Why did you decide to start your business?
It was a really long road to deciding to venture into entrepreneurship, and for better or worse it wasn't that I sat down and decided one day that I would run a business. Partly in college I started getting severe migraines. The headaches were so unpredictable and compromising that I couldn't make it through shifts at jobs. Independent work allowed me to work when I felt well and rest when I needed to. I've always been very self directed and much of my childhood was spent alone working on projects. I cooked, sewed, painted, drew, and otherwise occupied myself very well. When I got out of college I worked at several part time jobs, taught a little, and tried to figure out what to do. What I realized was that no matter what else I was doing I always wanted to create things – I always have ideas bursting out of me. Being at other jobs was just frustrating. I interned with a local independent clothing company and partly inspired by how that business ran decided I would take a crack at this alternate path of self-employment. I had been working with essential oils blending and making candles at that point and selling them became a key part of my self-employment endeavor. Eventually aromatherapy morphed into an interest in herbs and skincare, landing me where I am today. I feel I'm in a good spot now because my daily work uses all of my skills, keeps me creative, and allows me to help others. It's as good as I ever could have hoped for in that I always feel useful.
What types of products do you offer? Are any or all of your products vegan?
Blissoma offers a full range of facial care, deodorants, aromatherapy candles, and other apothecary products like Stress Relief Serum and Yoga Mat Cleanser. All our products except our deodorants are vegan. We will be working on transitioning those over to being vegan eventually as well.
Which product took the longest to formulate and get right?
It's a tie between our Awake Morning Firming Moisture and our deodorants. I would officially consider Awake our first skincare recipe. I desperately needed a moisturizer suited for my very picky skin. Awake was the product of my search. I officially worked on creating basic emulsions without using the standard “vegetable emulsifying wax” for about 3 years – on and off from about 2006 all the way through the final product development phase of the initial skincare collection in 2009. I did many other things during that time but kept coming back to that recipe to get it a little further along.
Our deodorants were developed during a shorter time, but took about 40 batches of product to get working well. That was more than any of the other recipes.
Which product are you most proud of? Why?
This probably comes in as a tie between our 2 current most popular products, Fresh Mild Rice Cleanser and Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum. Fresh was a totally off-the-cuff recipe. Sometimes I look at recipes other companies are creating and that ends up influencing what I make. Fresh was totally unique. I threw the brown rice flour in on a whim to see if a starch would help hold the product together better. It ended up making the product work better than I had ever hoped. It is one of the products we are best known for now.
Smooth A+ Serum I am really happy with firstly because it is really effective. We put together a combination of anti-acne ingredients that no one else is using. Everything from the texture to the scent to the functionality is pretty much perfect, and the customer response validates that. Secondly I think it really takes some guts as a formulator that doesn't even have standard industry experience to create something that goes so far outside the norms, and present it to the world. You feel a bit like it's a big risk. But I knew from years of working with the essential oils and herbs that this had solid chemistry behind it. I'm proud that we did something different, and I'm proud of what it does for people.
Which product do you personally use most often?
I cleanse my face with Fresh every day, twice a day. Now I am using Amend Facial Solar Repair Serum every day as well, but that is just in the morning.
Which product is a best seller?
Fresh Mild Rice Cleanser and Smooth A+ Serum as I mentioned above. Our newer sensitive skincare range I think will end up just as popular, it just needs more time to get there. Everyone has been asking for unscented, ultra sensitive products for a while now and they really fill a need that exists out there.
What are your thoughts on preservatives? How do you determine which ones you use in your products?
Preservatives are necessary generally if you are going to create a water based product.
I love oils, and in the winter I use our Restore Oil Serum at night as my moisturizer. There are no “preservatives” necessary for a waterless product as it won't grow bacteria.
However, I think it is a shame to miss out on all the goodness that water based products can offer. Some active components of herbs are only water or alcohol soluble, meaning that you just can't get them in an oil. Additionally minerals are carried by water and those are necessary for healthy skin function.
Preserving products is trickier than the public realizes. You don't expect your food to stay fresh if you don't refrigerate it for months, but the expectations are different for skincare. It is no easy feat to keep bacteria from starting a party in your facial care. Even with inclusion of some preservatives the formula still has to be made cleanly, and carefully thought out so it provides as many barriers to bacteria growth as possible.
There are more natural preservation options on the market now than before. Because people enjoy and expect products that are creams (and I feel like unique functionality can be gotten out of them) we include quite a few emulsions in our recipe repertoire. Those require preservation. If people want to avoid preservatives altogether they can use dried, powdered masks and cleansers and oil based moisturizers.
Our goal has been to use preservatives that are toxin-free and of natural origin. That guided our initial choice of an enzyme system in our first round of products and then a switch to aspen bark extract and a fermented radish root extract now. What are your thoughts on FD&C dyes?
