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Why we created C-Caf

C-Caf is a really exciting launch for us: it’s our first moisturiser. That’s right, it’s taken us two and a half years to launch a simple moisturiser - a product that many would argue is the most popular category in beauty. Sounds bonkers, but there’s good reason behind it! And the result is well worth the wait, I promise. 

So why did it take us so long? 

Moisturisers are emulsions, emulsions can be tricky

A moisturiser is an emulsion, which means it’s a mixture of two liquids that are not generally soluble with one another, like oil and water. Blending these two liquids achieves that light, cream texture of the moisturiser that we know and love and both oils and water play an essential role in creating this. 

The emulsion process requires emulsifiers to help stabilise the mixture and ensure the two liquids don’t begin to separate. The introduction of water also means the formula needs to be preserved properly to ensure the product is safe and doesn’t go off. This is all very normal in cosmetic formulation; preservatives and emulsifiers are commonplace, but as we are a natural brand we have to look to nature-derived ingredients to work in the place of their synthetic counterparts. Luckily, there has been a huge amount of innovation when it comes to natural ingredients and both natural emulsifiers and preservative systems exist, they are just a bit trickier to work with as a formulator and can change things like the consistency and smell of a product. So when we very first started out with formulating C-Caf, it took some time to choose the best emulsifiers and preservatives for the light and soft texture we wanted to achieve, and more time to play around with them in the lab before we were happy with the base that would go on to become C-Caf.

We don’t use aqua as a number one ingredient 

One of the main reasons we first started our blog Clean Beauty Insiders, which came before BYBI, was due to a frustration over the ingredient labels of most mainstream skincare products. Time after time, aqua (water) appears as the first ingredient, an ingredient that does little for the skin and is super cheap, and the active that you’re really interested in is all the way at the bottom of the list. We vowed that when we created BYBI, every single ingredient would have a skin benefit as well as a function in the formula and water does not make that cut!

As explained already, moisturisers contain water as part of the emulsion, so whatever we created was always going to need a water-based ingredient and in order to achieve a light consistency, that ingredient would need to be used in a high quantity.  But we didn’t want to settle for plain old aqua as our first moisturiser’s main ingredient, as it’s pretty ineffective as a skincare ingredient. So instead, we opted for an ingredient that both provides the texture and formula function that water does, but also additional properties that your skin can benefit from. Floral waters are a great way to do this. Floral waters are basically what’s left behind in the essential oil production process; when essential oils are extracted by distillation they leave behind a condensate. So, for example, the production of lavender essential oil will produce lavender water. This water holds a diluted version of the properties of the flower or plant that was being distilled, whilst essential oils are incredibly potent, their floral water counterparts are much more gentle whilst still beneficial. Plus it’s a great sustainability concept of using what would otherwise be wasted!

We will always work with floral waters, or ingredients like aloe vera, in the place of standard aqua. In C-Caf the number one ingredient is bitter orange flower water, which has toning and brightening properties as well as having the functional benefit of water. 

There are a couple of challenges with floral waters. Firstly, they’re nowhere near as cheap as water. This means we had a lot of work to do to ensure we could still bring something to market that made sense for us commercially as well as not being super expensive for you!

Being a natural by-product, there’s less control over things like smell or colour of floral waters so it can also be challenging to use them and maintain a subtle or inoffensive smell. This means more experimentation to figure out what works! There are some real culprits when it comes to smell, for example chamomile water is amazing at calming the skin but smells real bad! 

And finally...we wanted to it be really good

How many times have you bought a moisturiser that just doesn’t work? There are so many mediocre moisturisers on the market and we just weren’t prepared for BYBI’s to be one of them, so it took some time to get it right! Everything from the texture, to its absorbability and of course performance, were tested rigorously and tweaked meticulously to ensure that we were bringing a product that we really believed in to market. Of course that’s the case across the entire BYBI range, but there’s so much at play with moisturisers that there was a lot to consider. 

The result? C-Caf. In my eyes, a dreamy, silky soft cream that sits perfectly under makeup and blends seamlessly with all BYBI Boosters (my favourite combination is C-Caf + Blueberry). Works a treat after using Mega Mist, when the skin is still slightly damp. It’s been formulated to brighten and refresh morning skin, hydrate, help fight free radical damage and just generally make your skin look glowing and healthy. I hope you love it!


Written by Elsie, BYBI Co-founder. Follow @cleanbeautyinsiders and listen to Elsie & Dominika's podcast Clean Beauty Insiders for all things beauty, business and sustainability.