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  • What is an Ingredient?

    Posted on October 10 2016

    What is an Ingredient?

    Written by Amy Galper, Credo's Education Director and In-House Beauty Expert

    What is an ingredient?

    Becoming more conscious about what we put on our skin means we are paying closer attention to the ingredients found in our skin and body care products. This is especially important as more and more research surfaces showing how many of the chemicals present in our cosmetics are proving to be concerning for our health and the environment.

    We try to stay up to date; we check different online resources, read up on brands that align with our values and look to places like to us to help find what’s “clean” and authentic. But it can still be dizzying sifting through what is, or is not, “clean” or "dirty.”

    One tip to help you navigate, before embarking on distinguishing the “clean” from the “dirty” - is to step back and first ask: 

    What is an ingredient?

    Ingredients used in cosmetic formulations have two functions. And when designing a new product, the formulator considers both of these functions when selecting which ingredients to use.

    Function One:

    How the material functions on the skin. This is basically determining the therapeutic actions of the material; Is it emollient?  Is it cell regenerative? Is it nutritive? Is it anti-inflammatory?

    This function of the material is important for defining the intention of the product and what is does for our skin. Materials are selected to support the main intention, or purpose, of the product. For example, shea butter might be selected as a main ingredient because of its skin nutritive, emollient and cell regenerative properties. Or lavender essential oil may be included in the formula as a strong anti-inflammatory. We love seeing whole plant based ingredients used in this way.

    Function Two:

    How the material functions in relationship to the other ingredients. This function generally focuses on how the specific ingredient works with the other ingredients to affect its texture (touch and feel) as well as how it supports the function of the other ingredients, like a preservative, or an emulsifier.

    For example, xanthum gum is a gum used to thicken and affect the texture of a product, it has little to no therapeutic properties. Other examples, that provide little to no therapeutic actions but only functional ones, are citric acid, which is added to formulas to help adjust the pH, so the product does not irritate the skin and plant based emulsifiers like Cetyl Alcohol NF, or Soy Lecithin or antioxidants like Rosemary C02 extract or Tocopherol.

    Understanding how the ingredients function can offer great insight into how and why they are being used. We’ve found that cleaner products tend to use more whole plant based ingredients that focus on their affect our skin, while those products more heavily loaded with concerning synthetics tend to be more focused on aesthetics.

    To learn more about the 25 ingredients we will never carry in any of our products, check out our dirty list.

    For any questions or comments, please email

  • Founder 1 on 1 - Cary Caster, 21 Drops

    Posted on September 29 2016

    Cary Caster, Founder of 21 Drops

    We were fortunate to grab a moment with Cary Caster, founder of 21 Drops, to talk about her path into essential oils and how these magical blends can help solve every aches and pains. 

    Cary Caster Founder of 21 Drops

    How did you get started? What was your inspiration to starting 21 Drops?

    As an Ethno botanist, I have been studying and using plant based alternative medicine and essential oils for over 30 years. I raised my 3 children with only natural solutions and had my own massage practice where I incorporated these oils with so many positive results. I was always surprised more people weren’t on board! When I felt essential oils were becoming more familiar to a larger audience, I found the products that were on the market 6 years ago didn’t offer the utmost quality that I was used to, especially having sourced my oils directly from different distillers across the globe for my own practice.

    I wanted to create a brand with simple essential oil solutions that were easy for the consumer to understand and also find appealing to use. That’s why our blends are safely diluted and packaged in a convenient rollerball packaging solution.

    De-stress 21 Drops Essential Oils 

    How did you choose to develop each blend? Do they have special meanings behind them? 

    Each 21 Drops® blend is a combination of 3-5 essential oils in an organic jojoba carrier oil that were selected for their chemical components and how they effect the body, mind and emotions. These combinations have a synergistic effect because they work in unison on various aspects of one problem. A perfect example is our De-Stress blend: Frankincense helps to quiet the mind chatter, German Chamomile is an antispasmodic and works on tension, Lavender is calming for the nervous system, and Ylang Ylang is a wonderful, sensual oil that helps to settle the nerves and a racing heart. These 4 oils work in synergy to bring our “fight or Flight” response into balance and help to manage stressful conditions.

