Retinol Cream Formulation Help

Hello,

First of all thank you to everyone who contributes to this forum. It's an amazing resource. I'm working on duplicating a retinol cream and I can't quite get it to match. The color, scent and texture are off. My formulation is more pale white and has a flat nutty scent while the the one I'm trying to match is more yellow and has a very sweet almost citrus scent. I think increasing the retinol concentration would get it closer but the concentration is already at a high level where it's getting to the point where it would be too sensitizing if anymore is added.

Here is my most recent test batch formula. Does anything seem abnormal about this? I basically made a guess on concentrations based on creams I've done in the past and free formulas I found in the resource section. Thanks in advance!


Phase 1
Aqua 46.80%
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice 25.00%
Glycerin 2.00%
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) 1.00%
Xanthan Gum 0.70%
Phase 2
Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower) 5.00%
Isopropyl Palmitate 3.00%
Glyceryl Stearate SE 3.00%
Cetyl Alcohol 3.00%
Stearic Acid 2.00%
Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Jojoba) 2.00%
Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea) 0.75%
Phase 3
Rovisome Retinol Moist  (.3% retinol, inci below) 2.50%
Hyalurosmooth (97% water, 3% Cassia Angustifolia) 2.00%
Phase 4
Panthenol (Vitamin B5) 0.50%
Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E) 0.25%
Phase 5
Euxy PE 9010 0.50%


Rovisome Retinol Moist INCI:  Water, pentylene glycol, lecithin, retinol, polysorbate 20, alcohol, potassium phosphate

Comments

  • Post the LOI of your benchmark. There are several  things that may contribute to a non ‘commercial’ feel in your formula. 
  • That amount of aloe is unnecessary and hard to preserve.
    Too much of xanthan.
    Glyceryl Stearate SE and Stearic Acid are draggy.
    Sun flower oil is prone to rancidity.
    I am not sure that .5% of 9010 is sufficient.
     I would add disodium EDTA and BHT

  • YulinYulin Member
    ngarayeva001 Thank you very much for the reply!  Great advice already - I appreciate it.  My first test batch had a lower Xanthan concentration but it turned out really thin so I added more to thicken it up.  I will increase the 9010 concentration and buy some EDTA and BHT.  Here is the LOI as listed on the packaging of the benchmark:

    Aqua
    Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Organic Aloe)
    Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Organic Sunflower)
    Isopropyl Palmitate
    Glyceryl Stearate SE
    Cetyl Alcohol
    Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide 
    Stearic Acid
    Glycerin
    Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil (Organic Jojoba)
    Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C)
    Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea)
    Retinol
    Panthenol (Vitamin B5)
    Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E)
    Xanthan Gum
    Polysorbate 20
    Pentylene Glycol
    Alcohol
    Lecithin
    Phenoxyethanol
    Ethylhexylglycerin


    Thanks again for your help
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It's much easier to duplicate a formula by first ignoring all the "marketing" ingredients. Those can always be added later after you've got something that matches in terms of viscosity, color, and odor. This is a much easier approach than adding 2 dozen ingredients and trying to figure out which ones have the important effects. So, simplify the formula to only...

    Water
    Glycerin
    Xanthan Gum
    Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil (Sunflower)
    Isopropyl Palmitate
    Glyceryl Stearate SE
    Cetyl Alcohol
    Stearic Acid
    Butyrospermum Parkii Butter (Shea)
    Rovisome Retinol Moist (this is potentially just a marketing ingredient too)
    Euxy PE 9010


  • YulinYulin Member
    Thanks Perry - good idea.  I'll simplify and see if I can get a closer match. 
  • YulinYulin Member
    Does the 5% sunflower oil seem high?  I know it tends to go rancid but it also seems like a high concentration. I just guessed 5% because of where it is listed in the benchmark LOI.  
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    @yulin:

    5% Sunflower OIl is just fine ... If you total up your oils your totaling around 11% which is just where you want to be.  Are you using golden jojoba oil or decolorized jojoba oil? ... that could account for some of the color differential.

    You might want to hold off on adding your SAP to Phase A because it is heat sensitive and it is recommend to add it at 35C or below.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • YulinYulin Member
    @MarkBroussard ; thanks for confirming the oil content is ok.  That was one of my primary concerns.  I did switch to golden jojoba in my second test batch and achieved more yellow color but still pale compared to the benchmark.  The only thing I can think to do is add more retinol because it's very yellow and also has the sweet scent so that must be what I'm missing. 

    Great tip on the SAP - I didn't think about that.  The SAP packaging I received from Making cosmetics says to keep it refrigerated so I should have made that connection with the phasing heat issue.  I'll adjust accordingly. Thanks again.   
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    edited June 17
    Why BHT? Apart from traces of Tween 20, the formula is fairly "natural" and and skin-friendly whereas BHT is a potential allergen and one of the "bad guys" of these days. Why not add tocopherol (tocopherol acetate is not an antioxidant) and ascorbyl palmitate (ascorbyl phosphate is not an antioxidant as well)? This synergistic combination is more efficient than BHT regarding anti-rancidity. Or use rosemary extract.
    A natural alternative to EDTA would be phytic acid and, less efficient, citric acid.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    Pharma said:
    Why BHT? Apart from traces of Tween 20, the formula is fairly "natural" and and skin-friendly whereas BHT is a potential allergen and one of the "bad guys" of these days. Why not add tocopherol (tocopherol acetate is not an antioxidant) and ascorbyl palmitate (ascorbyl phosphate is not an antioxidant as well)? This synergistic combination is more efficient than BHT regarding anti-rancidity. Or use rosemary extract.
    A natural alternative to EDTA would be phytic acid and, less efficient, citric acid.
    that's as maybe, but BHT has much less potential for contact dermatitis than retinol itself; it's also effective at very low levels (ca. 0.1%) and doesn't make the product smell or discolour
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    BHT because it is the most effective at stabilizing Retinol. 

    Tocopherol, ascorbyl palmitate, rosemary extract to prevent rancidity, but BHT for the Retinol.  The Rovisome Retinol is essentially liposomal encapsulated Retionol, so that will add some measure of stability, but best to also add BHT.  
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • YulinYulin Member
    Thanks everyone.  I'm really glad I posted because I hadn't thought out the preservative system as thoroughly as you all.  This is very helpful.  I read through the reviews of the benchmark product online and there are some people who complained of rancid smell with units that were close to expiration so it definitely seems to be an issue with this formula.  

    I am now much closer to matching texture, color and scent so I'm going to do some research on BHT and probably add some.  Thanks again!
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    I admit, from a formulator's point of view BHT is likely the least error prone and most economic alternative.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    It's more than that ... BHT is scientifically-proven to be the most effective stabilizer for Retinol, simple fact ... I'm currently doing some work with a university professor who is an expert in Retinol ...
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Okay, thanks for sharing!
    You don't happen to have a link to a corresponding publication of his?
  • jeremienjeremien Member
    what are the conclusions? no way to formulate retinol withour BHT?
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    You can formulate Retinol without BHT, it's just that you won't have much retinol in the formula over a relatively short period of time.

    The absolute best combination is BHA, BHT, Tocopherol, Sodium Ascorbate and using Liposomal Retinol.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • And packaging in airless pump so the retinol doesn't loose efficacy.
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