current product experiments

(c/o Florence Finds)

For: antioxidant face serum, zinc oxide layer of the deodowich, and conditioner.



  • NOW rosehip seed oil

Current experiment:

  • Silk Naturals Vitamin C Peptide Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, Tamarind Seed Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, White Tea Extract, Hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, Panthenol
    PRICE: $2.75 / 5 ml sample
    $15.95 / 30 ml (1 oz)

I’d tried this out earlier, and been dissatisfied. Previous reports: current skinsperiments (2012-02-29), allergies (2012-03-19). I decided to give the stuff another try. Benefit of the doubt re. irritation, and as there were other contributing or causal factors involved.

Main point in using the stuff: boost sun protection during the day. Useful antioxidants here: vitamin C (in the more sensitive-friendly form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, or MAP), and also white tea extract. Possibly tamarind (but white tea’s a real biggie on the AOX front).

Current procedure for use:


  1. wash, leaving skin damp
  2. apply one pump-drop of C serum to damp skin, dabbing on and distributing it fast: face, neck, throat
  3. redampen skin: either tepid water or witch-hazel hydrosol
  4. apply rosehip seed oil then moisturiser
  5. once moisturiser has sunk in, apply sunscreen

I have a kind of aesthetic issue about too many steps: my idea skincare is what I use when my skin’s in a bad way: one product (oil or emollient cream) for cleaning and moisturising, and nowt else. But to be fair, this extra step is a small one: takes seconds. One pump from the bottle (no shaking or anything), rub between finger-tips, slap onto skin, that’s it. Being dry of skin is an advantage here, as my skin absorbs the stuff so fast there’s no wating-period while the stuff penetrates and dries. I can redampen skin and apply RHO immediately, as soon as I’m done patting the C on/in.

I tried a few other things out with the vitamin C serum:



  1. wash, leaving skin damp
  2. C serum
  3. redampen skin
  4. apply moisturiser
  5. then sunscreen once moisturiser had sunk in

Result: skin starts feeling dry (places where it’s very thin, even forehead) within a couple of hours. Tolerable, but means topping up moisture a few times through the day. Usually I don’t need to do that.



  1. wash, leaving skin damp
  2. C serum
  3. redampen skin
  4. meadowfoam oil
  5. moisturiser
  6. sunscreen

Much improved. Skin feels much the same as usual, retains moisture properly through the day. But then I though: compare split-face with RHO. Result: Rosehip side feels smoother. So: back to RHO. Yes, this means that on those days when I do remember to get around to using the vitamin C serum, I’m doing double antioxidant layers. If dampening skin between layers with witch-hazel, that’s triple the antioxidants. Woo hoo.


A.M & P.M. TOO

  1. wash (a.k.a. swipe some witch-hazel swiftly around), leaving skin damp
  2. C serum
  3. redampen skin: slap around a few drops more witch-hazel
  4. moisturise: rosehip and/or meadowfoam.

I had a few issues with this: not that it didn’t work—it was fine—but evening application felt excessive. Nothing to do with skin: more of an internal matter. All in the mind, you’ll say. With the negative neurotic over-worrying over-analysing that entails.

Purpose no. 1: help rebuild and strengthen skin barrier. But: so long as I’m maintaining that barrier (which my current moisturisers are doing very nicely thankyouverymuch), I’m not convinced of a need for doing any more buidling-up. I’m very keen on finding a state of equilibrium and then staying there.

Purpose no. 2: this is where I get a bit queasy: rebuilding collagen overnight. Grand in theory. But I feel a bit uncomfortable about excess vanity.

Maybe even slightly superstitious: don’t push things too far. My skin’s in pretty good shape. I’m aware that it has genetic limitations (some of which also translate into helping it to look nice: fine texture, delicate, etc.): it’s never going to be thick, tough, resilient. I’m happy with it. It’s calm, composed, stable, balanced. It’s doing its job. I’m also thankful it’s not doing lots of other things that it’s prone to from time to time, and which can be real horrors: eczema, extreme dryness, completely fucked barrier, super-easily damaged. When my skin’s been bad, it’s a case of spending quality time covered in Aquaphor or beeswax, if I’m really lucky in hospital under compresses and bandages too.

There’s that whole “but people are starving in Africa” side to it as well. My own skin sticking to my bones, well and good. Doing more than that? I’m not so sure. Spending money regularly on morning-and-evening serums could comfortably feed a family, or heck, in the cases of some serums, a village for the length of time it takes you to use up that serum.

Using this stuff in the morning only is a compromise, as opposed to not using it at all: as I’m using it for the more medically-necessary purpose of sun protection. I’m a high cancer risk to start with (redhead, pale skin, burn fast, have had several serious sunburns in childhood). I’ve had a Suspicious Thing removed (years ago now). I’m condemned to skin check-ups and daily sunscreen use for life. The more I can do to reduce my risks of skin cancer recurrence (and burning too), the better.

