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The skincare industry can be a scary place for consumers.

Convenient access to imported products combined with lack of regulations around skincare labelling obligations have brought countless products to the market. Many formulated by companies without any scientific understanding of the damage the ingredients can cause skin.

Think face masks.

Under-eye gel patches.

Charcoal skin-peeling products.

All easily imported, and with terms and conditions stating that consumers agree to renege all liability if skin reacts or becomes irritated, the onus sits firmly on the user, not the manufacturer.

Biologi was founded by a cosmetic chemist with over 30 years’ experience formulating skincare for some of the world’s biggest brands.  With our inside knowledge of how skincare products SHOULD be formulated, current trends in natural beauty are terrifying.

While consumers are obliviously applying chemical concoctions consisting of ingredients absorbed by the skin (and therefore into the bloodstream), they’re also often doing it in the name of ‘natural’ skincare.

Without getting too scientific, we’re going to give you an overview of skincare formulation and some common inconsistencies across the industry which highlight why your natural product really might not be natural.

What is formulation?

The formulation of a product is how the ingredients used are balanced to make a single product. It’s a similar concept to cooking. You combine the ingredients to create a recipe or, in this case, skincare product.

Examples of formulated skincare products are:

  • Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen
  • Face and body wash
  • Cleanser
  • Face masks

All formulations should be carried out by someone who understands skincare ingredients and how they work together.

Structural formulation

In skincare, you want a product which is light enough to penetrate skin cells but not too runny or so thick it doesn’t absorb. Structural refers to consistency and how well it works with skin cells.

Functional formulation

These are the formulating ingredients that are used to make a product work.

In natural skincare, active ingredients are the functional ingredients that change the skin on a cellular level and are therefore responsible for long-lasting results.

So, if it’s an anti-ageing product, you might use active vitamin C as an active ingredient. If it’s a moisturising product you might want alpha-amino acids such as tryptophan, or for antioxidant protection flavanols such as quercetin.

While there are many synthetic products for sale, buying these from a retailer without formulating experience is risking the health and integrity of your skin cells. Synthetics may also overload the protective skin barrier with toxins that can cause sensitisation leading to chronic skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.

And this is where it gets interesting in natural skincare and where, armed with knowledge, consumers can no longer be fooled.


One of the most important factors to consider when formulating skincare products is the solubility of the ingredients.

All ingredients from natural sources are either water-soluble OR fat-soluble, which is particularly significant in skincare formulation.

Water-soluble ingredients

A water-soluble ingredient is one that’s dissolvable in water.

Water-soluble vitamins are more easily absorbed by the body, but the excess is excreted rather than stored.

Vitamin C and B are excellent examples of water-soluble ingredients.

Oil-soluble ingredients

Oil-soluble ingredients can only be dissolved in oil. Oil-soluble ingredients commonly used in skincare are essential oils, vitamin A and vitamin E.

Water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients can’t bind together naturally, and if you try to blend them, you’ll have a product that has the oil-soluble component floating on the top. You’ll, therefore, need a synthetic binding agent to combine the two.


Emulsifiers are synthetic ingredients that bond oil and water-soluble ingredients together, so they can be used in the same product.

What this essentially means for natural skincare is that if a product contains both water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients, it NEEDS an emulsifier and therefore CANNOT be natural.

Of course, some emulsifiers are better than others for your skin, but they do not grow on plants.

Emulsifiers are not natural ingredients.


Further, water-soluble ingredients such as vitamin C CANNOT be mixed with water and remain effective, because they’ll dissolve. So, if your product contains vitamin C and water/aqua (check the ingredients list), vitamin C is providing ZERO natural benefits.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the formulating inconsistencies that exist within skincare and the marketing of so-called ‘natural’ products. Once again, the best you can do is to learn what’s in your skincare, what your ingredients mean and whether natural really means ‘natural’. Because rarely does it ever.

Biologi serums are single-plant ingredient products extracted in their unique cellular matrix, which means they don’t need any additional ingredients to make them work. Water-soluble actives aren’t diluted or rendered inactive by water, and we don’t use emulsifiers to add synthetics to our natural actives.

To find out more about HOW Biologi works on the skin just as it does in the plant, contact us today.


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