Weekend Wondering: Measuring in drops?

I'm still working my way through my e-mail and comments. I'm currently on Novemer 19th for comments and in early November for mail. Thank you for your continued patience. 

In this post, Preservatives, tafchk asks: How do you know how many drops to use for a given percentage please?

The short answer is that we don't use drops in our recipes or products, so I don't know that information.

We don't use volume measurements like drops for our ingredients - like preservatives, cosmeceuticals, essential oils - because it's simply too inaccurate. Is that drops from an eye dropper, a large eye dropper, a large or small pipette, an orifice bottle, a dropper bottle like the picture, and so on? Drops aren't the same out of each container, so to tell you that 10 drops of liquid Germall Plus is equal to 0.5 grams would be completely wrong because that only applies to my eye dropper, pipette, or bottle.

Viscosity plays a huge part as well. Every oil is slightly different than the next, so to say that every essential, fragrance, or carrier oil is x drops to 1 gram is incorrect. Avocado oil is much thicker than fractionated coconut oil, and you'd end up using too much or too little even if we were using the same dropper.

Lest you think this isn't a big deal, there are a few huge problems you'll encounter if you want to measure in drops. The first is accuracy. If you're dealing in drops for essential oils, you could be using too much or too little of what you want. You might be adding too much oil to a lotion, which can throw the emulsification out of whack. Or you could be adding too little preservative, which can lead to icky contamination. All of these are concerns when you're measuring by volume or other inaccurate methods.

The second is scaling up. It's not the worst thing in the world to measure out 20 drops in 100 grams of lotion, but do you want to measure 200 drops in 1000 grams of lotion, a reasonable size for a batch?

The third is the ability to duplicate what we've done before. If you measure out 10 drops of something, are you sure the next time you make it you'll use the same dispensing method and same vicosity ingredient to end up making the same awesome product?

By using grams, we ensure we get exactly how much we want in a product and can duplicate it again. You can convert those drops in a recipe into weight by measuring them on a scale and making a note of how much you used. You might need a tiny scale - see tomorrow's post for information on those - but it'll be worth your time to figure it out.

As an aside, I know there are standardized measurements in different fields like pharmaceuticals and medicine for what constitutes a drop, but those aren't applicable to cosmetic chemistry. And even then I couldn't find information on a standardized measurement that works for every possible oil. 

Related posts:
Why we weigh our ingredients
Weight vs volume
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Review: Avon Nailwear Pro+ Nail Enamel (White, Yellow, Raw and Rosie Gold)

Avon's Nailwear Pro+ nail range got a bit of a metallic update. They've added four metallic shades to their regular range. If you're looking for a high shine metallic nail polishes, look no further.


There's four shades to choose from: Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rosie Gold and Raw Gold.

These come in a regular square glass bottle with plastic black top. In each is 10 ml of product and the regular price is 5.90€. Currently you can get them for 2.90€ (Slovenia).


Brush is regular. It's not too wide and it's straight cut. It makes the application easy and it doesn't particularly leave stripes. Formula is just the right consistency, well maybe a bit on the wet side.


For full opacity you will definitely need at least two coats. I always apply one light layer and then go over it with a second thicker coat, as you can see on photos below.

Every formula has some shimmer in it. It looks like they all have a fairly transparent base with lots of very small shimmer that gives nails that lovely metallic shine. The formula actually looks a bit more unique than my other metallic nail polishes which don't have that much shimmer in them and they can dry a bit uneven. These dry quickly and even

They have a good lasting power. On me these last for about 4 days. I think the shimmer in the formula definitely makes it last longer.



White Gold is surprisingly my favorite shade of these all. I never thought I would say this for a silver color. It's essentially a very light silver color and it's cool toned. I love it, because this one is the lightest and therefore also the most shiny and the most metallic of them all. In fact, it really reminds me of that mirrored effect powder that I see a lot on the internet. From afar it looks exactly like it, but just not as clear.






Yellow Gold is a light yellow based gold cool shade. This one is unique in color, because it's really yellow toned and it's also shiny, but not as much as White Gold.






Raw Gold is medium silver with just a hint of green undertone. It's also cool toned and looks like a darker version of White Gold. This one too me looks the most industrial looking.






