When Cleanse & Clear was created…up close and personal…one year ago. Needless to say, it was renamed before it was released….
I can’t believe we are embarking on a new normal…social distancing…face mask[really!?!] I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who are having a hard time with all of this…Me, on the other hand, feel like a fish in water….I’ve always took the time away from the hustle & bustle of society as it was known…I’m an avid believer in rest and restoration…Saying that to say, this ‘quarantine’ gave me permission to completely embrace the solitude…seclusion breeds opportunity without the external pressure…I took the time to explore deep seated desires of the heart and to practice true self love….
I was fortunate enough to still be employed [even though pre-COVID, my workplace was not one of my favorite daily destinations]…praise God, I was able to work from home….This was a prayer answered because Lord knows that the toxicity of my office environment was really starting the wear on me…everyday before I would enter my building, I had to give myself a pep talk and put on a game face as if I was getting ready to run out onto the field for some play-off game…I didn’t know, on any day, if I was going to be the artist singing the Star Spangled Banner…player on the field…player on the bench [either team]…or a spectator in the stands…now that I’m home and still maintaining the same routine I would if I was going to the office [minus the attire], I realized how mentally taxing it was…which was making me feel physically exhausted….Stressed!
At one point while trying to identify my stressors, I decided that I would get more sleep the night before [maybe I’m just tired] but that didn’t seem to help enough…I had incorporated a more healthier diet [that’s been in the works since losing my mother]…drink a lot of water…eat more raw fruits and vegetables…cut back/eliminate my alcohol intake, sugar, and red meat….I added a regular exercise to help work it off….Of course my E’lixir Fresh skin care products helped me manage not wearing it on my face….All in all, I learned that my actual environment…the people that I spend quite a lot of time around…is a major contributor and by process of forced elimination…a.k.a. quarantine…I was able to really see it….
I was invited to participate in a 21 Day Abundance challenge…ultimately, this was the highlight of my stay-home order….Initially, I thought, “yeah, who doesn’t want more abundance [$] in their life”. Little did I know that in 21 days, I would have learned the art of meditation. For 21 days, I was given a meditation and a journal task to complete and reflect on…some of the task were more challenging and time consuming than others, but I genuinely tackled them….Reflecting on the outcome of the challenge, I was taught to find an inner peace…I looked at pain from the past…personal flaws…relationships…cultural and environmental conditioning…where I am presently…and was challenged to dissect these things in way that my abundance was increased because I am already living abundantly….Peace!
Now that we’re beginning to move toward lifting distancing constraints and reopening society…me eventually returning to the office [mind you I had a whole plan in my mind of how I wasn’t going back]…I can change repetitive cycles through conscious choice…in every aspect. I have a new set of eyes and sense of calm…more gratuitous and appreciative perspective…Irregardless of what or who I encounter, I am perfectly positioned…now lets’ plant some seeds for the promising future….
I decided to try an experiment with my Hair Tonic…I made the Hair Tonic late summer right before I went into my ‘straight’ hair season [typically around October when the air is not so humid]. I cut my hair to damn near bald in August [I went through a bleaching phase – looking back it was kinda weird]…but I didn’t want the bleach treated hair…I wanted to grow a new batch of hair and embrace my gray [gray is a color]….now I know it appears that I’ve been dying my hair, but not at all!….I’ve been lightening it with a peroxide and baking soda paste at least once a month [it will lift your natural color at least one level – if you try this don’t leave it on more than an hour]…it turned my hair a natural shade of blonde that blends beautifully [I think] with my gray without covering it….
Well, I needed enough growth to have a cute pixie by the fall so I used the Hair Tonic everyday which was okay because it was still warm enough to wear damp hair throughout September [Hair Tonic is water based]…and in a month I had the desired style….
Hair Tonic win…in 30 days!….so now what to do with the Hair Tonic now that I am wearing my hair straight…it’s simple…use it as a leave-in conditioner before styling…[with concentration on the scalp and hair roots]….it will condition the scalp, strengthen the strands and add sheen….
I love a nice pixie cut!…This was the fall look…I continued to use the Hair Tonic after washing my hair along with my normal styling mousse…it was healthy, shiny, smooth…there was definite growth but I kept it trimmed to keep the style neat…as the winter approached, I decided that I wanted more length and fullness around my forehead….
The hypothesis: Will my hair grow faster with daily use of the Hair Tonic versus once a week use?….
