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!


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!