The Secret to Making DIY Skincare that Actually Works!

The Secret to Making DIY Skincare that Actually Works!

If you’re into DIY skincare, or skincare in general, I’m guessing that at some point you’ve heard these pieces of advice:

  • “You should use skincare that’s for your skin type.”
  • “Only use skincare with ingredients you can also eat.”
  • “You don’t need anything fancy for your skin. Crushed up aspirin, lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar, crushed up Vitamin C, and baking soda are all you need.”

I totally get it. These pieces of advice make a LOT of sense. If you are struggling to find all natural skincare products that are safe for your skin, or have been dabbling in DIY skincare recipes online, you might have tried one or more of these approaches. And you probably didn’t get the results you wanted. And then you probably blamed yourself or your skin. Am I right?

It’s easy to think there must be something wrong with YOU. Why is it so easy for eveyone else to get clear, vibrant skin? What are YOU doing wrong? What’s wrong with YOUR skin?

Nothing. No, I mean it. You aren’t doing anything wrong. There isn’t anything WRONG with you or your skin, and there actually are some truths in (some of) that advice. The only problem is that that advice only works for SOME people but it doesn’t work for EVERYONE (and some of it–like that last one–is just downright dangerous). If it did, then everyone would have clear, youthful, glowing, perfect skin and there would be no need for a multibillion dollar skincare industry. This is the key difference.

Not all DIY skincare advice is GOOD advice.

Truth time. People in the skincare industry (myself included…I’ll admit it) have very strong opinions that their way is the best way (if not the only way). And while I would love nothing more than to tell you that there’s one magical path to skincare success, it’s just not true. There are many ways, and there are pros and cons to each.

If you are anything like my awesome Create Your Skincare students, you’ve likely already had some DIY skincare successes…and quite a few not-so-great attempts (notice I did not say “failure” because I don’t believe in failures–just learning opportunities!).

Researching DIY skincare recipesYou might find yourself on the other end having done a lot of work in researching DIY skincare recipes online, but not getting any of the results promised by the beauty or wellness blogger or Instagram influencer who posted them. You know why? Because most of those recipes were created by that person in their own efforts to help their own skin situation. Most of the time, the people who created them don’t know much about the skin, skincare formulation, or skincare ingredients. They just happened to find a remedy or recipe elsewhere, tweaked it a little bit to make it their own, and then published it online. That’s all well and good, but that really won’t help YOUR skin.

You deserve better than generic DIY skincare recipes.

My people (that’s you) tend to do better when they do things a different way. You love how rewarding it feels to create amazing things from scratch, and you love the idea of taking your skin into your own hands. You’re also ready to ditch the glitzy, glossy cosmetic campaigns that try to convince you that if you buy V,W,X,Y,Z products–personally used (meaning, endorsed) by Celebrity Turned Woo Woo Wellness Guru, THEN you’ll have the skin of your dreams. Nope, you’re smarter than that. You also probably know the importance of understanding your skin–what it loves, what it reacts to, how it changes from season to season. And finally, you love nature and know that it’s medicine–plants, stones…heck, even dirt–and want to use that power in your products. I get it, because that’s me too!

Why does this work for people like us? Because instead of following the status quo, and doing what everyone else does to get skin results, we focus on learning the hows and the whys behind it, and how it relates to our own skin. And then we take matters into our own hands.

The secret to making DIY skincare that really works is that you have to set yourself up from the start to succeed with the right prep, the right ingredients for your skin, and the right technique. And I’m gonna teach you how. For free.

That’s why I created my Boutique Skincare Basics course.

Rachael Pontillo making skincareI’m so tired of awesome people like you getting brandwashed and greenwashed by the skincare industry. I’m tired of you having to read blog post after blog post to try to find a DIY skincare recipe that doesn’t contain coconut oil and won’t burn the heck out of your skin (I know you know what I’m talking about). I’m tired of amazing people like you diligently using those products, or following those recipes, LITERALLY getting burned by them, and then feeling like a loser because of it.

Boutique Skincare Basics is a free online course for people who just want to make simple, all natural skincare products with ingredients they know will work for their skin. That’s all. I know it sounds like a tall order, but it’s really not! If you’d like to finally learn how to make gorgeous products that are customized to your skin, and not have to waste hours of your time searching for recipes and ingredients online, this would be a good place to start.

Listen, you can keep doing things the way you’ve been taught but I doubt much will change because you’ll never be the type of person those ways will work for. And trust me, you are in good company, because I can’t do it either.

You’ll continue to spend lots of time and money, try a bunch of products and recipes that don’t work, that give you results that are just meh, or worse–that actually injure your skin. But, seriously, who wants that? Not when you can learn exactly what ingredients to choose for your unique skin and whip up two simple, versatile, and EFFECTIVE products in your own kitchen, that will FINALLY give you the results you want.

Click HERE to take my free DIY skincare class, Boutique Skincare Basics.

Trust me! Your skin will thank you. And by the way, from 11/19/18-11/21/18, I’m doing a Boutique Skincare Basics 3-Day challenge in my free Handmade Skincare Enthusiasts group on Facebook. Click here to join that group!

Create Your Skincare Story: Native2Nature Skincare

Create Your Skincare Story: Native2Nature Skincare

Teaching skincare and wellness practitioners and budding skincare entrepreneurs how to start or grow their skincare business in my online course, Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, is one of my absolute favorite parts of my job. I love connecting with dedicated and creative like-minded people, and I love teaching them my passion for herbal and custom skincare and skincare business.

Watching a student take an idea and dream into a fully developed herbal skincare brand, and supporting their creative process along the way is one of the most rewarding things I’ve had the honor to experience.

Today, I proudly share with you my student, Tasha Hetke’s Create Your Skincare Story, and introduce you to her brand, Native2Nature Skincare.

