Will herbal extracts work in low pH levels?

LillyLilly Member
edited September 20 in Formulating
So, I've been trying to draft a simple AHA serum formula with distilled water, glycerin, sodium lactate, lactic acid, glycolic acid, allantoin, xanthum gum soft, hyaluronic acid, chamomile extract, and liquid germall plus. 

I intend to keep the final pH at 3.8. I've looked up a lot of articles on Google and can't seem to find an answer to if chamomile extract (or any other extract) will function well in such pH and not 'cook'. 
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Comments

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    What kind of question is this exactly?
    If it's a marketing Q: Yes, sure, it will always work.
    If it's a chemical Q: Depends on the extract and its composition. Generally, plant extracts are more likely to be stable at lower pH. However, there are also constituents which are most stable at +/- neutral pH and others which are always unstable (such as chamazulene).
    If it's a spiritual/esoteric Q: Theoretically yes, 'activity' in this field usually doesn't care about natural laws of physics and chemistry etc.
    And finally a pharmacological Q: Most likely, that extract of yours is so highly diluted already that, once incorporated into any type of formulation, it simply never works.
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited September 20
    Pharma said:
    What kind of question is this exactly?
    If it's a marketing Q: Yes, sure, it will always work.
    If it's a chemical Q: Depends on the extract and its composition. Generally, plant extracts are more likely to be stable at lower pH. However, there are also constituents which are most stable at +/- neutral pH and others which are always unstable (such as chamazulene).
    If it's a spiritual/esoteric Q: Theoretically yes, 'activity' in this field usually doesn't care about natural laws of physics and chemistry etc.
    And finally a pharmacological Q: Most likely, that extract of yours is so highly diluted already that, once incorporated into any type of formulation, it simply never works.
    I hope your comedic genius is fully appreciated.  :D  (Could you have missed your calling?)

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Comedic and cosmetic... sounds like the same thing to my Swiss German ears :) . Besides, isn't it better to be a bad comedic genius than a good comedogenic genius, right?
    Honestly though, my answer was meant to be serious, like 100% serious.
    If you had to giggle (which is absolutely okay but not mandatory), then it's due to what's written between the lines (or you had enough to drink... which means, I'm now going to eat all the Kirsch filled chocolate myself :blush: ).
  • Pharma said:
    What kind of question is this exactly?
    If it's a marketing Q: Yes, sure, it will always work.
    If it's a chemical Q: Depends on the extract and its composition. Generally, plant extracts are more likely to be stable at lower pH. However, there are also constituents which are most stable at +/- neutral pH and others which are always unstable (such as chamazulene).
    If it's a spiritual/esoteric Q: Theoretically yes, 'activity' in this field usually doesn't care about natural laws of physics and chemistry etc.
    And finally a pharmacological Q: Most likely, that extract of yours is so highly diluted already that, once incorporated into any type of formulation, it simply never works.
    Thanks
  • FWIW I think the Chamomile Extract will give your product a nice aroma even if it doesnt work (who can say if it does or doesnt and is sometimes just perception and smell counts a lot for most women). :)
  • Pharma said:
    Comedic and cosmetic... sounds like the same thing to my Swiss German ears :) . Besides, isn't it better to be a bad comedic genius than a good comedogenic genius, right?
    Honestly though, my answer was meant to be serious, like 100% serious.
    If you had to giggle (which is absolutely okay but not mandatory), then it's due to what's written between the lines (or you had enough to drink... which means, I'm now going to eat all the Kirsch filled chocolate myself :blush: ).
    Pharma - I always enjoy reading your thoughtful comments (and yes sometimes funny - Aussies appreciate good humor!) - Speaking of funny if you ever get a chance to see Bill Bailley (he was just here in Cairns and best and funniest show we have ever been to!) do yourself a favor and enjoy a good night out (You may be able to sneak in your Kirsh choccies) - I now feel like some of them to go with my morning expresso!) _ Cheers
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @lilly:

    The better question is:  Will Chamomile Extract (or any plant extract, for that matter) do anything in the formula at all at any pH?  The typical commercial extract is at most 8% extract + 92% water, glycerin or butylene glycol.  Add 1% of that to a formula and you have 0.08% extract.  And, 0.8% is generous ... many extracts are only 1% - 2% extract.  They are label ingredients. 
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @lilly:

    The better question is:  Will Chamomile Extract (or any plant extract, for that matter) do anything in the formula at all at any pH?  The typical commercial extract is at most 8% extract + 92% water, glycerin or butylene glycol.  Add 1% of that to a formula and you have 0.08% extract.  And, 0.8% is generous ... many extracts are only 1% - 2% extract.  They are label ingredients. 
    Thanks so much for your reply. Yes, I'm aware they may have little to no effect in the formula. The main reason I intend adding them is for label appeal. But then again, I just wanted to be sure I wasn't going to compromise the stability of the final product with the addition of a botanical extract
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @Lilly:

    If all you're doing is adding Chamomile Extract so you can list it on the label, then just add one drop of extract to your formula.  Your list of ingredients is just fine for an AHA serum.  If you're looking for a way to differentiate it, perhaps take a look at addng a polyhydroxy acid instead of plant extracts.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals & Clean Beauty arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program/Clean At Sephora/Credo Clean guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • @Lilly:

    If all you're doing is adding Chamomile Extract so you can list it on the label, then just add one drop of extract to your formula.  Your list of ingredients is just fine for an AHA serum.  If you're looking for a way to differentiate it, perhaps take a look at addng a polyhydroxy acid instead of plant extracts.
    Alright. Thanks so much. Sincerely appreciated
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