Common Mistakes Made When Beginning To Formulate

Let me start by saying I apologize if you’ve seen or answered this question already. To my defense, I searched the forum using certain keywords to see if I could find an article.  As you know many articles are posted a day and I could not find a recent one!

What are some common (and even uncommon) mistakes you see individuals make when beginning to formulate? Especially when formulating hair products and trying to eventually get approved by ECOCERT and / or COSMOS? Without compromising the formulation of course! I know this can be a sensitive topic.

I can think of a few things but would prefer to hear from those with much more experience. Those who may have come a particular situation themselves and had to learn how to solve it. I believe this will be advantageous to many, as it can be quite overwhelming when getting started.

Thank you in advance and please stay safe! 

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I'll start.  Mistakes that beginners often make...

    1.  Starting out as a "natural" formulator - If you want to become a formulator, first learn how to formulate. Learn what formulas are & the technology that makes them work. Learn which ingredients work best. If you start out with the attitude that you are only going to be a "natural" formulator, you will never get a complete understanding of how to make products. If you want to specialize, and eventually create Ecocert or COSMOS formulas, that's fine. But first learn the subject. 

    2.  Believing the hype about ingredients - Raw material companies are motivated to get formulators to use their ingredients. They publish seemingly scientific studies that "prove" some ingredient is good for some specific thing, anti-wrinkle, hair growth, skin lightening, etc, or even some non-specific thing that sounds good, e.g. antioxidant or anti-inflammatory. Be skeptical. Most of the claims about ingredients like Hyaularonic acid, Peptides, Pro-biotics, ceramides, etc. are exaggerations. Consumers can't tell differences & ingredients like that typically don't matter except for the claims you can make. Putting more than 0.1% vitamins in a hair formula is a mistake since they do nothing in hair products. And natural extracts or hydrosols will have almost no impact on performance. Be skeptical & carefully evaluate ingredients to determine whether they actually make any noticeable difference in your formula or not.

    3.  Starting out with too many ingredients -   It's ridiculous how many formulas I see with dozens of ingredients that have no effect or just duplicate the effects of something else.  Practice formula minimization.  That is, use as few ingredients as you can to still achieve an effect.  If you can't tell a difference in your formula whether using an ingredient or not, then don't use the ingredient!

    4.  Inconsistent measurements - Formulating requires consistency and doing your measurements in terms of cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons is not formulating. That's cooking. Formulating is not cooking. Get a scale. Measure things on in terms of Grams.  Make your formulas in terms of percentages. The math is not hard & it's important to do if you ever want to make the same formula twice.  

    5.  Using pH strips - Don't use pH strips. While they might work for a kid's science fair, they are not helpful for a formulator. You need a proper pH meter.

    6.  Not understanding ingredient production - Just because an ingredient has the same name, that doesn't mean it will work the same in your formula. The ingredient composition is more than its name and will vary depending on what supplier made it and what starting raw materials they used. You have to have specifications for every ingredient you use and you have to test every formula with every supplier you want to use.

    Those are just a few off the top of my head. 
  •  Thank you for your detailed and very thorough response @Perry ! It is much appreciated. You made very good points that should be taken into consideration before and when getting started. 

    I remember you mentioning hype in your formulation course. There are different classifications of ingredients and the ones that pertain to hype you categorize as marketing ingredients. Ingredients that don’t actually provide a benefit but people will most likely purchase a product or feel better about a product that has these ingredients in it. This is rather unfortunate for a variety of reasons. I would love to find ways to add ingredients that make a product more functional and beneficial versus someone’s desires. Also, at the end of the day if your product doesn’t benefit the consumer they are most likely not going to continue purchasing that persons products anyway.

    -Side Note-  I’ve been a fairly health conscious person since I was a teenager. That spread into more than just eating healthy, one way being paying attention to the products I used and ingredients listed. I think for me, it goes back to when I first started making my own products. And I emphasize the word making, not formulating. When I first started making my own products for my hair and body, many ingredients I used can be found in someone’s kitchen. Yes they were organic or processed as naturally as possible (like cold pressed oil) but most of the items were things you could buy at Whole Foods or an herbal store. I understood with me using many perishable items ingredients, that these products were a one time use and weren’t meant to last. What I could not deny was the benefits that I could feel and see from using these ingredients! Yes I could spend the rest of my life making my own products every time I do my hair. But I believe there has to be a way to transition the beneficial nutrients and key components of these ingredients that grew my hair into products that can help others. People ask me all the time what products I use and I say the ones I make.  So my desire to do so doesn’t come from the new trends or pressures from the industry. It comes from me cutting my hair extremely short and growing it all the way down my back using natural products I made at home. And my goal wasn’t to grow long hair it was just to use healthy products that were safe and nutritious! 

