i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog – PT 2


welcome back! ūüôā¬†

here we are again, almost exactly 1 year later (ha…), reviewing my blog stats and getting to read what people searched to wind up on this site.


black walnut hair dye 

this was by far the most searched term that drove organic views to this site in the last year. yes, i have dyed my hair with black walnuts, and yes, it actually works. here’s the original post from 7 years ago (wow).¬†

norwex cloths

among the phrases in this search term were things like “home cleaning” and “private parts”…. when i first used norwex cloths in 2013, it was because a rep provided them to me to review. i ended loving them so much that i purchased a pack with my own money. those washcloths are still in my bathroom to this day, lovingly being used and in great shape. highly recommend!¬†

dragon’s blood

dragon what? what blood? good ol croton lechleri sap is fantastic for skin-support. i first wrote about it here, but it’s now found in countless green beauty products. and guys – it can be used undiluted on skin as a liquid bandaid. super cool!

msm face mask

methylsulfonylmethane (msm) is a sulfur compound that is great both externally and internally. if you want to learn more and try it in an exfoliating mask, try this post. if you want to combine it with anti-inflammatory powerhouse turmeric, try this post. and if you want something moisturizing and skin-softening, try this post. happy mixing!

hydrojelly face mask 

hydro-gel face masks have become my favorite, since i live in a high-altitude, dry, polluted city. think: 100% Pure but make it DIY. they’re easy to customize and easy to make, making them a fun diy tailored for your skin needs. the coolest part is they come right off with no scrubbing and no mess. i usually make/use these every other week. here’s a post!¬†

water-only washing 

while i personally can’t follow this method anymore, because i live in a high-altitude, dry, and polluted city, i think it’s a fantastic option for those that can. it’s exactly what it sounds like, and no, you won’t end up stinking. my hair ended up shinier and softer than ever, and could actually hold a curl. here’s a post on w.o.w. for hair and one for body.¬†

(product name) dupe

i do have a formulation educational series on this blog, which took inspiration from actual green beauty products on the market. while no companies or product names are used, it’s a nice series on learning to read ingredient labels and understand how that translates into a formula. it’s also a nice starting point for those wanting to get into diys, but don’t know where to start. here’s the full series. there’s lot of good info in those posts, if i do say so myself!


anything else you’re curious about? maybe we’ll have part 3 in another year ūüėČ


diy formulation educational series: luxury face oil

hello friends! i’m back again with another DIY face oil formula, taking inspiration from a $225 / 0.67 fl ounce night serum. picking apart ingredient lists is a fun hobby for me, however weird that sounds.

it has really great ingredients, but can be DIY’ed because – 1. it’s completely anhydrous; and 2. doesn’t need to extract from whole plant materials.

please note the upfront costs are high (still lower than the price of the finished 0.67 fl oz product), but will yield multiple batches.


here are the original ingredients:

Opuntia ficus-indica (Prickly Pear) Seed oil*, Supercritical Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) fruit oil extract*, Sclerocarya birrea (Marula) seed oil*, Supercritical Borago Officialis (Borage) Seed oil extract*, Adansonia digitate (Baobab) seed oil*, Caulophyllum Inophyllum (Foraha) oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) nut oil*, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed oil*, Camelina sativa (Camelina) oil*, Nigella sativa (Black Cumin) oil*, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Supercritical Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Berries extract*, Supercritical Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed extract*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride and Pheonix Dactylifera (Date) Seed Extract, Supercritical Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) extract*, essential oils of: Boswellia Carterii*, Helychrisum italicum*, Daucus carota*, Commiphora myrrha*, Pelargonium x asperum*, Cananga odorata*, Jasminum grandiflorum L. extract*, Elettaria cardamomum L*, Rosa centifolia extract*

aren’t the ingredients great? my personal favorite oil for skincare is prickly pear seed oil. it’s pretty pricey but oh-so-worth-it. it’s nice to see it at the top of the list!

formulation notes:

ingredients have to legally be listed by % contribution in descending order. knowing that, when creating a diy dupe we want to look for the “1% line.”

