New lab is open

Natural Skincare Workshops


My new lab is ready !!


It’s been a hectic time in 2021. A year of great change, new projects, study, kids leaving home for good, and loads of home alone  time developping the Botanical Skincare Institute.

After buying my new home in a very rural area, and some big life changes this last year,  come see what’s going on in the world of La Formulatrice.   Read about how La Formulatrice is growing and developping in the Bordeaux area.

I have finished renovating my lab, which is a beautiful, modern space that is perfect for formulating and holding natural skincare workshops. Online courses, group classes, and custom formulations are all happenning now. I am developping innovative products to add to the onesI already teach, and have more ideas to offer various skincare classes, short and longer ones where you can get a serious dose of natural skincare know how in a weekend, for those who really want to make their own formulations like a pro and have a great base with several basic products that they can later personalize.

Join us for a unique, luxurious experience. These natural cosmetic workshops are led by a profesional formulater, on her way to becoming a certified cosmetic chemist. YES!! This is a year of learning and growing, and intense studies are under way with the Institute of Personal Skincare Science in Australia. By end of the year, if all goes well,  La Formulatrice will be an internationally certified  chemist specializing in cosmetic science and formulation!! I can take my products to an even higher level

I will show you how  to formulate with plants, flowers and fruits, and be able to safely make your own beautiful, highly effective skincare. All using only plant based, high quality botanical ingredients.

Use exceptional, unique ingredients not usually offered in your basic formulating classes.  Jasmine & rose wax, green tea wax, blueberry, cranberry or other effective fruit powders. Ayurvedic herbs like shikakai or amla, broccoli oil, avocado butter, not to mention all the choices of floral waters and essential oils ! How can you not end up with some spectacular skincare ?

These natural skincare workshops are fun and easy going but under professional guidance so you learn to formulate using correct methods to assure you create stable, safe, clean skincare.

For those not in the Bordeaux area or Sud Gironde, check out my online courses where you have everything you need to make certain beautiful products like solid shampoo bars, shimmering body oils, fruit based cleansing powders,  in a quick, easy way with how to videos, supplier lists for your country, beautifully designed files, unique formulas,  and more.

Check out details of the new lab here

watch a video of my class here:

New lab is open Read More »

"butterfly pea glycerite"

Glorious Glycerites

Make your own herbal  glycerites !

Since homemade herbal glycerites are a fantastic way to add some oomph, color, or botanical power to your skincare formulations, this is such a great subject! I get so many questions about how to make your own. I use them often in my natural skincare workshops here in Bordeaux, and they are included in my formulas in my online natural skincare courses available.                https://formulatrice.com/on-line-natural-skincare-courses/

make your own herbal glycerites

Now for the real interesting stuff, let me share some cool info about glycerine and glycerites to help you get started making your own amazing plant based glycerites.

What exactly is glycerine ?

Called Glycerin, Glycerine or Glycerol, one of the most widely used ingredients in skincare, is a substance present in all human and animal fats. It can be derived naturally by the fermentation of sugars, or by hydrolysis of fats, but it can also be synthetically made in a lab from petroleum based oils. In natural skincare we do not you these ones.

There are several different grades of refined glycerine, but in our natural or green lovely cosmetics we prefer the highest USP grade, naturally derived & made from 100% vegetable or plant oils, such as palm kernel or coconut oil. Glycerin derived from corn or soy are both Genetically Modified Organisms .

Glycerine is also a humectant, ( like honey!!) and can draw water from the environment and the dermis (the lower layers of skin) into the outer layers of the skin. They attract moisture to themselves, it keeps skin and hair moisturized, soft, and is a huge plus in our products!! But we have to be careful here , we shouldn’t : use more than 10% in general in a formulation, & should : use in combination with other natural emollients and botanical oils to help improve the feel of the moisturizer. A small % will help create a barrier against water loss which is exactly what we want. Too much can have negative effects, such as drawing too much moisture from your precious dermis to the surface which can dry out skin, or causing your final product to be too sticky.

