Friday, September 18, 2015

Updated CURIO skin care* (*potions for skeptics): Eye Balm A (Rose)

Updated: I updated this post with a photo of the current Eye Balm A: Rose packaging as my blue glass supplier seems to be having challenges stocking my original glass jars. These amber ones are just as lovely and the same size. Also want to let you know that I just made a new batch of eye cream (it got popular when September hit) and I've got a small number of samples of this eye balm put aside. If you'd like a sample (with purchase), feel free to note that when you buy any product in the shop. Happy to send them out as long as they last.

Let's talk about skin care for a moment. It's always top of mind for me, but now that the summer is fading, it's a good time to remember that we are moving back into the season of moisturing sera and salves. (Sob.) Part of my weekend plans include making up new batches of my Face Cleanser A (soon to be offered for sale, still in the testing phase), shampoo, conditioner and body wash (simply for personal use). FWIW, I have exclusively used my own skin care products for many months now and I'm not too polite to brag.

You know my alter ego, OTG Krissie . Well she is so freakin' chuffed every time she gets in the shower and washes her face with subtly sudsing neroli cleanser, her body with orange and vetiver body wash, her hair with rosemary shampoo (followed by conditioner) and then indulgently applies ylang-ylang and grapefruit body oil, neroli face toner, lip balm and face/eye moisturizers and deodorant, all of which are handmade. Yeah, I'm channeling my inner Martha S and I don't care!

Before I fell down the rabbit-hole of mid-summer (a great place to get lost, btw), I mentioned one of my newer favourite handmade products: Eye Balm A.

CURIO skin care* Eye Balm A
Here's a list of ingredients:

Squalane Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Cera Bellina (Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax), Organic Rosa Rubignosa (Rose Hip Seed) Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Essential Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Essential Oil

And here's a bit more about ingredients I love most:

Squalane is one of the barrier lipids our own faces produce to provide non-greasy moisture. It's antibacterial and very high in antioxidants. In addition to being one of those "anti aging" ingredients I refuse to dwell on (apparently our own faces reduce in squalane production after the 20s), oils high in antioxidants are very stable, which makes for a product with a happy shelf-life.

You know how I love jojoba seed oil. I also get a kick out of calling it Jo-Jo-Baaah (emphasis on the last syllable and I pronounce the "j"s). Brief aside: One day I was talking with a local client, raving about the substance and, in my enthusiastic rant, I neglected to pronounce it correctly. Hmmm... Let's just say I did a healthy amount of overcompensating thereafter. As I've mentioned in the past, jojoba is not an oil, but a highly-emollient wax.

Rosehip seed oil is my fave (not so secret) secret. It's super high in pro-vitamin A and it absorbs beautifully.

Rose essential oil is harvested from damask rose (an edible flower) and it's known for its delicious, uplifting fragrance and antibacterial properties. I use a subtle amount of this essential oil because balanced rose fragrance is mood-perfecting (while excessive rose fragrance ain't fun).

The Benefits of an Anhydrous Gel

My rather-longer-than-optimal-marketing copy (aka the Item Details section of the Eye Balm A listing) says it all and then some, but I do want to point out one of the things that thrills me most about this product: In short, as a water-free (anhydrous) gel, it walks the line between oil and cream - a rare bird of natural skin care, because oils can be greasy around the eyes and creams require cosmetic preservation.

As it happens, I concocted an eye cream shortly after embarking on potion-making and it was very well-received. Because it contained water, I added a cosmetic preservative but I wasn't really happy about that. Don't get me wrong, in no way do I think the preservative was or is dangerous (NOT adding the preservative would have been dangerous), but of all the places I feel naturalness should prevail, the gentle skin around the eyes tops the list. 

So what I spent a long time researching was how to make something more viscous and less greasy (more immediately absorbent) than an oil without using a preservative. Eye Balm A employs a modified version of beeswax to create an oil gel which works fantastically. Because there's no water, there's no need to chemically preserve it. Like an oil serum, it doesn't go germy when its reached the end of its lifespan.

This eye balm doesn't look and feel like your average water-based gel (think aloe vera), it's like a very delicate ointment (think solid honey without the stickiness).

Off-Label Use: One of the things I didn't predict, when first I started testing and selling this product, is that some of those who have very dry skin (especially mature dry skin) would choose to use it as an all-over night moisturizer. If you're one of those people who feels that a pure oil serum (like Serum A, for example) isn't quite moisturizing enough, then this may well be the face potion for you!

As I have the greasiest skin in the land, I am very sparing in my use of Eye Balm A. So I don't recommend it as a day cream for the oily-amongst us :-) But if you want to pamper and protect the skin around your eyes - and/or to maximize moisture all over the face, this is certainly a product to try.

As always, if you'd like to learn more about this, please check out my Etsy listing


  1. I took the lovely little sample container of this with me for travel instead of my usual eye cream, mostly as a way to stay within my carry-on liquids limit. And what am I noticing while using it this regularly? Just as effective as my pricier eye tell, easy and pleasant to apply, although, yes, it's quite different from anything I've used before and it takes a bit longer to absorb/disappear into my skin. It works better to put my contacts in before applying this as my skin can be a bit slippery to grab eyes open afterward. But it does absorb and it definitely moisturizes (not feeling any tightness at all). And it's got a gentle, pleasant fragrance, very, very quiet....thank you!

    1. Thanks for the testimonial Frances!! And I love your description that it's a quiet potion. I totally agree. It's very subtle (in scent) but nourishing - precisely because of that. xo