“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.
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“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