4 Reasons Why Your Foundation Formula Isn't Working


1. Untreated powders

Have you ever experienced your foundation become lumpy or the pigment starts to ball up on the skin during rub in? Untreated powders are usually the culprit. Using a surface treatment agent (e.g. Triethoxycaprylylsilane) and dispersing agent (e.g. PEG-10 Dimethicone) can help better disperse the pigment within the emulsion. Consider powders that are already treated for faster processing. Some untreated powders, namely Nylon 12, silica, and talc, can be added at the end of the emulsion without causing the emulsion to break. 


2. Order of addition

Ever tried to replicate a mass produced formula with the same exact ingredients but kept coming up short? It’s probably because you didn’t add the ingredients at the right time or into the correct phase. There are actives that will destabilize an emulsion if not added at the end of emulsification. Preservatives added to the wrong phase can cause this to happen too! 



3.  The viscosity of either your oil or water phase is incompatible

One of the biggest culprits to an ever failing foundation is the incompatibility of the ingredients. Not only do we worry about incompatibility between ingredients, but we also need to consider the viscosity of each phase. With oil-in-water foundations, having a heavy water phase with too much of a thickening agent, looking at you xanthan gum, can cause an emulsion to break. On the flip side, the viscosity of the liquids in the oil phase of a water-in-silicone emulsion have to be within 10 cst to work well together (this doesn’t apply to liquids below the 1% mark). The emulsion tends to break during processing if the viscosity between ingredients are not similar.



4. Mixing too fast!

This applies primarily to w/si emulsions. Silicone emulsifiers when mixed at a high rate during water addition causes the product to develop a false high viscosity. Within a few months, the viscosity will drop and will cause a once stable looking product to fail. Make sure to start at a low mixing rate between 500 - 1000 RPM for a lab batch. The mixing rate will always depend on the size and viscosity of the batch. Always add high shear mixing, preferably with a homogenizer (Dynamic offers an inexpensive homogenizer), once the foundation is fully emulsified.