Before I started making skin care products I was a label reader. I couldn’t pick up a product without immediately turning it around to see what was in it. I was highly critical too!! I would be constantly wondering, ” why have you used that ingredient – I wouldn’t!!” I didn’t appreciate the science behind the formulation. There are still some products I feel that way about, but I now understand the complexities of making a product so that it’s of Natural/Organic origin and does what it’s meant to do for the skin, as well as being safe and not falling apart after a short time.
When I first embarked on making my own skin care products I had the most basic of ingredients to work with. The first cleanser I made was with 2 natural ingredients! It was great for a little while until it started to separate and it wasn’t brilliant as far as my skin type was concerned. It was good for a first try, but I needed to do some more experimentation to get the results I wanted for my skin. This required much research of ingredients and testing small batches.
The first batch of moisturiser I made was Brilliant!! I was so excited!! When I went to make it a second time I hadn’t recorded the measurements properly (as a good scientist should) so it was different and didn’t hold together properly! From then on I have always recorded any measurements that have been changed from the original to make sure I can recreate the same formula each time. The process I went through was a scientific one.
I feel as though people see scientists as people who are not really concerned with the health of the human being and the planet, & that Organic, Eco conscious don’t mix with science.
I believe there is a new generation of scientists who are deeply concerned with the health and well-being of the human being and also the planet. That is why we are seeing so many organic skin care brands coming on the market.
I asked Amanda Foxon-hill who is a professional Cosmetic Chemist to give me her comment on this subject. Here’s what she had to say:
There is a huge misconception of what science is in the world of cosmetic creation and indeed in the wider world. Science is just a way of thinking, of organising ones curiosity into a series of steps that might lead somewhere. Science is creative, it's intuitive, it's fun and it involves all of the senses.
A scientific approach allows you to reproduce your findings, to understand how your product works and more importantly to have some control over that.
I have written a few blogs on science as a way of thinking and also about not calling me guru (or anyone) as the main thing that science needs is an open mind and an appetite for exploration. Thinking you are right and I'll show you is not going to get you anywhere...... I sometimes think that the general public think that scientists are arrogant, are socially awkward and feel they are superior and always right. That isn't what great science is about.
In terms of ingredients it is science that enables us to captures the essence of a flower and turn it into an essential oil.
Have you ever tried distilling oils? I have and it isn't that easy. Yes, once you have the right equipment you can get somewhere but without an appreciation of the role of timing, temperature, plant biology, ratio of botanic to water etc you haven't got a business, your product will be far too wide a specification and your customers will not want to pay.
Essential oils require more than just a squeeze of a leaf.
And what about aloe vera gel. Yes you can squeeze it from a leaf. I do that, I have some. However, the plant gel is often tainted green due to the presence of Aloin. Aloin is highly irritating and carcinogenic. It isn't the kind of ingredient you want in your skin care. Creating aloe gel from aloe requires a scientific knowledge of the plant chemistry, management of micro issues and an appreciation for how the ingredient might be stored and used.
From where I sit I see many people move from making their own products to making for friends and family then onto markets then onto the world (if they can). This is awesome to watch when it goes well but I am frequently met by frustration from clients as the scale-up batch doesn't work, nobody will manufacture for them, the product falls apart after 8 months, mould starts growing on top etc.....
An appreciation of the science behind the product and ingredients allows for these potential pitfalls to be identified and managed ahead of time, saving money, brand reputation and time.
Science isn't about the origin or processing of the ingredients you use, it is about the understanding of what you have and what you expect from it. It is about getting results time after time. It is about being reliable.
Science isn't just about that, it is also about sustainability and about appreciating and valuing materials. A good hands on the science of your product allows you to increase your products efficiency, improve its sustainability footprint, make it safer and more pleasant to use and make it cost effective.
Yay for science
Amanda is the owner of Realize Beauty http://realizebeauty.wordpress.com/
My conclusion is that I have absolutely used science to make and evolve my skincare products & it has been absolutely essential for the process! I still have a passion to use as many Certified Organic Ingredients as possible and the rest are Naturally Derived.
Hooray for science and for Organic/Natural products created with Passion, Love and Science!
Nuturing Organic Skincare