How to formulate a Face Wash – with Recipe

Now that we have studied the theory of Surfactants (here and here) and we have the values of some of them it is time to finally formulate! 😀

The recipe of today is for a very delicate Face Wash which helped me when I used to suffer of a mild but annoying and constant (meaning that my skin wasn’t covered in pimples completely but I did have a few all the time and this lasted over two years) form of acne. I should make a post about this! I used to be quite aggressive with my skin: I was scrubbing, using alcoholic toners, applying aggressive creams… but nothing was helping (on the contrary…).
Then one day I decided to give a break to my skin, I stopped scrubbing crazily, I stopped attacking my skin and I started concentrating on eating more healthy food and… TADAAA it did the trick 😀 I simply found out that all my skin needed was to be treated gently.

DIY Face Wash - Recipe

This is how the formulation was done:

KEEP ON READING

On Surfactants and Formulation (face wash, shampoo and shower gels)

So now we know how to combine (and why to combine) the different surfactants… but how to calculate the Active Surfactant Matter we want in our product? (which also mean: how much surfactant we have to add to our product to have the surfactant concentration we want to obtain?).

As I already explained the Surfactant Matter of a liquid surfactant which we buy is not 100%: the surfactant is made of the Surfactant Matter and Water (and probably other ingredients like glycerin, for example); therefore every surfactant we buy has a “Active Surfactant Matter” percentage which is what we have to consider.

As I wrote in the previous posts about formulation of detergents (shampoo, bubble bath, shower gel, face wash), the amount of the TOTAL Active Matter of surfactants has to vary according to the purpose of our detergent.

Generally this is the scheme:
– face wash: <10% 
– detergent for intimate use: <10% 
– shampoo: 10%-15%
– shower gel: 15%-20% 
– bubble bath: 20%-25% (in case you really use it only to make bubbles in the bath tub and you never use it directly on your skin, you could even reach 35%… but I don’t suggest it).

Now let’s learn how to formulate the detergent.

KEEP ON READING

How to formulate a detergent – THEORY pt.2

Now we know the basics about our surfactants (if you haven’t read the previous post, go HERE) now it is time to actually formulate a detergent.

Even if you don’t plan on making the detergent by yourself, reading this might be useful to you in order to understand what’s actually inside your shampoo or other detergents and you will be able to understand if these products are delicate or not 😉

How to formulate a detergent

There are not totally wrong combinations of surfactants: you can mix them just by chance and eventually you will always get a detergent, whatever you do. What could go wrong is that you might get a very liquid detergent or you might get it more aggressive than you expected, but it will still be a detergent!
However there are some rules that, if followed, will give you a good detergent with a good density and the right washing-ability.

Controlling the DELICACY:
So far what we said is that mixing more surfactants will eventually give us a less harsh detergent (of course than a detergent made with a single surfactant keeping the active matter value stable).
We also said that when formulating, the best choice should be:
– an anionic or non-ionic surfactant; it is the surfactant which we will add in our detergent at higher %.
– an amphoteric surfactant; it will make the first surfactant more mild.
extra surfactants: (usually non-ionic) these are used in very low percentage and are added to improve the lather or the consistency of the detergent.
Making this kind of combination of surfactants will give, as a result, a balanced detergent which will be delicate enough (this is of course also related to the active matter %).

Always as a matter of delicacy, if you add certain substances, they act as a protector to your skin (for example proteins, at 1-2%).
You could also think of superfatting your detergent and this low percentage of oil will “use” some of the surfactants making your detergent more mild on the skin. Notice, however, that some surfactants don’t “bear” the presence of oils (even an extra drop of perfume oil can disturb them) and get liquid immediately after you add them to the mixture (for example it is the case of sodium lauroyl sarcosinate).

