≡ Menu

Where to find Free Cosmetic Formulas

One of my goals is to create a website that gives starting formulas to anyone who is looking for one. I’m modelling it after the Open Source Software movement and dubbing it Open Source Formulating (or something like that). Essentially it will be a place where people can find and exchange formulas. Almost a recipe swap.

But until I get that going, I thought it would be useful to provide links to places where you can get formulas to start already. Here is what I’ve got so far. The list will continue to grow. Please feel free to add other links in the comments if there are sources that aren’t mentioned.

General Cosmetic formulation lists

Cosmetic Bench Reference – A list of hundreds of supplier formulas searchable by type, ingredient trade name and more. Suppliers for all materials included. Requires registration.

C & T 2008 Skin Care formulary – Formulas for creams, lotions, cleansers, and masks.

C & T 2006 C&T Skin formulary – Formulas for creams, lotions, cleansers, and masks.

Happi formulary – Wide range of formulations from suppliers of cosmetic raw materials.  Also some formulation of household products if you’re looking for that.  No registration required

Personal Care Magazine – Nice set of easily accessible formulas.  No registration required.

Innovadex – Requires registration but has hundreds (maybe thousands) of formulas from suppliers.

SpecialChem4Cosmetics – They have an excellent starting formulations selector.  Includes skin care, hair care, sun care, toiletries, fragrance, and makeup.  Requires registration.

Merck formulations – Hundreds of cosmetic formulations and some other interesting things like insect repellent.  No registration required.

Google Patents – This takes a little digging but if you do a search of the patents on any kind of formula that you want to make, you can find example formulas in the ‘claims’ section of most any patent on the subject.

Google Books – Google has a number of books that list some cosmetic formulations.  Many you can get listed for free.

Supplier Formularies

Grant Industry Formulary – Lots of cosmetic formulas including make-up, creams & lotions, Sunscreens, Skin treatments, Hair care, and more. Over 100 formulas

Brenntag Personal care formulas – This company has a nice list of starting formulas for hair, skin and color cosmetics.  Not an extensive list of formulations but about 100 formulas.

Colonial Chemicals formulas – A number of cosmetic formulas.  Also some household cleaner and metal working lubricants too.

Croda Formulary – Some excellent starting formulas using materials from Croda.  Formulas in all types of different products and includes some “green” or Natural formulations.  Registration is required (a little annoying).

Dow Corning formulations – Not organized in the best manner for cosmetic chemists but a good number of formulations that feature silicone as a significant component.

Dupont Tate & Lyle formulations – Offers a number of skin care and color cosmetic formulations.  Also has a couple of hair care product formulas.

Stepan formulary – One of the biggest surfactant suppliers in the business.  They have some excellent starting formulas for cleansing products and emulsions.

HallStar Formulations – A searchable list of formulations with particular focus on suncare and skin care.  It is handy that it allows for searching by keyword including INCI names.

IGI Cares formulas – A short list of some interesting formulas that focus on petrolatum and waxes.

Jeen International formulary – A small list of formulas but covering a wide range of product categories including bath and shower, sun care, hair care, skin care, and color cosmetics.

Kobo formulations – A rather extensive list of formulas focused on color cosmetics and sunscreens.  Formulas are all freely available.

Lubrizol formulations – A wide variety of formulas in all categories of personal care and cosmetic products.

Lipo Formulary – A very slick compilation of formulas for everything ranging from facial care, to general skin care, hair care and color cosmetics.  The descriptions provided for each formula are helpful.

R.T. Vanderbilt formulas – Cosmetic formulations in 5 different categories including skin care, sun care, color cosmetics, cleansing, and treatments & grooming.  Includes reactive hair products like relaxers and perms.

Seppic Formulations – One of the best features is that you can search formulas by keyword and also they have a formula selection tool that allows you to choose by application, texture, claim, and target consumer.  Nicely organized.

DIY / Hobbiest formulations

DIY Cosmetics Formulary – Recipes for makeup, shampoos, cleansers and soap.

