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Saponins, Nature's Soap and So Much More!

With our palm oil free soap bars launching this month we've been doing a bit of thinking about all things foamy and found out some interesting facts and background information on nature's own offering - Saponin.

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More about: Cosmetics, Saponins
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How Do I Know Which Preservative to Choose?

With so many preservatives to choose from how do you work out which one is going to give you the protection and label claims that you require? The answer is that it is actually quite complex.

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Skin So Sensitive

According to the Danish Asthma and Allergy Association as many as 10% of the Danish population suffer from contact allergies attributed at least in part to cosmetic exposure. That is a huge number and one that I have some sympathy for being a contact allergy sufferer myself (although I take responsibility for that having chosen a career as a chemist in spite of my dermatologist telling me that it was a crazy idea being an eczema suffering, hay fever blubbering wreck of a human without too much extra encouragement).Anyway, suffice to say that contact allergies are no fun at all and by the look of it lots of people are suffering.

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More Than Just a Good Oil

A closer look at speciality carrier oils available from New Directions.What makes an oil so special?

Around 17 years ago when I first started in the cosmetics industry the oil that we most frequently used was mineral.These days mineral oil is discounted not just for the fact that it is from non-renewable resources but also because it does nothing good for the skin.But is that fair? Chemically speaking the mineral oil that is used in skin care is often pure, clean and pretty good at locking moisture into the skin.It is rare for people to be allergic to the oil and it contains nothing complex or surprising which makes it an excellent choice for people like me who suffer from eczema, dry skin and impaired barrier function.However, the distaste for supporting fossil fuels has led us to greener pastures and with that has come some surprising and often helpful additional features!

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More about: Cosmetics
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Inspired by Skin - Oil Plus Water Equals Naturally Beautiful Skin

We take a closer look at how the skin seeks to protect its self to help inspire better cosmetic chemistry and formulations.

Oil and water don't mix but we know from what we observe of skin biology that it is the combination of oil and water that protects, beautifies and soothes our skin better than anything else and as such us cosmetic chemists spend a great deal of time trying to perfect what nature already delivers.

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More about: Skincare
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Good Manufacturing Practice For Start-Ups

Many of our brands start mixing in the kitchen, excited to get turn their beauty product ideas into reality and spread a little joy! This is awesome and empowering but at some point if things go to plan the brand takes off and your kitchen needs to be replaced by a factory.

As some of our clients BECOME their own factory we thought it would be a good idea to talk about Cosmetic Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

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Why Are There So Many Ingredients in a Commercial Brand?

I get asked this quite a lot and sometimes I don't get asked why but I do meet with prospective brand owners who have decided that their philosophy is simplicity with what few ingredients they do want having to be pure, natural and recognisable (i.e.: nothing that sounds like a chemical).Commercial brands often seem like a chemical soup with ingredient lists stretching into 15 or maybe 20 ingredients and making the same but different - with only say 5 natural lovely things is ultra appealing.

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More about: Business Tips, Cosmetics
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Cosmetics Under the Microscope, Microbes and Mini-Beasts

Mention the phrase 'safe cosmetic' to someone and they will most probably reel off a selection of ingredients that they don't want to put onto their skin. While the 'toxins in, toxins out' populist philosophy has some merit the biggest risk posed by your cosmetic obsession lies elsewhere in the land of microorganisms.

The problems arising from Microbial contamination are very real for cosmetic brand owners who essentially produce micro-feeding broth every time they put that water in a bottle or jar and try to sell it. Practically everything that we label as a cosmetic product could fall foul of micro contamination, which is why it pays to have a plan...

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More about: Cosmetics
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I'll Take My Cosmetics without Gluten Please!

I avoid eating gluten. Thankfully I do not have Coeliac (Celiac in America) disease (our family all ended up having genetic tests to rule it out as it affects my daughter and I so much) and am instead just sensitive to it, intolerant / allergic. As such I have a vested interest in knowing which foods do and don't contain said allergic particle but when the subject of gluten-free cosmetics came up my initial reaction was 'really? Whatever will they think up next'. However, it turns out that I was wrong. There is a need, albeit a very small one for this.

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More about: Cosmetics, Gluten Free
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The Ground Beneath Us

Dirt, muck, grit, sludge, soil, dust, not something that you probably want to cover your face in but as our thirst for natural personal care shows no sign of letting up we'd better put some effort into getting to know the brown stuff a little better.

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More about: Cosmetics
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