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BASIC GEL FORMULA WITH HYDROXYETHYLCELLULOSE

Welcome to my website. It has been a while since my last post and I hope, moving forward, I can write more. Anyhow, this post is for someone who has not made or probably made a few skincare products before. For newbies, let’s start easy.

Basic Gel with Hydroxyethylcellulose


Have you ever wondered how to make a face gel? It is easier than you think.

To make a skincare / cosmetic product, you need the equipment, the raw materials / ingredients and the right manufacturing method.



EQUIPMENT

Since you are new to skincare / cosmetic formulations, you need few basic equipment.


1.     Weighing scale

2.     Beakers / containers

3.     Whisk / Stirrer

4.     Spatula

5.     Stainless steel spoons

6.     pH strips (not litmus paper)

7.     Face mask, disposable gloves, rubbing alcohol and paper towel



INGREDIENTS

To make a basic gel, you need the following ingredients.


1. Water.

You need distilled water and not any other types of water, not mineral water, RO water and definitely not tap water.


2. Gum.

To turn water into gel, you need an ingredient that can thickens water. In the formula given below, I used Hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC). Hydroxyethyl cellulose is a non-ionic, water-soluble polymer. It is used as a thickening agent for aqueous cosmetic and personal care formulations.

  • It is compatible with most ionic ingredients.
  • It has low-foaming characteristics
  • Has good solution clarity.
  • Provide good viscosity. 
  • Soluble in both hot and cold water. The hydration time varies from 4 to 25 minutes and is highly affected by two factors - pH and temperature of the water. I am using the special R-grade (Tradename - Natrosol 250 HHR CS) which is designed to be added to water without lumping and is widely used when higher viscosity types are desired, or when the mixing equipment is inadequate to handle the regular grade.
  • Recommended usage level – 0.1 – 3% (depending on the desired viscosity).

Hydroxyethylcellulose comes in various grades with different molecular weight, viscosity, solubility profile and stability. Natrosol 250 HHR CS has a viscosity of 3400-5000 cps (1% in water @ 25°C). So, if you are using different grade, you may get different result.


3. Vegetable Glycerin.

Glycerin (sometime spelled as Glycerine) is one of the most commonly used, well-known and perhaps the most versatile humectant in cosmetics. It is also a solvent and emollient. It can be derived from both plant and animal sources. Glycerin is usually obtained from natural sources (e.g., soybeans, cane, or corn syrup sugar) or manufactured synthetically.

  • Recommended usage level – 0.5 – 10%


4. Preservative.

Preservatives are ingredients that can prevent or decrease microbial growth in cosmetics. When there is water or water containing ingredients, preservative is almost a must. Preservatives are an essential element of cosmetic microbiological quality. I am using Geogard ECT (also known as Preservative Eco or Plantaserv M), which is a liquid cosmetic preservative based on benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerin, sorbic acid. It is a broad-spectrum preservative, effective against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, yeast and mold.

  • It has a wide range of global regulatory acceptance.
  • Add to formula when the temperature is below 45°C.
  • Recommended usage level –1%


5. pH Adjuster.

When making water-containing products, you will need pH adjusters, which comprises 2 items. pH adjusters are needed almost every single time you make cosmetic products. These are staple items. 

a.     10% citric acid solution to lower the pH of your product.

b.     10% sodium hydroxide or arginine solution to increase the pH of your product.



FORMULA

If you have made skincare product in the past, you would have noticed the term “qs”. For those who have never made skincare product, “qs” is an abbreviation for Quantum satis / sufficit and it means 'add as much of this ingredient as is needed to achieve the desired result, but not more.’ This is mostly used to adjust pH where you will add acid or base until you reach a certain pH and the amount may vary from batch to batch. It is also used for base formulations (such as water) where the preservative or fragrance is unknown, since it depends on which preservatives or fragrances are used.


Basic Hydrating Gel Formula

This is a simple basic formula with just 4 main ingredients. Absolutely easy for someone who is new in formulation.


