Life Lessons From a Green Cosmetics Formulator - a LisaLise Interview

Hello. This is me. LisaLise – the person behind this blog, this website and this online community for cosmetics formulators.

Today, I'll be dispensing a bit of unsolicited advice and doing a self interview of sorts. This is because you asked (which would make it solicited advice, come to think of it).

Shall we begin?

Since Forever Ago

I've been doing this 'plant-based cosmetics thing' a long time before I started blogging about it  –  and very long time before it became trendy.

For more years than I care to count, that placed me in some kind of un-categorizable spot in the cosmetics world that – more often than not – triggered reactions such as belittling, sneering, or patronizing.

OK, fine.

You do your thing and I'll carry on doing mine.

Fast Forward to 10 Years Ago

Things have changed quite dramatically over the past decade and the cosmetics formulating world is looking much greener than it used to.

Slowly, snickers have turned into questions, and some (greatly appreciated) admiration.

In more recent years, people have even begun asking me:
'I want to do what you do – I want to follow my own path and do things 'my way'. How do I go about that?'

So today – for every one of you who have asked me this question, I'm going to tell you.

Here's how to go about doing what I do.

1: Love What You Do

Whether you want to create skincare, develop your own unique ingredients, or invent the perfect all-natural hair dye, your work should bring you joy, because here's the biggest secret of all – your work is the reward.

Let me repeat that: your work is the reward.

not money
not recognition
not subscribers
not likes
not followers

You are not on a fast track from point A to point B, but embarking on a journey of discovery that will undoubtedly bring you delights, but also disappointments.

If the work doesn't excite and inspire you; if it doesn't bring you joy and passion – then you need to find that unique thing that does.

2: Be Curious

Being curious is not looking for a cheat sheet to solve an immediate problem, but happily and willingly embarking upon a quest for understanding.

Attaining real knowledge and experience cannot be faked or fast-tracked.

If you are genuinely curious and genuinely love what you do, you will even feel excited about doing work-related 'menial' chores.

And you will grow and learn even more, and discover the more you learn, the more curious you get.

At one point, you will in all likelihood discover your unique combination of love-of-work and curiosity is even inspiring to someone on a similar path.

This is a bonus reward for doing what you love – sharing your passion.

Even though you may feel you are still on a long path of discovery, you may find some people have begun to regard you as a teacher.

Don't let that go to your head. You're still the same person you were yesterday.

Those who come to you for guidance deserve your kindness, respect, and honesty.

3: Be Honest

You don't know everything. You never will - even if you have spent oodles of time studying something, there will always be more to learn. Admit when you don't know the answer to something.

And for the sake of all that is right and good, admit if you discover you were wrong about something. You owe it to the people who regard you as an educator. You also owe it to yourself.

Learning is a lifelong process and life is an ongoing process of learning.

Be honest about who you are.

Be honest about what you do.

Be honest about what you know.

Be honest in everything you do.

Be honest.

4: Nurture Your Energy

While sharing your passion is wonderful, it can at times feel demanding.

It's OK to 'unplug' when you need to. Better to stay silent or out of the picture until you have had time to recharge. That may mean you need an at-home spa day, a walk in the forest, a long coffee break, a night on the town or a family fun weekend.

Whatever it may be, allow yourself this, because it is not a luxury. Remember that you cannot contribute anything to anyone if you are depleted.

Therefore: guard and nurture your energy.

Associate and surround yourself with people who feed your spirit and energize you - these people are your tribe.

Do not associate with toxic people. You will recognize them. They are barbarians who seek to drain your energy and break your spirit. Dismiss them from your life – block their access to you.

5:  Be Prepared to Pay the Price

There are going to be bumps along the way. Following your passion has a price. People who have not yet found their own passion will see you as a threat. Some may even be colleagues. Others will be callous, insulting, condescending, or surprisingly hateful for reasons completely unknown to you.

You may experience being
  • harassed 
  • lied about
  • ridiculed
  • copied
  • plagiarized
  • stolen from
It will be hard to ignore negativity of this type, and as disappointed and devastated as it will make you feel, there is only one way to overcome it.

6: Fight Hate With Love

This is a hard one to do. It really is. It will feel like it takes more purpose and conviction than you can imagine possessing.

But here's something life has taught me: nothing constructive or positive ever comes from spreading negativity.


Answering ugliness with ugliness only makes more ugliness. Stirring up hatred is toxic. Do not feed toxicity. Turn your back to it.

This does not mean don't fight back.  
It means: fight negativity with positivity.

This will not be easy to figure out in the heat of any given moment, but I promise you – if you have made a conscious choice to fight hate with love, you will figure out exactly the right thing to do at exactly the right time.

Do this, and you will always be able to see beauty – not just in the mirror, but you will recognize it in (almost) every face you see.

Do this, and you will always be able to stay focused on your passion – and that's what got you started in the first place, isn't it?


Reading back over this, I realise it might all sound like some kind of old idealistic hippie creed, but the truth is, that's what I am – a real life idealistic old hippie.

Peace and love, baby.

Thank you for reading.

