Starting Your Skin Care Business: What’s Held You Back?

Starting Your Skin Care Business: What’s Held You Back?

When we want to do something big in life–I mean really big to the point that it could CHANGE our lives for the better, it often seems like it’s one step forward, two steps back. When I first started my skin care business, I have to be honest, I had no ideas what I was getting into. I had no cash, no actual business know-how, no idea how to use technology or social media to house and grow my business. I also had serious impostor syndrome (who was I to start a skin care business or teach others about holistic skin care?), had two very young children, and was coming out of a health crisis.

It’s been over nine years since I officially started the Holistically Haute blog, and 8 since I officially started my first skin care business (I have two). So clearly, I found a way to make it work. It definitely hasn’t always been sunshine and roses, but I can confidently say I wouldn’t change a thing, and I love what I do. Read more about my story here.

I’ve been so fortunate to have the privilege of learning from some of the best business and marketing professionals out there, and I’ve also had the honor of working with amazing skin care business owners. I’ve witnessed firsthand what it looks like to be sooo close to something huge, but then see it fizzle out before it even has a chance. By firsthand, I mean I’ve witnessed this in my own behavior, as well as in my colleagues and students. Why does this happen?

The Big LeapWell sometimes there are truly extenuating external circumstances that put the brakes on our dreams. But more often than not (again–I’m guilty of this too), we put up our OWN barriers to success. There’s a concept called “upper limit issues” in the book The Big Leap (an absolute must-read if you want to have a business), which basically states that we set our own subconscious limits as to how much success we believe we deserve to have. And when we come too close to achieving it, that subconscious ego does everything it can to snap us back into our comfort zone; our status quo. Well, I’m sure you’ve read that nothing life-changing ever happens in our comfort zones, and we have to stretch ourselves–or leap–to achieve the big goals we have in life. To do that, we need to be very honest with ourselves as to what’s actually holding us back–is it internal or external? Is it real, or is it a story we’ve told ourselves based on early conditioning or outright misinformation we’ve been told?

I’ve found that the biggest thing holding aestheticians and wellness practitioners back from starting their own skin care line is a combination of misinformation and mindset.

So today, I’m sharing the top 4 skin care business misinformation and mindset traps, and how to avoid them!

1. “It’s more expensive to sell your own skin care products than to carry an existing line.”

Well it certainly CAN be, but the good news is that the costs are up to you when you have your own skin care business. When you buy someone else’s product line, you pay for all of the manufacturing, operating, transit, storage, and various other costs that the manufacturer itself has to cover, as well as any middle man distributors. Even though you may pay a wholesale price, that wholesale price has already been marked up likely more than once. And what you likely don’t realize, is that many of the professional skin care product lines that aestheticians buy aren’t being sold direct from the manufacturer–they are, in fact, private labeled–and that drives your cost up even more.

If you want to be a private labeler yourself, then you incur the cost of wholesaling PLUS the cost of packaging, labeling, graphic design, printing, marketing, etc. When you buy someone else’s product line (wholesale or private label), you also have absolutely no control of what goes into that product–you’ll likely never know the source of the raw materials, and if they decide to reformulate or discontinue a product, you could really get stuck. What if your clients don’t like the reformulated products and you have to liquidate them so they don’t spoil? You might lose money on inventory you can’t sell (or send back), or labels you can no longer use.

When you sell your own handmade products, you have full control over every part of the process. You decide which and how many ingredients go into the product, where and how they are sourced, how much to make in each batch, what type of packaging and labels to use, etc. There are no middlemen or miscellaneous fees other than you ordering the raw materials themselves–but since you are choosing where to shop, that’s something you also have some level of control over. When you have the power to make only what you need based on your current and projected demand, you won’t have overstock. If you do decide to reformulate, you can do it in very small test batches to make sure the products still work for your customers.

2. “I can’t legally sell the products I make in my state.”

This is something I hear a lot from aestheticians, especially. Somewhere along the line, someone started the idea that state boards don’t allow aestheticians to use or sell handmade products in their spa, or that practice liability companies don’t cover businesses who use handmade products. This isn’t exactly true.

