Thursday, March 5, 2020

Everything You Need to Know about Hand Sanitizers and How to Make Your Own



As a cosmetic chemist, a big part of my job is making sure we make safe products.

In order to make safe products I've developed a particular set of skills. Skills acquired over a long career. I find harmful microbes, and I kill them. Endlessly, you might even say gleefully, and with the utmost attention to detail, and the relevant science.


COVID-19 corona virus is spreading, and will likely reach pandemic levels soon. Health officials are urging people to practice good "hand hygene" by washing your hands frequently with soap and water, or using a hand sanitizer to help limit the spread of the disease. There seems to be a shortage of hand sanitizers, cleaning products, and disinfectants in a lot of places so people are starting to improvise.

Last night on Facebook I saw an article from a usually reputable source that gave a recipe for an all-natural DIY hand sanitizer using vodka. The CDC recommends that any hand sanitizer needs to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective. Regular vodka is only 40% alcohol. It will not fully sanitize anything. I spoke up immediately, as did a lot of other people. The post has been pulled, but unfortunately the article was shared thousands of times. I’ve seen ineffective recipes in countless places, and it’s dangerous.

60% is the minimum amount of alcohol required in hand sanitizers, and you’d think the more the merrier, and be tempted to use the 91% rubbing alcohol, but it’s not as effective. Sanitizers rely on contact time in order to be effective, and they need a little bit of water to help denature the proteins, penetrate the membranes of whatever you’re trying to kill, and it increases the contact time because it dries slower. The sanitizing “sweet spot” is a product containing 60-70% alcohol.

There are a few different kinds of alcohol, but in the DIY hand sanitizer realm there are really two that count: ethanol- the kind that you can drink, and isopropyl alcohol- a.k.a. Rubbing alcohol (the kind you can only drink once). They’re interchangeable in DIY hand sanitizer recipes, but I think ethanol is a little nicer to your skin, and safer if you have small kids that could potentially ingest it. It is, however, much more costly, and high proof vodka may not be available where you live. Regular old isopropyl rubbing alcohol from the drug or discount store will work just fine.

With all that in mind I came up with a few recipes based on what I could find here in my very tiny town with limited shopping options. Each one is formulated to give you a final alcohol concentration of at least 60%. If you’re using water to dilute the alcohol make sure it’s very clean so you don’t contaminate your sanitizer. Distilled water is pretty easy to find in the US, and is about $1 a gallon.



Recipe 1:
½ cup (120 ml) 70% isopropyl alcohol or 151 proof vodka
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) aloe vera gel OR distilled water

Recipe 2:
6 Tablespoons(98 ml) 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol or 180 proof vodka
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) aloe vera gel or distilled water

You can add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell nice, but it’s really mainly just for scent. I can’t find a single good scholarly article about using essential oils to kill the corona virus. I know there are a lot that have great anti-microbial properties, but without good research I can’t in good conscience recommend them to fight the corona virus.

Thanks for reading this! Please share this as widely as you can to keep everyone safe, and from wasting their time on ineffective recipes. Stay healthy!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Valentine's 2020!!!

Way back in the early 2000's I took a little trip to NYC, and bought a $50 lipstick because I was curious to see what a $50 lipstick would have in it- how would it look, how would it feel, how would this little tube transform my life.

When I got the tube back to the hotel the ingredients list was...lacking.  It was a slightly gussied-up version of the usual lipstick ingredients- petroleum products, silicones, waxes, and pigments.  The packaging was nice, and the color was ok, but really- IMHO it wasn't $48 better than a drugstore lipstick.

I came back to the lab all fired-up to make something that was actually luxurious.  I got out my super duper precious oils.  Ones that bigger manufacturers can't even buy because they'd need more than is produced in a year- cranberry, passionfruit, shea butter, and camellia.  It became our Black Label luxury gloss. 

The packaging wasn't as fancy- it really couldn't be, but inside was the most prescious, most luxurious ingredients that could be found anywhere.  Oils that special can't be packaged in a regular lipstick bullet.  The shelf life would be ruined.  So it went into our regular black tubes because they do a great job at keeping extra air out of the packaging so the delicate ingredients stay fresher longer.

A dozen or so years later NO ONE has topped us!  I checked- lipstick prices have gone up, and the ingredients have changed to keep up with technology, but there still isn't any lipstick on the market that contains anything that's more luxurious than the Black Label, and Smooth and Full.  Along the way we started adding some dipalmitoyl hydroxyproline- it provides even deeper moisture, and a little bit of plumping.  It also helps prevent wrinkles, and called it Smooth and Full. 

To celebrate Valentine's we're releasing 4 new colors of the Smooth and Full which has become a real staple for sooo many people.  It was the most requested product of this release!


We also have some new shadows!  For Valentine's Day I want to look great, but I also don't want to spend a lot of time getting ready.  So, I created some shades that are really easy to wear, and incredibly flattering.  I love complex shadows.  I think they're more interesting, and more fun, and a little easier to apply because they don't tend to need a lot of complicated techniques to make a great look.