The Herbarie Formulary – More recipes for making personal care products.   Focuses on natural or green technologies.  More of a home crafter DIY site than a cosmetic industry site.

MakingCosmetics.com – A nice list of recipes for all types of cosmetics from creams, lotions, sun products and color cosmetics.  Formulas are available in a number of formats and list % weights and kitchen measurements.  Nicest thing is that it doesn’t require registration to get a formula.  Nice going Making Cosmetics!

Make Your Cosmetics – A wide range of formulations organized in alphabetical order.  Each formula tells approximately how long it will take to produce and has comments from other makers as to what they thought.  Has a number of lip and facial care formulations.

Cosmetic Formulator – A defunct website but through the magic of the Internet Wayback machine you can still access the formulations.  Includes a number of powdered makeup formulas and just a couple of skin care creams.

Realize Beauty formulations – A variety of formulations with descriptive procedures for making them.  Not a long list but some nice starting formulas for soap, conditioner, toothpaste and more.

Ingredients to die for Formulary – 70+ formulations for both hair and skin applications.  Most formulas are for skin care products.

Personal Formulator – A small list of formulations but includes some products for pets.

Skin Essential Actives – Some nice additional resources on the site (like a formula calculator) in addition to a range of skin care starting formulations.

Karen Gilbert recipes – Formulations with videos to show how they are made.  These are more like cooking recipes than formulations but the demonstrations are excellent.  Nicely produced.

LotionCrafter – Not a lot of formulas but a nice collection of facial care, skin care, hair care, and spa products.  Also, sells raw materials so you are able to make the products.

Have one to add?  Leave a comment below.  This is a growing list.

 

{ 62 comments… add one }

  • Johanna 10/25/2014, 2:22 pm

    Great website thank you!!

  • Eric ogunnika 01/29/2014, 2:03 pm

    Many th anks to you for the job but my case on all is making hair relaxer plus all the needed production formulars/materials At moment from our cosmetics manufactary we currently produced skin diseases cure/care herbal antiseptic soap &creams.secondly we want specialist exparts/ partners in cosmetics making

  • r.k.seethapathi naidu 09/16/2013, 4:29 am

    one can find lot of formulas in the web…But,as a mafufacturer of herbal toothpaste, my suggestion is try YOURSELF!
    (who Knows,,u may bring out a wonderful formula which may outsmart the existing one!

  • John 08/30/2013, 8:03 pm

    very good material

  • anshia singh 06/03/2013, 3:37 am

    what is the chemical formula of face powder?

    • Perry Romanowski 06/03/2013, 10:04 am

      There are lots of them. What do you mean?

  • anshia singh 06/03/2013, 3:28 am

    what is the chemical formula of hair cream?

    • Perry Romanowski 06/03/2013, 10:05 am

      Go through the resources provided in this post and find one.

  • swaleh 04/19/2013, 5:59 am

    good information
    Thanks

  • gunjan 04/04/2013, 11:42 am

    its really a good one for the pg students doing thier dissertation thesis work

  • ninad 10/24/2012, 4:22 am

    This is nice platform for all researchers having interest in cosmetic formulations.
    I want to know formula for rose water?? thanks in advance
    Thanks in advance

  • Renato 09/14/2012, 7:45 pm

    I agree with colleague why so many formulations and nothing that really works as a product to sell, why would not disclose anything interesting would be something that is really functional and salable.
    Most formulations found at these web sites do not work already tested several, and others are impossible to sell because of the price of its ingredients.
    After all how to formulate a salable product that has a reasonable price would be magic cosmetics?
    Or maybe that percentage of ingredients are unrealistic commercial products.?
    Can anyone enlighten me.

