My Formula Botanica Final Project – Part 3

This is my experience of doing the final project of my Diploma of Organic Skincare Formulation with Formula Botanica. It’s a two year course, but you can do it in one year, if you can spend more time on studying than I did. I dedicated one full day to practicing formulating and spend some more time during the week and weekends for studying. In case you missed the first part, you can find it here.

Ready for my first attempt? But first, here’s my first formulation of the Soapmakers Hand Cream. Note all the ingredients used are natural or nature identical in this formulation. And instead of essential oils, I used a natural fragrance as a place holder for now.

Soapmakers Hand Cream V1.1

Water phase:
28.4% distilled water
20% chamomile hydrosol
3% glycerine
0.1% guar gum

Oil phase
15% jojoba oil
10% kukui oil
5% kokum butter
5% Emulgade PL68/50
3% squalane

Cool down phase
3% colloidal oatmeal
3%hydrolysed oat protein
0.5% alpha-bisabolol
1% natural fragrance
1% pro-vitamin B5
1% vitamin E
1% Microcare DB (preservative)

Why did I choose these ingredients? As I was doing research, I was focussing on emollient and hydrating ingredients that would condition, moisturise, but also soothe and calm the skin. For the water phase, I chose a mixture of distilled water and hydrosol. The water is obviously to hydrate, and the chamomile hydrosol has the added benefit of being anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming. I think perfect for skin that has been irritated from exposure to harsh (caustic) fresh soap. Glycerine is a humectant, which means it draws water to the skin, and thus also hydrates.

From my notes:

I am using guar gum in the formulation to ensure that the additives are well-incorporated and bound into the emulsion. I’m slightly worried about using colloidal oatmeal and a protein, so this is to make sure the emulsion remains stable. I’ll be using the glycerin to add the gum to, before adding it to the water phase. I found out I prefer adding the gum/glycerine slurry to the water phase before heating. It makes the process easier and I am less likely to end up with a slimy cream texture, which I’ve noticed I sometimes get when I add it after emulsifying.

The oil phase is made up of conditioning oils that from research are very conditioning and yet absorb quickly into the skin without leaving it greasy. Jojoba oil is technically a wax and most closely resembles the composition of our skin’s sebum (oils). Hawaiian kukui oil is an oil that has been used for generations to protect the skin from salt water, harsh sun and drying winds. I thought that would help to protect it from the harsh conditions of soap making too. Kokum butter is known for its deep moisturising properties, but also has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Squalane, a lipid derived from olive, is an excellent emollient and helps protect the skin from dehydration. And the Emulgade PL68/50 is the natural emulsifier I chose to use for this cream.

Kukui nuts – the oil has been used in Hawaii for generations to protect the skin from the harsh drying conditions of constant exposure to sun, salt and wind.

The additives in the cool down phase are also all natural (which is a requirement for this final project). The star ingredient is oats, which are rich in compounds that are anti-inflammatory and soothing. When my son had chickenpox, I made him oat-baths (basically I chucked oatmeal into the bath water) which really helped with the itchiness. It soothes and calms irritated skin, and it also gives a silky, powdery feel to the cream. I’m using two forms of oats in the cream: as a hydrolysed protein and as colloidal oatmeal. Hydrolysed oats are oat proteins that have been broken down into it’s smallest components (amino acids), so that it will more easily penetrate into the skin to deliver the goodness. Colloidal oatmeal is similar to the oatmeal that I added to my son’s bath water, but again, it has been processed (wetted and dried) to reduce the size of the particles. Colloidal oatmeal is a very fine oatmeal.

Alpha-bisabolol sounds very chemical, but it’s just the chemical name for a compound that is found in plants, such as chamomile, which is rich in alpha bisabolol. It is this compound that makes chamomile so beneficial to irritated and inflamed skin conditions, because alpha-bisabolol is well researched to show high anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-microbial properties.

I added pro-vitamin B5, also known as panthenol, because it is water-binding and thus hydrating. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which will help increase the shelf-life of the oils in the cream. And lastly, because this is a water/oil emulsion, I have to preserve it. The preservative I am using is Microcare DB, one of my favourite natural broad spectrum preservatives, because it’s easy to use and readily available. It’s ingredients are dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol, which, together, are very effective against yeast, mould and bacteria.

In the next part, I’ll tell you how it went (or didn’t go).

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