These ingredients form the fabric of your products, providing nourishment, hydration and moisturizing properties. They also tend to form the bulk of your product. Foundation ingredients forms the major part of your product.
Some of the foundation ingredients in organic skin care formulations are:
1.BUTTERS AS A FOUNDATION INGREDIENTS
This is an off-white sticky fat which has quite a strong smoky smell. Extracted from Shea nuts from the Karite tree which grows in Ghana, Shea butter is known for its rich moisturizing properties. Shea butter melts at body temperature and easily melts into the top layers of the skin. When using it in formulations, it is not necessary to melt it as it can be whipped with a whisk until creamy, then blended with oils or other melted fats. This butter can feel rich and greasy for some.
This is the pale-yellow, edible natural vegetable fat of the cacao bean, which is the fruit of the tree Theobroma Cacao. Cocoa butter’s low melting point makes it ideal to be used in skincare as the butter melts when in contact with warm skin. It’s also a brilliant base for making bath melts as it will readily melt into warm bath water too.
This white fat is extracted from the big seed inside the mango fruit. Mango butter is an excellent emollient (skin softener) and has been reported to lessen wrinkles and signs of ageing. Mango butter is rich in Vitamin E and has a long shelf life (up to 2 years). Because of mango butter’s white color, it is a great butter to use when you want to give a ‘commercial’ look to your skincare products.
A creamy coconut scented oil extracted from the meat of coconut, from the coconut palm. It has a melting point of just 24 degrees Celsius making it ideal for skincare preparations as it readily melts onto the skin. Coconut oil is liquid at 24 degrees Celsius and a white solid butter at temperatures below that. Coconut oil can be used on its own or with the addition of a few essential oils as a really nourishing skin-food.
2. WAXES AS A FOUNDATION INGREDIENTS
Waxes are often necessary when a harder texture is required, in lip balms for example, however waxes – unlike plants butters – cannot penetrate into the skin at all. They form a barrier which is necessary for lip balms but may feel too heavy as a facial moisturizer. Whether you use them or not is a personal preference.
Examples of waxes are:
Beeswax is made in the hive by honey bees it is yellowish hard, sticky wax and smells faintly of honey. Beeswax has been utilized in cosmetic preparations for centuries, you can find it in hand creams, lip balms and medicinal ointments.
This is a plant wax from a plant called Euphorbia Cerifera, this plant is native to Mexico and parts of the USA. It yields a hard yellowish or whitish wax with a melting point of 67-79 degrees Celsius. It is used in the cosmetic industry in products such as lip balms and lipsticks, particularly in vegan skincare as a substitute for beeswax. In some countries, it is called E wax (Emulsifying Wax).
3. OILS AS A FOUNDATION INGREDIENTS
Cold pressed from the kernel of the apricot pit, this oil is very popular in aromatherapy as a carrier oil as it is light and non-greasy but lubricates the skin well. The oil is rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E. The Vitamin E content ensures good keeping qualities.
This oil is technically a liquid wax and is almost identical to the sebum that your skin produces from its sebaceous glands. It has hardly any odor and is a clear yellowish liquid. Jojoba has a natural affinity for the skin and is a great additive to any product. It is easily absorb-able by the skin and can even penetrate the hair shaft to moisturize each strand.
The rich and nourishing oil from the flesh of the avocado fruit, high in amino acid proteins, Vitamins A, D and E and potassium. It is known to be the most moisturizing of any fruit oil. It is quite rich and expensive so it is usually blended with other oils such as almond.
Grape seed oil
One of the ‘dry’ oils with high content of Omega 6. It is often used as a massage oil base, you can just add some essential oils to the blend. It is best if blended with other oils such as jojoba or apricot oil. It is an excellent choice for body oils, nail oils as it doesn’t leave greasy feeling when applied.
4. HYDRO-SOLS AS A FOUNDATION INGREDIENTS
A true hydro-sol or hydro-lat is the flower water that is collected when plants are steam-distilled for their essential oils. Hydro-sols have a delicate nature and a light aroma which is similar to the plant’s essential oil but greatly diluted. They are ideal for gentle skincare.
A skin soothing hydro sol which is great as a facial toner for sensitive skins. Lavender water can be used to augment the healing properties of a lavender herbal balm for skin disorders.
Distilled from scented roses, this is the most popular hydro-sol. Use as a toner, facial spritz, in rose-scented face creams and on cotton pads to cleanse the face. Smells faintly of roses.
Chamomile water is beneficial to use on the eyes, it can be used to soak cotton pads to place on the eye sockets to soothe eye inflammation. Chamomile water is a soothing toner for sensitive skins or those with eczema.
Ingredients for a safe product
These are extra ingredients such as vitamins, colours or preservatives. Some may be optional, some are needed to create a safe skincare product.
Vitamin E –
A powerful antioxidant employed to prolong the shelf life of the carrier oils and butters in cosmetic blends. Vitamin E or tocopherol is also one of the main skin vitamins and helps to heal, regenerate and nourish the skin. It can also protect the tissues from free radical damage.
Natural preservation is a large topic which you must study when you choose to incorporate water into your skincare products. The most popular and common one amongst natural formulators is called Preservative Eco (its other trade names include Mikrokill ECT, Geogard ECT and Planta SERV M) – a broad spectrum preservative which contains four different components – Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Sorbic Acid.
Aromas are natural ingredients used purely for their fragrance (i.e. vanilla essence) and aromaceuticals have known therapeutic properties (i.e. essential oils).
Caution! Essential oils are very potent extracts therefore their usage requires caution. In general, you do not exceed 1% (1g in a 100g product) in skincare products but they can have an even lower dermal limit some of which is indicated below.
In lip balms please do not use more than 0.5% essential oils in total.
Lavender essential oil –
The number one choice to use on minor burns and skin problems. It is the classic aromatherapy oil to use in massage lotions and oil blends as well as skincare creams, lotions, gels and body wraps. Lavender is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti fungal. Dermal usage limit: up to 1%
Chamomile (Roman) essential oil –
Useful in skin care such as gardener’s hand creams or gels for areas of inflammation like sunburn. Use for chilblains and areas of neuralgia. Good for conditions like eczema and is known to be a skin-soother. Dermal usage limit: up to 1%
Geranium essential oil –
A beautifully fragrant essential oil that helps oxygenate facial skin especially where there are broken capillaries and veins. It balances the production of sebum in the skin, while keeping it supple and helping with the healing of wounds. It works well to clear congested skin, dermatitis and eczema as well as oily and mature skin. Dermal usage limit: up to 0.5% Other dermal limits:
Rose Otto absolute: 0.02%
Jasmine absolute: 0.4% for face and 0.7% for body.
Lemongrass essential oil: 0.6%
Lime essential oil (expressed): 0.7%
Bergamot essential oil (expressed, not FCF-free version): 0.4%
If you like citrus oils, try using the following:
• Lemon (distilled, not expressed)
• Lime (distilled, not expressed)
• Mandarin (expressed)
• Orange (sweet, expressed)
• Tangerine (expressed)
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