Hair serum with caffeine

Dec 13, 2022 | Formulations, Hair care

This hair serum formulation was inspired by Ordinary and Mano Cosmetics serums. I must admit I haven‘t tried any of these products, but they do seam very nice (at least ingredients wise). And I thought that I want to make a version of hair serum dedicated to my scalp.



So, both of hair serums have one active ingredient, that is known to promote blood circulation and act as a natural stimulant. So, this was my key ingredient as well.

Both of the products also had some extracts and humectants which are very nice on the scalp and should hydrate it. I didn‘t have the same ingredients – some of them are also trademarked ingredients, so I chose the extracts that I had and would be beneficial to my scalp.



This is a checklist with essential equipment for making DIY cosmetics to help you get everything you really need.


So, how does the caffeine work? It stimulates blood flow to the scalp which really means that your hair follicles will get some more oxygen and nutrients. These are needed to have healthy hair. As with everything, the beauty starts from inside – healthy diet, exercise and even genetics play a role here.

However, caffeine is a good ingredient in the hair care that also encourages the hair to keep growing. But if you want to see some changes, you have to keep applying products with caffeine at least 3 months to actually see some results.


1.2. humectants

So, as hair serum will be applied to the scalp directly I thought it would be great to add some humectants to get some additional hydration. However, I want to avoid adding a lot of glycerine as it may feel sticky and the hair may not look good afterwards.

So my main humectants are trimethylglycinepentylene glycol and vegetable silicone. Trimethylglycine is also known as natural betaine.

Pentylene glycol is a good humectant that also has some antimicrobial activity. Which is really neat when you think about it. It is also non sticky humectant that will absorb quite well into the skin.

Vegetable silicone is actually an water based extract from red algae and Lithothamne algae. It looks like a viscous milky gel with a faint scent.

This ingredient forms a non-occlusive film that reduces water loss from the skin and stimulates the skin with the essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and zinc.  It can also smooth the hair fibers and the hair look more soft, shiny and conditioned. And the best part of this is algae extract is that it doesn‘t leave any greasy residue on the hair.


1.3. extracts

I had several glycerine based extracts on the hand that I wanted to try and I thought it will be beneficial for the scalp and hair. These are Centella Asiatica extract, chamomile, cucumber and horsetail extracts. Because they are glycerine based extracts, I kept the amount of them pretty low in order to avoid stickiness of the hair serum.

I really wanted to have some calming effect on the hair, so this is why I have included chamomile, cucumber and Centella Asiatica extracts. They are known for their calming and soothing properties which are so beneficial to the scalp.

But the horsetail extract was added to boost hair growth – it is said that it also could improve blood flow in the scalp. It also has mineral salts that can activate enzymes  involved in the collagen and elastin biosynthesis.


2. FORMULA OF a hair serum

Phase A

80 g | 80 % Water

2 g | 2 % Caffeine

3 g | 3 % Trimethylglycine

3 g | 3 % Vitamin B3

Phase B

4 g | 4 % Vegetable silicone

1 g | 1 % Chamomile extract

1 g | 1 % Cucumber extract

1 g | 1 % Horsetail extract

1 g | 1 % Centella asiatica extract

0.05 g | 0.1% Chelating agent

Phase C

2 g | 2 % Pentylene glycol

0.1 g | 0.1 % Xanthan gum

Phase D

3,5 g | 3,5 % Blend 1388 Eco

0,15 g | 0.3 % Versatile preservative BL non GMO

This makes 100 g of the product.

Hair-serum-with-caffeine-and horsetail-extract-diy

3. How to make a hair serum with caffeine?

  1. Measure all phase A ingredients into a beaker and stir it well until everything has dissolved. Caffeina may take up some time, but it will eventually dissolve.
  2. Add phase B ingredients and stir everything well. Vegetable silicone may clump and not stir that well, so if everything is more or less uniform, you can go to another step.
  3. Mix xanthan gum with propylene glycol. This will allow to avoid ‚fish eyes‘ and the gum will be dispersed more evenly. I haven‘t done this way here just to test my xanthan gum (it does look different from the regular one).
  4. Pour A+B phases to C phase and mix everything. It may take some time for the xanthan gum to fully hydrate.
  5. Check the pH – it should be at least 5 when adding the preservative. Add phase D and adjust it to 5.0-5.5.

4. hair serum with caffeine INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS

  • You can use other extracts that you like. The same goes to vegetable silicone.
  • You can use more water instead of vitamin B3.
  • You can use other humectants instead of trimethylglycine.
  • You can use glycerine or 1,3-propranediol instead of propylene glycol.
  • Preservative must be used in this formulation. You can use other preservatives, just remember that vitamin E, rosemary CO2 extract, raspberry extract are not preservatives.
  • You can try using more Xanthan gum, but even with 0.2% it is quite thick and is not so easily applied on the scalp.


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