Testing Phase: Making gels with Sepimax ZEN

One of the worst things you quickly learn when making and selling your own skincare/ cosmetics is that your standards are usually higher than your customers.

Our current eye and face serum recipes are wicked. They are an emulsified product which means they are oil and water based serums that are loaded with goodies and extracts and we offer it in an amber dropper bottle. The dropper bottle offers great control for the number of drops you apply to the eye and face area. We’ve received no complaints, no suggestions to make it better… the only thing we have heard from our clients is that its amazing and really does work!

Preparing the ingredients
I love my new bowls for test days!

And as I said, my standards are very high. I love the dropper bottles, they are quaint and simple and easy to work with. But, they pose one major and I mean major issue for my liking. Dropper bottles suck large crazy things when you put a viscous liquid in them. When you open the bottle they work like they should. But when you go to put the cap back in, way too much product spills down the sides. And that is a waste. And that to me is unacceptable. I mean a pump bottle lotion, I’m ok if you cannot get the last little bit out of there. That is what scissors are for after all! But dribbles down the side of a container? No. It’s contaminated and that product cannot be used.

So, we’ve been working hard formulating the recipe to make it thicker to put into a pump style container. And the number of failures from that? Countless. Here’s one of my more, interesting failures:

Using xanthan gum as a thickener, ummm it reminded me of snot.

And, I think there might be a possibility that I’ve figured it out! And if we haven’t figured it out, we made gels! How swanky is that?

Getting our hands on Sepimax ZEN was tricky. It took a friend in America pre-ordering it, shipping it to my co-worker in another State who was visiting, him bringing it to China for me. So far, the initial testing phase has been productive. And inspiring. Originally, we were thinking of making the eye and face serum with Aristoflex AVC but you cannot use any electrolytes with it. And that’s how we found Sepimax ZEN! Electrolytes! YAY!!!

INCI:  Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 (Sepimax ZEN)

So what is Sepimax ZEN and why does it seem like we are way too excited by it? It is used as a thickening agent, a stabilizer in surfactant and emulsion systems. It is a pre-neutralised polymer that can create transparent gels on its own.

How freaking cool is that???? Pre-neutralised!

Do you know what that means? No ph checking! And electrolytes! Aloe is back baby! As is proteins and more! My skin is tingling with anticipation. And a gel. A gel! A gel I tell you!

We took some vitamins, silk, aloe juice and some other skin yummies with some of our eye serum and added some ZEN. Then walked away.

Adding the ZEN

That was the hardest part. Walking away.

Two hours later…. BRAINS!

But that didn’t stop me from taking pictures while it was setting up!


Once my timer went off that eight hours was up, I took out my whisk and almost forgot about taking pictures. Pre-blending, I was kind of grossed out how everything looked. It looked like curdled kefir in sauce. Very gross. The aloe vera gel I made looked very cool. Like gelled ice!


Finished product!

It looks amazing! So crazy slime looking! I really think after using this that this gel wouldn’t make the face happy as it is really like a gel. But now that some time has passed, I do feel that this would be better suited as the ingredient in the eye serum. And I’ve already got my notes prepared for how I want to improve on the eye serum using Sepimax. I want to add in some hydrolised oat protein and some burdock root extract too. And more! And silk. And glycerine. And other oils. And more aloe. And and and! Just not the kitchen sink.

Now comes the crazy part of trying to figure out which container to put the ZEN into! And that’s what I’ve been testing out this morning. Fun! In the coming weeks, we’ll be testing out various Zen recipes to add to our line or keep the Aristoflex. Getting new ingredients are awesome, but formulating the perfect recipe is a pain in the arse. Makes me wish we lived in a big city where there are plenty of foreigners where I can borrow thier skin.



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