When I started studying how to make (real) cosmetics at home, it was because I was unsatisfied with all those “extremely easy and miraculous” recipes you find online.
From the “firming soap” (made, obviously, with aloe vera :D), the “detoxifying cream” and the “acne treatment” made with too much tea tree essential oil.
Yes it was inspiring for a start, but often things were not sounding right and I felt the need to know more.
Now, after studying (I am still studying of course, because the more you learn, the more you realize how much you still don’t know) I realize that sometimes things are not just “not right”… sometimes they are terribly wrong!
So this is why I am writing here.
Let’s start from the so called MIRACULOUS PROPERTIES: no cosmetic has such.
I learnt this with the first creams I was making: I learnt how to formulate, at first I used recipes of more experienced people and then I was tempted to do on my own. I obviously started adding all the active ingredients I had on hand… so to create the miraculous face cream which could help against acne, be full of antioxidants and also pore minimizer.
I had avoided all the silicons (which my skin doesn’t like, but if they work for your skin… why not 😉 ), all the synthetic oils (using instead oils which had good properties for my skin)… still my skin was better but it had not changed into a photoshopped magazine skin: it was still my skin with a small pimple every now and then, a bit oily on the T zone at the end of the day.
This is when I understood that learning to make cosmetics at home is mainly about NOT believing any commercial anymore 🙂 (and same goes for the tempting miraculous solutions trending online).
Another thing I have noticed is the general (and terribly wrong) belief that if something is “natural” it is therefore also mild.
Let’s talk, for example, about essential oils: I have seen people adding essential oils into creams or products for their infants! This is terribly wrong because essential oils are highly allergenic: their content of allergens is so high that it may cause painful reactions on the skin, therefore, if you wish to make a soothing cream for the butt of your baby and you can’t help adding some kind of perfume to it: add an allergen free fragrance oil to it! (they exist and are easy to find on the websites I spoke about HERE).
This is a rule that many mothers don’t seem to understand because they are fascinated by the amount of “lovin’ essential oils” websites they find. Please understand that essential oils can be good in some contexts but they are definitely NOT fresh water and they should never be used on infants.
There is also another bad trend of giving to anything handmade a healing property.
It is AT LEAST deceiving to boost about the healing properties of something you make: firstly, because it is not a pharmacological product, tests haven’t been done on your product proving that it has healing properties; secondly because you are almost cheating the people you speak with.
Let me make an example: exactly yesterday I entered a shop of homemade soap. The soaps were looking good, smells were great but the problem was on the labeling.
The soaps were not called “Aloe Vera Soap” or “Lavender Soap”… they were something like “Stress relief Soap” (which is quite fine), “Firming soap” (??? how on earth is a soap supposed to firm your skin… I don’t know :D), “Flu Aid Soap” and so on.
I felt deceived and I didn’t purchase anything.
It is also true that sometimes your friends, once they know you make creams, will start asking you if you can make them try some homemade cream of yours. Usually they go “Can you make me an eye-lifting cream?” but sometimes they even go “I suffer of Dermatitis, can you make me a cream to cure it?” In this last case… say a big NO.
When it happened to me, I suggested my friend to go to a dermatologist and ask the dermatologist which cream to use. I also said that I am not a pharmacist and I cannot make “curing creams”. All I could do was to make an highly hydrating cream and I could try to gather information about what might help in case of Dermatitis but this still wouldn’t make my cream a cure for it.
My friend understood and called the doctor.
I know it is tempting, once you are able to make creams, to boost about your abilities and feel almost like you can do anything in the world… but bear in mind that you are still not a doctor and that you cannot substitute one.
The last thing I don’t like much, is the general belief that anything synthetic is, therefore, bad.
Of course this is not true.
I already made the example of the allergen-free fragrance oil which is better than any essential oil in case of products for babies, but there is a bigger example I can make:
SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) and SLES (sodium laureth sulfate)
They are surfactants which have gone through any kind of bad publicity lately.
What happened is a big misleading campaign: there are no scientific studies saying that they cause cancer!
To be very honest soaps are harsher on the skin than most cosmetic-approved synthetic detergents!
Another thing I have read about SLS is that it is used to clean industrial floors or boats and therefore it is dangerous to the skin… well yes and no: anything if used in wrong amount can be dangerous! Even water can be lethal if you drink too much: it all depends on the concentration at which an ingredient is used!
If a detergent is formulated well, you can be sure that it is not dangerous to your skin. If a detergent is badly formulated… it might be aggressive (but still it doesn’t directly depend on the mere presence of SLS or SLES).
And, last but not least, THE PRESERVATIVES! 😀
Apparently it is very difficult to understand that any product containing water or water based ingredients (unless in certain, specific cases) NEEDS to be preserved with a real preservative.
I don’t know why but there is this huuuge campaign against preservatives, in general, as if they were “concentrated evil” 😀 where, actually, they save our cosmetics from a lot of trouble.
Of course, some preservatives are better than others (for example I am not a fan of formaldehyde donors!) but nowadays there are so many “new” combinations of ingredients for preserving a product, even almost eco-friendly (or better to say “not eco-un-friendly” 😀 ) that really there is no excuse! Anyone who wants to learn how to make cosmetics at home must understand that PRESERVATIVES ARE NOT AN OPTION, they are a must. 😀
So don’t be shy or stubborn and use them properly! 😀
Actually cosmetic brands often play with the scare of people and I have already found cosmetics where you read on the label “it doesn’t contain preservatives”, but it simply means that it doesn’t contain the preservatives which you know about 😀 maybe they are using a combination of ingredients like salicylic acid, urea or something else… that might figure as if they were inside of the cream for another reason, but eventually they are behaving as preservatives 😀
Ps: NO NO NO: essential oils are NOT preservatives! No matter how many pages you found on the internet chanting the, let’s say, amazing properties of tea tree oil! 😀
Have a great day! 😀