Making skin creams can be rewarding.

Yet many of the ingredients and phases can be confusing.

This article aims to make sense of the formulating process.

Formulating Skin Creams

Yesterday we looked at the technique required for creating your own simple skin creams, which you can read all about here.

In order to get the best result you need to understand the different phase, that your lotion will go through.

Don’t worry if your confused about the different phases involved when making your formulas, this is something we discuss in step 5 which you can read all about here.

Understanding the Phases

First Phase

Heat to 70C and keep at that temperature for around 20 minutes

This is known as the oil phase, in this phase, oil soluble ingredients are going to be mixed together, oils, butters, emulsifiers and thickeners, all work well together as oils.

Oils can be used on their own, or they can be a basic mixture of oil and butters, obviously this will all depend on the texture and feel of the product you require.

Before you begin the formulation stage…

It is wise to ask yourself whether or not you want your skin creams to have a dry or oily skin feel.

For instance lighter oils tend not to stay around on the skin for very long, they leave little oily residue!

These oils include almond, jojoba, grape seed, fractionated coconut oil and  sunflower oil.

We have written extensively on the type of oils you can use in skin care, which can be found by following this link.

Heavier oils and butters will give much more slippage to your skin creams.

Remember  it is easy to overdo these oils…..

So try adding them at 1 to 2% in order to ensure the end result isn’t too heavy.

Another important point to consider when selecting your oils and butters is the smell.

Some oils can be really overpowering and dominate the smell of your skin creams, especially if you are making an unscented lotion, borage oil is a prime example of this.

A good tip to remember

If the natural fragrance of the oil is too over powering, try not to use a high percentage of that particular oil in your formula.

Instead try complimenting it with another oil, which has similar properties.

Also take into the consideration the profile of the oil or butter you’re using.

For instance Mango can have a tightening, astringent effect on the skin, so you may be more inclined to incorporate that particular butter in skin creams for an oilier skin type.

Second Phase

The next phase is referred to as the water phase, where all water soluble ingredients are mixed together.

Distilled water will usually be the key ingredient here, but not the only ingredient!

We created an article understanding the properties of water, if you require further reading on the type of water used in skin care cream.

Herbal teas, aloe vera gel, hydrosols and even surfactants, are just some of the ingredients you may want to consider adding to your formula.

This will all go into this phase at a temperature of 70C, again this you need to keep heated for around 20 minutes.

A note on adding delicate ingredients

Only add water soluble ingredients that will withstand this temperature,

Otherwise if the ingredients are heat sensitive, add them to the third phase.

Third Phase

This is often referred to as the cool down phase, at a temperature of around 45C.

This phase is where you can add your delicate ingredients such as extracts, silicones, preservatives, panthenol and essential oils.

Remember that many ingredients are heat sensitive, so it is really important to be aware of the flash point of delicate ingredients.

Always check with your supplier first, and if in doubt add them to the cool down phase.

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