Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Questions about a face cream?

  • Questions about a face cream?

    Posted by Heath0o7 on May 11, 2024 at 5:35 am

    Hi all,

    I’m trying to make a face cream that hydrates and reduces blemishes. Here’s the formula I came up with, the pH is 4-6 and Batch size is 50g:

    Distilled water

    5% Sodium lactate

    2.5% Niacinamide


    0.3% GLDA

    Phase B:

    3% Olivem-1000

    3% Cetyl Alcohol

    Phase C:

    1% dimethicone-6cst

    1% Phenonip

    Fragrance Oil

    Lactic acid

    My questions are:

    1. Is there any benefit in adding vitamin E 1000IU or kokum butter? Or if you choose to use a silicone there’s no need for an oil or butter as well?

    2. What would be a good emulsifier to use for a face cream? The ones I have are Olivem-1000, Glycerol Monostereate, Montanov202 & BTMS

    Heath0o7 replied 1 week ago 3 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Camel

    May 11, 2024 at 12:58 pm

    There is not really any benefit to adding tocopheryl acetate, but you could add some kokum butter as an emollient if you like how it feels on your skin. It might also function as a minor occlusive to help seal in moisture. If you do add it, you could also add some mixed tocopherols (~0.1%) to work as an antioxidant, but if you’re only using a small amount (~1%) it might not be necessary.

    The choice of emulsifier largely depends on the haptics you are going for; test each one and see which one produces your favorite skin-feel. Olivem 1000 is a great choice in my opinion, and it is used by Neutrogena and Aveeno in their gel-creams for face and body. BTMS is used by CeraVe in their face and body lotions, so they are all viable options. If you continue with Olivem 1000 in your formula, you could try reducing the amount to ~2%. I have found lower amounts to work with small oil and silicone phases, as long as you have your co-emulsifier/stabilizers in place. It might help to reduce the waxy feeling you can sometimes get from these emulsifiers. You can also try adding it to your water phase to reduce this feeling and mitigate some of the soaping effect it is known to produce (although the dimethicone in your formula is probably already accomplishing this).

    Good luck!

    • Heath0o7

      May 11, 2024 at 8:10 pm

      @Camel thanks for the tip! I’ll experiment and see how it goes 😃

  • Graillotion

    May 11, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    1) Cannot answer Vit E question…as you did not specify either form….or intent. As you know…one purportedly does something for skin…and another one protects lipids. You would need to clarify.

    1b) I don’t like ANY butter in face products. At least for me….face products should me magically light. Butters….not so much. 😉 Now if you specified night cream….then maybe so. Butters will increase occlusiveness…as mentioned. As you know…many face products are completely plant oil free….and these are often the ones….that take your breath away when applied. Note: You seem to be missing the whole category of esters….you know….the stuff that makes it feel good…..and the stuff that makes people buy it again!

    2) Next question is purely haptic based. No right or wrong answers….only opinion. To me… OM 1000 is a close tie for grossest feeling emulsifier on the market….It feels like a ton of bricks (heavy…in comparison). If you make the same formula with OM 1000 and Mont 202…. you should find that the M202 will make a far lighter feeling result. Granted the M 202 will need some added viscosity builders (fatty alcohols, cetyl esters Myristyl Myristate etc) to give the same viscosity. Sometimes brands will use OM 1000….to balance a formula, but use as the entire structure of an emulsion is rare amongst commercial brands.

    2b) The first three you mentioned are all somewhat weak emulsifiers (will get the job done, but will do it better with some help). Montanov’s….which I work with some of the time….benefit greatly with a small kiss of an anionic. Something like SSG, SSL, PCP, GSC, etc. I mostly use SSG (Sodium stearoyl glutamate)…since it can handle a wider window of pH, and a small inclusion rate goes a long way….like .25% (point two five percent) does a lot of good. Marketing BS will always say….they are fine by themselves…but that is the job of the marketing department. (They don’t live with your results.)

    Good luck.

    For bonus points…. All humectants work a little differently….even at what humidity they work best at. To cover more bases…. consider dividing the humectant duties amongst two different players. Hard to imagine leaving glycerin out of the party. 😉 Maybe for a fun rabbit hole to dive down….study which humectants are the best at stimulating aquaporins in your skin?

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  Graillotion.
    • Heath0o7

      May 11, 2024 at 8:07 pm

      1) The Vitamin E I was referring to is natural D alpha-tocopherol 1000IU. I read that it does provide benefits to skin on NCBI website. I can’t remember how much the usage rate was though. I like using Rosemary antioxidant 0.1% as my antioxidant as its oil soluble and I don’t have mixed Tocopherol 700IU

      1b) I’m still new to formulating I didn’t know about esters and their job. What would you recommend the usage rate be and what sort of ester to use? I have Coco-Caprylate, but I can get from my supplier Jojoba ester-70, isopropyl myirstate emollient Ester, myristal myristate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate or PPG-3 Benzyl Ether Myristate.

      2b) thanks for the tip, I could get my hands on PCP as it does also has a good pH range 4-9 and cheaper than SSG

      As for humectants, I have tried glycerin and propanediol. Both at 5%. I didn’t like the stickness of glycerin, but I’ll experiment first with propanediol and SL and see how it goes. Would 5% propanediol and 2.5% SL active be a good start?

      Thanks for the tips! I appreciate it!

  • Graillotion

    May 11, 2024 at 10:50 pm

    Regarding humectants…you are using them at too high a rate, when you have no emollients to remove the stickiness.

    When you add the esters….all of a sudden…the sticky ingredients are no longer sticky. 😅

    I never use Glycerin about 3% when it is part of a blend.

    There is a concept called cascading emollience…. you might even be able to find it…using the search bar here. You can create something greater than the sum of the parts…. using a cascade of different spreadabilities…. going from the super lite…to the heavy veggie oils. Each little break you put in the formula….generally will enhance it. The CCC you mentioned is lighter than veggie oil, but heavier than a number of the emollient esters. In cosmetics…we ask so much of the emollients….(double duty… as they have lots of side jobs they do…solvents…polarity linkers…etc…etc…) it is hard to just say….buy this one or that one. There is also a lot of personal opinion involved as well….since they drive the haptics. Maybe buy something simple…like the IPM…and use that 50/50 with the CCC you already have…for a total of 6% of your formula +/- 1%….and I think the difference will blow your mind. Should feel better….and absorb WAY better. 😉

    Regarding tocopherol: Really all you need is 100 parts per million….but that is too hard to measure. Use .1% and call it a day. BTW….unless you have oils that really want to go rancid…. you can probably get by with one or the other. I tend to lean more towards ROE more than E. If you look at the industry greats… like ICSC….they choose ROE over E.

    • Heath0o7

      May 11, 2024 at 11:10 pm

      Did you mean 6% in total of CCC and IPM?

      • Graillotion

        May 12, 2024 at 12:06 am

        Yes….a 6% combined total….as you work through them…start with 3% and 3%…then try 4 and 2…then 2 and 4. 🙂

        • Heath0o7

          May 13, 2024 at 4:41 am

          Thanks for that

          I’m just wondering if vitamin E - natural D alpha-tocopherol (not mixed Tocopherol thats used as an antioxidant) if used as an active does it really do good for the skin? Like increase E levels in the skin or its just a marketing tactics? 🤔

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