Writing about beauty – a mornings meditation

Hello everyone and welcome to a slightly different post. Today I want to share with you my morning meditation on the beauty that is my sisters walnut tree (and surrounds). It has been a while since I posted my philosophical meanderings on this blog but now I think I’ll bring a few back. Mainly because the blog is and always has been about taking the time to look closer, deeper and more thoughtfully at beauty and what can be more beautiful than a Sunday morning spent sitting under a walnut tree hoping to talk to some sheep……


The walnut tree has to be my favourite part of my sisters garden. It’s natural nearly but not quite symmetry is pleasing to the eye and revokes memories of childhood paintings where all of the trees look like fluff balls on sticks. It’s comforting. The shade it offers is plentiful yet dappled meaning that grass grows all the way up to the trunk – you don’t get that with gum trees.

I find myself sitting on a pallet, one arm pleasantly shaded the other illuminated by an inch of mid-morning sun and getting hot only I don’t want to move because me and Mrs sheep have a thing going on.

At first she didn’t know what to make of this strange woman walking towards her and her flock, head down (thoughts not making eye contact would be less disturbing) iPad in hand but then she bolted. Not far, but far enough so that she could keep an eye on me. And keep an eye on me she did. At first she stood about 20 meters away behind the thin wire fence blatantly staring. I hadn’t looked up again as I’d […]

Realize Beauty 2012 – 100% Natural or your money back.

Hi people and sorry for the looooooong gap in postings.  I have been snowed under with work, still am in fact and while that is a good thing and something that I’m not about to start whinging about it does make it tricky to fit in my passion for blogging. I’ve just been too tired after a hard day in the office/ laboratoire gardener.

Anyway, enough of that and onwards and upwards to the end of the year and in the spirit of year endings I thought I’d reflect back on this, my craziest of business years. Laugh, cry, enjoy or cringe,  it is what it is and I’m proud to be a part of it xxx

 Well, well, well.  As I sit here in my Blue Mountains home, looking out of the window at the line filled with washing, the grassless lawn ‘mowed’ by our 11 Guinea Pigs and various items of fun paraphernalia left by my two (quickly growing-up) daughters I am reminded of how lucky I am.

This year has been a roller coaster ride of emotion – a journey so terrifying that even getting off seemed like too much to handle at times  and for that I’m grateful.   It was the year when my business and it’s owner – me  shook off the shackles and emotional hang-ups of adolescence and grew up.  I know,  and I’m nearly 40 right?  Right.   Being a nearly 40-year-old mother, wife, eldest daughter and sensible shit-together type of friend slapped me right across the face this year and said ‘hey you, this isn’t working and you know what?  YOU are the problem’  and I was.  Ouch.

In a nutshell the consulting business, Realize Beauty that I’d set […]

Getting Personal – When You are the Business.

Yesterday was weird and confronting in a way that I never thought I would share with you all but after what has happened today I changed my mind. So, here’s what happened.

After having tried and failed at the ‘team’ approach to consulting (I wasn’t emotionally ready or capable of being a manager when I tried it last year) this year has been a more solo affair.  A state of affairs that I have found most satisfying until recently.  I didn’t have to tell anyone what I was doing,  delegate, pay anyone else or worry about how other people would be judging the way I did things and that made me happy until yesterday.   Having spent much of this year working on my mental health and trying to figure out why I always spin my wheels at a million miles an hour, take on too much and then fall in a heap – usually covered in cold sores and with a sinus headache – before recovering just long enough to do it all again I had finally Hit.The.Wall.  That happened yesterday.

Yesterday if you were the one consulting client that I started and finished a formula fix for in record time making a brilliant job of it (if I do say so myself) you would have thought me awesome.  The most amazing chemist since God created chemicals to do chemistry with.  A whizz, a guru.  But I didn’t feel like that.  Yes I managed to answer a few e-mails, solve a few problems, trial a new cleaning formula that I’d made, clean the house, pick up the kids, take kids on a play date, answer the phone once or twice and read the news but […]

Help, is there a Chemist on Call?