Rosie Gold is like a warm mix of rose and copper. It's actually a bit more coppery based but has that hit of rose in the mix. This is my second favorite shade, because I love coppers and this one is a unique one in my collection. I find that it's the least shiny of them all. It's probably because of the color. Silvers and light colors always look shinier.







These are lovely metallic nail polishes. Usually I use metallic nail polishes as a accent nails or for nail art. I don't really like to wear them on their own. White Gold is an exception. I adore this shade, because it has such a high shine and it just makes a statement. So, if you're planning on buying at least one shade, I advise you to get White Gold. Other shades are just as pretty, is just about finding the right shade for you. Formula is lovely and it applies easily. They dry fast and have a good lasting power. I love the shimmer in them, which makes them really shiny and bold.

*Products were sent to me.





Avon je v svojo linijo Nailwear Pro+ lakov dodal kovinske lake. Dodali so štiri kovinske odtenke. Če iščete lake s kovinskim videzom in visokim sijajem, vam ni treba več iskati.

Izbirate lahko med štirimi odtenki: Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rosie Gold in Raw Gold.

Imajo kvadrataste stekleničke s plastičnim črnim pokrovom. V vsakem je 10 ml izdelka in redna cena je 5.90€. Trenutno jih lahko dobite za 2.90€ (tukaj).

Laki imajo običajen čopič, ki ni preveč širok in je ravno odrezan. Čopič omogoča lahek nanos, ki ravno ne pušča črt kot je to včasih značilno za druge kovinske lake. Formula ima ravno pravo konsistenco. Mogoče je malo bolj tekoča.

Za popolno prekrivnost morate nanesti vsaj dva sloja. Jaz vedno nanesem en tanek sloj nato pa grem čez z še enim debelejšim slojem. Kako to izgleda lahko vidite tudi na fotografiji.

Vsaka formula vsebuje zelo majhne bleščice. Izgleda kot da imajo laki dokaj prosojno podlago z veliko majhnimi bleščicami, ki laku dajejo ta kovinski sijaj. Formula je unikatna, če jo primerjam z drugimi mojimi kovinskimi laki. Ti nimajo toliko bleščic in se večkrat posušijo precej neenakomerno. Avonovi se sušijo precej hitro in enakomerno.

So dobro obstojni. Na mojih nohtih ostanejo približno štiri dni. Bleščice v formuli so tiste, ki pripomorejo k daljši obstojnosti lakov.

White Gold je moj najljubši odtenek izmed vseh. Kar me je presenetilo, ker gre za srebrn odtenek. V bistvu je svetlo srebrn hladen odtenek. Všeč mi je, ker je najsvetlejši odtenek in je zaradi tega tudi najbolj sijoč in najbolj kovinski. Spominja me na tisti prah, ki nohtom daje sijaj ogledala. Od daleč izgleda zelo podobno temu, ampak sijaj ni tako jasno viden.

Yellow Gold je svetlo zlat odtenek z rumenim podtonom. Je unikaten odtenek, ker je precej rumenkast. Ni tako sijoč kot White Gold.

Raw Gold je srednje srebrn odtenek s čisto rahlim zelenkastim podtonom. Je hladen odtenek in izgleda kot temnejša verzija White Gold. Meni osebno deluje najbolj industrijsko.

Rosie Gold je topla mešanica roza in bakrene. Je bolj bakren odtenek, ki pa ima roza pridih. To je moj drugi najljubši odtenek, ker obožujem bakrene odtenke in ta je precej unikaten v moji kolekciji. Zdi se mi najmanj sijoč od vseh. Predvidevam, da zato, ker so svetlejši in srebrni odtenki vedno bolj sijoči oziroma vsaj tako delujejo.

So čudoviti kovinski laki. Po navadi uporabljam kovinske lake bolj kot dodatke k drugi manikuri ali pri kakšnih dizajnih. Same po sebi jih ne nosim. White Gold je postal izjema. Obožujem ta odtenek. Ima res zelo sijoč sijaj in je pravi odtenek, ki pritegne poglede. Če nameravete kupiti vsaj en odtenek, vam pripročam ravno tega. Ostali odtenki so prav tako zanimivo. Najti si morate odtenek, ki vam najbolj odgovarja. Formula je dobra in se lepo nanaša. Sušijo se hitro in so dobro obstojni. Všeč so mi bleščice v njih, ker so zaradi njih zelo sijoči in bolj zanimivi.