While it is true that some state boards and insurance companies do have more to say about it than others (I’m looking at you, Florida), it is legal to sell handmade skin care products in every state in the United States, as long as you follow the law, don’t make inappropriate claims, and set your business up properly. And by the way, there are more limits on selling private labeled cosmetics with most practice liability insurance providers than properly established handmade cosmetics. You just have to do your homework, set yourself up and operate correctly, and make sure you’re taking advice from people who actually know the industry.

3. I don’t have enough time to make skin care products.

Time management is key for a successful skin care businessStop it right now. I don’t want to hear it. For real–it is tough love time. There is a universal truth about both time and money, and that is we always find enough of both for the things we truly value. So if time is something that stresses you out now, I want you to take one typical day in your life and keep a log of how you are using your time. How much time are you spending doing work that only you can do in your business? How much time are you spending on busy work that could either be done more efficiently or either a person or computer? How much time are you spending in Facebook groups contributing to skin care philosophy debates that really don’t do anyone any good? How much time are you spending watching Dr. Pimple Popper? How are you using your time between clients? What policies do you have set up in your business already for late clients or no-shows?

I will tell you this straight, but with love. If you truly want to have a successful skin care business, you will commit to building your schedule around that goal–at least until you find your groove. Then it gets much easier (it really does!). And that applies to ANY goal you have in life–if you are actually serious that you want it, you will do whatever it takes to get it. Otherwise your dream stays a dream, and someone else gets to make it their reality.

4. “I’m not qualified to have a skin care business.”

You don't have to be a scientist to have a skin care businessThis is the one that tripped me up the most at first, because I kept telling myself the story that I needed to have a medical, microbiology, or chemistry degree to make effective skin care products. I told myself this even though I’d been making my own herbal skin care concoctions since I was a kid, worked in various aspects of the beauty industry since I was 17, and was a licensed aesthetician (and a darn smart one too). I told myself that even though my products were the best I’d ever used, there’s no way they’d work that well for other people. And then when I finally did get brave enough to share them with others, and heard that they were the best products THEY’D ever used, I still believed they were just being nice.

Imposter syndrome hits certain people no matter how many years of life experience they have, courses they take, certifications they earn, or degrees they have. Some people–like me and probably like you if you are reading this–are life learners who always strive to become a better version of themselves. And that is fine! But there comes a time in life when it’s time to trust yourself–that you DO know enough and that you DO have the sense to get the right support from the right people when you need it to make your dreams come true.

While many of my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition students are aestheticians, herbalists, health coaches, and aromatherapists, I’ve found that those are not pre-requisites for having a successful skin care business.

My most successful students have been the ones who show up, do the work, ask questions, manage their time wisely, hold themselves accountable, and ask for support when they need it. I promise you this–if you are truly serious that you want to have a successful skin care business and you are ready to buckle down, get your head in the game, and get to work–then you will achieve your goal.

My online course, Create Your Skincare Professional Edition can help!

The most important part of starting a skin care business is getting the right support from the right people, from the start. In CYS Pro, you will learn to design complete herbal skin care product lines either to sell as a signature range, or to offer to your clients on a custom basis. You will learn what you need to know to do so legally and compliantly. You will learn organizational business, planning, finance, and marketing skills to make sure that your formulation decisions are smart ones from the start. You will learn different business model options to bring additional revenue streams into your existing practice if you have one, or start a new business fresh.

Women supporting womenYou will learn at home with the convenience of online learning, but with the realtime guidance and accountability of a live instructor and classroom experience. You will benefit from a support group learning environment in addition to personal mentoring from me.

In short, you will learn all the skills and get all the support you need to start your herbal skin care business in just 16 weeks. Our next live semester of Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts soon!

You can learn more and take our free Skincare Business Crash Course HERE.

Be honest–what’s held YOU back from starting your skin care business?

Please share in the comments below!

*Clock photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash. 

