‘It has been a while in the making, but this is my new Body Cream’

By: Dr. Jetske Ultee
‘It has been a while in the making, but this is my new Body Cream’
This still remains an anxious moment every time. When a new product, after a long time tweaking and fine tuning, actually roles off the production line. Around three years ago, I began to think about developing a body cream. As, in fact, with all my products, it came about because I needed it myself. I could still find mild, fragrance free products for the body, but trying to find a cream or lotion with a balanced combination of enough antioxidants, soothing and barrier repairing substances seemed to be like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. And, so, I decided to develop my own product with a firm wish list. I knew what I wanted, but could that be made…?

My wish list

> Safe ingredients The most important thing every time is that all of the ingredients are safe. Most definitely with a body cream because you are applying so much of it. The substances used, however, should not only be safe for your body but also for the environment. Of course you don’t rinse the product straight down the drain and into the environment. There can, however, be some cream left over on your skin when you wash your hands, or have a shower, which can end up in the waste system. Basically it is also important that a product is completely biodegradable.

> Active substances I receive news briefs with the latest discoveries in the field of skin care daily. And I do check through them, because you never know, one day there may be a gem amongst them. Sadly, though, it is almost always a commercial plug. It is very easy to draw you into the finest stories because, I mean it, if you believe all of the claims and promises there wouldn’t be a wrinkle or pimple in the world.

I would rather use substances which have been scientifically researched in depth and, from which we are certain, are safe for long term use. I am also interested in more stable and effective variations of existing ingredients. I do like to make use of those.

For the Body Cream I had no hesitation in choosing the familiar and well researched substances niacinamide and liquorice root. These ingredients are stable and there is no longer any doubt about the positive effects they have on the skin. So it’s not surprising that I have been using them in my facial skincare range since day one. I’ve seen so many super results in people, that I definitely wanted these ingredients in my body skincare cream. This was not quite apparent yet though.

Liquorice root in its pure form (so without being extracted) is extremely expensive. That is why manufacturers rarely use it in their products. So, I am quite pleased that a sufficiently high concentration of it is in my body cream. And because I sell my products directly to the customer I am able to keep my 500ml bottle affordable. And that is also important for a body product.

> Fragrance Free I had some more wishes and requirements. My Body Cream had to be mild enough that it could, for instance, even be used on the sensitive skin of children. That means being fragrance free, naturally, but I also wanted my cream to smell neutral. I can assure you that this was not easy to achieve because many ingredients have a naturally unpleasant smell. Botanical oils are a good example.

Those who follow my blog will know that I am a real fan of abyssinian oil and camellia japonica seed oil. But version after version that we tried with these oils seemed to retain that rather musty smell every time. I am very used to the smell of pure botanical oils now, but my team and my disapproving daughters, especially, found it extremely disturbing. Another factor which played a more important part was the risk of oxidation; under adverse conditions this can occur within a year. I only keep my oils for a short time and in cool conditions now, but should those who buy my product also do this? And a body lotion containing oxidised oil is not so beneficial for your skin after all… So back to fine stable and trustworthy alternatives that I use in the rest of my skincare range.

> Feel on the skin After I had developed a good base, the consistency then had to be fine-tuned. I wanted a rich but not a sticky product (who’s got time in the morning to let a cream absorb in for half an hour before getting dressed). And the skin needs to feel super soft. Really, you should have seen how many samples we’ve tried out. Fortunately, my family and the ‘test team’ kept patiently applying and helping because the proportions of ingredients in a cream need to be just right in order to get the feel on the skin just right.

And then the laboratory tests

After I approved my product it then had to go through a lot of external tests. Starting with stability tests, does the product stay active and stable for long enough, even in low and high temperatures? Compatibility tests also had to be carried out. How does the product react to the chosen packaging? And this also needs to be observed at different temperatures and over a number of months.

The challenge tests were also still to come. I work with the minimum of preservatives, but is that enough to prevent the growth of bacteria and moulds if the product is contaminated? Extensive safety reports also had to be made, whereby each ingredient used is scrutinised separately. Last but not least we also asked a German laboratory to carry out tests on how a large group of people with over sensitive skin (e.g. with a cosmetics allergy or eczema) reacted to the product. A test for which the product also passed with flying colours!

But finally by you…

In December last year I made an appeal to you to see who wanted to test my new body product. The response was astonishing. At least 7,500 responses came in. It was absolutely overwhelming. There you are with your twenty testers. If I’d have known that… After applying for a period of six to eight weeks the first reports from the testers came in; a tense moment! What if they were all dissatisfied with it? What if what I like and find important doesn’t correspond with what you all want? It was a very diverse group, too. There were mothers with young children, expectant mothers, men with psoriasis and a very dry, sensitive, itchy skin, people with eczema, with keratosis pilaris…

But luckily the responses were positive! And it was so special to hear that some people saw a real improvement in their skin after only a short period of time. The first impression of my product also turned out to be the same for everyone, that is a rich, non-sticky and neutrally fragrant cream. If you are interested in reading the responses you can find all the reviews from the testers on the product page.

All in all, it has been a long, but very rewarding, educational and stimulating process. With an outcome that I am very pleased about. You’ll understand that I can’t wait to hear what you think about my Body Cream! Will you let me know?

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