Looking for a cosmetic chemist freelancer to formulate foundation for my startup biz

I formulate all my other cosmetics, but would like to get some quotes from cosmetic chemist freelancers on creating my formula for me this time.  This way I can avoid wasted product and be sure the end product is effective.  It needs to be natural or vegan.  No mineral oil.  Very "green".  If you think it is better to sell me a recipe for the foundation base?  That is also great and I will just add color in my shop.  I would like a bit of advice about the best ways to add color if we settle on only a foundation fluid base, so it stays non-oxidizing, long wear, etc


  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    If you have experience in formulating "other cosmetics" it should not be a problem for you to source information from your suppliers literature, the Internet or even textbooks.

    Almost all cosmetics ingredients suppliers provide example formulations in their effort to increase the sales of their products. Whilst these examples my not be perfect, they do provide a good starting point for tweaking to your own specifics.
  • When I said "other cosmetics" I simply meant pressed powders.  Eyeshadows, Highlight, Bronzer, and blush.  I also found a decent enough recipe for my lipstick, and figured out the liquid lipstick that everyone is raving about.  I also make very nice lotions with biomulsion as the emulsifier (THAT to me should show you how I'm still a bit of a novice.  My big upgrade in my lotions was an emulsifier I learned about when I got a nice lip balm in a subscription box and hunted the ingredient down)

    The reason I asked for professional help with foundation is because to me this is an entirely new level of expertise.  I get wonderful feedback on all my novice works.  But I have to think most of the reasoning behind that is that I only use quality oils and ingredients.  BioMulsion is one of those quality ingredients, organic babassu oil is the main oil I work with along with Kukui, Baobab, Passion Fruit Seed, Hemp Seed, Cranberry and Pomegranate Seed Oil.  It's hard to mess up a formulation when I'm using these ingredients after ditching their waxier cousins cocoa butter and shea butter.  Sure, research helped me find oils with better penetrating ability, and I only use Essential Oils to fragrance them.

    FOUNDATION just needs to be professional.  I don't want some copy and pasted "natural foundation" from a stay at home mommy blog.  They are ALWAYS just she butter, zinc oxide, and cocoa powder.  I wanted something polished.  I am doing my best to absorb research, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.  I don't want a formula that smells like a brownie, clogs your pores, and melts off your face in the spring, essentially just THICK tinted moisturizer.  No.  I want something functional, effective, and that I will be proud to smear on customer's faces.  

    As to the formulas offered by my suppliers - mineral makeup is always bismuth oxychloride based and liquids rely on cyclopentasiloxane.  These are both poorly rated chemicals by the EWG.org which is where I want to be able to send my finished ranges to when I'm happy enough with them.

    I also tried making a mascara?  Not great outcome.  Just looked like I harassed a giant squid in the kitchen, I kept shocking the sunflower wax.  I just need help, and I'm willing to pay for it.  It shouldn't need to be more complicated than that.  I've made pretty good headway so far, I wear everything I make, and people always ask about foundation, so I want to deliver something I'd be proud of - and my attempts so far, I would never wear, and therefore never dream of selling
  • ALSO, I see the foundation as the big trust builder, laying the groundwork for when I bring out skincare. Skincare is what I'm actually the most passionate about, but my confidence plummets when I think about ratios of ingredients.  I know all the humectants and AHA vs BHA and I've got Calendula, Arnica, Comfrey, Borage, Cornflower and Ashwaganda infusing in 100* oil now so that I can start a night lotion with something really lovely with handcrafted actives.  But when it comes to the Vitamin C Serum I have in my head?  Vitamin C is notoriously unstable, and I've even read cases of companies dying their Vit C serums to hide oxidation... I have the peripheral knowledge, but I will be back here asking for professional guidance when that serum has his day.  Because I want it to be perfect.  I don't want any reservations about a product I am asking to put literally over their entire face, where all the pores and follicles and potential for anything is.  I need them to trust me with their faces.  
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 2017
    Your vision of cosmetics is totally different to mine. I had never heard of "biomulsion" until I sought the services of Google and found (according to them) it is a vitamin D supplement for children.

    It is a long time since I've heard of bismuth oxychloride being used in cosmetics - and then it was for forming a pearl finish. It makes me wonder about the bona fides of your materials suppliers.

