Friday, April 30, 2010

Surfactants: Formulating facial cleansers

Let's make a lovely facial cleanser specific to your skin type. What are the general goals of a facial cleanser? We want to remove the excess oils and dirt that accumulate over the day without feeling overly dry and irritated. Ideally, we'd have something that leaves our skin feeling moisturized and conditioned, and we don't want something really foamy and bubbly that makes it hard to rinse off (remembering that the amount of surfactant left on your skin is directly related to how tight your skin feels after washing! This is why a nice toner is a good idea - it will help remove any excess surfactant!)

For each skin type, we can add various ingredients to make the cleanser milder, more moisturizing, or less irritating. By altering a few tiny things, we make the cleanser more suitable for your skin type! (Click here for the post on increasing mildness.) 

The concepts for formulating a facial cleanser for your skin type is very similar to formulating a body wash, but you want to reduce the surfactant concentration and increase the extracts and other goodies specific to your needs.

Which type of facial cleanser should you make? You can make a regular facial cleanser with surfactants and water based ingredients, a moisturizing facial cleanser with water soluble oils, an exfoliating cleanser with or without moisturizers, a foamy facial cleanser in a foamy bottle, a creamy facial cleanser with oils, and so on. What kind you make depends upon your skin type! (And we'll be covering all of these in the next week or so!) 

If you have dry skin, you'll want something that removes dirt, oil, and other messy things with a mild surfactant, then re-fatten the skin to make it feel moisturized and clean. You can also use a nice, light exfoliant to desquamate your skin.

If you have oily skin, you'll want something that removes dirt and oil without stripping the sebum completely off your skin. You'll want a gentle to mild cleanser with some great non-oil moisturizing ingredients like cationic polymers, film formers like aloe vera or hydrolyzed proteins, and astringent extracts like cucumber, green tea, or rosemary extract.

If you have sensitive skin, you'll want something that removes dirt and oil very gently, so it won't irritate your skin, so you can choose surfactants that are gentle to mild and/or add anti-irritants.

For acne prone skin, you want to make sure your ingredients are non-comedogenic and you want to add something like salicylic acid or white willow bark, along with anti-inflammatory ingredients like honeysuckle or rosemary.

If you have rosacea prone skin, you'll want to include some great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients, and increase the mildness with gentle to mild surfactants and/or anti-irritants.

If you have pigmented skin, you'll want to include anti-oxidant ingredients as long with gentle exfoliants.

If you have wrinkled skin, you'll want to include anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, and smoothing ingredients, like quaternary compounds, proteins, and silicones. You can also add some AHA (like Phytofruit or Multifruit BSC) to your cleanser. You can also benefit from exfoliation.

If you simply can't wait to formulate, here are a few formulations for facial cleansers. I consider these suitable for normal to oily skin, because that's what I have, but you can modify them based on what you know about surfactants, extracts, and more! (I haven't written a post on making regular facial cleansers for oily skin because I have already written a number of them in the posts below...)

Foamer bottle facial cleanser (part 1) - suitable for quite oily skin.
Foamer bottle facial cleanser (part 2) - suitable for normal to oily skin.
White willow bark facial cleanser - suitable for oily, acne or rosacea prone skin.

Join me tomorrow to formulate a lovely cleanser for dry to normal skin!


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you've already covered this, and I'm not sure it would fall into the surfactants or not.... so sorry if I'm asking in the wrong place.

I would like to make my own inexpensive hand sanitizer. Have you already covered that, and I missed it?

I've seen some recipes online, but I wasn't sure they had taken into consideration that it needed to kill germs rather than just be "natural."

Thanks again for a great blog! I look forward to each entry! :)

Anonymous said...

Oops, just found your hand sanitizer recipe under gel. I tried the search feature, but it didn't come up with it. Sorry about that!