Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Product Spotlight: Timeless Hydrating Skin Complex

I must admit - I was of the mind, before learning to create product of my own, that moisturizers were for old people and people with lizard skin.  Certainly not, MY skin.  Crap  Oily, sensitive, breakout prone.  I have since learned that all skin types benefit from a good moisturizer.  The trick is getting is right.

So what do we want in a face moisturizer?
1.) Hydration
2.) Non greasy
3.) Affordability
4.) A little magic to work on those little problems areas.   Uh....not that any of YOU have them.  You babes are perfect.  ;o)

So, along the way I have made several attempts  :::coughIwouldn'tputitonmydogcough::: at formulating a good moisturizer.  The only way to meet a prince is to kiss a lot of frogs.  I spent over a year, and many hours working on it.  Not to talk smack, but I see so many out there that people just throw together without any thought other than "I can sell this".  Scarier still, is there are so many vendors still insisting that "vitamin e" is a preservative.  Yeah.  You go ahead and enjoy that bacteria and mold.  Ick.  Dip some corn chips in it even, and have a siesta.

At it's most basic, a moisturizer is a water and oil emulsion.  Let's say I take some coconut oil, some distilled water and an emulsifier and whip them up.  Looks fluffy.  Feels creamy.  Will it make your skin soft?  Sure it will.  So would Land 'O Lakes butter if you rubbed it all over yourself, but this ain't that kinda party.  Is it necessarily a good oil if you get clogged pores and breakouts?  Probably not.  I'd look like Freddie Krueger inside of 24 hours.

So, I set to work on a product that would be sort of a companion to my Gourmet Body Mousse, but incorporate select ingredients that I felt would give the best results for a broad spectrum of skin types.

Let's talk turkey.  What's in it?

Distilled water - Duh.

Avocado oil- Has natural sunscreen properties, and has great antioxidants.

Macadamia Nut Oil - Love this stuff.  It's totally BFFs with skin.  It is the closest to our own natural sebum and is contains the highest amount of palmitoleic acid than any other plant oil.  Palmitoleic acid has oodles of anti-aging properties and has even been shown to slow the rate at which our skin ages.  Naturally high in vitamins A&E.

Camellia Seed Oil - Cold pressed from the seeds of the camellia flower. It won't clog pores, it absorbs rapidly, and it's unique makeup allows it to penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin.  Unrivaled emollient.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil:  Exceptionally high in Vitamin E, wonderful anti-inflammatory shown to be effective in soothing irritation, eczema, psoriasis and is full of antioxidants.  It creates a lipid barrier for skin protection.

Extracts such as carrot seed, calendula, and chamomile:  Anti-inflammatory, reduces irritation, antiseptic, has healing properties, increases elasticity, balances, and puts to work those antioxidants.

Hydrolyzed Oats - I use gobs of this stuff.  Shameless pimper of it with no apologies.  Soluable form of whole oats.  Soothes, and makes your skin feel velvety and awesome.  'Nuff said.

Squalene - Naturally present in your skin and is a valuable moisturizer.

C12-15 Alkyl Esters:  Found naturally in things like coconut oil and cranberries.  Softens, conditions and smooths the skin and imparts a fantastic silkiness.

And lastly.....the piece de resistance - Hyaluronic Acid.  This is the showpiece of this cream.  You have probably heard chatter about this ingredient, if you are at all in tune with what's going on in cosmetic trending.  It's not cheap, I'll keep it real with ya.  But completely worth it.  HA is a naturally occuring active often touted as the "key to the fountain of youth".  I won't get quite as Ron Popeil on you, but I will say that it's good stuff.  HA holds 1000x it's weight in water (hello moisture!) and  is a biopolymer naturally occurring in the skin and other tissues.  Topically applied, hyaluronic acid forms an air permeable layer (so your skin can breathe), penetrates into the dermis, and boosts the elasticity and hydration of the skin.

