Category Archives: Bespoke skin care

Making natural gorgeous perfume

I absolutely love perfume… But hate the sneezing fit, watering eyes and running nose that ensue after spraying a bottle of a fine synthetic fragrance onto my skin. I just can’t do strong smells, be it bleach or Channel no. 5!

So, I got really excited when I found out that Karen Gilbert was teaching a natural perfume course just ‘down the road’ from me. I had to take it!

Discovering scents

I have asthma and allergic rhinitis (all year long), my nose and my skin are quite sensitive and get irritated very easily – one of the reasons why I’ve turned to essential oils and aromatherapy, a more ‘natural’ way of keeping my skin healthy and glowing.

Don’t get me wrong, essential oils are very potent and they too may irritate my nose and throat! When I’m making products, I usually wear a mask just to avoid unnecessary exposure.

First impressions

So I dragged my poor foot along (yes, it’s still broken) and had a blasting day! The class was very structured and a lot of fun. Karen has a wealth of knowledge about perfumery and a vast experience in hands-on training, the perfect recipe for an outstanding practical workshop. The best part is that you make your own natural perfume!!!

We started with a bit of background but it wasn’t long until we started smelling strips and identifying the scents we liked to build our perfume from. All ingredients were natural, basically essential oils or absolutes diluted in perfumer’s alcohol base. It makes it a lot easier to work with.

We started with top notes, followed by middle and base. We ‘built’ each of these mixes separately first, and at the end, mixed them together to create the final fragrance.

Fine tuning

My creation included:
– top notes: grapefruit, green mandarin and black pepper;
– middle: litsea, wild rose and linden blossom;
– base: vanilla, patchouli, vetiver.
I’m totally in love with my natural perfume! It’s quite heady, dense, warm and involving, just perfect for winter time. It left its scent on the bag I used when I went to the course, and my notes are all fragranced too.

Final fragrance, the long-awaited prize!

Despite its obvious impregnating power, I didn’t sneeze, not even once. So guess what I will be getting my hands into more often?!

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Facial treats, bespoke skincare

These last few weeks have been frantic, lots of bespoke orders! As I’m off to Berlin tomorrow, this is a quick post just to show you my latest creations.

My clients trust me well… Often they ask me to put a gift box together for XX amount – and it’s up to me to come up with the contents!

Most of the ingredients I use are organic and fairtrade. I always chose the right oils for your skin type and season. Hydrolats (water by-product of essential oil distillation) are used rather than just water (‘aqua’). Essential oils are only added if needed, as we’re overloaded with fragrances and perfume far too much on a daily basis.

So, this time, here is what I made (two sets, 1x sensitive & dry skin, 1x oily skin):

Surprise, surprise

– Cream cleanser, packed with nourishing & cleansing oils to remove even make-up; use with organic muslin cloth

– ‘Traditional’ moisturiser for dry & sensitive skin (with gorgeous plum kernel oil that smells like heaven!), or gel moisturiser (very light, ideal for summer) for oily skin

– Night serum with organic rosehip & meadowfoam oils

– Body butter scented with rose or tuberose wax.

So, would you trust me too?! 😉 Please drop me an email if you’re interested in my bespoke service:
andrea@skinbistro.co.uk

To find out more about my bespoke service, please visit:
http://www.skinbistro.co.uk/bespokeskincare.html

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Want a skin care product made for yourself only and nobody else?

Well then, BESPOKE is the way to go!

I’ve been working behind the scenes to revamp my website, and whilst gathering opinions and expert advice on dos and don’ts, I realised quite a lot of people think when I’m talking bespoke skin care, I mean wholesale – which is something I don’t do.

Ok, so how do bespoke skin care orders work?

According to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, ‘Pharmacy compounding is the customized preparation of a medicine that is not otherwise commercially available.’  So, the main advantage of using a compounding medicine is to customise it for you according to your needs and requirements.

Compounding medicine is an ancient tradition. It works so well and patients are so satisfied with the results (and benefits) that, in Brazil, where I come from, compounding pharmacies have become increasingly popular.

Although my products are not medicinal, my bespoke skin care products are developed under similar principles to compounding medicine.  It’s not an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, it has to be made – for you.

Deo Balms for Sharon

Step by step, basically:

1)   We discuss your requirements,

2)   I come up with a formula,

3)   I send you a quote (we can agree on a sample size product to be made and tested),

4)   You pay, if you agree with the quote and product suggested,

5)   I make it and ship it to you as soon as it’s ready.