    So that’s where I’m coming from and why. I would love to do what Dr. Junga did. He’s a medical doctor who experienced a series of digestive issues and was surprised when modern medicine did not heal him. Holistic medicine on its own did not didn’t either but once he blended the two together he was able to heal himself. I would like to do the same by blending chemicals with naturally derived ingredients to create products that function better. But if the “natural” ingredients won’t provide any benefit, where to go from there? How was I able to make it work without proper formulation? I want to do it the right way. Under no circumstances would I put myself in jeopardy or risk the health of someone else by giving them a product that’s not properly formulated or preserved. I am all about using natural ingredients but in no way shape or form will I allow the pressures of the industry to put anyone in danger.

    Now I don’t believe putting 1% of a preservative in a product that people consider harmful when used in copious amounts as toxic. That’s more being afraid without knowing the data. But some health enthusiasts can go overboard and just trying to be prepared and eliminate as many battles as I can. Also I don’t think my goals are impossible. Shea Moisture has created a slew of products that are marketed towards the natural community. From analyzing their labels they don’t use what some would consider harsh preservatives. No they are not completely organic but they use a lot of naturally derived ingredients and I guess “foo foo dust” marketing ingredients that aren’t actually doing what people think they are 😆 haha. They have gotten backlash in the past because some feel like they don’t disclose all their ingredients, mainly their preservative-ha- but I haven’t reversed engineered one of their products so I don’t know for sure. At the end of the day I would happily settle for creating products at the standard that Shea Moisture does as a lot of health conscious women and men use their products.  -Side Note ended!-

    Using too many ingredients- Why do you think people do this? Is it merely because they don’t understand the particular ingredients in those that operate similarly? I know that some emulsifiers must be used with others to stabilize a product and preservatives aren’t broad-spectrum so need to be combined with others. 

    Using pH strips - I know it’s almost impossible to get a exact and precise reading from a strip, it’s too broad of a spectrum. Do you have any recommendations for an affordable one as well as a great quality one?

    Not understanding ingredient production - I completely understand what you’re saying. What do you recommend besides getting data sheets for every ingredient from supplier? 

    Thank you you again for responding Perry, hope all is well with you.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Thank you. I'm well so far. Hope you are staying safe and well too.

    Some comments in reverse order...

    1. Ingredient production: My recommendation (beyond getting data sheets) is to stick with 1 supplier until you get your formula worked out. Once you get a working formula, then you can try a different supplier of the same material and see if the formula still works and remains stable. Don't buy Cetyl alcohol from Lotioncrafter on one batch and then from Makingcosmetics for another batch. When creating prototype formulas stick with one supplier.

    2.  pH meter - You could try something like this pH meter to start out.

    3.  too many ingredients - I think people do this because our brains naturally operate via a "more is better" heuristic. It's the same reason people take multivitamins with hundreds of times more vitamin than they need. This is a mistake. More isn't always better, sometimes it's worse.

    Another reason is because people don't have an understanding of what the ingredients are or how they  work.  For example, there is another thread where someone was including 7 different oils in their formula. While they see 7 different names of ingredients, I see 7 oils that are made up of essentially the same hydrocarbons. Except for the name, a consumer will not be able to tell any difference between argan oil, almond oil, or sunflower oil. But they have different names so beginners think they are different. They don't work differently.

    4.  Side note - First, I'll say that your perspective is exactly the kind of perspective that someone needs who is going to create a beauty brand and sell a lot of products. You have an over-arching philosophy, an unsolved problem, a villain, and the unwavering belief that you have found a solution that will help other people. Many of the great brands are built in just this way.  If you want to create a successful brand, you should not lose this perspective. 

    But there is another perspective on your story. It's quite possible that none of the products you made yourself had any impact on your hair or skin. It is more likely (in my opinion) that your skin and hair are the way they are primarily because of your genetics, the physical environment that you're in, and time.

