Category Archives: Cosmetic Formulating

Dragon’s Blood Beauty Balm by Plant-Based Formulator Joan Morais

Dragon's Blood Beauty Balm developed by Cosmetic Formulator Joan Morais

Dragon’s Blood Beauty Balm ~ Awaken The Female Dragon by Plant-Based Formulator Joan Morais

I developed this “Dragon’s Blood Beauty Balm ~ Awaken The Female Dragon”, first from the inspiration from the magical Dragon Blood Tree and second because of the traditional medicinal and skin care uses. I immediately fell under the spell of this mystic tree when I discovered the dragon’s blood tree on an island of the Azores Islands. I saw the dragon tree for the first time on the Island of Pico. I was instantly mesmerized and captivated by the dragon’s blood tree.

Plant-Based Cosmetic Formulator Joan Morais and the Dragon’s Blood Tree – Become a Plant-Based Cosmetic Formulator

Dragon’s Blood Tree
The dragon’s blood tree is also called the dragon tree and drago, Dracaena draco. The tree’s resin looks like blood because it is transparent and vibrant red. The name Dracaena comes from the Greek word ‘dracaena’ and means Female Dragon. The resin has been used as a dye and for medicinal purposes and in medicinal products for centuries. This subtropical tree is native to the Canary Islands, Madeira, Cape Verde and western Morocco and brought to the Azores. The dragon tree is known to live a very long time. The oldest tree is possibly be 400 – 1000 years old. It is hard to determine the age since dracaenas are monocotyledons and don’t have rings to count the years.

Dragon’s Blood Tree Medicinal Uses
According to Dragon’s blood: Botany, chemistry and therapeutic uses  dragon’s blood resin has been traditionally used as a “haemostatic, antidiarrhetic, antiulcer, antimicrobial, antiviral, wound healing, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant………and for skin disorders such as eczema.”

Become A Plant-Based Cosmetic Formulator
As a plant-based cosmetic formulator I thrive in nature. Nature inspires and enlightens me with its wisdom, healing powers, vibrancy, radiance and rainbow of plant colors into my plant-based formulations. This Dragon’s Blood Beauty Balm ~ Awaken The Female Dragon is unique to me and brands me as a plant-based formulator. In my Natural Professional Skin Care and Hair Care Product Making Courses, I share so many formulations that can easily be customized and a new creation like my Dragon’s Blood Beauty Balm can be developed into a one-of-a-kind whole beauty product by you. You can become a Plant-Based Cosmetic Formulator! Being a plant-based cosmetic formulator and instructor brings me such fulfillment and joy. My biggest passion is to share this with my students and assist my students to be successful and to soar.

Dragon’s Blood Tree on the Island of Pico, Azores – Joan Morais

The Mystic and Magical Dragon Tree ~ Female Dragon

Learn the power and the energy
The language of the craters the signs
Of the dragon tree and its magic alchemy
Or the writing of stone and metals
-Manuel Alegre (Portuguese Poet)

Dragon’s Blood Tree on the Island of Pico, Azores – Joan Morais

Aprender os poderes e a energia
A língua das crateras os sinais
Do dragoeiro e sua magíca
Ou a escrita da pedra e dos metais
-Manuel Alegre

cosmetic formulation testing

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Testing the Formula

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Testing the Formula

Now that we went over some of the basics of cosmetic formulating and how to build the formula, let’s go over testing the formula. Cosmetic formulation testing is an important step before going to market with your final product.

Adjusting the Formula

It is rare that you will have the exact product you want on your first try. Formulating is all about tweaking your formula till you get it exactly how you want it. It takes a lot of patience. Don’t get discouraged if it is not turning out how you want, as it may just take a little tweak to get it exactly where you want it!

When making changes to the formula, it is important you only make one adjustment at a time. It can be tempting to make several changes at once, but then you will not know which adjustment produced what kind of change. It is also important to allow time for the formulation to settle. Sometimes scents can take time to evolve and waxes to firm up.

pH Testing

pH stands for “potential for hydrogen” and is the system to measure acid and alkaline. Neutral pH is 7, anything below 7 is acidic and anything above 7 is alkaline. Water has a neutral pH. The more acidic or alkaline a product is, the more it will cause irritation to the skin. Generally the pH level for body and skin care products should be between 4.5- 6.0 and for hair care products between 4.0- 6.0.

There are a couple different ways one can test for pH. There are pH strips that are easy to use. The strips will give a range instead of the exact pH. A pH meter on the other hand will give you the exact pH and is more accurate. You will likely need to adjust the pH of your product and you can do this with natural ingredients.