Watch Tasha’s Create Your Skincare Story below:

Or Read Tasha’s Create Your Skincare Story below:

Rachael: Thank you for being here, Tasha! Thank you so much, first of all, for being part of Create Your Skincare family, and for taking the time today. 

Tasha: Yeah, thank you for having me. 

Rachael: Such a pleasure. So, you’ve been with the Create Your Skincare family for a while. What’s exciting is that you really went from start, ground zero, to complete finished brand, through the Create Your Skincare program. So, I would love to know, first, how you got into wanting to make skincare. So, can you give us a little bit about your backstory, and how you came to wanting to make NATIVE2NATURE?

Tasha: Sure. So, ever since I was a little girl, I had my own skin issues. I had eczema when I was younger, and then it came back when I was in college. And then, it came back again when I was planning my wedding, go figure. I also am prone to blemishes. So, I’ve always been interested in skincare, not necessarily making it, but seeking it out. I had tried a ton of different brands, and I know so many people say they tried everything. And then, my mom was diagnosed with leukemia, so when that happened, it was kind of a turn from seeking whatever medication, to seeking more holistic care for the entire body. So that’s when I went on the avenue to find something that fit my skin type, that was natural. Not natural, in the sense of walking into Walmart and it says, “Natural” but, natural as in unrefined oils essential oils–but not essential oils from like, you know, Walgreens. 

Rachael:  I just want to take a quick break to mention that in Create Your Skincare, we have a couple students who really are ingredient gurus. They really just seek out the highest possible quality. I see them posting in all of the smaller, like kind of underground ingredient groups, and ingredient co-ops where people are actually going to different countries to buy these ingredients right from the source. They really have become experts on locating the best quality, unrefined, organic, fair-trade ingredients that are possible at this point in time, on this planet, from the humans that are producing them. So, Tasha is one of those people.

Native2Nature SkincareTasha: Yeah, so essential oils, unrefined, all that quality sourcing was super important to me. And I remember … so, to start the class, it is a little bit of a financial commitment. I talked it over with my husband, and I was working a nine to five. And I was like, “This is something that I’m really interested in,” because I still wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted, something that I agreed with, with packaging, or ingredients, or customer service. So then, I decided that I needed to be that person for other people like me, who really wanted to find someone that they could trust for quality, customer service. I try to be the full package. So then, I took the class, and I remember when I was studying, because I would bring my materials everywhere with me, like in the vehicle when my husband and I would go fishing. I would study in the car, and study in the boat. I was really into it, and treated it like it was a college course. I’ve been out of college for years now, but it was kind of fun because it wasn’t something that I was forced to take because I needed a certain credit amount, but it was something that I was really passionate to take. So, that made me want to learn, and it made things stick a lot more than a couple of my college courses. It’s so fun to have a starting point, and just learn from other people, especially through the Create Your Own Skincare program, and having that communication and the Facebook page, and how important that has been for me. Overall, I’ve created my skincare brand because I wanted to really serve the people that kind of were like myself, in the sense of searching.

Rachael: I would love to have you talk about how you got to the NATIVE2NATURE brand, because I know that was a process for you, that we worked together for a long time, to help you hone that down, and come up with the name. When you are making a product that you are trying to market and sell, nobody else can have it. There are also different versions of the name that, if it’s too close, you can’t have that name either. So, that was a super fun process, wasn’t it, Tasha?

Tasha: Yeah, I thought I had a name for like a year, and it’s something that I started on Instagram, and I was like, I’m just going to kind of like dip my toes in the water. And then, I went and I looked on GoDaddy domain, and it was taken. So, it was a process. And then, I talked to a lawyer, and I recommend you doing that, because just the paperwork part of it, and the legal aspects, you can’t know everything. So, yeah, NATIVE2NATURE, honestly, it took me probably … and this is not supposed to be discouraging, but it took me about two years to think of the name, or even longer. I can’t even remember. But, it’s been something that was in the back of my mind. One day I was visiting my brother down in Florida, got up early in the morning, went to the beach, and started writing stuff in sand. I sent it to Rachael. I was like, “What do you think of this? What do you think of that?” So, when I was heading out the door one day, NATIVE2NATURE came to me. It completely agrees with my brand concept because everything in it is native to nature. Right? I didn’t want people to think that I added a bunch of synthetic fragrances or ingredients. So, that was really straightforward. But then, also I was like, “someone’s gotta have that.” And then, I did more research, and I asked the trademark guy to go in and look, and he’s like, “No, I think we’re good.” 

So, trademarking takes months and months and months. So, I would say, if you want to start a brand, and trademarking is important for you, that get on it right away, because it’s definitely not something you want to just leave off. I’m still in the process of trademarking. Everything sounds really good. I’m hoping it goes through. So, it’s just easier to do it beforehand, because I think it can take up to a year. But again, it’s better to do it than never do it, because then, no one can come in and try to mimic you, because if their products are not of great quality, people might then associate that with your name, and you don’t really want to tarnish what you’ve done for your branding. 