  • Jerome 06/22/2012, 12:44 pm

    My 10 cents on these formulations. I have sorted through endless formulas from many sources such as the ones you sited above. I typically find they are: never great and/or super expensive. For example, I have a flier on my desk for fantastic hair ingredient that has a very basic starter conditioner formulation on it. I priced it out and it is $5.22/kg without fragrance and preservative. I find this to be the case with many vendor developed formulations. Vendors may be selling a high priced active extract that does fantastic things and they give a formulation that is ready for market. Price it out with your vendor at your desk and see if he/she can keep a straight face. Also, I had a vendor come in with a whole line of products/ formulas/samples focused to what I am working on. I felt confident enough with my knowledge of the paper formulas to ask the person to go to the sink with me and evaluate these formulations for lather and skin feel. This vendor had never tried these samples and was surprised at how bad some of them performed. Some were good, most were not. One last bit, I took a webinar on sulfate free shampoos, the had a starter formulation, I happened to have all ingredients on the list. I went to the lab and made it exactly as outlined and sent it to the salon for testing. They came back with “aweful” and “horrible”.

    • Perry 06/22/2012, 12:49 pm

      Great comments Jerome. That has been my experience too. You are also correct that most of these formulas will be bad. If a cosmetic chemist thinks she can just take a formula, make it, and will have a nicely functioning product, she is mistaken. But you have to start somewhere. These sources are probably the best place. It’s just a starting point though. To make an actual product that works and could be sold, you have to do the prototype development which is a whole different problem.

    • Gary Neudahl 06/22/2012, 1:12 pm

      Jerome,
      Having spent thirteen years on the finished goods producer’s side and then seventeen on the ingredient producer’s side, be aware of the differing dynamics in formulation development for each.
      The quality of the formulae you get from ingredient vendors will depend on the standards of the chemist (and company) presenting them. Because ingredient suppliers are in the business of selling ingredients, their formulations will, of course, contain their ingredients. And because they don’t expect these formulations to be used as presented, they want to make sure the particular esthetic and/or functional benefits from the focus ingredient(s) are as obvious as possible (i.e., show that IT WORKS). Hence higher costs and higher use levels than for an optimized product. Formulation assessment is typically done on prototypes stored at room temperature, so the ingredient supplier may figure that if it’s stable for a relatively long time at room temperature, that’s good enough. Better suppliers check elevated temperature and freeze-thaw stability as well. It’s fair game to ask your ingredients suppliers what their stability testing standards are for releasing a formula to the formulating public. That will give you a better idea of what to expect from their formulations, not just functionally, but with respect to shelf stability as well.

      • Jerome 06/22/2012, 1:56 pm

        Amen to both Gary and Perry. So if you are new at this or even experienced at this, understand that it can take you a year, and oftentimes more, to make a bad starter formulation fantastic! At that point, you need to be very selective about who you share it with. You worked hard for that and it belongs to you (or your company; depending on what you signed when you got hired).

        Perry, perhaps you could do a bit on protecting your formulas and products from diversion, knockoffs and counterfeits?

        • mentxu 06/02/2013, 3:37 am

          Amen to that,

          I work for a supplier in one of the previous links.
          Suppliers will focus on their products rarely giving realistic formulations. These will be tested for stability at 5 different temperatures for a year, and claim tested in some occasions. Definitely, a good starting point but you have to ask yourself and the supplier what is the minimum amount needed to obtain the desired result.

  • Edna Van Buren 06/21/2012, 8:58 pm

    Hi Perry,

    I use the website: http://www.innovadex.com/ and I think it ‘s very interesting for a chemist since s/he can get samples from the suppliers companies for his/her project.

    Nice job, Perry!

  • Dennis A 06/19/2012, 2:25 pm

    Colonial Chemical’s formulary is at http://colonialchem.com/Formulations

  • Nancy Liedel 06/19/2012, 11:48 am

    There are three here I didn’t have! I’m thrilled. I don’t have any that have not been posted though, except sites that encourage you to, “ditch the preservatives and put it in the fridge.” I’m going to make a dartboard out of those and when I get a bad day, play darts :)

  • Manoranjan 06/18/2012, 8:47 pm

    This is really excellent collection and very useful. Hope the following site also may be useful: http://www.cosmeticanalysis.com.
    Thank you Perry for your selfless hard work.

