This silky, softly-scented gel moisturizer has become a fast favourite in my skin care routine. It’s beautifully light and packed with things my skin loves. It is focussed on lightweight hydration, making it the perfect thing to sandwich between skin cleansers and more occlusive products like lotions and oil serums in your skin care routine. I know many of you have been asking for a gel moisturizer—hopefully this Sweetgrass Gel Moisturizer fits the bill!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
The key functional ingredient in this formula is Aristoflex AVC, a gelling and emulsifying ingredient. This is what both transforms the watery bulk of this moisturizer into a gel and emulsifies in the small oil phase. It’s a cold process emulsifier, so no heat is required. Cool, eh!?
The bulk of this moisturizer is a combination of a 1% low molecular weight hyaluronic acid stock and beautifully fragrant sweetgrass hydrosol, with some added distilled water. The hyaluronic acid is a fantastic humectant, helping plump the and moisturize the skin and keep it hydrated. I’ve also included some propanediol to amp up the moisturizing goodness, and some panthenol (Vitamin B5), which also helps with skin soothing and barrier repair in addition to being a humectant.
Our oil phase is tiny; 4% argan oil and 2% dimethicone 350. I chose argan oil because my face loves it, but you can certainly feel free to select any oil your face loves. The dimethicone 350 is there mostly to keep this moisturizer from feeling tacky, as I find watery gel-type things can, but it does also provide some skin protecting, moisturizing goodness as well.
That’s pretty much it. Mix, let hydrate, and mix some more. I have stored this in an open-mouth jar and it works well there, but I think it would also work well in a pump-top container. The finished Sweetgrass Gel Moisturizer is lightly cloudy, softly scented, and delivers an amazing hydrating punch. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
Sweetgrass Gel Moisturizer
1g | 2% dimethicone 350 (USA / Canada)
1g | 2% Propanediol 1,3 (USA / Canada)
10g | 20% low molecular weight 1% hyaluronic acid solution
15g | 30% sweetgrass hydrosol
2g | 4% argan oil
0.5g | 1% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
0.25g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
19.75g | 39.5% distilled water
Sprinkle the Aristoflex AVC overtop and blend with a mini mixer or whisk until the entire mixture has thickened and emulsified. I like to give the mixture an initial stir, wait a couple hours for the Aristoflex AVC, and then blend again. That’s it!
Now all that’s left is to package it up. I put one batch in an open-mouthed jar, which worked well enough, but certainly wasn’t ideal. I’d recommend a 50mL (1.69fl oz) pump bottle (airless or otherwise) or a squeeze tube for better, neater dispensing.
To use, smooth over the skin after cleansing and before any heavier, occlusive layers. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this gel moisturizer contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to 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 recipe, 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 please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can replace the dimethicone with a natural silicone alternative like LuxGlide 350, or a very slippy oil. A non-silicone alternative will likely make the end product more sticky.
- Vegetable glycerin would work in place of propanediol.
- I really, really don’t recommend dropping the hyaluronic acid.
- You can use a different hydrosol in place of the sweetgrass hydrosol, or simply use more water. This will alter the scent.
- You can use a different liquid oil your skin loves instead of argan oil.
- Panthenol is included for its humectant and skin-soothing properties. Read the encyclopedia post (linked in the previous sentence) for substitution ideas.
- DO NOT substitute the Aristoflex AVC.
- Aristoflex AVC is very sensitive to electrolytes; do not add anything to this formula that contains electrolytes.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.