And what is a glycerite ?

make your own herbal glycerites

make your own herbal glycerites

A glycerite is the final result of the strained liquid left after maceration of dried or fresh herbs, vegetables, or fruit, by using glycerine as the extraction method . Traditionally, dried or fresh herbs or plant matter are added to glycerine and left in a cool dark place to sit and macerate , while shaken gently daily, for anywhere up to 2 to 6 weeks. Many medical remedies are made this way .They can also be heated very gently in a slow cooker for 3 days, while the closed jar is immersed in water, as a faster method of extraction.

Now for the exciting bit,

Here’s the basic steps…..and you can really use just about any fruit or vegetable, herb, plant, dried or fresh, get glycerite happy and watch the magic happen . Don’t be afraid to include them in your natural skincare formulations!!

How to make Colorful Glycerites

make your own herbal glycerites

Warning : This is highly addictive, fun and so easy to do, so save some fridge space because you are going to go crazy making all sorts of different wonderfully colored and scented stuff to use in those wicked formulas you will be creating! And make sure nobody eats them!!! (this did actually happen in my house!!! )

  1. Take your washed, fresh, organic fruit , vegetable, plant or herb ( I did blueberries, cherries, pomegranates, rose petals , cinnamon, all full of super nutrients great for the skin) and chop it into smaller pieces , while making sure your workspace and equipment is sterile. Research your ingredients to see their benefits in skincare.
  1. Weigh the fruit /plant matter and note it in your special glycerite notebook. Foods with high water content will be much heavier then a dreid herb for example, and will give results that are much more watery and thin then a glycerite with an herb that has no water content.  Buy a pretty one to keep it fun and just for these glycerite recipes, it will fill quickly with notes you can refer back to !!!
  1. Put them in a sterilized jar, I recommend making small doses at first, as we use such small amounts ( 3-10% ) in our products , a little will last quite awhile and stay fresh. Fill with your vegetal glycerine , let it fill between the spaces, and then top off the jar to the rim. Weigh accurately to see exact amount of glycerine and note it down. You can also prepare the exact measures you would like in a formula before hand like this:

55% glycerine,

44.4% fresh fruit,

0.6% preservative

This is just an example, other percentages for different foods or herbs will vary. Just experiment as there are no exact rules here. For dried herbs , you can pour a very small amount of boiling water on the herbs first , infuse a few minutes, then top off jar with glycerine.

Add your preservative. Fresh food high in water will need more preservative, up to 1%.

  1. Label your jars with dates, ingredients, batch number, preservative name, as you’ll totally have no idea which is strawberry, raspberry, or cherry in a few days !!
  1. I store all my herbal glycerites in the fridge, but room temperature can work if not too warm. A wine cooler could also work. For fresh foods or plants and flowers , I macerate them about 14-20 days to get the maximum benefits of the ingredient, though some keep them only 5-10 days. This is experimental, without scientific backup, and there are no fixed rules, so see how your finished product looks and smells and take notes. The glycerine will absorb and hold the smell and color of the fresh food wonderfully, a dash in a toner gives an amazing yummy boost of originality and herbiness to your cosmetic. Dried herbs can be macerated a bit longer, some herbalists recommend 2-6 weeks!!
  1. Once your glycerite is ready and bursting with color, you need to filter it. A coffee filter works well, or I have even used clean stockings. This is much faster then the coffee filter method and I do it twice to strain fully. The coffee filter strains drop by drop , and can take hours. You can change the filter several times (with your gloved hands ) as the paper gets fully soaked and stops to strain after awhile. Be gentle so as not to tear the filter. Cover with a clean lid or foil while its being filtered to keep off dust. Then just go do your thing while it drips away into glory!!
  1. Once fully strained, close jars, label them , don’t forget to note in detail the final weight , the smell, texture, dates, length of maceration time, preservative used, and then store in fridge or cool dark cupboard. The more water content in your food or plant, the LESS viscuous your glycerite will be. ( kinda logical )

So what can we do with these Beautifully Colored Macerates?

make your own herbal glycerites

Add them to your natural skincare products like toners, creams, gels, lotions, and have fun!!!! How glorious is that???

