Hair is exposed to chemical and mechanical stress and stress from the environment daily. All this leaves the consequences of hair, such as weaker, brittle hair and lost hair shine. For the purpose of restoring the hair surface, we use cosmetic hair restoration products, especially hair balms. This time, in Slovenian cosmetics, we represent the brand Eterika, which created the entire line of hair restoration products.

First, some hair facts

Human hair is naturally the same as all epidermal appendix that are typical of mammals. Their main function is to protect the body from external factors. The scalp differs from the skin on other parts of the body, as it is full of large hair follicles from which long hair fibers grow. A large sebaceous gland is attached to each of the hair fibers. Each hair is composed of the shaft, the cortex and the core. The shaft of the hair is an envelope that protects against the ingress of water and consists of several layers of cells that overlap like tiles.

Straight and curly hair are composed of different cells

Two types of cells are present in the cortex: orthocortic and paracortic. Paracortic cells having a higher density are more resistant to moisture and are characterized by flat hair, and lower-density orthocortic cells are more sensitive to moisture and are characteristic of curly hair.

Chemical composition of hair

Like other tissues, hair is also made mostly from proteins. The hair consists of 85% keratin, which has a very high content of sulfur-containing amino acids (15% cystine). Hair fibers consist of 1-3% lipids, trace metal ions (aluminum, chromium, calcium, magnesium), water and pigments.

Fun facts about hair

Hair has two basic properties—strength and elasticity. It is remarkably resistant; a single hair fiber can carry a weight of 100 g without breaking, and can extend by 20–30% when dry and 100% when wet without breaking. This resistance is due to the presence, composition and organization of the cortex protein keratin.

Hair damage and how to deal with repairing the hair structure

The number of consumers with damaged hair continues to grow due to external factors. There appear:

mechanical damage: combing, hair straighteners

chemical damage: hair dyeing and bleaching

environmental damage: sun, pollution

Hair after this kind of damage needs to be corrected at several levels from the middle of the cortex to the shaft. Hair conditioners are usually composed of filmmakers, such as silicones. The filmmakers cover their hair with a fine waterproof layer and thus slow down or prevent the penetration of active substances into the hair’s interior.

The role of hair conditioners

Hair conditioners restore the structure and affect the appearance of hair. Also, the use of hair conditioners can make it easier to comb and reduce the tension between hairs. Balms also increase the shine and volume of the hair and improve their structure. Among the hair restoration ingredients are mostly cationic surfactants such as stearalkonium chloride, cetrimonium chloride, dicytilimony chloride, PEG-2 cocochromic chloride and others.

The texture of the hair can also be restored in a completely natural way. In the case of Eterika, Anja created as many as 3 natural hair balms. The most important ingredients of Eterika’s Balm are emollients. These are lipophilic substances that give hair a shine. Emollients are distributed over the hair to form a transparent film that repels water.

Main ingredients in Eterika conditioners

Coconut oil

Aside from making a great moisturizer for hair and scalp, the oil has been used as a natural remedy to combat frizz, get rid of dandruff, remove and prevent lice and promote hair growth. Its antibacterial properties may ward off folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, and may also fight fungal infections, such as ringworm of the scalp.

Funfact: Did it ever happen to you, that you got a chewing gum in your hair? Coconut oil can even be used to extract chewing gum from hair.

While pure coconut oil can improve scalp health, therefore improving the conditions for growing thicker, fuller hair, it does not treat the underlying cause of hair loss and cannot be relied on for treating baldness related to dihydrotestosterone.

Argan oil

Argan oil is a versatile oil that helps hydrate and soften the hair. Argan oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acid, but also contains high levels of squalene and vitamin E, which act as antioxidants. Argan oil should naturally increase the elasticity of the hair and consistently renew the shine of the hair. Vitamin E is a lipophilic antioxidant that protects against free radicals. Lately, vitamin E is said to be an ‘anti-pollution’ component, as it should prevent harmful effects of the environment.

Behentrimonium methosulfate

This ingredient in derived from rapeseed oil. It is a very mild yet effective ingredient known for it’s de-tangling and hair thickening properties. Because this ingredient directly deposits onto the hair follicle to smooth out the cuticles, it’s highly regarded for its conditioning abilities. It can be found in many hair products like conditioner, detangler, shampoo and styling gel. It also acts as an emulsifying agent, gentle enough to be used in baby products that are left on the skin. When used in lotions and creams, it gives a soft and powdery after-touch to the skin.

Kako uporabljati balzame za lase?

