A Boutique GMP Factory That Makes Handmade Natural Products. Formulated By Pharmacist


Is Having More Than 1 Active Ingredient In Handmade Soap / Cosmetics better?

Heres a question i got asked before and i thought i would share with you what my take on it.

If you look at products in drugstore/ online store/ cosmetic department stores; you will always see all these products being claimed to have one effect or another. There are sections for all these products. Anti acne, anti aging, anti wrinkle, anti itch etc.

Now how can these products; that most of the time has similar looking ingredients to claim to have effect on different different things?

Thats when active ingredient comes in. Active ingredient is an ingredient; unlike other ingredients; have desirable effect when used in quantity/ dose that is recommended. Another name for actives is cosmeceuticals when it comes to cosmetic product. Just like how pharmaceuticals ingredient are for medicine. 

Some example of active ingredients:

  1. Moisturising: Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, allantoin
  2. Anti pigmentation: Niacinamide, Kojic Acid, Vitamin C, AHA, BHA 
  3. Anti Acne: vitamin A/retinoids, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, 
and more..

So the most common question one usually have is:

Can i put more than 1 active in a product?
If all these actives have different outcome, wouldnt it be good to add all in one and use one 'miracle' product that solves everything?

Wouldnt that be perfect?

Well; not really.

Not Cost Effective

One of the reasons why one dont put all in one product is because of the cost.

Its crazy expensive! each actives if you use it at the amount you are suppose to; its gonna cost a bomb! imagine putting all! im talking about extra Rm 10/ ingredient / 100g product. Thats the cost ya! not selling price!


Secondly; there might be interaction between each other. 

When added together one ingredient might lower the ph so low that it would deactivate the other ingredient; which means that it can be useless. 
Physically; there might also be sedimentation and uneven color; which can look horrible aesthetically. Not to mention the smell! yucks! 

Therefore this is also one of the reason why we don't mix all together.

Over Dose or Under Dose

Another reason why one wouldnt mix all together is because when formulating a cosmetic product; we will have to adhere to the rules whereby one product can only be added at certain percentage. 

Anything less or more; the product appearance (chemical reactions and physical appearance) might be altered therefore the product will finally not 'form'.

Example; if i added an ingredient at full recommended dose; example niacinamide at 4%, Hyaluronic acid at 1%, gluthatione at 2%, and vitamin C at 20%, ill get a product that is very 'powdery'. Besides that; it will also be a very acidic product that might sting the user's skin. And i also suspect this product will be combustible when its put in a closed container. 

So because of that; We do Not Add Everything at the highest strength.

So what do people do instead? 

The formulators would add everything at the lowest amount (just for marketing purpose). 

Now just like paracetamol its effective at 1000mg (2 tablets) to reduce your headache, Its kind of useless when you only take 1/2 tablet. Same goes with these actives as well. 

When used at lower quantity; it wouldnt work; therefore you are just buying a highly priced water product which doesnt do as what its claimed.

So what to do instead?

Make different products but use one active. 

Use the active at the recommended dosage so that it would work the way it says it would work! 

So like me; i wanted a glass skin few months ago. 

So what i had to do was to create a product that cleanses; that exfoliates to remove the dead skin, and something that moisturises my skin as well. 

Because of that; i made few different products to give me this effect. All of it had the highest amount of active (hence i introduced it slowly on my skin) and finally; within few months; i got what i want. We even got few people in soaplab to try it out and it worked! click here to see the whole range and the recipe on how to make them.

So yeap; thats what i think. No; having more than 1 active ingredient in your cosmetic is not better that having just 1. 

Hope this helped:-)


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