Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Curio (Potions for Skeptics): Serum A

One of the more awesome things about being "hands-on creative" is the practical upside. A propos of this, Serum A was conceived on my way home from a lovely TO boutique (Cure Apothecary), after having just spent a mini-fortune on a restock of my fave face products. I don't know why it took me so long to finally say: I can make face serum. What I can tell you is that, the minute I made that decision, I knew I wouldn't stop there. 

It has been - and continues to be - a process, needless to say, to source the components that meet my ridiculous standards. As far as I'm concerned, if the end result isn't of exceptional quality (organic or sustainably-sourced) and gorgeously presented, why bother? I won't buy things that don't meet those qualifications. Why would I make them?

Serum A gave me the opportunity to explore all of the parameters that go into devising a product: constant research and development, sourcing stable base materials (used for their specific benefits), refining the essential oil therapy component (all of my products contain therapeutic-grade essential oils), sourcing appealing packaging to ensure the stability of the product (blue glass, in most instances) and, yeah, creating a brand.

While I loathe the application of the term "brand" as it applies to the modern individual, there's no getting away from it as it applies to one's saleable product. I know, explicitly, what a skin care brand has to say in order to speak to me. It must be simple. Uncluttered. Clean. It must denote quality. The product must be devised with an achievable outcome. And, while its price must reflect those elements, I'm not into spending simply for spending's sake.

Enter Serum A:


It's made with these ingredients:

Organic Rosa Rubignosa (Rose Hip Seed) Oil, Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Organic Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) in sunflower oil,  Rosa Damascena (Rose) Essential Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Essential Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Essential Oil, 

And what's so cool about them? Well...
  • Rosehip seed oil, high in provitamin A (betacarotene), is a pressed seed oil from a varietal of wild rose. It's widely reputed to be excellent for dehydrated and/or mature skin. It's quite robust, so small volumes go a long way. It's got a beautiful pale orange/pink hue (like the colour of Aperol), it's scentless and it has a long shelf-life (up to 1 year). Stability is key! The reason that I include tocopherol (vitamin e) in all of my liquid, oil-based products is because it's an antioxidant that delays rancidity. (FYI: Oils don't go off the way lotions (oil and water emulsifications) do. An "off" oil will not develop a high-bacteria count, but instead will change in taste or smell due to its oxidation.)
  • Rice Bran oil is extremely high in naturally-occuring tocopherols (vitamin e) which is one of the reasons that it's so stable (upwards of a year). It's also replete with ferulic acid, an antioxidant in its own right, one of the reasons that it is often used in sera which promote youthfulness. Interestingly, ferulic acid has been shown to reduce hot flashes in perimenopausal women, when ingested.
  • As a side note: I have made and used this serum with organic jojoba oil in place of the rice bran oil. I can't decide which formula I prefer, though I am inclined to reach for a jojoba version as the weather heats up. Note: This is because my skin is very oily by nature. Jojoba is not an oil, but a fatty ester and it absorbs very quickly. For what it's worth, I'm happy to make this serum with either jojoba or rice bran oil, depending on user-preference. 
  • Apricot Kernel Oil is a dry-feeling, light oil that absorbs beautifully. I love it.
  • The essential oils I've chosen for this blend (rose absolute, rosewood, lavender and carrot seed) are widely used in face products because they're antibacterial and because they smell gorgeous. Carrot seed essential oil is particularly interesting because it's full of carotol, known for sunscreen properties. (Note: I am in NO way suggesting that this oil makes the serum a sunscreen.)
Brief word on essential oils: Essential oil therapy, an extension of herbalism, is the application of plant-derived oils to achieve "a healing outcome". The application of essential oils, in this fashion, might be construed to yield a medicinal rather than cosmetic end result, which isn't my goal. (Note that I am not a certified professional essential oil therapist.) What I will say is, on the basis of my having used dozens of EOs, thousands of times, in a variety of formats over the years, I absolutely believe in the ability of essential oils to reframe one's mood and perspective (profoundly, in some instances). The application of essential oils in my products is for the purposes of encouraging delight, calm, energy and groundedness via plant-based fragrance. Because I respect the potency of plants, I recommend that anyone who is pregnant or breast-feeding use all skin care products consciously.

Brief word on anti-aging claims: You will not find assertions that any product I produce will turn back the hands of time. Why? Well, I can't confirm that it's possible, for one thing. But more to the point, do you really want to turn back the hands of time? Really? Your face and body are a record of everything you've lived and experienced. They reflect your every joy and sorrow - all that you have accomplished, all the things you've seen. May I suggest that, perhaps, you simply want to look like the most rested, supple, hydrated version of your current self?

What I will assert is that my base ingredients are of the highest quality, that they are organic or produced under social enterprise conditions. I have chosen them to create a gentle but durable, natural product which wears well and nourishes the skin via moisture retention and absorption. I absolutely assert that these products smell fantastic. Yeah, we all have different tastes, but trust me on this. I package with glass, as frequently as possible, to avoid any product interaction with plastic. That glass is tinted, to delay oil oxidation. I use every potion that I sell, regularly, and I take pride when looking at the unadorned labels and simple packaging as I ready myself for work in the morning.

I have a lot of love for Serum A and it is my sincerest wish that you will too. If you'd like to learn more, check out the listing on my Etsy shop.*

*Please note: The shop is under development at the moment but, if I wait till it's perfect to send you there, I may never start this business :-) Please stay tuned for updates and new items, which will be added shortly.

12 comments:

  1. I've only started experimenting with serums this year (it suddenly occurred to me that I'd better focus more on skincare BEFORE I get wrinkles, not after!) so I'm excited to try yours out.

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  2. FWIW - I've been using serums since I was a teenager (my mother told me to start young plus I love potions) and I look fabulous :-)

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  3. I use a serum, to which I am committed, but I love your thinking and brand.

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  4. One must never try to come between a woman and her preferred serum - I understand! But if you ever change your mind and feel like an adventure, I won't tell anyone :-)

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  5. Looks amazing - chapeau. Evidently tons of hard work has gone into this. Before I get carried away, what are the shipping costs like from Canada to Mexico? All the best

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    1. Shipping internationally is 16.00

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  6. "May I suggest that, perhaps, you simply want to look like the most rested, supple, hydrated version of your current self?"
    Amen to that.
    Love the look of your products. Simple. Classic. No extraneous packaging. Perfect!

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  7. your shop, your brand, your philosophy, YES! and your tocopherol, i need my face-with-heart-eyes emoticon!

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  8. Holy crap!! I love those lines you wrote - "You will not find assertions that any product I produce will turn back the hands of time. Why? Well, I can't confirm that it's possible, for one thing. But more to the point, do you really want to turn back the hands of time? Really? Your face and body are an record of everything you've lived and experienced. They reflect your every joy and sorrow - all that you have accomplished, all the things you've seen. May I suggest that, perhaps, you simply want to look like the most rested, supple, hydrated version of your current self?"

    Your branding is fantastic! If I weren't so keen on making my own stuff and use that stash of butters and oils and creams, I'd totally buy yours.

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    1. What high praise, Kay. Thank you so much for this lovely comment. I'm so happy that what works for me, resonates with others.

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