Keep in mind that a small % will not always affect the final color of a cream, it works better in water based gels, but the colors are natural so not super stable and can fade after some time. Experiment, keep samples of your homemade herbal glycerites, and take notes!! Shelf life can last from 6 months till about a year, according to its’ water content and storage method. If you see funny bits floating on the bottom or it smells funny, bye bye lovely glycerite. When in doubt, do a micro count test, & learn from these experiences.

Last Note about Vital Preservatives

The shelf life depends much on how much exposure to the air the glycerite receives. Anytime you add water to a preparation, you invite bacteria, mold, yeast, and other undesirables. As a side note, even though glycerin has preservative properties at 50%-60% concentration of a formula, and even though it is a humectant and a lovely addition to skin cream, it cannot be used effectively alone to preserve a typical lotion or cream recipe. I highly recommend using a water soluble broad spectrum natural preservative , from the start of maceration in your plant or food based glycerites, we don’t want to take any risks or have them go off after one or two months only.

A nd now Fellow Formulaters ….

you know how it’s done, easy as pie, start with small quantities and get glycerite happy!!! Please post us your lovely results and photos of your homemade glycerites, we’d love to have a look at your creative efforts!!

Visit my facebook page to see more!!

Make your own herbal glycerites

Glorious Glycerites Read More »

Using herbs to make natural skincare

Hello formulating friends!!🤗

From plant🍀 to skin, isn’t that what making natural skincare is all about?
But how can we use these flowers,🌺 roots, leaves🌿 or stems to make let’s say a cream or a cleanser?
Well, many plants have various benefits for not only our insides, but for our outsides as well.

Different compounds or properties are found in each plant, such as proteins, tannins, antioxidants, flavonoids, volatile oils and much more. The idea is for us to extract as many of these as we can, to get as much of the plants goodness as possible with simple, traditional methods. Once extracted by various methods, we can use them as important botanical ingredients to make our own effective and unique skincare products.🧼

Two main things to know before you choose your extraction method and solvant.♻️

🍀Is your plant water soluble or oil soluble

🍀Which solvant will best extract the properties you want from the plant

So, each flower, root, or leaf of a plant has its’ own special properties and benefits.
🌸Oil soluble Calendula for example, is well known to help calm sensitive skin, soothe rashes and calm inflammations.😌
🌹Rose petals are filled with antioxidants. Both rose oil and rose water contain vitamin A and C, which can help with aging skin.

Some herbs have both water and oil soluble compounds. So for example you can extract by water (infusions) or oil (macerates) the beautiful properties of rose petals collected in your garden. Each extract will contain specific chemicals of the plant, so you can use both the water & oil extract in one cream or cleanser to make a more potent product containing all compounds of that plant.🍀🌿🌺

Some simple extraction methods of palnt matter are:

Infusing plant in boiled water for a few minutes

Decoction, for harder roots, boiling in water for about 15 minutes

Macerating, leaving plant in oil that is warmed by heat or sun to gently extract their properties

Tinctures, leaving in alcohol for a strong extract

Glycerites, leave water soluble matter in glycerine

Here are some other extraction methods you can use to get your herbs into your skincare, which include distilling, (floral waters or essential oils and C02 extracts), but these are more complex and harder to do for the average DIY skincare creator.😌

Drying your herbs first is a great way to store them for longer periods and them use them as needed in the extraction method that is best.Once your plant matter is left for the proper time frame in your solvent of choice, strain it and then store in labeled jars.

How to use these extracts to make skincare?🤔
🌿in glycerites, tinctures or infusions use in the water phase
🌿in macerates use in the oil phase
🌿heat sensitive extracts should be used in cool down phase

Some examples of products you can then make:
🍀Balms or body butters with oil macerates
🍀Healing salves with macerates that can contain several plants like arnica or comfry
🍀Emulsions with infusions and glycerites
🍀Toners with water soluble extracts
🍀Massage oils with calming herbs
🍀Soothing gels to wash with
🍀Shampoos or soaps with water or oil extracts and tinctures
🍀Hair serums for specific scalp issues

What I am extracting this moment in my lab:

This week I am into chickweed, which I used by making a water decoction with lavender , nettle and chickweed as well as an oil macerate with chikweed and tumeric to make a cleansing bar for skin that is eczema prone.

I also made a healing oil for my sore hand with oil macerated with daisy, rosemary, arnica, lavender and several essential oils.