Po umivanju lase utremo z brisačo, da zmanjšamo navlaženost las. Balzam razporedimo po dolžini las in počakamo nekaj minut za boljši učinek (3-5 min). Nato balzam izperemo. Pri suhih laseh lahko nanesemo balzam po celotni dolžini las, pri mastnih pa le po konicah, saj bo drugače balzam preveč zmastil že tako mastno lasišče. Pri zelo suhih laseh je skoraj nujna uporaba mask za lase.

Nasvet za najboljši možen učinek balzama: Balzam nanesemo na za dlje časa, lahko tudi čez noč, tako da lase zavijemo v vlažno brisačo ali plastično folijo. V balzam pa lahko kapneš tudi nekaj kapljic keratina.

Najina izkušnja z Eterika balzami

Na voljo so trije balzami in sicer za vse tipe las z vonjem vanilije, proti razcepljenim in suhim konicam s pelargonijo in sivko ter za neukrotljive lase s kokosom. Glede na to, da gre za balzam ima zelo bogato teksturo, v bistvu je že skoraj kot maska. Po uporabi se lasje zelo enostavno razčešejo in so mehki, ter sijoči. Da o vonju ne govorimo, saj zelo lepo dišijo, vonj pa se na laseh obdrži še kar nekaj časa.

Celotno ponudbo izdelkov Eterika si lahko ogledaš tukaj.

Tajka Selan

This time in the Slovenian cosmetics category we’ll get to know Skinfairytale. It’s been released to the cosmetic market with a different purpose, which is: to relieve the skin condition in patients with dermatitis. To be clear Skinfairytale products are not only for those with skin diseases but also for those who are fighting with dry skin and various allergies.

What is atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory disease that can be inherited or because we have a predisposition for it. It can be stimulated by several factors, among which are stress and various allergies. The most visible problem in atopic dermatitis is eczema, which is usually red and rough if we touch it. A slightly less visible, but very annoying problem in patients with dermatitis is itch.

Individuals with dermatitis usually have a damaged skin barrier, which means that the substances we get in contact with easily get into/out our skin. It sounds great, but if it’s easier for good things to pass, bad ones (allergens, irritant substances) also pass. As problematic substances pass easier, there is a greater chance that they will cause immune reactions in the skin. In case we get in contact with an allergen or an irritant the inflammatory cells are activated, causing inflammation.

My atopic dermatitis before and 3 days after using Skinfairytale AtopicBalm

Why is Skinfairytale so special?

Skinfairytale is a cosmetic line that was first formulated to treat atopic skin. The market is currently flooded with products that are supposed to be adapted to atopic skin, but checking on ingredients often reveals the content of potentially irritant substances that can only worsen the condition. Skinfairytale is another story.

Atopia is nowadays a growing problem, according to some studies it affects 20-25% of children. The frequency of this disease decreases by age. Usually disappears until 5 years of age.

We both got atopic dermatitis in adulthood, unfortunately. Probably because of stress. It’s not a severe form, but still very disturbing. During exam time outbreaks are more frequent and the attacks of itching are on a daily basis (especially before bedtime).

And now serious businesses. We’ll describe the products that we’ve tested and their most important ingredients that benefit the atopic skincare.

Atopic BALM

Calamine

Calamine is a combination of zinc oxide and 0.5 % iron oxide. It’s an ingredient that shows antiseptic and astringent properties. It’s proven to reduce pruritus and skin irritation. Calamine is the most effective while evaporating from the skin because it cools down. After only one application, it offers long-lasting effect, so it calms the skin down.

Mango butter

Mango butter is rich in linoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. In addition, it shows also antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. It’s very easy for application and very soft for our skin.

Cannabis extract

It contains 3 most important fatty acids for the skin. These are α-linolenic and γ-linolenic acid and linoleic. They act anti-inflammatory and/or regenerative. In addition, it also contains arachidonic acid that reduces inflammation and helps to heal the wounds.

AtopicCREAM

Black cumin oil

Linoleic acid represents half of the fatty acid composition of the oil. The essential in this oil acts antimicrobial. This prevents the invasion of microorganisms through a weakened skin barrier and prevents inflammation. The oil can also be used for oily skin because it supports normal skin action and doesn’t leave grassy feeling.

Evening primrose oil

It’s a gold standard for anti-age skincare and it’s more and more recommended for the care of atopic dermatitis. It contains 74% linoleic acid and 10% γ-linolenic it contains also phytosterols that help restore the skin barrier. Because of the fatty acid composition, this oil works anti-inflammatory and regenerative.

