As winter drags on, my skin needs all the hydration and love I can send its way. This formulation pairs two superfood ingredients with a couple fabulously hydrating ingredients and some potent antioxidants to help my skin stay soft and moisturized in the face of dry, wintery weather.
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The heated water phase of this Goji & Açaí Superfood Face Cream features three great moisturizers; hydrating hyaluronic acid, inexpensive and effective vegetable glycerin, and soothing panthenol (Vitamin B5).
Our heated oil phase is comprised of four ingredients. Lightweight, invisible Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate is our emulsifier, and Açai Berry Oil is our star emollient. Açai oil is a rather unique liquid carrier oil; it’s quite rich in palmitic acid and antioxidants. It’s got a slightly dry, woody scent that carries over to the finished lotion. If you don’t have it you could use a different liquid oil your face loves instead.
I’ve added some silky, slippy body to this emulsion with 2% cetyl alcohol and 0.3% Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN). Cetyl alcohol boosts emolliency and brings its wonderful silky, slippy-ness to the cream. Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN) boosts viscosity a wee bit, contributing a gel-cream feel to the formulation.
The cool down phase is rich in antioxidants, featuring Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Black Goji Liquid Extract. The extract gives this emulsion its creamy pale yellow colour. A small amount of allantoin boosts the skin-soothing, skin-protecting benefits of the formulation. The amount is low as I’ve calculated it to fall within the ability of the water in this formulation to dissolve it. Allantoin is about 0.5% soluble in water, which means if there was nothing else in the formulation but water, we could expect 0.5% allantoin to dissolve happily. In this formulation there’s about 77% water. 77% × 0.5% = 0.385%; I rounded down to 0.3%. I’ve never had any issues with allantoin not dissolving or feeling shardy in finished formulations when calculated this way.
For packaging, I’d recommend something with a treatment pump top. I ended up using two different airless pump bottles from YellowBee (gifted): a tall, clear 50mL (1.69fl oz) and a stouter opaque 50mL (1.69fl oz). They’re both nice, but the clear one is definitely easier to close—the opaque one requires a pretty hefty shove to get the lid to snap into place.
I’ve been using this cream as the last step in my skincare routine for the past few weeks, and my skin is loving it. It’s just what I need in these dry, cold dregs-of-winter days. Enjoy!
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Relevant links & further reading
- Hyaluronic Acid in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Vegetable Glycerin in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Panthenol (Vitamin B5) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Açai Berry Oil in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Cetyl Alcohol in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Liquid Germall Plus in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Allantoin in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E) in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- Let’s Talk About Hyaluronic Acid
- Ten Projects to Make with Hyaluronic Acid + HA Q&A
- Stop Believing These 6 Lotion Myths
- Preservatives + Shelf Life in the FAQ
- Can I use a different preservative than the one you’ve used?
Goji & Açaí Superfood Face Cream
Heated oil phase
1.25g | 1.25% Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate (USA / Canada / UK & EU / Australia)
8g | 8% açaí berry oil
2g | 2% cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
0.3g | 0.3% Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (USA / Canada / UK / Australia)
Heated water phase
57.65g | 57.65% distilled water
20g | 20% low molecular weight 1% hyaluronic acid solution (USA / Canada / New Zealand)
5g | 5% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
1g | 1% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup or glass beaker. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the heated oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh the water phase. Add enough hot distilled water to the heated water phase to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the lotion, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid lotion doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute before switching to hand stirring. You’ll need to be fairly diligent with the stirring at first, but once the mixture has thickened up a bit and is uniform you can switch to stirring occasionally. Once the outside of the glass measuring cup is just warm to the touch (40°C or cooler, if you have a thermometer) we’re ready to proceed.
Now it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of lotion on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of lotion, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then stir all of that back into the master batch of lotion. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up! I recommend using a treatment pump bottle or a squeeze tube with a small-ish orifice. A regular pump bottle will work, too. A jar or tub will work in a pinch, but beware of spilling as this emulsion isn’t terribly thick.
Use as you’d use any face lotion; I use this as the last step in my skin care routine after cleansing and serums. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this cream contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative, this project may eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this formulation in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this formulation, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Vegetable Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can try replacing the Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate with a thickening emulsifying wax like Emulsifying Wax NF. I’d use 2.25% Emulsifying Wax NF and 1% cetyl alcohol.
- You can substitute another liquid oil your face loves for the açaí oil; Argan Oil, Passionfruit Oil, Jojoba Oil, and Meadowfoam oil would all be lovely choices.
- You could use cetearyl alcohol instead of cetyl alcohol, though this will make the finished cream fluffier and less slippy.
- You could try a different gelling ingredient or gum instead of Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN).
- If you don’t have Black Goji Liquid Extract you could try a different liquid botanical extract that strikes your fancy.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
The glycerin, panthenol, and airless pump bottles were gifted by YellowBee.
The black goji extract was gifted by Voyageur Soap & Candle.
The Glyceryl Stearate (and) PEG-100 Stearate and açaí berry oil were gifted by Mystic Moments.
The hyaluronic acid was gifted by Pure Nature.
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