Basic Gel formula


Procedure   


Step 1

First, clean your work area, tools and container with rubbing alcohol. Wear a disposable gloves and face mask.


Step 2

Start by weighing Phase A (glycerine and gum) in a container and mix well.


Glycerine and gum


Step 3

Then, weigh Phase B (distilled water) and add slowly to Phase A. Stir until Hydroxyethylcellulose is dispersed.


Water, glycerine and gum


Step 4

At this point, the pH is approximately around 6-6.5. It will take approximately 50 minutes to an hour for the mixture to thicken. Continue to stir until gel forms.


Basic gel


Step 5

Then, adjust the pH to be between 5 – 5.5 by using a citric acid solution.


Step 6

Finally, add preservative to your mixture and mix well. Check the pH again. Adjust if necessary.


Step 7

Pour your mixture into a suitable container.


Clear Gel with Hydroxyethylcellulose

 

Notes:

  • At RT (room temperature) and pH 6.5, it takes approximately an hour for HEC to form a gel. It would be an added advantage if you have a magnetic stirrer or an overhead stirrer, as it will free you from stirring manually. However, as a beginner, it is unnecessary to have one.
  • You can replace the water with hydrosol if you like your gel scented.
  • You can use lactic acid to lower the pH and baking soda or sodium hydroxide to increase the pH as an alternative to citric acid and arginine.
  • You can also vary the thickness of your gel by either reducing or increasing the amount of gum used.


Does an hour of waiting for HEC to thicken is too long? Look for our next post on how to speed up the process to just a couple of minutes.


Happy learning!




SUPPLIERS

First and foremost, let me be very clear that the supplier’s list provided here is a courtesy to you, so that it is easier for you to find the ingredients and make the product. I am not associated with them, nor do I benefit in any way if you purchase from any of the companies listed. Please feel free to find ingredients elsewhere if you like. The ingredients that I used since I started my formulation journey were purchased by me and few were given to me by my close formulator friends.


US

www.formulatorsampleshop.com

Hydroxyethylcellulose (grade not stated)

Geogard ECT

Glycerine

Citric acid

 

www.lotioncrafter.com

Hydroxyethylcellulose (Natrosol 250 HHR)

Glycerine

Citric acid

  

CANADA

www.pureblendnaturals.com  

Hydroxyethylcellulose (type not stated)

Glycerine

Sodium hydroxide

Citric acid

 

www.soapandmore.ca

Hydroxyethylcellulose (type not stated)

Preservative Eco

Glycerine

Sodium hydroxide

Citric acid

 

UK

www.aromantic.co.uk

Preservative Eco

Glycerine

Citric acid


www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk

Glycerine

Citric acid

Sodium hydroxide

 

www.bayhousearomatics.com

Preservative Eco

Glycerine

Citric acid

 

www.theformulary.co.uk

Hydroxyethylcellulose (Natrosol 250 HHR)

 

www.messysupplies.com

Hydroxyethylcellulose (available in various types including Natrosol 250 HHR)


www.vibenationchemicals.com

Hydroxyethylcellulose (available in various types including Natrosol 250 HHR)


AUSTRALIA

www.newdirections.com.au

Hydroxyethylcellulose (higher viscosity)

Plantaserv M

Glycerine

Citric acid

Arginine


www.trulux.com.au

Hydroxyethylcellulose (Natrosol 250 HHR)

Geogard ECT

Glycerine


THAILAND / MALAYSIA / INDONESIA

www.shopee.com

Hydroxyethylcellulose (available in various types including Natrosol 250 HHR)

Geogard ECT

Glycerine

Arginine / Sodium hydroxide

Citric acid

 

EU

www.glamourcosmetics.it

Hydroxyethylcellulose (low and high viscosity)

Glycerine

Sodium hydroxide

Citric acid

 

www.alexmo-cosmetics.de

Hydroxyethylcellulose (different type)

Preservative Eco

Glycerine

Arginine

Citric acid

 

www.shop.skinchakra.eu

Glycerine

Arginine