*Izdelki so mi bili poslani.
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Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion SPF50 PA+++

It's so damn hard to come back to blogging after an extended break. Even harder when you are feeling sick. And it's cold outside. And you have a crapload of work to take care of before Monday morning.

Anyway, enough of this self-pity. We have a cushion review to write.

Today's contestant is none other than Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion SPF50 PA+++ in shade 012.



The name definitely is an improvement over the previous Diorsnow Bloom Perfect Blooming Skin something something cushion. And I feel like this is the only improvement and I could basically finish this review right here, right now.

Dior, I love you darling and you know it. But, damn... What is up with those shit cushions you keep releasing?
You have a direct pipeline to the Korean cushion gods themselves, the mighty Amore Pacific, and yet, even with their help and licensing, you still can't make a decent cushion. Oh, for fucks sakes, I'm done being pleasant here.

By now everyone should know what a cushion foundation is. If not, get on with the program and read some reviews (click here). It's basically liquid foundation in a compact. The foundation sits inside (or under, in some cases) a sponge on which you press with a applicator puff. Hence "cushion".
So there you have it, your portable liquid foundation that is easy to apply on the go.

Amore Pacific, the Korean cosmetic giant responsible for brands such as Iope, Sulwhasoo, Hera, Hanyul  and many, many others, is the granddaddy of cushion foundations. It holds a bunch of patents that make cushions possible. Dior wanted some of this cushion goodness and developed its cushions using Amore Pacific patents. The story is more complicated than that, but this is the TL;DR version for those of us with really short attention spans.




But before we proceed any further, I have a confession to make.

I am over cushions.
So over cushions.

I was an early adopter and really gave them my all. Don't get me wrong, I still like cushions. But given a choice of spending my hard earned cash on a cushion or a bottle of traditional liquid foundation, I am going to go with the liquid.
Why? Cost-performance. And hygiene. But mostly the fact that with cushions you have to spend a lot of money for a minuscule amount of product. Which may, or may not, be crap.

So yeah, I'm over cushions...


I wasn't going to buy this one.
I had no intention of buying this one.
I went in for some nail polishes and the sales lady remembered me from back in February when I was lamenting how quickly the previous Dior cushion oxidized.

This time the lady was prepared.
As soon as I sat down to wait for my nail polish swatches to dry, she grabbed the cushion and started to show me the new shades.


Here they all are. In Japan the darkest shade (030) isn't available.
I was going to go to the department store with my trusty MAC NC15 tube for comparison purposes, but I've been feeling lazy. I'll swatch all the colors soon and post an update.

My cushion comes in shade 012. It's not the lightest color, but it's nowhere near as dark as it looks in the screenshot above.



And what else can I tell you?
This cushion still oxidizes in a hurry. Granted, not to the point of some other base makeup products (ahem ahem, Blooming cushion, I'm looking at you), but close.

However, when applied over a white, glowing base, it looked pretty decent. That was what fooled me. That's why I bought this cushion. Unfortunately, when I brought it home and tried to play with it the next day, it didn't play nicely at all.


It hated my usual sunblocks.
Yes, despite having SPF50 PA+++, this is not a stand alone  sunscreen. Don't be an idiot. Don't rely on a makeup product as your only source of sun protection. It amazes me that some beauty bloggers actually refer to cushion foundations as "sunscreens". They are not. They are makeup. But hey, it's your face and your photo aging process, so enjoy!

So anyway, this Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion hated the usual sunblocks I use. It would roll and flake forcing me to redo parts of my routine.



It needed to be set with powder.
Now, on a normal day I have nothing against that. But... it seemed to only like the loose powder from Dior. With that combo it looked perfect. The other loose powders I tested it with (Laura Mercier, Kanebo, different Kanebo and Kose) made it settle angrily into wrinkles and fine lines. Seriously, it accentuated fine lines in places I didn't know I had them.

And finally, its staying power.
Less than 5 hours. More like 4 hours. And that was with using a primer. This is not what I expected from a cushion that cost me an arm and a leg and a firstborn.  Meh all around.


