Can you recognize a good Shampoo? pt. 1

Hello there! 😀
I have been doing some new recipes but mostly I have been repeating my favorite Banana Smoothie Hair Conditioner and my last Shampoo. These days I am trying to formulate a gel with aloe vera for soothing the scalp and maybe a gel for face, because here it is already starting to be quite warm and the winter cream is too heavy already!

However… this post will be about being able to recognize (or at least attempt to recognize…) a good shampoo from its INCI!
BeFunky_Shampoo .jpg

The INCI is simply the list of ingredients which are inside the product. The ingredients are in order of their percentage except for those ingredients which are lower than 1%: these ingredients will appear in the end of the recipe but their order can be mixed (which means that for example if you have 0.08% of Q10 and 0.8% of a preservative… probably the company will add the Q10 name before the name of the preservative even if the real concentration of Q10 is actually 1/10th the one of the preservative) 😀


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).

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! 😀



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

How to make a lotion: EMULSIFIERS pt.2 – THEORY

In the previous post about emulsifiers we talked about their HLB which, at the end of the day, only tells us wether an emulsifier is more lipophilic or more hydrophilic.
What we, more importantly, need to know about our emulsifier is
– how to use it (hot or cold process)
– and at which percentage.

This is not same for every emulsifier. Even with the same HLB, the ability of an emulsifier can be totally different (and therefore we might need to add to our cream more or less of it).

These information we can collect easily in the moment we purchase our emulsifier: who sells them know the percentage of use and usually posts it on the page of the product (if it is not written there, you could always send them an e-mail and ask for more details about their product. If they don’t know or don’t reply… well, change supplier and buy from a well informed one 😀 ).

However I have decided to put together a small guideline about emulsifiers.

The biggest difference is wether the emulsifier has to be used in hot process or cold process.
An emulsifier which needs to be heated up to 70° is usually solid, normally sold in pearls and his ability to emulsify is only at 70°C. If the two phases we are trying to emulsify do not reach this temperature… well, the emulsion will separate soon enough. So bear in mind to properly check the temperature of your two phases before you mix them (you don’t want to waste precious ingredients nor time, do you? 😀 ).
Since the highest number of emulsifiers work at 70°C, you have to simply follow the process which I already explained in the beginning: you heat up the two phases, you pour the phase B into the phase A and mix with an immersion mixer, once it looks emulsified very well you keep stirring with a spatula until the lotion cools down completely and eventually add your phase C.
There is an huge number of these emulsifiers.

Always remember that these emulsifiers can be more lipophilic or more hydrophilic… or can even be self-emulsifying (which means they already contain both lipophilic and hydrophilic emulsifiers) so always check their composition to find out if they need a co-emulsifier or not (you can, once again, find this specific information from the website where you order your supplies!).
Just to make an example of the two most easily found emulsifiers:
– Methyl glucose sesquistearate – needs to be used at 3%, needs to be heated up to 70°C to work and is more hydrophilic so it needs a co-emulsifier which will be lipophilic (for instance cetyl-alcohol at 1% will do).
– Montanov 68 – this is a self-emulsifier. If you read its composition it already contains both the lipophilic and the hydrophilic emulsifiers: Cetaryl alcohol,Cetearyl Glucoside. It is usually added at 4% to a cream and needs to be heated up to 70°C.
Even if it might sound more difficult, having to mix your own two emulsifiers gives you better results in your cream (at least once you get the grip of it and realize what is the effect of each emulsifier in the final lotion).
If you want to follow a good advice, you should make different experiments with just water (gelled water) and a very cheap oil in a fixed amount and different emulsifiers, if you do this, you will be able to experience the different effect each emulsifier gives to your cream. This is a very important experiment if you want to be aware of which emulsifier does what… (and in the moment you decide to formulate a cream these notions will be very important!).

The “no heat” emulsifiers, instead, are usually liquid (normally very dense). They simply need to be added to phase B and, unless you are using rather difficult active ingredients (meaning that these active ingredients should be added alone in the end of the process), the phase A might contain also the phase C.
Once again you simply pour phase B into phase A and you mix with your immersion mixer until the lotion is formed.
Just one note: usually creams made with “no heat” emulsifiers are not very emollient and rich. This is due to the fact that, since the emulsifier cannot be heated up, you cannot use butters in your cream.
However SOME “no heat” emulsifiers (that, let me repeat again, just mean that the emulsifier will have emulsifying power even at normal temperature) DO bear heating. If you use such an emulsifier you can heat up the phase B in order to melt the butters (let’s say shea butter for example… which doesn’t need a high temperature to melt!) and then you can combine phase B to phase A and normally create your lotion.
If you want to do so, you should be able to get information about your “no heat” emulsifier, once again, right from your supplier. 🙂

This is all about the emulsifiers.
Let me know if you have any more specific questions about them.

