Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Formulating for dry skin: Toners
If you're just using it to remove the surfactants from your skin, just make yourself something nice out of a few hydrosols and a preservative. This post is about how to use toners as pre-moisturizers or under moisturizers filled with all kinds of decadent ingredients!
What kinds of things might we want in a toner for dry skin? If we go back to the post on choosing ingredients for dry skin (part 1), we see what we want to include occlusives, emollients, and humectants. The only occlusive ingredient we can use in a toner would be allantoin at up to 0.5% in the heated water phase because cocoa butter and dimethicone are both oil soluble, something a toner is not! For our emollients, we can use things like water soluble esters - like PEG-7 olivate or water soluble shea oil - or we can use the solubilizers and emulsifiers themselves as emollients - like Caprol Micro Express, Cromollient SCE, and others. (The polysorbates are too sticky to be used as emollients!) We can also use our hydrolyzed proteins as film formers - like hydrolyzed oat protein - or as moisturizing ingredients - like hydrolyzed silk protein. For our humectants...well, we have tons and tons of choices here!
Sodium lactate and sodium PCA are good choices, although sodium lactate can make you sun sensitive over 3%. Honeyquat would do double duty, although it can feel a little sticky, as can glycerin, sorbitol, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and sorbitol. Hydrovance is a good choice, but it can experience pH drift, so it's a better choice in products to which you've added AHA or other acids. Tamarind seed extract is nice in a toner, as is dipropylene glycol. And don't forget the panthenol - I always include it in my toners!
We can include some lovely botanical ingredients in a toner recipe (refer to the post on ingredients for dry skin, part two). Add some hydrosols - chamomile and lavender would be my first choice - some aloe vera, some extracts - banana, chamomile, maybe some green tea for aging skin - and cosmeceuticals. There really is no limit on what you can add to a toner, except your ingredients must be water soluble and you don't want to add them over and above the suggested usage amounts because you need them to remain dissolved in the water. (For more on solubility, click here.) And make sure you aren't including a ton of extracts that might be exfoliating together! For instance, papaya, white willow bark, and pineapple all contain exfoliating elements, and you will end up very reddened and sensitive skin if you use all three at full strength!
People with dry skin can try witch hazel - the kind without added alcohol, ask your supplier - because it is a great anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and soothing ingredient. It's also an astringent, and some people with very dry skin will find this is distinctly unhelpful for helping dry skin! But some might find it awesome!
All right! I'll leave you to research your ingredients and we'll reconvene here tomorrow to create a base recipe for a toner suitable for dry skin!
As a final thought, toners are interesting because they're pretty much the same recipe for every skin type. It's the tweaking of the ingredients that makes them very different. And I find it's easy to use things in toners to see if my skin likes them, rather than making a moisturizer. Toners are pretty quick to make and they can be used the same day you make them, whereas moisturizers generally have to wait until the next day so they can cool down!
Fun with formulating: Make a toner