Rachael: Yeah, that’s a really important point. And I also just want to point out that even though it did take you a long time, Tasha, to come up with the perfect name, and the perfect logo, and the branding and everything, it’s not like that’s all you were doing for that time. You were still doing massive amounts of research and development, and continuing education, and continuing to post in the group about different things you were working on, and checking with me about percentages, and checking in and staying connected. Just finding the name is one aspect of it, but what I want to communicate to anyone who is considering starting a skin care brand, and they’re like, “Oh my god, what if I’ll never be able to name it,” don’t let that part of it, or the trademark part of it hold you back, because when you have a business, there’s always something to do. There’s always something to do both on the learning side of it, and then the doing side. I mean, how many times have we talked about tweaking when it comes to, okay, maybe that preservative system didn’t work. Maybe that emulsifier didn’t hold the product together. There is a whole bunch of research and development that does go in to making even one product. Even if it’s a simple product that does not contain any preservatives or emulsifiers, and this is an example of that. This is an oil serum that is a blend of beautiful, natural plant-based oils. This has kiwi seed oil. This has red raspberry, rose hip, buriti, elderberry extract, some beautiful essential oils, and then some good vibes as well. So, a product like this does not need to have a preservative necessarily, or an emulsifier, because it doesn’t have any water in it. We teach you how to balance that out, how to balance out these types of formulations, not just with ingredients that work together logically, in the bottle, but also, who are you formulating for? What types of ingredients are going to be best for that person, whether it’s a single person, if you’re custom blending, or if you are making products that are going to be sold online, or sold in a farmers’ market, like I know you’ve done before. 

Native2Nature Outdoorsy Warm Weather SerumDon’t let one little detail that does take a long time hold you up, because there’s always something else you can be doing to fill that time. Honestly, Tasha, if you didn’t do it that way, I feel like you would’ve had a completely different product line. You kind of had to go through that process of finding the name, in order to further refine the brand, and even the formulations. When it comes to the process of being a skincare business owner, you haven’t shied away from some of the harder parts of it. If anything, you’ve dove into them, and you’ve embraced them, while you’re still doing kind of the fun stuff, like the design and ingredients, and stuff like that. So, I’m really excited to see where NATIVE2NATURE goes, and to watch it grow. It really looks, from my perspective, like you’re making your choices very purposefully. So, I’m really proud of you for that. 

Tasha: Thank you. 

Rachael: You’re welcome. Okay. So, I want to get back to Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, and ask you what was your favorite part of that experience?

Tasha: My favorite part of the Professional Edition was I think hearing from the other professionals that you had live, and being able to ask them questions, because a lot of times, I signed up for webinars, but I’ve never really had the opportunity to ask them questions. And Rachael will confirm this–I’m a question asker. 

Rachael: She is. 

Tasha: I’m not afraid to ask questions. I love to learn about it. And I really want to know everything I can know about it because when customers ask me questions, I want to be knowledgeable about specific ingredients. And, even from the marketing standpoint, I want to be able to present myself as professionally as possible. So, in listening to your classes and being able to talk to the guest teachers questions throughout the classes, it was really helpful and useful to me. I also really like using the Facebook tool, just to hop on, because once in a while, I’ll be formulating something completely different or new, I’ll be like, “Oh no, what about this percentage?” That was a really big benefit because you can Google all you want, and you can Pinterest ’til your face turns blue, but until you actually have accurate information about things like preserving, and even the marketing side of things, it’s probably not going to go super far. I wanted to start this like a little side career because some day when we have kiddos, I want to be able to stay home with them, but yet still financially contribute. That is important to me. I feel like through the Pro Edition, it really helped me with the marketing part, and with actually putting things into place. 

Rachael:  I really want people thinking about marketable and purposeful decisions that are good business decisions right from the start, in addition to, “Wow, that’s a really cool ingredient that I want to have in my product, ’cause it’s awesome, and it smells great, and feels great, and oh my god.” Right? Tasha, how many cool ingredients are there that we have … 

Tasha: A thousand, million, trillion … 

Rachael: From this beautiful planet that we share, right? There are so many tempting ingredients out there. So, I really want to help people make decisions for ingredient selections that are not only just really cool ingredients, but also that are like, hey, that actually makes a lot of sense in your product, in the actual bottle itself, with the other ingredients you have in here, but also for your client, for your target customer, and from a marketing and business standpoint as well. 

Tasha: Right. 

Rachael: Cool. So, based on the experience that you’ve had in Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, what advice would you give to someone who is considering taking the course?

Tasha HetkeTasha: So, before I made the decision to enroll, I was on the fence about it. I mean, I wanted to do it, but it was more talking my husband into it, at that point. But then, also, it was something I was super passionate about, and I can tell you for certain, that if I wouldn’t have taken the course, I would still just be making sugar scrubs and putting jojoba on my face and that’s it. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I wouldn’t be where I am right now, at all, today. It has been a journey, and a process, and if you go into a business thinking there’s not going to be any hiccups, you’re just going to feel awful the whole time, because there’s going to be hiccups. Just kind of what Rachael said, you have to kind of embrace it, expect it. Expect the best, but also prepare for things not going well at times, because you want to keep your positive energy going, and that’s something that’s important to my brand. I make my skin care around Himalayan Salt Lamps, and I unplug all the electronics around me that I can, because I feel that your energy really does resonate, or go into your product. 

Rachael: Absolutely. 

Tasha: So if you feel passionate about doing this, and you’re on the fence, I’d say sleep on it, and if you’re a person of prayer, pray about it, and or talk to a friend. But, I think that so many people miss opportunities that they’re passionate about because maybe society feels the need to tell you, “You won’t make it.” I just think we really have to push those thoughts out of our heads, because you can listen to negative thoughts all day long, but really, it’s the positive ones that are going to make the most impactful  decisions in your life. If you’re on the fence, I’d say, do it, because it’s really not crazy expensive, considering all I got out of it. And again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I left my nine to five to pursue this. I would’ve done that, I wouldn’t have had the guts to do that. I’m not saying I’m making the same amount of money, but I’m a lot happier where I am. 

Rachael: And you’re just getting started. You have to start somewhere. You are making money, which is something. 

Tasha: Sure, right. 

