Anhydrous Vit C formulation

Hi! I made a post about a Vit C water-based serum, but after researching this issue in depth and seeing how much of a headache stabilizing Vit C in water is, I decided to go with an anhydrous solution. Per this study the positive effects of L-Ascorbic acid can still be observed in an anhydrous oil solution without the hassle of an unstable product.

Recipe (for 50gr):

Rosehip oil (INCI: rosa moschata seed oil) - 36.95gr (73.9%)
L-Ascorbic acid - 10 gr (20%)
Ascorbyl Palmitate (INCIascorbyl palmitate) - 2.5 gr (5%)
Vitamin E (INCI: tocopherol, helianthus annuus seed oil) - 0.25 gr (0.5%)
Cosgard-preservative (INCI: benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerin, sorbic acid) - 0.3gr (0.6%) 


1. In a 50 ml Berzelius beaker put the L-ascorbic acid and the Ascorbyl Palmitate. Pour ~15gr of Rosehip oil over it and stir well with a PP spoon; 
2. Add the rest of the Rosehip oil and stir with a PP spoon;
3. Add the Vitamin E and mix for 1 minute with a mini-mixer; 
4. Add the Cosgard(preservative) and mix well for 3 minutes with a mini-mixer 
5. Let the serum sit for 5 minutes;
6. Transfer to 50ml Pipette Amber bottle;
7. Keep in the fridge and use for 3 months

My goals: 

- reduce acne scars, red spots and fine wrinkles

My questions: 

1. This recipe probably doesn't call for a preservative, but is adding it a mistake?
2. Anything I could add to maybe thicken the oil? I'm not sure how runny it will be.  
3. Anything I could add for a better absorption of the actives? Maybe some Jojoba oil (INCI: simmondsia chinensis seed oil)?
4. Does such my recipe require heating?
5. Is there anything wrong with my recipe/instructions? 

Additional info: I'm in Europe/Romania and I'm getting ingredients only from . Unfortunately, I cannot find tetrahexadecyl ascorbate here. Therefore I am using Ascorbyl Palmitate as it's partially soluble in oil and L-ascorbic acid to create a Vit C suspension in oil. 

Thank you!! 


  • You've chosen a difficult formula to work on, and as it stands there are quite a few ways you can take it. Have you done a search through the forum yet?  

  • @lewhitak I have searched through the forum, but I can't find anything clear about a formulation similar to mine or how to go about it. I'm just looking for the easiest way to implement my formula given that I'm a beginner with basic equipment. Can you suggest a way I could take it?

    @jemolian Yeah, that would've been perfect and easy. No Propanediol in my country though. I can only find Propylene Glycol(Food grade, USP KOSHER) vape shops. 
  • You can check the solubility of the ingredients in Propylene Glycol but normally you won't really use it at such as high percentage compared to Propanediol.
  • @jemolian I will research that route as a plan B for sure, but I'm not yet looking to change the formula entirely. Right now the ingredients mentioned in my formula are the ones I already have so I want to use them to make a Vit C suspension. 
  • Formulas with suspended vitamin C have issues with the user being able to feel the gritty vitamin C on their face when applying. You also have nothing to suspend the granules with, so you'll need to shake your bottle before applying. I would take a look at products like the following:

     The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Booster
    (Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Mica, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Ascorbic Acid, Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Glycerin, Parfum, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, Polysilicone-11, Linalool, Limonene, Silica, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Aqua, Hexyl Cinnamal, Myrciaria Dubia Fruit Extract, Citronellol, CI 77891.) 

    The Body Shop product uses silicones and other functionals to make for a 'cushioned' pleasant application while stabilizing the Ascorbic Acid. You'll have to research what ingredients you can get from the site you've listed and go from there. You'll also need to mind the grind size of your powders to minimize irritation from application. You can use a spice grinder to blend your powders before adding to the oil. 
    The propanediol option is easier, or you can make powder blends to add to your morning serum. 
  • @lewhitak I really don't see those as major issues. The gritty feeling and having to shake it before applying, that is. I know this is a DIY so I can't really expect what I would get in a commercial product. What I really want is safety and efficacy. Feeling, texture, smell don't really matter all that much for now. 
    As for the Vitamin C powder, I think it's already finely ground as it's purposely made for cosmetic use and The Ordinary mentions it's a "Fine 325 Mesh Topical Powder". We'll see about that.

    Interesting info about the Body Shop product. In the study I referenced I know they used an oil/wax vehicle for formula A and a silicone/oil/wax vehicle for formula B. Since formula A was more efficient I decided to go with that.

    So did they use the wax to properly suspend the granules? That would add some complexity to my "barebones" formula.. Any thoughts on that? Thanks!
  • EVchemEVchem Member
    promises said:

    My questions: 

    1. This recipe probably doesn't call for a preservative, but is adding it a mistake?
    2. Anything I could add to maybe thicken the oil? I'm not sure how runny it will be.  
    3. Anything I could add for a better absorption of the actives? Maybe some Jojoba oil (INCI: simmondsia chinensis seed oil)?
    4. Does such my recipe require heating?
    5. Is there anything wrong with my recipe/instructions? 
    1. don't see how adding a preservative here would be a problem
    2. Wax is an option, or silica. Or you can just shake before use
    3. Not sure if jojoba would help with the vitamin C delivery specifically. 
    4. no heat, unless you do want to add a wax or to better force ascorbyl palmitate in. In that case I'd heat carefully and add ascorbic on cooldown. Rosehip is prone to oxidation  so I'd probably avoid that route. 
  • @EVchem

    Thank you for your reply! Yeah, I want to avoid heat, just wanted to make sure it wasn't necessary in my steps.

    So everything should go well. I think I might add 10% Vegetable Silicon(INCI: Coco-Caprylate), just for a better feel on the skin.

    As for the proper encapsulation of Vit C granules... after some research, I definitely don't have the equipment or the knowledge to do something like that. 
  • lewhitaklewhitak Member
    edited June 2020
    I mention particle size because this portion of the paper you are referencing is very important in order to replicate some of the results. 

    Microfine particles of L-ascorbic acid predominantly less than 20 microns in size have been reported to penetrate into the dermis from an anhydrous vehicle.26 The objective of this study was to observe the effects of two anhydrous formulations containing microfine particles of ascorbic acid less than 5 microns in size on three known effects of ascorbic acid, neocollagenesis of collagen types I and III, and cytokeratin production, in ex vivo human skin. 

    At 325 mesh you are approximately 44 microns. You may also get away with adding less than 20% because so little of it will be available for your skin to actually utilize.
  • @lewhitak

    Darn, I totally missed the part about the size... Thanks for pointing that out! Yeah, so mine are too big..I'm guessing there's nothing I can do about that, right?

    About the percentage, I was thinking of adding the max(20%) to compensate BECAUSE so little of it will be used by the skin. 
  • @promises
    A white blood cell is about 25 microns, and you need to be smaller than that to replicate the paper. You also have to consider that you not only need a way to mill the ascorbic acid but to also verify your particle size to ensure your process is achieving what you want. The cost of the equipment to do both of these things alone seems as if it would be very high for a personal use serum. 

    Maybe you can see if you can find a pre-dispersed vitamin C? Or invest more money to ship encapsulated vitamin C or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate to your location?

  • @lewhitak

    Wow, thank you for putting things into perspective! You're the only one that actually made everything pretty clear. 

    For now, I will put this project on hold until I can source either a finer Vit C powder or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. What exactly do you mean by encapsulated Vit C? Can you show me an example? 

    Thanks again!! 
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