#ALNOI - allantoin

ingredients, e:botanicalsEva ElvelinComment

Huzzah! Another little note on ingredients! As allantoin is now figuring in 3 products from e:botanicals (including the soon to be released MÅNE - the moon mask), I thought it was time to delve a little deeper into this lovely ingredient. No time for chit-chat!

Moon mask

Allantoin is available from both natural and synthetic sources. Naturally, it's available in most animals and plants (!), and is an ingredient that's safe for most skin types - most of the times. Ok, but tell me what it's good for!

  • Smooth skin: allantoin is often used in products that aim to reduce the appearance of scars (from acne, for example). For people with "upset" skin, allantoin is also helpful in that it acts calming and protects healing skin.
  • Fresh skin: allantoin keeps skin fresh and rejuvenated by promoting cell regeneration (which ties into how it can reduce appearance of scars) as well as encourages the skin to shed dead cells. 
  • Hydrated skin: while not as potent as powerhouse humectant hyaluronic acid, allantoin is still good at locking in moisture.

    So there it is folks - short and sweet.  

#ALNOI - d-Panthenol

ingredients, e:botanicals, scienceEva ElvelinComment

D-Panthenol, or provitamin B5 as it's also called, is a hero ingredients in several different kinds of products. It's mainly useful for skin and hair, where is turns into vitamin B5 when it is absorbed. And then...

The hero ingredients of ÄLV are d-Panthenol, hyaluronic acid, and allantoin.

The hero ingredients of ÄLV are d-Panthenol, hyaluronic acid, and allantoin.

Magic does not happen. Science happens. When applied on skin, fibroblast proliferation is activated, which means that wound healing is accelerated. Accelerated re-epithelization (top skin layer becoming stronger, kind of) also means that transepidermal water loss is reduced, which translates to that your skin stays hydrated.

I won't continue in that kind of language anymore, but I just wanted to make a clearer connection between what actually happens and the claims that are put out concerning a product. Maybe I'm a control freak, or just curious, but when I read claims and statements like "accelerates wound healing" or "reduces fine lines" or "increases skin elasticity", I always want to know more about the how's and why's. Otherwise they tend to sound like randomly picked advantages to increase sales.

The thing is, they're not random. And surely, all companies that retail some kind of product would like that product to be bought by people. But if you keep writing what scientific processes are initiated when using a specific compound or combination thereof, few people would understand what the hell was going on. So with this, I just wanted to make the connection, to say that there is reason behind these statements. One of the key concerns though, is whether manufacturers actually include enough of the ingredient(s) for them to have any noticeable effect. I want to be really transparent about these things so I will tell you straight up that ÄLV contains 3.5% d-Panthenol (it is not recommended to exceed 5% in topical formulations). 

Now, to return to the subject and round off: d-Pantenol is great. It can help treat sunburns, minor skin injuries and disorders (in concentrations of 2-5%), it reduces itching and calms irritated skin and improves skin elasticity. When used on hair, it coats the strands and seals their surface, which causes there to be less opportunity for split ends to arise. And that was all for me today! 

#ALNOI - hyaluronic acid

e:botanicals, ingredientsEva ElvelinComment

Some things just really are miracles in skincare. I have relatively dry skin, and it's seemed like no matter how much moisturizer/cream/body butter/oil/what have you that I put on, my hands would always be dry-almost-cracked. Not to mention my face, which always had dry spots - especially when in Sweden, where it takes a day for my skin to go from semi-hydrated to desert dry - until recently. Meet hyaluronic acid. 

e:botanicals facial line

I know I must sound like some kind of religious convert, and maybe this find is of the same magnitude - I wouldn't know. All I know is that my skin is happy: hydrated, soft, and supple. And I want to attribute this to me starting to use hyaluronic acid in my skincare regime. As an ingredient, it's extremely potent. I use it as a gel, that I mix with aloe vera gel, D-panthenol (will write another post about this one), allantoin, flower hydrolates, and more. The end product is a liquid-y gel that clears from your skin in seconds, leaving you feel just plain FRESH.

