When I started out a few years ago, I followed a lip balm recipe that I found online. It turned out OK but just OK. I wanted to tweak it to become more moisturizing and less greasy. I wanted to include a few cosmeceuticals to give winter support, I wanted to add a lip tint, and so on, but I didn’t know where to start because I didn’t create the formula from scratch. I didn’t know which ingredients to add more of or take out to change the texture, which oils would facilitate penetration of my precious and pricey cosmeceuticals, which components were compatible, how to ‘degrease’ or increase the level of hydration my product (in this case, lip balm) could infuse. I felt limited.
Of course following recipes has its place in learning how to formulate your own products in the very beginning and would not have come this far if I didn’t try to follow them. I get a lot of inspiration looking at recipes online, and just getting used to the practice of making things. It’s always good for a start but eventually, you have to move on to get better (if that’s what you want). I had to really learn how to formulate to add flexibility to my abilities. This opened a huge door as I even learned how to take apart formulae and put them back together; really tweaking a product formula to become what I really want and or just create my very own from scratch.
This is particularly important in bespoke skincare formulation, in which products are tailored to meet the client’s exact skin needs and preferences (or yours!). In ethical skincare and formulation, values, sustainability and allergies is a major determining factor in the choice of ingredients. Vegan, raw, edible, and anti aging themes determine what ingredients will be included or excluded and there’s only one way to cater to these niches; learning how to actually formulate. The freedom that this affords is priceless in my opinion.
I know that not everyone has the interest or opportunity to learn how to formulate but if you already make skincare products by following ‘recipes’, why not take it a step further and become your own boss, make products that actually work for you, also reflect your values, and showcase your uniqueness and creativity? Troubleshooting your formulae becomes easy and you can create very advanced products, rivaling those from top cosmetics companies and artisan brands.
Are you convinced?