getting back to you – we hadn't realized you were off the sage again. But hey, let's make up for lost time by turning up the heat."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Beginning of 2011

Happy New Year! 
I hope this year brings you happiness, prosperity and health.