Help with Formulation: Beauty Cream

Hi Guys , 

I hope everyone is doing well. 

I am a biotechnologist in South Africa, and recently joined a cosmetic company and I am tasked with R&D of a product. 

I urgently need some assistance with a particular formulation. I am trying to formulate and create a beauty cream that is ‘natural and oil free’.  

The aim of this cream is to  (1) hydrate and balance out skin, (2) significantly even out skin tone and dark marks, and lastly (3) effectively address all causes of skin concerns from aging. It should be effective even for acne prone skin. Our goal is to create a cheaper yet effective version of the USA branded product called Soho Parfait and Fair and Flawless. There is a large market in South Africa for a cost effective product. 

The formulation: 

Phase A / Oil Phase:

 Stearic acid 2%

Cetearyl alcohol 2%

Natural bees wax 1%

Shea butter 2% 

Caprylic capric triglyceride 8%

Olivem 1000 4%

Glyceryl stearate 2%

Kojic acid dipalmitate 6%

Sepiwhite MSH 2%


Phase B / Water Phase: 

Allantoin 0.2 %

Glycerin 2%

Propylene glycol 2%

1,3 Propandoil 2% 

Xanthan gum 0.3%

Distilled Water q.s 100% 


Phase C: 

Alpha Arbutin 4% 

Water 10%

Tocopherol 1% 

Euxyl PE 9010 1%

Sepicalm WP 3% 


All of Phase A is heated at 80 deg/cel. 

All of Phase B is heated at 80 deg/cel.

Phase A is dropped into Phase B with emulsification. 

 The Alpha Arbutin and water in Phase C is mixed together. Once the emulsion is below 40 deg/cel, the Alpha Arbutin solution is added, followed by the remaining ingredients in Phase C. It is given a quick mix to homogenize the emulsion. 


The problem that I am facing is that the cream is coming out considerably dense. It absorbs into the skin, and has a waxy residue. As you rub it into the skin, it starts to wax off and get flaky. Perhaps foam? Possibly too much oil phase and not enough water? 

Also it isn’t a smooth consistency like what a cream supposed to be. It’s homogeneous but looks ’rough’ 

Should I also consider lowering the Xantham gum to 0.1 or 0.2%? And also halve the concentration of stearic acid and cetearyl alcohol? Possibly Shea butter? 

Am I also not sure about the pH. I am trying to keep it below 6.6 so aiming for a pH around 6 to 6.3 for the stability of the active ingredients and for it to work synergistically.

How can I effectively adjust the pH? Ideally I want to use NaOH and Citric acid. Would this not cause instability and influence the active ingredients over time? 

I am also not adding EDTA. Is this something I should consider? 

The information I got from Seppic regarding the Sepiwhite was to solubilize in hot water that is neutralized with a weak base. They recommend TEA. I tried this method with NaOH and I failed terribly. So I opted in adding it to my oil phase. Suggestions on this would be welcomed too. 

Please can anyone provide assistance and advice with the my formula, and advice to the problems I am experiencing? 

I would genuinely appreciate all the help I can get. 

Alternatively if there is anyone with an existing formulation with the same active ingredients, please share. Truth be told, I don’t have much experience in actual formulating but rather clinical trials and biomedical research. This is a whole new challenge. 


Thank you. 

Prash R 

MMed Sci; MPH; PhD 

Comments

  • Hi @Prashy123. The benchmarks you mentioned have different formulas to the one you posted. I'd recommend you to check some books with already stabilized formulas, like "Poucher's Perfumes, Cosmetics and Soaps", and "Cosmetic and Toiletry Formulations" (you can find them in servers like genesis library).    

    Regarding your questions, I'd first add a base (TEA or NaOH) to the water phase, so you can neutralize your Stearic acid and turn it into an emulsifier. 

    Your Kojic acid dipalmitate has an extremely high melting point (94-97C). When you make an emulsion, you need to be few grades above the highest melting point, and unless you have an in-line high shear emulsifier, it'd be very difficult to make the emulsion without having this ingredient crystallizing before being emulsified, not to mention that you have too many solid ingredients in your oil phase which make emulsion droplets too rigid and not so flexible (you could reduce some, or replace by liquid ones), which would also account for the issue you're experiencing. Natural beeswax is also a bit hard to emulsify, just so you know.

    Also, without a silicone or mineral oil, your formula won't have good slip, especially if you have butters (Caprylic capric triglyceride will absorb too fast).  

    You could actually reduce your Xanthan gum, but not so much, since your water phase should also have viscosity, let's say up to 0.2%. 

    Check also your preservative system, since I'm not sure it'll be enough for your product. 

    And also, you need to check what actually "natural and oil free" means, if you're gonna market this product, since many of the ingredients are not precisely natural, and for sure it's not an oil-free formulation (at least technically speaking)...maybe it'd be better to say without leaving and oily residue, or something like that. 

    Good luck!


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I refuse to get involved in skin whitening creams, especially in Africa.
    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.
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