Article by: Perry Romanowski

One of my goals is to create a website that gives starting formulas to anyone who is looking for one. I’m modelling it after the Open Source Software movement and dubbing it Open Source Formulating (or something like that). Essentially it will be a place where people can find and exchange formulas. Almost a recipe swap.

But until I get that going, I thought it would be useful to provide links to places where you can get formulas to start already. Here is what I’ve got so far. The list will continue to grow. Please feel free to add other links in the comments if there are sources that aren’t mentioned.

General Cosmetic formulation lists

Cosmetic Bench Reference – A list of hundreds of supplier formulas searchable by type, ingredient trade name and more. Suppliers for all materials included. Requires registration.

C & T 2008 Skin Care formulary – Formulas for creams, lotions, cleansers, and masks.

C & T 2006 C&T Skin formulary – Formulas for creams, lotions, cleansers, and masks.

Happi formulary – Wide range of formulations from suppliers of cosmetic raw materials.  Also some formulation of household products if you’re looking for that.  No registration required

Personal Care Magazine – Nice set of easily accessible formulas.  No registration required.

ULProspector – Requires registration but has hundreds (maybe thousands) of formulas from suppliers.

SpecialChem4Cosmetics – They have an excellent starting formulations selector.  Includes skin care, hair care, sun care, toiletries, fragrance, and makeup.  Requires registration.

Merck formulations – Hundreds of cosmetic formulations and some other interesting things like insect repellent.  No registration required.

Google Patents – This takes a little digging but if you do a search of the patents on any kind of formula that you want to make, you can find example formulas in the ‘claims’ section of most any patent on the subject.

Google Books – Google has a number of books that list some cosmetic formulations.  Many you can get listed for free.

Supplier Formularies

Grant Industry Formulary – Lots of cosmetic formulas including make-up, creams & lotions, Sunscreens, Skin treatments, Hair care, and more. Over 100 formulas

Brenntag Personal care formulas – This company has a nice list of starting formulas for hair, skin and color cosmetics.  Not an extensive list of formulations but about 100 formulas.

Colonial Chemicals formulas – A number of cosmetic formulas.  Also some household cleaner and metal working lubricants too.

Croda Formulary – Some excellent starting formulas using materials from Croda.  Formulas in all types of different products and includes some “green” or Natural formulations.  Registration is required (a little annoying).

Dow Corning formulations – Not organized in the best manner for cosmetic chemists but a good number of formulations that feature silicone as a significant component.

Dupont Tate & Lyle formulations – Offers a number of skin care and color cosmetic formulations.  Also has a couple of hair care product formulas.

Stepan formulary – One of the biggest surfactant suppliers in the business.  They have some excellent starting formulas for cleansing products and emulsions.

HallStar Formulations – A searchable list of formulations with particular focus on suncare and skin care.  It is handy that it allows for searching by keyword including INCI names.

IGI Cares formulas – A short list of some interesting formulas that focus on petrolatum and waxes.

Jeen International formulary – A small list of formulas but covering a wide range of product categories including bath and shower, sun care, hair care, skin care, and color cosmetics.

Kobo formulations – A rather extensive list of formulas focused on color cosmetics and sunscreens.  Formulas are all freely available.

Lubrizol formulations – A wide variety of formulas in all categories of personal care and cosmetic products.

Lipo Formulary – A very slick compilation of formulas for everything ranging from facial care, to general skin care, hair care and color cosmetics.  The descriptions provided for each formula are helpful.

R.T. Vanderbilt formulas – Cosmetic formulations in 5 different categories including skin care, sun care, color cosmetics, cleansing, and treatments & grooming.  Includes reactive hair products like relaxers and perms.

Seppic Formulations – One of the best features is that you can search formulas by keyword and also they have a formula selection tool that allows you to choose by application, texture, claim, and target consumer.  Nicely organized.

DIY / Hobbiest formulations

DIY Cosmetics Formulary – Recipes for makeup, shampoos, cleansers and soap.

The Herbarie Formulary – More recipes for making personal care products.   Focuses on natural or green technologies.  More of a home crafter DIY site than a cosmetic industry site. – A nice list of recipes for all types of cosmetics from creams, lotions, sun products and color cosmetics.  Formulas are available in a number of formats and list % weights and kitchen measurements.  Nicest thing is that it doesn’t require registration to get a formula.  Nice going Making Cosmetics!

