My Formula Botanica Final Project – Part 1

Woohoo! I did it! I finally graduated and received my Diploma of Organic Skincare Formulation, which I did through Formula Botanica. It took me nearly two years, though, admittedly I kept putting it off in the first year. It was only when I got together with Karen, my study buddy, and we decided to dedicate one day to studying (our Formulating Fridays) that I finally got down and started studying properly. Don’t underestimate the advantages a study buddy can bring to you both! Not only do you end up committing to your studies, but you can bounce ideas of each other, support and encourage each other, and it realy helps having another brain with you when you’re trying to figure things out. I really don’t think I could have done it without her, so thank you, Karen ❤️ for all the inspiration and support! Your turn now to finish your project and graduate 😉

I’m really proud of myself (sorry for the boast), but I got 100% in both cosmetic compliance and formulation skills, as well as 100% for my final project. And my overall grade was 95.4% 🎉 They also give you a really cool certificate!

This is what studying looked like. Lots of resources, lots of videos to watch, and then lots of practicing. What I love about Formula Botanica is that you get a lot of valuable resources, that will be useful even after you graduate. And everything is really well explained and described. As a science-y person, I would have liked more science, but then was told that’s in the next course, the Advanced Diploma of Cosmetic Science. I’m looking forward to that!

Anyway, I wanted to share my journey with you, the final project part. This wasn’t just a “Hey, let’s make a hand cream!”, but rather a long process from the first idea of making a soapmaker’s hand cream, all the experimenting and research, and the many, many changes I had to make until I finally got the hand cream exactly how I wanted it to be. It’s too much to fit into one post, so bear with me while I describe everything in the next few posts. The final post will give you the final formulation. The one that I handed in and got 100% on. I hope you enjoy reading the posts and can see that although formulation can be easy when you can follow a recipe, creating your own formulations requires a lot of thought, effort, time, but mostly a lot of experimentation!

From my notes

I knew what my final project was going to be early on: a hand cream for soap makers. This is because I make a lot of soap and I am constantly washing my hands, and because, despite wearing gloves, they always come in contact with fresh soap and lye when I’m making soap and from washing the soap dishes. This dries out my hands extremely and strips the oils (sebum) from the palms of my hand. I need a rich hand cream that not only re-hydrates my skin, but also adds oils back into the skin and forms a slight occlusive film to hold the moisture and oils in the skin. And all that without leaving a oily residue on my hands, because I really dislike having greasy hands. I think the key to such a hand cream is to make sure that the oils and butters I use are quick absorbing into the skin and to add hydrating additives that bind the water to the skin. Also due to the constant exposure to lye-containing material, I should probably add soothing and calming ingredients to reduce redness and any irritation (and possible damage).

REQUIREMENTS: Must quickly absorb into the skin of the palms of the hands without leaving an oily or greasy residue, yet also needs to be very conditioning and moisurising.

Who’d have thought? The skin on the palm of your hands is completely different to the skin on other areas of your body. The face creams I made are lovely on the back of my hands, but some leave the palms of my hands really greasy and others I just had to keep reapplying again and again, because they just didn’t last.

SKIN ON PALMS RESEARCH: The skin on the palms of the hands is a lot thicker than the skin on the face or back of the hands. It also contains an extra layer, the stratum lucidum, for added protection. This layer is made up of dead skin cells (eleidin), and looks translucent under a microscope, hence the name lucidum. The stratum lucidum also acts as barrier to water. That and it’s thickness makes it more difficult to re-hydrate and condition the palms of the hands when the skin becomes and feels dry, due to various reasons, such as frequent washing and handling harsh materials such as fresh soap.

Histologic image of the epidermis (skin) – Source Wikimedia Commons (Wbensmith)


  1. Congratulations and well done! The commitment to study is huge as I am just about to sit my final exam after 2 long demanding years! You should be so proud of yourself ❤️

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