    Over time, to any system three things can happen.
    • They get better
    • They get worse or 
    • They stay the same.
    This is true whether you put a natural product on, use synthetics, or do nothing at all. The fact that you used products of your own creation could have had nothing to do with how your skin and hair turned out.  We just don't know. Dr Junga just doesn't know either. His system could be effective, it could be crap, or it could have no effect at all.

    The thing about cosmetic products is that anyone can make something that will provide at least a moisturizing benefit to consumers. And 90% or more consumers will be satisfied with that. This is why brand stories are needed to set yourself apart. Without the story of some special ingredient or a hero's journey to discover a solution (or a ton of advertising and cheap prices), people just won't buy your product. Cosmetic brands need stories. Whether they are true or not matters less.  

    If you are primarily concerned with telling the whole, truthful story about your products, it's unlikely you can create a successful cosmetic brand. Consumers don't want the truth. The truth is boring. Consumers want the experience. They want the pizzaz, the razzle dazzle. They want their cosmetic products to transport them to a different reality, to experience what might be. They want hope. Successful brands give consumers hope & they don't mind embellishing the truth to give it to them.

    If you've ever wondered why there aren't more cosmetic chemists who have their own brand, this is why. It's hard to maintain the perspective needed to be a successful marketer when the science of reality is staring you in the face.
  • edited May 2020
    1. Ingredient Production - Makes sense. It’s okay to get different ingredients from different suppliers if one supplier doesn’t have all that I need right? As long as I consistently get the same products from same suppliers?

    2. pH Meter - Good price, thank you for the recommendation.

    3. Too Many Ingredients - Yes, I too have been guilty of that same perspective but it isn’t always the case!

    I read the thread you were referring to and understand what you’re saying. Would it be better to add fewer oils in higher amounts to achieve the same desired % of oil in a formulation?

    4. Side note - Thank you for the compliments on my perspective. Essentially you’re saying I have a story to tell, am very passionate and have a burning desire to see my vision come to fruition which will help to sell my brand right?

    I understand your perspective regarding my situation. It is possible that my hair groom healthier and longer as a result of the products are creating and it’s also possible that they didn’t have a significant effect. Since I didn’t preform scientific tests and record my data, it’s very difficult to know if it did for sure. If definitely made my hair feel and look better to say the least!

    I presume that is what you’re referring to in regards to mentioning most cosmetic products being at least moisturizing but and that is enough for most people. I guess it’s a good thing I have a true passion, emotional connection to why I want to launch and sell a cosmetic brand. Hopefully that along with using a few special marketing ingredients that can help me to sell my brands.

    It seems you’re right about consumers.  Maya Angelou did say People won’t always remember what you said to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. I have to remember that perspective when it comes to formulating I’m selling products. I don’t mind giving people hope as long as I do just about everything thing I can to create nutrient rich and functional products without compromising them. 

    5. Lorraine Dallmeier, Biologist and Environmental Scientist - Lorraine now runs Formula Botanical, an online accredited school specializing in Organic Cosmetic Science. I do think at times it’s wise to be guided by those with much more experience an success. She’s offering a free masterclass for skincare which I’m almost done with and of course she does that to entice people to purchase her course. I’ve come across several different courses over the years and have considered taking one but don’t want to waste money on the wrong ones. Hers seems professional and with her having a background in biology and science I am taking it to consideration. Now I don’t just believe everything I hear or see which is why I’m doing research on her and showing if I can get ahold of someone who took it and was successful in launching their own brand. She makes very confident claims regarding being able to formulate organic products safely. She emphasizes on getting to know ingredients and how they work and that she’s able to create products that’s more functional than others by doing so. Have you heard of her? Is her last claim mostly dazzle dazzle? What is your opinion on natural or organic courses online?


    Thank you for taking the time to respond in such detail @Perry I really do appreciate it!
  • edited May 2020
    👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited May 2020
    1. Correct.

    3. Yes, fewer ingredients is generally better mostly because it reduces unknown variables and the chances of instability or an allergic reaction.

    5. I do not know Lorraine nor do I know of the quality of information shared in their organic cosmetic science course. Their website looks pretty enough & some of their blog posts seem fine. I also listen to their podcast and it is usually interesting. They do a decent job.  But from the view of someone who's worked in the cosmetic industry, it also comes off as quite naive. It's not surprising coming from someone who has no real cosmetic industry experience. You get a much different perspective when you work for a company that sells millions of bottles of product every year. 