Zinc sulfate

Local zinc and its salts are used as photoprotective agents, for calming down or as a substance in anti-dandruff shampoos. The use of zinc salts is now used also in many dermatological conditions, including infections (warts), inflammatory dermatoses (acne vulgaris, rosacea), pigmentation disorders (melasma) and neoplasia (baseline cancer). It has antimicrobial and astringent properties.

ProtectBALM

Katarina from Skinfairytale also made Protect Balm, which is not so much for atopic dermatitis, but for several different skin problems. As the name itself says it protects the skin. Especially if we have some dry areas (lips, elbows …) or some scratches, etc. It also protects the pregnant belly, before the stretch marks and cracks appear.

Jojoba oil

This oil is very similar to human sebum. Why is that important? Because our body recognizes oil as part of the skin and for that reason doesn’t cause allergies or unwanted interactions. It works anti-inflammatory and can be used for several skin conditions, from aging to healing wounds. It also helps other active ingredients to absorb quickly, precisely because the body recognizes the oil as its own.

Squalane

While squalene acts antioxidant the squalene derivative squalane shows moisturizing properties. It’s a very good emollient and is absorbed into the skin, which gives us a light feeling on the skin. It can also work as an occlusive and makes a layer on the skin, which also prevents evaporation of the water and keeps more water inside the skin. At the same time, it works as a physical barrier for substances from the outside, which can not enter the skin that easy.

Allantoin

First of all, allantoin acts as a moisturizer and it also helps wounds to heal faster and calms the skin down.

Choice of atopic care products

People with skin diseases must be careful when choosing cosmetic products. It is recommended not to use products that contain fragrances, dyes or many preservatives.

Atopic balm is pink, I’ve made a very strange grimace, because I thought Skinfairytale missed a very important rule – the products should not contain colorants. But because of the content of calamine, which is slightly pink, the balm is colored, but unintentionally and doesn’t harm, because the color is not artificially added.

A slightly different world, as we usually mention, right? We mostly struggle with wrinkles, pigment stains, and greasy/dry skin. Atopia is a completely different problem and we almost don’t talk about it. Many don’t take it seriously. The disease is curable and with the right choice of the products, we can improve the stage of the disease.

What is our experience with Skinfairytale products?

First of all, we were a little in doubt about how these creams can help us when sometimes even corticosteroids (systemic medicaments for atopia) can’t help us. At the first attack of the itch, we have put some Atopicbalm and the pruritus disappeared. We couldn’t believe it because for us it was already completely normal to scratch almost until the bleeding before going to bed. We don’t have this problem anymore. After the first application, we thought that it was just a coincidence, but at the next application we found that this is always like that, itching disappears, end of the story.

Protect the balm is very useful for some of the slightest abrasions. From an exercise, I was doing on concrete I had irritated the skin on my palms and knees. The skin was reddish and burning sensation. After using Atopic balm there was only a bruise, but the flush and burning sensation were gone.

In fact, there is something about this name Skinfairytale. We are very critical, but seeing this, we can only say: Well done! You certainly have made our lives easier while battling with atopic dermatitis.

You can take a look at all Skinfairytale products here.

This time in Slovenian cosmetics we will talk about a brand that makes very nice smelling organic kinds of butter for skin care. Butters is a Slovenian company specializing in the manufacturing of all kinds of butter by a cold process.

What are vegetable butters?

Vegetable kinds of butter are mainly a mixture of different triglycerides, which represent more than 98-99%, and other components (1-2%) like phytosterols, phospholipids, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, carotenoids, vitamin E. The composition is influenced by the botanical species and the subtype of the plant, climate, location, season, day, plant part and plant treatment on the ground and after transportation from the field and proper storage.

Vegetable butter consists mainly of fatty acids with 16 to 18 C atoms: palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid. Butters consist of mostly saturated fatty acids. These have a higher melting point than unsaturated fatty acids, that’s why butters are solid at room temperature.

How Butters company produces their butters?

Kinezika company have developed a special process to manufacture kinds of butter by themselves. Two of the most common methods of obtaining oils and kinds of butter, a warm (standard) and cold process are known.

Usually, all kinds of butter are heated in order to pass from a solid aggregate state into a liquid, adding some other substances. But in this company butters are manufactured by a special cold process. By mixing kinds of butter are converted into a creamy texture. The creamy texture makes it easier to apply the product. A good side of the cold process is that they retain all butter’s special properties, which would be lost for sure by heating to high temperatures.

We tested all four kinds of butter that Butters released recently. Three of them: Toffee Butter, CBD Butter and Amaretto-banana Butter are based on shea butter. And one special butter – Pineapple Butter, which is based on the cupuacu butter.