What plant will you use to make your own extractions, and what will you make with them?? Please share your plans with us !! We would love to see!!

Have a lovely day!!

La Formulatrice

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How to make aromatic macerates

Oil macerates floral
Hello formulating friends!! Today I want to talk abit about making beautiful smelling, aromatic macerates.
Macerated or infused oils are carrier oils that have been used as a solvent to extract therapeutic properties of a certain plant. The base oils can be olive, sunflower, jojoba, sweet almond, apricot or meadowfoam for example. Sable oils with a long shelf life and almost no natural odors are recommended.
To make an aromatic one like I just did with my coconut oil, fragrant flowers or oils are used. A typical example is Monoi oil, where the exotic Tiaré flower petals — also known as the Tahitian gardenia — are infused for there amazing aroma. The verb to macerate comes from Latin macerat- ‘made soft, soaked’.
Since ancient times, it was discovered that fats and oils absorb fragrances. Extractions of fragrances through fats predates Ancient Egypt and Africans use this technique as well.
There are 3 ways to make oil macerates.
1.On a hot water bath or bain marie (when in a hurry )
2. Let the jar sit in sun for a few weeks ( gentle heat is great if you have time and sun)
3.Let sit in a dark cupboeard for a few weeks ( best for more heat sensitive carrier oils)
Time of Infusion ⏳
3 to 6 weeks, until you feel all properties of plant are extracted.
Double or triple Infusion
For a more potend macerate, you can strain your first batch of herbs in oil and pour the same oil over a fresh bathc of the same herb. Do this 2 or 3 times, depending on the potency of the macerate you are looking for.
Mixing herbs
It is fine to put several herbs in one batch of oil, for example lavender and rosemary, or rose and cacao ( a favorite of mine) . You can create beautiful aromas, or get synergetic healing blends that work wonderfully together.
Dried or Fresh
Most herbs need to be completely dried before being macerating, or the water content will make your oil mold and spoil. Most plants have lots of water content and need to be 100% dry.
Exceptional cases are for certain herbs like sainh Johns Wort, in which hypericin (the compound in the herb that turns the oil red) is one of the main constituents you’re after. You won’t be able to extract it if you use dried plant material.
If you choose delicat aromatic herbs ( lightweight, thin leaves and flowers), you can choose to infuse them fresh, but you’ll want to let them wilt first for a few hours before placing them into the oil. Never place freshly washed herbs with residual moisture on them or herbs fresh with dew into a carrier oil. Always add an anti oxidant like vitamin E to help these oils last longer form rancidity.
How to make a floral aromantic oil
Rinse the flowers and put them on a paper towel to dry. When the flowers are dry, add them to a mason jar and pour pure coconut oil over the flowers. Set the jar in the window three to four hours a day every day for a month. By the end of month, you’ll have beautiful, finished monoi oil. A quicker method is to heat the oil and flower petals for a few hours gently on a water bath, then strain.
Benifits of Lily oil
Reduces spots of mature skin and reduces imperfections. Unifies the complexion, adds radiance to the skin, revives dull skin It is prized for its whitening and lightening action, smoothing and soothing while clearing overall complexion
Coconut oil.. reduses frizz and is great as a hair/ scalp treatment for dandruff or itchy scalp. Also can be used as an overall body moisturizer Makes for a beautiful aromatic massage oil which nourishes skin as well
Great plants to use in general:
Lavender, massage oil or helps with aches and pains, eczema, calming
Rose, beautiful aroma , nourish and regenerates,
Arnica, helps bruising, pain
Calendula, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, calming, dry cracked skin
Hypericum for a rich red color, anti-inflammatory, great for wound healing, burns, bruises
For Color:
Calendula (marigold) petals,
St. John’s Wort buds and flowers
Carrot root
Sea buckthorn berries
Aromatic plants to try for beautiful skincare additions or massage oils:
Gardenia (Tiaré)
Orange Blosson
So hope that was helpful and that you will get started in making some beautiful macerates yourself. Please share your finished ones with us!!! Courses on how to make your own macerates with full explanatiry iles, videos, and more are available here on my website as well .
La Formulatrice

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