    I personally think their slant on the information they provide is inappropriately hostile to mainstream cosmetic companies, a little "holier than thou", and not critical enough of unverified claims. They seem to begin with a philosophy (Natural is superior to synthetic) then cherry pick information to support that belief.  They also encourage some practices that I view as ones that break federal cosmetic regulations & are borderline illegal (e.g. their blog post encouraging people to use unapproved plant extracts as cosmetic colorants).  They are located in the UK so follow EU regulations which are not quite the same as regulations in the US.

    Whether you should take the course or not depends primarily on your goals. If you want to launch a product line, I don't think you need to learn how to make products. If you want it to be successful, you need to take a course on Marketing & Selling cosmetic products. Then hire someone to make your products. You could easily go through a course teaching you how to make cosmetics and at the end, not be any closer to reaching your dream of launching a product.  Just remember, learning how to make an omelette doesn't make you ready to start or run a restaurant.

    If you want to learn how to make a few formulas for using at home, it's probably fine enough.

    I can tell you that going through that course will not enable you to make cosmetic products that work better than other formulas. Natural products do not work better than the products produced by large companies. Big companies have teams of trained scientists optimizing ingredients to come up with formulas that appeal to the biggest group of consumers. A small company who learned formulating from an online course will not be able to make formulas that work better. Yes, her last claim as you have written it is razzle dazzle.  
  • GabyDGabyD Member
    Setting the bar too high. I am guilty of this. I wanted everything to be organic & palm oil-free. Then the retailer demanded a ‘natural’ preservative as well.

    Needless to say, it was a recipe for disaster.
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited May 2020
    Here is my advice, do not learn to formulate from Formula Botanica. I saw their formulas that are in free access and this is a disaster.
    1) They suggest making a water-based toner with added essential oils without an emulsifier. It was obvious from the pictures that oil floats on the top of the liquid and then they added a note that if you don't like it, wait for a week until it gets "infused" and they filter the water through a coffee filter.
    2) They suggest preparing sanitiser without alcohol, that is based on useless essential oils during the global pandemic and are totally aware that people are copying their formula and put themselves in danger.
    3) They also propose formulas with poor emulsification and preservative systems (because if you have any experience it becomes obvious). Even Marie from Humblebee and me is a better formulator.


  • This is what they suggested as a sanitiser:

    PhaseIngredient%
    AAloe vera Juice 1:151.40%
    AWitch hazel40.00%
    APanthenol0.50%
    AChelator – Dermofeel PA30.10%
    BGlycerine3.50%
    BKonjac gum1.00%
    BXanthan gum0.25%
    CCocamidopropyl betaine2.00%
    CPreservative Eco0.80%
    CSweet Orange essential oil0.20%
    CEucalyptus essential oil0.15%
    CTea tree essential oil0.10%
    https://formulabotanica.com/natural-hand-sanitiser/

    It's not even a home-crafter level. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 - that's really bad & irresponsible. I did not know they encourage such terrible formulating advice.  

  • Moreover, there was a lady in one of formula botanica's groups on Facebook who was thanking them for sharing this formula, because it's their quote "best seller". I even asked her whether she sells (because I couldn't believe my eyes) it and she confirmed it.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    The main fail as far as I am concerned is marketing. Do not design products simply because you can. First find out if there will be a market for them.
    Case study:
    I decided to design a liquid soap in a 250mL pump bottle. There was no problem in designing the soap, it came out fine, and no problem in sourcing the bottle and pump. HOWEVER:
    My product smelled better and had nicer sensorials than those I found in the stores. Unfortunately, their product sold for $2 in the store. . . and it was costing me $2 just to buy the bottle, pump, and label. Without the contents or labour cost or profit margin or ... 
    I had neglected to note that (1) Big manufacturers can source and make products MUCH more cheaply than I can. (2) Consumers don't really care if their hand soap has great sensorials. They do care very much about price.
    - - In other words - -
    However good you are at other things doesn't matter a damn, compared with MARKETING.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • edited May 2020
    Wow @ngarayeva001 I definitely didn't see that recipe or video or I wouldn't have even asked the question! It really is sad how people can get away with so much without actually backing up the claims they make. People are continually being deceived into thinking they are properly making products and seems like they are in for a sad reality check. More so than that, they are potentially endangering many lives by the lack of properly formulating which can lead to a load of issues. 
  • edited May 2020
    @Perry You're absolutely correct. I am a seeker of wisdom and appreciate being a person who knows how to do things myself and learns what I don't know. I have felt in the past compelled to learn how to actually formulate products if I'm going to sell them one day. Partially for feeling as though that would help me remain more "authentic", actually know some of the scientific background of ingredients as well as how they can work together and would be able to talk about it. Also maintain the respect I have for chemists and formulators, knowing the amount of work that goes into it. Also out of caution, knowing that I could potentially risk lives if I try to sell something that hasn't been properly formulated and undergone proper testing. It still surprises me how so many people creating water based products do! Anhydrous is a different story.

