Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Face Polish

The re-formulated Face Polish is now suited to all types of skin. Whether you have oily, dry, normal or a combination of these, it will gently scrub away those dead skin cells leaving your skin soft and smooth.

Face Polish is a creamy wash off cleanser containing gentle almond oil and olive esters along with cleansing castor seed oil. Powdered bamboo juice and Rhassoul Clay provide very fine exfoliating granules that won't tear at your skin like ground apricot kernel or ground walnut shell that some commercial scrubs contain.

Rhassoul Clay has been used for centuries as a soap, shampoo and skin conditioner. The finest spas across the globe currently utilize it for the therapeutic benefits.
It is mined beneath the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and it must be extracted under extremely special conditions. When first mined it appears as a polished brown, soap-like clay, chunky in appearance. After further natural refinement the end product is smooth.
Rhassoul Clay's most impressive properties in skin improvement are its capacity of absorption and adsorption due to its high level of ion exchange.
Clinical studies conducted in two different facilities in the US evaluated Rhassoul use for skin conditions.
The results of this study revealed:
  • Reduces dryness (79%)
  • Reduces flakiness (41%)
  • Improves skin clarity (68%)
  • Improves skin elasticity/firmness (24%)
  • Improves skin texture (106%)
  • Removes surface oil and oil from inside and around blocked pores 
  • Removes dead skin layers, resulting in general smoothing of the surface skin.
It is for these reasons that I've incorporated this wonderful natural product into Skinflint Face Polish.

You can purchase it now on special for $18 at the Skinflint Online Store

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Change?

That's the question many people have asked me when I've mentioned that I'm changing my brand name.

The answer is simple, yet will take a little bit of explanation. If you're interested, please read on. If not, just read the last paragraph!

When I originally began researching skin care products, I realised that the big companies were making millions of dollars putting sometimes questionable ingredients into fancy bottles and selling them for high prices. Their advertising budgets were enormous, using film stars as a selling point to promote their products.

In my quest to produce more natural products, using plant based ingredients, I researched a number of 'eco friendly' natural products already on the market. I found that these products, although natural and plant based, had very little in them that was of any benefit to the skin. They were little more than plant oil, water and emulsifier.

My formulation experiments included more advanced ingredients, such as the big companies were using, but in a natural base like the eco friendly companies. My ultimate aim was to educate my customers to ignore the fancy packaging and glossy magazine ads and look at the ingredients. In short, I wanted you all to be more discerning; to get the best value for money products. That's where my name came into being. Skinflint - it had the word 'skin' and its definition loosely meant to be careful with your money. Perfect.

As time has gone on and my loyal customer base were pleased with my products, I continued to research new ingredients. My products became more and more sophisticated with added 'super ingredients' and my customers liked the results they were getting.

Five years on, I look at my formula and I can see that I'm putting a top notch product into, in many cases, basic packaging and basic labelling. I would dearly love to use even more'super ingredients'. But, the fact is, they are very expensive. And so a decision was made to change my branding, making it more upmarket. Bottles and labels will reflect the quality of the product inside them. Innovative and highly regarded ingredients can be incorporated into specialist products such as an anti-aging serum and a repair cream. I don't feel that the brand name Skinflint is in synergy with this sort of product development.

My new brand name is simple and the labelling and packaging is still simple & practical, but stylish at the same time. I would like to have my products standing proud in the front of a hair salon or beautician's shelves, rather than hiding behind all the others. I know my products are good, I use them and love the results. My customers tell me how much they love them. Now, I want them to look great too.

The new brand name and packaging will be revealed in the very place where Skinflint began, my home town of Nyabing. If you'd like to see it and be in the running for a great prize, then come along to the CWA Market Day at the Nyabing Pavilion on Thursday 6th December. Doors open at 9.30 am. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea is available and is, of course, all home made.
See you there!

Monday, November 12, 2012


If you've been following me on Facebook, you'll know that I'm changing my brand. The products will remain the same, but will be in different bottles and jars and with a different logo and brand.

I wanted my customers to be skinflints, but with a brand called Skinflint, it sounds like I am!
I've realised that I'm putting top quality expensive products into basic jars and bottles with a cheap sounding brand name.

So, in order to move on and go a little upmarket, I have developed my new name and logo. I will reveal all on my Facebook

I've designed labels, got my logo, getting my website designed and designing business cards. Whew! It's been hectic and exciting.

Regular customers who came to my stand at the Albany Show were given a sneak peek of my logo and labelled jar. All comments were very positive, I'm pleased to say.

I was planning on the 'reveal' in March next year, but due to the fact that I'm introducing some new products and have also run out of labels and containers for some of my products, it looks like it's going to be much, much sooner than that. Total switchover will be later, but the new brand will start appearing on labels shortly.

Keep an eye on my Facebook page for details and a competition to celebrate the launch.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Soap for Men

The latest soap on the shelf in the Skinflint workshop is Ocean Breeze, a new soap designed for the man in your life.

