Friday, May 7, 2010

Formulating facial moisturizers - an overview

Before the lengthy series of posts on surfactants, we were taking a look at different skin types. So let's take a look at formulating facial moisturizers!

I'll be using this basic facial moisturizer recipe as our starting point.

77.5% water
2-5% humectant of choice
0.5% allatoin

8% oils
4% emulsifier
2% thickener

0.5% to 1% preservative
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
0.5% extract
0.5% another extract

What's my rationale for each ingredient?

Water: Well, that's obvious, but why so much? Facial moisturizers should feel light on our skin, so we need to include a lot of water. You can substitute other liquids for the water amount like aloe vera, witch hazel, hydrosols, and so on. 

Humectants: Humectants are vital for every skin type, offering moisturizing and helping with water retention. They are especially important for dry skin types, and they can offer moisturizing without oils for oily skinned girls. 

Allantoin: I suggest this for all skin types as allantoin acts as a barrier ingredient and offers softening, cell regeneration, and soothing for weather damaged skin. We would normally get our barrier ingredient from cocoa butter or dimethicone (the other two approved barrier ingredients), but some skin types don't play well with oils and some people don't want to use silicones. Allantoin is good for just about every skin type (except sensitive, who will have to see how they react to it). 

Oils: We're using oils and not butters here to offer moisturizing and emolliency without occlusion. We'll modify which oils we use for each skin type.

Emulsifier: We need an emulsifier to bring the oil and water together in a lotion. Although I normally go for Polawax, for a facial lotion, Incroquat BTMS can offer a less greasy feeling with some conditioning. I suggest this for oily skin types - normal and dry skin types will have to see which one they prefer. You can choose other emulsifiers here - SugarMulse, Natramulse, your own combination based on the HLB system - and use them at the suggested amount.

Thickener: Normally we'd use something like cetyl alcohol or stearic acid as the thickener in a lotion. Both will thicken and offer moisturizing, but I'll choose cetyl alcohol here because it will feel more glidy on your skin (which is essential for your face!) and it works in conjunction with the BTMS to offer more conditioning! Cetyl alcohol also offers oil-free moisturizing for oily girls with sensitive skin! 

Preservatives: It is not an option to leave out the preservatives in a lotion, so choose something from this post. If you are using Incroquat BTMS, Tinosan is not an option as it doesn't work well in cationic mixtures.

Hydrolyzed protein: These act as film formers, humectants, and moisturizers, and make the lotion feel a little more glidy. Great for all skin types, and we'll be modifying the protein we use for your skin type.

Panthenol: An awesome inclusion as it behaves as a humectant, emollient, and moisturizer for our skin. Studies have shown it can help speed wound healing, and it can help retain moisture in our skin!

Extracts: There are quite a few to choose from, and I suggest choosing a hydrosol you like to work in combination with an extract you like. This is another major component we'll be tweaking for your skin type!

Join me tomorrow to enjoy some formulating fun with dry skin facial moisturizers!


Ambra said...

Love your post, they are so informative. You should write a book!

Madeaj said...

I agree with Ambra. You should defintely write book. There are lots of people who are wanting to make their own products. Your site is informative without being dry. I look forward to your daily posts and I would buy the book.

LadyBird said...

Hi would you be able to do a post on eye creams? I have made one using a recipe from snowdrift farms, but it doesnt absorb easily and looks oily on the skin.


Ps. I love, love your blog. :D

plue said...

Hi Susan,

May I know how is the consistency of this moisturizer? Is it thin like lotion or thick like cream? I'd love to formulate a facial moisturizer with the consistency of cream but suitable for oily skin type. Is it possible? Thanks in advance for your reply :)

p/s: as always, I adore your blog so much!

pat bortolin said...

Hi Susan, I tried to formulate this basic recipe on july 18/14 but I made some mistakes.
Heated water phase:
30% chamomile hydrosol
20% rosemary hydrosol
50% distilled water
= 100% oops!
Heated oil phase:
2% almond oil
2% olive oil
2% camelilla oil
2% jojoba oil
4% btms-225
2% cetyl alcohol
Cool down phase:
1% optiphen plus
2% panthenol
2% silk protein
10 drops lavender e.o.