I’ll use up the bottle. That’s ecologically sound anyway: waste not, want not. But I’ll think very seriously about repourchasing. Before I do so, I’ll be looking into DIY versions, but the problems seems to be that the MAP ones are a bit trickier and pricier to make than the LAA ones. I can’t use LAA and that lower pH without immediate and dramatic skin reaction. Otherwise, it’ll back to plain old rosehip oil and sunscreen in the longer term…

WHAT I’M USING: a cheap sensitive-friendlier MAP serum; if anyone knows of others, along similar lines, please do let me know! The full details again:

  • Silk Naturals Vitamin C Peptide Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Distilled Water, Tamarind Seed Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, White Tea Extract, Hydroxypropyl starch phosphate, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, Panthenol
    PRICE: $2.75 / 5 ml sample
    $15.95 / 30 ml (1 oz)

Not right now as I have the SN to use up; and stress “testing” here, as I’ve not used niacinamide successfully before. But it also has oats (yay!), has a pH around about that of skin rather than being a lot more acidic, and they seem like a good nice company (with, according to MUA, exemplary customer service). Costs a little more than the S, but it’s a more complex formula and it’s still a fraction of the price of similar-ish serums from Big Name firms.

  • NuFountain C20 Topical Vitamin C Serum: CelSignal Support Hydrating Support Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Purified Water, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C, anti-oxidant), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3, cell-signaling, anti-inflammatory), DL-Panthenol (Vitamin B5 derivative, humectant, skin-conditioning, anti-inflammatory), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydrating, skin-identical ingredient), Hydrolyzed Oats (humectant), Nannochloropsis Oculata (Algae Extract, anti-oxidant), Pullulan (algal polysaccharide, anti-oxidant, skin-identical ingredient), Glycerin (humectant, skin-identical ingredient), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Benzoic Acid (preservative), Dehydroacetic Acid (preservative). Completely Fragrance-free and colorant-free. pH of 5-5.5
    PRICE: $25.99 / 30 ml (1 oz)

Along similar lines but pricier and/or with other ingredients that aren’t up my personal back alley (LAA for one):

  • Vitamin C serums by: Avalon Organics, Beauty Without Cruelty, Derma E, emerginC, Éminence, Jason, John Masters Organics, Kiss My Face, Mad Hippie, MyChelle Dermaceuticals
    CONS: warning on the essential oils, especially lavender for several (and peppermint for Éminence!!!); for Derma E, note (EO aside) that they use calcium ascorbate (Ester-C®), not the most readily-available sort for topical application
  • Cellex-C, Obagi, Skinceuticals, and a bunch of others c/o this here link ( feat. some crossover with the more ludicrous of the granolarola ones above
    CONS +/- company ethics (inc. animal testing for several, ethics re. human employees too), and outrageous scandalous criminal prices
  • NuFountain C10 Sensitive Vitamin C Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Purified Water, 10% L-Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Glycerin
    PRICE: $16.99 / 30 ml (1 oz)
    3 for 2: $33.98 / 2 + 1 free = $11.33 / 30 ml (1 oz)
  • Garden of Wisdom: Majik C Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Neroli Hydrosol (inc. vitamin C), L-ascorbic Acid 15%, Ferulic Acid, Optiphen
    PRICE: $10.50 / 5 ml
    $33.00 / 30 ml
  • Garden of Wisdom: Natural Majik Vitamin C, E, White Tea Serum
    INGREDIENTS: Liposome Encapsulated Base (soy based), Neroli Hydrosol (inc. vitamin C), White Tea Extract, L-ascorbic Acid / MAP [magnesium ascorbyl phosphate] Blend 15%, Vitamin E [natural form, D-alpha Tocopherol] 1%, Ferulic Acid, Geogard
    PRICE: $9.90 / 5 ml
    $47.70 / 30 ml



  • A-Derma Dermalibour cream
  • Rite Aid diaper rash cream
  • assorted other diaper rash creams, preferably unscented
  • any old thick zinc oxide-based sunscreens that were unusable for practical and/or aesthetic reasons: classic clownface stuff like Badger (love the balm, loathe the sunscreen, sorry guys)


  • Desert Essence Don’t Be Rash Diaper Cream

INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 12.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil*, Lanolin, Beeswax (Cera Alba)*, Silica
* Certified Organic

New. Bought because it was on novelty special offer. Regular price still makes it a lot cheaper than Dermalibour; better than any other granola baby butt paste I’ve seen, being the only regularly-available one with no scent. I love the texture: Rite Aid and some others were a bit too damp on me; Weleda and some other health-foody ones were too oily, never sank inot skin properly (particularly if layering them up in a deodowich); A-Derma’s Dermalibour I liked partly as it was quite thick and pasty, and it worked out fairly economical as the dense texture meant I didn’t need to use much. This has a slightly thicker texture than Dermalibour, whilst remaining spreadable, and is a lot cheaper (also, some feelings about the Pierre Fabre group right now, re. animal testing for the Chinese market and lousy customer service / PR / respect for customers, their rights, and their intelligence / basic good manners).