VISCOSITY:
The viscosity of your product is very important: a water-like detergent gives to our subconscious the feeling that it cannot clean enough (even if it is not so).
The negative thing is that some surfactants, when combined, give a very liquid result.
Luckily there are few combinations of surfactants which work very well in giving you a dense detergent:
– SLES + betaine (an amphoteric surfactant) + salt = very dense detergent. Sodium chloride (salt) is often in commercial detergents, even in shampoos. However if you add too much it can make your detergent too harsh. In my shampoo I use SLES, cocamidopropyl betaine and I never needed to add salt because it was dense enough (sometimes even too much).
SLS + a glucoside (this means a non-ionic surfactant: lauryl glucoside, decyl glucoside are the most common for example).
– sodium lauroyl sarcosinate + pH 5 (acidify your detergent to pH 5, using citric acid in a solution or lactic acid, and the sarcosinate will become thick)

There are also other things you can use in case your detergent is too liquid:
if you have already tried the recipe and you like the result as detergent but it is too liquid, the next time you repeat the recipe you can add xanthan gum to the water of the detergent in order to thicken it up a little bit. However do not use xanthan gum at more than 1% or the detergent will get an unpleasant slimy feeling.

There are also some synthetic thickeners exactly made for surfactants.
The best one so far is Tinovis GTC (Inci: Acrylates / Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer) because you can add it at the end of the making of your detergent and therefore you can adjust the density little by little.

Obviously if you don’t care how your detergent looks and you are fine with washing yourself with a water-liquid detergent… you can use it as it is! 🙂

Now finally to THE FORMULATION

Also the formulation of a detergent is divided in Phase A, B and usually C.

Phase A:
this will be our water phase and usually it contains water and glycerin (remember glycerin is important to keep our products hydrated, this is because glycerin is highly hydrophilic).
In case you want to add xanthan gum you have to add it now (also some synthetic thickeners have to be added in beginning so be sure to read the data sheet of your raw material in advance! 🙂 ).
You also add here any hydrophilic ingredient: for example you add your preservative (ONLY in case it is hydrophilic of course), your hydrophilic colorant (for example the food grade ones), and so on.

Phase B:
In our phase B we have most of the surfactants: usually we add the surfactant at higher percentage (which is usually an anionic surfactant) and one by one we add the “extra surfactants” which are usually the non-ionic ones.
IMPORTANT: do not add now the amphoteric surfactants (generally the betaine) or your detergent might get ruined (in the way it gets very liquid… once again: a detergent cannot really get spoiled and it will still clean your body even if you do something wrong).
Often I add the perfume and the lipophilic preservative directly here in the mixture of surfactants (of course in case I am not using already an hydrophilic one).
One important thing to notice is that once you add a surfactant to another you are supposed to mix slowly and combine them very well because you add a third one.

Now it is time to pour Phase A slowly into Phase B and mix.
This time we only use a spoon to mix, paying attention to not make too many bubbles (however even if you get too many bubbles, they will disappear with time).

Phase C:
This is the phase where you add the amphoteric surfactant and usually your detergent gets thick here.
If this doesn’t happen you can always add here your synthetic thickener (in case it is the kind that needs to be added in the end) or you can try by adding 1% salt or… once again… you can just use your detergent as it is and try to do better next time. 🙂
In case of shampoo you also are supposed to add at this moment all the hair conditioner substances (which will help your shampoo to not feel harsh on the hair)… but I will make a post specifically about hair shampoo to explain this better 😉

Next post will be a recipe for a detergent and I will also show you how to calculate the ACTIVE matter of your detergent, so stay tuned! 🙂
Have a great day! 😀

 

Sources 

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Sebum Normalizer cream Recipe

DSCF3535

This is a cream made specifically for oily skin and for spring days! 😀
There are two important active ingredients in this cream which will perform the function of oil-controllers:
– Azelaic Acid 
– Tiolisine 

The Azelaic Acid however is insoluble in water or oil therefore it is very difficult for us to use it in our home production (you can find it in online shops of raw materials but I don’t know how it could be used since it is impossible to melt it or dissolve it properly in any liquid)… this is why in this recipe I have used a derivative of Azelaic Acid called Azeloglicine (it contains approx 30% of Azelaic Acid in a hydrophilic form! Bingo! :D).
Azelaic Acid is mainly used for its oil-control properties but it is also used to treat acne (both comedonal and inflammatory) because it kills the bacteria which cause acne and it also decreases the production of keratin which is a substance that promotes the growth of bacteria.
Tiolisine is a sulfurated aminoacid derivative which also has sebum-normalizing properties and it is usually used between 2-4% (3-5% in detergents like shampoo for dandruff).

