Ginseng extract

Ginseng or Panax ginseng is an extract that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, but it hasn’t been studied very well for cosmetic use. It is reported to be an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-tumour ingredient that stimulates collagen production and wound healing, as well as increase protein synthesis. How does it do...

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Happy birthday to the blog!

It was one year ago today that I started writing daily posts on this blog with an emphasis on the chemistry and formulating of bath and body products! And to celebrate…we’re having ribs! (Okay, they’re virtual ribs for you, but look at that wonderful rub and the smoking box…you know they’re going to be tasty!)...

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Horsetail extract

Horsetail extract (INCI: Equisetum arvense extract) is extracted from the horsetail plant – if you live in North America or Europe, you’ve no doubt seen these in your neighbourhood. If you’ve ever touched one, you’ll know they have a kind of almost dry feeling on the stalks. This is the thanks to the silica that...

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E-mail question: Thickening surfactant systems

In this post, Naomi writes…If I don’t have Crothix, could I substitute stearic acid? or Cetyl Alcohol? or another thickener – like Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose? So, you add in Crothix for thickening purposes? What do you suggest as possible substitutes?No, you can’t use stearic acid or cetyl alcohol. They will eventually separate out and leave a...

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Alpha-hydroxy acids

Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs come in many forms, but we are probably most familiar with the glycolic (this lovely molecule), lactic, and citric acid versions of this water soluble carboxylic acid. I’m sure you’ve read a million times how fantastic AHAs are for our skin, but how do they work? The official statement is...

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MSM (aka dimethyl sulfone)

MSM (aka DSMO2, methylsulfone, methylsulfonylmethane, and dimethyl sulfone) is an ingredient that we see in various moisturizers, but what does it do? Sulphur (or sulfur) is an element found in every cell of our body and we need it to live. It is considered an anti-parasitic, anti-itching, blood vessel dilating, anti-oxidizing element when used cosmetically....

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White willow bark extract: Formulating skin cleansing products

I do love body wash, and I know I’ve already tweaked this recipe a thousand times, but let’s take a look at including white willow bark extract in our body wash! Why would we want to use it here? It works well for oily skin, acne prone skin, and aging skin to reveal new and...

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White willow bark extract: Formulating hair care products

White willow bark is an excellent inclusion in a hair care product for someone with really oily hair or a dandruff prone scalp. The salicylic acid helps exfoliate the scalp, and the tannins are astringent – a winning combination. We’ve taken a look at using rosemary extract in hair care products – do the same...

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Mineral make-up: Craft group eye shadow from Alyssa, Christy, Julie & Emily

You might remember Alyssa as the amazing colour blender who created the ever so lovely and shiny cappuccino from the posts on brown eye shadows. Well, she’s back, and as usual she has created something pretty awesome she called the Rainbow Explosion! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture from her, so I suggest trying this...

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White willow bark extract: Formulating facial products

White willow bark extract is a great inclusion in products where you want the awesome power of salicylic acid – so let’s take a look at using white willow bark extract in facial products. Salicylic acid is recommended for oily skin, acne or blackhead prone skin, and red or inflamed skin. Since I have all...

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