Hi! I am Cosmo Cosmeceutical.  My job at The Formulator is to help you find out about the ingredients and technologies available so you can  make well-informed choices. I hope we can have fun, too.

The Formulator

visit FORUM send EMAILRead The Journal of Topical Formulations for ideas about ingredient selection.


Elsom Research Innovative Biotechnologies. Where Nature, Science, and Art Combine.
a project of Elsom Research Co., Inc.

Formulation Help and
Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains information on a variety of subjects related to The Formulator:

>>>>> selecting a formulation base

How can I decide which formulation base to use?

An introductory discussion of our formulation technologies is included in our brochure: examining that may help. More detailed information about formulation techniques is available on the Elsom Research informational site, especially at our Formulation Products, Services, and Technologies page.

Three formulation bases offer nano-technology enhanced encapsulation: Nano-Emulsion, Nano-Encapsulation, and Double Emulsion with Nanosomes™.

The low-cost Simple Emollient base, suitable for body lotion or massage oil, can have only one ingredient added. That ingredient can be an ESSENTIAL OIL or a BOTANICAL.

All the cosmeceutical bases (Nano-Emulsion, Nano-Encapsulation, and Double Emulsion with Nanosomes™) require selection of one base oil and allow addition of up to seven optional ingredients. For these bases, a link to a similarly-textured Elsom Research ready-made retail cosmeceutical is included in the description and may help you choose.

Which formulation base allows the widest choice of optional ingredients?

Every ingredient is associated with a category (for instance, VITAMIN) and that category is associated with one or more formulation bases, making all the ingredients within the category available for selection as optional ingredients to be added to that formulation base.

The association of ingredient categories with formulation bases is shown in the table below:

Double Emulsion with Nanosomes Nano-Encapsulation Nano-Emulsion Simple Emollient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient
selectable ingredient

Our Nano-Emulsions are nano-sphere-shaped vehicles. This vehicle type provides both nano-emulsion and nano-encapsulation properties in a single system and can be used for most ingredients.

Our Nano-Encapsulation technology is based on our nano-emulsion system but adds a second nano-encapsulation mechanism. This vehicle provides double nano-encapsulation in a single nano-emulsion system and can be used to attenuate undesirable attributes of certain ingredients. For example, this base is useful in preventing staining from curcumin (it will retain its yellow color but will be washable and non-staining), increasing the active shelf life of retinol (Vitamin A), and reducing the odor of some other ingredients.

Double Emulsion with Nanosomes™ combines double nano-emulsion and double nano-encapsulation technologies. This is the only base which contains Nanosomes™. This is the most versatile base, and is suitable to carry, protect, and transport ingredients into the skin. It can help in carrying, protecting, and transporting a broad range of ingredients, including ingredients which are very difficult or impossible to handle with other methods.

Do all formulation bases include preservatives?

Yes. We are happy to support our shoppers in matters of their own personal taste: if you think lavender smells better than jasmine, or jojoba oil feels smoother than shea butter, you can use The Formulator to describe the skincare of your dreams and we will gladly produce it for you. However, preservation is a matter of safety; we will not manufacture products we believe to be unsafe. The skin is generally a good barrier against infection, but skincare is likely to come into contact with mucous membranes around the eyes or to be accidentally ingested or inhaled through application to the lips or nose, or to be applied to skin that is broken by cuts and abrasions. Everything we produce will be adequately preserved against bacteria and fungi which could otherwise cause infection. It's fun to use The Formulator to take a chance on an unusual combination of ingredients; we never take chances with your safety.

>>>>> selecting optional ingredients

How can I decide which ingredients to include?

There's just no substitute for research: ask other people about their experiences; read; try some things for yourself. Researching ingredients, and combinations of ingredients, is the responsible thing to do, and it's what we do in designing our retail products. This is an investment of time and energy that not everyone is able to make, and we understand that very well. If you aren't in a position to research possible ingredients and would like to purchase a high-quality pre-existing product, relying on us to have thoroughly investigated the exact combination of ingredients and technologies found in that product, you are very welcome to do that through our online shopping system. If, however, you are interested in doing your own investigation and using that as the basis of your ingredient selection, using Elsom Research technology to formulate a product containing those ingredients, and if you understand the responsibilities and limitations you accept in that process, The Formulator is a good option for you.

What if I choose more than the maximum number of optional ingredients?

Elsom Research will reduce your selections to a valid number.

Why do many ingredients have more than one name?

Ingredients, especially those of botanical origin, are likely to be known by different names in different communities. For plants that occur naturally in a wide range and that have been used for varied traditional purposes over an extended period, this can make it difficult for different people to figure out whether they are or are not discussing the same thing. Wherever we can do so within The Formulator, we list botanical ingredients by at least two names: the "common name" which is most familiar to us within Elsom Research; the "INCI name" which identifies it within the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. We hope this will provide shoppers with enough information to determine whether the material we are describing is the material they are interested in.

Why are some plant sources listed several times?

This can be because different parts of the same plant have different attributes: roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds of the same plant all have different chemical structures. It can also be because the same plant can be created as an ingredient in multiple ways: for an ESSENTIAL OIL, the oily or waxy portion of the plant is separated from the other material, while for items we mark as simply BOTANICAL this separation has not taken place.