Conclusion, this formula was off by 17% + 10 drops e.o., however, I did hold the water for 20 minutes at 70 degrees C then used a hand blender to emulsify and cooled it down to 45C. The preservative and dissolved panthenol/silk protein was then added and blended, the final product turned out mousse like, still very nice and creamy but I will not choose this recipe again because I prefer accuracy = 100%. Thanks for all your knowledge and great sense of humor! Cheers Pat

Susanna Originals said...

Susan, I have been desperately trying to formulate a night cream for old, wrinkly skin and after a major tweaking of your basic recipe, using what I had and leaving out all the stuff I don't, finally have one I love. The downside is that it's orange, haha, but the orange soaks in and doesn't leave a residue. The cream leaves a greasy feel for about 20 minutes but then leaves my face baby-bum smooth. I would like to know your reaction to the recipe, if I can do better, and secondly, I'd like to tweak the recipe again to make a lighter, day cream that doesn't stay greasy quite so long, and would appreciate your help. - Thanks, another Susan
15% aloe
12% lavender water
20% filtered water
3% glycerine

4% neem
7% mango butter
4% almond
3.5% oat
4% sea buckthorn
7% coconut
7.5% polawax

5% pseudocollagen
2% multifruit
4% germail
% rosemary
1% bergamot, frankincense, Vit E

Susanna Originals said...

My apologies, when I posted this recipe I put "coconut" but it was fractionated coconut oil that I used.

Matt said...

Good grief this is such a great site. I'm just getting into all this and this site is an absolute goldmine...I'm into the science of it and too many sites out there are all "natural" and "organic" - I just want to make the best possible product and this site helps me do that...thank you so, so much for the shared wisdom!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Matt! Thank you for your kind words! I'm so happy you're finding the blog helpful!

Becky Bravo said...

Hi Susan, you are so helpful and knowledgeable. I am hoping you may be able to give me some insight. I have been playing with a face cream. I got this recipe and sample years ago. I remember the cream had a mousse like texture. It absorbed quickly and felt wonderful.

I have tweaked the recipe for what I have on hand, hoping to get it right. So far I like it but I'm missing the texture of the mousse. Can you give me some advice?

The recipe is as follows, the one that I came up with.

Water 65%
S. Lactate 2%
Ipm 3%
Ewax 5%
Steric 2%
Fco 9%
Wheat germ 3%
Meadow foam 6%
Epo 2%
Mango 2%
Pres 1%
Vit e 1%

Thank you again for your time.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Becca. You have a lot of oils in this recipe, too many I would suggest, and not enough e-wax. You need to calculate your oil phase, then add 25% e-wax to that to get the right emulsification. (E-wax is 25%, then add another 1% to the result.) Why use tiny bits of all these different oils? You aren't getting the benefits of any of them using such tiny amounts. You're better to choose one or two oils and go with that. The butter isn't helping with the mousse like texture. It'll weigh everything down.

A recipe I had that had a mousse texture relied upon one oil and stearic acid to make everything frothy. When I mixed it, I used the whisk attachment and frothed it up to almost double the size. Then I poured it into jars, and it set that way. It was lovely stuff. I recommend maybe increasing the stearic acid to 3%, getting the right amount of emulsifier by calculating the oil phase, then trying that.

Becky Bravo said...

Thanks Susan. I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. But will follow your suggestions. Have a great night. Becca

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Becca. Why don't you try a recipe that has been previously made - like one you might find on this blog - to learn what each ingredient brings to the product, what the final consistency might be, what happens when you alter one ingredient or another, then work to modify it? I see you've posted elswhere for help...I'm wondering if you might be trying to run before you walk? When we learn what each ingredient brings - both by reading about it and working with it - we can make changes so much easier. Just a thought...