Sample Labeling

It is important for you to keep excellent records and label your sample with several key information. This includes the date it was made, type of product, pH, and a reference number that links to the formulation in your lab notebook to refer to for more detailed information. That way you can return to your sample over the next several months to test its stability. You should test the pH, notice the scent and how it has evolved, and if there has been any separation or discoloration.

Testing for Bacteria, Yeast and Mold

Any product that contains water will need to be tested for bacteria, yeast and mold. There are different ways  to test your product.

Plate counts test if there is bacteria, yeast and mold in your sample. It will not tell you how long your preservation system will be effective.

Challenge testing is performed at at one month or two months. Millions of bacteria, yeast and mold will be injected into the product and it will determine if your preservation system is effective.

Stability Testing will test how your product reacts to very hot and cold temperatures.

Testing and Preservation Resources

It is very important to test your product and not only for the stability of the skin or hair care product, but also for bacteria, yeast and mold, and if the preservation system is effective. At Joan Morais Naturals we provide extensive information on testing and preserving your body and hair care products naturally and effectively in our professional product making courses. For information on these courses check out the following:

Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course

Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course


Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Building the Formula

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Building the Formula

In our last blog post on Cosmetic Formulating we went over some formulating basics, including what a formula is, whether it will be organic, natural and/or cruelty-free, understanding measurements and synergy of your ingredients. In this blog we will go over how you build the formula.

Factors to Consider

Prior to making your formula, you must consider many factors and get clarity on what kind of product you want to make. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the consumer for this product? Age, gender, skin type, etc.?
  • What properties do you want in the product? Example- moisturizing, protecting, vitamins, etc.
  • What kind of container are you going to use?
  • How will the product be applied?
  • What color will the formula be once all the ingredients are in?
  • How much will the product cost?
  • What shelf-life will the product have?


To build your formula, you will need to use simple math to create a formulation key. The easiest way is to utilize percentages. Your total formulation will amount to 100%. Then each ingredient will be a percentage of 100. This way you can increase or decrease your amount easily by utilizing the percentage to determine the amounts in grams or ounces of your ingredients. The ingredients in your product will fall into the following categories: water, oil, emulsifiers, and additives. Depending on what kind of product you’re making, each category will have a different percentage range. Experiment with different amounts of each ingredient until you get the end-product you want. This will now be your formulation!

Formulation Resources

As you can see, a lot goes into building the formula, however don’t let that scare you from trying! At Joan Morais Naturals we have a lot of resources to assist you in the process, including additional factors to consider regarding your product, more specific instructions on how to do formulation math, basic ratios of ingredients depending on the product, formulating worksheets, and more!

For more in-depth information on formulating natural skin and hair care products check out our professional product making courses.

Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course

Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course

These courses are online-based and can be taken anytime and you will have course lifetime access.

cosmetic formulating

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Formulating Basics

cosmetic formulating

Cosmetic Formulating Blog Series | Formulating Basics

Have you been making your own skin and/or hair care products? Or do you aspire to make your own? Developing a good, basic formula is a must. Cosmetic Formulating can be very confusing and overwhelming. At Joan Morais Naturals we have two in-depth courses on developing your own professional natural skin or hair care products. In these courses you will learn all about cosmetic formulating. In this blog series we will be exploring some of the basics about cosmetic formulating- what is it, how to build a formula, and testing your formulations.

Formulating Basics

The formula is basically your “blueprint” on how to make your product. It will include the percentages of the ingredients and specific instructions, the procedure on how to manufacture the formulation. Prior to building your formula, you should do research on the ingredients your using, their effect on the skin and hair and how they interact with other ingredients in the formula.

You will also need to decide your vision for your products. Do you want it to be organic, natural, and/or cruelty-free? While there is no specific definition for what is “natural” according to the cosmetic industry, there is a lot of information available on what can be considered “natural” etc. Do your research and develop your definition of natural to better clarify the ingredients you won’t allow in the formulation and the ones you will allow. There are standards for organic cosmetics that must be followed.

Understanding Measurements

There are two different ways to measure ingredients- by volume or weight. Volume is using a liquid measuring cup and adding the ingredient to the cup. Weight is weighing the ingredient on the scale. You will also need to decide to measure in grams or ounces. Having accurate measurements is very important in order for you to replicate and have a consistent product. It is also important that you have reliable and accurate tools for measuring that will be consistent in your measurements. You also must pay attention to detail and make sure to write everything down in your lab notebook! Often you think you will remember, but you can easily forget!