Make Your Cosmetics – A wide range of formulations organized in alphabetical order.  Each formula tells approximately how long it will take to produce and has comments from other makers as to what they thought.  Has a number of lip and facial care formulations.

Cosmetic Formulator – A defunct website but through the magic of the Internet Wayback machine you can still access the formulations.  Includes a number of powdered makeup formulas and just a couple of skin care creams.

Realize Beauty formulations – A variety of formulations with descriptive procedures for making them.  Not a long list but some nice starting formulas for soap, conditioner, toothpaste and more.

Ingredients to die for Formulary – 70+ formulations for both hair and skin applications.  Most formulas are for skin care products.

Personal Formulator – A small list of formulations but includes some products for pets.

Skin Essential Actives – Some nice additional resources on the site (like a formula calculator) in addition to a range of skin care starting formulations.

Karen Gilbert recipes – Formulations with videos to show how they are made.  These are more like cooking recipes than formulations but the demonstrations are excellent.  Nicely produced.

LotionCrafter – Not a lot of formulas but a nice collection of facial care, skin care, hair care, and spa products.  Also, sells raw materials so you are able to make the products.

Have one to add?  Leave a comment below.  This is a growing list.


About the Author

Perry Romanowski

Perry has been formulating cosmetic products and inventing solutions to solve consumer problems since the early 1990’s. Additionally, he has written and edited numerous articles and books, taught continuing education classes for industry scientists, and developed successful websites. His latest book is Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry 3rd Edition published by Allured.


  1. Avatar

    I would like to start a face and eye and lip make up line in South africa

  2. Avatar
    Subhash Mandal

    Great Resources…!!

  3. Avatar

    Hello, Im looking for a perfect formula on cleansing oil and toner using natural products. could anyone help?

  4. Avatar
    maria victoria

    hi! im looking for a self tanner mousse formula, help and thankyou!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Go through the sources listed above.

  5. Avatar
    MegaXXL Review

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that.
    And he actually bought me lunch because I
    found it for him smile Therefore let me
    rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  6. Avatar

    We have all kind of tested farmulation plz feel free to contact
    Diamondskinexpert@yahoo. Com
    Diamondskinexpert@gmail. Com

  7. Avatar

    i searched all the above sites and everywhere on internet but i didn’t find a formula for organic natural hair relaxer
    plz help me with this
    i want a natural formula to make a hair relaxer or hair straightening cream

  8. Avatar

    This is very useful. An open source type initiative also sounds interesting.

  9. Avatar
    Manuela Ricci

    Hi – I was wondering if you knew of any cosmetic manufacturers who make small batches (20kg) of cosmetics (lip gloss). Thanks for your help.

  10. Avatar

    perry if i buy this course how am i to receive it, is it from my email box or how? Asap

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      When you purchase the course you are sent links to a website via email and you access the lessons through the website.

  11. Avatar

    Hi Perry,

    I have been making my own facecreams at home using natural oils and waxes (such as coconut oil) and scenting them with essential oils. They are amazing and everyone who tries them loves them.

    I don’t want to get into making and selling them so I would like to open-source the recipes/ingredients lists.

    If you do make the “github for cosmetics” I will gladly add mine.



  12. Avatar

    It might be worth pointing out, for those who aren’t aware, that Making Cosmetics only sell certain ingredients in 40lb sizes or thereabouts – and they won’t reply if you contact them to ask why, or ask if you can purchase smaller amounts.

    Not a great company to deal with in that regard, but as long as you’re only purchasing things that come in smaller sizes and don’t ask any questions, then you’ll receive what you ordered promptly – if not exactly with a smile.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I haven’t dealt with them directly but that is good to know. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of good options for people who want very small quantities.

  13. Avatar
    Petros Polonos

    So, how is going with your open source chemistry? We have a mighty need for it here in Greece.
    1. Cheap personal hygiene products for the refugees,
    2. Giving the resurrective impulse to local economy.

    Can you help?

    Best, P.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      You can find free formulas in the links posted above.

  14. Avatar

    hi i would like to create a liquid foundation that contains lairicyl,vitamin c, rosehip oil and hyaluronic where to find these ingredients and exact measurement? thank you in advance

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Check through the free cosmetic sources listed above.