    While each oil within each blend is selected for it’s active properties, there are also the principles of The 5 Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine which takes into account the energetics of the blends as well. We also added meaning to the numbers assigned for each blend according to various numerological systems.

    21 Drops

    Can you layer essential oils together?

    Yes, one can layer essential oils together and you can also layer the blends together. Once again, you can have a synergistic effect of multiple oils working together to address numerous indications.

    21 Drops Essential Oils Detox

    If you could pick one essential oils to use everyday, which one would you choose? 

    If I were to have to choose just one blend from our 21 Drops® collection, I would choose #04 DETOX. I love the way it smells and in addition, it helps to cleanse the body. Everyday our bodies have to work hard to detoxify the pollutants and toxins from our environment no matter how careful we are. Each oil in the Detox blend helps support the different detoxifying systems of the body. Cardamom EO aids the digestive track and is an overall tonic for the body, Lavender EO works on the nerves and immune system, Geranium EO is nourishing to the lymphatic system and Juniper EO has an affinity to support the kidney and bladder. This blend is also wonderful when you indulge a bit too much with drinking spirits, so that’s another benefit!

    San Francisco- Join us on Saturday, October 1st.  21 Drops is hosting an Essential Oils 101 Class on Fillmore.


    Thank you Cary! 

  • SW Basics Hacks

    Posted on September 12 2016

    Written by Julia McVeigh from SW Basics.

    SW Basics Hands

    If you’re familiar with S.W. Basics, you know that we’re diehard minimalists. We’re so into less-is-more, in fact, that all of our products are formulated with five, 100% natural ingredients or less: No ifs, ands, or buts.

    While some might see this as a constraint, we actually think that making our products this way allows for more flexibility; because they’re so clean and so concentrated, you can easily add them together to create combinations tailored exactly for your skin type. Indeed, we like to think of our products as super high-quality skincare “ingredients” – and we encourage our audience to experiment to find the right “recipe” for their skin.

    These S.W. recipes are what we call an #SWHack – ahead, we’re sharing five our favorites, along with two bonus combinations created with everyday pantry items. Read on!

    SW Basics Cleanser and Exfoliant

    Cleanser + Exfoliant

    This is the perfect mixture for skin that is highly sensitive but also needs a good, pore-clearing scrub. Our dry Exfoliant contains physical (ground oats and almonds) and chemical (sea salt) exfoliators that can be combined with any liquid to use. Blending it with bit of our rosewater-based Cleanser makes for a hydrating, soothing, and calming scrub that goes on silky smooth.

    SW Basics Hibiscus Mask and Oil Serum

    Hibiscus Mask + Oil Serum

    Two of our most potent products come together for this antioxidant-packed hack. Mixing our Hibiscus Mask with water is the norm, but we love adding a bit of Oil Serum when we’re feeling extra-fancy. The Oil Serum will fight inflammation and deeply hydrate skin, making it an ideal counterpart for the toxin pulling and skin brightening properties of our Hibiscus Mask.

    Body Scrub + Exfoliant

    Struggling with body acne? This one is for you. Our Demerera sugar Body Scrub will gently slough away dead skin, while the sea salt in our Exfoliant will kill bacteria. This combination isn’t too harsh, either, thanks to the fact that our Body Scrub comes loaded with coconut oil. Warning: This combo smells really good, so you might want to eat it. (That’s ok!)

    Makeup Remover + Cream

    This is a fantastic moisturizer for those of you who require serious hydration but want a lighter version of our Cream. Our Makeup Remover helps to thin out our Shea butter Cream, allowing it to absorb faster and blend in a bit easier. We particularly like this duo in the summertime months. 

