Knowledge – Theoretical and Applied and the hobby cosmetic chef.
Hello lovely people,
It has come to my attention through my consulting that there is a trap in life and it is tripping a few of you up. It is the ‘I think therefore I know’ trap.
Let me explain.
These days there is so much information available to the average web surfer that you can sit at home, research your little heart out and feel like you are an expert in whatever takes your fancy. Technically you may well be but practically I am not so sure, especially when it comes to something as crazy as chemistry.
That is because there is a very big difference in thinking you know something and actually being able to apply it. We sometimes call this ‘the devil in the detail’ but I like to call it what it is – understanding then practice.
Chemistry (even cosmetic chemistry which is actually more physics than chemistry but anyway) is complex in terms of what might react with what, where these mixtures might sit in a formula, what they are attracted to and what repels them, what might hasten their demise, prevent them from finding their ‘true self’, make them less irritating or more cost-effective. However, because we can google ingredients, recipes, technical help and expert testimonial we think it should be as easy as baking a cake.
Which begs the question have you ever tried baking a cake…… Let’s think about that shall we?
How many times do you bake a cake from recipe/ memory or whim and they turn out A1 perfect first, second or even third time?
And when it goes wrong (or not as right as you wanted) do you know why?
Was it the oven, the eggs, the flour, the milk – maybe the milk was off, the chocolate (over-heated), the oven again (best to check that twice), your measurements, the butter, the bowl and spoon (it always stuffs up when I use this bowl) or maybe you and your mindset?
So many potential problems that sometimes are overcome to glorious effect but sometimes not.
Well chemistry is like that only most of us didn’t grow up surrounded by macadamia oil, self emulsifying wax, glycerin, aloe vera powder, MCT oil or shea butter and as such we are way further behind the eight ball than we are when we bake a cake.
So, while we can find everything we need in a quick google search we can’t google and download to our ipads years of experience. Well, we can via a video pod cast but even that isn’t fool proof- believe me, I tried making castile soap that way and it worked but I nearly died of frustration in the process.
My top tip? Go easy on yourself in terms of expectations and remember that for every 1 hour of theory you consume, you will need to invest about 3 -5 hours of practice to understand.
And that is why I combine my theoretical work, research and sales support with plenty of hands-on lab time.
And also why I am usually the first person to say ‘well I don’t know…… Why don’t we go into the lab and try’
Because that’s what science is all about.