FAQ - Frequently asked questions - Recipes

FAQ - Frequently asked questions - Recipes

About Elemental Recipes

The recipes published on our website are offered free of charge and are intended to exemplify the use of ingredients available in the Elemental store. The cosmetic preparations presented are not for sale.

Elemental recipes may be copied and published on personal websites or blogs only on the basis of our written consent. You can contact us here. Those who prepare an Elemental recipe can post it on their personal blog only by mentioning the source.

Simple changes can also be made by those who do not have much experience, such as: jojoba oil instead of argan oil, rose water instead of lavender water, green pigment instead of blue. Some replacements require reformulation, for example the use of another emulsifier.

In general, a fat-soluble ingredient cannot be replaced with a water-soluble one, for example panthenol instead of coenzyme Q10, aloe vera gel instead of aloe vera oil, but during the (final) cooling phase of emulsions, such changes are possible.

When it comes to adapting a recipe to your skin type, it is difficult to adapt a cream dedicated to dry skin for oily skin, but it is easier to adapt a make-up remover or toner.

The ingredients in Elemental recipes are well thought out and justified. Some ingredients are optional, the mention usually appears in the recipe. We also note in the recipes some replacement suggestions, as appropriate.

In principle, do not replace a water with an oil, an oil-soluble ingredient with a water-soluble one, do not replace one emulsifier with another and for preservatives the instructions in the product sheet must be taken into account.

Detailed information can be found in this article.

Some Elemental recipes are being optimized or updated, it may happen that within a few days they will be withdrawn and then republished.

Several recipes have been withdrawn over time due to the lack of ingredients in our offer or because we have published a new recipe with the same functions but perhaps more effective.

Our recommendation for those who prepare recipes at home is to use a notebook in which you can write down the recipes you have prepared, especially the successful ones, and which you want to prepare over time.

Preparing cosmetics at home

First of all, it should be noted that a cosmetic product certified organic does not mean that it is 100% natural or 100% organic. Certification bodies also accept certain synthetic ingredients, and a certified product may contain only 15% organic ingredients.

Secondly, it should be noted that the certification bodies do not verify the effectiveness of the product. An organic cream may be poorly formulated. A toner can be irritating, a shampoo can be too stripping, an exfoliant can have an inappropriate pH and so on.

Some organic cosmetics in the store have expensive packaging (the bottle is beautiful and decorative, the box and the label are attractive), but the content is cheap (simple and refined oils, plenty of water, glycerin, wax, low percentage of valuable ingredients).

A number of commercial creams, serums or organic lotions contain too many ingredients, the list of extracts or oils is impressive and can suggest that the preparation is extremely precious, concentrated and effective. Those who are not familiar with the formulation of cosmetics do not know that most of the ingredients that appear on the list after the preservative (or perfume, citric acid, bisabolol, tocopherol or other ingredients that are known to be somewhere around 1% or below this percentage) are not effective at that concentration.

There are ingredients including preservatives, which, according to the cosmetic directives in force, should not be listed on the label of cosmetics intended for consumers, if used below a certain percentage. Paradoxically, other compounds must be specified on the label, even if they are in a percentage of 0.006% (such as citral in essential oils).

Exotic virgin oils and heat-sensitive vegetable extracts are rarely used in organic cosmetics, because the finished product will not be able to stay on the shelf for 1-2 years. Such ingredients already come from the manufacturer with a shelf life of 6-12 months and therefore are not used much, given the time required for processing, transport, distribution and sale, after which the finished product must be placed on store shelves and then kept on the bathroom shelf long enough.

Refined vegetable oils (which, although organic, can be refined) are often used in organic cosmetics, which are cheaper and degrade over a longer period of time. Information on the type of vegetable oil does not have to be specified on the label according to the legislation.

Cheap vegetable oils are often used in large quantities in the store's organic cosmetics, which have a simpler composition, while precious and complex oils are added in tiny percentages.

What options do you have?

1. get a little familiar with the formulation of cosmetics and the properties of the ingredients, know your skin and hair, then you can buy your cosmetics according to what they contain* and not by the name of the product, or what is written on the front of the label

* analyze the Ingredients on the product label, or if you buy cosmetics online then check or request the complete INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) list. The list of active ingredients alone is not enough to decide if it is the right product for you.

2. get acquainted with the formulation of cosmetics, study the properties of the ingredients, plan an appropriate skin and hair care routine, then start preparing your own cosmetics or some of the products of your own care and hygiene routine.

We advise you to get acquainted with the Elemental offer, browsing the site through the product categories. Our product portfolio is not made up at random, we strive to be consistent, explanatory and to provide information that is as complete, complex and understandable as possible.

Depending on how much time you have available and your preferences, we invite you to read some product sheets from the categories available on the site and to get acquainted with the preparation of cosmetics at home, an approach that also helps are the articles for beginners. You can draw up a care and hygiene plan, identify your skin and hair needs (details here) and start preparing simpler recipes chosen from our recipe collection.