one “1% line” we sort of could use is the ubiquinone, aka co-q10. this is a bright orange powder and is typically used at 0.3-3%…¬† a bigger range than is helpful to us.

however, next in the formula is sea buckthorn berry oil. we know that SBO can be used up to 1% topically without staining, so normally we could cut it there. since co-q10 is also bright orange, let’s call the SBO at 0.5%. if you’re still following, anything above that is >0.5% contribution, and anything below is less.

black cumin seed oil is very near and dear to my heart, but it is quite a strong smelling little guy… very medicinal. i will assume, due to the strong scent, it’s also lower on the lower side of the formula % contribution.

do you see where instead of the individual ingredients being separated by a comma they’re instead connected with an “and”? that means it’s a pre-blended product. hint: it’s “caprylic/capric triglyceride and pheonix dactylifera (date) seed extract.”¬†in this case, the product is known as d’orientine s.¬†it’s typically used at 1-2.5% concentration, but i think it’s used less here, given that SBO is listed ahead of it.

and lastly, the rosemary extract used here is an antioxidant (not a preservative), and is typically used at up to 0.5%.

for the rest of the oils: prickly pear seed oil is super pricey, so let’s assume it’s no more than 20%. that being said, the blend of the main carrier oils could be anything from an equal split to being mostly prickly pear seed oil. this is where your personal preference and skin type would come into play. regardless, tamanu oil can be a little thick and greasy, so let’s assume it’s not a huge part to the overall formula, even though it’s listed towards the top.

formulation adjustments: 

let’s make the EOs optional, due to high upfront costs, as well as a safety precaution. if you’re an aromatherapist – first of all, you’re cool; second of all, blend EOs to your heart’s content. either way, if you choose to add these EOs, please do not use more than a total contribution of 1%.

the original formula is NOT suitable for blemish-prone skin, but this DIY will be as close to the original as i can get. if you want something for blemish-prone skin, try  this post for the best and worst facial oils and this post for an overview on different oils and their comedogenic ratings. 

diy formula:

NONE of the links provided benefit me in any way. they’re here to save you time and energy searching for them.

total cost: $141.55

total possible 1 fl ounce batches*: 2.5

*if using 15 mL prickly pear seed oil as your constraining factor… if you repurchase that, you will have many more batches from the other oils
**minimum amount saved… assuming only 2 purchased bottles, not 3 to fully cover the 2.5 oz of dupe you can make


what do you think? do you think this would be a luxurious gifting idea?


diy formulation educational series – facial botanical serum

welcome back! today we’re formulating another diy face oil.

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.


ingredient list from inspiration product:

grape seed oil, hazelnut seed oil, bergamot peel oil, avocado oil, marigold extract, rose absolute, carrot seed oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip seed oil, lemon peel, lavender flower, alfalfa leaf, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, frankincense oil, neroli flower oil, rosemary leaf extract, sea buckthorn fruit oil, turmeric root oil, cypress leaf oil, jasmine flower, tamanu oil.


firstly, please check with your local herbalist if the herbs and essential oils used in this formula are appropriate for use by you. i will have my certification soon and can start helping, but until then, ask a locally certified herbalist, pretty please.

right off the bat i can tell you this oil blend is not suitable for blemish-prone skin, despite how it’s marketed. hazelnut and avocado are too high oleic acid.

as for formulation, the original company discloses they do start with many whole plant materials, so let’s assume that’s true and all their extracts were oil-infused for 4 to 6 weeks. additionally, the herbalist rule of thumb is 1 ounce dried herbs per 10 ounces carrier oil, so making only 1 ounce will be tricky. we’ll use more than this though, to make it more potent… about 25% dried herbs and 75% carrier oil. the formulation will also be in %s, so that will help you scale.