Two shades are demi-mattes- so the sparkle isn't over the top, but there's a nice flash of duochrome color.  They're a nice all-purpose finish.  We also have a new matte formula.  They're a little softer, and built to blend beautifully.  We also have a customer-requested light purple color that's super fun and flashy!

Last but not least we have a new cream blush- Lovely that's a gorgeous plummy pink shade.  If you like Rosie, and others in that family this is a great addition.  There's also a fun new lip balm- Cinnamon Hearts!

Thank you all so much for all of your great ideas for this collection!  It was super fun to create them all, and I hope that you love them as much as I do!  I'd also like to thank you all for all of your support.  SN has ALWAYS thrived because of you- all of your kind words, support, liking, and sharing our social posts- it's all important, and we are sooo grateful!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Wowzers!!!

I have to start by saying Thank YOU!!!!  We are here as a company because of ALL of the support you've given us over the years.  We know that we are here because you've supported us, and not a day goes by where we don't express gratitude for being able to do this for a living.  So thank you, again, a million times over, from the bottom of our hearts.

For those of you who don't know us all that well- Silk Naturals has been in business for the past 12 years.  We'e a relatively small company, and we make everything by hand in small batches in our production facility in Upstate NY.  We LOVE what we do, and are passionate about our products, and our clients.

On Friday one of our amazing long-term clients posted a before, and after picture on Reddit, and it went super mega ultra viral (at least to us).

The story got picked up by quite a few different journalists, and before we knew it we sold more Facelift Serum in a weekend than we typically do in about a year.   It caught us completely by (enormously pleasant) surprise.

This morning I turned off the cart so that we could give ourselves some time to re-group, and restock.

If you're reading this you're probably wondering when we'll have it back in stock.  As of Tuesday December 11 we have managed to produce about half of what we need to ship the orders we have in-house.  I'll make the rest tomorrow.  After that we should be caught-up with production.

The other part of the equation is actually shipping the orders, and we will be doing that tomorrow too.  We likely won't be able to ship them all tomorrow, but we should be able to put a big dent in the backlog.  We're working as much, and as hard as possible to make sure you get your items.

I anticipate turning the site back on tomorrow 12-12-18 and keeping a steady stream of orders going out the door.  We'll probably still be in a 3-4 business day processing time frame for a little while.  I can't guarantee that you'll receive a shipment by Christmas, but we'll do our best!

Thank you again for all of your support, kind words, and patience!!!!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Valentines 2018!!

We have a spectacular feast of delights for the senses in our Valentine release! 

We've brought back some old favorites- body oil, and our yummy chocolate scented Cuticle Balm. 

There are two new products to use with eye shadow.  First Base is an eye shadow base made for drier skin.  It's all-natural, and helps to adhere colors beautifully.  Line Drive is our liner sealer!  It adheres just about any color you want to use as an eye liner! 

The new shadows are spectacular- literally.  They're color shifting duochromes that are simply stunning.  It's impossible to capture their beauty in a single photograph, or even a video so you need to be a little adventurous when you try these.



We're sweetening the deal with a special!  Order 2 of the new colors, and you'll receive a free bottle of First Base!

We also have one new lippie- Sheen Queen.  It's a gorgeous sheer with gold, silver, copper, and teal shimmers.  

Use the code vday18 to save 5% off your order until February 20th!

Thank you all so much for your support.  We hope you love playing with the new collection!!



Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Holiday Collection!!!

I cannot believe that SN is now 11 years old!!!  I am profoundly grateful to each, and every one of you for your support.  It is truly been a remarkable journey to get here, and we're going to celebrate!!!

Jamie, Susan, and Jen have been with me since the early years, and this collection is made up of some of their favorites.  It's kind of a walk down memory lane.

One of the very first things that we sold was essentially a full face kit, and we're bringing back a version of it this year.  It's a fantastic deal- you get 4 shadows, a sample of blush, Perfecting Powder, and 2 brushes for under $20!!!

We have a few bath, and body items- Susan can't live without the Body Butter. Jamie loves the foot scrub.  We also brought back Dr. Pepper lip balm because it's a tradition in Jamie's house...

We were brain storming ideas for the collection, and realized that Smooth and Full is far, and away the best selling lippie we make.  It started after a trip to NYC where I bought a $50 tube of lipstick that promised to do everything but wash my dishes, but turned out to be meh.  I set out to make the most luxurious lippie formula that I could, and I think I succeeded.  

The Smooth and Full base is still one of the most indulgent, most pricey formulas that I've ever seen.  We spared no expense, and used the absolute finest, most decadent ingredients. This year we decided to try to see if it could be tinted, and it can!

They're all fairly sheer because more pigment means less oil, and butter- and this recipe is all about the butter!

We've also added 6 new Velvet Matte Lipsticks- I think Shameless is going to be the runaway hit.  If you're into Garter, or Tulle then Shameless is a fantastic addition to your collection.

