Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Let's talk about math! Caprol Micro Express! And why I'm using so many exclamation marks today!

Sorry for not posting every day, but it's at the point right now that I have write all the posts on the weekend, and if I don't get that chance, then there's nothing! I appreciate your patience as I get less busy in real life! (It stinks because I had all the posts for the week written but not edited by Sunday!)

I had my first singing recital last Saturday and it was both terrifying and awesome! I did "Still Alive" by GLaDOS (from the game Portal) and it was so much fun! I started taking singing lessons seriously last year as a way of connecting to and being okay with my voice. I'm never going to be Floor Jansen (YouTube link), but I can still have fun singing! (This explains the exclamation marks as I'm still excited!)

A quick update on Caprol Micro Express at Lotioncrafter: You spoke and Jen listened! "In cooperation with Abitec, the materials to make Caprol Micro Express I (the original, which we have carried for 10 years) as well as Caprol Micro Express II (which can solubilize up to 5% oils) have been ordered from the manufacturer and we'll be mixing them in-house by early July." Woo!

As an aside, this is why we love suppliers like Jen! You ask, she listens!

A reader named Christine wrote to me to tell me that people are using 1% liquid Germall Plus in their products. As we know from the post on this lovely preservative, the usage rate is 0.1% to 0.5%. So where are they going wrong?

She thinks it's the math! When we are figuring out how to much of something to use, we generally use decimals. So 1% becomes 0.01 and 0.1% becomes 0.001 when we are multiplying or dividing using decimals.

When you're using percentages, it's easier to remember that 50% is actually 50/100, meaning it is 0.5 in decimals because we divide 50/100. If you have 1% it means that we have 1/100 or 0.01 if we divide 1/100. (Do you remember the whole numerator and denominator thing? It just means that the number on the top is divided by the number on the bottom. So 1% means 1 is divided by 100 to get the decimal.)

Check out this great post on the topic on the great site, Math is Fun! In a few minutes, this will all become clear!

As an aside, it seems to me that the easiest way to freak someone out is to ask them to do math. We have such a mental block about it, and just about everyone thinks they're terrible at it. Most of us haven't had to do much more than addition and subtraction since high school, and the idea of calculating percentages or using decimals can get a little scary at times. Don't fear the math! If you give it a few minutes, you'll find that it's not at all terrifying and can be useful!

Think of other things you haven't done since high school. You haven't made a souffle, painted a picture, thrown a clay vase, played an instrument in band, and more, but you don't go on and on about how you suck at it! We can't get good at anything if we don't do it regularly!

Related posts:
Don't fear the math!
Calculating percentages in lotions
Calculating weight from percentages

The other thing to take away here is that you really want to check the suggested usage rates for your ingredients. You could be wasting them, causing irritation, or messing up your products if you aren't using the right amount!

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating!

1 comment:

melian1 said...

try as i might, percentages and the decimal amounts that come from them, utterly defeat me once i move past the 100 gram batches.

you might think it was giving up too easy, but when 3 people (me, my mom and my dad) all sat in a room with paper and pencil and a calculator apiece, and we all came up with different amounts for those ones that are NOT 100... the hard ones, you can imagine the frustration. literally hours spent trying to figure out a single formula to turn it into a recipe. and i said Enough!

i finally figured out that google is my friend! until my niece made me a FABULOUS excel sheet where i could plug in the total batch size i want and it instantly calculates all the amounts in the whole formula for me, i was reduced to googling... "how much is .1% of 341 in decimals?" and similar things.

for those out there like me, be safe, be accurate, and save on aspirin and ibuprofen: google it.