Warning – this post has two functions:

A) to give a shout out to all of those people struggling to get their formulations to work (me included, I am a shocker at serum)


B) a thinly veiled attempt to promote our Chemist on Call virtual help desk facility.  I hope you don’t mind, I do think it is quite neat though and am investing my own money (and my children’s pocket-money) in learning more and more so that we can be even better at it. Thank you xxx

Let’s not beat around the bush here guys and girls we all make mistakes and when it comes to stuffing up cosmetic formulations I think I can safely say that I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt more than once.  Don’t get me wrong,  I am a big believer in getting your hands dirty and have the kind of brain that works better when I can see, feel or smell something real rather than something theoretical –  I don’t find it easy to make sense of instructions unless I act them out. Oh and I love to fiddle with new ingredients, ideas and stuff. But (and it is a big but) there comes a time when you just don’t have that sort of time any more and when that time comes you just need results.

Chemist on Call is something that my business – Realize Beauty has been doing for the last four and a half years now. We support product manufacturers, marketers, beauty editors, brand owners and hobby/ enthusiasts through the maze that is the cosmetics industry.   This is a big call and of course it would be foolish of us to think […]

Formulations – To buy or not to buy?

Being a business that sells formulations you could be forgiven for thinking that we will always try to sell you some but that isn’t the case.  There are many ways to get started and run a cosmetics brand/ business and different strokes suit different folks.

So, what options are open to you, the cosmetic ideas guru and where should you go to get them?
1) Contract manufacturers stock formula.
Rather like stock photos that you can buy online contract manufacturers will have their own range of in-house formulations that customers can use. The manufacturer will factor ‘formulation rent’ into their manufacturing costings and these are usually ongoing.

The good:  You don’t have to invest in the money or time to develop your formulation so the time-to-market can be shortened.  Also it will be up to your manufacturer to manage material supply variations, manage the quality of the bulk and ensure that the formulation is essentially ‘safe’ for the intended use. You also get the benefit of the manufacturers development and QA team to work with and support you as your brand develops.

The bad:  You have little to no control over what goes into your formulation and have minimal creative freedom.  When ingredients need to be changed due to supply or price problems it is unlikely that you will have much say in what they are changed to unless you are a major client.  It is most probable that the formulation will not be fully disclosed to you (although full ingredients lists should be) and as such you may not understand how and why your product does what you say it does.  Usually when you leave the manufacturer your formulation stays with them leaving you to reverse engineer ‘your’ […]

Blue Sky Laboratory

These things used to exist when I first started in the cosmetics industry but alas, the GFC, KFC and GDP means that the great laboratory of future opportunity is but a distant memory.  Today it’s all about the dollar as we strive to make our innovations work IMMEDIATELY!  Oh what a bore….. 

Anyway, I just thought that it was worth saying that I now have my very own blue sky laboratory that is up and working on lots of exciting future innovations.  Some of that work involves a spatula while other’s is more about doing a lot of reading, interviewing and investigationing in order to sort the wheat from the chaff.  All very cool and VERY interesting. 


So, if you have a ‘blue sky’ concept for the cosmetics industry and want to talk to someone whose motto is ‘the sky is the limit’ then give us a call.  Anything is possible, eventually………… 

Examples of current research for those of you who like to roll that way: 

* The rise of the Halal Cosmetics Market. 

* Nanotechnology and the cosmetics industry 

* Sustainability and natural/ organic certification. 

* Natural fragrance development and application. 

PS:   I am going to add a page to the blog and will eventually have a website up for the lab once I get a moment. 

PPS:  Work comes out of the blue sky labs in a number of ways including via workshops and lectures,  presentations posters or booklets, in-house development work and surveys or via a forum.

Injecting Results – Botox and YOUR Job

Warning – this article is my attempt at irony. After all, it is a Friday afternoon in my world.

How often has your boss tried to inject a bit of motivation into the workplace? Did they do it by letting you watch “motivational” movie clips in your lunch break?  By putting on a tasty morning tea  or maybe by taking you all out bowling on a Friday night (when you would rather be tucked up in your PJ’s with a glass of wine and a good book).

Well, all of that is SOOOO yesterday. Today we can find all the motivation we need in a syringe!

 I have mentioned before about how your looks impact on your job prospects but now it seems that looks can also impact upon how long you keep that job.   Yes guys, botox has hit the board room and there is now no excuse for not ironing out more than your shirt collars.

