you are here:

the merionwen blog

It is here that you will find all my thoughts, findings and musings on all things skincare related. I shall be adding hints and tips on keeping your skin in tip top condition. I shall share with you the findings of further research into natural skincare. I will post my thoughts and feelings on the ethics of the products and the skincare industry as I find it. I shall entertain you with my adventures in the Merionwen lab and now and again I shall even share with you the odd recipe or two.



all the fun of the fair

Category: merionwen's musings
soaps

Happy, sunny Sunday, potion lovers!

It may well be a day of rest but that doesn't comply here at Merionwen towers. However, is potioning really work? It certainly doesn't feel like it.

Today has led to the formulation of a few more goodies that will be coming soon. Stay tuned to find out what they are.

I am also busy buzzing away making more goodies for the coming fair next weekend.

We will be at Barton Marina for the first of a regular monthly outing. It's all rather exciting. Barton Marina is a lovely place and I have family links to the area. My Dear Old Dad was from Burton Upon Trent and we would spend many summer holidays visiting his side of the family (I grew up in Wales).

I am hoping we will find ourselves with a few regular customers from both Barton Marina and a regular monthly outing to Derby Market Hall.

This last few weeks has seen us making our faces known at both the Buxton Dome and Bakewell Town Hall.

Both events were equally lovely and both towns warm and welcoming. We were surrounded by both vintage goodies and wonderful crafts alike.

I would like to say thank you to The Vintage Suitcase,as both Gemma and Allison are a pleasure to deal with. They put on a spectacular show and are superb people.

I'm very pleased to say that we are going to rejoin the team on October 20th back at the beautiful Buxton Dome.

charlie

Charlie was in residence, with added mischief. Possibly because he was in the hands of Andrew the Barefoot techie hero.

We like to drag Charlie around with us to demonstrate our passion for making our products palm oil free.

We actively support Orangutan Appeal UK, and wish this to be known to all our customers as it is something we feel strongly about.

In fact we are in the process of formulation a product with a specific purpose. All the profits from this particular product will go to the charity. we will also continue to show out support by adopting a wee little baby Orangutan.

All in all, it seems we have quite a busy few months ahead of us.

It's all good :)

0
16:23:33 18-08-2013
 

from little acorns

Category: merionwen's musings

With just 4 days until opening the shop I am looking at my stock shelves with a furrowed brow.

In an ideal world I would have a huge list of stock, and many products lining the shelves like a veritable superstore.

In the real, and much more sensible world my stocks are a lot smaller.

Here is the reason why.

I wish to make sure I give the best quality products to my customers. To do this I make them in small batches that can be repeated at will. I don't make bulk amounts, nor allow any sort of compromise in the ingredients.

Everything I make is as chemical free as I can get it to be. In aqueous products (products with water) I have to add a preservative by law. Due to my desire to keep any preservative as naturally derived as possible it is more economical to make them in small batches.

This desire to remain as natural as possible also mean that the products have a shorter shelf life from say a body scrub purchased in tesco or sainsbury's. Therefore I cannot afford to have products sitting on shelves using up their valuable shelf life. I prefer to have all my products go out to my customers as fresh as possible. Some of my products will benefit from living in the fridge. I will send them out in double lined packaging to ensure freshness.

With this in mind I do hope my clients will not be disappointed when the shop launches with a limited number of products.

Once launched, however, more goodies will be going up daily.

You may find that the particular product seems to be sold out. This, in itself, should not put the customer off but encourage them to realise that they are going to get the freshest product possible. There will be a facility to request a "sold out" product. This will then be made up and sent to you in less than a week.

There will also be a coming soon symbol. This is to show customers products that are undergoing challenge testing or waiting for essential legal paperwork. It does not mean I have not got around to it. This will also be a valid method of showing you all what soap is available. It will be made up and cut and you will then be informed of what will be available. However, soap has a 4-6 week cure time so selling it immediately is not viable.

There is also scope for limited edition seasonal products. If these are waiting to cure or test then it will be possible to reserve them.

All in all, I simply ask my clients/customers to understand and be patient and they will have the best quality natural skincare I can provide.