So, that's what I say. Because what I say is the reason why you're reading this review in the first place. But, in the name of fairness, let's check out what the marketing honchos at Dior have to say about this cushion.

Blurbs about Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion SPF 50 PA+++ straight from the box:



And in detail:



And here in a language that I can actually understand:

Image source: Dior website

Such awesome claims would mean an awesome ingredient list, right?
Right?
Well... not quite...

Dior Capture Totale DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion SPF 50 PA+++ ingredients:


Dior touts its organic gardens somewhere in the Alps and Madagascar.  That's supposedly where the "natural" ingredients came from. Well, you know what? They are at the very end of this ingredient list. They do nothing in this product and any magical skincare results you allegedly experienced while using this cushion, are nothing but wishful thinking.

I'm very curious about these Dior gardens and would like to visit them someday. Or at least locate them on google maps, or something. Because considering the sheer number of products that Dior offers, and considering that nearly all of these products require plant extracts, these gardens must be mighty huge to meet all the demand. Or, it just shows you that the highly touted ingredients appear in truly minuscule amounts. Just enough to justify fancy marketing slogans.

Source: Dior website

And hey Dior, I always wanted to visit Madagascar. Hook me up! I want to see your Dior Gardens there!

Now, the color...

Here are the swatches of Dior Capture Totale Dreamskin Perfect Skin Cushion SPF 50 PA+++ in shade 012:


See what I mean?
Why the hell did I buy this thing in the first place?


Overall, I am very disappointed. It's a very average cushion with an above than average price tag.
For 8500 yen plus tax (yes, I live in Japan and that's where I bought it) you get two refills of 15 grams each and a compact. Standard stuff for Korean cushions, but a generous novelty among western and Japanese brands.

The puff is identical to the puffs you can find in Korean roadshop brand cushion compacts:


It doesn't feel as sturdy as the typical blue and white Amore Pacific puff we all know and love. This is a flimsier version.


The surface is protected by a sticker so you know that nobody else was playing with your cushion.
When you peel off the sticker you can see that the sponge (the cushion) is the same as in the older generation cushions from Amore Pacific brands:


It's a lot finer than the abominations offered by the L'Oreal brands. Finer pores mean that the foundation is dispensed a lot more evenly onto the puff, and hence easier to apply on your face.

So, is there anything else I can tell you about this cushion?
Other than "save your money and don't buy this crap"?

Let's see...


The finish is moderately glowy, the coverage is minimal. It will even out the skin tone but that's about it. It won't cover any major redness or blemishes. It may accentuate pores and settle in wrinkles. It will oxidize.

I always say "In Dior We Trust" when it comes to color makeup.
But Dior still has a long way to go before they make a cushion that we can trust.

If however, you like fancy logos and high end brand names impress you, then by all means, go out and buy it. Just don't complain later on.
You've been warned...


Final verdict?

For 8500 yen plus tax I could have had 15.3 tall dark mocha chip soy frappuccinos. That means about one every week for 4 months. Yet instead I have this crappy cushion...
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L’Oreal Blush Sculpt Trio Contouring Blush


In the latest contour orientated collection, L'Oreal went a step further and included a set of blushes as well. Both "mini palettes" consist of three shades: a highlighter, a sort of an emphasising centre colour and the base blush. Basically it's designed to work as a contouring blush, meaning you play with different intensities to get I guess the plumpest looking cheeks. Nice idea, but I'm not that thrilled about the execution and the packaging doesn't enable the use described in the instructions. It might if the centre panel were wider because now I can't grab just that colour. You can use this as a blush colour and highlighter separately if you wish, or just mix everything


Texture: These are quite hard blushes, which is a good thing considering how close the shades are to each other because they aren't so powdery that the shades would mix like at BeYu contour palette. Despite being more tightly pressed, they have more than enough pigmentation. The brush picks up product quickly, with the pink one I need about two layers, but at the bronze one I need to be very careful because it's very pigmented. The highlighters have some chunky glitters which is never a good look and both blushes have a mix of a sheen plus individual bits of glitter on the cheeks, though they are not very obvious on the skin unless you're under direct sunlight.