Have a great day! 😀


How to make a lotion: EMULSIFIERS pt.1 – THEORY

Emulsifiers are those substances which have the function to keep water and oils bound together in a lotion; this is possible because the emulsifier has a double affinity (it is both hydrophilic and lipophilic) and therefore the two, otherwise, immiscible liquids stay together.
This double affinity however is not the same for all the emulsifiers: so to say, some emulsifiers are more hydrophilic and others are more lipophilic. The value of this proportion is called HLB (“hydrophilic-lipophilic balance”).

[If you wish to skip the more technical part… just skip it 😀 bit more down I will make things very simple 😀 for the others of you, however, who wish to learn things little bit more in detail… well, keep reading 😀 ]

The HLB value goes from 0 to 20 and it is a numerical representative of the hydrophilic and lipophilic tendencies of the material.
I have found many schemes to sum up the different properties of an emulsifier according to its HLB but, to be very honest, they were so different from each other and mostly confusing therefore I have decided to sum them up in what seems to be the common basic idea:
if the HLB is between 0-3 then it is considered more a thickening agent than an emulsifier and it is strongly lipophilic.
If the HLB is between 3-6 this emulsifier is lipophilic and will be good if you want to make a W/O (don’t freak out and keep reading 😀 ).
If the HLB is between 8-16 this emulsifier is more hydrophilic and will be good for an O/W .

What do W/O and O/W mean?
The emulsions which result from combining oils and water can be of different kinds: for example an O/W (read “oil in water”) emulsion can form, where the oil is the dispersed phase while the water is the dispersion medium; or a W/O (read “water in oil”) emulsion can form, where the water, this time, is dispersed in the oil (there are also other possible emulsions like W/O/W or O/W/O but in case I will make another post in the future).
[The most common type of emulsion however is the oil in water]

So generally emulsifiers are more hydrophilic or lipophilic and in our cream (an O/W cream), to have a very stable emulsion, we should use two emulsifiers: one hydrophilic (the most important, therefore in higher percentage) and one lipophilic (or a lipophilic co-emulsifier).
Bear in mind, however, that some emulsifiers are sold as “self-emulsifiers” which means that they are already made of two kinds of emulsifiers and therefore you don’t need to add, for example, the lipophilic.

Here I post a list of common emulsifiers and their HLB value:

3.5-4.0 glyceryl stearate W/O
4.0 lecithin (the one you can find in the supermarket)
4.7 cetearyl alcohol W/O (good lipophilic emulsifier)
5.0 cetyl alcohol  W/O (good lipophilic emulsifier)
5.8 Glyceryl stearate
6.5 Polyglyceryl 3-oleate intermediate properties (not a good emulsifier)
9.7 lecithin emulsifier O/W (this is the kind of “modified” lecithin which you can buy on the websites which sell raw material)
10.0 Montanov 68 O/W (this is the commercial name of a self-emulsifier which already contains hydrophilic and lipophilic emulsifiers)
10.0 abil care 85 O/W
11.0 cetearyl glucoside O/W
11.5 Polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate
12.0 methylglucose sesquistearate O/W (very good emulsifier, this is one of those which I use the most)
13.0 PEG 40 Hydrogenated castor oil emulsifier O/W and solubilizer
15.0 Polyglyceryl 10-laurate emulsifier O/W and solubilizer
16.7 Polysorbate 20 emulsifier O/W and solubilizer

This HLB value told us something about how the emulsifier is going to behave with our water and oils but there are many more important things which we still cannot know through it:
– how to use the emulsifier (does it need to be heated or does it have to be used at normal temperature?)
– at which percentage to use it (with a same HLB value different emulsifiers can be more or less strong)

[to be continued… 😀 ]


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! 😀

How to make foot & hand cream: formulating!

Let’s finally put all what we have learnt so far into practice! 🙂


Imagine we want to make a foot or hand cream: we know that it has to be rich in fats (around 20-25%) and it doesn’t need too many active ingredients or at least not the most expensive: a cream for foot and hands needs to be thick, very emollient and hydrating.