**This post contains affiliate links
How to Use Your Skincare Business to Help the Planet (and Its Inhabitants!)

How to Use Your Skincare Business to Help the Planet (and Its Inhabitants!)

One of the things I love the most about my work is helping budding skincare entrepreneurs start, or grow their own herbal skincare business. For me, working hard to build someone else’s dream just didn’t fit with who I am. I have not one, but two successful skincare businesses now, and there is nothing more I love than to teach other “unemployable” people what I know. I do that in my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition online course.

What’s been the most inspiring to me is how so many of my students have used the businesses they build in CYS Pro to make an impact locally and globally. They consistently find ways to support causes that are near and dear to them, and make purchasing decisions with the safety and dignity of humans, plants, and animals in mind.

I’ve also begun to realize how personally, I have always felt drawn to support businesses that were community-oriented (I am that person who shops at the co-op that sources much of their produce and meat locally, even though it is more expensive than the supermarkets), or that give back to a larger, global cause.

My own skincare philosophy (which I use personally and teach in Create Your Skincare)  is all about quality herbal skincare ingredients, small batches, customization wherever possible, and NOT mass production. I developed this because unfortunately, mass production always negatively affects quality, freshness, and the overall energetics of the products. While I do advocate for and teach safe natural preservation methods, I also prefer to that products are as fresh and close to harvest as possible–which definitely means smaller batches. But even before I shifted to this mentality (which resulted from years of frustration with greenwashing and the fact that it’s still OK in the United States to use toxic chemicals in products we use daily), I chose to purchase from companies with a cause.

Your skincare business absolutely needs to support your family and livelihood.

But it’s also important that while you are building your skincare business and setting up a legacy for your family, you do so with the understanding that all of our actions as humans affect all other beings on the planet. We might not realize it, but the purchasing and marketing decisions we make affect animals, plants, people, water, air, soil, and other aspects of life on Earth.

Herbal skincare is always better for the environment than skincare made from synthetic ingredients which require the use of non-renewable natural resources (such as petroleum), and a great deal of power to manufacture them. However, there’s also an ugly side to the herbal industry. Due to the growth of both the herbal skincare AND herbal/dietary supplement industries, many of our precious medicinal plants are now at risk, or endangered. This is something I learned about for the first time a few years ago, when Rosemary Gladstar introduced me to United Plant Savers at the MidAtlantic Women’s Herbal Conference. I’ve been a member ever since, and I consistently check their journal and website for updates.

Rachael Pontillo and Rosemary Gladstar

Me with the legendary Rosemary Gladstar

There are three ways you can use your skincare business to contribute to medicinal plant conservation, and protect the plants so that they are available for future generations.

The first thing is to never purchase wild-harvested herbs.

Wild-harvested means that the plants have been taken from the wild, without regard for how much is left, what effect it has on other plants in that environment, or replanting. Instead, look for the terms “ethically harvested,” or “organically grown.” If you do find an herbal supplier that uses the term “wild-harvested,” ask what they mean by that.

Second, you can grow many of your own herbs for use in skincare yourself.

Whether your focus is on local, native herbs, or you like something a bit more exotic, it’s so easy to grow your own organic plants to use as ingredients in your herbal products. I started my herbal skincare garden with one of those 4×4 garden square kits, and just a few perennials in my backyard, and have added to it over the years. I use my herbs to make infusions, infused/macerated oils, facial steams, grind them up to use in masks, and also use them for compresses and poultices.

Third, you can donate a percentage of your sales to a non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve these precious plants.

One of my Create Your Skincare Professional Edition graduates, Kathy Ashley, of Sovereign Luxury Performance Skincare, donates a percentage of her sales to Rainforest Alliance.

Another important–but not often talked about–issue is human trafficking.

This is something that I’ve had awareness for years, because back in the day when I worked for The Body Shop, they donated a percentage of their proceeds to the Somaly Mam Foundation, which aims to eradicate slavery and empower its survivors. Tasha Hetke, of Native2Nature Skincare (read her Create Your Skincare Story HERE), who donates a percentage of sales to help end sex trafficking through two different non-profit organizations.