These are all dye-free!  Sip is stunning- dark, rich, and incredibly saturated.

We've had a lot of requests to clone the Modern Renaissance and Naked Heat palettes- which is always flattering.  The issue we have is that our shelves get full.  So so so many palette have like 3 totally unique cool colors that you can't get anywhere, and then a bunch of beige.
So, I did make our renditions of a few of the colors that jumped out at me from each palette, and filled in with some colors that are a little more versatile, or more fun

Check out the colors Bespoke and Steady.  My son is now 5, and most mornings consist of a fair bit of crazy, and a lot of "where did you put your shoes/coat/backpack?", so I made those colors for busy mornings.  You can get out the door on time looking a lot more put together than you feel.



If you're looking for Modern Renaissance check out these colors- I've compared them side by side, and I think if you've been waiting for MR that you'll be very happy with these colors.  A few aren't exact- we don't have anything like Realgar, and in 11 years NO ONE has asked me for a dark orange matte.  Check out Cognac- it's 1000 times more versatile.


We have a Spa Night kit that is the perfect indulgence.  We did a test run of it last night, and the Stark boys approved.  My 5-year old thought it was cool that I was scrubbing his feet with volcanic rock, and he actually sat still for like 3 whole minutes while the face mask was on.  It may be his personal best.  Totally worth the $12 IMHO.

We are celebrating here at SN!  Use the code:  happy11 to save 11% off your order until December 1
We hope that you get a chance to indulge a little, be cozy, and spend some time with the people who are important to you.

Enjoy!








Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring is Live!

The Spring collection is now live on the site!  The fantastic thing about living in Upstate NY in the winter is we get to watch the sun rise over the lakes.  The colors of Mother Nature have always been my inspiration here, but this time we pulled the colors directly from the landscape.

First we have a collection of shadows

These are made to really compliment what we already have on the site.  Karma works well with our Valentine's colors and the rest really mix, and match well with the Bare Necessities palettes.

There is always so much going on in the Summer- an event in the morning, a wedding in the afternoon, maybe dinner on the lake, or a carnival at night.  It's pretty easy to keep busy.   I like to keep a few seasonally appropriate colors in my bag that are all around "go anywhere do anything" kind of colors.  Ones that work well with a pair of cut-offs, or a little party dress.  So, I created these colors.  


To go along with that theme we have a bunch of new Hyper Glosses


To go along with all of these new lippies we have all new blushes!  They have a few different layers of pigment- a pretty color shifting that goes from pink to purple with a hint of orange, and then another bit of interference pigment.  They're super pretty as a blush, but they also work great as highlighters.  They're all eye, and lip safe so they're very versatile.

Thank you so much for all of your amazing support!   We know that it's not possible for us to do what we do without each of you, and we are truly grateful.  


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fall is Live!!!!

Fall is live on the site!  We have a brand new lippie formula- Hyper Glosses.  They're thick, creamy, moisturizing, very glossy, and wear for a long time.  We've also made a change to the lippie lables, and the new stock seems to be much more durable, and they stay on better too!  All of the new lippies have them, and we'll be phasing them in as we make new batches of the other lippies.



BHA is also back!  We've reformulated it a little bit.  The old BHA used a willow bark extract, and it was great BUT you couldn't actually do anything with it as a formulator.  You couldn't add a preservative (it didn't need it, but still), you couldn't change the pH- nothing.  The manufacturer's spec stated a very broad pH for different batches.  They always stayed in the lower end of the spec, but you want the low pH if you're using it as an exfoliator, and there were no guarantees.

The new BHA is still alcohol-free, and extremely gentle.  They've dissolved the salicylic acid in a naturally derived surfactant base, and it works beautifully.  It is ok as a leave-on product even with the surfactant in it (it's used at a low usage rate).

 I started playing with the new stuff last year, and have been incredibly impressed with it.  I think it's a great replacement for the willow bark extract, and as the formulator I feel a lot more comfortable sending out a product where I can control all of the variables, and add a preservative.  I don't like changing formulas on you like that- this one seemed very necessary.

You may want to sample it before you go for the big bottle, but I think you'll like it.

We also have metallic Velvet Mattes!  Check out Mischievous- it's stunning!

And all new eye colors.  I did check out the Modern Romance palette, but opted not to clone it.  Instead I made colors that were pretty similar to the ones in Modern Romance, but I made them just slightly different so they can match the existing colors on the site.



Check out Holo Back!  I saw a post about the Milk Holographic highlighter, and it looked so beautiful.  I dropped everything, ran back into the lab, and whipped this up.  It's stunning, and such a fun product to have in your collection.

We also made a new blush- Dainty.  I hope you love it!  It matches Stripped really well.

Thank you for all of the great suggestions, support, and for just being wonderful folks.  We know that we wouldn't be here without you, and are just thrilled that you're on this journey with us.
From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!!!!!