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How to work out Aloe Vera Strengths for cosmetics

May 26, 2013

Math is something that many people find tricky- me included at times and as such working out how much of an ingredient to add when it comes in different strengths/ presentations can be a nightmare.  Aloe is one such beast as it can be purchased in the health store as a juice,  as a concentrated powder or as a liquid extract made to a supplier specific recipe.

When I talk to people about using the powder instead of a liquid (as it is more economical for shipping) they are always shocked at how little is to be used.  So, to prove (fingers crossed) that I am not lying to you all I have done a quick comparison chart here to show just how much powder you need to end up with the same strength aloe as your health store product.

Aloe vera numbers game So as you can see from the above, to make your own health store strength aloe vera gel for cosmetics you just need 0.005g of powder in 100g of water.   To measure that little you would need some accurate scales that measure to three decimal places. That can also be expensive and tricky so I recommend this from ebay (if they still have them) or equivalent.  They are not ‘professional’ quality but you can calibrate them yourself pretty well by using a shiny new coin – coins are weighed very accurately and you can look up the weight online.

These cost less than $20.

Digital scales to 0.01g

Now as you can see they only weigh to two decimal places not three. To fix that you would have to make up 200g of solution (double) and just use double the amount of Aloe – o.01g. Voila – same strength just more of it.

Based on the above the New Directions Australia liquid extract is twice as concentrated as standard health food pure aloe (so it is like squashing two leaves into one) and so you just use half of the amount to get the same effect.

So how much Aloe do you need in a skin care product?

Well traditionally the plant was picked and applied neat so it would be reasonable to expect that one single strength aloe in your product would be enough to do the job.  So, if we look at the first line of our aloe strength table we see that this means adding 0.005g of Aloe Powder per 100g of moisturiser,  lotion or serum  OR adding 50g of New Directions extract per 100g of your product.

Basically the double strength extract and the 200x strength powder allow you to pack a whole leaf worth of aloe into your product while still leaving room for other ingredients. Obviously a plant can’t do that and so you have to apply a separate plant or product to get different actives onto your skin.

I hope this makes some sense to you. Please let me know if you think I have my math wrong as while that would be very embarrassing it wouldn’t be as bad as leading you lot astray in your product making!

Have fun

Amanda

PS: as Aloe is very strong in terms of electrolyte (salts) it can break down emulsions so do carry out stability testing, especially if you are using ionic emulsion systems such as those reliant on Glyceryl Mono Stearate, Stearic Acid or Sodium Lauryl Lactylate.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 21, 2013 7:27 am

    Thanks Amanda. I think a lot of people struggle with % and grams.

    The glyceryl mono stearate you mention above – I think you’re referring to the SE (self emulsifying) version as the non-self emulsifying version is non-ionic.

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