We don't use them in anything since we don't make color cosmetics and they aren't needed in skincare. I haven't done a ton of research on them so at this point I can't really say if I think they are ok or not.
How important is utilizing social media to you?
Social media has been really fantastic for us. It enables a direct connection between me and our client community. It has fueled friendships, consultations, questions, and lots of feedback. The responses we get fuel product development and also just help us stay connected to what people really care about.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What is that? ;) Fundamentally I really don't have what most people would consider spare time. If work on Blissoma runs out ( and it never does ) I have a garden to grow, a house to repair, a daughter to parent, and even sewing projects waiting for me (not to mention dreams of someday returning to ceramics or painting). Most of these projects are integral to our life so I really don't consider them spare time or hobbies. Since the business is still at a stage where it needs plenty of capital for growth our family budget requires a lot of thriftiness and DIY creativity since cash isn't often available for things we need. Maybe thrift storing could be considered a hobby, as I go sometimes when I don't find much. If there is a thrift store within a couple miles of me anywhere I go I visit it.
What is your favorite food?
Oh goodness, that's a tough one. I love so much food. My typical splurge if I am having an expensive treat night is red wine, a big container of spicy olives, a huge hunk of cheese (bad, but I really love it on occasion), blackberries and blueberries, and a really nice cracker. Maybe some really good dark chocolate to finish off. Other than that I love ethnic stews, Thai and Vietnamese curries, and too much other stuff to even list. I am a crazy foodie.
What is your #1 most listened to song on Itunes/your music player?
I have no idea how to even figure this out – have I mentioned I'm not so much of a technology girl? :) I can tell you I have been listening to a lot of John Legend, Mayer Hawthorne, Janelle Monae, and Chairlift on Spotify. At the studio we listen to a lot of community radio so they do a lot of the song picking for us during the work day.
What other skincare/makeup companies do you like?
SW Basics, Bija Body, La Bella Figura, Lavera, Logona, Grateful Body, May Lindstrom Skin, Pai, Couleur Caramel...
What is your current skincare routine?
Cleanse with Fresh (morning and evening), in the morning I then put on our Amend Facial Solar Repair Serum and then a final coat of Lift Intelligent Energy Crème. In the evening I have been using Restore Deep Healing Oil Serum. I use toner only sporadically during winter. Once a week I use our Refine mask. Once we eventually get our eye serum out I'll use that once a day as well. I don't buy a lot of other products since it seems silly as we have so much here already.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about your company?
That we are here making products to sell, but we really exist to expand an idea – the idea that skincare can be really clean, that people can feel educated and empowered instead of confused and frustrated, and that you can look really, really great. Our products and our way of operating is all about that concept. We try to honor our customers as human beings, not just as consumers. There is a big difference in a company that sees you that way versus just for the dollars in your pocket.
What is a tip you have for someone interested in making the switch to natural skincare/cosmetics and doesn't know where to start?
Start simple and maybe even play directly with some plants or herbs. Get a feel for what “real” really feels like. That way when you encounter a product that is faking it a bit you'll know it.
Always, always, always look for ingredients lists on company websites. If they aren't listing them don't buy! That is a huge sign of a company trying to hide something from you. They should be as proud to talk about their preservatives as they are to talk about their “hero” ingredients. If you don't get full disclosure then walk away.
Try and look beyond really slick marketing. Real natural products will often be sold through companies that may not have a fancy graphics department. They may care more about what is in the product than what is on the packaging. Give them a shot. You might find something that will surprise you.
A lot of these are favorites I've talked about A TON and I have indeed already repurchased (8/13 of them!). Others are newer but have quickly become a favorite. The All Natural Face Cream Foundation in 'Porcelain Kissed by Honey' // Video + Post I love this foundation so much. It's perfect for my skin tone and matches me perfectly. I use it with my beauty blender or with my fingers and can layer it for more coverage. Sobe Botanicals Oil Control Powder This is one of the products I wear when I'm going out but don't want to wear a lot of makeup. While my forehead isn't really oily, it does have some shine, so I put a little Oil Control powder on top. I've been using it for YEARS now and it's my must have for all makeup looks, all times of the year.
I had to pick a cream blush from the ANF. They are my favorite, and Everyday is A Good Day is a GORGEOUS everyday color - a very nice light peachy pink coral color. Zosimos Cream Eyeshadows // Cream Shadow Showdown These are my favorite cream shadows for staying power. They grab onto pigments so well and last all day with no creasing. They come in a bunch of colors - I have the mini pot sizes ($5) of Fools Gold, White Hilite, Bronze, Nutmeg, Daylily, and Avocado. I highly recommend them if you want a shadow base that is really pigmented and will last all day.