Bespoke products are a total challenge and that’s why I enjoy making them so much! When I get it right (and so far, I’ve had 100% approval of my bespoke orders), it’s such a reward…

I recently created a bespoke deodorant balm (picture) for Sharon, with added moisturising properties, and an ‘uplifting fresh citrus smell’ which she loves. She wanted both a big and a small version of the deodorant so that she could keep one in her bag at all times.

I made her a small sample to try before making the ‘full’ order. When asking her for feedback, she wrote: ‘I’m so pleased with it. I would definitely recommend your bespoke service and I think it’s good value for money.’

Not every client is the same, though…  Molly was my first customer for whom I created 3 bespoke soaps.  She wanted something ‘fresh, detoxing and positive’.  When I received her email saying how much she loved the soaps, I asked if I could quote her for a testimonial.  She didn’t reply back and I felt almost uncomfortable, unsure whether she really liked the soaps, agonising over what I could have done wrong.

Well, one day later, I found out!
http://mollyflatt.co.uk/2010/09/07/the-perfect-soap/

On the pipeline, bespoke wedding favours – watch this space!

Please drop me an email if you’re interested in my bespoke service:
andrea@skinbistro.co.uk

To find out more about my bespoke service, please visit:
http://www.skinbistro.co.uk/bespokeskincare.html

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Your oil guide for skin bliss

Oil is fat, and fat has a very bad connotation these days!  Just like sugar (another ‘bad’ word), fats are essential to the body’s main functions.  Without fats and sugar, the brain cannot be ‘fed’ and symptoms like seizures or unconsciousness may occur.

Of course I’m not saying you should indulge in fried hamburgers and cup cakes!  Sugar and fats come in many different forms, and one should know the difference.  Your body, including your skin, will appreciate if you do!

The skin is the largest organ of our body, and it secrets oil (‘sebum’) to prevent dehydration and dryness.  This is part of the body’s natural functioning.  When this function becomes unbalanced, the skin can become dry or oily.  ‘Ageing’ could be seen as a sort of skin imbalance, as sebum production is reduced, causing the skin to become dry and wrinkly.

So, if the skin produces its own protective oil, it makes sense that vegetable oils can contribute enormously to skin enhancement.  By mimicking natural sebum, the skin’s look and texture can be improved drastically.

Vegetable oils are usually extracted from fruit kernels (apricot, peach), nuts (almond, hazelnut, walnut, etc), seeds (sesame, kiwi), and sometimes, flesh (avocado). Oils can be thin or thick; easily or slowly absorbed; sticky, leaving a protective film on the skin.

Coconut, palm, cocoa or shea ‘butter’ are ‘solid oils’ at room temperature.  Although butters have their own beneficial properties, they’re not discussed here because they’re highly comedogenic, i.e., they promote the formation of ‘blackheads’ – so I consider them inappropriate for any facial product.

Be careful about food allergies – if you’re allergic to nuts, you’ll react to products that contain nut oils in their formula.  Remember to always check the label.

Extra-virgin olive oil, simply the best

Extra-virgin olive oil, simply the best

Here is a list of what kind of vegetable oils to look for in your skin care and cosmetic products.

Oily skin

It may sound odd to treat oil with ‘more’ oil, but the less you strip your skin off its natural oil, the less oil it will produce.  By choosing the right oils, the oily skin can be brought back into normal balance.

Jojoba – it’s probably the main oil used to treat oily skin.  Jojoba oil is, in fact, a liquid wax and it’s very similar to skin’s natural sebum.  It is easily absorbed by the skin, and leaves it with a velvety feel.  It helps with breaking down grime in clogged pores, and it’s great if used as a make-up remover.  Specially good in hair packs.

Hazelnut – it’s considered a ‘dry’ oil which is also astringent (constricting, good for enlarged pores), and rich in vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant to the skin, a bonus benefit.

Other oils used to treat oily skin include hemp, kiwi, and strawberry – latter considered to be a very luxurious one!

Sensitive and other skin problems

Oils that are good for sensitive skin and other skin conditions are oils which counteract skin inflammation and irritation.

Again, what works in a healthy diet works for a healthy skin too! The best vegetable oils with anti‑inflammatory properties are the ones packed with essential fatty acids.  The problem with these oil is that they ‘go off’ really quickly, so products that contain these oils should be as ‘fresh’ as possible, as they will have a short shelf-life.

Evening primrose – well known for its ‘hormonal balancing’ properties, it’s easy to find it in capsules which you can use to ‘pimp’ up your usual night moisturiser, for example.

