Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Newbie Tuesday: Creating a facial toner

If you've been following the Newbie Tuesday facial products series, you'll know we've spent the last three months making various cleansers for our skin. Let's take a look at making toners today.

What's a toner? It's a liquid or gel that we apply after we clean our skin to make it feel nice. I've seen it written that toners are to restore the pH of our skin after using our cleansers, but our cleansers shouldn't be altering the pH of your skin in the first place!

They can hydrate our skin using water soluble ingredients, like hydrolyzed proteins, humectants like sodium lactate or glycerin, water soluble oils, and so on. They are used as a moisturizer for those of us who can't use oils or an extra layer of moisture before you put on your facial serum or moisturizer. There are some versions for oily skin that offer to shrink your pores or reduce sebum levels, and versions for dry skin that offer to moisturize better than a lotion alone. I've seen them filled with botanical ingredients, as well as cosmeceuticals like niacinamide or beta glucan.

Toners shouldn't sting or be drying. I remember using the very medicinal smelling Bonnie Bell toner as a teenager and it not only stung like hell and left my skin feeling quite stripped of oils. (I was 14, so oil stripping was a good thing, but it felt like it was even more stripping than I could handle!) This is not what we want.

In short, a toner tends to be a liquid or gelled product that contains water soluble components that offers hydration to all skin types. You can fancy them up as much as you want with all kinds of things, or keep them really simple. Some of us with oily skin can use them as moisturizers on their own, while others might use it as a step before using a moisturizer.

Let's take a look at a creating a simple toner today, then make some modifications next week...

I generally start with witch hazel in my toner. Contrary to popular thought, it's not an inherently drying ingredient if it's not full of added alcohol. (There is some alcohol that is found naturally in witch hazel. I'm not talking about that type of alcohol.) It's an astringent and an anti-inflammatory liquid that can reduce swelling, so it's great for oily or inflamed skin types, that can also help stabilize collagen and elastin. Dry skin types might not like it so much, so you can leave it out, or just use up to 5% because it does contain some nice anti-oxidants. I use it at 20% as the base of my toner for my oily skin.

You can use all sorts of hydrosols or floral waters in a toner as part of the water amount. I generally use up to 20% hydrosols in the form of chamomile or rose water. If you don't have any hydrosols, you can leave it out and replace the 20% I'm using in the recipes below for 20% distilled water.

As an aside, I didn't suggest buying it as part of the shopping list for this series, but it is getting super popular and we are burning through bottles of it at every group I teach at Voyageur Soap & Candle this semester! It's a great inclusion in a toner! 

For skin that tends to redden, chamomile hydrosol or extract is an amazing choice! It's also awesome for dry skin as it can reduce transepidermal water loss for up to 48 hours. You can get the hydrosol or the powdered extract. I recommend it for all skin types, so we'll add it to this recipe as the powdered extract at 0.5% or you could add it as the hydrosol for up to 20%.

For oily skin, rosemary extract is a great choice for a product as it reduces the sebum production and helps remove oil. Let's add it at 0.5% in the cool down phase.

For dry skin, we'll add some cucumber extract as it soothes and offers hydration by creating a light gel film on the skin. It's great for all skin types that need some soothing.

For normal skin, let's use the chamomile extract as well as some green tea extract to offer some anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory, and elastin and collagen maintaining properties.

For problem skin, chamomile is a great choice, as is white willow bark.

Remember, when adding extracts, check which ones are exfoliating and avoid combinations of more than one at a time!

Why can't we use all the powdered extracts ever in our products? The main reason is that we can only put so much powder into the water and have it dissolve. If we add too much, we get precipitation, which means our powder falls out of the solution and ends up in a clumpy mess on the bottom of the bottle, as you can see here.

If you want to add a few powdery things but worry about having too mch, consider that you might find the benefits in another way. Look at hydrosols, liquid extracts, or essential oils with a solubilizer as an option. If the smell of some of these ingredients bother you - the way I feel about chamomile - then consider liquid extracts as they can be odourless and colourless. Ask your supplier for more information or check the description of the ingredient on their web site before buying.

Also remember that powdered extracts will likely turn your product a beige, brown, tan, or other earthy colour. This is normal!

Related posts: Extracts: Liquid or powder?

I love allantoin so much, and we'll be using it at 0.5% in the heated water phase of our product. It offers occlusive properties, which is to say it reduces transepidermal water loss as well as protecting us from wind and cold chapping, for such a tiny amount.

Note: I always use mine in the heated phase or I add it to warmed water as I find this is the best way to dissolve it. I have found when I use it in the cool down phase (under 45˚C) or over 1% it can precipitate or re-solidify and cause little shards in the product.