  15. Avatar

    Hi Thanks for the list extremely helpful as a starting point making cosmetics. I want to formulate a skin lightening cream using niacinamide, alpha arbutin, licorice extract and mulberry root – please could you suggest usage percentages and stages in which to add them; maybe you could point me out to a book or source for preparing basic cream formulations? Thanks so much

  16. Avatar

    great work of collection

  17. Avatar

    Greetings. Very liked your website. I want to do this and mixtures Knaridd saved outside the refrigerator for a long time. As is the case for the companies products Can I add preservatives or not? What are these materials? How lineage? Any adequate information on the subject. I should not be overlooked, you may say. I am waiting for your response. Thanks

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      I don’t know what Knaridd is.

  18. Avatar
    allah ditta

    dear bro.
    i want to make body whitening shower gel.please help me out.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      See the list for formulas.

  19. Avatar
    Jeanine Dermer

    I have some hair gel that was discontinued, I would like to figure out the formula and make some more of it. Is it possible to run some test on the gel and figure out what the ingridients and formula is and remake it? Thank you Jeanine

  20. Avatar

    Just so people know – don’t bother emailing MakingCosmetics about anything whatsoever – they ignore you (even if it’s just a ‘thank you’ for their very prompt service).

    Also, some of their raw materials are only available in 40lb sizes (quite ridiculous for home formulators), but don’t ask them about the possibility of purchasing smaller sizes – again, you’ll be deafened by the silence.

    Their only interest – clearly – is in taking your money, not customer relations.

  21. Avatar

    Great website thank you!!

  22. Avatar
    Eric ogunnika

    Many th anks to you for the job but my case on all is making hair relaxer plus all the needed production formulars/materials At moment from our cosmetics manufactary we currently produced skin diseases cure/care herbal antiseptic soap &creams.secondly we want specialist exparts/ partners in cosmetics making

  23. Avatar
    r.k.seethapathi naidu

    one can find lot of formulas in the web…But,as a mafufacturer of herbal toothpaste, my suggestion is try YOURSELF!
    (who Knows,,u may bring out a wonderful formula which may outsmart the existing one!

  24. Avatar

    very good material

  25. Avatar
    anshia singh

    what is the chemical formula of face powder?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      There are lots of them. What do you mean?

  26. Avatar
    anshia singh

    what is the chemical formula of hair cream?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Go through the resources provided in this post and find one.

  27. Avatar

    its really a good one for the pg students doing thier dissertation thesis work

  28. Pingback:How to prevent cosmetic chemist career boredom

  29. Avatar

    This is nice platform for all researchers having interest in cosmetic formulations.
    I want to know formula for rose water?? thanks in advance
    Thanks in advance

  30. Avatar

    I agree with colleague why so many formulations and nothing that really works as a product to sell, why would not disclose anything interesting would be something that is really functional and salable.
    Most formulations found at these web sites do not work already tested several, and others are impossible to sell because of the price of its ingredients.
    After all how to formulate a salable product that has a reasonable price would be magic cosmetics?
    Or maybe that percentage of ingredients are unrealistic commercial products.?
    Can anyone enlighten me.

  31. Pingback:Cosmetic formulary | 3shn

  32. Avatar

    My 10 cents on these formulations. I have sorted through endless formulas from many sources such as the ones you sited above. I typically find they are: never great and/or super expensive. For example, I have a flier on my desk for fantastic hair ingredient that has a very basic starter conditioner formulation on it. I priced it out and it is $5.22/kg without fragrance and preservative. I find this to be the case with many vendor developed formulations. Vendors may be selling a high priced active extract that does fantastic things and they give a formulation that is ready for market. Price it out with your vendor at your desk and see if he/she can keep a straight face. Also, I had a vendor come in with a whole line of products/ formulas/samples focused to what I am working on. I felt confident enough with my knowledge of the paper formulas to ask the person to go to the sink with me and evaluate these formulations for lather and skin feel. This vendor had never tried these samples and was surprised at how bad some of them performed. Some were good, most were not. One last bit, I took a webinar on sulfate free shampoos, the had a starter formulation, I happened to have all ingredients on the list. I went to the lab and made it exactly as outlined and sent it to the salon for testing. They came back with “aweful” and “horrible”.

