Experiments in the workshop: Making a facial cleanser with Miracare Soft 313 and Siligel

Yesterday, we took a look at formulating a body wash with Miracare Soft 313 thickened with Siligel. Today, let’s look at making a facial cleanser with some of these same ingredients.

When I formulate a facial cleanser, I think about using lower surfactant levels than I would for a body wash, bubble bath, or shampoo. For those, I might use 30% to 50% surfactants while a facial wash would have 10% to 20% depending on the skin type. Higher for oily skin and lower for dry skin.

For this facial cleanser, I’m using 10% Miracare Soft 313 (= 3.5% active) and 4% cocamidopropyl betaine (at 30% active = 1.2% amphoteric surfactant). I added the latter as it can increase mildness and viscosity.

As a note, I’m using Stephan Amphosol CG from Voyageur Soap & Candle, which is 30% active and has a pH of 5 to 7. You may find the version you have contains more active surfactants or a higher pH. Adjust this formula to ensure you don’t have more than 5% total active surfactants or the Siligel may fall apart.

I’ve been increasing the humectants in my products in rinse off products as I’d like more of it to stick around after rinsing, so this product contains 5% glycerin and 5% propanediol 1,3. (I tried a version with 5% sorbitol in place of the glycerin and really liked it, so that’s an option, too. I’m really enjoying sorbitol, and I have it in powder and liquid form.)

Siligel can handle up to 2% oils, which isn’t a lot, so I included a water soluble oil in the form of Olivem 300 or PEG-7 olive oil esters to offer some post rinsing emolliency. I added some aloe vera to act as a hydrator and film former, and calendula extract as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

As an aside, I don’t know why people are using Olivem 300 or water soluble shea butter as solubilizers to mix oil into water. They don’t work that way. They don’t need to be emulsified if you want to use them in a water based product like toner or cooling sprays, but they won’t help anything oil soluble stay solubilized.

As with yesterday’s body wash, we’ll weigh the non-surfactant things together, then sprinkle the Siligel on top and mix with an immersion or stick blender for 10 minutes. After this, we’ll add the surfactants and mix with a fork by hand until incorporated. If we mixed it all together, it’d be super foamy and bubbly. This is why I never mix surfactants with machines, only forks.



51.5% distilled water

10% aloe vera liquid

5% glycerin

5% propanediol 1,3

5% Olivem 300, water soluble Shea butter, or another water soluble oil

5% liquid calendula extract

2% panthenol (powder or liquid)

0.5% liquid Germall Plus

2% Siligel


10% Miracare Soft 313

4% cocamidopropyl betaine

As a note, I found the Siligel poofed up pretty considerably, so left it over night to de-poof before adding the surfactants.

I really like this formula. My skin feels clean and hydrated and not at all tight or dry. It has good lather and foam for a facial cleanser, meaning there’s not too much, not too little

How else could we alter this formula? There are so so many ways! Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

Did you try this formula? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!