Expert's Opinion

Formulating for Efficacy

By Prof. Dr. J.W. Wiechers, JW Solutions | June 30, 2011

Johann Wiechers details a novel software program that comes to the aid of the cosmetic chemist

Are you also annoyed when your clinical trial fails? What is the reason for this failure? Was the active not active enough or was the active not delivered well enough? Should you discard the active or the formulation? These are real issues that a cosmetic formulator has to cope with.

Luckily, help is at hand. Via some clever algorithms, “Formulating for Efficacy, the Software” can now calculate exactly that!

With this program, you can identify at the click of a button what will be the best composition of your oil or water phase (whichever your active is in) for the most effective skin delivery of your active ingredient. This is done via the calculation of the SFG, the Skin Formulation Gap. The smaller the gap, the higher the delivery. You can compare that SFG with that of your current formulation and see to which extent the delivery of your active can be enhanced.

A whole series of different formulation optimizations is possible. For instance, you enter your existing formulation and can optimize the ratio of the existing ingredients within that formulation. Or if that changes your formula too much, you can allow some percentages for a single new ingredient to be added to your formulation and the system will calculate which ingredient that should be.

Change the percentage and the ingredient will change! That would take quite a while to find this experimentally in the lab! Or you create a complete novel formulation using two or three emollients. You need a given percentage of, say, a silicone? No problem, the program can cope with all of those options.

For a detailed look at all these options, see

The main benefits of this program are that it can calculate and optimize complex formulations, not just simple solutions. The program that is available from comes with a default list of ingredients and actives, but you can add your own emollients and actives. Just playing with the program will generate a lot of useful knowledge and you will quickly understand why many formulations are not clinically active.

So, why study skin delivery for many years if you can also get the basics right in a few seconds with “Formulating for Efficacy, the Software”? There is no longer an excuse for not having efficacious cosmetic formulations. Use “Formulating for Efficacy, the Software” to make your products as effective as possible. See for more technical information, for price information (€ 1,250 excluding VAT where applicable) and for downloading the software. Please note that the software does not run without a valid license key that can be purchased via

About the Author
Prof. Dr. Johann W. Wiechers runs his own consulting company for cosmetic science, JW Solutions, specializing in cosmetic formulations that deliver their actives effectively into the skin with excellent sensory properties. He is also Visiting Professor at the University of London at the School of Pharmacy, Brunswick Square. Johann is a prolific writer with over 450 publications, including four books. Scientifically, this former IFSCC President is probably best known for “Formulating for Efficacy,” a novel approach to formulation design that ensures optimal skin penetration of active ingredients into the skin, allowing more effective products at lower levels of cosmetic ingredients.