How to deal with the knowledge that your pet project isn’t perfect.

The cover photo is of my original body moisturizer, Smooth Butter. The very first time I made it, I nailed it. True to its name, it was smooth, and it had a beautiful whipped yet firm texture. Then I made it again. It was rock hard and crumbly. The third time it was loose and oozy.

The first incarnation of Everything Nice Lip & Cheek Tint was a sheer hot pink. The pigment I used was a neon pink, but it was impossible to work with. Sometimes I’d mix it into the batch of balm and it would clump into a dark, chewed gum-like ball. Sometimes it would cement itself to the bottom of the mixing bowl. One time, it did this:


Fairy Garden Body Scrub started life as a more traditional body scrub, a jar of salt and oil. It made pretty photos, but leaked incessantly. Plus, I don’t really like oily scrubs, so why was I making it?




These products (and many more) simply did not work. They had elements I liked, but they were bad products. In the case of the butter, its temperamental nature was one that I’m sure could have been tamed, but at the cost of a lot of time and ingredient waste that I just couldn’t afford. The scrub need a different container, but as I said, I really just didn’t like that kind of scrub anyway. And the lip tint pigment HAD to be replaced.

All of this is OK. You’ll have an inspiration, an idea, a vision, but sometimes things don’t live up to your vision of what they’re supposed to be. There’s a reason for that: you are going to make it even better.

Some of the fixes took years; others took days or even hours. Smooth Butter became Smooth Body Balm, leading the way for all of the body balms I have today. That led to Fairy Garden to tube form, the first of my many body scrubs. Everything Nice is now a pretty bubble-gum pink, made with pigments that are a bit less demanding.

This past week, I made a batch of Everything Nice. I added the pigments, like I always do, to create its beautiful pink color. Except it wasn’t pink. It was… raspberry? Brownish raspberry? I made it exactly the same way I made it hundreds of times before, but it was like never before. It didn’t make sense. Instead of getting made or frustrated, I made a second batch (which came out perfectly, go figure), and I got to work on tinkering with the first. I added a bit of this and that, a different fragrance altogether, and I ended up creating a brand-new lip tint!

Next week, we’ll talk about how to tell when you’ve got a winning product!

2 thoughts on “When an Idea Fails (Badly)

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