Rachael: That’s a huge thing. You took that leap. You’re already seeing reward. You’re already growing a following. You have a good head about it. You’re not making decisions based just on impulse. You’re thinking it through. But, you’re also taking risks. You have a good balance of risk and being methodical about it. That is really necessary for a successful business person. So, I see amazing things for you in the future of NATIVE2NATURE. So, where are you at now?

Tasha: I just launched my website. I also just got done formulating my next serum. So, that will be my next product for this next season. It’ll be called Outdoorsy Cool Weather Serum.

Rachael: Perfect. 

Tasha: My niche is for those who like to be outdoors, because I’m outdoorsy, and I honestly didn’t really see it on the market. I’m sure someone does it somewhere, but it wasn’t as popular as maybe like, aging, which yes, people are very interested in that. But, I wanted something for people when they’re outside, that’s going to protect and restore your skin. So, my warm weather is for the warmer weather. The reason why I didn’t called it summer and winter is because for people in California and Florida, their cool weather is still pretty warm, sometimes. 

I chose not to take out a loan for my business, so it’s something that I kind of have to gradually grow, which is okay, because if I were to come out with a big line right away, I think, for my personality, it would’ve been too overwhelming. So, know your limits, and yourself, what you can handle, and what you have time to handle. 

Rachael: I think that’s a really big point, and I’m glad you made that, because you know, a lot of people worry, “Well, how am I going to fund this thing? What if I can’t get a loan? What if I don’t want to take on a loan right now? What if I don’t have anyone helping me?” I’ll tell you, I did not start my business with a loan. I self-funded my business and chose to grow it slowly as well. When you start too big, too fast, many people just end up losing money because haven’t they tested the market, or built an audience. They haven’t done that part of it. You really gain a lot of wisdom from going slowly, because you’re learning every step of the way, and the decisions that you’re making for your spending, are going to be a lot more thought out. I want to reflect back to the Herbal Skincare Summit. One of our teachers, Kevin Gianni, from Annmarie Skin Care, said, “What I would recommend to anyone is start with one, really kick-ass serum, and market the heck out of it, and sell it, and then see what happens, and make your decisions next from there.” I think that’s really sound advice, because really one of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they start these brands is that they just have too many products, and they’re still going for that quantity over quality. I really want my students to go quality, always. Never sacrifice quality for quantity. 

Tasha, is there anything else that you would like to share, either about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, or NATIVE2NATURE?

Tasha: I guess, my number one advice is go for it. Learn along the way, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you choose to take the course, you are investing time and money into it, and with that, don’t be afraid that your question’s going to sound stupid, or not. Or, just look up my name if you’re a part of the Facebook group, because I ask a whole bunch of questions. Feel free to reach out. So, just go for it, and be confident in yourself.

Rachael: Fantastic. All right. So if you are someone who is thinking about whether this is for you, you’re not quite sure, I do offer complementary skincare business consultations to anyone who is serious in learning more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition, and joining us in one of our upcoming live semesters. So, you can go to createyourskincare.com and schedule that appointment there, and you can also enroll in the course directly right from that website. 

Tasha, thank you so much for joining me today. I really am just so excited for you. 

Tasha: Yeah, thank you for having me. I appreciate it. 

Learn more about Native2Nature Skincare and connect with Tasha:

Learn more about Create Your Skincare Professional Edition at www.createyourskincare.com.

 

3 Quick, Natural, and Safe Overnight Pimple Remedies

3 Quick, Natural, and Safe Overnight Pimple Remedies

Don’t you just hate it when you have an event coming up and a big old zit pops on the most obvious part of your face? Today’s guest post from Emma Hanson shares with you three quick ways to kick that unwelcome visitor out. I particularly like these three remedies, because I’ll be honest with you–many of the “get rid of the zit quick” remedies (and DIY skincare remedies in general) I see online may do more harm than good because even though they are using natural ingredients, they aren’t ingredients that are necessarily appropriate for topical application (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and aspirin, are some of the most common offenders). The overnight pimple remedies listed below are safe for topical application, but keep in mind that they are intended for short-term spot treatment, and should not be considered as part of a daily regimen. Enjoy!

Sudden breakouts are such a common issue for women (and men too) of all ages. A pimple can pop due to a number of factors which we often aren’t aware of. 

Fret not! Here are 3 simple overnight pimple remedies that really work.

Even if the pimple doesn’t disappear, completely it surely will reduce in size and look less inflamed. 

1. Aloe vera icing

aloe vera gelYou might have heard about icing the pimple, which definitely helps to calm down the redness and may help reduce the size on its own. If you want to double the effectiveness, try frozen aloe vera. Aloe has the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are add serious therapeutic action to the coldness of the ice. It also packs serious skin nutrition, and pimple fighting properties such as Vitamins A, C, and E, minerals such as copper and zinc, enzymes, and bioavailable salicylic acid (which is a famous solution to acne).

To make your aloe vera ice, simply add aloe vera gel (learn how to safely extract the gel from the plant HERE) to your ice cube tray and then ice your pimple down for up 2 or 3 minutes with it twice a day everyday, leading up to the big event.

2. Tea tree oil and clay spot treatment

This tried and tested treatment is one you won’t commonly see on the DIY blogs (which is why I happen to love it!). Take a teaspoon of bentonite clay and add diluted tea tree oil to it (Rachael’s note: I recommend castor oil or aloe vera gel with about a 3% concentration of tea tree oil) for this particular blend). Add enough to make a paste out of it and apply the solution to the affected area only. Let it dry and then remove it with warm water. You’ll be shocked at how fast this remedy will dry out the blemish and reduce it in size.

Tea tree oil and bentonite clay both have the ability to draw out impurities, and kill the bacteria. For these reasons, this spot treatment is a powerful overnight pimple remedy.

