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. 


Sarah Sequins said…
I'm a fledgling DIY beauty fanatic, and I've been keeping a paper notebook (but also a digital backup of my best projects). Next to the title of each recipe, I have a little circle, which will have a star (good!) an x (fail!) or a check (make sure this is right!) or, in the case of a face mask that made a better breakfast porridge, a heart in it. I also have a section for notes at the end of each project, where I suggest increasing/decreasing ingredients, adding things, and subbing things.

One thing I don't have, though... is page numbers!!! I love that idea, and I love the idea of putting a "see updated version" note at the bottom. I'm almost at the end of my very first notebook, so I'll do that with the next one. Thanks for the tip!

I'm also starting a notebook just for checking old favorite recipes to see if I still like them. I've learned a decent amount in such a short time, so I'm thinking it will be fun (and necessary) to go over them and make sure they're the best they can be. Am I weird for loving the note taking part as much as the actual making?

-- Sarah

LisaLise said…
Hi Sarah - Thanks for ypur comment. As you make and fill more notebooks you will also be able to see how far you have come. Enjoy your journey!
Carrie said…
I do both-I write it in a note book or on a form I've evolved to creating and filling in and then enter the data (weights) on the spreadsheet version of the form to calculate actual %, totals etc. Then I tape them both inside the notebook. I was using just a notebook at first but the form helps me keep the data in place. And of course, I save everything.

As I read in another blog, I experienced exactly what you said-my first product was perfect, wonderful, and I had little clue how to make it gain as I wrote little down, very messy notes, didn't weigh things. Getting better :)

PS I love your blog. Funny, informative, down to earth and incredibly helpful.
LisaLise said…
Hello Carrie and thank you so much for your very kind words! I am very impressed that you are using both analogue and digital note taking methods simultaneously! I am still at the stage where I start analogue then move to digital when I've finished doodling. :D