We’re for something tropical, right?

Tropical Pineapple Butter is basically a cupuacu butter with coconut oil and pineapple aroma. The product just like a mousse, it’s soft and easily absorbed into the skin, without leaving a greasy feeling.

Cupuacu butter or Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter is an alternative to the problematic lanolin (wool sheep wax that causes many allergic reactions). Cupuacu butter is capable of retaining moisture, but at the same time, it penetrates very quickly through the skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and it’s suitable for vegans.

Interesting fact: Cupuacu butter is able to bind 440% of water. So, 1 kg cupuacu butter absorbs 4,4 kg of water.

Source: Fleck, C. A., & Newman, M. (2012). Advanced Skin Care – A Novel Ingredient. Journal of
the American College of Clinical Wound Specialists, 4(4), 92–94.

Effects of cupuacu butter

It’s an emollient that helps to increase the elasticity of the skin. In addition to emollient action, it also exhibits antioxidant and moisturizing effects. In fact, they call it “super humectant”. It makes the skin softer, more elastic and flexible.

As we have said many times, to oils and butters we can’t attribute SPF values, but many studies prove that they absorb harmful UVA and UVB rays. This is especially important in case of photo-aging because the skin is unintentionally protected from the sun. It calms our skin, which is why it’s also suitable for taking care of sunburned skin.

Cupuacu is suitable for the care of dry and oily skin.

How is this even possible?

1. Dry skin – contains phytosterols and sterols that are regenerative and have a beneficial effect on dry skin

2. Oily skin – this butter has the ability to moisturize, which is a MUST for every type of skin

Some use cupuacu butter to treat eczema and psoriasis. The fatty acid composition of this butter is special, it contains up to 35% oleic acid, up to 25% of lauric and stearic, up to 6.5% linoleic and fatty acid, which made it so special – called arachidonic acid (up to 4.5 %). Arachidonic acid is omega-6 acid, which is necessary for the functioning of cells in our body (nerve and immune cells, joint cells). It indirectly helps to reduce inflammation and wound healing.

Butters based on Shea Butter

Shea Butter is already well known.

The fatty acid composition of shea butter is quite different from cupuacu, containing up to 49% oleic acid, up to 38% stearic acid and up to 5% linoleic acid. The specificity of this butter is the high content of terpenoids (30,000 mg/kg) that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also contains phenols that have antioxidant properties.

Due to the content of terpenes (in butter) in laboratories have been demonstrated anti-inflammatory and preventive antitumor activity. Antitumor action of the butter is not very accurate, but good prevention can’t hurt anyone. Because it’s regenerative it’s also very popular for the care of atopic skin it helps to establish a broken skin barrier. Unrefined butter has a strong smell (like goat’s milk) but that’s exactly that kind of butter has the best quality.

Interesting facts about Shea butter

Interesting fact # 1: Shea butter helps to prevent mosquito bites. According to a study, the probability of a mosquito bite was reduced by about 40% after applying Shea Butter. Especially in the summer, this would be a very good solution, right? We can probably just add a drop of essential oils of lemongrass or lavender and the unpleasant itching will be gone for quite some time!

Interesting fact # 2: Shea butter is apparently more effective in unclogging the nose when we catch a cold than conventional nose droplets.

All Butters products with shea are soft and spreads very well. After application to the skin, they are absorbed quickly and don’t leave a greasy feeling.

Which are the new Butters products based on shea?

CBD Butter – behind the name shea butter with hemp is hiding. Cannabis in cosmetics is becoming more and more popular because it actually has a positive effect on the skin. It very efficient in improving the condition of skin diseases.

Amaretto-banana Butter is butter that smells like ice cream. It has a sweet, but fresh smell. Very appropriate for cuddling.

Toffee Butter is shea butter with a caramel flavor. The smell of butter gives you the feeling that you are having a bath of caramel, but unlike the real caramel, you aren’t sticky and the feeling on the skin is pleasantly soft.

Which body butter do you like the most? Check out Butters.si for a good smelling body product!

How little does it take to get a new idea. An e-mail from a Slovenian cosmetic company called Koko cosmetics caused some brainstorming. We had decided to create a new category on our blog: Slovenian cosmetics. Why? We just want people to realize that there are a lot of small companies, that create wonderful cosmetic products.