3. Toothpaste magic

The toothpaste spot treatment is nothing new, but it is important to understand that conventional toothpastes on the market contain ingredients that you typically wouldn’t want to put on your skin, even for a spot treatment (like sodium laureth sulfate and artificial flavors). However, you can use a natural, earth-based toothpaste. These are particularly effective because most brands contain ingredients like baking soda, Himalayan or sea salt, bentonite clay, charcoal, and other earthy goodies that are known for their drawing, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Avoid other gel-based and colored toothpastes, because they can cause irritation to the skin.

Apply the toothpaste on affected areas only before going to bed and leave it on for a night. Wash your face in the morning and see the pimple almost vanished. 

Again, these are all meant to be used as short-term or overnight pimple remedies.

They are simple, yet very strong, and using them in too large of an area on the face, too often, or for too long, can cause more harm than good. If you’re looking to create safe, natural, simple skincare products that you can use every day, check out my free skincare class, Boutique Skincare Basics. Thanks to Emma for this contribution!

Emma HansonAbout the author:

Emma Hanson is a mother of two, a skincare freak and an avid reader. She loves trying out new products and treatments for healthy and glowing skin. She shares her knowledge and experience by writing regularly on her blog. She is one of the co-founders of http://www.clearawayacne.com/.

Have you tried any of these overnight pimple remedies?

Or do you have one of your own that always works for you? Please share in the comments below!

*Aloe vera gel image by ER and Jenny via Flickr. Toothpaste image from Amazon.

**This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking on a link in this post may result in me earning a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me continue to bring you top quality free holistic skincare resources and educational events like this. I appreciate your support!

Expensive Skincare Ingredients: Why So Pricey, and Are They Worth It?

Expensive Skincare Ingredients: Why So Pricey, and Are They Worth It?

“You get what you pay for.” We hear that about so many things in life, don’t we? Cars, clothing, food, and of course skincare. While I believe that this is true for many things (like organic, whole foods for sure), but is it the truth for the other things? Are luxury priced cars really safer and longer lasting? Are designer clothes really better quality than clothes from discount stores? Are premium priced skincare products really better than products sold at drug stores or made at home? For these last things, my answer is a definite MAYBE. The reason for that is because pricing is not always based on cost or quality of raw ingredients. Often pricing is based on marketing–how the brand is positioned, how and who it is advertised to, packaging, how it’s sold, whether there is a celebrity or influencer endorsement, etc. Because of this, it is common for sub-par products to be dressed up and sold as luxury. But there are still the cases where quality does win out and is genuinely responsible for a high price tag. In skincare particularly, high prices of some luxury or professional skincare products are due to fact that they are made with rare, expensive skincare ingredients.

Expensive skincare ingredientsI recently had the opportunity to contribute my knowledge of expensive skincare ingredients to an article that was published on Insider.

In this article, 7 Ingredients in Your Skincare Products That Are Making Them So Expensive, I, along with other skincare experts, talked about the reasons why ingredients such as rose essential oil, jasmine essential oil, arginine, and gold are expensive to source, and what overall benefits they bring to the skincare party.

Click HERE to read about those!

In addition to the expensive skincare ingredients listed in the article, I wanted to share four others that might be hiking up the price of your skincare products, and whether they are worth it:

1. Hyaluronic acid

I consider hyaluronic acid to be the “mother of all humectants,” since it can hold 1000 times its weight in water, and therefore (in theory) can deliver extreme hydration to the skin. It also contains antioxidant benefits. It is expensive for two reasons. First–production. Top quality HA is produced from rooster combs. There are lower quality versions, less potent out there that are used in cosmetics that are either made from sugar beets, are synthesized, or bacteria-fermented. On the retail side though, the price typically would imply the animal-sourced HA. The bigger reason for the high price though, is that it is VERY difficult to formulate with as it is known to deactivate the effects of some of the other ingredients in the formula, and is extremely difficult to preserve.

2. Argan oil

Argan tree fruitsArgan oil is extremely rare because the Argania Spinosa trees that produce the fruit from which it is produced only grow in a specific part of Morocco, between Marrakesh and Essaouira, by Berber women’s cooperatives. The process to produce the oil is extremely time consuming and labor intensive, and it takes the fruit of 8 argan trees to produce a single liter of the oil. Another factor that drives up the cost of argan is that it is very susceptible to damage from exposure to heat and light, and is also prone to rancidity. It must be stored properly, but even so, has a shelf life of only about a year, unless other stabilizing and antioxidant ingredients are added. However, many women will say the price and the effort are worth it. It is incredibly beneficial for helping to support skin elasticity and maintain skin hydration, is also known to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as scarring. It is also known to help aid in sun protection and help the skin recover from sun damage, though it is not a substitute for sunscreen.

3. Prickly pear seed oil

Prickly pear seed oil (Opuntia ficus indica) has quickly gained favor among natural skincare enthusiasts for its gentle astringent (tightening) properties, high mineral content, and high antioxidant content (it contains more Vitamin E than other carrier oils) which help to neutralize free radical damage and protect delicate skin cells from oxidative and environmental damage. It is also known to help soothe and improve the appearance of acne-prone skin, and balance oil production. While prickly pears themselves aren’t uncommon (they grow abundantly in Mexico and the southwestern US but have have also migrated elsewhere in the US and overseas), the high price comes from the fact that the oil is cold pressed from the tiny seeds, and we can’t ignore the fact that the cactus’ spines make the process slower!

4. Retinaldehyde

Retinaldehyde–also known as retinal–is one of the Vitamin A derivatives that’s commonly used in professional skincare products as an alternative to less expensive forms of Vitamin A such as retinol palmitate or stronger forms like retinoic acid. It is a preferred ingredient because it is less inflammatory and gentler to the skin when applied topically, and has been studied for its benefits for skin issues such as acne, rosacea, and premature aging. What makes it expensive is that it is expensive to produce, and it is also difficult to keep stable once bottled. Its benefits are known to degrade quickly which makes formulation more laborious and expensive, and though more stable forms of the ingredient have been synthesized, all that has done is raise the cost on the ingredient itself.

