Friday, June 9, 2017

Question from Patreon: Why don't we adapt a recipe when we use a powdered versus liquid ingredient?

Yesterday's question relates well to the one posted posed on Patreon by Omitade:  I have a very basic question, probably answered somewhere. I recently purchased Panthenol Liquid and what I realized is that I don't really understand how the recipe changes when you use liquid or dry ingredient of the same thing.  I make a lotion with 2% dl-panthenol and up to this point, I have used the dry ingredient. Now that I have the liquid, is it the same amount? In my brain that doesn't seem right but it could be.

Great question, and no, it hasn't been asked or answered!

This may get a little long, but I promise we'll get somewhere in the end, unlike most of the stories I tell...

Let's say you have a container of salt and a container of brine. The container of salt crystals contains 100% salt. The brine contains 20% salt. If a recipe calls for 20 grams salt, you could either add 20 grams of the salt crystals or 100 grams of brine to get 20 grams of salt. In this example, the liquid has less salt in it than the crystal form, so we'd have to alter our recipe to ensure we're getting the concentration we want for the salt.

Let's say we have a container of salt and a container of salt dissolved in water. Each contain 100% salt, one in crystal form and one in liquid form. (Just go along with this for a few moments to make this example work...) If we require 20 grams of salt in a product, we could add 20 grams of each and achieve the same result - 20 grams of salt in a product.

Is this is the same for something like panthenol?

In powdered dl-panthenol, you may have 50% d-panthenol and 50% l-panthenol. If you add 10 grams of this to a product, you will have 10 grams dl-panthenol - 5 grams d-panthenol and 5 grams l-panthenol.

In liquid panthenol, you may have up to 99% d-panthenol. So if you add 10 grams to a product, you have at least 9.9 grams d-panthenol in a product.

So the short answer so far is that if you have 100% concentrated powder and almost 100% concentrated liquid, you will have the same amount of panthenol in a product. 

As an aside, this is why we measure our ingredients by weight. 15 ml powdered panthenol may or may not the same as 15 ml liquid panthenol, but we know 15 grams of powdered panthenol should be the same as 15 grams liquid panthenol (assuming the liquid is 99% to 100% panthenol). Also remember that powdered things come as crystals and they can take up more space depending upon their shape. Compare the volume of different salts like table, fine sea, Epsom, kosher, and others to the weight to see this in action! 

Here's the problem with this example...The powdered panthenol comes as dl-panthenol. Only the d-panthenol is converted into Vitamin B5, which means using 2% powdered panthenol means you're getting 1% Vitamin B5 on your skin or hair. When it comes to things like reducing inflammation and increasing wound healing, we want the d-panthenol. When it comes to your hair, improving structure or making it more shiny, the l-panthenol works well for those purposes, as well as offering moisturizing to hair and skin.

If your goal is to add the wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties to a product, you'll have to double the amount of powder to get the same results as the liquid. If your goal is to improve hair structure and make it shinier or moisturize your skin or hair, then use the same as the liquid.

When using the liquid panthenol, check the concentration of your product. I've seen concentrations of 50%, 75%, 80%, and 99% in liquid versions, so you'd have to alter your recipe accordingly. I use 99% strength panthenol, so if you buy the 50% strength, you'd have to use double what I suggest in my recipes.

To summarize: If the concentration of the liquid and the powder are the same, and the chemical make-up of the ingredient is the same, you'd use the same amount of each by weight. If there is a difference in concentration, you'll have to compensate by using more or less. 

DeWolf Chemical
Making Cosmetics


Iya Omitade Ifatoosin said...

Thanks for this answer, Susan. It is quite understandable now. Can you tell us where you buy 100% liquid panthenol? I bought mine at Voyageur and they have informed me that it is 50%. I live in a very humid climate and I like the liquid better.

Caleb said...

So if I have 65% water, 4% Glycerin, and 1% Sodium Lactate in my water phase. I need to heat the water phase. Say I want to add Aspen Bark extract. The recipe calls for 2% Aspen Bark extract.

So, I weigh 60% water, 4% Glycerin, and 1% Sodium Lactate and heat the ingredients. I then take 5% water (to get to 65% water) and dissolve 2% Aspen Bark in the 5% water. After heating and mixing my phases (water and lipids) I add the 5% water + the 2% dissolved Aspen Bark in the cooldown phase. Is that the correct approach when dissolving extracts?