Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Can you please help formulating a hair & scalp serum?

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  • Can you please help formulating a hair & scalp serum?

    Posted by Heath0o7 on February 25, 2024 at 10:37 pm

    I haven’t made a Hair & scalp serum before, and I need some help, please. What I’m trying to accomplish from this serum are two things, 1) hair growth 2) conditioning scalp and thick hair for winter as my scalp gets dry.

    This is what I’ve come up with, I’ve never done one before, so please be gentle with me:

    Phase A


    2% Glycerin

    0.25% Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride

    2% Papaya Extract

    Phase B:

    2% Squalane

    Cool down phase:


    0.5% Fragrance

    0.2% GLDA

    I’m not sure which emulsifier should I be using here. The ones I have on hand are Olivem-1000, Montanov 202 and BTMS. Also, should I include a Silicone like Amodimethicone or Cyclomethicone & Dimethiconol? Feel free to suggest ingredients or amounts that would be very helpful.

    One other thing, do you know if extracts like Papaya, green coffee bean, Cranberry, etc. Actually work in leave-in products or do they act like a humectant and there’s no need to be added if Glycerin is on the list?

    Heath0o7 replied 1 month, 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Microformulation

    February 26, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    You can’t claim hair growth unless you have an approved OTC Product.

  • Onur

    February 27, 2024 at 2:07 am

    Scalp serums aren’t intended to offer the smooth gliding sensation that silicones give. Additionally, silicones are not water-soluble and should not be applied to the scalp since there is no need for substances that stick to the hair in this context. This includes silicones and cationic guar gum.

    Extracts are moslty marketing ploys unless their active ingredients and their efficacy for a specific condition are understood.

    For scalp moisturization, NMF (natural moisturizing factors) like Sodium PCA and Urea could be useful, despite their high electrolyte content, which would require the use of a compatible emulsifier. Panthenol and arginine might also become handy in scalp-treatment systems.

    To promote hair growth, you might want to add some caffeine, mild exfoliants like gluconolactone, terpenic compounds like α-pinene, eucalyptol, and camphor, which are present in rosemary essential oil, or tea-tree oil. These compounds not only impart a fresh sensation but also give antimicrobial properties.

    Lastly, you could use penetration enhancers like butylene glycol (water-soluble), ethanol (water-soluble), IPM (an ester, oil-soluble) to help with the delivery of active ingredients to deeper layers of the skin.

    • Heath0o7

      February 27, 2024 at 7:16 am

      Unfortunately, I don’t have Urea or Sodium PCA on hand, but isn’t Sodium PCA a humectant like panthenol. Would I be able to use Panthenol only? Also you mentioned they need a compatible emulsifier, which one would you recommend?

      As to Caffeine, the only thing I have on hand is green coffee bean cellular extract, but my supplier does have Caffeine powder. Would the extract work or I’m I better off getting the powder?

      As for Butylene Glycol, can I substitute it with Propylene Glycol or would it be a skin irritant? Because I have that on hand. Thanks so much for the suggestions! That’s helpful to know!

  • ketchito

    February 27, 2024 at 5:42 am

    No cosmetic product can make your hair to grow. There are only two chemicals approves by FDA for this purpose (Minoxidil and Finasteride), and they both fall in the cathegory of drugs. Cosmetic active that supposedly have “clinical trials” backing them up for hair growth, fail when systematic reviews are conducted, wether because of lack of good studies or for risk of bias of the ones available.

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