I went back into my curls at the beginning of the Holiday season, so I could start using the Hair Tonic more often…I normally don’t wear my curls during the winter because the air is too dry…too cold for damp hair [in Cleveland]…and I have a lot of hats [I like hats]….I learned one additional thing about Hair Tonic…that using it on my curls during the winter kept my hair and scalp hydrated….I’d wash my hair, spray on the Hair Tonic, and set my curls with my go-to creme gel….I used the Hair Tonic daily, in between washes, to keep the curls refreshed and conditioned….It didn’t saturate my hair and my hair was dry by the time I would leave out in the morning…I opted for my slouchy hats [dilemma resolved]….I wore my curls for two months…kept with the regimen…when I went to straighten it again…I had exactly what I was trying to achieve…another Hair Tonic win!….
The results: My hair did grow faster with daily use versus the once a week use, however, one bottle is not enough for everyday – I had to refill my bottle mid month. It is a great leave-in conditioner. Lastly, it is the perfect natural hairstyle refresher….
My goal list for 2020, 1st thing and most important – register the business name with the state and form the LLC…2ndly, create the business account…lastly, but continual, branding and marketing material….January – check one….
As February approached, my ambition received its’ first attack….I sold a bottle of Face Toner to a customer at my work place [harmless and happens everywhere, but technically against workplace conduct]….
I’m at my desk working, but in an environment where I am typically interrupted, and at times, subjected to asinine conversation…especially by this particular person who was temping in my office…in one of his many visits to my desk, he decides to initiate a conversation about his use of argan oil on his face…asked if I heard of it…ever used it etc….I told him that I make my own moisturizing oil and I would bring him a sample…handed him my product card. The next day…he stops by my desk, tells me how he checked out the website and was interested in purchasing my product [fine with me]…I recommended the Face Toner…it’s cool and calming especially after shaving…brought his bottle in with me to work and delivered….
Over the course of the next few days, he raves about the product…tells me it can be revolutionary…has ideas to help build my brand [sure email me, I’m open]…clearly inspired [as mentioned in email]….The following week, he decides he wants to make his own product…stops by my desk to show me his DIY lip balm and face cream…he tells me his ingredients which included a mix of baby oil, Vaseline, vitamin E, (expired) collagen…attempts to apply this lip balm for me out of an old tube of some previous lip product…tells me how it can also be used as an eye cream….In another recycled jar, is his vegan face cream…clearly made with turmeric by color….during this same week, he’s trying to perfect his product with melted candy – Tic Tac and Life Savors….added a body wash to the lineup…and was trying to figure out how not to turn himself turmeric orange with his cream….
At this point, this is getting kinda comical to me…finally told him that he may want to stop before he hurts himself….I began to become dismissive to his conversation – this was all getting to be a bit much…well, maybe he felt slighted, because he vengefully decided to report me to HR…said that I was soliciting my label-less product [lies] at work, and that he’s pretty sure this is unethical…He alleged that he had an allergic reaction from MY product [not his concoctions – right!]…he even filed a report with the Attorney General [WTF!]…five days after I had filed my business [look at God!]….
Now that all this is behind me…still employed [barely]…no legal liability…Hello March! …and like Nip said, “The marathon continues”….I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason – good & bad! With that said, thanks to my vindictive customer, I decided to create a new product for lips….
I was already using the Grow & Glow oil on my lips because of the collagen content in the Rosehip oil…and both Rosehip and Sweet Almond will lighten the skin….So just like how my first product taught me about the next…and so on…here I am again – tweaking the contents of the Grow & Glow oil to formulate a product specifically for the lips – E’lixir Fresh Lip LUSTer!….
Lip LUSTer is a lip oil [lip oil is a thing] – not a balm!…Most balms carry a wax substance or are petroleum based which coats your lips…doesn’t allow moisture to escape but doesn’t truly moisturize either – making you constantly reapply [did you know lip skin doesn’t sweat and it doesn’t produce sebum?]…balms are typically glossy or sticky….Lip oil is not textured like a balm – it glides on the lips…absorbs and nourishes the skin for a penetrated hydration….Coming to the site soon – Stay Tuned!
In light of Thanksgiving Day…for me it’s the opening act for the most celebratory season of the year….The trees have shed their leaves after presenting death in an array of warm subtle shades of color…branches left bare but the roots protected…in preparation for a new season of re-birth….
The shedding of my leaves took form of learning to refrain from stagnant thought processes…relationships implanted in shallow soil…I watched them slowly die…embraced the calm of deep plum…at the same time aroused by the optimism of orange….
My website is up and running in full effect…now two products to market…customer testimonies…increased sells…but also several questions and critiques….
