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


  1. Well you've won me! Seriously L you write in such an entertaining way and also included GREAT information - which is exactly what your customers need to know. Your Sea buckthorn facial bar sounds amazing and I know just how well it must work xxx

  2. Hi,

    I have already used the oil of this fruit and its seed oil. It has wonderful colour and I also like using it in my soaps.
    Ildiko from Hungary