The Art of Keeping Notes

Today, we're going to talk about the art (and importance) of keeping notes when developing cosmetics products. I'm not going to tell you what to do – just show you how I am able to zippy-fast find exactly what I'm looking for – even if it goes back over a decade.

Maybe you'll find some of this useful – even if you prefer working 100% digitally.

Personally, I find pen and paper synonymous with thinking, wondering, developing and finalizing an idea. I'm old fashioned that way (as is pretty evident from that pic of a few of my notebooks up there).

Developing a System

As my collection of notebooks grew over the years, a system of symbols, shorthand-type doodles, and 'code' developed all by itself.

If I don't allow myself to get sidetracked reading my 'cosmetics diaries', it's actually easy to find exactly what I need to check within minutes.

Below is a page from mid-development of a lip & cheek tint stick. Some of this looks like doodles and random colors, but because it's my own system of doodles and colors, I can 'read' where else I need to look to trace the development of this formula both backwards and forwards.

Doing All That Digitally

If you are a digital wiz and want to develop your own system, it's easy to manage, organize and keep track of your notes with tags, color codes, and/or by naming your files in a related manner.

If you use standard (office type) software, you may be doing a bit of extra work, but you also get to tailor everything to your needs.

Tip: Never overwrite a digital file with changes to a formula or you'll loose valuable information! A year (or even 2 weeks) later, you will have forgotten why you changed what you changed and risk repeating mistakes/undesired results. Instead, keep a copy of every version and label accordingly (LIPSTICK-V1, LIPSTICK-V2 etc).

Another possibility is investing in a software package that is geared to cosmetics formulating (I've happened across software for soapmaking and assume it is also available for cosmetics formulas).

Do Tell

How do you keep track of your product development? Are you a pen and paper person or a digital wiz?

PS: The formula and how to for the pictured lip and cheek tint stick is available in this book. If you don't want the entire book and are willing to shell out $5, it's also available as a single formula right here.