another note on formulation – finding the “1% line” for recreating formulations was relatively easy, because bergamot EO is near the top. it’s phototoxic so we won’t be adding it, but it served its purpose for our dupe, so let’s be thankful for that reason. we also know that sea buckthorn fruit oil needs to be used at 1% or less because it can stain light skin. i have purchased and used the original formula, and based on the color i saw with my own two eyes, i’m guessing it’s used at less than 0.5%*, not 1%.¬† *-i say less than 0.5% because it’s below all the EOs, where the total EOs would be 1% or less.

if we work backwards and assign our EOs 0.2% contributions to keep us under 1%, we have 97% of our formula left for the 3 carrier oils. rose absolute is extremely potent, and considering there are no real distinct rose notes in the final (real) product, the % contribution is likely very, very low.

lastly, because we’re infusing the grapeseed oil, we will assume at least 75% of the remaining 97% is grapeseed, and evenly split the other two.


eliminate phototoxic EOs. use jasmine flower extract, as just “jasmine flower” is listed, which is not correct because there is no remaining whole plant material in the product. use turmeric root CO2, as “turmeric root oil” does not exist. assume frankincense oil is a CO2. infuse plant materials in grapeseed oil.

diy formula:

pro tip – you can purchase sample sizes of many ingredients from eden botanicals… spending $2 or $3 when it’s all you need is much better than shelling out for the 5 or 30 mL sizes.


what do you think?


advice on starting your “green” life: reboot

the landscape has changed so much over the last 5 years, and you can buy pretty much any “green” beauty product you want nearly anywhere. when i started this blog in 2012, that definitely was not case; hence why i DIY’ed everything.

now, the “green” beauty world is FULL of options. it‚Äôs really easy to get overwhelmed! i remember when i first started and how i felt like an electronic hoarder of ingredient safety information and peer-reviewed research. i soaked up everything i could.

but now, with so many different opinions on “natural” alternatives, where do you begin? how do you begin?

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 4.55.40 PM

be an educated consumer

there are SO many “green” options out there that you’ll need to sift through countless offerings to find what works for you. research the available options, research ingredients, research companies, research product reviews, etc. don’t ever stop learning! being an educated consumer is my top priority in anything i share with you all.
when in doubt, reach out!

take baby steps (or don’t)

just because you’re switching over doesn’t mean you have to throw everything away and start completely from scratch (although you most certainly can).¬†don’t overwhelm yourself!¬†if you get too overwhelmed, it’ll be ‘easier’ to become more unmotivated to stick with the transition. you’re putting yourself through a lifestyle change. give it time! try to have patience. start with the basics.¬†save money by not buying everything all at once. ¬†give yourself time to learn as much as you can about each category of options before you switch.
my suggestion? start by switching out your shampoo/conditioner, then toothpaste, then deodorant. if you wear makeup, that’s an easy switch nowadays! i’d leave skincare last, as it’s the most intricate and expensive.

find a “green” community

you’re making a complete lifestyle change and there are like-minded people out there doing the same. we all have frustrations, we all have those “aha!” moments when things work beautifully, and we all have questions! don’t ever ever ever hesitate to reach out. this whole “green” community is full of people that have “been there, done that” and it’s a tremendous source of wisdom. learn from others and help others! i think supporting each other in this journey is so important! what other group of strangers will talk openly about their armpits with you just to save you from stinking?

this includes finding bloggers and instagram accounts to stay “in the know” and keep connected to the community.

stay open-minded

you’ll more than likely come across concepts and uses for things you’ve never heard of before. for example, water-only washing and brushing your teeth with charcoal. you just gotta keep an open mind and keep in mind that just because one thing doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean that nothing will work for you. for example on hair care, some people love co-washing, some love clay, and some love 100% pure’s line. it just takes time and patience.

don’t be afraid to DIY

don’t be afraid to mix things up or experiment. i really think that’s the fun side of venturing into “green” self-care. it’s like you get to play mad scientist.¬†you’ll know exactly what’s in your products. you’ll be able to tailor everything to meet your specific needs (and those of loved ones). and lastly, you’ll probably save money.
my suggestion: oil cleansers, facial serums, and hair oils are great starter DIYs, that also ensure you learn the fatty acid composition of different oils and how they interact with your skin. knowing this will allow you to filter out products that won’t work for you, solely based on reading an ingredient label. it’s really empowering! this blog is also full of DIY ideas. poke around!