Scented with high quality Brambleberry fragrance, this soap is designed to be quite a hard bar. It has a high percentage of hard oils such as coconut and palm kernel, but is still gentle on the skin due to the extra 'super fatting' in the formula. Super fatting means extra oils are used over and above what is needed for the lye to turn into soap. It means less lye is used and the soap is very gentle.

The gorgeous fragrance makes it undoubtedly a man soap, though many women love this fragrance too. It's similar to Davidoff's Cool Water.

I'm thrilled with the way the coloured swirls turned out. You never know with soap, sometimes blue will morph into a dull grey, but this has stayed a pure sky blue.

Available in the online store now!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Shampoo Formula

As promised, the first in my series for the month of October in celebration of 5 years of Skinflint.

Shampoo isn't hard to make, though a lot of research was required into how it cleans the hair, what is needed to keep hair from drying out or from being frizzy, wet combability, the structure of hair and the needs of the scalp.

I spent many hours studying how surfactants work and how different types of surfactants work on their own and how they work together. Surfactant simply means surface active agent. Surfactants break the bond of water, or the surface tension, as we call it. Remember that science experiment with the paper clip floating on the water? Adding dishwashing liquid broke the bonds on the water and allowed the paperclip to sink.

A surfactant has an oil loving molecule and a water loving molecule.  This is why it can 'dissolve' oil and help it wash away. Without going into the chemistry of surfactants, suffice to say that different surfactants do different things. Some work as a water soluble emollient, some disperse oil in water while others simply emulsify oil in water, others act as mildness agents, and yet others thicken shampoo.

It is for this reason that a variety of different surfactants are used in shampoo formulations.  One type of surfactant you will never see in my formulations are the sulphates. Ammonium Lauryl or Laureth Sulphate, Sodium Lauryl or Laureth Sulphate. These are very cheap surfactants which are incredibly harsh, even if they are made from coconut oil as some companies claim. They act as degreasers and will strip hair of all of it's oil, leaving the scalp unprotected and liable to such conditions as dandruff or psoriasis.
Added to that, they are very bad for the environment.

You will battle to find shampoos without the sulphates on shelves today due to the great bubbles they produce. Bubbles are good, right? Wrong!!! Great in the sink when washing the dishes, but not so great when washing the hair. Bubbles mean that all the surfactant has been used in dissolving oil and it's now just having fun in the water.

Surfactants can be anionic, ionic, amphoteric and cationic. It's all to do with the charge they have. A mix of these is required to make a good shampoo. Anionics have a positive charge and the highest cleansing ability, but can be harsh on their own. Ionics have a no charge are very gentle, stabilising foam and acting as mildness agents, but don't have a lot of foaming ability.
Amphoterics can have both positive and negative charge as well as no charge! They are very mild and are secondary surfactants as they are lower foamers.

So, now that your eyes are totally glazed over, I'll leave it there and get on with the formula. All formula are measure by percentage. The total must be 100%. Convert to grams simply by multiplying by 10 to make 1 litre, or by 5 to make 500g. It's best to use very good scales. I use Wedderburn scales and  a jewellers scale for the smaller amounts.

Use glass jugs, stainless steel spoons and a stainless steel stick blender. Sterilise everything with either boiling water or alcohol and lay butchers paper or silicone paper on the work surface. I use Optiphen as my preservative in all surfactant formulae.
The following formula is for oily hair with a tendency to have oily dandruff build up. Most of the ingredients can be purchased from Aussie Soap Supplies in Perth, WA.

Natural Balance Shampoo
Phase 1
10          Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate - mild, anionic, imparts lubricity for a soft, silky feel.   Often used in toothpastes and mouth wash formulations.
 6           Lauryl glucoside - gentle, biodegrades quickly
14          Cocamidopropryl betaine - mild, secondary cleanser
  4          Decyl glucoside - non ionic and very gentle made from sugar
5.5         Sodium lauryl sulphoacetate (SLSa) - excellent foalming, wetting and emulsifying agent producing loads of bubbles.
 3           Shampoo Ultra Thick Liquid - thickener and foam stabiliser
 1           Hydrolised Oat Protein - humectant , coating and protecting hair shaft.
 1           Liquid Pearls (optional) - thickener, pearliser and humectant
 1           Glyceryl Cocoate - emollient, anti irritant
 2           Polyqaternium-7 - conditioning agent helping with wet combing. Silicone substitute
60          Distilled water

Boil distilled water and add to remaining ingredients. Stick blend to dissolve and mix together. Spritz with pure alcohol to reduce bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to cool to 50C.
Stick blend the following additives into the mixture, spritzing with alcohol to reduce bubbles:

Phase 2
0.5        d-Panthenol
0.5        Optiphen
0.5        White Willow Bark Extract
0.25      Rosemary Extract
0.25      Neem Leaf Extract

Add the following:

Phase 3
0.5        Essential Oil Blend (lemon myrtle, rosemary, cedarwood, sweet birch, birch tar)

Pour into new containers and cover with paper towel. Seal when completely cool.