    Yes it's important to be cautious, but I realized I'm facing the same problem I did in the past. Thinking from the wrong perspective and "small mindset". I can't try to learn and do everything on my own. I shouldn't be focused on formulating my own products - I should leave that to the experts who've spent years studying and have experience in perfecting formulations. I need to focus on the business and marketing side, then find the right company to work with. I will still most likely learn how to formulate as a hobby, since I do enjoy it.

    I am glad that I didn't get hasty and took the time to refocus my priorities so I can work on the right tasks which will help me reach my goals. Very much appreciated, thank you @Perry @Belassi and you too @ngarayeva001 ! Hopefully people will continue to add to this thread as they think of information that may be helpful.   
  • Definitely some great, useful advice! Thank you @Perry for taking the time to share some of your knowledge. It is especially helpful for someone like myself who is just starting to formulate in hopes to eventually create a few unique products worthy enough to market.

    It is disappointing to read the info about Formula Botanica, although it isn't totally surprising. They seem more focused on selling you the course above anything else. Is there any school or course that is specific to cosmetic formulating that would be worth taking? 

    I was happy to read what @Perry said about "Starting out as a "natural" formulator" because this is something I decided on my own early on, which is to learn how to formulate with industry standard ingredients, and perfecting those formulations, before trying to formulate using "all natural" ingredients. Plus, the definition of "all natural" is relative anyway :)

    I do have one more question for you @Perry, and pardon my ignorance with these things..I'm new to it all and there is a LOT of misinformation online...but you said, "putting more than 0.1% vitamins in a hair formula is a mistake since they do nothing in hair products." This is the first time I've heard this! Does this include Panthenol? Thank you for more information on this!
    -Abie
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited December 2020
    @abierose - It's not surprising you haven't heard that vitamins don't do anything as they are very popular ingredient put in hair products. You have to first understand that hair is dead. Putting vitamins on hair fibers is about as useful as putting vitamins on your shoe laces. For water soluble vitamins (like vitamin C), the ingredient just gets rinsed down the drain. For oil soluble vitamins, well, those get emulsified by the detergent and washed down the drain too. 

    Yes, I would include Panthenol in that opinion. Certainly, some formulators would disagree with me but I've never seen compelling, scientifically controlled evidence that Panthenol included in a hair product (especially rinse-off products) has any effect that a consumer would notice. It's a gimmick ingredient made most famous by the hair brand Pantene. And the original supplier Rhom and Haas certainly did a lot to publicize the benefits of using it. But there aren't any, in my view. I'm always open to new data or research but I haven't found any compelling evidence to suggest panthenol makes any bit of difference in a hair product, except giving the marketers a story to talk about and increasing the cost of the formula of course.

    And as far as courses to take, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the course we put together - Practical Cosmetic Formulating, but if you wanted to get a sense of my teaching style before purchasing the course, you can see the free course I collaborated on. Learn Cosmetic Formulation.  Just realize that I have a particular perspective and cater to people who are interested in making products that could actually be sold and produced in the cosmetic industry.  
  • Wow, that is so fascinating! What a perfect example of how powerful marketing can be! I guess now my question is, what products can I make using all of the panthenol that I have? 😬 Is there anything that utilizes this ingredient that makes it actually effective? 

    And your course sounds like it would be in alignment with what I am hoping to achieve with my formulating pursuits! I will also check out the free course via the link you supplied. Thank you so much!
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @abierose - The nice thing about panthenol is that you can pretty much add it to any water-based formula. Also, P&G has done such a great job of publicizing the ingredient so most consumers have heard of it and have a positive impression of it. That makes it most effective at telling a story and giving consumers one more reason to buy a product.