be proud

be proud of yourself. seriously. you’re putting yourself through a complete lifestyle change and you’re going against the socially acceptable norm. how many people do you think have the drive to completely change the only ways they’ve ever known how to care for their bodies after 20/30/40/50 years? YOU, my friend… YOU. so pat yourself on the back, and pamper yourself with a coconut oil scrub foot massage and a papaya face mask. you deserve it.

sending love,


i answer google search terms that brought people to my blog

happy saturday, crunchies.

i thought this would be a fun one! the highlight of reviewing my blog stats is getting to read what people searched to wind up on my blog.

so let’s answer some of the most popular ones, shall we?

no long intro – let’s get into it.


  • does the honey and cinnamon cleanse work?
    • short answer: studies indicate you can lose 0.5% to 1% body fat over the course of 30 days… OR you could just take a daily brisk walk.
    • longer answer: i posted about it here 6 years ago, when i still had access to my graduate research library.
  • how to get flawless skin
    • hmm “flawless”… i’m not sure i’ve ever encountered anyone with flawless skin. just accept and love yourself for what you are and have.
    • also important – try to eat a plant-based, whole foods diet with plenty of good fats, drink enough water, ensure you’re getting good quality sleep, find ways to reduce your stress, and keep your skincare routine simple (yet effective).
  • how do i get coconut oil out of my hair?
    • ooo girl, we’ve all been there. i’d advise you use a “green” conditioner a couple of times. i really like calia’s line of conditioners! if a coconut oil mask won’t come out of your hair after that, shampoo… and going forward, opt for small amounts of “dry” carrier oils on wet to damp hair, instead of a full blown hair and scalp mask.¬† i really like amaranth seed oil.
    • hello, 2014. yikes.



  • does shea butter have spf?¬†
    • do not try to make your own sunscreen. you have no idea if you’re properly protecting your skin, and to have that tested requires a formal panel, testing, and thousands of dollars. i like Badger Balm sunscreens for my body and Josh Rosebrook’s Daily Nutrient Cream for my face.
  • how to scritch and preen
    • i first wrote and made a video about this in, i think, 2013, before it blew up on the internet. the quality is terrible, but my sweet baby cat who passed away is in it, so i left it up. anyway, this process is tedious, but it does make your hair super soft and healthy. check it out here.
    • please laugh with me at this –

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 9.00.32 AM.png


  • oil cleansing method before and after
    • aw, this one kind of got me in feels, because i wrote the original OCM post when my blog first starting blowing up.
    • look at grad school me –¬†ocmprepost.jpeg
  • red raspberry seed oil sunscreen
    • no.¬†i mean, does published research indicate red raspberry seed oil has SPF properties? well, sure, yes. but i’m embarrassed and disappointed in myself that years ago i posted DIYs about this. any company advertising sun protection from red raspberry seed oil legally needs to have passed the required, and very expensive, SPF testing. ask if they have. i’ve seen a few brands sell face oil blends illegally claiming SPF protection. it’s important to be an educated consumer and support ethical brands.
    • real life example of an illegal product information claim: “Although Glow Illuminizing Oil does not carry an SPF rating, we’ve packed it with organic SPF oils that naturally protect your skin from uv rays and also prevent damage, heal and regenerate skin cells.
  • list of carrier oils
    • i have an updated OCM post here that covers my favorite carrier oils that are all truly non-comedogenic and low in oleic acid (so people with acne-prone skin can safely use)
    • includes, but is not limited to: hemp seed oil, amaranth seed oil, prickly pear seed oil
  • is baking soda bad for your hair?
    • short answer: yes – it’s a pH problem. i encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions for your self-care ūüôā
    • yes, i know… i posted 6 or 7 years ago about how i was only washing my hair with baking soda and vinegar, and all i can do now is say “i’m sorry” and offer better DIYs and other options available for purchase. everyone has done things that make them cringe.
  • can i use witch hazel as deodorant?
    • yes! i have some DIYs here.

sending you love.



diy formulation educational series – cleansing balms

welcome back! today we’re formulating cleansing balms! cleansing balms are pretty neat. they’re like cleansing oils, but are more solid and contain both an emulsifier and a surfactant. that means they’re also different from micellar water, which can pull hydration OUT of your skin (and they aren’t the best cleansers, since you’re not washing the emulsifier containing the gunk off your face).

