Ask any student in China about a failure they will quote you till they are blue in the face about how, “failure is the mother of success”. Ask my mother, she probably would have said something like, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. Screw that shit. I want things done right and awesomely the first time around. And I don’t want failures in the Scrub Me Down Kitchen. They are pricey things and not to mention, the crappy shit that my skin has to go through testing out new products.
The skin of the body is very forgiving when testing out products. However; the skin of the face is a pain in the backside. A thorn in my shoe. A cinder block crazy glued to my back. Grr. Come on, grr with me!
So let’s talk about one of my biggest failures when it comes to the face. A hydrating face product that leaves the skin with a fresh silk like feeling. This wicked awesome ingredient is named: Aristoflex with an INCI name of: Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/ VP Copolymer. And the translation from Chinese to English talks about ice crystals forming- well, you can kind of guess why it took some time to use and to find. So what is AVC?
Aristoflex® AVC is a pre-neutralized synthetic polymer used as a gelling agent for aqueous systems and as a texturizer and thickener for oil-in-water emulsions. Because it is fast breaking on the skin, it has a unique light, fresh sensory appeal.
There is a whole list of things you cannot add to this emulsifying agent. None of my favourite additives. No silk. No aloe. And absolutely no electrolytes. GASP! No electrolytes? What kind of temperamental crap is this?
Where to begin? When I first received Aristoflex a few months ago, I immediately whipped up a batch and marveled at how quick and relatively easy it was. No heat and hold for this stuff! I included my favourite face oils; moringa, sea buckthorn seed oil and evening primrose oil. I added in some of my favourite hydrosol; neroli blossom. And added in some aloe juice for it’s awesome properties. I then decided to add in some of my favourite additives; silk, vitaimins and more. Added in the aristoflex, my preservative and stirred stirred stirred.
I was so excited about it I ran to the bathroom and washed my face and began to use it. I was in love! For the next couple of days, I was using this new stuff on my face and I loved the way my face felt!
And then my face started to get hot. And I am not talking about just a little heat going on, I’m talking about face feeling like its on fire heat with the redness to go along. After about thirty or so minutes, my face would calm down and my skin would still feel amazing, but I knew something was up. I was also using a new face wash at the same time. So didn’t really know which one was causing the issue.
I kept on using the Aristoflex product for the next week or so, my face felt amazing! I stopped using the new wash (which was a shame as it is AWESOME!). I went back to the recipe I began with and decided to make it again.
When you work with a new recipe that doesn’t work the way you expect it to, you need to recreate the same recipe to see if it was a measuring error, or contamination issue or or or any number of countless possible things that might have caused it to fubar.
So made it again. And again the same result! My skin got hot and red again!
Went back to do some reading, had some conference calls (#hashtagfriendsoftheworldunite!), and got lost in the deep dark abyss that is Susan’s blog. Yeah. Serious on that getting lost. That deep dark well in all consuming that I cannot quite bring myself to visit Susan’s blog all that often. I get so lost in there, then I get so broke buying all the awesome ingredients.
I stopped using the Aristoflex product for a while to let me skin calm down. I handed out a few samples to see if it was just me having some sort of allergic reaction, and it turned out that everyone I gave a sample too had the same results. Awesome feeling skin, but wicked hot and red skin.
This morning, I finally took some time to make another batch using a very specific recipe that I checked with two other DIY’ers to make sure my ingredients were sound.
Ingredients: (Aqua)water, (Squalane) olive squalene, (Rosa Moschata seed oil) rosehip oil, allantoin, (Panthenol)vitamin B5, (Tocopheryl Acetate) Vitamin E, (Niacinamide) Vitamin B3, (Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate) liquid Germall Plus, essential oils: blood orange and coffee.
So, is third time to charm? I don’t know for sure. But, I am optimistic! I changed my whole ingredient line up to give it a test run with ingredients people I know have tried it out.
After some hard core searching in the depths of Google, I think I may have figured out what was wrong. I added electrolytes (silk and glycerine and aloe juice) and my scale didn’t register the AVC so added way too much. I should know in the next few days if this new recipe works out, or if I just received a bad batch of AVC.
edit: There is a lot of information out there about ways to use various ingredients. However; I do not have access to sites like Lotion Crafter or WSP to buy my ingredients. There are many different manufacturers and many different types of each ingredient and to find out which one exactly I am buying, requires me to make test batches up and to see what kind of ingredient I bought because I have no idea! And to look at the Taobao site (China’s better version of Amazon/Ebay and more), the sellers don’t always use the INCI name, useage rates, ingredient suggestions and the like. There is a lot of testing that goes on to find the perfect recipe when you buy from a site where the products listed are ones you can trust because they have a history and people in your DIY circles suggest and use them. Unfortunately, I know no one in China who does what I do so I am left the troll the depths of Taobao and test batch.
edit edit: can you imagine the awesomeness of living in a country where I knew what I was buying was exactly what it said I was buying in the form that it said I was getting and not having to test it? Ohhhh… dangerous!