Human trafficking isn’t just about sex slavery. Victims of human trafficking are also used to harvest plants and mine minerals for various industries, often in highly unsafe conditions, and with no pay. We’ve recently had discussions both in my free Handmade Skincare Enthusiasts group and in our private student group last semester about slaves (often children) being used to mine minerals used in cosmetics. Is it possible to find ethical mica, and other minerals used for coloring skincare and color cosmetics? The good news is that when I did a little digging, three out of the four US-based suppliers I questioned responded that they either guarantee that their minerals are ethically mined, or use synthetic minerals.

You might be wondering why you’d want to use synthetic minerals in natural skincare products?

You may not know this about me, but I am a gemologist (it was my “pregnancy project” with my first baby). I don’t have a problem using synthetic minerals in cosmetics. We are not using them for therapeutic purposes, and the chemical composition is identical to the natural. When purchasing, you want the term “synthetic,” not “simulated or simulant.” The latter two are completely fake–made with plastics, cheap metals, etc.

A true synthetic uses a lab to basically mimic, but greatly speed up the process (heat, cooling, pressure, etc) and conditions necessary for naturally occurring elements to form minerals in the earth. The elements themselves are the same, and the minerals that come out of the process are the same. All that’s changed is the conditions and speed of growth, and amount of controls in place. I would much prefer this to questionably sourced micas or oxides. So if you want to use mica, iron oxides, and other minerals for your skincare products or color cosmetics, please do your homework and purchase either ethically sourced or synthetic minerals.

Finally, we must talk about Fair Trade.

Many of the precious oils, butters, teas, and other ingredients harvested and produced around the world come from small villages whose residents rely on their sales for their local economy. Many of these cooperatives (such as argan oil, from the Berber women in Morocco) are run by women. Unfortunately, these plants and the people who harvest and process them have been exploited by opportunistic large companies who don’t pay them fairly for their labor or the quality of their products, and overharvest their land. Fortunately there are many non-profit organizations that work to ensure safe labor practices, fair pay, and protect the people, plants and land.

It’s also important to buy authentic and indigenous when possible, because when larger companies produce knock off versions of indigenous products, not only are the products not authentic, but consumers don’t know the difference. So the only one who wins is the big corporation. The indigenous producers don’t get paid for their efforts, precious traditions are diluted, and the consumer gets a mediocre product. This is something Tammie Umbel spoke about at length about black soap in the Herbal Skincare Summit.

Here’s one way I’m giving back:

I did not have cash flow AT ALL when I started my first business. But what I did have was passion, ambition, and determination that I would do whatever I could to make this thing real, and make it something that helps people in a big way, supports my family, and also gives back. And I’ll be honest. I definitely could have reached my first six figures sooner if I’d had a little financial nudge along the way. I had the creativity, knowledge, and hustle–but not the cash. So my trial and error period was a bit longer.

Enter the Create Your Skincare Pro Scholarship CompetitionI decided to offer the Create Your Skincare Spring 2019 Scholarship Competition because I know that there are many other women who want to do amazing things with their skincare business too–but they just did not have the funds to cover tuition, ingredients, and supplies.

This Scholarship Competition is one way I can give back with a little nudge, and it’s also my hope that it activates the same passion, drive, and commitment within you, and inspires you to GO FOR IT, win or lose.

And by the way, there’s no way to lose with this Competition!

By entering, you’ll automatically win 10% off, if you’re not one of the winners of the 3 main prizes. That’s a $400 nudge! Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts again soon! I hope you apply for one of our scholarships.

5 Common Myths About Natural Preservation of Herbal Skincare

5 Common Myths About Natural Preservation of Herbal Skincare

Confession time. When I first began making my own herbal skincare products, there’s a lot I got right, but there’s a LOT I got wrong. And that makes sense, because I learned on my own through years of trial and error. I had emulsions boil over and nearly start fires, my creams and lotions separated, I accidentally grew colorful strains of mold, yeast, and goodness knows what else. But I always went back to the drawing board and found a way to make it work with the next batch. However, in my very early days of making custom skincare products for other people, I found that some of those mistakes started rearing their ugly heads again. Why did that happen? Because even though there was a lot I learned really well on my own, I found that I had unfortunately learned a great deal of misinformation about very important things like natural preservation.