    1. Avatar

      Great comments Jerome. That has been my experience too. You are also correct that most of these formulas will be bad. If a cosmetic chemist thinks she can just take a formula, make it, and will have a nicely functioning product, she is mistaken. But you have to start somewhere. These sources are probably the best place. It’s just a starting point though. To make an actual product that works and could be sold, you have to do the prototype development which is a whole different problem.

    2. Avatar
      Gary Neudahl

      Having spent thirteen years on the finished goods producer’s side and then seventeen on the ingredient producer’s side, be aware of the differing dynamics in formulation development for each.
      The quality of the formulae you get from ingredient vendors will depend on the standards of the chemist (and company) presenting them. Because ingredient suppliers are in the business of selling ingredients, their formulations will, of course, contain their ingredients. And because they don’t expect these formulations to be used as presented, they want to make sure the particular esthetic and/or functional benefits from the focus ingredient(s) are as obvious as possible (i.e., show that IT WORKS). Hence higher costs and higher use levels than for an optimized product. Formulation assessment is typically done on prototypes stored at room temperature, so the ingredient supplier may figure that if it’s stable for a relatively long time at room temperature, that’s good enough. Better suppliers check elevated temperature and freeze-thaw stability as well. It’s fair game to ask your ingredients suppliers what their stability testing standards are for releasing a formula to the formulating public. That will give you a better idea of what to expect from their formulations, not just functionally, but with respect to shelf stability as well.

      1. Avatar

        Amen to both Gary and Perry. So if you are new at this or even experienced at this, understand that it can take you a year, and oftentimes more, to make a bad starter formulation fantastic! At that point, you need to be very selective about who you share it with. You worked hard for that and it belongs to you (or your company; depending on what you signed when you got hired).

        Perry, perhaps you could do a bit on protecting your formulas and products from diversion, knockoffs and counterfeits?

        1. Avatar

          Amen to that,

          I work for a supplier in one of the previous links.
          Suppliers will focus on their products rarely giving realistic formulations. These will be tested for stability at 5 different temperatures for a year, and claim tested in some occasions. Definitely, a good starting point but you have to ask yourself and the supplier what is the minimum amount needed to obtain the desired result.

  33. Avatar
    Edna Van Buren

    Hi Perry,

    I use the website: and I think it ‘s very interesting for a chemist since s/he can get samples from the suppliers companies for his/her project.

    Nice job, Perry!

  34. Avatar
    Nancy Liedel

    There are three here I didn’t have! I’m thrilled. I don’t have any that have not been posted though, except sites that encourage you to, “ditch the preservatives and put it in the fridge.” I’m going to make a dartboard out of those and when I get a bad day, play darts 🙂

  35. Avatar

    This is really excellent collection and very useful. Hope the following site also may be useful:
    Thank you Perry for your selfless hard work.


  36. Avatar
    Maggie Ghanem
    Formulator Sample Shop is a sister company of Active Concepts, Active Micro Technologies & Arbor Organics.
    Formulator Sample Shop Active Concepts, Active Micro Technologies & Arbor Organics products in 80 mL, 250 mL and 1100 mL pack sizes and devloped for the DIY and smaller businesses that cannot meet Active Concepts minimum order or pack size.

    Formulator Sample Shop also provides Formulas & Formulation Advice!

  37. Avatar

    This is a great idea

    Thanks Perry!

  38. Avatar
    Gary Neudahl

    To access HallStar Company’s formulary, go to and select based on the personal care product area of interest, or search by a keyword (such as an ingredient of interest). INCI names, trade names and supplier names are almost always provided. The current area of particular strength is sunscreens and skin care products with active ingredients requiring photostabilization, but many other formulations are also provided.

  39. Avatar

    This is an excellent resource – thank you so much for putting it together!
    For anyone who reads French, or is willing to trust to Google Translate
    (sorry, not sure if I’ve made this a link) have some very imaginative “green” formulas.
    Incidentally, a pet “peeve” of mine : I do wish formulations always used the INCI names as well as trade names so you don’t have to do a second search to find out what the heck “dermfeelsoft” or whatever actually is!

