Today’s formulation is a richly moisturizing, cold-processed, Silky Soothing Facial Gel. It was inspired by a La Roche Posay product—their B5 gel. This DIY is definitely more “inspired by” vs. attempting to duplicate their product as I don’t have all the same active ingredients, and I love what I’ve come up with! It’s brilliant for dry, irritated skin, and just the thing to add to your deep-winter skincare routine.
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For soothing actives, I’ve blended panthenol (Vitamin B5) and allantoin. Both are unassuming white powders that are fantastic for irritated, dry skin. Panthenol boosts skin elasticity and stimulates regeneration, while allantoin is an approved skin protectant. If you’re wondering why the concentration of allantoin is so low, it’s because I’m aiming to keep it below its maximum water solubility level. Allantoin is only water-soluble to about 0.5%, and it can be shardy and unpleasant if it doesn’t dissolve in formulations—so, I keep my usage rate below 0.5% of the amount of water in a formulation so it has plenty of available solvent. You could notch it up to 0.4% if you wanted to, removing that extra 0.1% from the distilled water.
In addition to the moisturizing goodness from the panthenol (Vitamin B5) and allantoin, we’ve also got two great humectants in here—hyaluronic acid and propanediol 1,3. While these are both low-tack humectants, I have found gels can be tacky, so I’ve included a small amount of dimethicone 350 for improved slip, richer skin feel, emolliency, and reduced stickiness.
I’ve used Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN) to gel this product because it creates silky, rich gels; if you don’t have it you could try Aristoflex AVC. If you don’t have that, either, you could try hydroxyethylcellulose, but you’d want to swap the dimethicone 350 for a PEG dimethicone like PEG-8 dimethicone. Since PEG-8 dimethicone is water-soluble we don’t need the pseudo-emulsifying powers of the Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN). Whatever you do, please don’t use xanthan gum unless you are a big fan of the texture of boogers 😬
Making this is really easy. The video has a specific order + pre-dispersing the Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN™) in the propanediol but honestly… you don’t have to do that. You can just throw everything in a beaker, cover it, wait a few hours, and stir until smooth. Enjoy!
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Silky Soothing Facial Gel
34.4g | 68.8% distilled water
10g | 20% low molecular weight 1% hyaluronic acid solution (USA / New Zealand)
1.5g | 3% Propanediol 1,3 (USA / Canada)
0.75g | 1.5% Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (USA / Canada / UK / Australia)
1.5g | 3% panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.15g | 0.3% allantoin (USA / Canada)
1.5g | 3% dimethicone 350 (USA / Canada)
0.2g | 0.4% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh all of the ingredients into a beaker. Cover the beaker and leave everything to hydrate and dissolve for a few hours—the mixture should appear clear, though it will likely look a bit lumpy.
Stir until smooth—a small wire whisk is useful for this step. I used my mini mixer.
That’s it! I packaged my Silky Soothing Facial Gel in a 50g (1.76oz) frosted soft squeeze tube from YellowBee. Watch the video to see how I did it! You’ll need a syringe (USA / Canada).
To use, smooth a pea-sized amount (or more—it’s up to you) across your skin after cleansing, and before heavier creams and/or oil serums. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this gel 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 recipe 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 50g.
- 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 (hyaluronic acid, propanediol, panthenol, allantoin, dimethicone 350) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You could swap 20–40% of the distilled water for a hydrosol to easily add a gentle scent to this gel.
- Please read the post for Polyacrylate crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN) substitution ideas.
- 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.