When you make herbal skincare–or any skincare at all–keeping yourself and your customers safe is the top priority, hands down. Microbial contamination is the number one risk when you make any product containing water. The ONLY way to inhibit microbial growth in a water-containing herbal product that’s intended to sit on a shelf (or in a drawer, cupboard, cabinet, etc) for months on end is to use a proper natural preservation system.

To this day, I still see the same natural preservation misinformation I learned written all over the place. These myths are written into herbal skincare books, shared on wellness and herbal blogs and Instagram pages, and even taught in herbalist and aromatherapy courses.

So today, I’m going to debunk the 5 most common natural preservation myths in herbal skincare.

1.Essential oils are effective natural preservatives.

Essential oils are not enough for natural preservation

Essential oils are powerful medicine–there’s no doubt about that. I’ve seen multiple images of resistant strains of bacteria and even viruses recoiling from a single drop of a powerful antimicrobial essential oil. There are multiple PubMed studies which have shown antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, antimicrobial, anti-et-cetera effects. I am not here to dispute that. What I am here to say, is that to adequately preserve a water-containing skincare product, you’d need to use too high a percentage of the essential oils to be safe for topical application, especially daily topical application to delicate facial skin, and in such close proximity to the eyes and mucus membranes. Please do not rely on essential oils as natural preservation for herbal skincare.

2.Herbs with naturally occurring antimicrobial properties don’t need added preservatives.

Herbs are not enough for natural preservation

Herbalists might get mad at me for this one, but I had to list it, because I see this one just as frequently as the essential oil one. I see herbal cream recipes that say that products made with infusions and hydrosols blended with oils and beeswax last several months to a year without refrigeration. The explanation is that the antimicrobial constituents of the plants themselves are enough to prevent contamination of bacteria, mold, and yeast.

Like honey (read more about that here), once you add water to any plant matter at all, it’s going to grow microbes. This is also the case with hydrosols–hydrosols are water and plant constituents, and therefore are susceptible to microbial growth. The plants’ natural sugars act as food for the microbes, and there is no way to predict which microbes will grow–beneficial or pathogenic.

I also see herbalists relying on antioxidants like rosemary antioxidant, Vitamin E, or grapefruit seed oil to preserve their products. These are antioxidants–not preservatives. They do not do the same thing. Most unpreserved herbal emulsions (creams, lotions) should be used within 3 days unrefrigerated, or within 7 days refrigerated. If you are an herbalist and you don’t want to add a preservative to your recipes and products, please educate your clients and audience with this important usage information.

3.I don’t see, smell, or feel a change in my herbal skincare product. Therefore it’s still fine to use.

Bacteria

Nope. While it is true that many instances of microbial contamination can be detected with the senses–it might start to smell like compost (or something else that’s just not the lovely floral or fresh scent you were going for); it might separate or curdle or otherwise change in consistency; or you might see actual spots, a colored film, or fuzzy mold–that’s not the case with all contamination.

Back in the day, I had an instance where I had a product that looked, smelled, and felt fine. But I started to get a rash on my face, which I had no other explanation for. After a chemist friend offered to run a microbial test (which I had no idea was even a thing), we found that my cream tested positive for both bacteria and yeast. Lesson learned.

4.You can use raw apple cider vinegar or kombucha as a preservative.

Kombucha is not effective for natural preservation

The theory with this one is that because both of these would lower the pH of the product, and they contain probiotic strains, “bad” microbes won’t stand a chance. This is an excellent example of how theories don’t always translate to real life. First, for the pH to be low enough that pathogenic bacteria, mold, and yeast couldn’t grow, that pH would be too low to be safe for topical application. You could literally cause a chemical burn.

