Low pH Foaming Cleanser

What is pH ?

pH is stand for power of hydrogen. Healthy skin has acidic pH which is around 4.5 to 5.5. Therefore, it is important to wash your face using low pH cleanser in order to not disrupt your skin’s acid mantle.

This foaming cleanser is pretty simple formulation and gentle for skin. I formulated this using some of our leftover raw materials. It is worth noting that foaming cleanser can be gentle for skin depending type of surfactants used in the formula. This formula is using combination of non ionic surfactants and amphoteric surfactants. Both of them are very mild compared to anionic surfactants.

Unlike gel cleanser, you don’t need thickener on your foaming cleanser which definitely reduce your raw materials cost. However, you need foaming bottle so it can create foam.

Anionic, Non Ionic , Amphoteric Surfactants

As the name suggested, non ionic surfactant does not carry any charges. Anionic surfactant carry negative charges. Amphoteric surfactant carry charges depending on its pH. In terms of cleansing power, anionic surfactant is far more superior compare to non ionic surfactants because of its charges. If you decided to use anionic surfactants, you may need to lower %w/w in the formula, add humectant and add amphoteric surfactant to make it milder.

I am using coco glucoside as a surfactant. It is a suited for all skin types including baby. I have been replicating this formula using anionic surfactants such as sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium cocoyl isethionate. Sodium cocoyl glutamate is another great option for mild anionic surfactants. It is mostly found in baby products. 

There are many trade name for sodium cocoyl glutamate and I use Amisoft CS-11. You may need to read documentation for your surfactant because some of them acts as co-surfactants only.

You can choose to heat the water phase and let it cool down before adding essential oil. Essential oil is really optional in this formula. If you don’t want to use essential oil in your cleanser, you can opted out polysorbate 20. It acts as solubiliser for essential oils. 

Low pH Foaming Cleanser

Category: Cleanser
Difficulty: Simple


Phase I (heat to 70°C-optional)

  • 67.5 % Water
  • 12 % Coco Glucoside * non ionic surfactant
  • 10 % Cocomidopropyl Betaine  amphoteric surfactant
  • 4 % Propanediol humectant

Phase II

  • 5 % Polysorbate 20
  • 0.5 % Essential Oil

Phase III

  • 1 % Preservatives Plantaserv A


Phase I

  • You can choose to heat the phase I to 70° celcius

Phase II

  • Combine all materials in phase II

If you choose to heat the phase I, let it cool down to 45° celcius

  • Combine phase II to phase I slowly
  • Add Preservatives
  • Adjust pH accordingly, use citric acid to lower pH


  • You can use your preferred preservatives 
  • I am using Eucalyptus Blue Gum essential oil, feel free to use other types of essential oils
* You can use other non ionic surfactants

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