Are people are more likely to buy products with expensive skincare ingredients?

This is a question that many of my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition students ponder, when deciding what ingredients to include in their formulations. In general, I think that yes, people across all markets are more inclined to buy products made with expensive skincare ingredients, even if the product itself doesn’t contain very much of it. Once an ingredient becomes famous for common skin complaints such as dark spots, scarring, fine lines, or wrinkles–it does seem like everyone wants to try it and will pay extra for it.

But do products made with these expensive skincare ingredients really work better?

It really depends on several factors. First, you have to consider what is the quality and purity of the ingredient? Is it the real deal? Has it been sourced, processed, and stored properly? How fresh is it? Is it the right species of the plant that’s known for the purported benefits?

If it’s been cut, diluted, or otherwise adulterated (which unfortunately does happen), it’s not going to provide as much benefit. It also depends on what else happens to be in the product–how much of this “star” ingredient is actually in it, and are there other ingredients present that might compete with it for absorption?

Lastly, it depends on the person. Not every ingredient works for every person, so unfortunately, many of the people who buy products with these star ingredients won’t receive the desired benefits, not because the ingredient or product doesn’t work–just because that person’s unique needs require something other than that ingredient. What’s great about plants is that many of them contain similar benefits, so we can often experience many of the same benefits of a rare and exotic plant by using a more common one that’s less scarce, easier to harvest/produce, and therefore, less money.

Often the price of a skincare product has nothing to do with the ingredients at all.

Typically when a commercial skincare product is designed, the formulator will pick one star ingredient, and focus the packaging, advertising, etc on that ingredient, but in truth, the product itself often contains a very low percentage of that ingredient. Sometimes that’s OK. In the instance of essential oils or other potent extracts or actives, too high a concentration is not necessary, and can even cause harm.

Honestly though, I don’t think a star ingredient is enough of a reason for someone to shell out a ton of money if the rest of the product doesn’t also deliver in quality. In these cases, pricing has more to do with packaging, positioning, how/to whom it’s sold, marketing, etc–an example would be how a mass produced product with a celebrity endorser vs a small indie brand. The big brand with the celebrity’s endorsement usually contains mostly water, synthetic emollients, then functional ingredients like emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives, and a very tiny amount of the star ingredient. It’s expensive because of the advertising campaign, packaging, etc.

On the flip side, an artisan or indie brand might make a product that contains no water at all, and high quality plant-based emollients with a very low concentration of functional ingredients like emulsifiers and stabilizers, but without the celebrity endorser and expensive ad campaign and simple packaging–and both products might cost the same.

So I encourage everyone to read labels and look for quality over quantity! And even consider making your own products so you control your costs, and your ingredients.

Do you want to learn how to make top quality natural skincare products or start a skincare business?

I can teach you that! In my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition course, I teach ingredient selection in terms of purity, quality, and efficacy extensively. I also teach you how to choose ingredients purposefully, so that they are smart choices for the person you’re making products for, as well as for the formulation as a whole. And I also teach you how to brand and market your product line based on your skincare business goals. Our next semester starts soon!

Click HERE to learn more, enroll, or schedule a call today.

*Image 1 credit Loyal Naturals, via Wikimedia Commons. Image 2 credit Aaron Patterson.

How to Easily Make DIY Perfume With Essential Oils

How to Easily Make DIY Perfume With Essential Oils

Enjoy this guest post about DIY perfume from contributing author, Ashley Lipman!

If you look on the dressing table of any woman, you are likely to see a collection of perfumes. Whether fancy, crunchy, or anything in between, most women enjoy perfume. Then there are those of us who cannot even think of NOT wearing perfume. We are hardcore perfume junkies. We are the ladies who have perfume for everyday wear, perfume for going to the market or to run errands, and the “good” perfume. The good perfume is very expensive so you wear it sparingly. It is for weddings, major holidays, and going to a wonderful restaurant for your anniversary.

The perfume junkie

Until I became interested in the world of essential oils, I gave zero thought about what was actually in the heavenly scents I was putting on my body. Casual perfume wearers might be more careful. But a perfume junkie is likely to overlook what’s on the label to get the scent they want. Someone could hand you a sample vial of a great perfume with a warning, “this perfume has a base of sulfuric acid so do not put it directly on your neck.” And perfume junkies like us would reply: “But it won’t stain my clothes, right?” 

The problem with that is that you might never actually really know what’s in a perfume, since so many synthetic fragrance blends are trade secrets, which are not required to be listed on the label. And because these blends could literally contain hundreds of individual synthetic chemicals, the ingredient list likely wouldn’t even fit on the box.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I could make my own perfume?

Yes, it is true. You can make your own perfume and customize the scent. It is a fraction of the cost, you can make how much you want anytime you want (so you never run out), and it is made with all-natural ingredients. Why didn’t they tell you? Frankly, they never told you because they want your money.

In this article, we will focus on the basics of how to make perfume, and what ingredients and supplies you need. But, keep in mind–natural perfumery is an art form in and of itself, so we encourage you to do your homework and practice, practice, practice! You will find tons of recipes that are wonderful online, and some that closely resemble popular brands. Start with these recipes, but do not be afraid to add a few drops of something different, so you customize your perfume, your way.

Tip: make notes of additions you added, and give your perfume a name. It will help you recreate it for yourself or someone you want to present with a charming gift.

What do you need to make DIY perfume?

