Let's say you find an ingredient that looks interesting - let's say Amphosol CG - but you want to know more about it. You can ask your supplier, which is always a good option, or you can find the data sheet on the 'net.
Data sheets are published by manufacturers to give you information on the product - the INCI, solubility, percentage of active ingredients, general information on how to use it - and oftentimes you'll find some example recipes. Some manufacturers make the information easy to find - I did a search for Reworderm LI S 80 and found this data sheet easily - and some hide them behind passwords and restrictions and make it really hard to find - like Arch Chemicals (I still can't get authorization to look at the data sheets for ingredients I buy at Voyageur! They called my house to ask what industry I was in, as if a regular person making things at home shouldn't have information on their products. You can tell what I think of them, eh?)
Sometimes you won't know who manufactured the product - I'm not sure who makes my cetrimonium chloride - but if you google the INCI information, you may find something really specific by adding the other ingredient information because only one company adds ingredient X to the product. That's how I found the Rewoderm - it contains two specific ingredients used by one company.
Or you can winnow down the information based on active amount of ingredient in the product. My cetrimonium chloride is 29% to 30% active, so I know it's not this version (Arquad 16-25 LO by Azko Nobel) or Ammonyx from Stepan. I actually haven't found any data sheet noting 29% to 30%, so it might be hidden in some manufacturer's site or my supplier might have the wrong information. Having said this, the information is still useful to me as I can find out the product's uses, pH, solubility, and so on.
Register with the manufacturers whose products you use most to access their data sheets!
- Stepan for surfactants;
- Croda for conditioners (anything with Incroquat as a name), emulsifiers (Polawax), esters, and so on.
- National Starch - Amaze XT, Natrabath, Natrasorb - has been bought up by Azko Nobel, so you'll probably want to visit that site as well.
- ISP (International Specialty Products) make most of our preservatives - Germall Plus, Germaben II, Liquipar, Optiphen, and Suttocide.
On most of the manufacturer's sites, you'll want to look for something like "personal care" if the product names aren't immediately obvious!