The recipe I have made for this cream is as simple as possible.
Now I write the recipe and then I explain some more things:

RECIPE: [in case you are new to the making of creams, HERE you can learn what I am talking about ;)]
PHASE A:
water to 100 (HERE the explanation)
xanthan gum 0.11 (possibly not the transparent kind: for gels the transparent xanthan gum is good, for creams the other is better)
carbopol ultrez 21 0.3
glycerin 2.5

PHASE B:
Methyl glucose sesquistearate 2 (I use this low percentage because the oils in this cream are very low)
Cetyl Alcohol 0.8
Cetiol sensoft 1.5
Evening Primrose Oil 1
Hemp oil 0.5
Tocopherol 1

PHASE C 1 : 
Bisabolol 0.5
Dry Flo (INCI aluminum starch octenyl succinate) 0.7

PHASE C 2 :
Azeloglicine 6
Tiolisine Complex 2.5

Preservative 0.6 (or according to the right percentage of use of your own preservative).

Adjust the pH at 5.5 – 6
The oil percentage is so low it could be considered an oil-free cream.
The consistency of the cream is rather fluid: I always have the feeling that thick creams are more suitable for dry skins (at least this is the feeling I get: if a cream is thick, I unconsciously associate it with the idea of a “too rich” cream for an oily skin), while fluid lotions give me better the idea of something light. So this is all up to you (if you want a thick cream you can rise the cetyl alcohol up to 1.5%… but since this is like a wax on our skin, I don’t recommend it :D).
Cetiol Sensoft is a very light synthetic oil which gives a smooth touch to the cream. If you want to avoid using synthetic oils and you wish to use only natural oils, you could substitute this ingredient with the same amount of jojoba oil (which is a bit more dense but it is the lightest natural “oil”).

Hope this was helpful to those of you who have trouble with oily skin!
Let me know if it worked for you 😉

HAVE A GREAT DAY! 😀

DIY Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is a very powerful substance and it is found in many commercial products for the skin because it is a strong antioxidant, it has lightening properties and, last but not least, it boosts the production of collagen (therefore you are left with a firmer skin).

Vitamin C is “ascorbic acid” (you could also find “L-ascorbic acid”) but in the creams you buy, if you read the ingredients, you will never find “ascorbic acid”, probably you will find “sodium ascorbyl phosphate” or “magnesium ascorbyl phosphate” (there are also other forms of Vitamin C, this is a mere example). What is this?
Well, Vitamin C has great properties but it doesn’t keep stable: it oxidizes even in contact with air, with light… (this is why if you make fresh orange juice you should drink it immediately after), so in order to be able to add this vitamin in our face creams, cosmetologists use a stabilized form of Vit C: if in the ingredients of your cream you read an ingredient which contains the word “ascorbyl”, to make it very simple, that is the stabilized form of Vitamin C.

These stabilized forms are many and they are growing in number all the time. They are not something negative (and even I use them in the making of Vitamin C creams… maybe I will post a recipe soon about it 🙂 ), however their properties are not 100% the same of the pure Vitamin C.

Today I am going to show you the easiest and most effective way to make at home a special Vitamin C Serum which is much more powerful than every cream you ever bought 😀

The only way to use pure Vitamin C (therefore “L-ascorbic acid”) effectively is to use it right away and make a new serum all the time.
This is why the recipe of today, unlikely all the cream recipes I have shown before, is not in 100 gr but it is in very small amounts: because you will have to make it anew every time you want it 🙂
But don’t be scared: it is made of three ingredients only and it is divided in two parts 😉

RECIPE:
(first part)
1 teaspoon demineralized water 
1/8 teaspoon L-ascorbic acid (you can easily buy it in pharmacy; ask for the powder of vitamin C or ask for Ascorbic acid, simply 😉 )
(if you wish to, you can add also a drop of glycerin)
You mix these two ingredients in a bowl and measure the pH (you can find pH strips even in pharmacy: buy those from 0 – 14 so you can use them also for the other homemade cosmetics in the future. They should look like THIS in order to show you exactly the correct pH of the solution).
WARNING! Measuring the pH is important!
Ascorbic acid is obviously an acid (and it is also very strong) so you don’t want to apply on your skin something of pH 2… however Vitamin C is well absorbed (and used) in your skin only at a pH range of 3.5 or lower. Therefore check the pH of the solution and if you see it is lower than pH 3.5 adjust the pH by adding a little bit more water. Now check the pH again and keep adjusting until the result is pH 3.5.
This is really important and I am not responsible if you ruin your skin. 