So those are the key players.  Nothing to clog pores, lots of emollients and anti-inflammatory soldiers, anti-agers and soothers.  Whats great too, is that you can wear it under your makeup without feeling like you have a layer of gook (technical jargon) on, but rich enough to use as a night cream, as well. Here's what one customer had to say:

"I'm writing you to let you know that your Timeless moisturizer is GOOD stuff! My skin is loving it. I don't want to rush and say how good a skin care product is after using it for a few days or a week. I have skin that's easily upset. My skin will start to break out in a few hours after I wear certain foundations, or moisturizer, or anything it comes in contact with. I have oily, dehydrated skin. I'm in my mid 30's yet still break out like a teenager if I'm not careful. My skin is decent because I'm careful with the products I put on it. Lately I'm trying to find skincare that's more natural, less chemical...and every "natural" product I've tried broke me out that I kept returning to my chemical skincare (but works good for me). Since I really like your soaps, I decided to give your moisturizer a try. I'm so glad I did. It moisturizes without being greasy. It works nicely with my serum. I can wear it under make up without making my face look like an oil slick. My skin feels so soft and silky! I've been using this for more than 3 weeks and haven't seen any break out or allergic reaction. I don't have a youtube channel or a blog to review products or haul, but I want you to know that I love every single product I've tried from you:)"

Nothing I can ever say is as valuable as good old fashioned customer testimonials.  I hope you try it and enjoy it, as well.   If you do - let me know how it's working for you.

Until next time....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's A Giveaway!

BIG giveaway over on the Facebook Page!  June 18th until June 21st!  Visit my Facebook page and find the post to enter and win!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Product Spotlight: Sea Buckthorn Blemish Bar

I know it's shameful to show my face here after such blatant neglect of this blog.  Oy.  I really do have good intentions about keeping up with it, yet always fail miserably.  For what it's worth - I can't fold fitted sheets worth a damn either.

That said, I thought I'd motivate myself by telling you a little bit more about some of the products I offer in my shop, what goes into the idea conception, the nitty gritty on ingredients, creative process, and what I hope it can bring to the consumer.  I'll "spotlight" a new one every week.  (And let's just go ahead and assume "every week" means "whenever I remember".)
For this initial Spotlight entry, I want to talk about my Sea Buckthorn Blemish Bar.  

My point of reference for creating new product has always been my own crap skin.  (Thanks, genetics - so much for that lucrative contract with Cover Girl).  I don't have a team of dewy-skinned guinea pigs at every beck and call, so I basically create for myself, knowing there are many of you out there looking for the very same product answers to skin dilemmas, that I am.

A little history:  I am currently 45.  Ouch.  That stung a little and made my face scrunch up to type.  As a teenager, I had raging breakouts (my professional self-diagnosis is stress, hormones and a steady diet of Burger King and Cool Ranch Doritos.)  My skin is also oily.  Even at the age I am now, I still battle oil and the occasional zit.  People used to tell me "You'll be so glad when you're older, because people with dry skin will be all cracked and wrinkled and yours will look sooo good".  Vicious lies.  My skin looks like every other average 45 year old.  Nice try though.  I have also learned that I have very sensitive skin.  If I rest my face in a hand....or get accidentally sprayed on the skin with an over zealous spritz of hairspray - you can be sure I'll break out in those spots the next day.  True story:  I once wore my daughter's silk scarf for an afternoon, and my neck broke all out the very next day, in every place it touched.  Yeah....I'm a total freakshow.  It's not lost on me.

So finding some kind of relief from this nonsense has been ongoing in my life, yet I am not a person that will head to Sephora and drop a hundo on a one ounce jar of "miracle cream".  It's just not gonna happen.  It's gonna need to be more affordable for me, or I'm just gonna have to go ugly.  So what are the elements I needed to formulate a soap to help combat these issues?

1.) Natural ingredients.  PEOPLE!  Stop using commercial "soap".  It's garbage.  It's chemicals and detergents.  It's heinous and a waste of time and money.  If you can get a gross ton of it for .23 cents, that should be a red flag.

2.) Affordability.  Not .23 cents, but not rivaling your car payment.

