Monday, December 23, 2013

What do you want to know? How do we know if ingredients are powdered or liquid?

In the What do you want to know? post, Lynae asks: When adding ingredients by weight, how do you know if the original recipe called for powdered or liquid ingredients? and is there a guideline for converting? I believe you use panthenol in a liquid form but I have some powder. 2g of powdered panthenol is quite a lot, seems like a lot more than 2g of liquid would be. 

How to know if my recipe calls for a powdered or liquid ingredient? I tend to write something like "powdered chamomile extract", but there are times I forget. There are ingredients that always seem to come in liquid form, but also have a powdered form - proteins or amino acids, for instance. How to know which one I'm using? I guess I have to be more vigilant when I'm using a powder, although for the most part, I tend to use liquids more.

I think the answer to the question is that there really isn't a way of knowing, but there are ingredients that we use that are always in liquid form or almost always in liquid form, and we don't tend to specify when it's something that always comes in a specific way. For instance, I don't think of calling allantoin "powdered allantoin", but it always comes in that form.

To figure out how much to use in a differs from ingredient to ingredient. But you can figure out how much active ingredient is in each thing and figure it out that way. So let's say you have something like sodium lactate that is 65% active. This means that 1 gram of liquid sodium lactate has 0.65 grams of active sodium lactate (the rest being water and preservative). If you have a powdered sodium lactate that is 32.5% active, it means that 1 gram of powdered sodium lactate has 0.325 grams of active sodium lactate. (I have no idea what the rest might be...) So if you use the powdered sodium lactate, you need to use 2 grams to get 0.65 grams of active ingredient. That's the easiest way to figure out how much to use.

Find out what your active amount of panthenol is and add that amount. If the liquid is 50% active and you have something that's 75% active, then you'll use less (about 0.75 grams of the powder for every 1 gram of the liquid).

To be honest, our ingredients vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and company to company, and I don't think we take into account the active ingredient a lot of the time. When I'm formulating, I might think about it for things like powders, but I don't tend to think about it when I'm adding liquids, which is really strange. I know I want something like 2 grams of panthenol in a 100 gram batch of conditioner, but I don't stop to think about whether I'm actually adding 2 grams of panthenol into the product. This has really made me think! Thanks!

Have a question? Stop by the What do you want to know post and share!


Elise said...

A few posts back I afsked about sugarmulse, in which you answered you had not used it so you could not tell me if i need a thickener without knowing the ingredients.
Sugarmulse/vegetal is Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Cetearyl Glucoside.
I thought I would post the ingredients and maybe you would have an idea, but I know, as you said, you haven't used it yourself.
I want to make a lotion with 20% oil. But since cetearyl alcohol is a thickener already I'm unsure if I need to use a seperate thickener as well.
I really appreciate you help! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elise. I really don't know much about using this emulsifier, and I honestly think the best way to get the information you seek is to get into the workshop and try it out. Keep really extensive notes and be prepared to try a bunch of different thickeners until you get what you want. When I use Ritmulse SCG, I still add a thickener even though it contains cetearyl alcohol because I want it to be thicker than it is with just the emulsifier. I think it's the same thing. Just try it and see what happens. And let us know what you think!