The Rhythm of Product Formulation

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
— Stella Adler

The final stages of product creation are for me, a place of brief respite, and I mean this in the best way. Labels are out to print, orders for bulk supplies of jars and ingredients are scheduled, and launch planning is underway. It’s the space in between where you know you’ve done all that you can to create a product that’s worthy of making it beyond the research and testing circle of trust.

Having just completed two new products that will be launching in May, here are some of my observations gleaned over many months.

The rhythm of product formulation is nuanced, unforgiving, unpredictable, and obsessive. Nuanced because you come to accept that at times, it’s the tiniest of tweaks that will make all the difference, and unforgiving because it can also mean the abandonment of all that you thought you knew, including all previous efforts, as the best and only way to remove the stumbling blocks.

Unpredictable because the more you hold on to an idea of what you think the ingredients in unison should be doing, rather than fully accepting the outcome, the more it becomes clear you have to let go.

The obsessive research and judicious testing of each and every ingredient becomes intimate for a while; that is before the calculator comes out and the technical nitty gritty takes hold.


Understanding botanical ingredients in their lone glory before they become part of another whole is the exciting part. And in tiny, tiny steps, unsure of how much iteration you would have undergone by the end, the whole starts to take shape and then things start to get really exciting.

There are many viable wholes that come to pass but the true moment of completion presents itself as joy, relief, pride, encouragement, and yet still, a (healthy) dose of nervousness. 


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