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.

there are some oils listed in the “inspiration formulas” that i do not believe belong on your face, either due to comedogenic rating and/or high oleic acid content, but everyone’s skin is different. for that reason, the formulations will be listed as close to the original as possible and i will note which ones i do not prefer. education is key, so do some research – it’s the second most fun part, other than blending ūüėČ

please always check herb and essential oil use with your local herbalist and aromatherapist before use, no matter how ‘innocent’ they seem. for example, ylang-ylang EO is commonly used, but you should avoid it during pregnancy.



here are 2 cleansing balms that you can DIY at home, while controlling what oils and butters are best for your skin.

disclaimer: you technically do not need a preservative in these since they’re anhydrous, but i highly suggest one because there’s a high risk of water contamination. i usually love using aspen bark extract, but since it’s water-soluble, let’s try using elderberry extract¬†at a max 5% instead, as it’s oil-soluble.

remember one aspect of a cleansing balm is that it contains a surfactant, aka the dirt remover. the names of them can look “scary” but they realistically are not. they’re also typically used around a 1% to 6% contribution, so overall very low. if you choose to not add these, as some companies do, that’s totally fine, but they will not by definition be a “true” cleansing balm.

please note that castile soap is not an acceptable surfactant for your face skin.



organic avocado oil, organic coconut oil, organic olive leaf oil, organic olive oil, organic beeswax, blood orange essential oil, polyglyceryl-3 palmitate


we’re not putting the highly comedogenic coconut oil on our faces, so we’ll substitute with tucuma butter.¬† tucuma butter is a nice emollient high in lauric acid and low in oleic acid. it is a palm oil (astrocaryum vulgare), but not the palm oil you’re thinking of, which is elaeis guineensis. moving along – i had trouble understanding what they meant by olive ‘leaf’ oil, as there’s no such thing; you’d have to extract it IN oil. i don’t think they’re using olive leaf extracted in oil, as it’s an extremely potent herbal ‘medicine’ and should not be used liberally. beeswax is entirely too occlusive for a rinse-off product, so we’ll swap it out and use a higher concentration of butter. and see the polyglyceryl-3 palmitate? they use it as their surfactant. it’s typically used at 3 to 6%. for this formula we will opt for a better, in my opinion, surfactant called caprylyl/capryl glucoside. this is also a solubilizer (surfactant that’s a dispersing agent/stabilizer for oils in water). win. it’s vegetable-derived.

lastly, let’s use the rule of thumb that essential oils for topical use really should not exceed 0.5% to 2%, depending on which EO it is. citrus oils can be¬†phototoxic, so take that into consideration, although this is a rinse-off product. i’m assuming they used it at 2% for fragrance since it’s on the label, even though it could be a potential irritant for some people.


no coconut oil. no beeswax. substitute butter. swap pg3p surfactant for c/c glucoside.

diy formula:




Astrocaryum murumuru butter, Helianthus annuus oil*, Camellia oleifera oil*, Passiflora incarnata oil*, Orbignya oleifera oil, Decyl glucoside, Cetearyl olivate + Sorbitan olivate, Mangifera indica butter*,Ricinus communis seed oil*, Theobromo grandiflorum butter, Annuus seed oil + Terminalia ferdinandiana fruit extract, Annuus seed oil + Victoria amazonica extract, Annuus seed oil + Rosa-sinensis, Annuus seed oil + Salix alba bark extracta, Nigella sativa oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Pelargonium graveolens oil, Citrus aurantium amara oil, Brassica napus oil Rosmarinus officinalis extract, Cananga odorata oil, Rosmarinus officinalis oil, Cinnamomum camphor linalol, Citrus.aurantium bergamia FCF oil

murumuru butter, sunflower seed oil, camellia seed oil, passionfruit seed oil, babassu oil, decyl glucoside, cetearyl olivate + sorbitan olivate, mango seed butter, castor oil, cupuacu butter, kakadu plum infused in sunflower seed oil, hibiscus-infused sunflower seed oil, white willow bark infused sunflower seed oil, black cumin oil, benzyl alcohol, geranium EO, neroli EO, rapeseed/canola oil, rosemary EO, ylang ylang EO, camphor EO, bergamot EO


i would sadly not use this on blemish-prone skin, due to the high oleic acid components of mango seed butter and cupuacu butter.

what is confusing to me is kakadu plum, hibiscus, and white willow bark all have water– and alcohol-soluble compounds. ex – the salicylic acid component of white willow bark is not oil-soluble. seeing there is no water or alcohol in this formula, i’m honestly not sure what good these “extracts” are doing being infused into sunflower seed oil. if anyone has more insight, please share, because i’m always down to learn more about herbalism!

decyl glucoside is a surfactant with an entirely too high pH, and i don’t see any pH adjusters listed in this formula. we’ll swap it out for the more suitable c/c glucoside. also, cetearyl olivate + sorbitan olivate is a product known as Olivem 1000, and is an emulsifier. in high viscous formulations, like this one, the manufacturer suggestion is a 7-8% use, but we can use it at 5% for a waterless balm. i see benzyl alcohol, which i believe they’re using as a preservative. let’s swap it out for a gentler, oil-soluble one – elderberry extract. lastly, this balm has an involved EO blend that may smell wonderful, but some are phototoxic, so we’ll adjust slightly.


swap the surfactant. swap the preservative. take out the rapeseed oil (why is this even in here?).

diy formula:

the original is beautiful melty and silky consistency, so let’s assume a more balanced ratio of 50% butter, 50% oils. you may need to play around with the formula to get the texture you prefer.

have these given you any ideas of one you want to make for yourself?


diy formulation educational series – body balm

welcome back! today we’re formulating a diy for a body balm!

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.

Image result for body balm

(pic from Crafts Unleased)

hopefully this body balm recipe inspires you to elevate your DIY recipes!

ingredients from inspiration product:

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil*, Shea Butter Ethyl Esters, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Seed Butter*, Cera Carnauba/Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax/Cire de Carnauba*, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter*, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter*, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d’abeille*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Seed Oil*, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Oil*, Phenethyl Alcohol, Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil*, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Algae Extract, Tocopherol, Aroma**, Limonene, Linalool


this is an anhydrous blend made with a harder, crumbly butter (kokum), two different waxes, and an oil-soluble preservative. usually balms like this can have a nice texture with 25% butter, 50% oil, and 25% wax, although it varies due to personal preference and which butters, oils, and waxes you decide to use. if you’re just using hard and crumbly kokum butter, it’s more 50/50. some versions have 70% oil, 15% butter, and 5% wax. see how the butter and wax percentages can change it? since the kokum butter is pretty hard, we can do without the waxes, especially since beeswax can leave a slight film on the skin. let’s use it at 10%, and as a formulation guideline. cocoa butter is also a bit harder, next is shea, whereas cupuacu and mango seed butters are very soft and creamy. let’s do 65% butter and 35% oils; no waxes.

shea butter ethyl esters is a product known as Lipex SheaLight, designed to be a less greasy emollient. i think using a different butter and oils would have solved this issue, but this is another way to get that result.

dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline is an anti-wrinkle product known as Sepilift DPHP. manufacturer tests indicate a formulation usage of 1%. we’ll exclude it. that means our acai oil is 1% contribution, as it’s next and before the phenethyl alcohol.

