Saturday, May 8, 2010

Formulating facial moisturizers for dry skin

As we know, dry skin needs a lot of oils, film formers, and humectants, so we'll modify our basic facial moisturizer recipe to include those ingredients. This recipe will be suitable for normal-to-dry skin as well, as long as your skin can tolerate oils.

Water phase: You can include some lovely liquids in the water phase, using aloe vera as a film former and soothing ingredient, or hydrosols like chamomile or lavender for soothing or rose for anti-bacterial properties.

Humectants are a dry skinned girl's best friend and we want to include those. We know glycerin is a great choice for dry skin types, so let's include it at 3%. We can include something like sodium PCA or sodium lactate at 2% (to avoid sun sensitivity) or Hydrovance at 3%.

We'll keep the allantoin at 0.5% because we want a good barrier ingredient in this moisturizer.

Oil phase: This is the fun part - tweaking the oil phase for your favourite oils! We definitely want to go with something light to medium weight - the heavy weight oils are only for the incredibly dry skinned - and we want to include an oil that is high in linoleic acid to help with skin's barrier repair. Since we only have a tiny oil phase - 8% - we might want to use only one oil (this is the time to break out those fancy and expensive oils!) or choose a combination of two to help fulfill our goals.

My first oil of choice for a facial moisturizer for dry skin would be squalane. It has a really long shelf life (up to 2 years) and it is one of the components of your skin's natural lipids. The one down side is that it doesn't contain a lot of linoleic acid to help with barrier repair. So let's combine it with another oil like borage oil or evening primrose oil. Both of these contain GLA, which is fantastic for skin barrier repair, along with oleic acid, which is great for moisturizing. The one down side? Borage and evening primrose can feel quite dry, so we can combine them with a more oily oil like squalane (for example).

If you want to choose a less exotic oil, rice bran oil is a great choice with a balance of linoleic and oleic acids, some great phytosterols, and squalene, or soy bean oil, which is a fantastic moisturizer filled with Vitamin E. I'd use either of these at 12% in this moisturizer.

You can choose from a variety of oils in this moisturizer - these are just my suggestions.

For dry skin, we can increase the oil amount to 10% to 12% because you really want some serious oils in there for moisturizing.

We need to increase the emulsifier if we're increasing the oils. Generally we use Polawax at 25% of the oil phase. If we increase it to 12%, we'll need to use 4%. Since we already have 4% in our basic recipe, we won't modify the emulsifier amount. I'd suggest using Polawax for dry skin. BTMS can feel powdery on our skin, and this might be too powdery for dry skin types. However, as with everything, try it and see what you like.

We'll keep the cetyl alcohol at 2% to offer a little thickening and a little moisturizing.

Cool down phase: We need our preservative - choose your favourite - and we really want to use panthenol, but we can tweak the rest. If you're using an oil with a short shelf life (6 months or less), add up to 1% Vitamin E. Heck, let's add it anyway as it's great for dry skin!

As for the hydrolyzed proteins, low molecular weight proteins are great for dry skin types as they actually penetrate the skin and moisturize from within (we have some film former from the aloe vera, so we can use the protein in a moisturizing capacity here). Silk is probably your first choice, with something like Phytokeratin (with a combination of low and high molecular weight proteins) coming in second. As with any ingredient, use what your skin likes best!

And now the extracts! You can choose from a long list of botanical extracts (like green tea, rosemary, or grapeseed as good anti-oxidants), functional ingredients like AHA or salicylic acid, or cosmeceuticals like niacinamide, ceramides, and so on.

Anti-oxidants are always a fine thing to include, so you might want to consider green tea extract, rosemary (although a little astringent), or grapeseed in powdered form at 0.5%. If you have aging or photodamaged skin, something like AHA (in Multifruit, Phytofruit, or other form, as well as powdered form) can be a good thing. (Please use it at the suggested levels for safety's sake!) I'll include green tea extract at 0.5% (or in the liquid form at 5%) and chamomile at 0.5% as it can encourage desquamation. You can use any combination of extracts you like.

So let's take a look at a dry skin moisturizer!

20% aloe vera
20% lavender hydrosol
32% water
3% glycerin
2% other humectant
2% hydrolyzed silk protein

12% oils - 8% borage oil, 4% squalane
4% e-wax or Polawax
2% cetyl alcohol

0.5% to 1% preservative
2% panthenol
0.5% green tea extract
0.5% chamomile extract
1% Vitamin E

Join me tomorrow to tweak this recipe for aging or wrinkled skin!


Brenda said...

I've been reading everything you've written about dry skin. I've learned tons. I've been searching the internet for days trying to find a website like yours so thanks!!
I have one question that would help send me in the right direction. There are a lot of moisturizers out there for dry skin but some claim to keep the skin hydrated all day long (like Estee Lauder Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Creme). This is my biggest problem. I put moisturizer on and then makeup on top and immediately my skin feels and looks dry (which makes it look more wrinkly.) I'm constantly putting lotion on even during the night if I wake up and during the day over my makeup. By the end of the day my skin looks parched and older (even with constant applications of lotion)
I'm 35 live in NC (humid) but I have major problems with keeping my skin hydrated throughout the day. If my skin could stay looking how it does immediately after washing it then I'd have youthful looking skin.
Do these lotions/cremes that claim all day hydration have some special ingredients to do that or are they all the same?
Thanks so much!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Brenda. I don't know - if you could post the ingredient list, I could take a look - but I doubt there's anything special in there. Have you seen the section on skin chemistry on the blog? I have written a ton of stuff on dry skin lately, and the key is using humectants to draw water to your skin then trapping them in with the oils. The oils aren't the most important thing in moisturizing dry skin, it's the humectants. Take a look at that section on dry skin - it should give you some ideas on how to formulate for your skin type!