While the images of perfumery shelves filled with essential oils, blends, absolutes, concretes, and artistic bottles may imply that you need a lot of ingredients and supplies to make DIY perfume, you can get started with just a few key items. In fact, I suggest starting with just a few essential oils until you get to know their aromatic profile, as you can always add more later as your perfumery skills get more seasoned. 

You will need:

  • Bottles for your DIY perfume (these come in roll on, glass apothecary-style jars with droppers, fancy bottles with atomizers, etc)
  • A dropper or pipettes
  • Vials or small beakers
  • Alcohol (Grain alcohol is preferred) or jojoba oil for your base
  • At least 3 different high quality essential oils

Tip: Buy only quality essential oils that are pure and highly rated. This will keep your perfume smelling nice longer.

Essential oils for DIY perfume:

Base notes are the first type of essential oil you will need. These are usually heavier oils or resins, with earthy, woodsy, naturally muskier scents, and natural fixative properties. This is the foundation of your DIY perfume aromatically, and keeps it smelling great for longer, naturally, and after the top and medium notes fade, the base notes remain. Frankincense, benzoin, vanilla, and oak moss are examples of base notes.

Medium notes are essential oils that add body to your blend. Their aromas aren’t always individually detectable, though they add body to the others, and are very important for the cohesiveness of the entire blend. Medium notes are often herbaceous, floral, or earthy. Some popular choices are lavender, geranium, or elemi.

Top notes are the first you’ll smell, but they are also the first to fade. These are often fruity or minty, the most common ones being your citrus, spicy, and minty aromas. Some common top notes are thyme, grapefruit, petitgrain, and peppermint essential oil

Making your DIY perfume mixture

Note: use a vial or small beaker and your dropper or pipette

  1. Start with 15 ml of jojoba oil or grain alcohol in your container
  2. Add 10 drops of the base you chose. 
  3. Add 10 drops of your medium essential oil (note). 
  4. Add 10 drops of the top note. 
  5. Stir gently (you can use a stainless steel or glass stirrer), and bottle.

Using your DIY perfume

Your oil blends will last for a very long time in the bottle, as long as you store them properly. As soon as you have arrived at your perfect blend, bottle it and store it in a cool, dark environment. You can use it right away, but if you allow it to sit for two to four months it will allow the aromas to “marry,” which will bring out the mellow properties of all the ingredients. Shake well and apply wherever you normally apply your perfume. If you also make your own skincare products, you can use your own safe and natural DIY perfume to scent your products in place of toxic synthetic fragrance oils.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today, and by the time the holiday season rolls around, you’ll have some great DIY perfume gifts to give.

Have you ever made your own DIY perfume?

How did it come out? Have you had any DIY perfume fails that you were able to fix? Please share in the comments below!

About the author:

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver quality content through various niches.

Gold in Skincare: Real Hype or the Real Deal?

Gold in Skincare: Real Hype or the Real Deal?

In the world of skincare, the revolving lists of ingredients are nothing short of fantastical. One day we’re touting the power of stem cells, the next we’re lauding the benefits of seaweed. At the latest International Congress of Esthetics and Spa show, I noticed an abundance of metals–particularly gold in skincare. It can be hard to sift through the trends to find the ingredients that will truly improve your skin’s appearance. Which ingredients work? And when is it worth paying more for those truly sophisticated products?

The use of metals in skincare perfectly exemplifies this phenomena. Copper is needed by the body, but what does it do when applied topically? The idea of using 24K gold in skincare has its characteristic allure, but is it worth shelling out for said allure?

As you know, I custom make all my skincare, so my main question when I started researching this was… should I consider including precious metals in my skincare formulations? In this article, I’m breaking it down according to each metal, because they offer different qualities. Then, I’ll touch on nanoparticles, which have become important (and controversial) in skincare recently.

Copper in skincare

CopperThe most electrically conductive of all the metal elements, copper, has a long history of being used to make tools and jewelry, sterilizing water, and now, as an ingredient in skincare.

Its use as a purifying agent is one of copper’s most popular applications. Hospitals even use copper surfaces to reduce the spread of germs. So it’s not surprising that one of copper’s effects on the skin is as an antimicrobial. These germ-reducing properties aren’t what most companies are promoting, however. Products containing copper are instead touting its ability to reduce redness, minimize wrinkles, and get rid of dark circles under the eyes. There’s even a pillowcase infused with copper that promises to reduce wrinkles while you sleep!  

The peptides in copper may be responsible for these skin-rejuvenating properties. Oregon State writes, “Another [copper enzyme], lysyl oxidase, is required for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin, which are essential for the formation of strong and flexible connective tissue. The action of lysyl oxidase helps maintain the integrity of connective tissue in the heart and blood vessels and also plays a role in bone formation.” This sounds promising.

Aesthetics Journal notes, “Copper metal ions have been found in higher concentrations around healing wounds and thus are implicated in wound healing and inflammatory processes. The topical application of copper ion-containing ointments has been associated with improved wound healing.” Another compelling piece.

Both of these excerpts point to some validity in the claims that copper in skincare formulations could help give it a more youthful appearance. Given its long history of use, as well as these studied effects on wound healing and connective tissue, copper stands out as an ingredient worth including in a skincare regimen.

Silver in skincare

Like copper, silver has a long history of use–it has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. Lately you might have heard of colloidal silver being used to fight infections or used in skincare formulations that claim anti-aging properties.

First off, “colloidal” refers to a solution of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles suspended throughout another substance. Those who endorse silver for these purposes explain that it is only beneficial or absorbable in its colloidal form. Colloidal silver was banned as a medical ingredient in the 1990s because it was being overprescribed and overhyped, which caused some pretty crazy adverse reactions. However it is still available in natural formulations, and is considered safe when used appropriately.