    Manoranjan.

  • Maggie Ghanem 06/18/2012, 8:24 am

    http://www.FormulatorSampleShop.com
    Formulator Sample Shop is a sister company of Active Concepts, Active Micro Technologies & Arbor Organics.
    Formulator Sample Shop Active Concepts, Active Micro Technologies & Arbor Organics products in 80 mL, 250 mL and 1100 mL pack sizes and devloped for the DIY and smaller businesses that cannot meet Active Concepts minimum order or pack size.

    Formulator Sample Shop also provides Formulas & Formulation Advice!

  • Kamrul Hasan Rashed 06/16/2012, 10:51 pm
  • Annie 06/16/2012, 6:49 pm

    This is a great idea

    Thanks Perry!

    makeyourcosmetics.com
    lotioncrafter.com

  • Gary Neudahl 06/16/2012, 5:06 pm

    To access HallStar Company’s formulary, go to http://www.hallstar.com/template.php?content=tech_library.php and select based on the personal care product area of interest, or search by a keyword (such as an ingredient of interest). INCI names, trade names and supplier names are almost always provided. The current area of particular strength is sunscreens and skin care products with active ingredients requiring photostabilization, but many other formulations are also provided.

  • Ged 06/16/2012, 5:13 am

    This is an excellent resource – thank you so much for putting it together!
    For anyone who reads French, or is willing to trust to Google Translate
    http://www.aroma-zone.com/aroma/Documentation.asp
    (sorry, not sure if I’ve made this a link) have some very imaginative “green” formulas.
    Incidentally, a pet “peeve” of mine : I do wish formulations always used the INCI names as well as trade names so you don’t have to do a second search to find out what the heck “dermfeelsoft” or whatever actually is!

    • Perry 06/16/2012, 8:36 am

      Thanks for the add. I agree with you that it would be nice if there was both the trade name and INCI name but especially the INCI name.

  • shahbaz 06/16/2012, 12:53 am

    Hi Perry,
    I have my own developed formulas I can share it with some changes in percentages. These formulas are very basic as I have very limited knowledge in this field. If you want then please let me through email.
    Regards!

    • Manoranjan 06/18/2012, 8:50 pm

      Hi Shahbaz,

      Do you have any formulas on Sunscreen SPF 30? Could you please help me especially on the ingredient which block UVA.
      Thank you.

      Manoranjan.

  • aram 06/15/2012, 10:56 pm

    great…!!

  • andrianto 06/15/2012, 7:04 pm

    wow..thx a lot Perry. this is really GREAT job!

  • Irma N Versteegh 06/15/2012, 10:41 am

    Hello Perry,
    What a great resource you put together to all of us. Thank you
    so much for sharing.Formulating had become a wonderful hobby
    for me, I am just about ready in the next six months to lunch my own products.I usually study the ingredients and their properties
    of the products I admire,then I think about how I can improve on that.Thanks again.

    • Connie 06/26/2014, 1:40 pm

      Hi Perry,
      could you please email some of the formulas you were talking about I am new to this game and am loving it, but only discovering new sites to do research.
      I am also looking for a product or chemicals that can be combined together to remove the by products of bitchumen, namely tar and ashfelt
      Many thanks

      • Perry Romanowski 06/27/2014, 7:44 am

        Hello Connie,

        I would suggest you just look through the formulas in the sources linked above. Also, post your specific questions to the forum. Perhaps someone will have time to answer. http://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk

  • Rose Durham 06/15/2012, 10:22 am

    DuPont Tate & Lyle offers many prototype formulations. View them here: http://www.duponttateandlyle.com/products_zemea_applications.php

  • Michele Masterson 06/15/2012, 4:37 am

    Hi Perry, great information for us budding formulators! I was also going to suggest lotioncrafters but I see Jip beat me to it! Thanks for all the help and advice you offer, it is so appreciated! Anyway I digress…. oat.co.uk have a couple of nice formulations utilizing their superfine oat powder, beta glucan, oat oil etc. very nice ‘green’ products. Hope someone finds this useful.