102 Nude beige
This is definitely not a blush for pale people and I have no idea how it would look on darker skin tones, but to me it looks like a bronze eyeshadow trio. It's very, very pigmented and dark, so I need to use only a small amount, but it just looks too brown-peachy on me.  The highlighter is quite golden with bigger shimmer, the middle is a muted peachy shade and the last shade is a bronze colour with shimmer.
 

201 Soft Rosy
The more wearable one of the two, at least for my skin tone, but it's a very classic baby doll/bubble gum shade. The highlighter is in a shade of cotton candy, the centre is interesting a peachy shade and the last shade is a standard pink. It's less strongly pigmented than 102 and easier to apply.

Staying Power: Nothing to write come about, but shimmer persist almost to the end.

Packaging: This is a packaging that would work for an eyeshadow, but as a blush, you can't use each shade individually unless you use a thin blush. The centre panel can only be picked up with an eyeshadow brush, however, you can simply use these together, but that sort of fails the purpose of this brush.

Price and availability: These cost 11.99 € and are sold in almost every drugstore.


Honestly, it's a bit hard for me to be excited about a Barbie pink and bronze blush with shimmer, as I tend to wear more natural looking colours on my cheeks, but these are nicely pigmented blushes which apply well and you do get three colours in one. In terms of quality these do deliver, however, you can't do actual contouring with them. Review of the contour palettes is here.

*PR product.
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Weekday Wonderings: How to get a gel without using synthetic ingredients?

In this post, Oil free moisturizer, Tim asks: I'm thinking of formulating a completely water-based soothing moisturising gel using natural/nature-derived ingredients. So far I'm thinking of Honeyquat for the humectant as well as a marshmallow glycerine extract a bit of extra humectant and as the emollient. The rest of it would be something like a camomile or other soothing hydrosol with additional water added. I'm just wondering what gelling agent/thickener you would suggest to get a similar consistency to the common Aloe vera gels? I'd like to stay clear of Ultrez-21 and other synthetic thickeners.

Aloe vera gels that we buy from our suppliers is not a natural gel. It's aloe vera liquid combined with something to create a gel, like a carbomer or other gelling agent.

Most of the time, aloe vera gel'll have an INCI like this one  INCI: Aloe Barbensis Leaf Extract (and) Aqua (and) Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross-Polymer (and) Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (from Voyageur Soap & Candle) or Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (and) Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (from The Herbarie). So it's aloe vera liquid and Ultrez 20, a carbomer or gelling agent that I like to use quite a bit, mixed together to make a gel.

You could make a gel with my new favourite gelling ingredient, Sepimax ZEN, as seen in the picture above, which can handle aloe vera and all its electrolytes much better. I promise I'll share more with you about this ingredient shortly. There's just so much to write about and I'm trying to catch up on comments first! 

You can find some gels, like this one - INCI: Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Sclerotium Gum, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate (from Ingredients to Die For) - that contain other gelling agents, like the sclerotium gum, but there is always a gelling agent in the mix. Otherwise, you're buying aloe vera juice that is a liquid.

As an aside, I've seen "aloe vera gel" sold at some suppliers, but it's very clear that it's a liquid, not a gel. I'm talking about ingredients that are thickened like gels that contain aloe vera. 

You have some choices in how to gel your products - carbomers, Sepimax ZEN, Sepinov EMT 10, xanthan gum, sclerotium gum, guar gum, and so on - and I'm not really sure what to suggest to you. It's hard to make any suggestions without knowing your exact ingredient list, so my suggestion is to write up your recipe, get the ingredients, have some fun in your workshop, then record the results. You can do some research beforehand to learn a few things that might conflict, like honeyquat as a cationic with xanthan gum, to save you time and money!

I have to be completely honest with you when I say I haven't found a gum that I like. I have found they feel sticky and a bit snotty on my skin. (I'm not trying to be mean; this is one of the words used to describe xanthan gum). I'm working with guar gum quite a bit lately, which I definitely prefer to xanthan gum, but I'm still not in love with it the way I am with Sepimax ZEN or Sepinov EMT 10. Gels aren't inherently sticky; it's what we add to them that makes them that way. Keep that in mind as you work with the your recipe!

I know my lovely readers will have some suggestions for you, so I'll open the floor to them: What would you suggest for making a gel without using synthetic ingredients for Tim? 
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