cream concentrate how to mix in actives dilute

How to Use Concentrate Bases to Personalize Your Brand

Written by: | | 9 responses

One of the easiest ways to add a new, unique product to your existing line is to use a concentrate base. At Essential we have three cream bases, each designed to be used with additives and scents of your choice. They function as easy and personalizable bases that are stable enough to have a significant portion of ingredients added. Let’s discuss how you can alter, use, and enjoy these excellent bases to make a wonderful new product.

First let’s note: none of the bases should be used “as-is”, they all need additional ingredients to be safe (otherwise the preservative balance will be off and potentially irritating). Please see the section on the individual creams towards the end.

As you most likely know, creating a stable emulsion every time can be a major challenge, and source of frustration. When using the concentrates, you can get the hard part out of the way and have a chance to get creative with actives, tinctures, and whatever else you and your customers most need.

Adding Actives to Your Concentrate

What you choose to add to your concentrate creams is really a matter of preference and experimentation, however we recommend ingredients like vitamins, distillates, extracts, oil infusions, and whatever else you might dream up.

In general, if your chosen additives are water soluble, you can mix them straight in to the creams. If they are oil soluble, we recommend heating both the additive and the cream to about 120F to help the emulsion. There are a few exceptions to the rule, including Hyaluronic Acid that is water soluble but should be added to a heated cream, so it is up to you to research the ingredients you wish to add.

As always, we recommend testing in small batches, adding just 1-3% of an ingredient at a time to ensure you don’t break the emulsion and don’t accidentally overdo it. If you do break the emulsion, you can follow this video to fix it. However if it simply starts getting too thin but isn’t “broken”, you might start here.

Popular Additives for Creams

It is up to you what you choose to add, but below are a few popular suggestions and how you might use them.

Retinol/Vitamin A. Retinol is a wonderful form of Vitamin A and widely touted as a great addition for maturing skin. We recommend using it at no more than 2% of the final cream, and you do not need to heat it when adding, though we do recommend a gentle warming of the product before adding to your emulsion to avoid waxy beads from occurring. This makes the cream ideal as a night cream.

DL Panthenol/ProVitamin B5. DL Panthenol has soothing and conditioning benefits for both hair and skin, and should be used in small amounts at the 0.02% – 0.5% range for skin care, but can be used up to 5% and is very effective for moisturizing hair.

Niacinamide/Vitamin B3. Like many vitamins this has a rejuvenating effect ideal for aging skin, while also helping to hydrate. It should be used at no more than 6%. For this in particular, it’s recommended that the end product be set to a pH of 6 to avoid using acids in the formula.

Distillates and Liquid Extracts. Choose any distillate or extract of your choice, to provide nutrients, smell, or both! Our concentrates are designed to handle a good amount of these but do be aware it will make the cream more fluid and like a lotion.

Oil Infusions. If you have created your own oil infusion, it is an ideal ingredient to add. In some cases, depending on the oil you used for your infusion, you may need to heat both the oil and the cream to ~120F to ensure it all emulsifies uniformly.

The Concentrates & How to Use Them

Essential has three cream concentrates available, the Lab Concentrate, the Basic Concentrate Cream, and the Premium Concentrate Cream.

Lab Concentrate

This is preserved for a larger volume product, so you must add 30% (weight percentage) additional ingredients. If you want to make the ultimate customized product this is a wonderful place to start and leaves you room to make it absolutely your own.

Basic Concentrate Cream

This is as the name implies—basic but moisturizing and reliable. It is designed to hold 54% more ingredients, depending on the ingredients used. Please do note we highly recommend testing in small batches as you go, and you may need to add a small amount of additional preservative.

Premium Concentrate Cream

This cream sets itself apart by using premium oils, such as Sweet Almond Oil, to create a rich profile of fatty acids, vitamins, and other nutrients your skin will love. It is designed to accept 30% more ingredients by final weight percentage.

As we highlighted before, there are several videos detailing how to thicken or thin product depending on your need, but do be sure to check the pH of your finished cream or lotion. It should typically lie somewhere between 4.2 – 5.5 pH, and if you need to adjust it we have a video to guide you on the process.

If you would like a video guide on using these concentrate creams, check one out here.


Concentrates offer an easy and effective way to create a new product, so we hope you’ll experiment and make the perfect lotion or cream for you! It’s also a wonderful way to make a whole range of products, allowing greater personalization for your customers’ needs. Skin types, environmental factors, age and more all become easily addressable when the hassle of creating an emulsion is taken care of. Keep an eye out for more concentrates coming soon in our Household Products line up, too.

We hope you’ll let us know how you have used or plan to use these concentrates, and happy making!

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

When will you be producing washing up liquid?

Katherine Byrd
1 year ago

Can these principles be applied to the creation of a shampoo?

Alicia Washburn
1 year ago

Do additional preservatives need to be added if you follow the “It is designed to accept 30% more ingredients by final weight percentage” guideline? For example, if I add 25% tea and honey blend do I need to add a preservative?

1 year ago

Hi Alicia! Brandon from EWL here.

You should not have to, however honey itself supplies a lot of energy for microbial growth. As we always suggest, please do perform Preservative Efficacy Testing. There are many 3rd party labs who can help you with this such as Microchem labs in Texas or BioScreen Labs in California to name a few.