I’m following responses to a testimony on social media…responding timely and professionally, but there was one comment that stumped me… “She needs to list her ingredients” …I thought if I list my ingredients then I’m giving away my product…I even responded with that thought in mind…the person replied, “…I am a fanatical label reader.” ….I went back and forth with myself on this for a few days…told myself I was going to stick to what I was doing [stubborn Taurus]…but that couldn’t be my final stance…it didn’t sit well with me….I went back to the post and saw that a few other people ‘liked’ the comment which meant this person wasn’t alone in their sentiments that I needed to list my ingredients…this lead me to do extensive research on labeling laws….Not only did I learn I needed to list my ingredients on my website, but also on my bottles….After talking myself off the ledge, by realizing listing the ingredients doesn’t give away the formula, I made the changes to the website…replied, again, to the social media comment… “I am always receptive to constructive criticism” …made the suggested changes, and invited this person to visit the site again…designed and ordered the correct bottle labels [this being the 3rd set]….
When I made the Face Toner, it was during the summer…I wanted something lite-weight and able to sustain the heat and humidity…I had a couple of customers say that it wasn’t as moisturizing as they would prefer….When I made the Hair Tonic, I just knew in my spirit that it was going to revolutionize the beard market…even though I kept hearing oil, I stuck with my idea…it didn’t get the love I expected for beards in trial phase [what!? men don’t like to tingle lol]…one customer mentioned having to get use to the smell….
Couple of weeks ago, the winter gave us an appetizer and guess what?…I needed something more moisturizing [humectant] for my face….I can no longer use the Hair Tonic as I did when I initially made it because it is successfully growing my hair [as well as others]…now my scalp and hair also needs more moisturizer….
Being well past the autumn equinox…the social media insight showed me that I needed to shed my current ideology…a stagnant thought process of inflexibility…embrace the colors of it dying by taking heed to the feedback [not all of it – Momma always said consider the source]…created E’lixir Fresh Grow & Glow Oil!…a fragrance free head to toe moisturizer…good for skin, nails, scalp, and hair [Ok, finally a beard oil]….
I can’t express my gratitude enough for the changes of the seasons…I am truly Thankful for those of you who have supported me [purchased, ‘liked’, shared etc]…encouraged me…provided me with unbiased opinions…we will continue to reap the fruit….
I am even Thankful for those around me who won’t support me…mocked me…doubted and tried to deter me…you’re helping me continue to protect my roots….
I was out this past Friday night and one of my customers, who uses the Hair Tonic for his locs, walked up on me…with his spray in his hand and freshened up his hair specifically for me…I smiled and gave him a hug…his hair smelled sooo good and fresh [I’m not just saying that because it’s my product either]…He almost got man-knapped [lol]….Matter of fact, it was overall a good week for the Hair Tonic…received very promising feedback that the Hair Tonic is growing hair and increasing volume in as little as two weeks time!….
Honestly, I made the Hair Tonic on a humble…When I started selling the Face Toner, my customers would always ask how long the 1 fl oz lotion pump bottles would last and I would respond with at least 30 days….My personal bottle of Face Toner was a 4 fl oz spray bottle and I had been using it for almost 4 months…when I started selling the Toner, my personal bottle was less than a quarter full, so I figured 1 fl oz per month….I decided to make myself a 1 fl oz lotion pump bottle of Toner [same as my customers]…I wanted to know exactly how long the Toner would last [I was right – it went about 6 weeks]…but what to do with this 4 fl oz spray bottle…I had just refilled it…throwing out the contents was not an option….
I already knew that the blend was good for hair and scalp health as well…so I started spraying it on my hair…after washing it and as a style refresher….At that point, I realized that I was on to another product…but I wanted a product precisely for hair…so I did more research to tweak the blend to target hair and scalp…it had to have the same aromatic and calming qualities like the Toner…slightly altered the blend and created a formula to make it very different…bought a box of 2 fl oz spray bottles…named it E’lixir Fresh Hair Tonic….
After the Face Toner came out, beard oil kept coming to me in conversation…I kept hearing there’s a market for that….At first, I pushed back on the idea…I wanted to make sure that I had a product I could sell…additionally, the E’lixir Fresh brand is gender neutral, but why not the Tonic for facial hair too!?….
I was too excited for this new product…so excited that I cut my hair low [what little bit of length I had]…told myself that I am going to grow my hair back with my Tonic….
I delivered Hair Tonic trial bottles to a couple of barbers I knew…waited a couple weeks…it was getting a good response, but not what I was looking for….Finally, one of my customers delivered…his beard was thickening up…looked very healthy with a nice sheen too…it was working!….
Being a natural myself, I knew I could get other naturals to join the ‘mood’ment…and started targeting those with braids and locs….
These days, I am using E’lixir Fresh Hair Tonic more so as a leave-in conditioner…I plan my shampoo days like I would a hot bubble bath [so relaxing]…My hair is growing like wild flowers…I have to trim it at least once a week!…and so the saga continues….
