Natural or chemical - Well, is there any difference?
My interest in chemistry has increased dramatically by my meddling in making creams and soaps. I constantly read about the composition and qualities of the different carrier oils, butters, waxes and essential oils. I get excited by adding sugar or honey or salt or colour to my soaps. I wonder about the quality of the ingredients that I use. I wonder how many of the good qualities survive the meeting with lye. (And I think they must to a great extent because I can feel a difference in my soaps depending on what I use in them, but I'm not sure. I have thought of doing small batches of single oils just to experience and feel the difference because I feel it's not enough to read about what others have done although it is really interesting and helpful.) I have bought vitamins and AHA's and BHA's and somthing I can hardly pronounce, but supposedly makes me beautiful, for use in my creams. All because I really want to make something that works well for the purpose it is designed.
I can therefore quite understand the quest of modern manufacturers to isolate active ingredients, standardize them and consequently use the stuff that has names that few of us can pronounce. It stems from a natural urge to make things in a better and safer way. By isolating the good stuff and using it in a pure form the manufacturer can guaranty a consistent quality of his products. But it seems sometimes to me that we have traveled in a circle. Instead of feeling safe and secure that the purest and best ingredients have been used I have started to feel like a victim of marketing. The latest trademarked ingredients that are supposed to do miracles just don't sound convincing anymore and some ingredients I just don't trust. I logically know that parabens are fantastic preservatives. That is why they are so widely used. I just don't want to use them on my skin anymore. That may be completely irrational from a scientific point of view, but I don't care! That is why I started to make my own. To know what is in there and get to choose what I put on my skin.
After more than a year without commercial cosmetics I look and feel better that ever before. I like to think that it is because the relatively simple ingredients agree with my skin and my body. But it may also just be because I have found a hobby that I love. Passion in one area in life tends to feed into other areas. I don't really care which it is, because either way - it works!