Natural cosmetics and certificates

What makes natural cosmetics different from conventional? Ingredients, ofcourse! Properties of extracts, hydrolates and oil are the ones that make natural cosmetics so special. But cosmetic manufacturers are not limited by any legislation and law, so the manufacturer himself decides whether he will work according standards that are defined by certificates. On the other hand the manufacturer can just advertise his cosmetics as natural and doesn’t work according to standards.

On the field of natural cosmetics exist numerous certificates that are very different from one another. Even in Slovenia a cosmetic brand can recieve a ‘’natural cosmetics’’ certificate by an institute called Kon-cert that prescribe, that cosmetic products don’t contain disputable ingredients.

Tonic and cleansing milk

Why is goats milk as an ingredient so desired in cosmetics?

The data from history reveals that Cleopatra took baths in goats milk. So it’s obviously something on this milk. Goats milk has a few special properties, because of which it shows good effects on the skin.

  1. It doesn’t cause inflammation or allergic reactions (cows milk can cause allergic reactions) – very suitable for sensitive skin
  2. Contains lactic acid, which is a alpha hidroxy acid (AHA) – AHA stimulate skin proliferation, increase skin moisture and work as a keratolytic (they accelerate exfoliation)
  3. Has a proper ratio between omega-6 : omega-3 = 5:1 fatty acids – omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids show a really good effect on the skin, they help to restore the skin barrier especially on the individuals with skin diseases
  4. It’s rich with retinoids (vitamin A) – retinoids normalize keratinization and posess anti-ageing properties (concentrations in goats milk are too smal to show that properties)
Cream for sensitive skin

How about cannabis oil?

Cannabis oil is extracted from a plant named Cannabis sativa. Oil is rich with canabinoids, which are attributed with good effects on the skin. Cannabis oil is rich with omega-6 and omega-3 unsaturated fatty acids.

  1. Regulates skin inflammation – it exhibits anti-inflammatory properties with effect on immune system cells
  2. Can reduce pain and itchiness – stimulation of CBD2 in keratinocytes causes secretion of analgetic opioid peptydes, that reduce pain
  3. Regulates sebum secretion – with an effect on hair follicles it reduces sebum secretion from glands

Because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties it is recommended to people that suffer from skin disease’s such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and others. Because of it’s possibility to regulate sebum secretion and anti-inflammatory properties it is also good for acne-prone skin.

What is Koko cosmetics?

Koko cosmetics is a brand that creates 100% natural products. It combines unique properties of goat milk and Cannabis oil in all of their face creams. This two ingredients are enriched with addition of hydrolates, that are very good humectants.

Hydration cream Koko
How did their products do on a test?

For the testing we received: cleansing face milk, cleansing facial tonic and two face creams, one for sensitive skin named Madame Chamomile and one moisturizing cream named Lady Rose. To be honest none of us really likes the taste and smell of goats milk so we were concerned about the smell of the products. But let us tell you that yes, maybe creams have a little specific smell, but the other products smell like flower hydrolates.

All the products are packed in a quality, air-free packaging. This is so important when the products are natural, because the manufacturers are limited with preservative choices and that’s why this products are more likely to get a microbiological contamination.

We both have skin, that is quite hard to satisfy, since we get little pimples if the products does not fit our skin needs. The products did a really good job on a test, since we did not break out (yay!). Both of the creams are really moisturizing and the moisturizing cream does a really good job on greasy skin as well.

How did Koko products perform in a laboratory test?

This is where it gets interesting. We decided to test Koko cosmetics cream Madame Chamomile for sensitive skin. With the test we wanted to see whether the application on the cream on the skin will rise skin hydration. All of the measurements were made with a Corneometer – this is an equipment that measures hydration of upper skin levels.

Relative values of skin hydration are stated in arbitrare units and these units can not be equated with the percent of relative skin hydration.

very dry skin< 30 arbitrare units
dry skin30 – 45 arbitrare units
normal skin> 45 arbitrare units

We measured skin hydration before applying Koko face cream on colleague’s dry skin. After the measurement we applied the cream on the face for a half an hour to let is soak into the skin. After half hour we measured skin hydration again. This were the test results:

AreaSkin hydration before applying cream (in arbitrare units)Skin hydration after applying cream
(in arbitrare units)
Cheeks43,365,2
Forehead44,051,2

Skin hydration has risen after the application of Koko cosmetic product. We have to realize that the measurement’s weren’t made in the ideal environment, so they can deviate a little in a positivne or negative way. But after all the skin hydration did rise quite a lot.

Measurement with Corneometer
We came across another beautiful Slovenian brand

Koko cosmetics turned out to be a wonderful brand, that performed good at home and laboratory tests. Ingredients in Koko products are just brilliant.