Pumpkin and Poppy 'Divinely Happy' Cream Shadow // February Favorites This is my current favorite cream shadow. I haven't seen a natural taupe color that is anything like this one. I blend it out for a sheer color, and love to use neutrals on top of it. It lasts with hardly any creasing at all, and it's a great price at only $8. Silk Naturals 'Doubloons' // February Favorites This has been my favorite shadow for the past 2 weeks. It looks amazing over Divinely Happy. It's a light taupe with a gorgeous peach duochrome and I can't rave enough about it. I love to wear Everyday Is A Good Day because they peach tones of each compliment each other. I highly recommend Silk Naturals for their duochrome shadows and neutrals. Benecos Volumizing Mascara in Deep Black // January Favorites I bought this in January and it has quickly become my favorite mascara. Black mascara looks much better with eye looks than the Zuzu Luxe Navy mascara, which has been my favorite until the Benecos. I love the Benecos formula (it's not too wet) and that it really gives volume to my already long lashes. I use 2 coats and it makes my lashes look amazing.
Devita Sunscreen SPF 30 // Skincare Routine Video + Post Huge favorite among the Green beauty community! Great ingredients, great formulation - doesn't leave a white cast, great texture and base for makeup. I highly recommend trying it if you haven't! Lately I've been mixing it with my ANF Cream foundation to create a tinted moisturizer that gives really nice coverage and will be awesome for the spring and summer! Tate's Sunscreen SPF 30 // No Review This became my favorite body sunscreen when Aunt Betsy gave me my first tube this past summer. It's my Go To everyday sunscreen in the summer (If I'm going to be outside for a long time I'll usually layer it with something stronger). It's not greasy or sticky, doesn't have a weird smell. It dries like a lotion and I love it. Slight downside is that the price is a little high. The All Natural Face Strawberries and Cream Face Food // FI Review - Skincare Routine Video + Post Dried strawberries and coconut milk. The face foods come in a variety of flavors! You can add whatever liquid to it you want – milk, water, honey, etc. I usually use the mix every other night/every 3 nights and leave it on for about 15 minutes. It has natural salicylic acid from the strawberries (great for acne and hyperpigmentation), is incredibly moisturizing (and leaves the skin SUPER soft), and reduces redness immediately.
George's Aloe Spray // Skincare Routine Video + Post I use it as a toner (aloe is great for acne and sensitive skin), and as a makeup primer and setting spray. I've also used it to foil eyeshadows! It's such a great price too, around $5 for 8oz!
Planet Botanicals Baobab Face Scrub // Review
This is my favorite scrub EVER. I love how tiny the scrub pieces are, it's not too rough on my skin, and it leaves my face super soft and clean! Waxelene // Skincare Routine Video + Post I love using this on my dry T-zone at night before bed and as a base on my T-zone for my foundation. It's a great all-purpose balm and is the natural version of Vaseline. I highly recommend it!
Here are the list of all the girls participating in the first Green Beauty Collaboration on Products I'd Repurchase. If you participated and I didn't include your link, TWEET ME @iluvjesse444. It is the fastest way I will see your link and be able to include it! (I will be away some of Monday but I will add your link as soon as I can)
My Collab Video and Post! *Some girls are doing blog posts AND video like myself, which is indicted by the link to their post and a (+ video) as well.
Activated Charcoal Capsules $3-$4
I use about half a capsule of these once a week to whiten my teeth and they work SO well. I wet my toothbrush, pour half on, wet it a little more, and brush for about two minutes.
Rose of Sharon Acres Tooth Chips - About $10
They do taste like soap but lather/foam wonderfully and will last forever!
Be careful using them for months on end because they might possibly leave your teeth gray because there is no hydrated silica, baking soda, etc.
Earthpaste in Wintergreen - $4-$5
Love the fresh taste of Wintergreen (even though usually I don't like it!). Has a wet clay consistency and doesn't lather.
Steripod - My Review
LOVE my steripod. Great for keeping bathroom bacteria and particles off the toothbrush, and awesome for travel.
Recycled handle toothbrush with a flat head of bristles - good for sensitive gums.
Precision Liquid Liner in 'Espresso Cafe' - $17.95 It's a gorgeous dark brown color that looks black in some lights but isn't too dark for me. The color lasts all day and doesn't transfer to my lids or fad at all. This is the 2nd time I've tried the liquid liner in espresso cafe. The first liner I purchased became dry after the first use, but I was excited to try a new tube after hearing that there may have been a bad batch. I like the brush a lot, but the tip gets dry very quickly. To fix this I spray the tip with some of my George's aloe spray, but for this reason doing a winged look can get quite difficult with my constantly having to spray the tip. The liner also comes in 'Lapis Blue' and 'Deepest Black' Ingredients: Macromolecule plant protein, aqua pura (water), Glyceryl polymethacrylate (EWG "0"), Iron oxides, Mica. Nourishing Mineral Blush in 'Crushed Garnet' - $19.95 I think this is a gorgeous light mauve color. There's not too much shimmer - it has a gorgeous sheen. It's versatile enough to wear any time of the year. The jar comes with .14 oz of product and will last a LONG time. There are 6 different mineral blush shades. Ingredients: Mica (serecite), Boron nitride, Aloe barbadensis (ACTIVEaloe®), Hyaluronic acid (vegan source), Iron oxides, and Camellia sinensis (Japanese green tea) leaf extract. May Contain: Manganese violet, Ultramarines. Ingredient labeling adheres to international INCI standards.