Thematic articles are helpful, where you can find detailed information on skin care by type, hair care and other relevant articles.
On the site, the ingredients are also grouped according to the properties, effects or skin type for which they are recommended.

If you suffer from any disease or are undergoing treatment, before buying and using our ingredients, we advise you to read the safety data contained in the product description and possibly consult your doctor. 

If you are pregnant, you must take into account the safety data sheet of each product on our website and it is a good idea to consult with your doctor before using products that contain essential oils or other products with a therapeutic effect. Some ingredients are not recommended for young children or for people suffering from certain conditions, others interfere with certain medications. The restrictions we are aware of are listed in the product sheet.

We also have a dedicated article where there is a table with essential oils allowed or forbidden during the pregnancy.

It depends on the ingredients and what kind of recipe you want to prepare. If it is about simple compositions such as a massage oil, an oily serum, a body butter or a toner, we can give indications or we can refer to an already published recipe, which can be adapted. 

If it is about more complex compositions such as emulsions, makeup products or deodorants, then our recommendation for beginners is to look for an Elemental recipe from which to start and which to adapt with the chosen ingredients. In this case we recommend our article with instructions on replacing ingredients in recipes. Usually we can only give a few indications, but we cannot give the exact formula without testing.

Anhydrous compositions (which do not contain water) do not require the addition of a preservative but it is good to be protected against oxidation with vitamin E or rosemary extract.

Compositions that also contain water need preservatives (except for soaps and certain preparations that contain very little water).

Detailed information can be found in this article.

If you prepare an Elemental recipe and follow the instructions exactly then the chances of failure are low.
If you are preparing your own recipe and you are a beginner, then you may be wrong in both the formula and the method of preparation. The formula may be problematic if an inappropriate emulsifier is used, if the ratio between the phases is not adequate or if the final phase contains too many ingredients. There are few ingredients that are incompatible, usually avoiding the combination of some strongly acidic with some strongly alkaline; xanthan gum is incompatible with grapefruit seed extract, there are other incompatibilities that we have found, and which are mentioned in the product sheet.

More information on emulsion failure can be found in this article.

The pH is measured with specific indicator bands, which can be found on the Elemental website or in some pharmacies.

The pH is adjusted with lactic or citric acid to reduce its value. Baking soda and in some cases bamboo powder can be used to increase the pH.

Cosmetics for personal care and hygiene should generally have a pH between 4 and 7.5. Exceptions are soaps and soap-based compositions, which can have a pH of up to 9.5 or even 10; soaps are alkaline regardless of the ingredients or the manufacturing process. Another exception is peeling/exfoliating products and certain serums that may have a pH below 4, but these preparations are not well tolerated by more sensitive skin.

Yes, most vegetable oils, vegetable butters, floral waters and some powders can be applied to the skin as such. As for cosmetic active ingredients, essential oils and other functional ingredients, they can only be used diluted or combined with other ingredients, or included in cosmetic preparations. The recommended dosage is specified in the product description.

The terms cover essentially the same thing. Dead skin cells must be disposed of, so exfoliants are used to do this by mechanical action or chemical action.

  • Mechanical exfoliation is done with the help of compositions containing abrasive ingredients. The mildest are: vegetable powders, mineral powders, ground flowers or seeds, almond flour. Somewhat harder are: vegetable fiber, ground cereals, seeds, salt, sugar.
  • Chemical exfoliation is done with the help of AHA acids (derived mainly from fruit sugars: malic, glycolic, citric, lactic, tartaric) or BHA (salicylic acid). In addition to exfoliation, alpha/beta hydroxy acids bring other benefits to the skin, and can be applied even daily in a suitable dosage.
  • Enzymatic exfoliation is done with the help of enzymes (bromelain or papain for example) which are taking action only on dead cells and do not penetrate deep into the skin. It is a very gentle process but with moderate efficiency.

This formula was developed by Elemental's qualified staff. The recipes are intended to exemplify the use of products marketed by Elemental and are believed to be accurate, however, Elemental assumes no liability or risk associated with the use of its products for the preparation and evaluation of the recipe as the conditions of preparation and use are beyond its control. The Elemental customer must ensure that the reproduction of the formulation does not infringe any intellectual property rights and that it complies with the specific rules and regulations in force. The person who prepares the recipe must refer to the safety data sheets to ensure the safe handling of all raw materials and bears full responsibility for ensuring the safe and correct use and storage of all materials procured and used. Assessments of the safety, stability, regulatory compliance and suitability of this recipe, methods and the finished product are the sole responsibility of the user and/or the legal entity placing the product on the market. Elemental is not liable for any damages resulting from the use of this information, and assumes no responsibility for misuse of selected materials, formula or method, in whole or in part.

Posted on 08/28/2015 Beginner's guide, FAQ