Friday, March 4, 2011

Learning to formulate: Facial moisturizers

I mentioned the other day that I find moisturizers the hardest product to create, and I should start off by justifying this comment. They aren't hard products to make - the process is the same as any lotion with the heated water phase, heated oil phase, heat and hold, cool down phase, and mixing - but they are hard products to perfect. There are so many great oils from which we can choose, and finding the ones that offer the perfect skin feel and consistency and don't make us break out is the hard part. Then we have tons of extracts, cosmeceuticals, and so on which we can put into the products...well, you can see why we have such difficulty making one we love.

The first step in making a moisturizer is to learn your skin type. Some of us can't stand any oils on our skin and some of us can slather on shea butter and still feel like we need a little more moisturizing. I recommend your first stop should be in the skin chemistry & types section of this blog. Figure out what your skin needs and then choose your ingredients accordingly.

The second thing is to decide on a recipe. My standard recipe is an 80% water recipe, but you can have a higher or lower water phase depending upon your needs. I find the 80% water recipe allows me to have a nice oil phase (or oil free phase, depending on the recipe) and a nice water phase. If you have very dry skin or want a night cream, you could go down to a 70% water recipe. (The recipe I'll be using as a starting point contains 88.5% water, but we're going to play with it quite a bit.)

When choosing your oil based ingredients, consult a list of comedogenic or acnegenic oils and butters (this seems like a good list). Using a non-comedogenic oil doesn't mean you won't break out: It just means it's less likely to clog your pores. But take these ratings with a grain of salt. As I mention in the post on comedogenicity, most of these ratings are based on rabbit ear tests, so their effect on human skin can be quite different. So you really need to figure out what works for you, and that will take time and patience. (This is where we get into the "moisturizers can be difficult" part of my statement.)

Here are a few recipes to consider as we learn to formulate moisturizers. As a note, I do recommend referring to these recipes because I'm not going to be going into great detail about how to formulate moisturizers as I've covered a lot of it in these posts. I'll concentrate, instead, on various ingredients you can add to a facial product.
Swift's 80% water moisturizer (basic recipe)
Formulating moisturizers in general
Formulating moisturizers for dry skin
Formulating moisturizers for wrinkled skin
Formulating moisturizers for oily skin
Silicone based moisturizers
Facial moisturizer with hemp seed oil
Facial moisturizer with sea buckthorn oil
Facial moisturizer with sunflower oil
Oil free facial moisturizer
Another formulating moisturizer post with ideas for additives
Formulating a moisturizer with additives (part two)
Leave-in conditioners become moisturizers (moisturizers with BTMS-50)

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at the first of a few ideas for creating facial moisturizers.


Tara said...

I am really interested in making facial moisturizers so that I don't have to shell out big dough for the "cosmeceuticals" I love to to use: vitamins A and C, niacinamide, sea kelp bioferment, and various collagen enhancers and skin lighteners.
It would be great if you could do a series on various additives of "upscale" moisturizers to make ourselves!

Mychelle said...

How do you always know what I am working on? I am so excited about this tutorial, as my next project is facial moisturizers. Light one for me, rich one for my mom. You are awesome Susan!