Thursday, August 5, 2010

Point of interest: Finding data sheets

I touched on this idea a little in this post - how to research ingredients - but I thought I'd add a little more on finding data bulletins or data sheets.

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!

2 comments:

kontakt said...

Very, very useful! Thanks a lot! I tried registering at a manufacturer's website, but it wouldn't let me since my e-mail is gmail. It should be a "company address". And of course I would have to say that I work in the relevant industry. Then I kind of gave up.

This kind of secret stuff makes me uneasy. Just what is it that they don't want me to know???

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I find that very frustrating, and it makes me not want to use their ingredients! For instance, Arch Chemicals called my house to find out what I wanted to do with their products. My husband said I had a blog and ran craft groups, and I've never been authorized. I want a data sheet or bulletin on two ingredients so I can figure out how to use them in my products (although I already have a good idea) and now I won't bother. I won't write about them here and I won't recommend them to others.

Most of the suppliers I like are very good at offering access - Stepan, Croda, Azko Nobel - but a lot of them make you put in some kind of company information. So I have my own company to justify using their products. They seem to forget that us little guys, the homecrafters, use a lot of their products as well. We might not order 110 kg drums of the products, but we use our fair share and we talk!

As for what they're hiding - I have no idea. Probably formulations and other information that we find available at other manufacturers. I think they're biting themselves in the bum by not letting us register!