Second, the piece about the probiotic strains being powerful enough to overpower any “bad” microbes that might enter the mix…how could you possibly know that? As Dr. Maya Shetreat taught in the Herbal Skincare Summit, with microbes, it’s not always about the good guys and the bad guys. Biodiversity is what’s important. Like a crowd of people at a party, sometimes there are uninvited guests that can be easily dealt with; but other times an all out brawl can happen. There is no way to predict how microbes will act once put into a bottle or jar with other ingredients to interact with. There’s no way to tell how long a probiotic strain will remain viable, or simply convert into sugar (which then becomes food for other microbes). While there are new and exciting advances in fermentation-derived antimicrobials (which many of my students love to use), relying on wild strains or untested strains is just an unnecessary risk.

5.I can just buy a natural preservative online and add it to my product, and I’ll be fine.

Natural preservatives need to be tested

The great news is that we have such a wonderful, growing array of natural antimicrobials available to students, indie formulators, and small skincare business owners today. We also have a nice variety of synthetic preservatives that have been approved by organizations such as Made Safe, EcoCert, Cosmos, and Natrue for use in non-toxic or organic products. Every time I attend a conference, or speak to suppliers, I’m constantly being told about new advances in natural preservation, and after years of resistance, the cosmetic chemistry industry has finally embraced the fact that the demand for safer, more natural products is only going to continue to increase. All that being said, there’s not a “best” natural preservative to use that’s effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, mold, and yeast. Sometimes you get lucky, most other times, multiple formulation attempts, tests, and adjustments are necessary to ensure that your natural preservation system is effective for each individual herbal skincare formulation.

Luckily, effective natural preservation for herbal skincare can be learned!

Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts soon!

One of the reasons my Create Your Skincare students value me as a teacher is because my own educational experience has been so varied. Though I began formulating my own products from the perspective of an herbalist and aesthetician, once I realized that my knowledge of natural preservation was not only lacking–but was actually based on incorrect information–I added cosmetic chemistry to my educational journey. I also learned more about microbes and the microbiome in general in my education about functional nutrition and fermentation, in addition to bio-individuality and genetics.

I respect my students’ (be they herbalists, aromatherapists, aestheticians, health coaches, or other wellness practitioners) desires to create products that are as close to nature as possible. I understand not wanting to interfere with the powerful medicine nature provides us, or mess with the synergistic or energetic properties of the plants.

But I also cannot condone the spreading of unsafe recipes and practices. When you are making products for yourself that will be used quickly, certain allowances can be made (though you of course should never put yourself at risk with unsafe practices). However, when you are creating for or selling products to other people–or you are sharing recipes and tutorials online–you have a responsibility to do so in the safest way possible.

Do you want to learn how to start or grow a successful, safe, and smart herbal skincare business?

Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts soon. You can start today free with my online Skincare Business Crash Course!

Create Your Skincare Story: Native 2 Nature Skin care

Create Your Skincare Story: Native 2 Nature Skin care

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, like Native 2 Nature Skin care, 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 NATIVE 2 NATURE skin care?

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 NATIVE 2 NATURE skin care 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. 

Tasha’s Experience – Create Your Skincare Pro Edition Online Course – Native 2 Nature Skin Care

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. 

Tasha’s Advice to You

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 nature 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.

 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Packaging for Your Herbal Skincare Business

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Packaging for Your Herbal Skincare Business

“Sustainable.” It’s a word that you hear all the time. On social media. On the news. It’s become a buzzword that has transformed how we go about our everyday lives in a multitude of ways. But what does it actually mean? And, how does it relate to you and your skincare business?

Studies have shown consumers care now more than ever about the effects their decisions and behaviors have on our planet. Waste, pollution, climate change, water scarcity, deforestation, global warming… just a few to name off an ever-growing list of environmental concerns that plague our world today. And the public, including consumers, is taking notice.

