Adventures in DIY: Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum Part 2

This is going to turn into a 3-part series for just the Vitamin C!  :O  I'm afraid the Shark Sauce will have a pretty lengthy 2-part post too.  Anyway, let's do this!

Note:  This recipe took a lot of time, money, and work to develop.  Please be respectful and do not redistribute this (especially without credit).  This is meant for personal use only, not for commercial or profit.  It is provided for free, so please show some consideration or I will not be able to provide future recipes.


  
A Quick Note:  I did my research, and am confident in my abilities to make a DIY Vitamin C serum for my personal use.  Please do your own, as I am not responsible for you going Emeril Lagasse on your Vitamin C and throwing all kinds of stuff in there without checking if it'd be ok first.  This is not an art, it's a science.  Always check for your triggers.  Always patch test.  I can make a recipe ten times, and every time, I will still patch test on my arm first.

That dish is going to be so salty by the time he stops...
I'm going to repost my crappy Snapchat pictures/videos for this, as it's really difficult to get nice pictures while working with time-sensitive ingredients on a dining table that doesn't get natural light.  I'll maybe try to go back and take better pictures later, for posterity's sake.  Anyway, ready?  Yes?


Let's cook.

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I clean the bottles using hot soapy water and a couple drops of dish soap.  After I rinse it out a couple of times to make sure there's no more soap, I'll pour some rubbing alcohol in the bottles and shake like crazy.  I also fill the droppers with the water and alcohol during these steps.  My gloves are just regular nitrile gloves that you can get at your local pharmacy.  I pour some rubbing alcohol on them as well and try to sanitize them as much as possible.  Not pictured here, because I just started doing it, is to use a solvent in your product (I use distilled water) to rinse out the alcohol from the bottle and dropper when your serum has been made and is ready to be bottled.  This gets rid of residual alcohol without contaminating the product, while giving the alcohol enough time to kill off anything in the bottle.

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Just a little more preparation to go...  Now here's the thing:  in your non-certified lab/kitchen/dining table, you cannot sterilize anything.  Not without an autoclave and a bunch of other expensive things.  But you can sanitize and try to maintain as sanitary of an environment as possible.  So move those bananas and succulents to the far end of the table and wipe down your work area.  I actually do this twice to make sure I catch as much as possible.  After that, it's ok to put everything straight on to the table, but we also eat here and I don't want chemicals getting on my baby.  So I lay down napkins - yeah, just regular paper napkins.  Grab everything and lay them out.  I like to put them in order, so I can just work left to right.  Print out your recipe, and grab a pen just in case (wipe this down).  If you're going to take pictures and Snapchat it to the Internets people, wipe down your phone too.


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There's not much to say about this part.  I just have the recipe printed next to me, measure out each ingredient into a cup, and check it off the list.  If you're confident in your measuring abilities, some things can be combined into the same cup to reduce waste.  For example, I put my plant extracts together, as well as hyaluronic acid stock, allantoin stock, and glycerin (when actually used) together. Sea kelp bioferment and seamollient can be put together too if they're in small enough quantities, as these are really small cups.  Only do this if you're using pipettes, and are confident you won't go over.  
 
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I've seen some DIY Vitamin C recipes containing ferulic acid where they just either don't realize, or don't care about dissolving it correctly.  You cannot just add ferulic acid to propylene glycol (or ethanol, etc), stir, and move on.  It will make a cloudy white slurry, and once everything in your serum has been mixed together, it will sit on the bottom like a sludge.  (Learned that the hard way.)  I take an old plastic container, add about half an inch of water, and microwave it for a minute.  It's pretty warm, but not boiling.  I mix the ferulic acid into the propylene glycol, sit it into the warm water bath, and stir until it's all dissolved.  It goes entirely clear, and is a very pale yellow.

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I have my suspicions about sodium lactate being similar in behavior to hyaluronic acid.  Also, the variety that I bought here comes in large flakes, like kosher salt.  I add distilled water (or the Allantoin stock, or hyaluronic stock, whichever is a good amount) and sodium lactate together in a shot glass.   I've noticed that if I just let it sit there by itself for a while, it will naturally start dissolving on its own.  Sometimes, I'm just not patient though, and help it along by crushing it with my glass stirring rod like a mortar & pestle.

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I messed up here.  In my mind, I was concerned with adding L-Ascorbic Acid as late as possible to minimize oxidation.  You should add it to the water phase - aka before adding in the ferulic acid in propylene glycol solution and the Vitamin E oil phase.  It should dissolve very quickly.  When you add the oil phase to the solution, drizzle it in slowly while stirring like crazy with the stirring rod in the other hand.  If you don't do this, it will clump up into boogery bits, and will be a pain in the ass to even back out.  Stir like you're trying to whip eggs.  If you have a whisk, feel free to use it, but make sure it's not bare metal, because again - chelation.  Sometimes I add xanthan gum in during the final part, which involves sprinkling a little in while stirring crazily and then checking consistency.  Note that when working with sea kelp extract, it tends to be very watery while being made, and will thicken up some into a funky gel consistency after it gets to sit around for a little bit.

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I really need a pH meter, but the one I want is like $80 so haaa....strips it is.  I measure out some citric acid in a cup, sprinkle a bit in, stir, test pH, and repeat as necessary.  If you don't want to do a lot of adjusting, you can drop the sodium lactate down to 2% or even 1%, and that should be ok.  ALWAYS check pH regardless of if you drop it or not though.  I aim for a 2.5-3 range, but L-AA is effective up to 3.5 so just try to eyeball for the ~3 mark.  Bottle it up, dispose of all your waste, wash your glassware, and wipe down your work area.

Yeah, I watch a lot of TV.

And that's it!  Super easy, if not just a little tedious.  It doesn't even have to be all that time consuming if you stick to a simpler recipe, but I like my schmancy stuff.  Up next, the final part of the Vitamin C series:  How to modify recipes and make your own!  Thank you to everyone who reads this, and I hope it inspires you to join me in the DIY revolution!

3 comments:

  1. This whole process reminds me of my regular day at the lab haha (not in a fun way... more in a this is my work way T_T)
    The product looks good but I think I'll just stick to store bought vitamin C serums for now!

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  2. OMG, I saw this comment right after you posted it, and then a ton of things happened, and it totally flew out of my mind until I noticed I had one comment here. Yeah, it's also a little tedious, but it's SO worth it to me though, as I can definitely see the effects and I wouldn't be able to afford a similar serum otherwise. I totally understand though! :D

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  3. This is so cool! Thank you so much for posting this ! You've inspired me to try DIY skin serums.

    I'm still a little bit confused by the process, probably because the last time I did chemistry was in 11th grade.... You talk about an oil phase and a water phase, but I'm uncertain what, precisely, you're talking about. Could you create a list of steps for us chem lab noobs. :)

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