Ah. The memory is still clear to me. Three months ago, I joined Skin Dewi Organic Skincare Workshop. Not wanting to have any expectations, actually leaving me home with all the priceless experience and new knowledge. The workshop made me feel like I’m still in the same world, but in a different dimension. Stepping into a whole new level. Refreshing and stimulating, yet still familiar.
Having little to none clue about what I’m going to learn made it a little bit awkward at first. It literally felt as if I was a new student walking into a new classroom with new classmates. Nervous? Yeah, my heart was palpitating. Within the first hour into the workshop though, I had an inkling that I belong here. This is where I need to be. I didn’t realize it then, but it appears the universe is teaching me to challenge myself.
In the workshop, I realized that we’re learning to become formulators. This job does exists in the real world. Of course, I started to wonder who the formulator(s) behind every skincare (or beauty) brand out there are. They are the masterminds who create the products. They hold the secrets, so to speak. And yes, as a formulator, one needs to keep his/her formulas safe and secure. A formulator doesn’t always have to be the brand’s owner. It’s definitely possible that a brand hire a formulator to create their products. There’s nothing wrong with it though. Not everyone can translate their vision into formula, ergo, formulators are needed. Regardless, whether they are the formulators or not, I personally appreciate when brand owners understand formulating techniques and the ingredients behind the products they put on the market. With the green beauty brands (or smaller brands), many of the spokesperson are the brand owner themselves. Having a wide set of knowledge will definitely create a good first impression of the brand, instead of just talking BS.
Learning ingredients and how to put them together also make me realize that we shouldn’t underestimate the ingredient list in any product. In the sense that we shouldn’t get too cocky just because we understand ingredients. We shouldn’t necessarily judge one product to another just because they have a similar ingredient list. There’s no benchmark or comparison here unless we know the full detail of the every ingredient used. We can guesstimate all we want, but there’s no way of knowing until we see the real formula. We should also know that one ingredient can vary from one another. The way they are sourced, processed, extracted, even the molecule size, might result differently on the skin.
Formulating is not as simple as putting all of the chosen ingredients together. Or chuck in as many actives/extracts as we want. As I’ve explain in the previous post, the process can get knotty. There are certain limits of certain ingredients that can be put into a product. The importance of having preservative when water is involved. Ensuring the concoction is stable. There are strict guidelines, others may be more lenient. Beyond the ingredients, we also need to think about the texture, which could really make or break a product. Hard-to-work-with products can be an issue in terms of removal (if it’s a cleanser/mask) and layering; which is an issue we encounter more often. What’s the point of having all the powerful ingredients if it doesn’t sink in properly, clog the pores or ball up when we incorporate other products? Creating a texture that can work with the majority of people’s skin and other skincare products is a finicky task to do. Not one to underestimate, for sure.
This is ultimately the reason why I don’t (always) believe in dupes. That X is better than Y because X has a similar ingredient list and also cheaper than Y. Yes, I suppose we can say two products can be similar. Apart from the technicalities above, I still believe it comes down to the people using it and what the product does to their skin. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, then don’t look for who to blame. Don’t apply this statement to counterfeits or products that come from questionable places though!
That being said, intentionally copying or trying to emulate a product from another brand is a different story though – a discussion for another time.
I acclimatized myself with the workshop fairly easily, mainly because I’m familiar with a lot of the ingredients. These are the elements that I encounter every day in my life through my skincare routine and endless browsing. Every time I saw a familiar ingredient being discussed/used, my mind will connect them with the products I’ve used. Light bulb! Ding Ding! Hey, knowledge never goes to waste and neither this one. My hard work has started to paid off. It feels like the puzzle pieces I’ve obtained all these years are transforming into something else. A bigger image.
Customizing my skincare routine has always been a very important aspect. Now, I have the chance to elevate the customization even more; by making the products my own. The harder part for me is deciding what to make. I became very indecisive because I have SO MANY ideas I want to create. There were many ingredients that speak to me and I want to include them. But having too many ingredients in one product might not be a good idea. On the other hand, I feel bad when not adding more good stuff. So, there’s a gap here and that’s learning how to edit. I have to be selfish and considerate at the same time. Just have to be clear at what I want to make and go for it. Mulling it over too long will only make me doubt myself and I’m just going to get stuck with the paper instead of practicing making skincare! I’m afraid of making mistakes but failures are bound to happen. That’s where I get to learn and move forward!
Though formulating can be puzzling, I’m personally very fond of the inception process. It’s where I can really be creative and envision of how I want my product to be. I get to compose a beautiful love song, in a way. I choose the right words and intertwined them into a harmonious lyric that speaks to the heart and touches the soul. I could instill my own personal flair and hope that it could translate into the final piece. In fact, this is what I have been doing on my free time lately. Jotting down ideas, visualizing the texture, scent and of course the benefits. Choosing the suitable ingredients and putting them into a proper formula. I would lay all the ingredients I have on the table. Reading about them in the Ingredient Dictionary book and refer to resources (via Google) for more information. Time passes in a blink of an eye whenever I’m in this moment.
Setting up a proper space for formulating and creating. It sounds like a new haven. That’s a future dream.
Me and Dewi herself.
Admittedly, the fee for Skin Dewi workshop isn’t easy on the wallet. But believe me when I say, this isn’t just any workshop. This isn’t just about following a pre-made/prepared recipe, adding few drops of essential oils and eyeballing here and there. The high price reflects proper education, exact formulation techniques, the books and the box full of ingredients. As I said in the previous post, we’ll get an extensive starter kit. Aside from tools and containers, we can still continue formulating for a while before the need to get new supplies. Though in my case, I get all excited and ended up getting so many new ingredients, including extracts and actives. The high price also means commitment. There’s a lot of knowledge and information shared here. Coming in with a focused mind is crucial! Otherwise, you won’t absorb everything.
This workshop is suitable for people who inspire to have their own skincare brand or simply become a professional formulator. Though personally, I would encourage to take more courses and education to ensure you have a firm, solid foundation and can ensure the quality of the products. It takes countless practices and endless tryouts. Formulating could take years before settling on a fix product that you’re confident to be sold to the public. In the workshop, you’ll definitely get an idea of how things work from the bottom and how tedious the whole process can be, apart from that it’s fun. Should you decide to be the formulator or hire someone else to do it, it’s just as important to understand the labor behind it instead of just putting the name on a label.
If you and/or your loved ones have always had problems finding off-the-counter products that can work with the skin, joining this workshop can be an eye-opener; provided that you have an interest in making things your own. Dewi started her whole journey because of her daughter (more about it here) and she has inspired so many people along the way by sharing her knowledge through this vessel. One of the things I instantly want to do right away is to make products for people I know that have certain acute skin issues. I want to help them, letting them know that it’s possible. There’s something out there that might work. Or as simple as creating products that I imagine might suit their needs/preferences. It’s a personal touch on a whole new level.
This experience is self-enriching in ways I couldn’t imagined. There’s a newfound appreciation and reassurance. I am truly grateful and shall cherish this for the rest of my life. It has jump-started something in me and I am excited for what’s to come, whatever that might be. Not saying that I’m going to create my own skincare brand anytime soon per se, but as someone said to me “never say never!”.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Dewi!