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Bio-Identical Fragrance in Skincare

European Union Cosmetic Directives, USFDA and the Beauty Industry


Slid into our DM’s this week: “Hello! I'm just wondering what "Bio-Identical Fragrance" consists skin is pretty sensitive to synthetic fragrances. Before ordering, I just need to make sure I won't have a reaction to this. Thanks!” -Brooke

Oh Ms. Brooke! Well, since you asked…

The formulations of our anti-aging body care has been in development for nearly 20 years. The original concept came to be after years chasing outdoor adventure throughout the world or in the esthetician room taking care of the most exquisite clients from every walk of life.

The recurring theme I wanted to change was the idea that “taking care of your skin” meant your face. So many of my clients stopped their skincare right around their neck or chest, which never made sense! What about all the other bits you want to strut!

I spent my twenties and thirties in far-fetched regions of the world, in remote canyons and complicated villages; in scorching heat, torrential storms or snow-covered peaks. Kayaker, snowboarder, flower-chaser, thrill-seeker, moonchild—-whatever the word is. I mostly lived in and out of a variety of planes, trains and automobiles, and always carried a collection of lotions, potions and vials.

I am an esthetician. I know skin. I have never cut my “skincare” off at my neck.

I do think we are the first truly anti-aging skincare line expertly developed for the entire body, head-to-toe, that encompasses decades of real-life experience, data-driven research and global knowledge into these formulas. Usually, we talk about our fancy stem cells, peptides, fair-trade oils. We talk about the 350% slow-down of skin’s biological aging. We totally forget to tell you about the pretty scent!

I like smelling nice. I want to come off a long river day and smell of earth and flowers instead of gortex and gorp; walk into a dance-club in the middle of some mountain village enveloped in sweetness instead of the rusty bus I may have just come off of. I want to walk into the Chateau Marmont with a layered scent-story that can’t quite be replicated; lay next to my lover with a graceful fragrant veil.

Many of us do.

So we buy huge bottles of crappy lotion that smell nice, labels with the fragrance name instead of the ingredients driving our purchasing decisions. In the meantime, our skin struggles with imbalance, and the sourcing for those products wreaks havoc on people, place + planet.

Here’s the real-deal: IT IS REALLY HARD TO HAVE A BEAUTY BRAND WHEN YOU KNOW TOO MUCH ABOUT EVERY SINGLE ANGLE OF THE INDUSTRY. Over the next few weeks I hope to break down all the details from sourcing to label-printing to shipping. Today, we’re talking about our delicious scent.

Originally, I thought I would do the line un-scented. But, the actual experience needed a scent! My entire intuition exclaimed it! I tried unscented. It wasn’t right. Make me smell good!

Did you ever watch Harold and Maude? Remember the scent-machine? The experience that changes everything?

So I worked with an expert essential oil perfumer. Turns out, most of the scents I want to linger on skin come from sources which are shady, endangered, unethical or potentially toxic.

Sandalwood is not sustainable, though it’s scent is heavenly. Citrus oils are SO BAD for your skin. (STOP USING THEM!). Musk and other scents of this type have awful animal-sourcing issues. Palm-oil based is bad, period. The list goes on. (Don’t even get me started…)

It also didn’t feel right intuitively. During this process, I fully connected to the medicine essence of essential oils and now have a complicated relationship with using them for purely fragrant qualities, especially slathering daily without regards to seasonal exposure. They are this mysterious, stunning molecule of a plant and I believe there needs to be a lot more reverence for using essential oils.

So, the mission continued until I was introduced to nature-identical (bio-identical) fragrances.

“Nature-identical fragrances are a way to capture fragrances from nature in an environmentally sustainable way”. -Subha Patel

The scent molecules of a plant or natural component are thoroughly analyzed and re-created to provide an ethical sustainable fragrance. Yes, this means lab-created. Synthetic. (oooh, the bad word…)

I do not equate lab-created with toxic, the same that I don’t give “natural” a get-out-of-jail free card. It is so much more complicated.

The reason Skin and Sky uses the word “Intelligent” instead of “natural”, “green”, “eco”, etc., the reason we don’t have a gazillion seals on our labels is because we think the next level of beauty innovation can be revolutionary about effective skincare, the world and the people involved or continue to be about flashy marketing (which it has been since the 20’s).

It is going to take a way more comprehensive, intelligent, global thinking, community-driven holistic approach, and we need a commitment from customers to not be swayed by every scare-tactic marketing campaign.

It will depend on founders who seriously care, but we aren’t necessarily great at all the other bits. WE LOVE IT. And you. Intelligent Beauty Formulas. Intelligent, Badass Beauties. Intelligent.

Those of us at the forefront won’t always agree, but the only thing I judge on is whether or not each of us is really thinking it through, doing the best we can by you vs just going after a bottom line. And I am judgy in this regard.