  • Inez 06/15/2012, 2:01 am

    Hi Perry,

    Thanks for the links. I have another one:
    http://www.jeen.com/formulary.htm

  • Dragon 06/15/2012, 1:46 am
  • AlamSjofnizon 06/15/2012, 1:42 am

    Dears Perry
    Thanks for the links. Its a real help for my activity at the moment. I just finished composing the formula for Facial Wash and Balancing Toner ( aspecially for acne ).

    Regard’s

    AlamSjofnizon

  • MOHANKUMAR 06/15/2012, 12:39 am

    Also try
    1. http://www.personalformulator.com
    2. Key in words in You Tube and see useful videos
    3. Cosmeticinfo.org will provide the usage/safety information or raw materials used in Formulation.

    • Perry 06/15/2012, 5:29 am

      Excellent suggestions!

  • S Creese 06/14/2012, 11:56 pm

    The Personal Care Magazine link is not opening on my end

    • Perry 06/15/2012, 5:33 am

      I just checked and the link works for me. I would suggest seeing if you can go to their home page & finding the formulary from there.

      • S Creese 06/15/2012, 7:13 am

        I don’t know if its because I’m located in Trinidad but the link won’t work on Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. But thanks for the links Perry

  • Miki 06/14/2012, 11:06 pm

    Hello!
    I love this!
    Here are two that I use all the time:
    Ingredientstodiefor.com
    Texasnaturalsupply.com
    Enjoy!

  • Babu Kumar 06/14/2012, 10:33 pm

    Thanks for the links. Its a real help for the budding chemists in the Cosmetics Industry.

  • Junio 06/14/2012, 8:36 pm

    Thanks for the link. Anyway I’m looking for a saponification base for facial cream (Pearl cream) like Hazeline snow cream that uses lots of stearic acid & NaOH. but cant find at that link. Could you help me please?

    • Perry 06/15/2012, 5:10 am

      Hello Junio – I would suggest you put that request in the forum. I’m sure someone in there will be able to help you.

      • Junio 06/15/2012, 7:58 am

        Thanks for yr suggest :)

  • Mohamad Istari 06/14/2012, 8:32 pm

    Istari
    Easy for searching material informations
    Thanks

  • leiweiping 06/14/2012, 8:16 pm
  • Malcolm Nearn 06/14/2012, 8:03 pm

    Re Google patents a good way to find any patent in any country that conforms to the international patent treaty is as follows:
    enter the US Patent Office website http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html. You can conduct a Boolean search eg on any pair of search items, eg two different chemicals, or a particular chemical and a particular use.
    To find out if that patent has been filed in another country go to the European website (espacenet.com/) and go to the number search option and enter the us patent number. Click on the patent title then Inpadoc family.
    (I am not a patent attorney but I have used this process extensively to find new opportunities).

  • Alexa 06/14/2012, 6:41 pm
  • nafee 06/14/2012, 5:44 pm

    This is great. Good job

  • Alex 06/14/2012, 5:14 pm

    This is a great idea! Thanks for the links, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this feature grow!

    A couple more great home crafter/DIY sites are:
    soapqueen.com and/or brambleberry.com
    and
    swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com

  • S Creese 06/14/2012, 4:38 pm

    Thanks for the links. I knew about a couple of them but I don’t have any to add to this.

  • Jowyn 06/14/2012, 1:03 am

    I would like to contribute another link as below:
    http://www.specialchem4cosmetics.com

    • Perry 06/14/2012, 4:35 pm

      Thanks for the addition!

  • Jip 06/13/2012, 9:59 pm

    1. Making Cosmetics has a formulary: http://www.makingcosmetics.com/recipes-6.html

    2. Using the Wayback Machine, this one can be found for cosmetics:

    Lotioncrafter.com will sometimes have sample formulas on the same page as some of their ingredients.

    Hope this helps.

    • Perry 06/14/2012, 4:35 pm

      Thanks it does!

Leave a Comment