  • Perry said:
    @abierose - The nice thing about panthenol is that you can pretty much add it to any water-based formula. Also, P&G has done such a great job of publicizing the ingredient so most consumers have heard of it and have a positive impression of it. That makes it most effective at telling a story and giving consumers one more reason to buy a product.


    Is the KERATIN same story?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @amitvedakar - What are you hoping keratin will do in a formula?

  • I assume the idea of keratin came from keratin hair treatment but it’s not keratin that is responsible for the effect. It’s either formaldehyde or alkali, but you can’t sell a treatment ‘that exposes hair to extreme ph and it allows it to be straightened’, ‘keratin treatment’ sounds better.
  • Perry said:
    @amitvedakar - What are you hoping keratin will do in a formula?

    That makes hair smooth & shine (as it is marketed). or Is it formulating tecnic
    that make shampoo better?
  • Perry said:
    @amitvedakar - What are you hoping keratin will do in a formula?

    That makes hair smooth & shine (as it is marketed). or Is it formulating tecnic
    that make shampoo better?
    let's get back to basic - the visible part of the hair is dead.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Keratin in a shampoo will have no noticeable benefit as far as I've seen in practice. It is water soluble and shampoo pretty much washes it all away. If you want smooth and shine from a shampoo, you'll need a silicone, a cationic polymer or both.  Keratin won't make a shampoo better.
  • Thank you.  @Perry @Pattsi
    If I Add Dimehicon 0.33%+D5 0.33%+amodimethicone 0.33% instead of 1% dimethicone in shampoo,  will it give extra shine?
  • abieroseabierose Member
    edited January 6
    So, would you say ingredients such as VegeKeratin, Kera Repair, etc. will only provide noticeable benefits in products that are not washed off (conditioner, hair tonics, etc.)? Or do those ingredients only have label appeal and have no actual noticeable benefit at all? 

    It seems I should have became a member on this forum long before jumping into my cosmetic formulating journey :blush:

    I am learning so much and I really appreciate all the information available on this forum and from actual chemists and the like. It is a valuable resource considering how much inaccurate information there is on the internet!
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @abierose - Yes, I would say that. I haven't done any work with those specific ingredients however, they are water soluble so very little will be left behind on the hair. You may get some electrostatic attraction between the amino acids and damaged sites on hair protein, but it won't out-compete the other cationic materials in the conditioner.

  • @LovingItNatural do you have a Instagram so we can talk I'm also in the hair care industry
  • @Perry

    Oh wow, that is fascinating...ok, so it sounds like those ingredients might only be effective in a leave-in conditioner or something that is not washed off at all. In that situation, would other cationic conditioner ingredients still out-compete? And if so, is there any specific ingredients that you think are actually beneficial to the hair/scalp/follicles? In addition to trying to start a skincare line of some kind (still a long way away from that), in my "free" time, I have been working on a conditioner for personal use. Perhaps you wouldn't mind taking a look at the latest formula I have..? I would really appreciate it!! 
  • MsBGMsBG Member
    This has been a very useful and eye opening discussion. 

    @Perry and other knowledgable formulators/cosmetic scientists, what are your thoughts on Pre-Wash/Pre-shampoo products. I have type 4 hair and I’ve used these for a while now and I am now questioning whether they are effective if they will only get washed off by a shampoo? Is it possible that if I put on a pre-wash leave on a day before I shampoo then shampoo the day after I would have just washed off the leave on? 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @abierose - If a product isn't being washed out, then it can have its full effect on the hair. The "competition" between molecules doesn't matter as much. No, I don't really think ingredients benefit the follicle. Ingredients are more important for affecting the hair fibers.

    @MsBG - Pre-wash products can work. I know the VO5 Hot Oil product I worked on actually affected hair even though it was applied before shampooing. This was because the cationic ingredient in the VO5 would react with the anionic surfactants in shampoo and provide additional conditioning. But mostly, I don't think pre-wash products will have much impact that isn't washed away.
  • MsBGMsBG Member
    Perry said:
    @abierose - If a product isn't being washed out, then it can have its full effect on the hair. The "competition" between molecules doesn't matter as much. No, I don't really think ingredients benefit the follicle. Ingredients are more important for affecting the hair fibers.