Coming Up

Next, we'll get back to formulating, looking at ingredients, and all the other cosmetics-related stuff you are as passionate about as I am.


Anonymous said…
Respect. I feel you. Im following the whisper of my heart, I feel happy, calm and balanced. I enjoy every moment of the day, every day. I only accept positive.
Anonymous said…
Hi Lise,

Truly inspired by all the work and creativity that flows out of you!

Unknown said…
Thank you! I'm so glad to have found your work! These words I will hold close to my heart, they are more than just advice for the industry and bring me great encouragement and humility. Love it!
Unknown said…
Your kindness is truly visible in all your dealings with people who follow you. Thank you for this and thank you for sharing your knowledge with people all over the world xxx
Rebecca said…
I love this! It is so true, to move forward and develop your passion you can not allow others to distract you or be a negative force. It is also true that there are some horrid people about and the best way to deal with them is to (a) not stoop to their level (b) either respond with love or do not respond at all.
Unknown said…
I LOVE THIS! Soon, I will be embarking on starting my own online business. This article is so on time-Just what I needed to hear-A voice of wisdom.
Thank you so much.
Unknown said…
Wonderful advice Lise! Thank you for sharing it with us. I love your comment of "You do your thing and I'll carry on doing mine", couldn't agree more. :)
Mamasan said…
Lise, I absolutely love what you have written! Our company is in it's first few months as an online skin care company, and it has been a challenge learning this new "world" of the internet. I love what I the lab. The challenging part is learning the commerce of online selling, and SEO (search words etc.) for the website, goes on and on. There are days I want to pull my hair out, and then I find an island of peace that reminds me of why I started doing this in the first place. Thank you for stating it so clearly. I always love reading your blog posts because they are honest and real, and yes, I might be part "hippie" myself, lol. Thanks for sharing this!
Anna said…
The work is the reward : absolutely love this, thank you so much for sharing.
Zulfah said…
Truly inspiring , be true to thy self !. Thanks Lisalise
Chidi Beauty said…
Well said. And directly applicable to any industry, not just green beauty.
D. Mendenhall said…
Lisa - Sage advice for anyone in this industry, and perfectly delivered.

Passion is not just the reward, for some it is the life blood that keeps creativity alive. One can't let the toxic into their world or passion will surely die.

The most successful people in virtually any industry I know have all dealt with people who have been less than honest, have been back-stabbed, ripped off, dealt with jealous competition or some other injustice. HOW one deals with these types of issues though determines their own success.

I keep my studio and office a negative free zone. Even my husband knows the ground rules. I'm there to fulfill my need to create, innovate and yes - make a living at what I do.

I believe in hippie ideas just as you do, Lisa.

Throwing you a peace sign, Lisa! I'm glad we both get it.

Carly Corthell said…
Loving the love! Thank you, this really helped me today :D
LisaLise said…
OMMYGOSH thank you everyone for your fabulous comments!

@Kim Auker
@Karin Dahms
@Rebeccas Wright
@MIchelle A
@Lorraine Dallmeier
@Kirsten Thomas
@Chidi Beauty
@D. Mendenhall
@Carly Corthell

I'm going to be waltzing around looking like a giddly schoolgirl because of all of your fabulous comments. THANK YOU !
Maite said…
Thank you for sharing your inspiring view! I'm in the beginning of my journey, and I love your advice... It's exactly what I needed to read today!
Ilhem said…
I'm glad that you kept on doing your thing because you're such a great source of inspiration! Thank you.:)
LisaLise said…
@Maite - thank you kindly! i hope you will continue to follow your passion!
@Ilhem- What an incredibly sweet thing to say. Thank you
Jody said…
Another post from you that confirms I am reading the right stuff. Your writing of your research is an invaluable resource for me. But it is your experience that you share that lets me know I am in the right place. You truly walk in beauty. Thank you!
LisaLise said…
Why Jody I believe you just brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for your truly warming and uplifting comment.
Unknown said…
HI Lisa! Thank you for sharing your lovely words! :)

I only just started out with making my own products and it makes me so incredibly happy. It's a true act of love and creativity and I couldn't be more grateful that I found myself on this path.
LisaLise said…
Hi Sara — Thank you kindly for your lovely comment. Enjoy your journey!
Gwen said…
Hi Lise, thank you for that, so true and so looking forward to learning along with this group. Well done
From one hippie to another!
瑞娜 said…
Thank you for the words of wisdom and of encouragement!
Life is a journey and everything has its place and time! Again, thank you!
Namrata_1972 said…
You inspire me...before joining the group or reading your blogs I used to wonder whether my quest for natural skincare formulation would become a joyless toil or whether I have embarked on a journey towards a goal that actually doesn't exist....leaving my dreams condemned to a horrible death...but now I know that my dreams have the winds of reality under their wings and someday I will achieve what I have set out to do....true, there will be hurdles along the way but I am confident that your wise words will help me jump the hurdles .....thank you so much...
LisaLise said…
Hello Namrata and thank you so much for your kind comment. I wish you many upward winds through your journey!