Wheat germ – rich in vitamin E, it soothes skin that is cracked and dry, so it’s a good choice when added to products to treat ‘dry’ eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.

Dry x dehydrated skin

Most people think that dry and dehydrated skin means exactly the same.  In fact, it’s much easier to deal with dehydrated skin – which is lacking water.  Few fine lines may appear, for example, the morning after an alcohol-fuelled night!  As soon as the body and skin are replenished with enough water, you should see these lines go – it’s a reversible, momentarily painful sight!

Dry skin is lacking oils, and it is much harder to feed the body with enough healthy oils.  Diet will certainly play a major role here, and including oily fish in your meals should help.

Avocado – very thick but quickly absorbed, it’s especially good in night creams.  It leaves a protective film on the skin, so it works its magic on those windy, dry and cold days too.

Macadamia – rich, thick, ‘sticky’ and slowly absorbed, its high content of palmitoleic acid, which occurs in natural sebum, makes it the oil of choice for dry and ageing skin.

Olive – thick and a bit sticky, like avocado oil, it forms a protective film on the skin, and it’s highly moisturising, soothing and nourishing.  It works well for sensitive and problem skin too.

Scar tissue or mature skin

Mature skin has similar characteristics to dry skin, so oils that help with dry conditions (check above) will also benefit mature skin.

Rosehip – produced in Chile, this makes a luxurious addition to your skin care regime for its unique regenerative properties.  It contains high levels of retin A, linolenic (omega-3) and linoleic (omega-6) acids, so it benefits sensitive, inflamed and irritated skin too!

Normal

Although very few people are lucky enough to have a perfect complexion, they still need to take good care of their skin to maintain its healthy lustre!

Almond, apricot or peach – with very similar characteristics, they’re all light, easily absorbed, nourishing and moisturising.  These form the ‘bread and butter’ of anyone’s skin care regime, as they’re all good for any skin type.

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Introducing the concept of personalised skin care


Note: Skin Bistro bespoke is where you can now find our individually crafted skincare. For more information, please follow the link: http://www.skinbistro.co.uk/bespokeskincare.html

Today is a very special one – Victoria Regia Bespoke Cosmetics is featuring on April’s issue of Vogue UK. After years of hard work building up my business, I have now to try and explain to a greater audience what bespoke skin care is all about.

Personalised medicine’ is not a new trend in fashion. In fact, it’s an old topic of much debate nowadays, a concept that takes into account the inherited (genetic) make-up of each of us.Compounding pharmacy’ is the term used to describe the making of personalised drug formulas for individuals with “unique health care needs that off-the-shelf prescription medications cannot meet.”, as stated by the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists.

Because we believe every human being is unique, Victoria Regia Bespoke Cosmetics brings two ancient arts together to provide the best in natural skin care. We’ve integrated the knowledge of herbal medicine with that of pharmaceutical compounding to create individual preparations for each of our clients. You will not find an “off-the-shelf” product here.

As our products are made to order and tailored to your skin type and condition, they will be free from preservatives and will have a short shelf life. We inspire you to think about cosmetics in the same way as you think about food – therefore, your products will be the freshest and most nutritional to your skin as they can be. Only plants and their derivatives (essential oils, plant extracts, dried herbs), inorganic minerals (clays, salts, colours) and natural substances (bee’s or plant/vegan wax, vegetable glycerine) are used.

Besides the cosmetic benefits of having an individually tailored product, the perfume of each preparation invokes a great sense of wellbeing. Whenever possible, we will try and use in the bespoke preparations essential oils that not only benefit your skin, but also balance your emotions. Your preferences in terms of scents will always be taken into account.

Having products formulated for your needs will help your skin become healthier quicker. Once the skin has re-established its normal functions, new products should be formulated to optimise skin condition and take it to perfection! Environmental factors are also taken into account. Wind, rain, sun, heat, salted water, pollution – all these affect your skin, so it is important to protect and care for it accordingly.

Due to the nature of this personal level of care, a consultation is necessary for assessing the client’s needs and prescribing the formula(s). Don’t let this put you off though – once you try your formulas and see the results, you will never want to just grab a ‘generic’ product from the shelves again!

You can also take the opportunity to enjoy one of our bespoke aromatherapy or Tsuboki facial treatments and take your bespoke experience to the next level – the kind of treat you will never forget!

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Welcome to Skin Bistro

Soon I’ll start writing about really natural skin care products and cosmetics.  There will be simple recipes to try yourself and loads of information on what natural really means!

I’ll keep you posted! ;-D

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