  1. wash armpits (and rest of self, usually)
  2. dry
  3. apply a thin layer of potassium alum deodorant spray (a.k.a. mineral salt, crystal rock, liquid crystal; a simple aqueous solution: currently Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal spray); I usually spray 2-3 squirts into the palm of one hand, rub both palms together, and pat into armpits
  4. squeeze out a little under an inch of diaper cream onto fingertips of other hand—rub fingertips of both hands together—apply a thin layer to armpits, and the remainder of that blob to the underboobage area (or wherever else you happen to be a bit on the sweaty side)



  • Free & Clear. Made by Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. (USA). Canada: sold rebottled as Cliniderm. Note: not all Cliniderm products are Free & Clear ones; Cliniderm as a whole are not cruelty-free, whereas PSI Co. are: no animal testing or ingredients. Hence I buy the Free & Clear version, not the Cliniderm one. Also, buying F&C in bulk from the US is cheaper.

INGREDIENTS: purified water, cetearyl alcohol, dicetyldimonium chloride, propylene glycol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, ceteareth-20, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), potassium sorbate, panthenol, citric acid

Experiment #1:

  • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value fragrance-free.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (water), behentrimonium chloride, glyceryl stearate, gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, phenethyl alcohol, glyceryl caprylate, polysorbate 60, cetearyl alcohol, glycerin, sodium citrate, stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl laurylglucosides chloride, aloe barbadensis, panthenol, tocopherol (vitamin e), matricaria recutita (chamomile flower extract)

Comments: I’d seen decent reviews of it by people whose views I respected. Reason for respect: a consistent previous past track record, through which they’d proven to be founts of wisdom, resourceful seekers of knowledge, askers of incisive questions, and persons of a good solid sceptical disposition and sound common sense. (MUA ex., JoshuaP for this conditioner.) So I thought I’d give it a try.

I was slightly worried about the aloe and chamomile, but my irritation-threshhold for them is now higher and more tolerant than it used to be. They’re so far down the ingredient list that, factoring in the rest of the formula, they’re way below a dose that would trigger reactions on my skin right now, except with prolonged contact. So: no prolonged contact, ven in the pre-wash condition when I do apply conditioner and oil to scalp. I make sure to apply oil at the scalp, no conditioner there. I did get a little itching when I put conditioner on my scalp and left it there for a minute or two.

Cheap stuff with minute quantities of the stuff giving it green cred = brilliant. The formula isn’t far off that of the Free & Clear, similarly basic. But a lot cheaper. Feels very like F&C too, slightly lighter-weight but moistening enough on me.

Con: smells *weird*

(I also tried the shampoo, which would be OK if I absolutely had to use it, but has a weird smell and is slightly stripping and tangling and drying on my hair. Staying with Free & Clear for that, then. The WF 365 shampoo has been repurposed as laundry detergent. “Waste not, want not” and all that…)

Reason for use: it’s cheaper than Free & Clear. When you read the ingredient list, it’s no more or less green/plant-based or eco-friendly. Anything else you see on the label is marketeering: in this case, amusingly, the result is lowering the price. It’s usually the opposite. Maybe WF are genuinely trying to be subversively socialist/democratic with their own-brand range! Contains the usual coconut-derived surfactants and emollients; derived, and other synthesized ingredients produced, in a lab and, you know, by actual chemists rather than alchemists, enthusiastic wishful thinkers, and quacks.

How I’m using the stuff: like any other conditioner. Bear in mind I have long hair.

  1. brush (dry) hair out with head tipped upside down
  2. in shower, soak hair, again upside down
    (turn off water to save water)
  3. apply a mixture of conditioner and the multi-purpose oil (currently meadowfoam seed oil) all over, especially to hair ends and lengths.
  4. pile hair up on top of head, resume verticality, and do something else for a few minutes: I’ll usually remove eye makeup
  5. (a few minutes later, turn water back on) head tipped upside down, rinse hair
    (water off again)
  6. apply a small amount of shampoo and massage very approximately around the scalp, then turn water back on and rinse shampoo out immediately (takes a few seconds)
    (water off again)
  7. reapply shampoo, massage scalp more properly and thoroughly, and pile hair up on top of head
    (water on again)
  8. wash rest of self (takes a minute or so)
  9. head upside down, rinse hair; squeeze out excess water; apply a blob of conditioner and a couple of drops of oil to ends and length, and a smaller blob & drop to resof hair, avoiding the scalp and the first few inches of hair nearest to it; pile hair on top of head
    (water off again)
  10. standing uproght again, apply oil to rest of self (takes a minute or so)
  11. head in normal position, rinse out conditioner and rinse off any surplus oil that hasn’t sunk in
  12. final blast of cool water to hair (I skip this if it’s cold, damp, and gruesome outside)

With apologies for keeping turning the water off and on. Does make early-morning life that bit more complicated. Saves a lot of water, though; same thing for cleaning teeth and doing other water-consuming stuff around the home.


Curelle Hydra shampoo and Riche conditioner. Unscented; made here in BC; quite “crunchy” but they do contain preservatives (honeysuckle extract); available from Whole Foods, some other independent health-food stores, and some hairdressers here. Pricier than WF cheapo joy, cheaper than Free & Clear. Will be reporting back on them later: initial results are good, and the conditioner is definitely better than the WF one (on my hair and scalp, anyway…).


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