    @MsBG - Pre-wash products can work. I know the VO5 Hot Oil product I worked on actually affected hair even though it was applied before shampooing. This was because the cationic ingredient in the VO5 would react with the anionic surfactants in shampoo and provide additional conditioning. But mostly, I don't think pre-wash products will have much impact that isn't washed away.
    Thank you Perry. Which of ingredients in the VO5 hot oil treatment would you say are the most effective, if you still remember that is
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The Cocotrimonium Chloride and the PEI were the most effective.
  • Hi I too found some natural skin and hair formulating courses were basically kitchen ingredient level based and not worth parting with the cash. However The Institute of Personal Care  claim that their course is  a Cosmetic Scientist Diploma level course, AQF recognised but in other countries this level is not equaled. Even though they cover a lot and are very thorough is it really  worth investing thousands of dollars to make your own brand from it ? 
  • I've seen the Institute of Personal Care's video on youtube, it's indeed very thorough but seems quite basic to me.
    Isn't Perry have a natural cosmetics class here?
    is it really  worth investing thousands of dollars to make your own brand from it ? 
    Starting a brand, it is not 100% necessary to know how the products are manufactured, you can work with a reputable cosmetics chemist and come up with a reasonable natural product. Or if it will be home made product,  a reputable cosmetics chemist can also help you with that.
    It is for you to decide if it is worth the money or not.
    I paid for a personal class (basic level), at least I know what can be done and what can't be done, so I won't waste money and time asking the formulator to do the impossible tasks.


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Walkerette - It all depends on your goals. The courses from the Institute of Personal Care are some of the better ones available as they are less naive about the cosmetic industry. But the diplomas given don't really mean anything to companies in the cosmetic industry. While the information is good, the promise of making you a diploma carrying cosmetic chemist is an exaggeration.

    That's why our classes don't promise diplomas or certifications or anything. I realize that granting such things is over promising what the course can actually do. Our courses prepare people for working in the cosmetic industry and teach you how to make cosmetic products as is done in industry. To get a job though, you'll still need a college degree in something like Chemistry or Chemical Engineering.

    But as @Pattsi said, if your goal is to make your own cosmetic brand, learning to make cosmetics is not a good use of money or time. You need to learn sales and marketing!  Drunk Elephant, Sunday Riley, and Tata Harper weren't successful because they learned to make their own formulas. They were successful because they learned how to tell a marketing story. They properly leveraged social media and advertising. 

    You might benefit from reading through the free report I wrote on the subject.
  • Hi @LovingItNatural, I studied at formula botanica and I like their courses. I have had courses with many known schools and I can say that their courses are certainly good, much better than others, without mentioning names!
    I can tell you that certainly some graduates of FB have launched successful skin care business.

    I always avoid losing my energy in the angry discussion about natural versus synthetic. At the end it is a personal choice! If you feel you want to go all natural, go for it! Certainly lots of natural raw material have real benefits despite what others may claim!, if you want to go for a mixture it is also all your decision. 

    It is amazing your experience with your hair. If you get similar results with people who have weak hair or hair growth problems, then this is a good indication that your product actually works! At the end, nobody can get 100% indisputable evidence that a certain skin or hair care product will certainly produce certain result! ask me! I had spent a fortune on skin care expensive products from large companies which did nothing to my skin or even made it worse!. Best of luck. 
  • @Haloul, this isn’t a place to preach about formula botanica. This a forum for professional chemists and those who are willing to follow scientific method. These people you mentioned can’t formulate and spread chemophobia and utter nonsense. They literally suggested to ‘infuse’ essential oils to water and filter it in several days.

    So, I would like to add another common beginner’s mistake: not checking sources. 
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 You are spot on!
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • Thank you @Microformulation. This forum is very dear to my heart. I learnt so much  here from your comments and comments of many others and I don’t want it to be turned to ‘mommy lotion making blog’. There are plenty of those on already.
  • @ngarayeva001 Im not preaching for anyone and I'm not associated with FB in any way! The professional approach you mentioned should not allow as well to attack a reputable school, you like it or not!
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited January 24
    Haloul said:
    @ngarayeva001 Im not preaching for anyone and I'm not associated with FB in any way! The professional approach you mentioned should not allow as well to attack a reputable school, you like it or not!
    The only reputation they have...is among mommy bloggers.

    Be careful what you say...this is a science based site... Not repeated hearsay.


  • HaloulHaloul Member
    edited January 25
    Haloul said:
    @ngarayeva001 Im not preaching for anyone and I'm not associated with FB in any way! The professional approach you mentioned should not allow as well to attack a reputable school, you like it or not!
    The only reputation they have...is among mommy bloggers.