Pat S said...

Hi Susan -
I am learning so much from your blog. I've made several creams and lotions from your recipes with great results! Your facial moisturizers will be my next endeavor. As I have searched your blog, I found several recipes for facial cleansers, but I couldn't locate any type of make-up remover/cleansing cream. I like to remove make-up prior to using any type of foaming cleanser, and have used Lush products in the past (e.g. Ultrabland and 9 to 5 Cleansing Cream). Do you have a recipe for this type of product? Thanks so much for any thoughts on this!

Katie said...

I was curious about the moisturizer that Brenda was talking about, so I found the ingredient list. I have to say that I've never seen anything like it! I counted 74 items (I'm using my phone, so I could be off because of the small screen). With that many ingredients, it would seem to me that they're not using enough of any one thing to get the benefits from what they put into the moisturizer.

Here's the ingredients list:

Water, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Hdi/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Di-C12-15 Alkyl Fumarate, Steareth-2, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Polysilicone-11, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Saccharomyces/Calcium Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Zinc Ferment Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Juice Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Extract, Saccharomyces/Magnesium Ferment Extract, Padina Pavonica Thallus Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Algae Extract, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Selaginella Tamariscina (Spike Moss) Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Yeast Extract,Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Saccharide Isomerate, Phytantriol, Pentylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Propylene Glycol Caprate, Trehalose, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Pca, Phenyl Trimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linoleic Acid, Adenosine Phosphate, Linoleic Acid, 7-Dehydrocholesterol, Acetyl Carnitine Hcl, Cyclodextrin, Atelocollagen, Silica, Chitosan, Sphingolipids, Caprylyl Glycol, Dextrin, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Carbomer,Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Fragrance, Stearyl Alcohol, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol Manganese Chloride, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol 

Thanks to you, I know what most of these things are and what they do. I have a tendency to put as much good stuff into my formulations, but this just seems like overkill. Of course, I could always be wrong. What's your take on products that have a bazillion ingredients?


Susan L said...

Hi, I'd like to make this cream, but I have Aloe Vera Extract Powder 200x Concentration. If I were using the liquid I'd use 20 grams. Would I be correct using .10 grams of the powder?
I love this site and have successfully make several batches of the hand cream. This is my next step!

Sue said...

I've made this moisturiser and it has turned out beautifully, my query is it has a very strange odor, I thought maybe something was wrong with some of my ingredients, but I've checked dates and sniffed everything, nothing is out of date and nothing smells strange - the strange smell came from the oil phase as I could smell it while heating and holding, it's almost a metallic smell (for my nose anyway, others say it smells like cat's pee), but it is not tolerable, after applying to the back of my hand to see if it would change I had to wash it off the smell was driving me nuts. Anyway, if anyone has any thoughts on what might be the cause so I could alter the ingredients, all/any help would be appreciated?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sue! Which emulsifier are you using? Are you making any other changes to the recipe? This is just awful!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I'm a big fan of your blog.Been trying out your lotions, body butters and sugar scrubs. All big hits with my family and friends.Now, my question is that I have 'aloe Vera' extract,can I use it at the same percentage as the aloe Vera juice in my lotion recipes? Waiting for your reply.
Thanks, Angela

Insect Art said...

My chamomile extract isn't here yet, but I do have chamomile essential oil. Can I use a little of this instead? I notice you don't call for essential oils in your recipes. Are they just too powerful?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Insect Art. I don't use essential oils in my facial products for a few reasons...

1. They are expensive. As you probably know from buying chamomile essential oil, you can spend quite a lot on a small bottle.

2. They smell and I don't like that on my face when I use a product. Some people don't mind - it drives me insane. This is the main reason, to be honest. I know tea tree is great for acne, but I can't stand the smell of it right under my nose all day long!

3. They can cause allergic and skin sensitivity reactions in many people, especially in facial products, so it's just easier to leave them out.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan

I tried to tweak a recipe using your ideas, however, when I had finished it was just to watery, It just didn't thicken up at all, could you have a look and see where I went wrong please :)

Water 23%
aloe vera 20%
Rose Hydrosol 20%
silk protein 2%
Glycerine 3%
Sodium Lactate 2%
Oat Protein 2%

Oil Phase
borage oil 6%
Squalance 4%
Calendula oil 2%
E wax 4%
Cetyl Alcohol 2%

Cool Down
preserv 0.5%
panthenol 2%
Vit E 1%
Multifruit 3%
honeyquat 3%
Banana Extract 0.5%

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Genevieve! Did you heat and hold this product? It would help to know your exact process. And what kind of e-wax are you using? Can you provide me a link to the version you have?

I don't know what e-wax you are using, but generally we use it at 1% more than we would use Polawax. If your oil phase is 15%, then you'd use 15/4 = 3.75% Polawax or 4.75% e-wax. Not a huge difference, but it could be enough.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply Susan, My heat and hold was not long enough, I did the recipe again today and held for 20mins and it worked out just fine this time. Thank you for taking the time to reply to me xx have a great Christmas xx

Rolanda said...

Hi Susan,

I live in the desert. Would it be necessary to put in an additional humectant or can I make this formula with just the one and add the other percentage to the water phase?