If all of that rings about as true as that once-a-year visit from the CEO who smiles, says “keep up the good work” and “the only constant in this life is change”  then here are some facts from an article sourced from the ninemsn website citing the Wall street journal:
“Even in the depths of one of the worst recessions since the last one BOTOX sales have risen 0.6%”
Big news indeed.
So,  in the lead up to your next annual review forget about talking to customers, researching new market opportunities or figuring out how to make production more efficient. Just head down to the medi-spa, sit back, relax and get ready to feel a few little pricks in your face.
Should be all the preparation you need I reckon.

What on earth is a Conscious Consumer?

We are all awake aren’t we?  Of course or else how could we be reading this page, be interpreting the words on this page and be processing the information through our brains.  We are awake but that is not the same as being conscious.

Without going into too much philosophy (although I do like to) it may be useful to just consider for a moment what consciousness really means. It is a state of awareness where YOU are in control of your mind. It is about being focused, about being in the moment and about being switched on. Being alert.  
How often do we do things with our brain dimmer switch turned to ‘cozy’? 
You know, the lights are on but they are not staring you brightly in the face, they are not challenging or testing you. The light enables you to see but it is not bright enough to pick out the nuances of the current situation.  We are just passing through, ticking the box and giving the task at hand just enough attention to avoid us falling into a heap. That is not being conscious.

When we talk about being a conscious consumer (and this is something that I am a massive fan of) we are talking of turning up the spotlight on our purchasing behaviour. We are focusing our whole attention on analysing that ‘thing’, that product before we turn over our dollars:

Do we need it?
Do we want it and if we do, why do we want it?
Will it work?
What are the wider implications of me buying this?
What does this say about me and my values?
What will I do with this when I have it?
Do I value this enough to take it?

These are just some of […]

Change Please – Overcoming The “Green” Inertia.

I was listening to ‘The Forum’ yesterday, a radio program from the BBC’s World Service which brings together global thinkers to debate topical issues.  This weeks edition was about Corporate Social Responsibility and it got me thinking about change in the cosmetics industry!

Those of us who have walked the corporate walk will know that CSR is becoming big business.  We have to walk the walk, talk the talk and live the ‘green dream’. Sounds great in theory but in practice many of big decisions that corporations make stem from their accounts department rather than from their community heart and when big business and shareholders meet it’s all about the dollars – financial growth is ALL important.

Listening to the comments during the above debate this was clearly still a sore point for many. We all want change we have to overcome a massive brick-wall of inertia to really implement it.  When it comes to the crunch, putting financial growth second or third down the list to saving the planet, living in a more sustainable way and giving something back just doesn’t cut the mustard.

If we bring the debate down to the level of the cosmetics industry we can have a number of possible outcomes:

We continue as an industry to make more products, further segment the market and offer more choice as a way of getting more dollars out of our customers. However, we do this using “Green” principles and make sure we help to clean up our mess.
We make products with less ingredients but better functionality and promote the one-size fits all mentality as a way of reducing environmental impact.  We promote these as “green” and charge more for them thus creating a lucrative “green” […]

First Impressions – An Interview With Cosimina

In order to bring you, our Realize Beauty readers the most well rounded and inspiring health and wellness information we have teamed up with some talented and highly motivated industry professionals. One such person is our image consultant, Cosimina who is always on hand to help with your style, colour and image questions. You only get one chance to make a first impression and this is it, enjoy!

RB: Have you always had an eye for beauty?
Cosimina: Yes I would say I have always had an eye for detail, good design and colour. Over time I have been able to adapt these qualities to different careers successfully, graphics, interior design and image consulting.
My theory is nothing is ugly. It is what you do with it that makes it beautiful and stylish.
RB: How did you become an image consultant?
Cosimina: I studied mathematics and computing at UTS. While at the same time attending art school creating life drawing in charcoal and pencil. After university I worked in the newspaper industry, which allowed me to develop the more detailed eye to good design and colour.
Living and working in Singapore gave me the opportunity to extend study in design, colour and lines, in particular in interior design and graphics. During my eight year stay in Asia I worked as a graphic designer, interior designer and in the fashion industry.
Returning back to Australia with a husband, two children and a forty-foot container of furniture I new I wanted to do something I loved and enjoyed.
I have studied with some of Australia’s leading Image Consultants and am now using this knowledge and experience to undertake Image Consulting for personal and corporate clients. I hold training courses in interview techniques – where […]