phenethyl alcohol is used here as a preservative and possibly an aromatic addition. it’s never been assessed for safety but animal studies show signs of skin irritation. we’ll leave it out, but note it’s usually used at no greater than 1%. the elderberry extract is a natural oil-soluble preservative and the EOs serve to make it smell nice.

elderberry extract can be used at 1 to 5%, although challenge test results indicate 2% is the acceptable usage.

i’m unsure of what algae extract they’re using, but we’ll choose a waterless one.

we know that tocopherols are effective at 0.5%, so let’s assume that.

as for the extracts towards the end of the list, they could be CO2 extractions. however, since there is no such thing as meadowsweet CO2 or alfalfa CO2, we can probably safely assume these plant materials are all being infused into the olive oil that’s listed. if that’s the case, then let’s blend equal parts of dried plant materials into the olive oil and let it infuse for 4 months. whew, long time.

lastly, here’s a labeling tidbit – cosmetic formulations that are sold to consumers in a retail way, like online or in-store, need the COMMON ingredient names, not the INCI names. this is a very common mistake. however, you can certainly include the INCI ones if they’re embedded in the common name. so, the labeling on this product is non-compliant.


no Lipex SheaLight. no waxes. no caprylic/capric triglyceride. no phenethyl alcohol. no Sepilift DPHP.

diy formula:


are you liking this DIY DUPE SERIES? please let me know!



diy formulation educational series – face oils

welcome back! today we’re formulating face oils! this is part one… part two coming next week, with a couple big hitters.

as always, NONE of the links provided are affiliates. i do not benefit in any way, i’m just trying to point you to reputable suppliers that i personally use if you want to try to DIY these.

there are some oils listed in the inspiration product formulations that i do not believe belong on your face, either due to comedogenic rating and/or high oleic acid content, but everyone’s skin is different. for that reason, the diys will be listed as close to the original as possible and i will note which ones i do not prefer.

last thing to note, which i always harp on – oils do NOT hydrate. they moisturize. if a company is advertising a “hydrating” anhydrous face oil, walk away.




product inspiration ingredients:

*Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, *Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, *Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Prunus Domestica (Plum Kernel) Oil, *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Oil, *Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, *Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Oil, *Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, *Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccans (Kukui Nut) Oil, *Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, *Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium Rose) Oil, *Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, *Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil, *Citrus Limon (Lemon) Oil, *Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, *Rosa Damascena (Bulgarian Rose) Oil, *Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Oil, ***Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), +Limonene, +Citronellol, +Geraniol, +Linalool, +Citral, +Eugenol.


this oil blend is only suitable for skin that can tolerate occlusive oils that are high in oleic acid. if you have sensitive skin or blemish-prone skin, please steer clear.

avocado oil carries a comedogenic rating of 3, moderate likelihood to clog pores in most people. olive oil and plum kernel oil are both high in oleic acid and are not good for blemish-prone skin. tamanu oil is thick and sticky, and high in oleic acid. i would not suggest it for acne-prone skin, although it ironically helps with acne scarring.

lastly, grapefruit and lemon EOs are phototoxic and absolutely do not belong on your face. we’ll stick to just using rose EO (and before you worry about the price, we’ll opt for a sample size for $3).

for formulation, we know the “1% line” is around the geranium EO, however, that EO is so incredibly strong that it’s most likely being used at much less than that. we also can see there are many EOs, and the combination of them should total up to be less than 2% (which is still a lot; i usually opt for 1%). i question this total % though, because this company makes a balm with a blue EO at a very high concentration for coloring. let’s just be kind and assume total EO blend is less than 1%, and i say 1% because of the sea buckthorn oil.

we know that sea buckthorn FRUIT oil (as compared to seed) is concentrated and extremely pigmented, so let’s use that as another formulation guideline, where no more than 1% can be used without staining light skin. as the rest of the oils are carriers, let’s apply the 1% to the rest of the list. additionally, we know that pomegranate oil and tamanu oils are pretty thick and sticky, so their concentrations, i would assume, would likely be low, for a better skin feel for the consumer.¬† to put this into perspective, for the 1 ounce bottle, you’re getting about 6 drops of the ingredient if it’s used at 1%.

