Formulating your own skin creams

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

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

Don’t worry if you’re 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 where oil-soluble ingredients will be mixed together – oils, butters, emulsifiers, and thickeners, all work well together as oils.

Oils can be used alone or they can be a basic mixture of oil and butters, obviously, this will all depend on the texture and feel of the end 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 a very 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.

Another important point to consider when selecting 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.

If the natural fragrance of the oil is too overpowering, 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 and 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.

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

The third Phase

This is often referred to as the cool-down phase, at a temperature of around 45C, this phase is where you add the 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 flashpoint of delicate ingredients.

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

If you really want to get creative and learn how to make skin cream, this article will get you started.

5 thoughts on “Formulating your own skin creams

  1. annie smith says:

    I have worked in sustainable farming for 24 years and I have been making aloe sourced and plant based creams and products for about seven years make and outsource from my small farm. I have unique process and method I use for formulating the gel for the cream base and the extract. You don’t have a lot about aloe and it is my number one seller. Do you have a formula just for developing a gel product. The one I have been working with is very time consuming and I want to reduce it considerabl. Thank you. A. Smith

  2. Rachel says:

    How can I find out about what an ingredients function is and what functions there are, and which ones are needed or used in different products, like emulsifiers, thickeners,humectants etc

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