Cosmetic ingredient conundrums....

Cosmetic ingredient conundrums....

I’ve recently taken an amazing course in natural skincare formulation to help me up my game when it comes to developing new products. I’ve absolutely loved learning more about the technical side of cosmetic making, and especially the chemistry of botanical extracts (I’m such a geek!!!).

Ingredient selection for Seilich

I’ve spent ages in my workshop playing around with new products (which I hope to launch next year, watch this space, eek!) and it's been great fun, however I’ve really struggled when it came to ingredient selection….

Of course, all of Seilichs products are based on the floral waters that we distil from our home grown Scottish wildflowers, so our primary ingredients are set in stone (phew) and I know they’re organically farmed, harvested in a wildlife friendly way, and distilled in a traditional way without any nasty additives. So no ethical nightmares there!

However, when its come to adding extra ingredients (for example when it comes to making a cream you need to add some oil and emulsifier to the mix), I’ve found it so hard to work out what my priorities are…. I will try to explain.. bare with me, and be warned I am known for overthinking EVERYTHING!!!

Priorities for the ingredients in our skin care

Ok, so the ingredient itself will always be priority number 1 (does it feel nice, smell nice and actually do something good for my skin!), and as Seilich is all about using Scottish botanicals, ensuring all my ingredients are Scottish species will always be priority number 2.

But after that it gets trickier… decisions have to be made about organic v’s non organic, natural v’s synthetic, vegan v’s animal origin, local v’s exotic and fair trade v’s unknown. And on paper it would seem simple, I want all my ingredients to be natural, organic, plant based, locally produced and fairly traded. Easy right? However I found it's not always that simple…

Here’s an example, so I want to use a plant oil in my moisturiser, to meet priorities 1 and 2 it has to be active and feel lovely on my skin, and be from a plant that naturally grows in Scotland. And if it's going to naturally grow here in Scotland, I want it to be from Scotland, or at least the UK.

So that makes priority number 3; all my ingredients must be locally sourced. And once I’d locked those three priorities down it seemed I had just three oils available to me; Flax seed oil, Borage oil and Poppy seed oil.

However only the Poppy seed oil could be guaranteed to come from the UK, with the Borage and Flax sometimes being imported from overseas. As oils are heavy that didn’t sit well with me as its important that my products have the lowest carbon footprint possible. So Poppy oil it is. But then disaster… the company that supplies it (despite using solar panels to power the farm, including wild habitat strips within its crops, using bio-fertilisers and recycling its water) isnt certified organic.

And just like that organic ingredients are suddenly lower priority than i thought. Yes I could buy in an organic Poppy oil from elsewhere in the world, and then I could tell everyone my products are organic which might generate more sales (woo!) but i would know that that that oil had a high carbon footprint, and that would upset me every time I looked at it.

Feedback your priorities when you choose natural skin care

So there, we go. An insight into my poor brain and the journey its been on over the past few months. I’d LOVE to hear what you think when it comes to your priorities when you chose your natural skincare products, if you have any thoughts, please do comment on my social media platforms (instagram: @seilich_botanicals, Facebook @seilich botanicals, or email

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