“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” Franz Kafka
Never without a makeup remover, post shower oil or a good face serum if you have a bottle of olive oil in your kitchen (which i guess you do). The oil you dip your bread in can also have great benefits for your skin. Basically the chemical principles of cleaning your face with olive oil is that “like dissolves like.” It means that oil-based makeup and the oil on your skin would dissolve when olive oil is used as a cleanser. Almost every waterproof mascara i had to fight with came off with olive oil.
But it is also a great moisturizer and anti-carcinogenic. Two studies on mice have found that out: One study showed that topical application of olive oil delayed the onset of UVB-caused tumors (read here). Another study found that a diet rich in olive oil helped inhibit lung cancer (see here), so keep dipping that bread in olive oil. Several classes of polyphenols it contains are the reason for both cases (read it here).
Another great fact is that olive oil not only protects from UV-induced tumors but has also been shown to help protect skin from UV-rays altogether (see here). Resveratrol, an antioxidant polyphenol with major anti-aging properties (read here) can also be found in Olive oil (see here). So i think we have plenty scientific research on olive oil telling us a few drops on your skin every now and then is more than good for you. Just be sure to have a good cold-pressed version of it. Hungry for olives, Ea Birkkam.
“Art is the right hand of Nature. The latter has only given us being, the former has made us men.” Friedrich Schiller
Babassu Oil or cusi oil is a South American light yellow vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of Attalea speciosa (a palm). In cosmetics this oil has properties similar to coconut oil and is a great alternative to it. Babassu oil is about 70 per cent lipids (mostly Lauric-, Myristic-, Palmitic-, Oleic-, Stearic Fatty Acid; read here) and therefore a great skin-like oil since Lauric and myristic acids have melting points comparable to human body temperature. It makes a great solid melt followed by a cooling sensation.
Buriti Oil or moriche oil comes from a South American swamp palm. It is a dark orange oil extracted from the fruit of the moriche palm. The oil contains high concentrations of oleic acid, tocopherols (vit e) and carotenoids (vit a), especially betacarotene (more here). There is scientific research about the Oil on filtering and absorbing cancer-causing UV rays from the sun (see here). It would make a great tanning oil with light spf.
Tamanu Oil, a polynesian dark/greenish inedible oil, has proven track record as a skin healing agent through its unique process of Cicatrization (ability to speed up wound healing and promote the formation of new tissue, read here). It is a widely used traditional tropic aid and Pacifit island folk medicine uses it liberally on cuts, burns, insect bites, acne and more. Feeling tropical, Ea Birkkam
“What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.” Henri Matisse
Blue, calming and naturally anti-inflammatory. Azulene, named after the Spanish word for “blue,” azul, is an organic compound; an isomer of naphthalene, the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (see here). Whereas naphthalene is colourless, azulene is beautifully dark blue, i really like the colour. Almost since the 15th century it is derived from the steam distillation of chamomile, blue tansy, roman chamomile or yarrow. Azulene oil is a very calming ingredient and used in skincare products for sensitive, irritated skin. The fact it is calmingly blue (see this exotic azulene-coloured mushroom here) makes it a very interesting colouring compound aswell.
Sadly azulene is mildly comedogenic and slightly problematic for people with super-oily skin. Furthermore ther seems to be research indicating that azulene can cause cellular mutation when exposed to UVA light and you might want to stick to rinse off products only if you expose your skin to alot of sun. But still, it makes a fantastic ingredient for an anti-redness face mask, just be sure to wash it off. Calmly, Ea Birkkam
“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” Albert Camus
Visagist favourite and almost every good skincare brand offers one: micellar water. You have Rodial, L’Oreal, Taaj, YSL, Caudalie, Avène, Dior, Garnier, Vichy, La Roche-Posay etc… if you want to try them all, you better bring a big basket. Did you know Bioderma sells a bottle of their hyped Crealine H20 Water every 6(!) seconds? What are micelles and what is micellar water? Basically we have to take a look back at high school chemistry: a micelle takes shape when a variety of molecules including soaps and detergents (surfactants) are added to water, this is what we learned back then. So technically speaking regular soap water is already a micellar water. But a quick look at the ingredients of our micellar water cleanser tells us there is mysteriously more. Amateur research on the ingredients is hard for micellar water cleansers since possibly skin-irritating surfactants are not as harsh when they reach a certain concentration in water, they form ball-shaped structures, the micelles, instead.
