Skin care products with botanical extracts

ChippyChippy Member
edited July 2020 in Formulating
Hello everyone. A newbie question in formulation here. I want to formulate a product for acne treatment using Centella Asiatica extract, but I am not sure how concentrated an extract should be in order to be used and have desirable effects. I am thinking about buying this from Making Cosmetics, which they state that the concentrate is dissolved in glycerin and water at a concentration of 20 % concentrate and 80% diluents, preserved with phenoxyethanol.

Of course, I understand that if I want a formula to have more Centella Asiatica components what I have to do is just add more concentrate, but I wanted to know if I can get some advice from more experienced formulators working with botanical extracts.

For a certain formula, what would you consider a botanical extract to be of an acceptable and versatile concentration ratio with its diluents? Do you feel that 20% concentrate is low and not convenient to work with because the final formulation might be very diluted, or if you add more diluted botanical extract (like the one of this concentration) might end up with a non-desired rheology (because of the high presence of other diluents in the botanical extract) in your formula? I am not still sure what kind of formula to work with yet, but I started to think about this and became very curious. What would be a very versatile botanical extract concentration?
Thank you very much =)


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited July 2020
    Whether you use a high amount of a botanical extract or a low amount of a botanical extract really makes no difference.  You will not see any difference in performance.

    So, a versatile botanical extract concentration would be 0.01% (in the final formula).

    With almost no exceptions, botanical extracts have no impact on product performance. They are added by companies to support their marketing story. They don't actually do anything.
  • EVchemEVchem Member

    I think that 20% is on par/ slightly above what you'll see in industry standard with extract concentration. Not to burst your bubble but these kind of extracts are basically useless. Plants have hundreds of compounds; you won't get a consistent raw material even with the same supplier unless they are standardizing. Plus the compounds that are present are in at small amount and then the extract  will be used at only a percent or two.

    Take a look on this forum for other posts about extracts as plenty of people on here have better explained the issues.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Buy pharma grade extracts ;) . You may however run into troubles because your product will no longer be a (by definition) inactive cosmetics product but a 'drug'.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist

    To get an effect, you would have to use the concentrated active triterpenes from Gotu Kola ... asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside ... but, you would need to acquire those from a manufacturer in bulk.  You will not find those from a re-packer.
    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
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