Medical journals do confirm silver’s antibacterial activity, with a study published in 2013 noting that “It is widely recognized as an effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent… effective against a broad range of aerobic, anaerobic, gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, yeast, filamentous fungi and viruses,” also appearing to have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes silver appealing as a preservative, perhaps, or an acne-fighting ingredient– but does it live up to the hype as a skin-transforming ingredient?

Let’s transport ourselves to the world of biochemistry for a moment. There are some compelling cases for silver as a skincare ingredient, namely a study on silver nanoparticles at a particular size protecting skin cells against UVB radiation-induced DNA damage, which lends some credibility to its use as an anti-aging ingredient. I’ll touch on nanoparticles at the end of this article, but just know that there is some controversy behind their safety. For now, let’s talk about our first place prize metal.

Gold in skincare

Gold is perhaps the most enchanting of these three metals. Companies that utilize gold in skincare tout its youth-enhancing and luminizing effects. But is gold in skincare all it glitters to be?

The Huffington Post’s review of gold in skincare concludes that its main attributes are that it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Because it’s not soluble, the article explains, you don’t need to worry about side effects.

Yet Allure’s comparison of different precious metals in skincare notes that gold was named ‘Allergen of the year’ in 2001. And many people can’t even tolerate wearing gold jewelry. How’s that for going for the gold?

Well, a study published in 2010 found that gold particles stimulated the proliferation of keratinocytes. They concluded that at a low concentration, gold particles could be useful in biomedical skin tissue engineering, but that at high concentrations they were toxic to cells. I think it’s safe to assume that skincare companies would not use high enough concentrations in their products for them to have a toxic effect; and while these results are in scientific jargon, it does seem to point to gold’s ability to revitalize the skin.

Just last year, a study of metal in skincare confirmed that gold encourages the proliferation of skin cells. They also noted that gold does have ability to penetrate into the skin, which may be a good thing, or may be a bad thing, depending on what else is in the formulation; because essentially, having gold in your skincare may increase your skin’s absorption of the other ingredients in that product, helping your skin to soak all the goodness (or not-so-goodness). Also, its benefits and effects on the skin depend on whether or not it’s compatible with the bioindividual chemistry of the person using the product.

Is the idea of metals in skincare a little bit too Marie Curie when it should be more Marie Claire? Stick with me, because I want to touch on one more science-oriented thing that’s rather important…

Nanoparticles

Several years ago I wrote about Kabana Skin Care and why I steer clear of nanoparticles in skincare. It’s a topic thick with opposing views and uncertainty. You may have heard of nanoparticles, which means any particle under 100 nanometers, because they are often used in natural sunscreen formulations. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide in nanoparticle size have less of the characteristic white chalkiness. Since the technology has become available to achieve nanoparticle size, companies and scientists have been using it because it allows for easier assimilation into products and medications.

Because nanoparticles are often able to enter the bloodstream, there are concerns about their interactions with cells and bioaccumulation in the body. Indeed, the aforementioned study about gold particles being toxic at certain concentrations was looking at nanoparticles. They write, “It has been found that AuNPs of 14 nm can easily penetrate through the cell membrane and accumulate into the vacuole.” But also that, “the unique properties of NPs: high surface area relative to the size as well as the ability to penetrate biological membranes and barriers greatly reduces systemic dose thus potential side effects and toxicity. Recent studies show very promising clinical potential of NPs to serve as controlled release and delivery systems for drugs/active substances.” Alas, the double-edged sword of nanoparticles.

I don’t find nanoparticles appealing enough to ignore the evidence that they could bioaccumulate in the body. Given how many healthy, natural, nontoxic ingredients there are available, I don’t see the point in risking it.

To Indulge or Not to Indulge?

Gold face maskGold, silver, and copper each have merits when it comes to skincare. Gold can help increase the effectiveness of other ingredients in your skincare, while also acting as an antioxidant. Heck, the simple shine and color of it can add a beautiful luminosity to your skin.

And silver? Its antimicrobial actions are totally legit, and it’s possible that it also protects against UVB damage, which would be a great bonus.

Copper, also verifiably antimicrobial, also contains peptides that can stimulate collagen production.

Overall, each of these metals have qualities that make them worth including in your skincare. But be cognizant of nanoparticles! There is a potential risk associated with them, and companies don’t have to disclose if they are using them (never hurts to ask!).

And it’s probably not a good idea to spend all your coins on these precious metal formulations. They’re beneficial, but not magic 🙂

References:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gold-infused-skincare-trend_us_56aa5400e4b001648922a054

https://www-sciencedirect-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/science/article/pii/S0009279716306299

http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=972718fd-f83d-4b06-9835-a7d52261c944%40sessionmgr104

https://www.annmariegianni.com/copper-for-skin/

http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/copper

https://www.annmariegianni.com/potential-dangers-nanoparticles-food-cosmetics/

https://www-sciencedirect-com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/science/article/pii/S0927776510003504

https://aestheticsjournal.com/feature/copper-in-skincare

http://www.contagionlive.com/news/copper-surfaces-in-hospitals-help-wipe-out-bacteria

https://alliance-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_sciversesciencedirect_elsevierS0009-2797(16)30629-9&context=PC&vid=UW&search_scope=all&tab=default_tab&lang=en_US

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4955599/

https://www.allure.com/story/are-precious-metals-effective-skin-care-ingredients

https://amazingy.com/magazine/benefits-of-colloidal-silver-on-the-skin/

*Photo credits: Copper by Qaqqaqtunaaq, Silver Crystal By Alchemist-hp (talk) (www.pse-mendelejew.de) – Own work (additional processed by Waugsberg), CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7394995, Gold Leaf Eye Makeup by pumpkincat210, Gold Face Mask by Alison Shaw

 

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