Personal introduction and stuff... :-) - Cosmetic Science Talk

Personal introduction and stuff... :-)

edited January 4 in General

Hello everyone,
I'm Anna, 39, from the Netherlands and always had a huge interest in skincare, from a young age already.

I do have a bit of a background in Chemistry, I'm a clinical pharmacy technician. For my job I have made quite some protocolled dermatics through the years, but my expertise is mostly in formulating and preparing parenterals such as chemotherapeutics.

Since about half a year I've started making skincare products for my own use. It's become quite clear to me how much I forgot through the years (about dermatics) and since I have always prepared already formulated and mostly standardized dermatics, knowledge about, for example, emulsifiers has been fading away.

After a lot of searching on the internet, I'm so glad that I finally found this forum. With all respect, but most of the girlish DIY blogs contain so much bullsh*t, I just can't take it seriously.

I have found a distributor in this country that delivers quite some chemicals and packages etc.
To make a start, I just ordered some emulsifiers, acidity testing strips, active ingredients such as niacinamide, allantoïn etc.
With a bit of info here and there I started making a moisturizer.
For this moisturizer I made two macerated oils (chamomile and calendula in grapeseedoil and almond oil).
This is the one I have been sticking by for the last months, although I really think the formula could be made a lot better:

Oil Phase:
10% Emulsifying Wax (Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20)

15% Shea Butter

10% Macerated Oil (Chamomile in Grapeseedoil)

+/- 5% Vitamin Mixture
(INCI: Arachis Hypogaea, Retinyl Palmitate, alpha-Tocopherol) -> I've calculated this, in this formula it comes to a 1% retinol equivalent emulsion, as 1 I.U. vitamin A stands for 0,3 microgram retinol and 0,55 microgram retinyl palmitate))

2,5% dl-alpha-Tocopherol (the vitamin mixture also contains tocopherol, which comes to a total of about 3% alpha-tocopherol in this formula)

Water phase:
5% Niacinamide

0,5% Allantoïn

51% Demineralized water with chamomile and licorice
(I have let chamomile also get extracted in water, to get not only the lipophilic in the macerated oil, but also the hydrophilic components of chamomile, besides te chamomile I have also put licorice root in the water. I hope these two don't interact btw.

1% Rokonsal (INCI: Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoïc Acid, Sorbic Acid)

Citric Acid to create a pH of about 5. (I hope it is acidic enough for the preservatives).

(In the cooling phase I added the vitamins and the preservatives).

I put it in an airless dispenser and keep it stored in the fridge.
Now and then (when my skin is a bit irritated) I add very fine oatmeal (about 3%) in a seperate container. I make a fresh batch every day of this oatmeal + moisturizer mixture, because I don't know how sensitive oatmeal is for contamination.

The moisturizer is quite thin, which I didn't expect with the high E-wax and shea butter level? The licorice and chamomile colour the substance quite creamy, pudding like. When I add the oatmeal it looks doughlike and very edible. ;-)

I hope you will comment and give advice, anything, you all are more than welcome to do so!

Greetings from the Netherlands,

p.s. Please excuse my bad English.


  • Licorice root? Interesting. I use it in 4 products now. Or to be precise, I use the root powder in shampoo. For creams and gels I use the pure acid. Do you mind telling me why you decided to use it?
    Special interests: anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; sulphate-free shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics.
  • waxes don't usually have a substantial effect on emulsion viscosity - that comes from interactions with the water phase, and waxes are part of the oil (i.e. internal) phase they don't generally interact

    the main exceptions to this are surface-active waxes like cetearyl alcohol or stearic acid, which reinforce the emulsion at the interface and make the emulsion more shear-thinning and give a characteristic 'creamy' texture

    also, I strongly suspect nicotinamide at such a high level will play a part thinning it down too; anything which competes with the emulsion for water will have this effect

    and you're right to make fresh batches, as oatmeal largely consists of unmodified carbohydrates, proteins and fibre - excellent food for microbes!
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Hello Belassi and Bill_Toge,
    Thank you so much for your comments/feedback!

    I add the licorice root mainly because it should work as an anti-irritant (I have a rosacea skin).
    I don't know if I do it the right way. I find it hard to find the right information about it. About which component in the licorice is doing exactly what and which component is water soluble, fat soluble etc. for example.
    I use pulverized licorice root and put it in the (very hot) demi water for a while, like making licorice tea. It's so darkbrown it looks like coffee! :-) After filtration I dissolve the allantoïn and the niacinamide in it.
    Together with the green-/yellow-ish colour of the chamomile extract, the final product is a delicious off-white/creamy beige.
    Would you tell me why/how you use it? I'm really curious why you use it in shampoo.

