Product Dupe Q: Are any of the ingredients in Vanicream Gentle Face Cleanser unnecessary?

edited May 28 in Formulating
Hi, so I have heard that Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is one of the gold standards for very dry/sensitive skin. I’m trying to find out if I could dupe it, but wondering if there’s any ingredients in this cleanser that aren’t really necessary and could be removed? I was hoping it might be possible to reduce/remove some ingredients in it that have a history of being irritating to my skin, and it would be a plus if I could simplify it overall and reduce ingredient costs. 

This is the ingredients list: 

purified water, glycerin, coco glucoside, sodium cocoyl glycinate, acrylates copolymer, caprylyl glycol, mica, sodium chloride, 1,2-hexanediol, titanium dioxide, sodium hydroxide, disodium EDTA

Ingredients I would be interested in removing in an ideal world (and why): 

Acrylates Copolymer - b/c I’m legitimately allergic to it. 
Caprylyl Glycol - b/c it causes redness, stinging, and acne for me.
Mica and Titanium Dioxide - b/c aren’t they only added for colour/aesthetic purposes, and I don’t care if my cleanser is white? 
1,2 hexanediol - b/c I’d just rather remove it if it’s not necessary. 

What are your opinions? 


  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    Acrylates Copolymer: you could sub Xanthan Gum or Sclerotium Gum as the thickener

    Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol:  This is your preservative blend.  Note that they also add NaOH ... do you know the pH of the commercial product?  Best if you keep the pH in the 5.0 to 5.5 range and choose an appropriate preservative.

    Mica/TiO2:  Not necessary.  Just leave them out.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details

  • MJLMJL Member
    Thank you @MarkBroussard for your comments and input. Yes, the product pH is 5.5, so would keep it around there. Thanks again! 
  • MJLMJL Member
    @MarkBroussard Do you know if the sodium hydroxide in the formula is used to adjust pH or is there another purpose? 

    I don’t have any issues with it, but was just wondering. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Sodium hydroxide is a pH adjuster
  • MJLMJL Member
    Thanks for confirming, @Perry.
  • AzizAziz Member
    Perry said:
    Sodium hydroxide is a pH adjuster
    Is it better to replace NaOH with TEA ?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Aziz - you will probably have a better error factor with the TEA meaning you can miss adding the right amount and not have as significant an impact on pH.  But NaOH is usually the less expensive option and also less likely to have some other reaction with ingredients in your formula. In sum, it depends on what's important to you.

  • AzizAziz Member
    Thank you @Perry for your valuable comment . 
  • chemicalmattchemicalmatt Member, Professional Chemist
    The NaOH was in there just to neutralize acrylates copolymer, so it goes out of the formula with that rheology additive. Problem solves itself.
  • MJLMJL Member
    Thanks @chemicalmatt!
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