Know Your Ingredients

As mentioned previously, it is very important to know your ingredients. You should know the purpose of each ingredient and how it looks, feels and smells. Also, how do your ingredients blend together? Do they have synergy? Synergy is when the whole is greater than the individual parts. When your ingredients are combined together, they should create a superior product.

Making Professional Natural Skin and Hair Care Products

As you can see, a lot goes into building a formula and all of this is before you even start putting your ingredients together. Some people just like to jump right in by experimenting with different combination of ingredients. There is nothing wrong with this method, however it is important for you to obtain the knowledge you need to produce a professionally-grade natural skin or hair care product. At Joan Morais Naturals, we offer two courses on making your own professional natural products. We have our Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course and our Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course.  In these courses you will learn all about formulating, including more in-depth information on natural, organic, and cruelty-free cosmetics, how to measure with accuracy and consistency, and in-depth information on natural and organic ingredients and developing a synergy in your products.

Enrollment for our Spring 2018 our Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course and our Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course is happening NOW! Joan Morais will be mentoring these courses and they will include weekly module overviews where you can ask your questions on formulating and more! Enrollment for the Spring 2018 session ends on Friday, March 9th, 2018.

Have questions on our courses? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for our Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course and our Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course or feel free to email us.

Join us for our next blog post as we go over building your formula!

Containers For Hair and Skin Care Products

Containers should be one of first considerations with lots of time devoted to research into the container that will work best for your formulation. A cosmetic formulator and developer of products understand the container is a crucial part of the development. These container tips and questions for natural hair and skin care products will help to guide you to choose the best container for your product.

Here are a few questions to consider for the best container for your formulation:

1.     Is the formulation compatible with the container?

2.     Are there essential oils in your formulation?

3.     If there are essential oils, did you ask the supplier if the container is compatible with your formulation with essential oils? Essential oils can be absorbed into some plastic containers.

4.     Are there herbal extracts in your formulation that color the formulation and it doesn’t look attractive in a clear container and needs to be in a non transparent container?

5.     How long will this product last for the consumer? If the product is used once a day how many pumps before it is empty? If it is a facial cream and lasts for 30 days, does the price align with your customer and brand?

6.     Do you need a smaller container for the formulation to be used up sooner for the preservative system to remain effective in it?

7.     Do you understand the purpose of each plastic container? PET, LDPE, HDPE, PP, PS, PVC?

8.     If you want to use glass, do you know the shipping costs to you and to ship to your customer?

9.     What are the industry trends for containers?

10.  Do you need a tube container? Currently tube containers are the trend. The consumer cannot get to the formulation and this is great for natural preservative systems. Do you want your label printed on the tube?

11.  Does the container need to be recyclable to align with your brand?

12.  Does the bottle need to be squeezed to dispense the product? If so, can the bottle be easily squeezed? Some plastics are too hard to squeeze to get the product out, and it may need a pump lid.

13.  What is the best closure for the container? Disc top cap, mist sprayer, dome lid, flat lid, metal lid, ribbed lid, smooth lid, pump lid?

14.  If you are considering a jar, does the formulation have an effective strong preservative system for the consumer to dip their fingers into the formulation introducing bacteria and mold and the consumer to leave the lid off the jar?

15.  If it needs a pump lid, what length and width dip tube do you need? Do you like an uplock or downlock pump? Skirt pump or palm pump? Treatment pump or foamer pump or airless pump? What color; natural, white, black, clear or a metal shell around it? Do you want matte or shiny or smooth or ribbed pump?

16.  Is the pump easy to pump? Does it dispense the correct amount of product? Not too much? How many pumps for usage?

17.  How is the container going to be filled? Filling machine or by hand? Does the container work for the machine or have an opening wide enough to fill the formulation?

18.  Are you using any other packaging? Will the container be in a box? If so, will the container fit in the box and is the box easy to source?

19.  What is the cost of your container? I have seen clients spend way too much money on the container when sometimes the label can be the focal point.

20.  Will your label fit on the container? Some container shapes may be unique but labels will not fit properly and you will have to pay a lot to have a label custom fitted to the shape of the container.

When you take time to research and test the container, you will understand this crucial step as a cosmetic formulator, product developer and/or business owner. It will save you time, money and customer issues when you research and do container testing to find the best container for your product. These are just a few questions. The container is so important. I cover all about containers; sourcing containers, testing the formulation in the container and much more in the Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Course and the Professional Natural Skin Care Product Making Course.

joan morais Joan Morais is a natural cosmetic formulator, instructor, author and the owner of Joan Morais Naturals. Joan assists product makers on how to make high quality, stable and effective natural body, hair and skin care products for personal use and a product making business.