water-free vit c serum

Hello! I've actually been thinking of formulating an anhydrous vitC as a good antioxidant in the morning. Then I came across this post. My formula is essentially quite similar. My "main" vehicle is propanediol since it also acts as a penetrator (I forgot where I read this but The Ordinary seem to use this a lot) and also according to this post, it can dissolve l-ascorbic acid up to 17% concentration.

Recipe:

L- Ascorbic Acid powder - 15%
Tocopherol - 1%
Ferulic acid - 0.5%
Propanediol - 83.5%

Questions:

1. Will everything mix together? Do I need to add something or do something like heating, if ever? I know that the vitC and ferulic acid will dissolve in propanediol because The Ordinary have products that have these, but i'm not entirely sure about the tocopherol. I've done some digging and asking around but I have not found any certain answers.

2. Should I add preservatives? Since this is anhydrous, I thought preservative would not be needed but I would love some input on this. I only have phenoxyethanol though, if that would help.

3. Should I worry about pH? VitC best performs at pH around 3.5 but those were for products/serums with water in them, so I'm not sure if this would be a concern.

4. Anything to add to enhance the penetration and absorption? I'm not really sure about this

5. Anything else to improve or tweak with the formula? Any comment and suggestion would be lovely!

Since most of the ingredients are prone to heat, light, and oxidation, I do plan to put it in an airless pump bottle covered with aluminum foil and store it in the fridge. I think one more question for the product is its efficacy, but I will be using it anyway, I'll have to find that out myself. If this won't work, I plan to make a basic vitC serum using water and baking soda as pH adjuster, as suggested by a youtuber.


p.s. i am from the philippines so i don't really have access to suppliers. There is craftology.ph to acquire *some* ingredients but they're not that extensive

thanks in advance!

Comments

  • Tocopherol is oil soluble. It will not solubilize in Propanediol. Ferulic Acid is a very insoluble ingredient so it too will likely not incorporate. You have to dissolve it in ethanol first.

    I'm not sure how The Ordinary incorporates Ferulic Acid in a Propanediol base. 

    You don't have to worry about pH since it's anhydrous.

    In my experience water based Ascorbic Acid is much much more effective.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Ferulic acid is about as soluble in propanediol as it is in ethanol. Also, tocopherol is nicely soluble in it too. So no worries there ;) . If the mentioned 17% are correct: Mix everything, shake (heat always speeds up things but isn't mandatory) and call it a day of hard work, if anyone asks. :smiley:
    The Ordinary uses propanediol as 'fairly cheap solvent for everything which isn't purely oil soluble'.
    No preservatives needed, it's self-preserving as it is.
    Where there is no water, there is no need to care about pH (usually).
    You already have a basis of pure solvent... if you want to increase absorption of ascorbic acid, switch to ethylascorbate ;) . Pure propanediol doesn't feel super nice already, adding common cosmetic penetration enhancers will likely turn your solution turbid/milky, call for emulsifiers, and will leave your skin even oilier without actually helping with the ascorbic acid.
    If you want a nice feel, yes, tweak your formulation. If you want it skin-friendly, adjust pH (which requires addition of water) and you end up with a cream or similar.
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