    Toner + Cleanser

    Want to add an acne-busting boost to our Cleanser? Add in some Toner and apply thoroughly, letting it sit on your face for at least thirty seconds before rinsing off. The apple cider vinegar in the Toner will help clear up acne and balance out your skin’s pH, while the Cleanser provides all-important hydration, protecting your skin’s delicate oil layer.

    SW Basics Oil Serum

    Bonus Pantry Hacks!

    Oil Serum + Manuka Honey

    While applying an oil-based mask might sound counterintuitive for acne sufferers, this combination is incredible at fighting and healing blemishes. The coffee oil in our Oil Serum is great for acne and acne scars, while the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of miracle-working Manuka honey helps fend off break outs.

    Full Fat Greek Yogurt + Hibiscus Mask

    This is a classic combination that everyone in the S.W. office uses at least once a month. The lactic acid in yogurt is great for brightening and smoothing skin, while our Hibiscus Mask helps to accelerate cell turnover and clear out pores. Consider this a Sunday night must-do for fresh skin for the week ahead.

    Beautiful skin is easy as 1, 2, 3!

  • Four Step Clean Routine

    Posted on August 31 2016

    Fourt Step Clean Routine

    Shop our super easy super clean four step clean routine.

  • Lash Out with the Best Natural Eyelash Growth Serum

    Posted on August 16 2016

    Plume Credo Beauty

    Looking for thicker and longer lashes without having to spend hundreds of dollars, waste loads of time, or put chemicals near your eyes? Plume, is the first natural lash and brow enhancer with proven results. In a matter of 8 to 12 weeks, you'll see improvement. Let's just say if you start using it now and you'll be skipping mascara by Thanksgiving.

    With the combination of the founder's passion and genius formulator, we bring you Plume. Happiness guaranteed.

    How did Plume get started?

    After the birth of her first child, Plume Founder, Lauren Bilon, suffered from significant hair and eyelash loss. After turning to a pharmaceutical product as a solution, Lauren experienced serious side effects, including discolored eyelids, burning skin and blurred vision. With no safe and natural options available, Lauren worked continuously to make her vision come to life: to develop a highly effective product that enhances lashes and brows without sacrificing safety.

    Through extensive research, Lauren was able to unearth safe, all-natural and beneficial ingredients, achieving dramatic eyelash and brow growth. However, many of the ingredients were hard to find, required refrigeration, perished quickly or refused to bond. Lauren partnered with leading natural and organic cosmetics formulator Irene Schnell, a certified Master in Fragrance & Cosmetics science. Irene transformed Lauren’s carefully curated ingredients into an all-natural, long-lasting, preservative-free, safe and effective formula.

    Brett and Lauren

    Why is it so important that Plume is made out of natural ingredients?

    Since the serum is applied near the sensitive area of the eye, it is essential that there are no chemicals or artificial ingredients which can cause irritation and sensitivity. We feel that all women deserve to have fabulous, long lashes, and with Plume’s all-natural formula, there are no limitations as to who can use our serum - it is safe for pregnant and nursing women, contact lens wearers, eyelash extension users, and women undergoing chemotherapy. The formula is so gentle it can even be used on lower lashes. It can even be used on men’s beards!

    How do the ingredients help grow the hairs?

    Plume’s patent-pending plant-derived formula has a three-part-effect on the appearance of your lashes and brows:


    Extends the anagen (growth) phase of the lash cycle and shortens the telogen (late-resting/falling out) phase to regenerate new lashes quicker.


    Increases and locks in keratin, moisture, and key nutrients to strengthen lashes as they grow.


    Antioxidants protect delicate hairs from environmental harm.

    How does the serum work? When can you expect to see results?

    Plume Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum's botanical actives strengthen and condition the hair follicles of your lashes and brows, allowing them to reach their maximum fullness without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.  While it is not uncommon for Plume Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum users to see results in less than 4 weeks, we recommend allowing 8 to 12 weeks for Plume Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum to deliver maximum results.

    Plume Before and After Lashes

    Plume Before and After 2


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