So what is this miracle ingredient? Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which has the ability to bind water (up to 1000 times it's own weight) to the deeper layers of your skin. See, there are two different types of dry skin: skin that is lacking oil, and skin that is lacking water. Mine was clearly dehydrated, despite my best efforts at drinking lots of water. 

When your skin is saturated with the hydration it needs, it also looks smoother and more youthful. As is that wasn't enough, it's also been found that enhanced levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin can boost collagen production. BOOM!

Product development: natural ingredients and getting on your way

e:botanicals, thoughts, product developmentEva ElvelinComment

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. 

Azulene face oil

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!

Product development: the how's and why's

e:botanicals, thoughtsEva Elvelin

Sometimes it's planned. Sometimes it just happens (product development, that is).

As a person, I develop feelings of opposition towards most things that are forced upon me. I want to live and work in a way that feels organic, where things unfold in a more natural way. The same applies to e: product development. 

I'm not going to set out to develop a product in an area where I don't see a need for improvement. When it comes to e:botanicals, I'm also not going to spend hours and hours working on something that I'm not interested in, because it'd mean that I couldn't be a true representative for it. With that in mind, the process of going from idea to finished product

is rarely straightforward. Most of the time I have an idea of something that I want to make, but in the process of developing and testing, something else pops up and takes the lead and leaves the original project on ice. For example with the body oil - it's been in development for a while, but I happened to develop a recipe for a body butter that blew me away and so that's where energy and attention was directed. Then, as I was going to resume developing the body oil, someone asked me about face oils and I ended up in that trench. But working with facial products I also felt a need for an astringent toner, and so these two products are now a bigger priority and the body oil has to wait a bit longer. 

As far as choosing what ingredients to experiment with, that'll be another story. Happy Tuesday!


#ALNOI - olive squalane

ingredients, e:botanicalsEva Elvelin

Time to put another ingredient under the magnifying glass! This time around I've chosen to write about one of my favorite all-natural ingredients: olive squalane. 

Picture:  pinterest

Picture: pinterest

As the name alludes to, this ingredient is derived from olives, but can also be found in for example amaranth and rice bran.
The counterpart to these botanical forms of squalane is called squalene, and can be found in animals. For example, in the livers of sharks and in our own skin and blood. It helps to keep our skin hydrated and soft.
The interesting thing about squalene is that when we're born, the content of it in our skin is relatively high, but declines from our late twenties/early thirties and onwards, and with that... skin elasticity. Also, squalane and squalene differs in skin care because squalene tends to clog pores and also is very unstable (=short shelf life, which we can be thankful for as it limits the amount of shark liver products out there), while squalane is a lot more stable and is able to penetrate the skin completely and doesn't clog the pores. 

In e: products, I use olive squalane (OS) for different reasons. a), it makes the skin very soft to the touch, and b), it is good for aging skin that isn't producing squalene at the same rate any more. But there's even more...

- OS fuels skin cell renewal
- OS promotes moisture retention by creating a barrier between the skin and the environment, and intercepts free radicals (environmental stressors that can lead to premature aging of the skin)
- While the effects of OS UV-damaged skin is still being studied, it's at this point thought that OS helps with uneven skin pigmentation resulting from exposure to UV light (long term exposure to sun creates more melanin to protect the skin). Results of more even skin tones have also been achieved when using OS on scars
- Because OS is able to penetrate into the deeper skin layers, it is able to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

So, while I can't really say that I can see this all working - because let's face it, I'm in my mid-twenties and live in Holland where the sun is rarely seen -, I do believe in this product based on how smooth and supple it makes my skin feel, and how fast it goes in. The products that you can find it in for now is the HARMONI scrub, the MIRAKEL hair oil, and the NORRSKEN body butter. You can also bet your sweet ass that it'll be starring as one of the main characters in the upcoming ÄNGEL face oil. I can't wait to share it -- it's heavenly. In all respects. Soft to touch,  delicately floral in scent, and light blue in color. But as we say in Sweden: den som väntar på något gott väntar aldrig för länge!