Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating DIY Brightening Face Serum Formulation

  • DIY Brightening Face Serum Formulation

    Posted by Nadeem on March 8, 2023 at 5:23 am

    Hello, everyone.

    My brightening face serum meant to target melasma (at least at some level), dark spots and post-acne hyperpigmentation currently looks like this:

    Water QS

    Niacinamide 5

    Glycerin 4

    Licorice 3

    Tranexamic Acid 2.5

    N acetyl glucosamine 2

    Lactic Acid 2

    PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil 1.8

    Propylene Glycol 1

    Centella Asiatica 1

    Phenoxyethanol 0.6

    Xanthan Gum 0.5

    Alpha Arbutin 0.5

    Salicylic Acid 1

    Sodium Benzoate 0.4

    Tocopherol 0.2

    Allantoin 0.2

    Disodium EDTA 0.1

    Sodium Hyaluronate 0.1

    How can it be improved in terms of brightening? The texture and consistency is pretty good right now.

    Nadeem replied 11 months, 1 week ago 6 Members · 16 Replies
  • 16 Replies
  • fareloz

    March 8, 2023 at 6:16 am

    Sorry, but I can’t believe you have ever prepared this formula. Salicylic Acid 1% will not dissolve in water solution.

    Also, Alpha Arbutin requires 5-7 pH value to be stable and Lactic Acid is mostly neutralized in this pH range.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  fareloz.
  • Nadeem

    March 8, 2023 at 7:13 am

    It was actually DIYed by a chemist friend for me. I don’t know how he achieved the Salicyclic acid solubility in water.

    • fareloz

      March 8, 2023 at 9:09 am

      Sorry, but your friend ether lying to you (because no way SA can be soluble in this solution) or has no clue of what he is doing. It is too many actives to combine in one product and they are not compatible in terms of pH.

      BTW what is the pH of your product?

      • Nadeem

        March 8, 2023 at 10:30 am

        Indeed, I am doubting he is a newbie in cosmetic formulations, hence why I turned to this forum.

        I have asked him about the pH.

      • Nadeem

        March 10, 2023 at 11:37 pm

        pH is 5.1

  • KMRCSMiami

    March 8, 2023 at 10:16 am

    This has too much going on. When it comes to actives, less is more. As a society we’ve become obsessed with throwing a whole bunch of things in a formula, driving up the cost, but not improving functionality. I would remove all the “marketing ingredients” and start with a simple base.

    • Nadeem

      March 8, 2023 at 10:32 am

      Yes, I believe in a minimalist approach to formulation as well.

      For the aforementioned concerns (targeting melasma in the outer layers of the skin, post-acne hyperpigmentation and dark spots), how would you formulate the above formulation using a minimalist approach?

      • KMRCSMiami

        March 8, 2023 at 10:43 am

        Water + glycerin (5-10%) + robust preservative system plus stabilizers + gelling agents (hyaluronic acid, whatever gum you want) + 1 active used at a working concentration + dimethicone for slip

        If needed niacinimide @ 2%. Its always good to look up the systems your actives work best in to ensure stability and also functionality.

        • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  KMRCSMiami.
        • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  KMRCSMiami.
    • Unknown Member

      March 10, 2023 at 9:18 am

      Indeed, I have confidence in a moderate way to deal with definition too

      for more info visit: https://aqtiverecovery.co.uk/car-towing/

  • markbroussard

    March 11, 2023 at 8:40 am

    Here you go:

    Water QS

    Niacinamide 5

    N Acetyl Glucosamine 2

    Tranexamic Acid 3

    Tetrapeptide-30 2

    Allantoin 0.3

    Phenoxyethanol/EHG 0.6

    Gluconolactone/Sodium Benzoate 1

    Glycerin 1

    Xanthan Gum 0.2

    Sodium Hyaluronate 0.5 (800-1200 kDa)

    • Nadeem

      March 11, 2023 at 2:27 pm

      That’s very interesting.

      Aren’t a skin penetration enhancer (like Propylene Glycol), a pH adjuster (like lactic acid or TEA) and an antioxidant (like tocopherol) needed though?

  • markbroussard

    March 11, 2023 at 3:59 pm

    Nope. When you put this formula together it should have a native pH <5.5. Over a couple of days, the Gluconolactone (functions as a chelator, pH adjuster and PHA) will likely drive the pH down in the range 4.0 - 5.0. There are no oils in the formula, so there really isn’t any benefit from Tocopherol to prevent rancidity. You don’t need a penetration enhancer and your proposed 1% propylene glycol won’t enhance anything.

    Think using ingredients that have multifunctional modes of action and you can develop nice, clean, minimalist formulas.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by  MarkBroussard.
    • Nadeem

      March 11, 2023 at 10:22 pm

      It’s noted.

      And can I add extracts like licorice and centella asiatica as your formulation is now?

  • markbroussard

    March 12, 2023 at 6:13 am

    Yes, but realize those plant extracts are just label ingredients and won’t do anything. If you want to add functional actives then consider TECA or Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate

  • Saranya

    March 21, 2023 at 4:03 am

    I would suggest the below skin brightening serum with minimalist ingredients.

    Water QS , Niacinamide (5%) – Proven skin brightness and improves skin moisturization kind of multifunctional active, Glycerin (5%) – proven skin hydration, Ethyl ascorbic acid (3%)- Proven skin brightening vitamin c source, Xanthan Gum (0.5%) – Thickener (dissolve xanthan gum in glycerin while processing to avoid lumps), Phenoxyethanol (0.9%) , – Preservative, Ethylhexyglycerin (0.1%) , Salicylic acid (0.1%) – for mild exfoliation, Tocopherol acetate (0.1%) – Antioxidant, Disodium EDTA (0.1%), Allantoin (0.1%), Citric acid (to adjust pH to 4.5 – 5.0).

    Reason for avoiding 1% salicylic acid – skin irritant and you need to have solubilizer like propylene glycol at 1: 3 ratio or alcohol to dissolve salicylic acid.

    Licorice, Centella asiatica – to make sure it is 100% pure (marker run is always recommended for this kind of natural extracts)

    Tranexamic Acid – good option but costlier.

    Certain arbutin are banned in some countries

    Sodium hyaluronate – 0.1% is very less conc. May be 1% can be tried in that case xanthan gum can be avoided because sodium hyaluronate itself thickens the formula.

    • Nadeem

      March 21, 2023 at 1:12 pm

      Thank you very much.

      Your response is very helpful.

      Concerning the Salicylic acid 1%, I am thinking of using Glycolic acid 2% instead for some level of exfoliation suitable for daily use. Would that be okay? I know in large amounts, glycolic acid is very irritating.

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