M x

0
15:24:10 11-07-2013
 

labels, labels, labels

Category: merionwen's musings

I think labelling is rapidly becoming one of my primary bete noires.

There is so much to include in such a teeny tiny space.

They can prove massively expensive.

You have to make sure your design fits your ethos and aims.

And now, due to EU law you need to include even more info.

To those who are not in the know, the labels in an entirely natural product can read like one of the most chemical laden bottles of muck on the market.

You can't just tell people it is made with cocoa butter and shea? Oh no, they have to be told it contains theobroma cocoa and butyrospermum parkii.

Your beautifully crafted collection of simple and fresh goodies reads like a list of chemical warfare who's who.

So, what it the answer?

Well, my thoughts at the moment are to put both sets of ingredients on the list. Long complicated INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) names, alongside the names that will be recognised by the general public.

This only poses a problem with small things like lip balm.

My question is this. Do I add a box and place both product and small leaflet inside? I like the idea of people knowing what is really in a product and finding out a little about the choices I have made.

But, I am also attempting to reduce the packaging and carbon footprint of the products. Adding additional packaging seems to go against this ethic.

It's all food for thought and I've yet to make a decision.

Any thoughts would be most welcome.

M x

0
16:09:31 10-07-2013
 

parabens, why not?

Category: choosing natural skincare

Parabens, Why not?

Well first of all we need to know what a paraben is, and where to find it.

Parabens are a group of compounds (methyl-, butyl- and propyl- paraben, they are also known as hydroxybenzoic acid such as methyl-para-hydroxybezoic acid).

This class of chemicals is widely used across the board in cosmetic manufacture as a preservative.

They are also to be found lurking in the pharmaceutical industry. Found in off the shelf shampoo, moisturiser, shaving gel, deodorants, make up and toothpaste. These compounds and their associated salts are commonly used for their anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

It all sounds good so far doesn't it? After all who wants musty deodorant or furry moisturiser?

There are arguments going for and against the use of parabens. It has been widely circulated that the use of these compounds is mostly safe. However, it has also been widely publicised that parabens have been heavily linked to cancer. Personally I would rather err on the side of caution. Through research carried out at Reading University upon the breast tissue of patients who have undergone mastectomy due to breast cancer it was found that 99% of all the samples contained parabens 60% contained all five types of paraben that were being tested for.

Here is alink to NHS site that carries the relevant information.

Parabens can mimic the hormone oestrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. The paraben propyl paraben has been linked to a decrease in sperm level. This is with a daily intake of the accepted EU level of this paraben. The way it mimics oestrogen has been linked to young girls going through puberty at a younger age. An age where they may not be emotionally developed enough to cope with such changes without distress.

The jury is still hung over the effect of this chemical on the development of young adults and babies. However, I for one do not wish to take these risks with either my own lifestyle or in Merionwen's products.

It is for these reasons you will never find parabens in Merionwen's products.

If you want to get involved yourself have a look at the http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=291

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Indeed, there are much kinder forms of preservative out there. Due to EU law we have to have a preservative in hydrous products as the very presence of water can encourage fungal and bacterial growth. Rest assured, Merionwen will only use the most natural, gentle and kind preservatives.

One such preservative I shall be using is Preservative Eco. The ingredients are as follows :-

Benzyl alcohol. An organic compound, benzyl alcohol is produced naturally by many plants and is commonly found in fruits and teas. It is also found in a variety of essential oils including jasmine, hyacinth, and ylang-ylang. It acts as a bactericide.

Salicylic Acid. An organic acid the term salicylic comes from the latin salix meaning willow. It has historically been extracted from willow bark and meadowsweet and used as the active ingredient in aspirin. It acts as a bactericide.

Glycerine. A by-product of soap making. Even soap made with natural ingredients! It is a clear, viscose liquid that is harmless and used across the board as a suspension for other compounds.

Sorbic acid. Isolated from unripe rowan berries this is an entirely natural compound. It is antimicrobial in it's action. It has the added advantage of degrading quickly in soil so it has long been considered extremely environmentally friendly.

Now enough science and back to the blending room.

0
19:37:04 20-06-2013