    About shampoos... I recently massage a self made chamomile macerated oil on the scalp, about an hour before washing (which isn't a quick thing to do, because of my long hair). I'm looking for the reason why I always have dandruff. I tried ketoconazole shampoo, which is effective now and then (more then than now, so I suspect yeast not the only problem for my dandruff), but some other components in this medicinal shampoo are so agressive (SLS for example). Although it is a rinse off product, it needs to be on the scalp for about 5 minutes or so, for the ketoconazole to work, but then the SLS can also do more damage... So now I'm trying the scalp massage with oil, no need for  a rinse off conditioner after washing, because combing is now very easy after drying. For nutrition I use a silicone/oil based conditioner after drying, a few drops.
    I'm thinking of adding hibiscus and rosehip to the oil, because I read so many good things about it. Hopefully it doesn't give the hair a weird colour...

    Thank you so much for your answers! Finally thorough information about emulsifiers! So I might try stearic acid, as a co emulsifier maybe?
    I now also understand why higher levels of water soluble active ingredients, like the niacinamide in this case, can cause a thinner emulsion.
    I don't mind the fact that it's thinner though, but I also make the moisturizer for my sisters, and they were complaining about it. ("We're not used to this")
    As long as it does the job. And it does! My face has really calmed.

  • I use a powdered root extract which is 12% glycyrrhizic acid according to the Chinese supplier. Yes, it sure is pretty brown and sticky when you dissolve it. Its purpose in the shampoo is for its pseudo-estrogenic effect, it should combat the androgen that causes hair loss.
    For the skin, I synthesise the soluble salt from the pure acid, and even that is a straw colour at 10% concentration. It is supposed to also be good for the skin due to the same effect. I use it as one of the components of our novel anti-acne treatment, as well as in our anti-aging products. It was a curiosity when I first bought it, but now it's a major item.
    Special interests: anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; sulphate-free shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics.
  • edited January 5

    Sounds promising. How do customers respond? Have they noticed effect on their hair loss?
    Do you notice any reluctance in customers because of all the commotion  around pseudo/xeno-estrogens?

  • The first customer to use it, has bought more. Actually his wife bought it. We had a call from his wife a couple of weeks ago, she said it appears her husband has some new hair growth. I remain sceptical but we will wait and see. Reluctance in customers? I only made it as a curiosity to begin with, but now I can hardly make enough. I made a Facebook post and it reached 12,000 people, never seen anything like it.
    Special interests: anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; sulphate-free shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics.
  • I understand your scepticism in this, since hair loss is a major problem and competition must be enormous.

    I've been doubting to buy bimatoprost for eye-lash growth, but since it's not registrated for this indication in this country,  you can't get it here without having glaucoma. I asked my GP, but she wouldn't presribe this for side effects only. Well, theorethically there is no such thing as a side effect. A substance just hase effects. We label some effects as side-effects because we find them either annoying or not useful.
    I would also like to try bimatoprost on eyebrows, especially eyebrows, since I hardly have any, and I'm tired of getting PMU every year.

    Wishing you good luck with your product! Please let me know if you get more and more proof of it being effective.
    One of my sisters has alopecia androgen. so it would be helpful for her as well then.
  • Belassi is in Mexico where there are different regulations surrounding cosmetics and drugs.

    In Europe a cosmetic is defined:


    Article 2 of the EU Cosmetics Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009) incorporates the following definition of a cosmetic product:

    A "cosmetic product" shall mean any substance or mixture intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs) or with the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly to cleaning them, perfuming them, changing their appearance and/or correcting body odours and/or protecting them or keeping them in good condition.

    Similar definitions apply in other countries.

    This means that any substance with a physiological activity and has an action greater than that in the cosmetics definition is than classed as a drug or medicine. Thus Belassi's hair restoring shampoo (if he make claims to that effect) if sold outside of Mexico would be a drug and subject to all the rules and regulations which that entails (which is an awful lot).

    The notion of using such potent substances as prostaglandins (apart from price) in cosmetics is beyond imagination (mine, anyway).

  • edited January 6

    I understand your reluctance in using prostaglandins like bimatoprost. But I myself understand the desperate feeling of people fighting partial or complete baldness for example, well a bit, because I do not really have eyebrows (which hasn't been caused by excessive depilating btw). I have to either 'draw' them myself with eyebrowpencils or get PMU done. Because the ink and depth in PMU is different than 'real' tattoos, you need to redo it every year, and I'm quite tired of it. PMU also costs an awful lot, especially because you need to 'refresh' it every year. And the effect is never as good as real hair.

    Though I'm not really convinced yet if it is as effective on eyebrows as it is on eyelashes, I'm willing to give it a try. Like you mentioned, bimatoprost is indeed a very potent substance and can do irreversible changes, like changing the colour of the iris, if used intra oculair. So using it on eye-lashes can be tricky for a number of reasons. Alas, the eye-lash enhancing effect is not irreversable, and you need to keep on using it, which makes it an expensive, but also cumbersome method.
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