I also have a formula for make-up remover, click here if you’d like to read it!
The above-mentioned posts will (hopefully) be translated into English soon, however, if you do wish to check them out beforehand, you can go into the google chrome navigator, it offers to translate any website directly.
The interesting thing about creating your own foundation is that you’ll have an easier time finding your colour and that you can add the ingredients that will work for your skin type. You basically personalize it 100%.
What do we need to know before we start? An emulsion, a basic cream. If you already know how to do it, you can skip this step. If you know how to do it but you want to go deeper, I recommend you take a look.
NOTE: As in many publications you ask me where to buy the supplies, I remind you that in this post I made an index of shops (again, it’s in Spanish, but if you help we I can make one in English too). If you would like to help me with making a list for other countries, I would be delighted! Just comment below or write to me on my Instagram or Facebook.
An emulsion is a homogeneous mixture of two immiscible liquids. In order for these two to mix, they require a third ingredient: the emulsifier.
An emulsion consists of a water phase, an oil phase and an emulsifier. You can also add active ingredients and essential oils/fragrance (optional) and, of course, a preservative because we have an water phase. Once we have a water phase in whatever type of cosmetic we’re doing, we will need a preservative.
Depending on the percentage of emulsifier you will get one texture or another and depending on the percentage of water/oil you will get one sensation or another.
Normally, when you buy an emulsifier you will find a technical/advice sheet on the website or on the product that tells you what percentage you can use it in. For example, if we go to the online purchase sheet for Olivem 1000 from Aroma-zone (I remind you that I almost always buy here because I live in France), we can see that Olivem 1000 is used at between 5/10% of the weight of the preparation, that it is introduced into the oil phase, that the temperature at which it melts (melting point) is between 65 and 75 degrees and that it is soluble in oils.
You are already gettin a lot of information just there. You know that from your formula the emulsifier will be between 5/10%. If you look further in the product information sheets you will also see the maximum recommended percentage of oil phase and water phase. But if you don’t, you can be guided by these measures: 70% maximum liquid and 20% maximum oil.
If for whatever reason the shop where you buy does not have these information sheets, ask them, if you are going to buy a product it is normal that it comes with instructions. Worse case scenario, you can be guided by the information sheets of other online shops, but it’s kind of risky as the product could change from one seller to another and might not behave in the same way.
I’m lucky, the page of the shop where I buy is a huge source of information and I even get examples in pictures of what texture I will get by mixing each ingredient. Really, I have learned to formulate thanks to this page. If you don’t understand French the google browser offers the option to translate.
At this point, I think you have understood the importance of formulating with percentages. If you find it difficult, I always do the same calculation (the only lesson I retained from my childhood maths classes, what can we do? I’m a woman of letters): if you want 20g of product, multiply the percentage of the product by the grams and divide by 100. For example: 10% of 20gr would be: 10×20= 200, 200/100= 2.
I also found the online store websites extremely helpful with this. We know that we have to have a water phase, an oil, an emulsifier and a preservative. Besides, you can add some active ingredients to help you with your skin conditions.
– Water Phase: it can be distilled water, hydrosols, floral waters, oat milk, aloe vera, infusions… the number of options is infinite! To find out what suits you best, all you can do is read a lot and try it out. I, for example, have made creams with oat milk for its moisturizing capacity (you can see it here in my body cream, which is a Palmer’s dupe), I have made some with distilled water, I have made some with hydrolats (roses for more mature skin, helichrysum for redness, witch hazel for oily skin, etc)
–Oil Phase: here you can combine different oils, add a butter (bear in mind that it will thicken the formula), leave just one, etc. Here I talk about oils for acneic skin, here about oils for different skin conditions and here about oils for different types of skin. In this part the possibilities are also infinite. If you have acneic, sensitive skin don’t be afraid to use the oils, you just have to choose the right oil.
–Emulsifier: here you also have a great variety, if you already have one at home, use that one. But if you don’t have one, read the sellers’ information sheets to see what they say about each type of emulsifier. Once again (I know I’m a pain, but their data sheets are excellent!) I used the aroma-zone data sheet to choose mine (they have a comparative at the bottom).
–Preservative: here you also have several possibilities and, same old same old: look at the technical sheet, it will tell you what percentage it recommends.
–Active ingredients (optional): here you also have a lot. Here is a non-exhaustive list of examples → Moisturising actie ingredients: ceramides, hyaluronic acid, inulin, provitamin, squalane, urea, etc. Anti-acne active ingredients: salicylic acid, propolis, bisabobol. Anti-ageing active ingredients: coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid. Revitalising active ingredients: Vitamin C, cucumber tincture. Sensitive skin: squalane, provitamin B5, allantoin, bisabobol. Here too the possibilities are endless.
Some of the active ingredients are soluble in water, others in oil. Depending on the type of ingredient, you will have to dissolve it on one side or the other. To preserve the properties I remove some of the oil or water (I don’t heat it up) to mix the principles there and then add them to the emulsion when I mix the ingredients.