Consumers aren’t only focused on their own choices – they’re also becoming more aware of everything around them. This includes everything from the brands they purchase to the companies they choose to do business with. And, also, how products in their households are made, and their consumption of those products. Packaging, specifically, has had a significant impact on our environment. Packaging alone accounts for 40% of all plastic usage, with only 14% being properly recycled. As pollution of our oceans, lands, and air continues to escalate, consumers are looking for products, companies, and business owners they can trust to make positive efforts towards saving our planet. This includes sustainable packaging in our niche of the skincare and beauty industry.

So, what exactly is it to be environmentally sustainable?

Environmental sustainability: A state in which the demands placed on the environment can be met without reducing its capacity to allow all people to live well, now and in the future.

Essentially, sustainability is an effort to live life or do business in a way that is friendly to the natural environmental and is sustainable for the planet as a whole. The overall goal being to protect the earth’s ecological balance.

2017 alone presented a huge trend of eco-friendly and sustainable packaging becoming a priority in the beauty marketing segment. Big brands such as Garnier, Dior, Lush, Tata Harper and more have all made conscious, deliberate efforts to incorporate eco-responsible packaging. International studies by Unilever have found that over one-third of consumers prefer to purchase from sustainable brands, or brands they perceive as making an effort to do environmental good.

With the world of “green living” being so expansive and encompassing, it can be intimidating as a small business owner to know where to start. Will it cost more? Will I be able to find sustainable packaging suppliers that fit my needs? Will I be able to make effective changes? Where do I start?

One of the first areas we can evaluate is the one part of our business that has been proven to be one of the highest contributors to global pollution: packaging. With so much information available today, it can be cumbersome to dig through. Below, we’ll go over some popular “eco-friendly” and sustainable options that you can consider utilizing in your own skincare businesses. I’ve also provided a quick reference rating guide that rates each option in terms of their overall “greenness,” price, and availability.

Here are my top 4 sustainable packaging options for herbal skincare:

1. Bamboo

These frosted glass jars with bamboo lids are available on Amazon.

Little known to many, bamboo is actually classified as a grass. Due to this distinction, the plant has fast-growing qualities (it’s one of the fastest growing plants on the planet, in fact!) that earn it a reputation as a favorable option for renewable or sustainable packaging materials. Bamboo also has a naturally high strength-to-weight ratio, providing the material with a higher compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete. In short, bamboo is a reliable, strong, and green option for packaging. Bamboo is also biodegradable and compostable – making it not only strong, but also a fantastic option for being environmentally conscious.

Bamboo has become a material of choice in the cosmetic industry, with a wealth of packaging options increasing each year. Online retailers provide attractive options such as canisters, jars, tubes, bottles, and more for filling and selling product. Just be aware that many of them still have plastic inside, so look for recycled or otherwise sustainable plastic, or glass insides to your bamboo bottles and jars.

  • Green Rating – ★★★
  • Price Rating –
  • Availability Rating –

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

2. Recycled Cardboard

Cardboard lip balm tubes of many colors are available on Amazon.

Most all modern garbage companies, for both households and businesses, have evolved to include a curbside cardboard pick-up due to the high-commodity usage of the material. Cardboard, along with paper, can be recycled to be redeveloped into a number of different products, so even if you can’t find recycled cardboard for all of your sustainable packaging needs, regular cardboard packaging is still an eco-friendly option. Over half of cardboard recycled will be used to make new cardboard boxes, with the rest being downcycled into thinner paperboard material. Utilizing recycled cardboard in your product packaging is not only helping the environment by incorporating a recycled material into your business practices – but also serves as a positive contribution post-sale, as recycled cardboard is biodegradable, compostable, and/or recyclable on the consumer-end.

Creative uses of recycled cardboard have expanded with the increase of needs in the “green living” space. Adding to the list of regularly found recycled products, such as shipping boxes, businesses can now find jars, tubes, and a multitude of shaped containers that are now available in recycled cardboard material for cosmetic products.

  • Green Rating – ★★
  • Price Rating – ★★★
  • Availability Rating – ★★★

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

3. Glass

Cobalt blue glass bottles are an easily accessible and attractive sustainable packaging option for your herbal skincare products.

