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The Art of Making Cosmetics
By Kristine Keheley, Co-Founder and Formulator
Composing a product formula is a lot like making art. I start with an inspiration based on ingredients I want to use, or an effect I want to create, or a specific skin or beauty issue that is intriguing to solve. When I paint, I start with an idea, or a feeling, or a sense memory and then make my moves very intuitively but also with great awareness.

Any kind of design is usually as interesting as its constraints. In cosmetics, using an organic formulary and an anhydrous format limits my "palette" in challenging ways. I sometimes feel like I'm solving a mystery or charting new territory when I start a new cosmetic prototype. I paint about light, colour, sensation, and motion. Those are also some of the basic points of departure for me as a cosmetics formulator.

Below is a very large oil painting of mine, it is 104" x 84", entitled "Hebridean Wind". I wanted to convey the experiences I had of wind, and terrain, and light on water from a day that I spent hiking on the Isle of Skye. Painting engages all of my senses. I have found that same sense driven intent in creating formulas for Vapour.

Vapour is light on the skin on purpose. Not only is our organic base highly skin-compatible, but its also been designed with that truest concept of "light", as in the way we perceive light and colour. Light reflection is an art form in cosmetics: look at the way Stratus, our Instant Skin Perfector, and Atmosphere Foundation, and Illusionist Concealer each make your skin appear luminous, refreshed, and more youthful. Light reflects immediately in a very flattering way. I love that transformation. Its like the final magic layer of paint that hits all the right notes...that is the moment I know a painting or a cosmetic prototype is finished, that perfect moment of luminosity.

The tension of the surface is something I pay attention to in a painting. I want there to be a cohesive and dynamic strength to the skin of a painting. Creating a great velvety texture, or "skin feel" to a cosmetic product is also of course very important. I adjust and evolve each formula until that feeling on the skin is exactly what it needs to be to create softness and luxury.

Colour is of course the most fun part of cosmetics for me. Mineral pigments are ancient colouring sources, for both paint and cosmetics. Using these natural mineral pigments feels very comfortable and true to me. I want Vapour products to have depth, complexity, and luminosity. The colour ratios of the Vapour formulas are their most intricate component. None of our colours is a single note...more like 6 or 7. For Vapour I consider the fact that these products are going to be affected by the warmth of the skin tone of the wearer. That is very much like working to make a painting luminous from within.

There is a purity to the math involved in a formula. It is the sculptural foundation of each product. All of the ingredients have to work together. Since I work anhydrously, there is no water and no fillers are present. Every ingredient and its proportion must be carefully considered. Every single ingredient has a purpose. Then there is the practical fact that these products must be consistent and be able to be recreated on our production line. Each problem must be solved to create a beautiful end product.

I love working with a plant based palette. These are soothing, elemental, poetic things to me: myrrh, camellia oil, beeswax, essential oils etc - each has its resonance and soulfulness. I see these ingredients as having similar qualities as colours...they have emotion and power and beauty.

My intention behind every Vapour formula is that your skin is fed by Organic anti-oxidant rich bases and then beautified by flattering, light reflective, colour design. For a long time I have thought that women needed a safe and gorgeous colour and skincare line made with organic ingredients as the healthier and more beautiful alternative to chemically based conventional cosmetics. Vapour is that fusion of great colour and care.

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