You can basically breakdown the ingredients of micellar water cleansers to this: Water, a Glycol (e.g. Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol) – acting both as a humectant and hydotrope (improves solubulity of the the makeup in the surfactant), a Solubiliser (e.g. Polysorbate 20) – the surfactant that does the cleansing, a Preservative and Fairy Dust. All in all what you have is a product with make-up removing properties that doesn’t foam as much as traditional cleansers and looks and feels more like water (read more at the fabulous Beauty Brains). It is mild, easy to use (no washing off) and feels innovative. There might be a massive amount of micellar waters not claiming to be one, chances are high you have it already in your bath cabinet. Love, Ea Birkkam.
“White is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black” G. K. Chesterton
My grandmother once plucked a strawberry from our gardens and rubbed it on her teeth, back then she told me it ‘brightens the teeth’ and ‘was the only known treatment against teethstains before dentists offered In-office bleachings’. I was bewildered and i did not know why it worked, but it did and from that moment on i kept on immolating at least one strawberry of a batch for the sake of a whiter smile.
Later i heard about baking soda having the same effect on the colour of the teeth, strawberry and baking soda worked even better. 2 ingredients are the main reasons for its working properties: Malic acid of the Strawberries and Sodium bicarbonate in the baking soda. Malic acid, which ocurrs in apples, especially green ones, celery and carrot strip dark stains from the teeth and increase the saliva production, which is good for the gum. Sodium bicarbonate works as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums and restores the acid balance in the mouth, it has antiseptic properties aswell to help prevent infections. Teeth hygiene can’t be more effective and minimalistic. Best, Ea Birkkam
today: trinity blanche/ the shirt dress, floral fragrance, eyeliner
-read more about it here
-like? order it here
“Each one of us must carry within the proof of immortality, it cannot be given from outside of us. To be sure, everything in nature is change but behind the change there is something eternal.”
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
What do Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Wheat Germ Oil and Sharks (yes) have in common? It is not the beginning of a bad joke, rather a connection to a 30-carbon organic compound (Squalene/see here) whose saturated form (Squalane/see picture above) acts both as a very good emollient and moisturizer in cosmetics. Squalene is a clear, scentless and low-viscous lipid that occurs with appr. 5-12 per cent in the skin’s own hydro-lipid layer. Squalane however is not as auto-oxidating prone and the fact that it is non-toxic and non-irritating makes it a cosmetic ingredient almost too good to be true.
Sadly there is a downside. A lot of sharks are being killed for having high amounts of Squalene in their body, especially the liver, because they lack of a swim bladder and this is nature’s solution to reduce their body density (read more here). To dissociate from the cruel slaughter but still benefit from a great ingredient like it manufacturers prefer the term Phytosqualan in their products which points out the vegetarian origin. I really cannot wait to involve this compound in my lab actions, it is said to have a super silky and smooth feeling on the skin. I really like the way the molecule looks too, someone please make a silver necklace in this pattern. Excited, Ea Birkkam
“Receiving a new truth is like adding a new sense.”
Justus von Liebig
It is both fun and detailed work to finally limit my assortment of ingredients to a small final range. There is this vision of a high quality, ecologically worthwhile but very minimalistic and futuristic line of cosmetic products and, as i am used from synthesizing lab chemicals, things do not always work perfectly with the first try, to put it mildly. Maybe this is the first time my given endurance pays out.
Anyways, i have already a compiled selection of ingredients that i want to share, interesting in their skin properties, ecologically and beautiful in their chemical structure. I feel attracted by beautiful symmetries and molecules in interesting shapes and angles. Above you see 3 of the prettiest molecules that naturally occur in oils and fats i found. I am sure even the most fashion crazed blog reader will see scientific beauty in them. They would make a spectacular repeating pattern on a T-Shirt. Best, Ea Birkkam
“Geometry is the foundation of all painting.”
From minimalistic to bold, this is the year of extraordinary eyeliner experiments (see pic above | source). The hosts of this year’s eyeliner looks are of an extravagant species, their natural habitat is both front row fashionshow seat and probably the next Björk MoMa Exhibition. Are you in for this year’s eyeliner experiments? Beautiful, geometric details and fancy eyeshape-changing lines. Thanks to Sephora, Benefit and Dior, we are extra excited to try new innovations and highly anticipated mechanics. I already ordered a version of the funky, rubber blade eyeliner of Benefit. Just couldn’t resist to try it out, expect a blogpost of my look. Love, Ea Birkkam