Cosmetic serums are a very light formulation with a high density of active ingredients dispersed in oil, water, or gel. This makes serums well suited to the delivery of vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-aging ingredients, but provide less moisturization and protection. Serum production is mainly divided into stages related to optimal mixing and preventing degradation of the active ingredients.
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Most important considerations of equipment for making serums
When making cosmetic serums, you start by preparing the oil-soluble and water-soluble constituents separately. Add active ingredients after any thermal treatments as heat may damage or destroy them. Water-based serums will typically comprise oil solubles in very low concentrations of a few percent, active ingredients in a relatively high concentration, and water-solubles forming the majority of the solution. An emulsifier facilitates the distribution of oil solubles, and a preservative protects against microbial growth.
Equipment for making serums requires mixers to prepare the initial stages and to reach a uniform consistency. These may also include thermal functions to assist the incorporation of heat-stable ingredients. You then join the two phases with the help of an emulsifier, and may now introduce your active ingredients safely. Production nuances present with the variety of serum applications, such as acne management, anti-aging, skin-shining, and the reduction of wrinkles. As a result, the selection of your formulation and the necessary accommodations to produce it successfully are important. With oil-based serums, you don’t need to process a water phase entirely for example. Gel-based serums require mixing equipment able to develop the gelling phase.
Alternative options for serum bases
Gel-based serums provide better moisturization and need a gelling agent to reach the desired consistency and texture. You still need an emulsifier to incorporate lipid components, and preservatives to prevent microbial growth. Contrary to water-based serums, their oil-based counterparts contain no water, so they don’t need emulsifiers, and to some degree preservatives. Emulsifiers can strip away the natural oils of the skin and may not be desirable in some circumstances. Consumers may also prefer preservative-free cosmetics, though these are very safe ingredients essential to maintaining shelf life in hydrated formulations. Common bases for such serums include Argan oil and Jojoba oil.
Regulatory compliance for crafting cosmetics
Regulations for production and sale of cosmetic serums vary from country to country, but prioritize safety and transparency of ingredients. The EU has defined its expectations in EU Regulation 1223/2009, for example, and includes an extensive list of banned substances. It also highlights good manufacturing practices, and requires accessibility of relevant data to track economic and medical aspects of the serum. You need to appoint a responsible party, and develop an ongoing conversation with your regulatory agency regarding the safety of your serum.
How homogenization gives you consistency
One of the most important aspects of serum production is the homogenization of its composition. A reliable serum should maintain the same look and feel in every batch. Different ingredients behave differently in solution, and clumping can produce irregularities in the texture as well as discrepancies in relative potency. When selecting equipment for making serums, consider the needs of your formula to find the optimal fit. If clumping can be an issue, use agitators to help ingredients disperse into the mixture. Prior to adding active ingredients, you may also want to heat elements to facilitate even incorporation for a smooth, uniform outcome.