Facial serum formula

Hello guys
I'm trying to make a DIY facial serum for my personal use and this is what the formula looks like:

DI water 83.5
Glycerine 10
Vitamin B5 3
Vitamin E 1
Allantoin 1
Xanthan gum 0.5
Preservatives 0.5
EDTA 0.1
Tea tree oil 0.1
Fragrance 0.25
Sodium hyaluronate  0.05
Citric acid  qs

What I'm trying to achieve is to:-

Sooth the skin
Improve skin appearance
Reduce acne
Encourage skin health

Now my questions are:

1. How good is this formula? any suggestions or comments to improve it?
2. Do I need to include any emulsifiers?
3. I have some concerns of using citric acid to adjust the pH because am using sodium hyaluronate, I'm not sure if there will be any reactions between both materials or not? am aiming to pH 4-6 

finally, this formula still on paper, I haven't produce it yet.

Thank You. 


  • im guessing this will be hazy.  make it and see what happens. If its just a 'shake before use' i think it'll be fine.  i dont see anything sticking out that would be an issue.  im pretty sure HA doesnt react with citric.
  • You will most likely need a solubiliser/emulsifier to ensure that your fragrance,tea tree oil and vitamin E are incorporated.
  • @chickenskin I don't want it to be "shake before use" serum, therefore, ill follow @ozgirl advice to include emulsifier.
    Thanks a lot @chickenskin & @ozgirl <span>:smile:</span>
  • Why not just use a blend of oils and leave the other gunk out?

    Our most successful product is:

    Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Sesamum indicum (Sesame) seed oil, Olea europaea (Olive) fruit oil, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) oil, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) oil, Salvia sclarea (Clary Sage) oil, Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang) flower oil.

    Dr. Mike Thair
    Cofounder & Chief Formulator
    Indochine Natural
  • @mikethair my bad, I forget to mention that I only have those ingredients available (have to scout for suitable emulsifier) and I want to package the serum in spray bottle to ease its use. 
  • I can source these emulsifiers myristic acid, stearic acid, polysorbate 20, ceteareth 25 & PEG-40 HCO. Which do you think is more suitable to use in facial serum and at what percentage? 
  • edited July 2017
    You have two solubilisers available and no emulsifiers. Unless the ceteareth is - I have no idea. The PEG-40 HCO is your best bet. Titrating the correct % is YOUR learning process.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • Thanks @Belassi ill use PEG-40 HCO at 3.5% 
  • Good starting point, see what happens. Before finalising, try at a range of temperatures for stability.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited July 2017
    Allantoin 1%? I've had precipitation problems at higher levels than 0,5%. How do you keep it solubilized?

    I'm curious about the 1% tocopherol: which type do you use and why in this %? There is controversy about tocopherols and their esters and pro-oxidation in higher %. In the Journal of the American Oil Chemist' Society they advise between 0,03 and 0,06% as anti-oxidant.

    I'm still waiting for the experts here to give an opinion on it.
  • @Doreen81 that is why i posted my formula here to get some opinions and insights. Allantoin 1% came from the supplier website "Use level: 0.1% to 2.0%" and vitamin E as Tocopheryl Acetate "Use level: 0.50% to 5.0%"
    I'm aware of that discussion and the figure that you have posted there, do you think if I add BHT can help in preventing vitamin E oxidation? 
    I wish that @johnb can give us his opinion on that. 
  • @zaidjeber
    You're right, higher levels can be recommended by suppliers, but their suggestions aren't always practical or useful...

    BHT is a stronger anti-oxidant than vitamin E, I haven't worked with it in cosmetic preparations. The reason I'm mainly focusing on vitamin E is because of its supposed benefits on skin, besides preventing rancidity. I'm also sure johnb can give you a lot more information on it, but I suspect he might be on vacation. ;) I'm also sure @Belassi ^ knows way more on this than I do.
  • Thanks @Doreen81 <span>:smile:</span>
  • Hello folks 
    After trying the formula above I've made some changes on some of the ingredients % and added some other ingredients, here is the final formula that I have used to produce the sample:

    DI water 80.2
    Glycerine 10
    PEG-40 HCO 4
    D panthenol 2
    Vitamin E 1
    Xanthan gum 0.6
    Allantoin 0.6
    Kaffir lime fragrance 0.2
    DMDM hydantoin 0.2
    Sodium benzoate 0.2
    Potassium sorbate 0.2
    EDTA 0.2
    Tea tree oil 0.2
    BHT 0.2
    Sodium hyaluronate  0.2
    Citric acid  qs
    I've been using this serum now for 3 weeks and some of my friends been using it now for a week or so, now there is good & bad news. The good news that this serum does stop acne formation and soothes the skin.

    However, I noticed that my face become oily and the skin appears darker by 1 shade (sometimes I feel its not dark, but rather reddish in color), what was interesting that my friends gave me the same feed back.

    Now my questions are:

    1. how to stop the oily skin problem? do you think I should include polysorbate-20? does it help? (its similar to PEG-40 HCO)

    2. why this serum causing darkening of the skin? is it oxidation or irritation?

    Thanks in Advance...

  • @zaidjeber try adding alpha-arbutin for more whitening power. For the oiliness, I dont know what causes it. Maybe there's too much moisturizer instead of your active ingredients. 

    Serum should be composed of many many active ingredients. That is why serum costs a bit high compared to normal creams and moisturizers. Well that is what I know. I could be wrong. @Belassi @Doreen81
  • edited September 2017
    10% glycerin is a lot, you can lower it as you already have 2% dexpanthenol. Glycerin above 5%  can cause it to be sticky, an unpleasant feeling. I don't think any polysorbate will help with this.

    The darkening of skin: does the skin feel warm, like when you're blushing? This can be due to the potassium sorbate. It has vasodilating properties, not everyone has problems with it, but I have it too, even in a % of 0,2%. Perhaps you can lower the potassium sorbate and raise the sodium benzoate a bit?
    Personally, I don't have any problems with 0,05-0,1%. From 0,2% I'm getting red like a lobster. Thanks to help on this forum, I found out what was causing it.

    I don't know if 0,2% tea tree is too much. It is a common skin irritant. Just like fragrances, can be irritating too.
  • edited September 2017
    Tocopherols in higher % are also sticky. With BHT present, maybe you can leave it out?

    (I can imagine the sticky feeling to be experienced as 'oily')
  • edited September 2017
    Serum should be composed of many active ingredients.
    I totally agree with this.
    This is also why I don't understand the suggestion of @mikethair
    Why not just use a blend of oils and leave the other gunk out?
    How can you call a simple blend of oils a serum and skin actives 'gunk'?
  • @Lainee good suggestion to use Arbutin, thanks  ;)
    @Doreen81 the serum is not sticky at all and I apply it at night only. The oiliness starts when I'm not applying the serum (the whole day), it seems that the serum has triggered the excess sebum secretion.
    I will try to decrease the glycerin to 5% and dexpanthenol to 1%, but I will keep Vitamin E %, tea tree oil % & BHT %.
    Regarding skin darkening, there is no warming effect and again its obvious only when I'm not applying the serum which is during the whole day.
    Do you think I should add sunscreen to it? 

  • Sounds like you do need a sunscreen since the darkening occurs during the day w/o application of product.
  • You can also use niacinamide but with controlled %. 
  • @zaidjeber
    I agree with Bob on the sunscreen, hope it will help you, good luck!
Sign In or Register to comment.