Thursday, May 12, 2016

Weekday Wonderings: How to use powdered extracts?

In this post, Creating a toner, Susan asks: To my question, which may seem obvious, but I just want to make sure. When you list a % for a botanical extract, such as chamomile or green tea extract, is that in the powdered form, before it is hydrated? So this recipe for toner would be 0.5% powdered chamomile extract? Just want to make sure as I have made some fails in the past using extracts incorrectly in the recipe when it was not clearly stated. A lovely lotion I made turned ugly when I added green tea extract - the author apparently had used a liquid form. 

Yes. When I add 0.5% powdered chamomile extract, in a 100 gram toner I would add 0.5 grams of powdered chamomile extract to the toner. This is powder straight from the container.

On this blog, I always tell you when I'm using powder or liquid extracts as there are big differences in their usage. If it isn't obvious in the recipe, it should be obvious in my write up about the recipe. For instance, I'll say something like "The reason I'm using liquid green tea extract here is.." or "I prefer using liquid green tea extract because there's no colour..." and so on.

Liquid extracts and powdered extracts generally have very different suggested usage rates. For intance, I have liquid extracts I can use up at up to 10%, whereas I've never seen a powder that was to be used at more than 0.5%. If you used 10% powder, your lotion would be a big, green, mushy mess!

Always check with your supplier for their suggested usage rates. They are the experts on this topic, and they should know what the manufacturer of that powder recommends.

For more information on extracts:
How to use powdered extracts in our products?


Snarp said...

Susan, thank you for this blog; it's been really helpful to me.

Apologies if you've addressed this before or it's outside your expertise: do you know if there's any reason, in terms of safety/stability, not to use tisanes (or herbal teas) rather than hydrosols? I assume that boiled lavender tea won't have all the same components as a lavender hydrosol, but if you strain it carefully and use a preservative, it seems like it shouldn't actually be less safe. Or am I missing something?

Again, sorry if this is old ground; I searched around a little but didn't find an obvious answer.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Snarp! I've written about this a few times, and you can find those links in the FAQ. The short answer is that teas are a nightmare to preserve. If you are interested in using teas, seek out an experienced herbalist or cosmetic chemist and learn from them how to make them effectively and safely. Even with 10 years of bath & body making experience, I wouldn't make a tea as they can cause huge problems in preservation. Any botanical ingredient can, even our hydrosols or extracts, but those are cleaned and pasteurized and processed to be easier to preserve. (If you've ever tried to make something with strawberry extract, you'll know that even the standardized extracts can cause contamination even in a well preserved product!)

Snarp said...

Thank you! (And sorry, I obviously should have checked there.)

Bob & Angela said...

I thought you might be interested to know, on a technical note, that you can't reconstitute a powder and then claim the reconstituted powder mixture on your label as if it were all an extract, at least not in the US. The FDA frowns on this strongly, and the organic certifiers ban it completely.

As an example, if you have 100x concentrated Aloe Vera Juice powder, and you make up a solution that would bring it back to its original 1x strength (1 gram powder, 99 grams water), and you then add that mixture to a product at 50%? You are legally NOT adding 50% of unconcentrated Aloe Vera Juice. You can only list doing that as adding 49.5% of water and 0.5% of concentrate.

Oddly, using 50% of regular unconcentrated Aloe Vera Juice (1x)? Perfectly fine to list that at 50% - so we're all forced to pay for shipping water.