At this point you can apply this water on your skin using a brush or even your own fingers, keep applying even in multiple layers until the water is finished.
WARNING! Do NOT apply on the eye area or too close to your lips or nostrils.
It is normal if it stings a little, but it should not be painful and it should not last more than 2 or 3 minutes.
WARNING! If you feel pain wash off immediately! If after 3 minutes the stinging hasn’t stopped yet, wash off immediately! Some people have a very delicate skin and this acid might be too strong for them. If this is your case, rinse off immediately and avoid using acids on your skin. They could damage it!

If instead your skin didn’t react badly to the Vitamin C boost :D, wait for the skin to be dry (wait approximately 10 minutes) and now it’s the part two 😉
(second part of the “recipe”)
2 drops of Vitamin E (Tocopheryl acetate or Tocopherol – you should be able to find it in pharmacy very easily. It is a very dense liquid. The Tocopheryl acetate should be transparent or slightly yellowish. Tocopherol, instead, is dark brown).
Put these two drops on the tips of your fingers and tap it all over your face.
This time it shouldn’t sting anymore.
Let it sit on your skin for 20 minutes and wash off (you will have to wash your face vigorously, because Vitamin E is quite sticky 😀 ).

This is the easiest, most effective Vitamin C serum.
After applying the ascorbic acid, you apply Vitamin E because these two Vitamins work in synergy, boosting the antioxidant properties of them both! 🙂

I wouldn’t suggest to apply this Vitamin C serum everyday because it is quite aggressive. Once a week should be enough.
It is better to make this treatment in the evening before sleeping (so the skin has time to “recover” all the night) and I would suggest to avoid making this treatment in summer or late spring (it is always negative to use acids on the skin in summertime! They weaken the barrier of the skin and they can make more disasters than positive things if your skin receives direct sun rays in the period of an acid treatment).

Now, after having done a little bit of “terrorism” about this Vitamin C Serum… I can say that I have not misused it and I am very happy about the results!
I used to have some red signs on my skin, left from an old acne, and they are finally gone! 🙂
Also, my skin looks more fresh and firm! 🙂

So don’t misuse this DIY and have a great day! 😉

Vitamin C serum

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How to formulate a SERUM

Hyaluronic Acid Serum

We have learnt how to formulate a lotion, but what is and how to formulate a serum? 🙂

There are few rules to follow:
1) a serum is usually a very light lotion (this means usually 2%, maximum 4% fats),
2) it is typically fluid
3) it has a very high concentration of ACTIVE INGREDIENTS.
4) it doesn’t have to be heated (actually this is a consequence of the previous points)
5) the function of a serum is to give an extra boost of good ingredients to your skin (just to be clear: the function of a cream is to be emollient and hydrate to the skin… therefore wishing to create “the ultimate hydrating serum” is like expecting to bake the best cake in the world without an oven: if you want hydration, you make a cream… if you want to feed your skin with an extra-boost of vitamins, antioxidants, anti-aging ingredients and sooo on, you make a serum).

How to proceed:
there is still Phase A and Phase B  but they will be slightly different:

PHASE A – will still contain water, glycerin and a gelling agent (or not, but I will explain this later… so keep reading 🙂 ), but you will have to pay attention to which gelling agent you choose: you need to choose a gelling agent which won’t break down in presence of salts or other tricky ingredients (for example carbopol ultrez 21 is one of these difficult gelling agenta). For instance xanthan gum or hydroxyethylcellulose are good gelling agents for this purpose (in case of hydroxyethylcell. remember the gel is formed only at 70° so you will need to heat your water and, only when it is cooled down, proceed in the making of your serum).