Eye Quad in 'Metro Neutrals' - $36.95 I love the look of this pressed palette, and the ingredients are great - no silicones or artificial dyes. It's a very decent price for a pressed palette of 4 colors. Unfortunately, the pigmentation without a colored cream base is disappointing. Even when I try to build up the color, the colors don't show up much on my hand or eyelid. With a white base they definitely pop and the colors are very pretty, and I love the selection of colors in this palette. There are 6 different quads available. Ingredients: Mica (serecite), Boron nitride, Zinc stearate, Simmondsia chinensis (organic Jojoba) oil, Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) extract, Punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, Lauroyl lysine, Pine bark (pinus strobus) extract. May contain: Titanium dioxide, Iron oxides, Ultramarines, Chromium green oxide and Manganese violet. Ingredient labeling adheres to international INCI standards.
Moisture Tint Beauty Balm in Medium - $31.95 The SPF 30 moisturizer is my favorite facial sunscreen and is great under makeup, so I was very excited to try the new Beauty Balm. The consistency is much the same and applies very well with the F80 flat kabuki. It gives a very nice light coverage and doesn't feel heavy or sticky. Unfortunately the color is way too orange and dark for me. The balm comes in 3 shades.
Ingredients: Zinc oxide 9%. INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (organic certified aloe vera gel), Purified Water (aqua), Capric/caprylic triglycerides (derived from coconut oil), Glycerin (vegetable), Pomegranate extract, Japanese green tea, Hyaluronic acid (vegan source), Glyceryl stearate SE (derived from vegetable oil), Stearic acid, Lecithin phospholipid, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Allantoin*, Vitis vinifera* (grape) seed extract. May contain: Iron oxides, Chromium green oxide. Ingredient labeling adheres to international INCI standards.
Hi guys! I saw a blog post this morning on my Bloglovin feed about Products I'd Repurchase. I don't know about you guys, but I love those posts and thought it would be a great idea for a Green Beauty Collab! I was thinking any green blogger interested (any country!) could post a group picture and mini item reviews for between 10-15 green/natural products they would repurchase or would like to have backups of. You can categorize the items however you would like - all makeup, all skincare, mix of both. If you make green/natural beauty VIDEOS instead or in addition to blogging, you're invited! As I primarily make videos, I'll probably do a blog post and video. ARE YOU IN?! Leave me a comment on this post with your blog/YouTube link if you'd like to participate. Would posting the post in about 2 weeks, on Monday the 25th, work for everyone? *Anyone who has to post later - let me know when you could get it up!
I'll create a master post for all bloggers included that everyone will link in their post to show who participated in the Collab! I'll link the list in this post and on twitter, so make sure to check back here or follow me on twitter (@iluvjesse444) to get it before you make your post live! It would be so much fun to make this a regular thing as long as it goes well :D
I decided to treat myself to some Silk Naturals shadows on my birthday this past Monday. I ordered around 12am March 5th (so technically my birthday was over!), but THAT is how fast shipping is!! This was my 3rd time ordering. See some of my purchases in my Indie Brands Haul! I'm almost out of my Sleep In a Jar sample so I picked up the full size, which was my main reason for ordering. I also have been into neutrals and duochrome shadows lately. My favorite duochrome neutral is Doubloons from Silk Naturals. It's a taupe with peach/copper shimmer that is AMAZING. Seriously - get it in your next order. Note about the photos - Usually I do swatches on my hand, but I decided to try them on my forearm. I flipped the photos to the right so thats why my arm looks funny. I'm getting a new camera for photos/videos in about 2 weeks and I'm SO EXCITED. Amazing photos to come!
L-R (Crew (Gift With Purchase over $10), Fire, Aura, Blessings, Alibi, Moonstone, Latent, Modern Poet Liquid Lip Gloss)
I tried to capture the duochrome of Fire, Aura, and Blessings! They're so pretty in person. I'm most excited to try Fire, Blessings, Alibi, and Moonstone. Crew is really nothing special and feels chalky, so I'll probably end up giving it away. I love their liquid lip glosses, and the ones I have (Innocent, St. Tropez, Modern Poet) are free of dyes and carmine.
Have you ordered from Silk Naturals before? What is your favorite shadow or product from them?