Glass is universally one of the most eco-friendly product options available. It holds the unique quality of being “infinitely recyclable” – meaning it can be recycled over and over and over again, without any negative secondhand effects; such as a decrease in material quality or strength. Glass is also non-porous and impermeable, meaning there is no risk of an interaction between the packaging and the material the glass holds. Glass also has a zero rate of chemical reactions, ensuring that whatever is kept within glass packaging have no negative interactions with the material that would affect taste, aroma, or flavor. This is why glass is the number one option for food and beverage packaging. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ranked glass with a status of “GRAS” – or, generally recognized as safe – which is the highest of FDA standards.

Generally, due to the weight and fragile nature of the material, glass can be considered one of the more difficult and expensive options (especially Infinity or Miron glass), in terms of both product cost and shipping costs. However, one way to combat against this (and a common strategy in the beauty industry as a whole) is to incorporate “refill” programs when utilizing glass packaging. More details about this can be found below in our “Think Outside the Box” section.

  • Green Rating – ★★★
  • Price Rating –
  • Availability Rating – ★★

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

4. Recycled plastics

The majority of recyclable plastic bottles still end up in landfills because they are not recycled properly or at all.

Recent Earth Day Network studies have discovered that since plastic was developed in the 1950’s, over 8.3 billion tons of the material has been produced. Unfortunately, 91% of this material is not recycled – even though recycling plastic saves twice as much energy than disposing of it does.

Understandably, there will be times when you may find plastic is unavoidable. Even when we have the best of intentions, sometimes budget, availability, or other outstanding factors can get in the way. However, know that the market is now growing rapidly with recycled plastic options to help control the rapid spread of plastic pollution. While you may not be able to avoid utilizing the material – purchasing plastic containers that are certified as eco-friendly or 100% recycled can still assist in making a difference! These are not as easily accessible in small quantities, but I predict that will change as awareness and demand continues to increase.

  • Green Rating –
  • Price Rating – ★★★
  • Availability Rating –

1 = lowest score; 3 = highest score

Thinking outside the box

Sustainability doesn’t only encompass the materials we utilize for packaging – there are also a ton of other creative ways to accomplish a more sustainable brand. Even the smallest considerations can make a huge impact and contribute towards positive change in the greater world around us.

Here are a few other ways to consider making your products more “green”:

  • Product design – Even details that may seem minor can have a large impact on the overall sustainability and “green footprint.” There may be creative ways for you to change the size of your packaging, for example. Or, changing the shape of your product to achieve more efficient shipping.
  • Selecting “green” partners – Do your best to work with companies or manufacturers who utilize materials from renewable or sustainably-managed forest sources, or are known to make an effort to incorporate eco-friendly practices.
  • Recycled paper – Packaging is only one part of the many pieces that are involved in your business. You can also utilize recycled materials in other areas – such as the paper you use to print invoices, packing slips, and more!
  • Minimize additional elements – As small as they may seem, any additional paper included with your product (leaflets, corrugated information cards, cellophane wrapping) all product excess waste on the consumer-end. Re-evaluate your current product materials to determine if there is anyway to condense or combine to decrease your carbon footprint.
  • Refill programs – Refill programs, most commonly coupled with glass packaging, have become very popular in the beauty industry. Brands such as Blackstones in NYC, M.A.C., fragrance brand Thierry Mugler, LUSH, Kiehl’s, and more. Consumers are encouraged to bring in their empty bottles to either recycle or refill. This not only reduces waste – but can also save your costs on additional packaging for repeat customers!

Is sustainable packaging something you think about for your products?

What solutions have you found either for your herbal skincare business, or for your at-home needs? Please share in the comments below!

Need more suggestions for where to purchase sustainable packaging for your herbal skincare products?

I offer a comprehensive list of preferred suppliers for both raw ingredients and packaging supplies to my Create Your Skincare students. Our next semester of Create Your Skincare Professional Edition starts soon!

Click HERE to learn more and schedule your complimentary Skincare Business Consultation today.

*Plastics photo credit J. MacPherson via Flickr

**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.

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