as for the carrot seed oil and coq10, we know our total EOs are 1%, so divide that over 7 EOs and you get about 0.15% each. why is this important? because now we know what the total weight contribution is for the carrot seed oil and the coq10, since they’re listed after. let’s assume 0.15% each for math.

lastly for formulation, since we are working backwards from the 1% SBFO, we see that we have a very hefty over 90% of our formula left. let’s divide that relatively evenly over the remaining carrier oils, even though that’s likely not the true formula. while it would be safe to assume this formula is mostly avocado oil, we have no way of knowing what the actual percent contributions are.


exclude phototoxic citrus EOs.

diy formula:



product inspiration ingredients:

Squalane, Jojoba Esters, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel oil*, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil*, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil*, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Arnica Montana (Arnica) Extract*, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Leaf Extract*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract*, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract*, Spiraea Ulmaria (Meadowsweet) Extract*, Caprylic/Capric/Triglyceride, Alaria Esculenta Extract, Tocopherol, Aroma


there are a lot of plant extracts, so let’s assume they’re being infused in olive oil for 4 months.

having jojoba esters as the 2nd ingredient is perplexing to me, as this ingredient is more commonly found in ‘thicker’ products like balms. you can use it in a 0.5% concentration for lighter oils, but that means the infused olive oil is less than 1%. i’m going to assume this is a mislabeled product.

the caprylic/capric triglyceride and alaria esculenta extract is actually mislabeled. this is a pre-formulated product known as Juvenessence¬ģ AD and should be labeled like this – “Caprylic/Capric/Triglyceride (and) Alaria Esculenta Extract”


excluded jojoba esters. excluded Juvenessence¬ģ AD and substituted with another anti-aging oil. excluded “aroma.”

diy formula:



product inspiration ingredients:

argan oil, marula oil, prickly pear seed oil, olive-derived squalane, white peony root


(ingredient list no longer listed on website as of publication of this post)

first off, this oil is marketed as “100% non-comedogenic” and that’s simply not true. please do not put marula oil on your face. it’s rated a 4/5 on the comedogenic scale, clogging most pores, and is high in oleic acid, which will break out those with blemish-prone skin. it’s a great body oil, though! in place of this rapidly absorbing oil, we can substitute with another rapidly absorbing oil that’s actually non-comedogenic – amaranth – or we can increase the expensive prickly pear seed oil. let’s use the amaranth as a substitute.

next, infusing white peony root into an oil wouldn’t yield any skin benefits. this root needs to be decocted or extracted in alcohol. since no alcohols or water are listed, we know it’s being infused in one of the oils listed, which is unfortunately a waste of a precious plant material and highly misleading marketing.


substituting marula oil for a non-comedogenic one. removing white peony root, because it’s not being used properly.

diy formula:



product inspiration ingredients:

Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aleurites Moluccanus Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Tanacetum Annuum Flower Oil, Jasminum Sambac (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract

olive-derived squalane, jojoba seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, kukui nut oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), blue tansy EO, jasmine EO, rose EO


caprylic/capric triglyceride is technically a fractionated coconut oil, but it’s been separated using chemical reactions, not manually with just heat. it’s probably used here as an emollient, but… why? most likely because it’s cheap (aka, it lowers their cost of production significantly, versus using another carrier), incredibly stable, and fast-absorbing.

tocopherols are usually used at 0.5%, which means everything after that is in small percent contributions. let’s use that as our line in the formula. the 3 ingredients listed after are EOs, so their total combined contribution will be 1%. because this formula is so blue, let’s assume a 0.5% just for the blue tansy.

as a side note, if you have very blemish-prone skin, kukui nut oil may be too high in oleic acid for you and cause breakouts.


increased the squalane to replace the caprylic/capric triglyceride. they’re both fast-absorbing.

diy formula:



whew. this was a long one, but i hope it inspires you.

leave your findings and formulations below for the community to learn even more!