writes in this post: Hi Susan. I have a question that is a little off topic but seems to fit into this series of posts. Some ingredients are available in liquid or solid so when you are looking at a recipe how do you know which is listed? AND how do figure out how much to use if you have the opposite? Thanks! This blog is so incredibly awesome!
Wow, what great questions! And the answers are - I'm not sure. We as recipe writers really need to be aware that what we have in our workshop may differ from what's in yours!
Unfortunately, there's isn't an easy rule to figure out how much of a powdered ingredient to add to your product in place of a liquid one. So we have to do a little more work to make sure we have the same ingredient amounts.
Knowing your ingredients really helps in this situation! (I think I've gone from gentle reminding to nagging now! But it's true!)
If you see something like 5% green tea in the heated water phase, then we know that can't be the powdered stuff as it tends to be heat sensitive and tends to be used at 0.5%. If we saw 5% green tea being used in the cool down phase, we'd still know it must be the liquid because 5% powdered green tea extract wouldn't dissolve well in any product and we'd have a ton of precipitate at the bottom of our container. (Click here for a post on solubility!) So we know this recipe uses liquid green tea extract, is just awful and full of lumps of green tea extract, or they're missing the decimal place and zero in front of the 5%!
If you see someone using 2% panthenol in the heated phase and something like "stir until dissolved", you know you have a powdered panthenol there because normally you'd add it to the cool down phase and it wouldn't have to dissolve. If you see something like aloe vera, odds are really good that it's aloe vera liquid or extract, not the gel, because the gel doesn't get used all that often.
Click here for more information on making gels!) What you want is the aloe vera extract or powdered/concentrated aloe vera or aloe vera juice.
With something like surfactants, it's easy to figure out the active amount and make that the same as the original recipe. For instance, let's say we have some 65% active SCI and the recipe calls for 85% active SCI. If we are using 20% SCI, this would mean we are using 17% active SCI in the recipe. So figure out how much 65% SCI you need to make up 17% - about 24% to 25% - add it to the product, and remove something else to make up for the difference.
Having said this, for the most part, once you've got the type of ingredient figured out, you're there. The liquid and solid versions of an ingredient tend to be the same and do the same thing, so if you have powdered panthenol you know it'll work as well as liquid panthenol. There will always be exceptions to any rule, so the best thing is to know the ingredients and how to substitute them.
Where to make space for those extra ingredients when we add more of something? If you're adding something to the water phase, remove an equal percentage of water. If you're adding something to the oil phase, count that as part of the oil phase and ensure you are either recalculating how much emulsifier you will need or removing some of the oils. (For instance, let's say you have 20% olive oil, and you add 5% hazelnut oil, remove 5% olive oil so you still have 20% oils in your oil phase!)
Great question, Ellbie, and not at all off topic! I hope I answered it for you. As with anything in cosmetic chemistry, there isn't a handy dandy jingle to remember to make it easier to figure these things out. Know your ingredients, know what they want you to have, and substitute accordingly. If that fails, write to the recipe writer and ask them what they mean!
Join me tomorrow for a few more questions and comments!