PHASE B – the oil soluble ingredients have to be very few: 1.5 – 4% (maximum!). By this I mean that even your oil soluble active ingredients will be counted in the fat percentage of the serum: for example if you desire to add 1% of vitamin E (tocopherol), you include it in your “maximum 4% count” 🙂
But how to behave with these oily substances in order to have a smooth, silky and specially fluid serum? 🙂
You will need different emulsifiers from those which we have used up to now: you will need actually two emulsifiers (one lipophilic at 0.25% and one hydrophilic at higher percentage) which are liquid and don’t need to be heated!
There are many on the market. Actually you could even use a solubilizer to keep together the emulsion (solubilizers are substances which are used to solubilize small small portions of oils into a lot of water: generally they are surfactants. In case you have a solubilizer at home and you want to use it as a hydrophilic emulsifier: add the oily substances of the serum in your becher and, little by little, add drops of the solubilizer until all the solution in your becher becomes milky white. Then add this solubilized oils into your Phase A).
Just for the record: if you don’t add oily soluble ingredients more than 1-1.5%, you don’t even need to add emulsifiers or solubilizers. This is the easiest and most simple way to make a serum 😀 everything would go in just one phase 😉

PHASE C – actually the Phase C could almost be deleted since you can almost always add the active ingredients directly to the Phase A (do not add them only if you use hydroxyethylcellulose as gelling agent because in this case the Phase A has to be heated and active ingredients are thermolabile).

The percentage of ACTIVE INGREDIENTS in a serum can be extremely high.
Sometimes you could even make a serum using an active ingredient as a gelling agent!
An example is the enriched hyaluronic acid serum which you can find HERE: this is also very easy to copy because there is not even the need of adding an emulsifier.

Let me know if I forgot to explain something or you have any questions.
Have a great day! 😀

Formulating lotion: Phase C & ACTIVE INGREDIENTS- THEORY pt.6

Finally the final step of making creams!

Phase A contains the water soluble ingredients which won’t get spoiled by heat, Phase B contains the fats, the emulsifiers and the oily soluble ingredients which won’t get spoiled by heat… now it is time to talk about the most interesting PHASE C!

Phase C contains:
preservative (in a percentage between 0.5 and 1%, according to which one you are using),
essential oils or perfume (usually for a face cream 2 drops are enough on 100 gr of product),
active ingredients (those ingredients full of good properties which would get spoiled if heated up to 70°C) usually, added all together, their percentage won’t go over 10%.

Active Ingredients deserve a longer talk, obviously, mainly because there are tons of active ingredients and each has their own percentage of use.

But what are Active Ingredients?
They are those ingredients which give a specific value to the cream.
Usually their percentage is not too high in the cream: there are specific concentrations needed for every active ingredients and whenever you purchase one, you should get the information of the percentage to use in a cream from the seller; for example Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, should be added to a cream around 0.1% which is a very very low percentage if you think of it this way… but it is enough for its efficiency (just for the record: Q10 is of a very strong orange/yellow color and even the 0.1% will add a yellowish color to your cream; if any commercial cream which is said to contain Q10 is shining white, well… maybe it will contain the 0.01% of it 🙂 ).

There are tons and tons of active ingredients. Obviously I will make singular posts about the most easy to find and interesting ones.
New active ingredients get out on the market everyday trying to create new needs to us. Sometimes you can find that the “liquid Q10” is nothing else than “water, some oil, some emulsifier, Q10” which means that the Q10 is not pure (and probably at less of 0.5% of what you are buying)! So be aware of what you buy, read the ingredients of everything, be sure of the composition of everything you buy.

Now back to our Active Ingredients!
There are different qualities an Active Ingredient may have, these are some:

Acids and exfoliants – these are those ingredients which will help the cream to have a lower pH (for example citric acid, lactic acid are used mostly for this purpose), and those which chemically exfoliate the skin, helping the turnover of skin cells. If a cream contains chemical exfoliants it should be used only as a night cream, far from the eye area and never in summer period (better if you use it only from the middle of autumn and winter… until the slight beginning of spring). If you use such creams in summer, your skin might get ruined and have stains. It is true that there are different kind of acids and some are milder than others in matter of exfoliants… but with your own skin you’d better always play safe 🙂
Here is a little list of Acid and exfoliant ingredients: alpha-lipoic acid (mostly actually famous as an antioxidant), azelaic acid (good for acne prone skin), citric acid, ferulic acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), glycolic acid (a very famous exfoliant, and I add that it may also be very dangerous), lactic acid (it can also be used as a main active ingredient in a cream, but often it is used only in a matter of one or two drops to make the pH go lower), malic acid, mandelic acid (a light exfoliant), retinoic acid, salicylic acid (very famous for acne, can be very dangerous if used improperly).