    The owner of this group, Perry, has courses on cosmetics and cosmetic formulation (see the boards on the right of the page). You could possibly investigate these and learn about what you are attempting to do rather than blindly mixing things together yourself and then relying on others when you get into difficulties.

    I'm sorry if this seems harsh but I've seen so many times people embarking on making cosmetics with the notion that it is some luxury business where they can indulge their passion and then sit back and enjoy a super rich lifestyle. It's not like that, I'm afraid. Cosmetics is a part of the chemicals industry, no matter what you might have been told or been led to think, and is subject to rules and regulations - more than other chemical manufacturers in most cases.

  • I am retired, and disabled, and an army pension serves me just fine.  My kid eats, my husband watches the game, and now I get to pursue what I love.  The marketing and actual market itself is therapeutic for PTSD.  I dont want to sit back and rake in dollars, I want people to use products and feel the way I feel when my skin finally cleared up after my pregnancy with appropriate uses of oil cleansing and acids. Bio-Mulsion has a hyphen in it and I've only seen it on Brambleberry in 1 and 5lbs.  KVoss lip balm is what made me seek it out.  I read about how it was olive oil derived and made for more uniform crystalline structure in solids and silky easily spreadable consistency in lotions and balms.  I am saving pennies to eventually take Perry's full course. 
    In a different website where you could post jobs with set prices and expectations, etc.  A chemist copy and pasted WellnessMama's recipe to me, not realizing beeswax is not vegan. Requesting hourly rate of 200.  
    I have made these concoctions.  That's how I know they wear like a wet fart, covered in cocoa dust.  I've researched further into what oil mimic human sebum.  I'm the only person in my small business, and if I break even?  THAT is a good day.  I want to have products that people love, and I want to be able to explain exactly why they work the way they do to everyone of them who asks, or doesn't ask.  I take raw babassu and raw shea butter to the Farmer's Market in mason jars to show them what I took out of body butter, and what I replaced it with.  We have a handwashing station to test everything until they are satisfied with my products and can pick one out they love.  I just wanted a foundation that behaves like they see in the youtube guru videos, and with all my research, I haven't been able to give them that, and I tell them every Saturday that I didn't love the experiments, so it's just lipstick, eyeshadow and lotion this week. I will continue reading, to the best of my ability to understand.  I printed out Terry's free book on how to rip off another product.  It's just maybe too advanced for me as I have a family sized double boiler and a my very first stick blender.  
    Also, bismuth oxychloride is still the #1 ingredient in BareMinerals, the most lucrative mineral foundation in the world.  I know it's gross, I've read up on why, possible toxic effects on reproductive and respiratory systems.  Which is why I don't want to touch the recipes that are floating out there.  Maybe my supplier is a bit shady?  Idk, but I'll keep looking for quality ingredients and yeah, maybe ask for help from time to time on a formula that I think I'm in too deep for.  I know when I'm beat!  Also, it's a fabulous learning opportunity and keeping freelancers in socks, so I don't really know what about my post made you so upset.

  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    so I don't really know what about my post made you so upset.

    I am not upset. All I was trying to do was prevent you making a big mistake and that you learn about what you are doing before embarking on something that is out of your depth and that you might regret at a later time.

    Also, if you are making products for anyone other than yourself, you must comply with regulations applicable in your area.

  • I can assure you that everything is sanitized, labeled accurately in descending order by volume, well-preserved, and sealed.  I am an LLC, so I do tend to make products for beyond myself. 
  • But Also, I am in Texas.  They are going to worry about me missing a tax deadline far before questioning if I have sanitized equipment or wear vinyls.  Such is life.  Death and Taxes and all that.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited June 2017
    You list by descending order by WEIGHT, not volume. We weigh all ingredients in credible Cosmetic manufacturing.

    Also, it is the FDA, a Federal entity, not a State entity that would be inspecting you.


    You do have some due diligence to follow-up 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.
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    There are also strict regulations as to what can and cannot be used in cosmetic products and even stricter rules regarding what is used to preserve them.
  • I sincerely thank you for setting me straight, i definitely have some homework regarding labels. And I appreciate the links as well.
  • The Texas bit was just a joke, but i can see it's a feeble one considering the disconnect or gaps in my knowledge.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    I see a potential problem that you are going to need to settle in your mind before you work with a professional cosmetic chemist.

    First, you need to decide if you want a "natural" product line, and what that means to you. Which natural standard will you follow?