    Be careful what you say...this is a science based site... Not repeated hearsay.


    Repeated hearsay !!!! It is better if you stop patronizing others who have different opinions and approach that yours!
  • Guys/Girls please calm down.

    Please don't out cast anyone just yet.

    Haloul said:
    I always avoid losing my energy in the angry discussion about natural versus synthetic. At the end it is a personal choice! If you feel you want to go all natural, go for it! Certainly lots of natural raw material have real benefits despite what others may claim!, if you want to go for a mixture it is also all your decision. 
    I agree it is your personal choice and decision. But don't forget when you put a product out, it is under FDA regulation so make sure your product is safe and not adulterated or misbranded.

    One thing that is a problem to me, "all natural" people always claim natural is safer and better than synthetic but they didn't submit  methodological evidence, so how did they come to that conclusion?
    On the other hand, synthetic have been proven what's safe and what's not.

     spread chemophobia and utter nonsense. 
    So, I would like to add another common beginner’s mistake: not checking sources. 
    I totally agree, so natural people please don't spread chemophobia and utter nonsense.

    Haloul said:
    @ngarayeva001 Im not preaching for anyone and I'm not associated with FB in any way! The professional approach you mentioned should not allow as well to attack a reputable school, you like it or not!
    From what I saw on the website, I (non-professional) have better equipment than theirs in my non-lab office.

  • @Pattsi, although I am no fan of the idea of "natural" formulations, there are standards such as Wholefoods and Ecocert. One can make an Ecocert compliant product and yet make it safe and stable. Formula Botanica is not formulating in accordance with good practices. They are good at marketing and made people believe that they are a legitimate source, which they are not. I have nothing to do with them as I have been I preferring synthetics from the day I started formulating. The only reason I get into this conversation is that I that there are many inexperienced people reading this forum and it is important to flag it for their benefit. 
  • @ngarayeva001 I'm teamSynthetics, I'm not against natural tho if it's a reasonable natural.

    Putting an ecocert product out require quite a huge budget which I believe most startup entrepreneurs don't have so they turned to online sources, that's maybe one of the reasons why mommy lotion making blog became popular.

    One blogger that I think I'm ok with is Humblebee&me, since she'd been developing over the past years, not chemophobic and use some synthetic ingredients in her formulas.
  • raveenaraveena Member
    edited January 29
    Perry said:
    Keratin in a shampoo will have no noticeable benefit as far as I've seen in practice. It is water soluble and shampoo pretty much washes it all away. If you want smooth and shine from a shampoo, you'll need a silicone, a cationic polymer or both.  Keratin won't make a shampoo better.
    @perry First of all I am really thankful to this forum as it has cleared lots of misconceptions about various raw materials. I have learnt more from this forum and slowly adding to my knowledge. I have a question though about silicones why does silicones get such a bad wrap. There are also some natural silicone alternatives in the market. Would they add the shine and smoothness to the hair just like synthetics.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @raveena - Good question. I can only guess why silicones got a bad rap but I think some of the following factors are part of it...

    1. Silicones work by depositing on the hair surface. Theoretically, this means they can build up. In practice however, this doesn't happen to a significant extent.

    2. Big companies use silicones in mass market products to get good results (E.g. Pantene, Tresemme, Fructis, etc.)

    3. Stylists want people to buy products from them rather than things you can get for less money in the stores.

    4.  Silicones aren't seen as "natural"

    Add all those factoids together and you get the hate for silicones. 

    Yes, there are silicone alternatives on the market. The reality is that in practice they don't work nearly as well as silicones. They just don't.  See the analogy I used in this discussion thread. https://chemistscorner.com/cosmeticsciencetalk/discussion/comment/54157#Comment_54157

  • @perry Thank you perry for your reply. I am starting to see the clear picture now. Consumer perception and marketing are behind all the hype but it is actually not real. Reading all the comments from the experienced people maybe it's fair to say that we should we starting with marketing and hype before we even start the formulation. I was one of those consumers so this forum is a real eye-opener. 
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited January 29
    For large batches you should print the formula, write the amount of each ingredient, weight and prepare each ingredient separately, recheck, better by another person and then start the production without further thinking or weighting. This way you will be %100 sure you make what you want to make. 

    If you prepare one ingredient and add it and then prepare another ingredient, there is a chance you make a mistake. And in lage batches mistakes couse a lot of pain. 
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