Please review my formula

Unknown Member
edited August 12 in Formulating
Hi everyone,
I'm nerdy girl :) . I have been reading this forum for almost 2 years now and decided it was time to join. 
I have formulated a serum and I would like some feedback from you all. I made a small batch and it came out beautifully, but I don't want to fall in love with it before running it by you.
I listed everything by INCI names, per the forum guidelines, so hopefully I did it correctly. Please let me know if you see any errors or cause for concern.  Thanks in advance!
-Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate                            40%
-Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Distillate                                 40%
-Glycerin, Water, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract            4%
-Niacinamide                                                                                 4%
-Aloe Barbadensis, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol & Salicylic Acid & Glycerin & Sorbic Acid                                                                                              4%
-N-Acetyl Glucosamine                                                                 2%
-Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract, 50% ECGC                         2%
-Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate                                                                   1%
-Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil                                                       .5%
-Benzyl Alcohol & Salicylic Acid & Glycerin & Sorbic Acid                1%
-Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Oil                                             .5%
-Amorphophallus Konjac Root Extract                                            .2%
-Sodium Hyaluronate                                                                     .2%

Oh, I have a general question about frankincense essential oil. I haven't found a dermal limit for it. Can it be used at 1% in a formulation, with additional ess. oils, adding up to 2% ess. oils total?

Comments

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    You should adjust pH and your emulsifier might not hold 2% EOs, consider adding a sufficient amount of a solubiliser (polyglyceryl-10 laurate as an example).
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I would start with asking, what do you want the serum to do?
    You have a lot of ingredients in there and possibly have created something that isn't stable.  It's best to use a minimum number of ingredients at first. Then add ingredients when you want some additional function.

    For example, you have Aloe and Glycerin and Sodium Hyaluronate which are all going to be humectant moisturizers.  Why use all of them instead of just one?

    Why use Niacinamide and Acetyl Glucosamine and Green Tea extract when they all are used for the same functions?  Ask yourself, would you be able to tell any difference if you only used Niacinamide and didn't use the other two?  If you can't tell a difference, then there is no reason to use both ingredients. 

    Now, if you have some specific purpose for adding any ingredient, then it's worth testing whether that ingredient actually provides that benefit. If it doesn't (in a way you can measure or sense) then it is not worth including the ingredient in your formula.  

    When it comes to formulating, less is more. (or less ingredients is better).

    A formula should be as simple as possible but no simpler than that.
  • I agree there are too many unnecessary things there, but the 4% Niacinamide+2% NAG is somewhat substantiated
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17348991/

    I believe the party who conducted the research wasn't independent, but at least it's double-blinded and placebo-controlled. Although I must say I noticed no effect after several months of use.

  • @ngarayeva001 I concur. I've been using some combination of Niacinamide and 2% NAG for at least 2 years daily. Starting with 5% Niacinamide and working up to 10% Niacinamide, always with 2% NAG. I have not noticed any additional benefit from using Niacinamide alone 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 - now that's an excellent way to answer that question. 

    The fact that it was done by a P&G researcher and the company has put a large push against Niacinamide as the hero ingredient, I (like you) remain a bit skeptical.  Interestingly, much of the research that looks at this exact question has been funded by P&G.

    Things that make you go hmmmmm.
  • It’s very sad that there’s not enough good researches. I feel like finding an independent study that was properly conducted and peer reviewed is a huge luck. But then when you finally  find it you realize that the researchers tested it on 12 subjects 😂
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 - I guess there isn't really a lot of prestige in researching some of the basic questions of cosmetic science. The only ones motivated to push this research are companies that want to sell raw materials or cosmetic products.  Or there are the researchers who want to "prove" that exposure to cosmetics are causing cancer.

    Unfortunately, unless you're selling a product, there is no money in basic cosmetic science research.

  • Thank you everyone for your feedback! I wanted to reply sooner, but I was having trouble logging in. This formula is just a first pass, so I will go over it again and revise the ingredient list to be simpler. I will also put the next iteration out in the Texas heat for a couple of months to check stability (if it holds up to that, then I will pay for formal stability testing).

    @Pharma Thank you. I made this serum to be used after using my homemade soaps. The different varieties of my soaps have a pH range of 8.1-8.9. the pH of the serum came in at 4.4, do you think raising it to 5 will suffice or should I go to 5.5 to match the skin's pH?

    @Perry I appreciate your wisdom and thank you for not making me feel foolish. I have a question about my aloe line item. It is in the form of a glycerite (with preservative included). Should I use pure aloe instead?

    @ngarayeva001 Great catch on the study! I used the combo because I saw a study done and liked the results, but didn't realize it was being funded by the folks who stand to gain the most. It makes sense that it would be this way, sadly. I will pay more attention to the source/funding from now on.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @nerdygirl - regarding Aloe, I don't think it matters in terms of noticeable performance. I'd stick with the form in the glycerite because the extra preservative better ensures safety. 

  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    If it's pH 4.4 by nature and your skin perceives it well, stick with that! Better a bit too acidic than too alkaline (for the sake of your skin and microbial stability).
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