Can add food colouring if desired. I add a few drops of yellow to this one. Experiment with the EO blend. I use about 3 times as much lemon myrtle as the remaining oils.

If you do make this, please let me know by commenting below or on my Facebook page. I'd love to hear how you go.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Fifth Birthday

Since beginning the Skinflint brand and selling my first product at a market day, I haven't celebrated any milestones.

I realised recently that this October will be the fifth birthday for Skinflint. The day I started was a fund raiser for Pink Day, held by our local community. I did Hand Spas for a gold coin donation to the cause. I can't remember how much I made for the Pink Day, but I was still going well after every other stall had packed up for the night. It was the warmest October for a very long time and my Sugar Scrubs were starting to melt by 2pm! My daughter helped me and we sold hundreds of dollars worth of products.

The most popular were the gift packs with Mineral Salts, Sugar Scrub and Body Butter. They looked and smelled wonderful. And boy, were they a pain to make! I had about 8 different fragrances and would make two sizes in each fragrance. I was forever making these products in small quantities to get the stock of fragrances on the shelf. It was a nightmare and led to the deletion of the Body Butter being made in a variety of fragrances.Then, finally the deletion of the Sugar Scrub and Mineral Salts.

The Sugar Scrub melted in summer and set like a rock in winter, so I had to have a different formula for each season. One time, ants got into the bucket of sugar while we were away on holidays as the lid wasn't completely sealed. I had to throw away about ten kilos of ant infested sugar!

The Mineral Salts would take me so long to make and I was constantly buying the special sea salt, picking it up from Perth because it cost too much to deliver kilos of the stuff by post.
I went through litres of expensive fragrance oils, always changing fragrances as people kept asking for different ones. I would listen to one or two people who would ask for a particular fragrance and twist myself in knots finding it and introducing it!

I was always influenced by people who would ask me to make something - a substitute for Dencorub, a substitute for Vaseline or Vicks Vapour rub, or a peppermint foot cream, something to heal eczema, anti dandruff shampoo, nappy rash cream, sunscreen, insect repellent, the list goes on and on. Some of these products made it on to the shelves, but weren't big sellers. The people who asked me to make them would suddenly forget the need they had at the time.

I love looking back at my old formulae and notes. In this business, you must notate everything. Sometimes, in the early days I'd forget to write down the essential oil blend used in a particular product and it would be lost forever. I now write it all down. Every success and every mistake is noted in my trusty book. Every batch is recorded and notes are kept if necessary.

Prior to starting the selling process, I spent two years making and researching. When I thought I had a good enough product, I'd ask for testers to trial and report back to me. Some people were fantastic, filling in the forms I sent and writing notes on their opinions. But, I can't count the amount of people who I sent test products to who never ever responded, just kept the (full-sized) products and carried on.

So much has changed for my little business. The products have changed, the logo, the colour scheme, the online store, the workshop and display areas. I have a very loyal band of customers who have supported me by buying my products for years as well as telling their friends and family about them.

Word of mouth is, by far, the very best method of advertising. I've spent countless $$$ advertising in various ways to find no real return for that money. Facebook is a great way to reach my customers quickly and my blog is a permanent record of what's happening in the workshop.

So, to celebrate five years in business, I've decided to give some thing very valuable away. Not a product, not a gift pack or anything like that. Instead, over the next month I'll be posting my precious formulae for the products I no longer make. Now, I know that not many of you will want to go out and make these products, but there are a few who will and this is a way to share the gift around. Another way I will mark this milestone is to donate money to the National Breast Cancer Foundation on behalf of all my customers.

In October, I always donate products to raise money for the cause close to my heart, Breast Cancer Research. My mother was a Breast Cancer survivor and I dedicate my business to her and to the fight she put up for most of her life battling cancer in a number of different guises, finally succumbing at the grand age of 81. This year, I'll be donating half the proceeds of every sale of soap in the month of October. I will keep a running tally on Facebook, so be sure to check in. If you would like to increase the donation amount, you only need to purchase some Skinflint Soap, easy as that.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Enriching Cream

Little Tubs of Magic

I had such success using Mum2B Belly Butter on my face. I tried it after I had a run in with some Mineral Makeup that didn't agree with my skin. There were dry, flaky patches on my cheeks and around the lips. In desperation, I grabbed the Belly Butter (which I often use on my legs and arms) and slathered it on before bed.
In the morning, my skin was soft and clear. I'm determined to finish this tub of Mineral Makeup because it was ridiculously expensive. It's made locally, so I really wanted to support this business. Unfortunately, there's something in it that just irritates my skin. So, I apply Mum2B well before I do my makeup and it's protected my skin.

Which leads me onto the topic. I'm experimenting with this formula to create a cream for very dry skin on the  face. I have a batch in tester tubs and would like some interested volunteers to try it for me.

Please comment below or respond on the Face Book page. You'll need to email or message me with your address so I can send the tub to you to test for me.