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for the add. I agree with you that it would be nice if there was both the trade name and INCI name but especially the INCI name.

  40. Avatar

    Hi Perry,
    I have my own developed formulas I can share it with some changes in percentages. These formulas are very basic as I have very limited knowledge in this field. If you want then please let me through email.

    1. Avatar

      Hi Shahbaz,

      Do you have any formulas on Sunscreen SPF 30? Could you please help me especially on the ingredient which block UVA.
      Thank you.


      1. Avatar

        I’d suggest you post this question to the Forum. Or look through some of the formulations in this list. I haven’t made an SPF 30 in a long time so can’t be of much help beyond that.

  41. Avatar

    wow..thx a lot Perry. this is really GREAT job!

  42. Avatar
    Irma N Versteegh

    Hello Perry,
    What a great resource you put together to all of us. Thank you
    so much for sharing.Formulating had become a wonderful hobby
    for me, I am just about ready in the next six months to lunch my own products.I usually study the ingredients and their properties
    of the products I admire,then I think about how I can improve on that.Thanks again.

    1. Avatar

      Hi Perry,
      could you please email some of the formulas you were talking about I am new to this game and am loving it, but only discovering new sites to do research.
      I am also looking for a product or chemicals that can be combined together to remove the by products of bitchumen, namely tar and ashfelt
      Many thanks

      1. Avatar
        Perry Romanowski

        Hello Connie,

        I would suggest you just look through the formulas in the sources linked above. Also, post your specific questions to the forum. Perhaps someone will have time to answer.

  43. Avatar
    Michele Masterson

    Hi Perry, great information for us budding formulators! I was also going to suggest lotioncrafters but I see Jip beat me to it! Thanks for all the help and advice you offer, it is so appreciated! Anyway I digress…. have a couple of nice formulations utilizing their superfine oat powder, beta glucan, oat oil etc. very nice ‘green’ products. Hope someone finds this useful.

  44. Avatar

    Dears Perry
    Thanks for the links. Its a real help for my activity at the moment. I just finished composing the formula for Facial Wash and Balancing Toner ( aspecially for acne ).



  45. Avatar

    Also try
    2. Key in words in You Tube and see useful videos
    3. will provide the usage/safety information or raw materials used in Formulation.

    1. Avatar

      Excellent suggestions!

  46. Avatar
    S Creese

    The Personal Care Magazine link is not opening on my end

    1. Avatar

      I just checked and the link works for me. I would suggest seeing if you can go to their home page & finding the formulary from there.

      1. Avatar
        S Creese

        I don’t know if its because I’m located in Trinidad but the link won’t work on Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. But thanks for the links Perry

  47. Avatar

    I love this!
    Here are two that I use all the time:

  48. Avatar
    Babu Kumar

    Thanks for the links. Its a real help for the budding chemists in the Cosmetics Industry.

  49. Avatar

    Thanks for the link. Anyway I’m looking for a saponification base for facial cream (Pearl cream) like Hazeline snow cream that uses lots of stearic acid & NaOH. but cant find at that link. Could you help me please?

    1. Avatar

      Hello Junio – I would suggest you put that request in the forum. I’m sure someone in there will be able to help you.

      1. Avatar

        Thanks for yr suggest 🙂

  50. Avatar
    Mohamad Istari

    Easy for searching material informations

  51. Avatar
    Malcolm Nearn

    Re Google patents a good way to find any patent in any country that conforms to the international patent treaty is as follows:
    enter the US Patent Office website You can conduct a Boolean search eg on any pair of search items, eg two different chemicals, or a particular chemical and a particular use.
    To find out if that patent has been filed in another country go to the European website ( and go to the number search option and enter the us patent number. Click on the patent title then Inpadoc family.
    (I am not a patent attorney but I have used this process extensively to find new opportunities).

  52. Avatar

    This is great. Good job

  53. Pingback:Cosmetic Formulary Database – DIYCosmetics

  54. Avatar

    This is a great idea! Thanks for the links, and I’m really looking forward to seeing this feature grow!

    A couple more great home crafter/DIY sites are: and/or

  55. Avatar
    S Creese

    Thanks for the links. I knew about a couple of them but I don’t have any to add to this.

    1. Avatar

      Thanks for the addition!

    1. Avatar

      Thanks it does!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.