3.)  Balance.  It would need to calm the skin, regulate pH, and not dry it out so much that oil production is over stimulated to combat what your skin thinks is a need to produce MORE oil, leaving you with scaly, rough, dry patches covered in even more oil.  It's not cute.

4.) A perfect storm of researched, specific, carefully chosen ingredients in the arsenal that will work together, not against each other, in application.

Sea Buckthorn Fruit is pretty new on the scene, relatively speaking, in terms of being used by vendors like me.  I give ample side eye to most new, the-next-big-thing fixes, because most turn out to not do much more than cost me money.  Sea Buckthorn Oil really turned out to be a great surprise for my skin, however.

Sea Buckthorn berries come from a shrub which grows in mountainous and coastal regions of Europe and Asia.  These funny little, sour, orange berries have been used to treat sunburn, radiation burns, eczema, psoriasis, is loaded with vitamins and anti-inflammatory agents, as well as several groups of micro nutrients (including omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9) that work together to balance and regulate the body's hormonal and immune systems.  Topical sea buckthorn applications soften, thin and strengthen the skin and reduce scarring, swelling and inflammation - allowing the skin to finally break the inflammatory cycle and heal itself.  Sounds great, right?  I KNOW!!!

Secondly, I always remembered how my skin would clear up and heal in ocean water.  Many times, even in fresh river or lake waters.  Even now, if I swim in a natural river (and by "swim" I mean "fall out of my canoe"), my skin is softer, more clear and I notice my pores will shrink, as well.  So what does all of this mean?  It means that natural minerals, antioxidants (found in salt water, especially) really do make a difference in conditioning and healing inflamed skin.  Now salt from the Dead Sea has unique qualities that are helpful, as well.  It is full of essential minerals which aide in overall skincare, including:

Magnesium - Necessary for cell metabolism.  It contains several potent, natural anti-inflammatory minerals and also promotes the healing of skin tissue and gives skin surface anti-allergic elements.

Bromide - Soothes irritated skin.

Potassium - Moisturizes the skin.

Sulfur - Naturally disinfects while also working as a detoxifier.

Calcium - Cleanses pores.

Zinc - helps protect the skin against elements such as sun and wind, and is also an important factor for the enzymatic regulation of cell proliferation.  (Say *that* five times fast).

Am I losing you yet? Ok, you get the basic gist.  I was still worried that I need an ingredient that would add an extra element of moisture in case all that salt left my dry skin customers feeling like a herring at a fish market.

Enter - oatmeal.

Oatmeal is my go-to ingredient in many of the products that I make.  Whether in natural, colloidal, hydrolyzed or other form, it's great stuff.  We've all had oatmeal baths as kids, when we've gotten into some poison ivy or contracted chicken pox. Remember how your skin calmed down, felt soft, and the itchiness subsided?  The same principle applies in the soap.  It's not rocket science.  Just smart ingredients all working together to accomplish a goal.

There are no synthetic fragrances or colorants in this soap either.  The rich orange color is from the sea buckthorn berries themselves.  The slight nutty scent is also the natural fragrance of the berry pulp.

Now there is one caveat - dead sea salt is a natural lather inhibitor.  In much the same way a carbonated drink will fizzle out if you pour salt into it, these soap bars do not have big fluffy lather like the rest of the soap in my line.  I think the trade off is worth it.  I myself, like to agitate the bar onto a face cloth to boost the bubble factor, and then apply and scrub my face.  It is my favorite face soap and has made a tangible change in my skin.  I invite you to give it a try too.  Salt bars last a long time as well, so at $6.50 a bar, it's affordable.

As much fun as crazy colors, strong fragrance and less-than-natural ingredients in B&B products can be, if you have sensitive or acne prone skin - less is assuredly more.  At least when it comes to delicate face skin.

Read labels, choose vendors and soapmakers who do the research and just don't slap a product together from a bad internet recipe.

Sea Buckthorn Fruit!  Who knew?!

Until my next post - thanks for reading and give my little shop a try sometime.  I love hearing how products are working for you.
~ Lori