Natural products have gotten a pretty bad rep in the sense that people think that they aren't as effective as synthetic ones. This is simply not true. If you've slapped a mix of hyaluronic acid (natural) and water on your skin, you know how simple it can be, while still being 110% effective at what it does. I will write an ingredient post on the miracle that is hyaluronic acid next, but for today I want to focus on the process of selecting what ingredients I work with.
Working in the beauty- and body care sector every day, from before sun up to after sun down, you learn a lot about what is out there and how different ingredients act. Combined with a MSc in health sciences and having friends who are (and have been for a long time back) really enthusiastic about beauty products - both natural and synthetic - altogether gives me a solid base in the field. It's a good starting point, but I definitely do a lot of research about ingredients before putting together the first testers for a new product idea.
Conclusion: having a collection of knowledge in your head, daily engagement, and a social circle that are interested in the same things as you is important.
I often start with an idea of a product that I either am missing myself or perceive that people around me are missing. From there, I pull relevant ingredients from my head as well as spending time doing research. Still, having had several experiences where 1. I've had an idea deviating from the planned path that led me somewhere else better, or 2. I went with a feeling rather than a plan of a recipe from the very beginning and getting a product that is ideal, have caused my creative process to have relatively soft fences. It's different from product to product, however.
Conclusion: keep your options open, and pay heed to your hunches.
If you're aiming to put together a body oil, there's not that much to it. Pick your oil(s) of choice - dry (eg grape seed), very greasy and nourishing (eg castor), sebum balancing (eg jojoba), blend in essential oils that you like if you want the product fragranced, and you're done. But, if you're aiming to create an intensely hydrating facial serum, you need to pay much more attention to what you're doing. First, the skin on your face is much more sensitive. Two, natural ingredients can be very strong and percentages of the final product need to be determined with care and knowledge of the ingredient's properties as well as potential adverse effects.
Conclusion: respect the materials you work with and know their applications.
Just some thoughts from me this Friday morning. Happy weekend!