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Pop A Little Mushroom in Your Skincare

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What words come to your mind when you first think about adding mushroom extract to your face creams? Whatever your initial reaction there is a banquet of skin-friendly chemistry to be had inside each grain of mushroom powder and many safe and interesting ways to harness them. Further, it's highly likely you've already benefited from fungi chemistry in many unforeseen ways!

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More about: Mushrooms, Skincare
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Protein, The Stuff of Hair

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While it is true that both the skin and hair are protein rich materials, protein science really comes into its own once we start formulating hair care products.

The structural and functional integrity of hair can be attributed to a protein called Keratin. There are many types of keratin in the natural world ranging from that which you find on hooved animals and tortoise shells through to the softer keratins of feathers, fur and even to the sticky, gloopy mess that is the slime from an eel-like creature called a hagfish! Human hair keratin is most similar to sheep's wool although it is unwise to consider them to be interchangeable as while they look very much the same on initial analysis, dig a bit deeper and you find some very different properties not least the way they deal with hygral stress (water logging).

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More about: Hair Care, Keratin, Proteins
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The Science of Suspension, Transforming A Gel Cleanser Into An Exfoliating Wash

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Adding exfoliant particulates to your surfactant-based formulations is a great way to wow your customers and deliver better product performance at the same time. With so many naturally derived, attractive exfoliant materials available it is no wonder that everyone is trying to achieve the perfect gel-based scrub! But you cannot simply add exfoliants to a surfactant base and expect them to stay put. Gravity quickly takes its toll leaving you a hot mess that is practically unsaleable. So how do we overcome that?

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Vitamin A Chemistry

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It's difficult to get far in the anti-aging skincare world without coming across or at least considering vitamin A. Vitamin A receptor proteins exist within our skin ready to capture and employ it for the production, differentiation and normalisation of skin cells (keratinocytes), doing this by communicating with keratin genes. Vitamin A not only grows skin, it normalises, even optimises the process, facilitating production of natural moisturising fluid and suppressing excess oil secretions. As a Consequence of topically applied vitamin A is able to suppress, resolve and prevent the formation of pimples, increased skin hydration, decrease fine lines and wrinkle and improve barrier functioning- all highly desirable outcomes that deliver visible aesthetic improvements (1).

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More about: Chemistry, Vitamins
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Does Hyaluronic Acid Really Hold 1000 Times Its Weight In Water?

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Hyaluronic Acid occurs naturally throughout our bodies and exists in our skin as part of our extracellular matrix. Here it functions as part of our water management system helping keep our skin moisturised from the inside, out.

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More about: Chemistry, Hyaluronic Acid
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Ceramides

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Ceramides: Waxy chemicals that make up a significant proportion of the intra-cellular fluid that surround our skin cells.

Our outer skin layers are collectively known as the Stratum Corneum and it is these skin-cells that are often referred to as the ‘bricks' in the popular ‘bricks and mortar' skin analogy. Stratum Corneum cells organise themselves into sheets and like bricks, these cells benefit from the application of a little glue to hold them together and seal any gaps that exist. That glue comes in the form of a ceramide-rich lipid matrix that also contains free fatty acids and cholesterol which work together to keep our skin barrier strong, resilient and water-resistant.

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More about: Ceramides, Chemistry, Skincare
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Supporting First Nations Business

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The Australian continent has a rich and fascinating history that is kept alive and vibrant today by our First Nations people. Interest in Australian native botanicals, bush foods, medicine, and traditional practices has grown exponentially for both Australian business owners and the public, fuelled by an increase in awareness of and access to ingredients such as Kakadu plum, Clays and Essential oils. For many businesses involved in the cosmetic industry, this interest has manifested in a desire to support First Nations Entrepreneurs by highlighting their involvement in the brands supply chain. While this attention could indeed prove very positive and lucrative for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ran businesses, first, we should dig a bit deeper.

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Sleep Masks vs. Night Creams

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It is only recently that I've really got to know and love sleep masks. As a cosmetic chemist who has been in the industry for many years you'd think I'd take home every new thing but no, instead I've found it easy to slip into a comfortable skincare mindset and regimen, especially after finally discovering what works for me. I've already got my night serum, day serum, intensive cream and light moisturiser. I alternate between detox clay masks and hydrating sheet masks and use an exfoliating scrub, tonic and gentle cleanser regularly. If anything, I often think about simplifying the night portion of my regimen in order to get to bed sooner rather than adding another layer on my 'to do' list but that was before I tried sleep masks!

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More about: Skincare
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Is Foaming Soap Really Just All Fluff and Bubbles?

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Back in 2017 a range of articles about foaming soap were published on the internet declared it to be somewhat of a dud. A closer look revealed an intriguing truth, that these harsh, product-killing opinions were all emanating from one 10 participant pilot study. As pilot studies about soap don't usually get this much attention we decided to take a closer look in a bid to find out what was really going on back then and establish if it's true, that foaming soap is all fluff and bubbles...

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More about: Cosmetics, Sanitisers, Soaps
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Witch Hazel - Hamamelis Virginia

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Witch Hazel has been a 'go-to' herb for many natural skin care lovers, a reliable tonic that helps reign in and calm problem skin thanks to its toning and tightening chemistry. But our appetite for astringent chemistry has waned over the last few years, we now talk of microbiome balancing, of hydrating our skin back to health rather than seeking to suppress its natural secretions. Has Witch Hazel had its day or is there still a little something left to discover?

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More about: Skincare
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