A Formulating Journey

Here’s something I could never have predicted in my wildest dreams: cosmetic formulating using organic ingredients requires more ingenuity than engineering itself. And I don’t make that statement lightly, but being both an engineer and a formulator, I am one of the few people who can make such a matter-of-fact statement!

When I started on my cosmetic journey nearly fourteen years ago, initally playing with some basic but gorgeous botanical oils, I was intrigued, and when I made my first successful emulsion, well, then I was hooked!

The excitement of creating beautiful lotions and potions that incorporated pretty much whatever my heart desired, was to me, more professionally alluring than anything I had ever done before. Engineering by comparison was same-same by nature, similar to wearing a formal woolly blazer that was functional but boring. Formulating on the other hand was like slipping into a snazzy new dress that no-one else owned!

Chez-Blossom (as renamed by my youngest son’s school friends) was awake like never before, professionally set on fire if you will! I could now passionately create and help people at the same time using the most exciting ingredients that could transform the skin! And don’t get me started on the scents, OMG the combination possibilities were truly endless!  

Queue the reality part of this blog please…..because whilst much of what I do as a formulator is truly magical, strangely enough it’s the problem solving in the lab that has been my biggest challenge, but equally my biggest reward.

And there have been many problems let me tell you - like the time COVID hit and I wanted to formulate a gel hand sanitiser that incorporated ethanol in a natural gel that doesn’t typically tolerate alcohol – aint no cheat-sheet for that! Or the time our Pigmentation Serum was turning on a pink tinge over time, there was no-one I could ring up and ask about that (solving this little bind involved no less than 50 individual tests and do you know what it turned out to be? The vanilla oleoresin was causing instability -the most benign of the 24 ingredients!). You see, working with natural ingredients that change state depending upon different crops, temperatures and pHs means I have to accommodate far more what-ifs and thus far more challenges.

Like my most recent problem, our new Problem Solver – fortuitously aptly named after my last few weeks!

Let me start by stating that this gem has taken over 12 months to develop, more than any of our other products. Meh, a balm I hear you say, how hard could it be?! Ohhhhhhh, way more complicated than even I anticipated!

You see, I wanted to create a balm that was different from all others on the market. A balm that that was silky yet pure, not full of waxes that could congest the skin, but it also couldn’t melt at the first sign of heat. I wanted to create a balm where every ingredient delivered something special to help the skin glow/heal and revel in delight.

Challenge accepted!

So over 12 months, I toiled away and developed my very own balm-making technique, one that wasn’t taught in any diploma, formulating book or on-line course – no, no, no! You see the issue with most butters is that over time they can change form, separate and just play up, and then when they melt, to reset them – OMG they’re like naughty school children creating havoc - no orderliness in sight! They reset with lumps or don’t reset at all!

Anyway, I mastered a new technique, let’s call it the Chez-Blossom balm technique. It was stability tested to within a millimetre of its life after which I excitedly moved it into larger batching to send out to our stockists to try before anyone else!

Oh the fool in me!

What this little duck hadn’t realised was that with the cooler change in weather, these butters took on a mind of their own. You see, I had developed this formula in the warm Summer months in Queensland but now in May/June, moving into the larger batching phase at the start of Winter, what I hadn’t accounted for was that my little buttery friends didn’t play the same, instead they wanted to take their fatty acid chains and start a game of hide and seek. Those little hooligans decided to now cool at different rates, leaving me with a balm that looked ‘normal’ upon pouring, but became chunky and almost floury on setting via the same technique that had created such perfection only a few months earlier. And when did I discover this? But of course, after I sent out my first test batch to my stockists – oh the joy!

Roll in the Problem Solving lady Chez-Blossom to solve the new problem that the Problem Solver had presented!

 And this is where experience and my love of a good ol problem comes up trumps. Over the almost year of product development, detailed ingredient research and failed batches that melted at the first sign of hot weather, balled upon setting, or went syrupy within days, I had learnt a thing or two about my ingredients (just hadn’t seen what the mass cold in production could do!), which allowed me to narrow down what could be going wrong very quickly. So thankfully it was with a few basic technique modifications, the old balm returned! No more little lumps from naughty butters cooling earlier than others, no, no, no! Back to a delightful velvety state of joy.

So, it is with the greatest of pleasures I present to you our new Problem Solver, a product that will serve you loyally if you have skin that is dry, problematic with congestion, irritated or simply deserves a boost of an evening! This is our latest gem and we’re incredibly proud to welcome it to our entourage!

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