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Have you seen our formulation posts on how to make Basic Gel?

If you have not, please start with the basic formula to get yourself familiar with making a gel especially if you are a beginner in cosmetic formulation.

From the basic gel formula, you can make your gel extra hydrating or special by adding other humectant and actives. Since this is an Extra Hydrating Gel, I’ll be adding the following ingredients to the basic formula.


1. Provitamin B5

For skincare, biologically fully active d-panthenol (synonyms: dexpanthenol D-Panthenol,) is preferred. It is a multi-functional active ingredient that would be useful in most skin care formulations. It stimulates wound healing, enhances skin barrier repair, reduces inflammation, has anti-inflammatory activity, can increase sun-protection factor (SPF), stimulates the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts, can accelerate cell turnover, and much more.

Typical dosage - 0.5-5%

2. Sodium PCA

Sodium PCA (Sodium Pyroglutamic Acid) is a natural moisturizer and humectant and is present at 12% in our own NMF (natural moisturizing factor). Stronger hydrating agent than the traditional humectants like glycerin. Sodium PCA is known as a viscosity reducer in some systems, so do take note of this.

Typical dosage - 0.5-5%

3. Raspberry Liquid Fruit Extract

It is rich in Vitamin C and therefore contains astringent qualities that cleanse the skin surface of oils and other substances. It is also ideal for around the eye area, as it softly firms and repairs the skin.

Typical dosage - 1-5%


1. Distilled water

In this formula, I have replaced the distilled water with hydrosol since I want the gel to be scented without having to use essential oils. You can definitely use other types of hydrosol besides lavender, such as rose hydrosol, neroli hydrosol, etc.

2. Glycerine

I also replaced the usual vegetable glycerine with glycerol extract (aka glycerite).

3. Preservative

In this formula, I used Liquid Germall Plus (one of my favorite preservatives) as the preservative instead of Preservative Eco (Geogard ECT). You can still use Preservative Eco if you prefer. If you have sensitive or damaged skin, it is best to use another preservative, as Preservative Eco may sensitize your skin.

Extra Hydrating Gel


Step 1

First, weigh Phase A in a container and mix well.

Step 2

Next, weigh Phase B in another container and mix well.

Step 3

Then, add Phase B into Phase A. Stir to dispersed hydroxyethylcellulose.

Step 4

Check the pH and adjust the pH to 8.5 or higher by using arginine or sodium hydroxide solution. Continue to stir until gel forms.

Step 5

Then, check the pH again and adjust to be between 5 – 5.5 by using a citric acid or lactic acid solution.

Step 6

Finally, add Phase E into Phase ABCD and mix well and check the pH again. Adjust if necessary.

Step 7

Pour your mixture into a suitable container.


When substituting or adding ingredients, always ensure that the total percentage in the formula is 100%.

Happy learning!


First and foremost, let me be very clear that the suppliers listed in the formula above are those that I bought the ingredients from. Please feel free to find ingredients elsewhere if you like. The ingredients that I have used since I started my formulation journey were purchased by me, and only a few were given to me by my close formulator friends.