–Colouring Powders: Now we add the powders, you can use the mixture here or directly only the coloured powders. The powders you need to achieve the colors appear in the post I have indicated above). If you want to know about mixtures to obtein the colors, you can also check that post out.
Zinc oxide: white base, for me it’s a basic. I use it because I’m very fair and it’s what I use the most when I’m making my foundation. It also has the ability to act as a physical sunscreen barrier, but we could never know the sunscreen protection level, so it’s better to always use a sunscreen underneath your makeup just in case.
Titanium Dioxide: this is a little like the one above, but it’s more covering and is what is used to make white soaps. Problem: always make sure it is NON NANO (or without nanoparticles). I won’t go into detail, but this ingredient is considered to be carcinogenic in the form of nanoparticles and quite polluting for aquatic environments in the form of non-nano. I, for safety, use the previous one instead.
Yellow, red, blue and black oxides: these are the ones that will help you find your ideal colour. And here, my friend, you are going to have to try a lot. Attention, black oxide is only for darker/black skins.
Some pearly mica (optional): pearly micas look nice because they give a good face effect a “glowy” effect.
I found this image on Internet and I think it’s very useful to learn how to mix micas:
How do we do it?
- First and foremost, you clean and disinfect (we disinfect with 70 degrees alcohol that has to evaporate) all the utensils and surfaces you are going to work on.
- Then, you weigh the ingredients, when you see that different phases appear it is because some active principles are soluble in oil and others in water (this you will see in the technical sheets, once again). You prepare on the one hand the oils together with the emulsifier in the same container (suitable for bain-marie, I use a small glass of yogurt).
- On the other hand, you add the liquid phase (I usually take a little bit of it to dissolve the water-soluble active ingredients in it and add it when I am mixing the emulsion in a cold bain-marie).
- We put them in the bain-marie. We control the temperature, they must both be at the same temperature, more or less 70 degrees (depending on the melting point of the emulsifier).
- When they are at about 70 degrees, turn off the fire, add the water phase to the oil phase and mix vigorously for about 3 minutes.
- Put it in a cold bain-marie and mix it for 3 more minutes.
- Your moisturiser is ready! Now it is time to add the active ingredients, the preservative and finally the colour oxides. Stir well between each thing you add.
- Measure the ph of it. It should be between 4.5 and 5.5. I measure with measuring strips. pH is usually high, if this happens, you can lower it with citric acid or lactic acid. Add a drop, mix and measure again. Repeat until you get the right pH.
For the colour oxides I recommend you to blend a lot (before starting the emulsion) in a mortar (or in a grinder) the base you are preparing, because it can happen that you have not blended it enough and you get red stains, yellow stains all of s suddent when applying your make-up because you haven’t mixed everything well enough.
The more oxide percentage you add, the more covering your foundation will be. I like them quite covering because I have a very thin and red skin. But, it’s a matter of personal prefereances. However, add little by little, because some preparations can become unbalanced if we add too much. The cream will tell you if it doesn’t take any more.
I could have just given you my formula. But, I have realized that it is VERY personalized. The formulas that people share are also personalised, and that’s why it’s fun to make your own cosmetics. I have worked hard for so long to make this post for you to be able to formulate yourselves. With this explanation you can learn how to make body, facial and hair creams, etc.
This foundation has a light texture but is very moisturizing and penetrating as well as very covering. One would think it’s like a BB/CC cream, but being so covering, it seems to me that it corresponds more to a proper make-up foundation.
You can add fragrances or essential oils, but I didn’t find it necessary. If you add it, remember that your formula must add up to 100% in the end. That is, if you add something, remove it from somewhere else to complete 100%.
In brackets I have written what I used, customize as you wish.
A- 20% Oil (Knob)
A- 5% of emulsifier (Olive Douceur)
A- 2% oil-soluble active ingredient (pomegranate Co2)
B- 68.2% liquid (rose hydrolate)
B- 1% water-soluble active ingredient (inulin)
B- 2% water-soluble active ingredient (plant ceramides)
C- 0.8% Preservative (cosgard)
C- 1% Antioxidant (Vit E)
I add the oxides right at the end, here I added quite a few. I must have added 30% of the total weight of the formula. For 20gr of cream I started with 5gr of zinc oxide and then I added the rest of the oxides. So I calculate that in the end I must have added about 30% and it is very covering (the actual finish effect reminds me of Estee Lauder’s Double Wear).
I always make small amounts of the product in case it doesn’t work for me, so it also helps me practice. But, I love this formula.
Same formula but simplified:
A- 20% oil
A- 5% of emulsifier
B- 3% of active ingredients (you can omit it and add it to the emulsifier, but the texture will be thicker)
B-70% of liquid
C- 1% antioxidant
C- 1% preservative
And… that’s all folks! I know that I don’t usually post long publications, I get bored reading long publications because of my poor ability to concentrate and I don’t want to bore people. But, I think all this needed to be explained in order to learn how to formulate. I haven’t gone into every single thing in depth and it’s still long as it is.
I hope you find this post useful!
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