    Please also keep in mind that requiring a "natural" formula for liquid foundation both severely degrades the possible performance and substantially increases the cost of your product. Requiring "vegan" ingredients as well worsens this problem. A tinted moisturizer may very well be the best you can achieve.

    The one possible way around this that I can see would be to sell a "vegan" but not a "natural" product. If you allow for the use of synthetic ingredients you can probably get a product you'd be proud of.

    Also, please take what you see on the EWG site with a huge grain of salt. Very, very little of it has any credibility from a scientific point of view.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • edited June 2017
    Go to my site nohypecosmetics.com I formulate with natural ingredients as posdible to acheive a Functionable product! Bob is right, you have to understand the Science it doesnt lie. If you want a stable product you cant promise Natural because here is what you will have. Brown or Yellow period! No coloured cosmetics are natural. Not even mica. It is coated to make bright colours! Chemists are awsome at what they do. But they dont share the Vegan love. I can make it for you and a mascara, but I will teach you how also. I dont do private label because I want truth in my products and they are customized to individual needs. Foundation is both Anhydrous and hydrophyllic, you need a stable emulsion, and preservative! You can' t have a safe product without preservative. Vitamin e is not a preservative " eyou" girls claim it is but ugh No!
    hbueltemann2017@ nohypecosmetics.com ill send a sample leave address. what colors or shades do you want etc.
    HeatherB tmNo Hype Cosmetics & Spa
  • Hello All,
    I thank you all for your responses to this entry. Zwapp, I'm so glad you see humor through the monotone of interwebs.
    Bob and NoHype, I only mean "natural" in the marketing sense. i am 100% open to synthetic ingredients. But as you guessed, i do struggle with the "natural/vegan" preservatives. I've got Leuconostoc, Arborcide, potassium sorbate, and then supplement with Vit E. I may well have to give up the marketing draw of "natural/organic" preserved if i can't find percentages of use that test well. I prefer a customer safe than be able to pretentiously advertise "green". Hell, I prefer a customer not wrinkle their nose at a weird smell in their lip gloss, I'd go back to phenoxyethanol to keep a customer from making the "someone  used my lip gloss as a bile-vial" face. 
    i do sincerely appreciate your input, all of you. 
    hope you're all well 
  • Also, I am fully aware that everything is chemical, and "natural" is relative.
    Every time i have a customer at the Farmer's Market ask if my eyeshadows are Vegan AND gluten free, I always remind them that technically yellow cake uranium is vegan, as it has no animal byproducts- and that no, there is no gluten in my eyeshadows. Vegan formulas easily exclude a heap of allergies and sensitivity, also it avoids animal cruelty, so it is just my preferred way of running my business up to now.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    I always tank my car with Vegan gasoline ... it's low-carb, too!

    That's about the value of the marketing claim "Vegan and Cruelty-Free" in color cosmetics.  Complete nonsense.
    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 www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Mark, omg lolololol I am stealing your gasoline analogy for my next Farmer's Market! Also, cruelty free is a big one in the makeup and skincare blogs. Beauty gurus will look for that bunny sticker or completely rule out cosmetics sold in China. That is apparently the crunchy-granola smell test for cruelty free cosmetics in the beauty blogger realm. Also, no beeswax, bee pollen, carmine, and none of the snail goop made famous by Mizon. I know there is a huge growing interest in cruelty free essential oils, BUT it revolves around human ethics and whether the essential oils are ethically produced. I'm not opposed to being certain that slave or trafficed/exploited labor didn't produce my essential oils, especially since i only use EO because of all the carcinogenic fuss about fragrance oil. 
    I'm also in favor of the "no palm oil" trend because of deforestation, etc. I get that marketing is playing on or playing up attributes that probably already existed, but I don't see the harm in using it if the consumer is going to feel they are am informed buyer by asking about it. I make it a point to be honest with my customers, and I enjoy answering their questions. It's why i want a tried and true professional to consult me through a few more complex formulas. I love learning about the industry, even the gimmicky stuff 
  • I ALSO do remind customers that essential oils are in no way "natural", too. Using an ounce of oil that has been steamed down from 3000lbs of roses/petals. Not what i would call natural. I've never seen 3000lbs of petals and thought "naturally, i can use all of these on my face for about a month... much natural, so nature"
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    And those essential oils are some of the worst offenders when it comes to allergens.
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