Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Emulsifier System for CBD in Toner

  • Emulsifier System for CBD in Toner

    Posted by cm_skincare on April 27, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Hi all,

    I am developing a toner aimed to hydrate and brighten. My
    first step was to perfect the base formula prior to adding any CBD and that’s a
    bit of uncharted territory for me. I feel good about the base formula, but I’m
    completely out of my element with trying to incorporate the CBD.

    Formula (no CBD)

    Phase A:

    • Aqua/water
    • Kakadu
      Plum 1.8%
    • Glycerin
    • Camu
      Camu Extract 1.5%
    • blueberry
      fruit extract 1.5%
    • Aloe
      barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice powder 1%
    • Lingonberry
      Stem Cells 1%
    • sodium
      hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) .2%


    Phase B

    • Tea
      Tree Essential Oil .1%
    • Bergamot
      essential oil .1%
    • Polysorbate
      20 1%


    Phase C

    • Potassium
      sorbate .3%


    The end product is a decently clear (still trying to make extremely
    clear) with a pH of 3.7

    Now the tricky part… full-spectrum CBD

    First I just tested the emulsifying ratio needed to emulsify
    1% of CBD oil using Polysorbate 20. It’s a whopping 30:1 ratio, which will
    completely mess up the proportions I’ve established with the formula above.


    Any tips or suggestions? Thanks so much!

    EVchem replied 4 years, 2 months ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • EVchem

    April 27, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    1.  why 1% CBD oil? when we make CBD products, we usually calculate the mg we want as dependent on the fill size of the bottle, ex 100mg per 30g (with a slight buffer or transfer loss/ margin of error) = 0.40% pure CBD, typically added in 2x-3x MCT. 1% is expensive and will be difficult to incorporate.

    2. this will almost certainly not be clear. Most solubilizers have to be used in decent excess of the material to be solubilized, so that will affect formula feel.  You could try buying ‘water-soluble’ CBD (just comes pre-solubilized or encapsulated) but what I’ve played with so far has failed  45 C stability depressingly fast.  So you’re really looking for an emulsifier at this level

    3. Based on the look of your formula I don’t know what emulsifiers you can/will work with, but I’ve tried several and had very poor results. Your aloe powder (is it 200x?) is very high in electrolytes and will likely mess with  most emulsifiers, not to mention of giving yourself the extra challenge of making this a toner, a product with extremely low viscosity that is prone to more potential stability problems.

    4. I would suggest an additional preservative besides just potassium sorbate- the common pairing is with sodium benzoate. 

    I hope this all makes sense, those are just my initial thoughts on seeing your post. Not trying to be too discouraging, but to front load you with the challenges and see if you can adjust based on that.

  • cm_skincare

    April 27, 2020 at 6:26 pm
    Hi @EVchem ! I think I did my math wrong. I am wanting 100mg of CBD per bottle. Bottle holds ~100g. So I think it’s actually .1% and not 1% like I originally said! That may have been where I went wrong.
    I like your idea of trying to buy pre-emulsified CBD. I also had considered CBD isolate but wasn’t sure of the comparisons between isolate and oil from an efficacy standpoint. Have you tried isolate in any of your formulas?
    Yes, the aloe is 200x. Would you recommend nixing this from the formula or try to find a different emulsifier?
    Noted on adding an additional preservative. I actually have sodium benzoate so that will be just fine

  • EVchem

    April 28, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    Yes 0.1% if you had 100% pure CBD, so make sure you give yourself a little buffer.  Isolate will still need to be dissolved in oil to uniformly disperse it.  
    Pesronally, jury is still out for me on whether on form of CBD vs another has benefits for the skin. 

    So the 200x aloe means it is very concentrated. If you were to put 0.1% in, it’s supposed to be equivalent to adding  20% of aloe juice 1x (normal concentration). 1% is so so much, you can keep it if you want but I’d drop the percentage significantly. 

    I’d say start with the ready-made ‘water-soluble’ CBD, and if you want to make things harder on yourself, then get into emulsifying on your own. Since you only need 0.1% CBD however, you could probably add 0.3% ish of MCT and try using polysorbate for that.

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