How are ingredients identified as BASE OIL, PRECIOUS OIL, and ESSENTIAL OIL different from each other?

Ingredients we call BASE OIL or PRECIOUS OIL are similar in their chemical structure but different in their rarity and therefore their cost: in the quantities required for use in the formulation base, a PRECIOUS OIL is prohibitively expensive. In both cases, the oily or waxy nature of the ingredient makes it useful for creating a smooth, evenly-spreading, soothing emollient, and our formulation technologies nano-size the oily particles to a nanometer-range size. These tiny droplets will not clog pores and will absorb quickly and deeply into th skin.

A BASE OIL or PRECIOUS OIL may have a noticeable aroma or none at all; these ingredients are used for their texture and structure rather than for their fragrance. An ESSENTIAL OIL, however, is primarily used for its strong fragrance; these ingredients are widely used in perfumes, aromatherapy, and other applications in which an agreeable smell is an important criterion of success for the finished formulation.

Will my favorite ingredient xxxxxxxx ever be available through The Formulator?
Our intention is that the list of ingredients will be flexible; we'll adjust it as we continue to research ingredients, as we find or lose good suppliers of high-quality ingredients, as we monitor consumer demand, and as we expand our technological capabilities. We can't promise to accomodate all requests, but we would like to hear and consider them; please contact us with your suggestions and questions. You may wish to participate in online discussions about this with other consumers; you are welcome to visit our forum.

>>>>> custom micro-batch sizes

What size will my custom micro-batch be?

2oz (55gr).

Can I buy a custom micro-batch from The Formulator in a size smaller than 2oz (55gr)?


If I like a product I customized with The Formulator, can I have a large batch of it produced?

Yes. We retain records of every order placed, and we are happy to produce a batch to your specifications (minimum order size 2Kg) for your personal use or for you to resell; this is much more cost-effective than ordering many single products via The Formulator. Some combinations of ingredients and technologies remain more practical for large batches than for single products such as those customized via The Formulator; if you require something not currently possible through The Formulator, please contact us to discuss what other options may be available.

What if I want more than one 2oz (55gr) jar but less than a 2Kg batch?
When you place your order, add a comment explaining the larger quantity you wish to purchase. We'll communicate with you about your request and, if we are able to produce the larger quantity, send you a Google Checkout invoice for the adjusted price and quantity.
>>>>> schedules

What happens after I make my selections and send them in?

An expert formulator at Elsom Research will oversee creation of your custom-made product, which will then be packaged in a simple retail-size bottle or jar appropriate for its texture and consistency; it will be labeled with your name and the list of ingredients, and sent directly to you.

When will my credit card be charged?

Shortly before we begin formulation. If your credit card has been charged, we have begun production and will ship soon.

How soon will I receive my product?

Please read our shipping policy.

How long will my product last?

This is a two-level question; on both levels, you should expect products of The Formulator to behave like other Elsom Research products. That means a usable shelf life of about one year, with some variation depending upon the conditions in which the product is stored; extreme heat reduces shelf life, while refrigeration (but not freezing) prolongs it. It also means that you can estimate about 1 gram of a skin or scalp formula will be used per application, so a 55 gram (2 oz) container of a product will suffice for 55 applications. Since some people apply products once daily, some twice daily, some on alternating days, and some only as needed, we can't predict how many days you will be able to use your product.

>>>>> rights and responsibilities

Do I have exclusive rights to a product I customize with The Formulator? Can I patent it?

No. Nothing in our system stops another shopper from using The Formulator to make choices identical to those you made. With so many options available, the likelihood that two identical ingredient selections would happen by chance is small, but it remains a possibility. Bear in mind that every formulation is more than the sum of its ingredients: the processing technologies we use play a key role in determining the nature of the product. The processing technologies and ingredient profiles used to create products requested via The Formulator are proprietary inventions of Elsom Research Co., Inc.; we don't reveal those details and, while we are happy to use them to create a product for you, we do not give you any rights of ownership over them.

What if I don't like a product I customize with The Formulator?

Please read our return policy.

Can I find out what ingredients other people are trying? Can other people find out what ingredients I chose?

Please read our privacy policy: we don't discuss any customer with any other customer. If you want to discuss and debate the merits of ingredients and formulation technologies, our forum is a good place to do that with other willing participants

>>>>> payment methods

How can I pay for the product I customize with The Formulator?

The checkout process is the same for The Formulator as for our stock retail cosmeceuticals at new-equilibrium-skincare.com: we accept credit card payment through Google Checkout, or you can mail us a check or money order.

>>>>> sources of additional information

Where should I start The Formulator?
Where else can I learn about ingredients and formulation technologies?

Elsom Research, makers of The Formulator, provides multiple sources of information that may be helpful to you as you consider what topical formulations you might like to try: the Journal of Topical Formulations and its associated formulation forums; the Elsom Research blog, our stock cosmeceuticals shop, and our Learning Pages.

This Help page is specific to The Formulator; related Help pages discuss our retail skincare products and how to purchase stock or custom skincare from Elsom Research.

The Elsom Research Search Engine searches our family of inter-related Web sites.


this page was updated February 20, 2008 by scribionics: expand comparison of formulation bases