Antioxidants – these are the active ingredients which work as antioxidants: keep in mind that many antioxidant ingredients work better in a synergy with each other (this means that if you want to make an antioxidant cream, you should add different kinds of antioxidants to the cream formulation)! To make it sound very easy: if two antioxidants separately have “power 1”, if you add both to the cream, the cream will have “antioxidant power 3” 🙂 something like this.
Some antioxidants can be: Coenzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, gamma oryzanol, vitamin C and stabilazed formulation of vitamin C (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate… there are also new formulas!), tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), gluconolactone, carotene, resveratrol, lycopene, bioflavonoids. 

Active ingredients good for oily skinazelaic acid (it also helps against acne), niacinamide (it is used at percentage which changes from 1 to 4% and it is very effective to some skins while, for others, it might result too aggressive, therefore start using it at a low percentage and see how your skin reacts: keep in mind that with niacinamide in a cream the pH has to be 5-5.5 and it never has to go over 7. Also, a cream with niacinamide should be kept far from eyes and lips), glycyl glycine (difficult to find and quite expensive but it help contrast the action of oleic acid into our sebum. Oleic acid seems to be responsible also for dilating the pores. So… this is a good ingredient 🙂 ), aluminum starch octenyl succinate (this is a very fine powder which helps the skin to not shine).

Hydrating – Humectant – when emulsifying water and oils you already create something “hydrating” but here are some active ingredients which give an “extra boost”: allantoin (soluble in water at 0.4%. Can create some problems in creams), Collagens amino acids: lysine, proline, glycine, glycerine (very highly hydroscopic, but it is mostly added in Phase A to help the xanthan gum in opening up), hydrolized silk/milk/oat proteins, sodium lactate, trimethylglycine.
[obviously there are much much more hydrating ingredients out there. Just always be aware of what you are buying and do research on the internet!]

Soothing Ingredients – my two favorite and, for me, most easy to find are: allantoin (also hydrating active) and bisabolol (a derivative of chamomile, has to be added at 0.5%, it is also good for acne skin because it has a anti-inflamatory and anti-bacterial action). Another very effective one is Glycyrrhetinic acid but it may be slightly difficult to use; panthenol (Vitamin B5) can be used up to 2%.

Whiteners – these ingredients can help in case of pigmentation of the skin. Kojic acid (it is an acid, so pay attention), Vitamin C, niacinamide, arbutin (used at 2%).

Vasoprotector – for example these are good in case of blue ender eye circles: escin, rutin.

Anti-aging ingredients – as you can imagine these, together with antioxidants, are those where the market is giving its “best” inventing new needs everyday and trying to cheat (also) 🙂 these are some good active ingredients: ceramides (there are many kinds of ceramides, it is not just one, so bear this in mind), phytosterols, ginseng extract (I will talk about different kinds of extracts in future), betaglucan, centella asiatica, plant stem cells, soy isoflavones, Phytosphingosine, viper serum (difficult to find), zanthalene (another active which works similarly to the viper serum), hyaluronic acid (actually it might be more hydrating than anti-aging… but let’s leave it here).

Anti-cellulite and anti-under-eye-bags – since, as it seems, cellulite is mostly connected with water retention and bad blood circulation, the active ingredients which are good for fighting cellulite happen to be the same which are good also for under-eye bags. Obviously, the percentage in the cream will be different (unless you want to burn your under-eye area 🙂 ). Here we go: caffeine (one of my favorite active ingredients! Used up to 2% for eye creams and 3.5% for anti-cellulite creams), escin (percentage is 0.5%-1% for eye creams, up to 1.5% otherwise), fucus dry extract, theobromine (this is mostly against cellulite, I never heard of using it against under-eye-bags).

Well, more or less, I told you about the active ingredients. From the next posts I will be showing you some real examples of how to use all this theory 😉
Have a great day! 😀

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