cosmeceuticals in rinse off products, like facial cleansers, most of them won't withstand the rinsing process (much like sodium lactate and sodium PCA). But you can include them in toners, which is a good thing for those of us who can't use anything but oil free products on our faces.
A lot of commercials would have us believe that toners are for toning our skin or returning it back to its original pH, but those aren't true. Toners don't tone - that is to say, they don't firm up our skin - they remove excess surfactant and offer some moisturizing. And they shouldn't be necessary to return your skin to your normal pH as you shouldn't be altering it if you're using a good facial cleanser at the right pH (6.0 to 6.5 or so). I use my toner as a light moisturizer for those days when my skin can't handle occlusion or oils. I fill it up with all kinds of film former and non-oily emollients, and I've been known to throw in an active or two to make it super moisturizing and awesome.
I have modified my toner in the past with all kinds of great ingredients - click here for the post on min-maxing your toner - and I did write a series last year on modifying toners for your skin type - click here for the first post and hit "newer post" at the bottom to see the other posts - so how you choose to modify your toner is up to you and your skin type.
Let's take a look at an example toner for someone with oily skin who doesn't want to use a moisturizer after cleansing.
oil free moisturizer, which would include niacinamide (claims it can reduce sebum production and the size of our pores at 2%), MSM (claims it can reduce oiliness and reduce pores), and salicylic acid (encourages exfoliation at up to 2%). Feel free to include other cosmeceuticals you like at the suggested amount in the suggested phases. (Do not include another exfoliating cosmeceutical in this product because you might end up with too much desquamation!)
I'm using the recipe from the min-maxed toner post, but you can use any toner recipe you like and make these tweaks by removing the percentage from the water phase. (If I'm using 2% niacinamide, 2% MSM, and 2% salicylic acid, I need to remove 4% from the water phase as I already had 2% salicylic acid in this recipe.)
MIN-MAXED TONER WITH COSMECEUTICALS
30% witch hazel
25% lavender hydrosol
10% aloe vera liquid
5% liquid green tea extract
2% sodium lactate
2% hydrolyzed protein
COOL DOWN PHASE
3% Caprol Micro Express or another water soluble ester
5% Multifruit BSC
2% salicylic acid
0.5% chamomile extract
0.5% preservative (I use Germall Plus)
Looking at this recipe, you might be asking yourself why I combined two exfoliating ingredients - Multifruit BSC, a type of AHA, and salicylic acid - into this product. The answer is this...my skin can handle it. I started off using 1% salicylic acid and no Multifruit BSC. I upped it to 2% salicylic acid and used that for a while, then adding a bit of Multifruit BSC at a time. Now my skin really likes it and I'm pleased with it. I suggest you do the same thing if you're making this toner - try a little of this, then a little of that and see how your skin reacts. You can use white willow bark at 0.5% in the cool down phase in place of the salicylic acid, but it will give it a browner colour than you see in the pictures above (the one on the left has green tea and white willow bark, hence the darker colour).
You can substitute the hydrolyzed protein with beta glucan or sea kelp bioferment, if you have those on hand. You could use resveratrol at some amount in this toner (you'll have to dissolve in a bit of alcohol before adding) or grapeseed extract, although this will give it a browny-purple colour. (I definitely recommend an opaque bottle if you're using all these extracts so it doesn't look hideous in your bathroom!)
Join me tomorrow for some more ideas on formulating facial products with our cosmeceuticals!