Finally, I need to think about a humectant, something like glycerin or sodium lactate. I like to use them around 2% in my product to offer hydration by drawing water from the atmosphere to my skin. Sodium lactate will feel less sticky than glycerin, but it can make you sun sensitive over 3%, so always keep it at 2% or lower. You can use propylene glycol at 2%, if you wish. You could get really fancy and add 0.1% hyaluronic acid, if you wished.

SIMPLE TONER FOR NORMAL SKIN - ROSE WATER & CHAMOMILE
HEATED WATER PHASE
56% distilled water
20% witch hazel
20% rose water or other hydrosol
2% glycerin, sodium lactate, or propylene glycol
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% powdered cucumber or green tea extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Measure all the heated water phase ingredients into a container and heat until 50˚C to 60˚C. Mix well, then let cool to 45˚C.

In a separate small container, weigh out your powdered extracts. Add some of the water from the heated water phase and mix well until the extracts have dissolved. Add back to the cool down phase.

Measure the liquid Germall Plus into the container, stir, then bottle in a disc cap or mister bottle.

You're done - rejoice!

If you have oily or problem prone skin, consider using sodium lactate at 2% as it can act as a mild exfoliant that can possibly help with acne. I'm adding chamomile extract to reduce redness - you could use it as a hydrosol as well - and rosemary extract to deal with sebum production.

Orange, neroli, and rose waters can all help with sebum production, so they're good choices for hydrosols. Peppermint hydrosol could be a great choice here, and it adds a tiny tingle at as little as 10% in the water phase. We'll use rose water

SIMPLE TONER FOR OILY SKIN - ROSE WATER & ROSEMARY
HEATED WATER PHASE
56% distilled water
20% witch hazel
20% rose water
2% glycerin, sodium lactate, or propylene glycol
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered rosemary extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Measure all the heated water phase ingredients into a container and heat until 50˚C to 60˚C. Mix well, then let cool to 45˚C.

In a separate small container, weigh out your powdered extracts. Add some of the water from the heated water phase and mix well until the extracts have dissolved. Add back to the cool down phase.

Measure the liquid Germall Plus into the container, stir, then bottle in a disc cap or mister bottle.

You're done - rejoice!

For dry skin, consider using a few humectants like 2% glycerin and 2% sodium lactate, or 2% glycerin and 2% propylene glycol, or some combination thereof to make sure you're getting enough hydration to your skin.

We'll be talking about other non-oil based moisturizers we can add to our toner next week, so it's all about your skin type then! 

SIMPLE TONER FOR DRY SKIN - ROSE WATER & CUCUMBER
HEATED WATER PHASE
69% distilled water
20% rose water or lavender hydrosol
5% witch hazel
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
2% one of glycerin, propylene glycol, or sodium lactate
0.5% allantoin

COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% powdered cucumber extract
0.5% powdered chamomile extract
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Measure all the heated water phase ingredients into a container and heat until 50˚C to 60˚C. Mix well, then let cool to 45˚C.

In a separate small container, weigh out your powdered extracts. Add some of the water from the heated water phase and mix well until the extracts have dissolved. Add back to the cool down phase.

Measure the liquid Germall Plus into the container, stir, then bottle in a disc cap or mister bottle.

You're done - rejoice!

Related posts on toners:
Gels: Making a gelled toner (part one)
Formulating with toners for dry skin (part one)
One ingredient, five products: Toners with cucumber extract
Making a toner for oily skin types (part one)

If you'd like to play along or if you've missed a post, here's a listing of the complete series...
Newbie Tuesday: We're making facial products! 
Shopping list
Equipment list
Let's start making facial cleansers! - Your skin type
Surfactants - what are they?
Meet the surfactants
pH of our surfactants
Facial products - the base recipe
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part one) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser (part two) - physical exfoliants
Turning your cleanser into an exfoliating cleanser by adding chemical exfoliants
Modifying your facial cleanser into a foamer bottle recipe

What version did you make? Did you make any modifications? What did you think of the toner you made? And what will you do different next time? Share your thoughts and we'll make some more toners next week and talk about what you'd like to see in future recipes!

As a quick note on scheduling: I thought we'd get started on gels next week, but there's so much to cover for toners, we'll still be doing that on the 13th and the 20th as we make a few more based on your feedback for modifications.

We'll start on gels after Christmas, December 27th, so there's time to get some gellant if you wish. I will have versions you can make using Sepimax ZEN, Sepinov EMT 10, and sodium carbomer if you don't have access to the Ultrez 20 I recommend in the shopping list for this series.  You can get those gellants at Lotioncrafter.

If you want to shop a little further, consider looking at getting a bit of niacinamide or panthenol (powder or liquid). I'll be putting up the shopping list for moisturizers and facial sera in the next week or so, but we won't be getting to those products until late January or early February, so you have loads of time to shop and wait for shipping.

