The product now known as Softening Serum was born in 2006 as '30Plus Nourishment' and was my first attempt to create a nutrient-dense formula in the emulsion phase category. Some of our veteran customers might remember the 30Plus line. (see an explanation of this here: Tutorial 1-Phases). We originally called this product 'Nourishment' because after so many years of making skin care products and getting feedback from customers, it became so very clear that the principal way to achieve healthy, radiant skin was to provide skin with nourishment - not manipulating the skin, but nourishing it. This has become our mantra, "nourish, nourish, nourish”.
As I made improvements through the years, we renamed the product to 'Aphrodite's Feast'. We created this name in a playful way, choosing Aphrodite because, apart from her natural beauty, she was a goddess accompanied by the Graces and her 'feast' was a nutrient-rich meal that provided a very specific type of nourishment that helped make rough skin smooth and beautiful. Although it was a cool name, we sadly decided to change it because many people just didn't get what the product was for. We decided that we needed to make the benefit of this product very, very clear, so last year we simply renamed it Softening Serum.
When creating a product, I first consider what the challenge may be and we knew that a big issue for many people was rough, loose skin. They suffer from coarse, uneven looking skin that seemed lax and crinkly; it even has a name - the crepe effect. In the commercial skin care world, products with AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) are often recommended for this condition but I am very much against these types of ingredients. There is some type of short-term advantage but in the long run the aggressive chemical action of AHA's stresses and wears down the vitality of your skin.
So how does this product work? It's a rich formula, as a feast should be, but it's also synergistic with everything working together to actually improve the texture of the skin, making it soft and smooth. Softening Serum is one of our most popular products, which tells us first, that many people have issues with rough skin and second, the product works. If you're interested in some of the functional aspect of the individual ingredients, I'll go over a handful of them here:
- Black Figs are full of poly-phenolic flavonoids and have high quantities of magnesium, potassium and vitamin B6. It makes my wife happy knowing that her Softening Serum is full of figs!
- Broccoli Sprouts and Spinach provide the vitamin K, the workhorse nutrient for protecting skin elasticity. Spinach is also full of lutein, a carotenoid that protects your skin from UV damage.
- Mangosteen Fruit, an antioxidant superstar, provides vast quantities of vitamin C and the Folates along with elemental copper which is an important component of tissue regeneration. The organic fruit of the Mangosteen is so much safer than the heavily marketed synthetic copper peptides.
- Gooseberries and Rose Hips carry the correct type of vitamin A so you can stay away from synthetic, risky retinols and retinoids.
- Mulberries (Morus alba) safely provide the beneficial phytonutrient tyrosinase, a key element that helps improve the appearance of skin.
- Kudzu Root is amazing. When I grind it up in the mortar and pestle, just working with it makes my hands feel smooth.
- Rosehip Seed Oil is completely amazing, it regenerates the skin, reducing scars and wrinkles. The essential fatty acids in the oil also eliminate fine lines, scars and sun damage.
- Nopal, from the Prickly Pear Cactus (and perhaps dabbling in the Doctrine of Signatures in the way the cacti pads stays so supple and juicy right in the middle of the desert) provides vitamin K and has potent antioxidant characteristics that make them a good defensive mechanism against skin stressors.
- I include Water Hyssop (Bacopa monnieri), partly for its adaptogenic properties, but also as an ayurvedic herb used for all sorts of skin problems. Water Hyssop also stimulates the growth of new healthy skin.
- Like always, the essential oil mix is chosen primarily for therapeutic aspects and secondarily, for the aromatic gift. This mix has carrot seed, orange peel and rosemary; need I say more! Madame Juliette’s (de Bairacli Levy) love of rosemary was so contagious that I have a really hard time not to include it in everything!
- The last botanical I'll include in these notes is Purple Corn which is pretty amazing looking because it's so deeply purple colored it almost looks black. This means there will be a tremendous amount of the flavonoid anthocyanin which is an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory source that will help in the regeneration of connective tissue and collagen formation.
It’s very fulfilling to create a product that works so well and has such customer loyalty. Yet, at the same time, I can’t tell you how much fun I have working with these plants. To be together with all these fresh and vital plants and rich, aromatic oils is certainly one of the most satisfying jobs in the world and makes me one grateful body! I'll close by saying that all our Serums are very concentrated so only a drop or two is needed. We suggest using it at night, but you can fit it in wherever you'd like.
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