Bath and Body works, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Love, Beauty + Planet? Dude, seriously? You hid your parent company well, but we know. Anita Roddick, we still salute you. Tata Harper, you rock. Please stay on your mission. You have so much influence right now and you are doing so f’n right by it. Indie beauty peeps, we love you to pieces. Used-to-be indie beauty now wrapped in silicone and single-use? Hope the profit is worth it…your karma sucks.

Skin and Sky follows European Union Cosmetic Directives. Super proud to be in the great US of A, (‘merica!) but also totally aware of the dirty hand-shakes keeping the food/beauty ingredients stagnant.

USA hasn’t refreshed the cosmetic ingredients laws for almost one hundred years!

For THE FIRST TIME EVER, the FDA is doing a survey of cosmetic companies! Awesome. That’s gonna take a second. Have you walked around a 99Cent store recently? Or Sephora? Have you dug into Amazon? Toxic-Pits!

Think about this when you realize many people use around 14 products between showering, hair + make-up. Cray-cray.

It’s not a perfect system, but since we couldn’t find a regulating body, we chose to self-regulate based on EU Cosmetics Directive. (Safe Cosmetics Campaign has made it SO HARD for smaller companies, and their recent collabs with shady behemoths make us not trust them for the time being. They’ve got a few things to prove).

European Union follows a strict, hazard-based, precautionary, extremely protective approach to skincare ingredients. The 2013 detectives continue evolving. It prohibits chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects, regardless of concentrations used, and goes deep into other issues related negative effects of ingredients.

(Seems kinda obvious right? Umm, duh.)

It is so annoying when I call out a company and they’re like: “Umm, well, we only use it at a small percentage…”

Umm, B*tch please.… (Insert eye-roll, excuse unspoken bad-word ) Aspirin is probably only .1% of the tablet and it still has an effect.

So many common beauty ingredients used at less than 1% show up in your urine! We don't yet have the data of what's happening en route!

Along with EU Directives, we also have more than two decades of experience working directly with skin, a network that includes experts in holistic, scientific and medical fields (PUBMED ACCESS 24/7!), and, above all, a commitment to do Create the Most Beauty, Do The Most Right and The Least Harm.

In creating SSB’s signature fragrance, I spent months working with a globally-respected fragrance house which I want to share but won’t because fragrance is the thing we all protect because we think we are special.

SSB went into deep conversation, language such as Luminous, Sexy AF, Sweet, Salty, Innocent Rebellion. Add a touch of flower, a lot of Earth, more Hope. More faith. More good. More living out of a Chloe Bag, less winter-blues. More get-down, swagger. Less ego. More moon-child. More stardust. More bless-that-soul. We created a few experiences.

After narrowing it to 7 options, I brought a dozen long-term clients, at that time mostly ladies with one transitioning Male-to-Female (totally don’t know the language. Teach!), for a true round-table. We narrowed it to 3.

After a few days, we asked their partners, boyfriends, husbands, lovers.

Which scent? It was unanimous.

Our signature scent was born.

So what’s in a fragrance?

Our fragrance formula is soul-rooted blend of plant-based + bio-identical aromatics created to delight and envelop you in a graceful, sensual, earth-loving aromatic veil. There is some rose, some pineapple, a vanilla rooted dirt. There is some ylang-ylang I brought home from a trip intertwined with a book-scent from a Northern California Inn. There is the mole from Mexico, the curry from Lombok, the swagger of Bariloche. The Sopa de Aiolini with Crem from the basement of my grandparent’s home in Veranopolis and the yeasty bread from Erechim. The sweetness may be from a plant, or from a kiss or embrace. The edge might be from a wood-base or from a rebellious-streak. The powdery softness from hope.

All these things were part of the creation. They represent a life well-lived.

So, darling Brooke…

Please accept that it’s taking us way too many beats to answer what should be a simple question. In another lifetime, maybe we’ll have easier answers. Right now, this is our version of condensed. You can probably see how many tangents we could’ve gone on.

I am not sure the best way to say we care for real. We think about it all (which is a lot). We will make mistakes along the way, and when we do, we swear to do right quickly. We don’t have sweaty money dudes breathing down our necks. We can slow down when we need to (and have).. It is a privilege we take seriously, and also the reason we aren’t as polished as we’d like to be.

The only way for you to see the skin results of SSB Age-Defying Body Care is to USE IT! And chances are, if it smells fantastic, and someone tells you that you smell nice, you will use it regularly, then you will see the data take effect! Win-Win.

We genuinely hope the fragrance works with your chemistry so that you can fully get to know our formulas. If you would like to try it before committing, drop us a line. Of the thousands of customers using these formulas, we have had a total of 4 reactions, mostly pin-pointed to a peptide reaction vs. fragrance.

But you never know.

Thank you for taking the time to ask. We have your back.

But, since we are talking about luscious scents anyways, what else are you loving? I like a mixture of SSB with Tom Ford Noir at night. During the day, SSB GETS IT DONE.

Brooke, thank you for asking. For taking the time. For being curious.

xo, mpp

A Few Extra Sources:

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Jul 26, 2019

So grateful for the intelligence, the love, and the fragrance veil.

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