Again, I recommend shops because I like them, not because I make anything if you purchase from them. I admit I'm biased towards Voyageur Soap & Candle and Lotioncrafter because I shop there often and I really like the owners, but I get nothing if you buy from them. The links I offer are for convenience, not so I can make money! 

13 comments:

Paula M said...

I never commented before but wanted to say that I love your blog and I share your articles all the time with my students. Have a great Holiday season!

Susan said...

I made the toner for dry skin, using chamomile hydrosol instead of rose hydrosol, and adjusting the water because I did not add the powdered chamomile extract. It smells very similar to the facial cleanser for dry skin using chamomile hydrosol. I bottled it with a spritz pump. It feels lovely on the skin, non-drying, and has a nice light scent that does not seem to linger. Later today am going to make another version using rose hydrosol, to change it up a bit. Great recipe! Thanks, Susan

Susan said...

P.S. Quick Question - Could we also replace some of the water with aloe vera juice? I thought that now the harsh cold winter is here, it would add an extra layer of protection from the chafing effects of the winter wind. Thanks, Susan

Belinda Karst said...

Hello Susan!

I just got some powdered extracts in a week or two ago, so I'm going to try them out in a few different toner recipes. Perfect timing!!

Thanks!
Belinda

Jammy Smith said...

Thank you Susan for this news series: Creating a facial toner. I learned so much in the facial products making class in Nov. The Newbie Tue actually reinforces what I learned. Thanks. Two of the big discoveries in the class to me are Toner and Gel. I absolutely love them. I am creating a toner for my 15 year old teenager with acne prone skin. I tried to modify the recipe from the one for oily skin as follows. I hope my 1st recipe makes sense.

Regarding to the hydrosol, I was thinking to use chamomile hydrosol, but I will use chamomile extract in this recipe, so I choose lavender hydrosol. I am also thinking instead of 20% lavender hydrosol, I may use 10% lavender hydrosol and 10% aloe vera. But to start with, I will stick with 20% of lavender hydrosol to see how it goes.

I planned to use sodium lactate instead of glycerin at the beginning but consider my teenager likes outdoor activities. I don't want to choose something to make him more sun sensitive so I will use glycerin. Is it ok, or is it better to use sodium lactate?

For the extract, I will use 0.5% honeysuckle extract in addition to 0.5% chamomile extract. I may use 0.75-1% Optiphen Plus Preservative because I have it at home, and want to use it all.

I hope this modification will work well for my 15 year old teenager. Thank you Susan. I really love your blog and the class.

Kirsten Thomas. said...

Hi Susan, I am pulling my hair out trying to find witch hazel liquid without alcohol, OR witch hazel extract without oil in it, for my toner. Anyone out there in "Swiftcrafty land" (yes, such a place does exist!) please shout out too, but I need to find a supplier. I am located in the US, but at this point, I am even looking in Canada for this stuff. My old toner had polysorbate with essential oils in it, and also some witch hazel extract, but it had FCO in it. The smell of the polysorbate was annoying me, so I changed to a 100% water phase (and cool down) recipe, and this is the problem that arose. I need the toning qualities of the witch hazel. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Matthew Griffin said...

NewDirectionsAromatics.com has an alcohol-free witch hazel. I haven't tried it, but I do like the one with alcohol (14%) in aftershave. They have a $100 minimum order though.

Charlette said...

Kirsten, I bought witch hazel without alcohol on Amazon--it's Thayers brand and it can be purchased without fragrance, or with Rose Hydrosol or Lavander Hydrosol incorporated into it. The ingredients are everything we love in a hydrosol.

Charlette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlette said...

Love the toner for dry skin. I made two batches. The first one, I used Glycerin and Sodium Lactate. It was sticky. The second batch I used Sodium PCA and Hydrolyzed Silk Protein, and added a little Niacinamide and 1% Allantoin (which was added in another post)--and, oh! it turned out perfect!! NO stickiness!! I think I'm going to give up on using Glycerin in "leave-on" products. I have thrown out ruined batches of other products because of stickiness--so, I'm done using glycerin. (Love it in cleansers, though).
Thanks for your recipes, insights and humor! So glad I found this wonderful blog!

Uvesh Patel said...

hy susan

may i ae

lactic acid and glycolic acid i gelled toner?

but will these acid compatible with

ultrez-20?

if not what should i use for making gel with above acids??

tnx in advance?

Chrisstine said...

Hi

in my country there is not witch hazel, what can i use?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Uvesh. I will be addressing this in the coming weeks as we work with gels, but you want a pH of 4.5 to 5 for using Ultrez 20, so it won't be appropriate for those acids. You can use Sepimax ZEN at 2% for up to 4% glycolic acid, and we'll be looking at that gellant in a few weeks.

Data sheet for Ultrez 20