Saturday, January 5, 2013
Formulating on a budget: An introduction
One of the first things you can do is learn about your ingredients. (Oh no, she's going on about this again!) When you know the proper names of our ingredients - the INCI names - it's easier to shop around for ingredients. Knowing that the conditioning emulsifier at one supplier is the same as emulsifier (conditioning blend) or emulsifying conditioning blend means you aren't beholden to that one supplier and can shop around for better prices or shipping rates. And it means we won't end up ordering the same ingredient three times!
What's an INCI name?
Reading INCI names - part 1
Reading INCI names - part 2
(Look to your right and see the links to lists or ingredient posts!)
When you're making a product for the first time, follow the recipe as closely as you can and don't make a huge batch. It might fail or you might not like it. Either way, stay in the 100 gram to 300 gram range for a first time product. If you love it, you can make it again. If you hate it, then you didn't use a lot of your stuff!
Related post: Making larger batches
If you're new to bath and body product making, please don't make up your own recipe. There might be things you want to include that aren't in the recipe you've chosen, but you really don't have enough knowledge to make tweaks to the product that you know will work. You need to make some recipes to learn the skin feel, the viscosity, the difficulty in making or preserving, and everything else that you need to know for future reference. So please please please don't make your own recipe from scratch. Find something tried and true and go with that. At the very least, you won't make something that fails!
On this blog, I have a lot of template recipes - ones that have generic ingredients that you can tweak. If you really have to include certain ingredients, choose a recipe like that and substitute what you want.
Related post: How can you tell if a recipe is good?
Products that contain water will be cheaper to make than those that don't. Consider a whipped butter - for 100 grams we are using 80 grams of shea butter and 20 grams of oil - versus an oil-in-water body butter. For a thick lotion, we are using 60 grams of water and up to 25 grams of shea butter and oil. Distilled water costs about $2 for 4 litres (a gallon), so the bulk of the product is made up of this very inexpensive ingredient. (If you're debating making lotion, consider that it is one of the less expensive products we can make!)
What is the cheapest lotion we can make?
Buy larger containers if you don't want to be recycling bottles every month. Now that I have a sugar scrub recipe I love, I make 16 ounce (500 ml) containers of it rather than 125 ml or 4 ounce containers. I've saved four bottles!
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at ingredients we can choose when formulating on a budget!