I purchased a 4 oz spray bottle [thinking that I would have this morning mist]…great idea, but it made my eyes water [too potent]….I started spraying it in my hand and rubbing it on my face like a lotion…I used it for almost 4 months [yes, I tested it on myself] and the results were amazing…I was addicted to the way it smelled and the way it made me feel…it was so calming and energizing!….
In conversation, I would mention that I made my own facial toner and the response was always, “Do you sell it?” …well, at the time I wasn’t selling it, but started thinking maybe I should….I posted a selfie on my social media, mentioned in the caption that I created a facial toner...started receiving a lot of interest from people who wanted to purchase it….
Back to the drawing board…fluid ounces to teaspoons to milliliters to percentages…conversions [I wanted to make sure it was safe to sell]…Voila!….
I bought a couple of 1 fl oz lotion pump jars…made my first sell July 13th…it was a male customer at that…I gave another bottle to a female friend to trial…both gave me [shockingly] positive feedback….
I progressed to needing to purchase jars by the bulk…more customers and few more trial bottles…started calling the Toner ‘Fresh Face’….I packaged the bottles in plastic…sealing it with an instruction/warning label….
Shake well before use, keep in dark and cool place, not for those with nut allergy [specifically tree nuts but I kept it general], and avoid direct eye contact [which I learned the hard the way]….
Then I realized that I didn’t leave a way for customers to contact me to purchase additional bottles or to give a referral…additionally, I didn’t have any product information to accompany the bottle….
I came up with a brand name – E’lixir Fresh and began creating paper inserts and wrapping them around the bottles with my favorite shade of pink ribbon [message in a bottle]…that became tedious and time consuming…and the pink ribbon was not giving the impression that my product was gender neutral….
Now on to card stock product cards and white mesh bags…still no logo, just me being crafty with Microsoft Word font and keeping my signature pink present….
On numerous occasions, I heard you need a website…and all I kept seeing were dollar signs…knowing it was going cost money for the domain…I couldn’t do a website without a logo – that cost too…However, I believed in my product and receptive to constructive criticism…so I chose to invest in myself [for a change]…bought the logo, bought the site and the plug-ins…built it myself...started to completely breathe life into my brand…purchased bottle labels…and created, yet, another product for hair – E’lixir Fresh Hair Tonic….
This coming week, I will now have separate bottle labels – one for the Toner and one for the Tonic…and the labels will have the website on them…I also have custom printed product cards arriving [never thought I would be this excited for stickers and paper]….What’s going to be the next best thing!?
During this past, frigid winter, the only moisture in the air was frozen…my face was suffering from the dryness of artificial heating and me trying different products was counter productive…maybe I’m stressed?…or is it my diet?…it’s no telling….
I’m sitting in class and feeling a way about being there…thinking it’s got to be more to this life, and all the possibilities of what is ‘more’…and to add sugar to sh-t, I have this random break out on my face…speaking of random…the patches of stiff hairs, I had been growing, on my chin causes irritation when they show up…scarring from me picking and plucking…I decided to make a formula for my skin…something all natural and organic to complement the regimen I had already established for my hair….
My friend made an oil blend, that she sold me on to treat my dry scalp…what she gave me had mint in it…and from what I remember, pumpkin seed…it came in a dropper…perfect to target dry patches…it was soothing, but didn’t quite stop the dandruff…and very concentrated…I had some of this blend left over…. Few weeks prior, I began using it again…the dry scalp was another issue I was having…this oil was at least a year old, so I started researching mint…more so for the expiration date…it was good still, but I didn’t think I kept it stored properly…then I started looking more into its’ health benefits, and saw that mint was good for acne…desperate to treat this break-out, I started putting it, on the break out spots, on my face…but not knowing the concentration of the blend…I thought not to keep doing that…. That evening, while in class contemplating my life, I decided that I was going to make my own face product….
I texted my friend, and asked about the blend she made…just to verify the pumpkin seed [I didn’t want to tell her that I had tried it on my face]….
Her reply threw me…she said not good for the face…I’d read so much of the opposite…. I decided that I would still go for it…at first I was gonna mix up a cream, but figured it would be way too heavy for my face…I started researching some more…the pumpkin seed is good for scalp and hair growth, but not what I was looking for my face…I needed a good carrier oil…. I wanted something that would tone and brighten my skin, eliminate the blemishes, counter break outs…something like a face toner…but it needed to also hydrate…this formula had to be very light and all natural too….
More research on facial toners…how to make my own…then I thought, what if I made a toner that also moisturized…so that’s what I did!…. About a month later, I had come up with the perfect formula…. A special blend of organic oils, that had similar effects on the skin, to maximize the results…infused it in a water based natural skin toner….