Let’s start FORMULATING:

Phase A:
water to 100 (HERE the explanation)
– glycerin – 4 (it doesn’t need to be too low)
– xanthan gum 0.5 (it is very high for a cream and I am not adding a carbomer like I suggested to do here: the reason for this is that I am going to use in high percentage an active ingredient which would destroy completely the carbomer, so why to waste 😉 )
Nothing to say about the phase A: except for the explanation of the choice of the gelling agent.

Phase B:
Here about the fats we know we can use even up to 25%, we don’t have problems about fatty acids and the only thing which can stop us from choosing merely out of our taste is to always remember about the GREASE-FALL rule. Just to sum it up: in the formulation of one cream you need to add butters and oils of different consistency. According to the result you want to obtain, you will try to create a gaussian wave distribution of oils and butter %: for example if you want a thick cream you will use the higher percentage of butters (but not only them!) and if you want a light cream you will use very light density oils mostly (but also a very low percentage of butter).
I never talked about waxes before, so I do it now: waxes are usually not counted into the grease-fall as their function is mostly to add a very thick and heavy feeling (but also quite dry) to the cream. However they give a good protection to the skin, creating almost a film, therefore it is a good idea to add them in our cream since feet and hands (specially in cold winters) need protection against the cold.
Now let’s formulate this grease fall 🙂

One way to do the Grease-Fall it could be this:
– jojoba wax – 2
– cocoa butter – 5 (very hard butter, will also help thickening the cream)
– shea butter – 10 (quite soft butter, good consistency)
– argan oil – 5 (medium oil)
– grape seed oil – 5 (light oil, easily absorbed)
25% fats (we don’t count the waxes)

As you can see every consistency of fat is added to the cream, giving more importance (read “more percentage”) to the butter which has to give the consistency to the cream.

Another way could be also this:
– jojoba wax – 1
– beeswax – 1
– cocoa butter – 4
– shea butter – 7
– mango butter – 5
– argan oil – 4
– primrose oil – 2
– grape seed oil – 2
– jojoba oil – 1
25% fats (remember we don’t count the waxes)This just to say that once you have the grip of it you can variate very much in your formulation; however having more ingredients in number doesn’t mean having a better grease-fall or having a better cream in the end.

The recipe of the cream in the picture is done with the first example of grease-fall and this is the complete Phase B:

– jojoba wax – 2
– cocoa butter – 5 
– shea butter – 10 
– argan oil – 5
– grape seed oil – 5 
– Metil Glucose Sesquistearate – 3 (emulsifier) 
– cetyl palmitate – 1.5 (thickener) 
– cetyl alcohol – 1.5 (thickener) 

Phase C
preservative – 0.5 (this is because of my own choice of preservative: you will have to do according to what you use)
– aluminum starch octenyl succinate  – 1 (this is in powder and it helps leaving a dry feeling on the skin)
Now to the important active ingredients of this cream:
Urea – 10 (it is a very good humectant because of its water-binding property and it also exfoliates the skin, helping skin regeneration. One of the bad sides of urea, however, is the fact that inside creams it tends to rise the pH, this could cause a few problems which I will explain more in detail in the post about this ingredient, for now just trust me 🙂 )
gloconolactone – 2 This ingredient is an acid which, if used at 4-5%, is an exfoliant, while, if used at 2%, it has mainly a sequestrating-function (I copy pasted from a chemistry dictionary online: sequestrating is the action of forming a chelate or other stable compound with an ion, atom, or molecule so that it’s no longer available for reactions) to make it simple it means that it keeps the pH stable, therefore if you add urea in your cream, always remember to add 2% of gluconolactone.
3 drops grapefruit EO, 2 drops mint EO
1 drop of food grade red color 🙂 just for the final touch 🙂

Step by step:
I weighted the ingredients of Phase A in this order: glycering, xanthan gum, water (keeping 15 gr of water aside for the Phase C).
I weighted the ingredients of Phase B and added them in the second becher.
I put both of the bechers in a double-boiler and checked that they reached 70°C.
Once reached this temperature I poured Phase B into Phase A in 3 different times, mixing with an immersion-mixer until everything looked smooth, emulsified and white.
At this point I kept stirring slowly with a spatula until the cream reached room temperature.
I weighted the Phase C and added to the 15 gr of water which I had set aside: first the urea, then the gluconolactone. I added this mixture to the cream.
Then I added the preservative and mixed with the immersion-mixer once again (the final time: it will give a better result in the cream).
Eventually I added drops of the essential oils to my taste and the same for the drop of red colorant 😉

Now check the pH, it is fine if it is between 5 and 6 🙂 otherwise adjust it 😉

Have a great day! 😀




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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! 😀