Calculating Percentages for Blended Ingredients

calculatorIngredients are supposed to be listed in the ingredient declaration in “descending order of predominance”. In other words, the ingredient at the highest percentage (by weight) goes first, then then next highest, etc. Ingredients that are present at less than 1% can be listed in any order following the ingredients present at 1% or greater.

When a blended ingredient is used, all the component ingredients in it must be listed separately in the ingredient declaration, correctly placed in the descending order of predominance based on the component ingredient’s percentage of the entire formula.

So, how do you figure that out? Actually, it’s simple math, and not too hard when you know the formulas. Here’s an example:

Starting Formulation

Let’s say you are making soap. You purchased a blended oil as your base and added some shea butter. Your recipe might look like this:

blended oil 50 oz
shea butter 10 oz
lye 8.67 oz
water 17.6 oz
fragrance 2 oz

Blended Oil

Next, you need to calculate the of amount of each oil in the blended oil that is actually in your soap. In order to do this, you’ll need to get the percentages of the component ingredients from your supplier.

Let’s say the formula for the blended oils is:

coconut oil 24%
olive oil 26%
palm oil 35%
castor oil 5%

The formulation has 50 oz of the blended oil, so to calculate the amount of each individudal oil, multiply to total amount of blended oil by the percentage of the individual oil:

coconut oil 24% x 50 oz (blended) = 12 oz
olive oil 26% x 50 oz (blended) = 13 oz
palm oil 35% x 50 oz (blended) = 17.5 oz
castor oil 5% x 50 oz (blended) = 2.5 oz

Detailed formulation

So now your formulation actually looks like this:

coconut oil 12 oz
olive oil 13 oz
palm oil 17.5 oz
castor oil 2.5 oz
shea butter 10 oz
lye 8.67 oz
water 17.6 oz
fragrance 2 oz
TOTAL 83.27 oz

Put it in order

Then put the ingredients in descending order by the amount, and there you have your ingredient declaration.

water 17.6 oz
palm oil 17.5 oz
olive oil 13 oz
coconut oil 12 oz
shea butter 10 oz
lye 8.67 oz
castor oil 2.5 oz
fragrance 2 oz

Ingredients: water, palm oil, olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, sodium hydroxide, castor oil, fragrance.

Calculate percentages

Sometimes it’s good to know the percentage of each ingredient.  It’s helpful when resizing a recipe, and can also help with the ingredient declaration.

To calculate the percentage of each ingredient, divide the amount of that ingredient by the total amount:

coconut oil 12 oz / 83.27 = 14.41%
olive oil 13 oz / 83.27 = 15.61%
palm oil 17.5 oz / 83.27 = 21.02%
castor oil 2.5 oz / 83.27 = 3.00%
shea butter 10 oz / 83.27 = 12.01%
lye 8.67 oz / 83.27 = 10.41%
water 17.6 oz / 83.27 = 21.14%
fragrance 2 oz / 83.27 = 2.40%

In this example, there aren’t any ingredients present at less than 1%. Sometimes, especially when dealing with blended ingredients in small quantities (like preservatives, for example), the resultant component ingredients are present at less than 1% of the total formulation. In those cases, the ingredients at less than 1% can be listed in any order making the calculations easier.

About the water

In this particular example, the water amount turned out to be only .1 oz (or.12%) higher than the palm oil. In reality, by the time the soap is cured, the water percentage will have dropped down some, probably to a lower amount than the palm oil. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to take that into account and place the water 2nd in the ingredient declaration.

Comments

  1. Couple of “translation” tips I gave my students:

    “Of” means “times”.

    “%” means “divided by 100”.

    Frequently I’ll see in a soapmaking discussion someone asking how to calculate something that’s so simple to me, I wonder how anyone couldn’t just figure it out. I have to remember that plenty of people go thru much of their lives never having to figure something that requires them to figure more than 1 step. (On tax forms the steps are written, so people don’t need to figure them for themselves.) If you get enough practice with numeric problem solving, it comes easily; if not, it doesn’t.

    But even if you do have facility with it generally, it’s easy to brain-cramp from time to time. It took me a while to do the algebra correctly for how much to charge someone gross to net a certain amount after PayPal fees.

  2. Marie, can’t you just list them top to bottom by weight? I don’t understand why you have to figure their percentage?

    Thank you for all your work for us!

    1. Author

      Yes, by weight is the same as by percentage. For soaps, if the recipe is by weight, it might be easier. With cosmetics, where the recipe is normally by percentage, it can be done by percentage. This week I’ll do a follow-up post using just percentages, so you can see how it would work that way.

  3. Great note about the water! I didn’t realize that was an option since I always default to listing what goes into the pot.

  4. Help me calculate this please:
    Polawax 8.00
    Cetyl Alcohol 0.50
    Stearyl Alcohol 0.30
    PEG-75 Lanolin 2.00 Petrolatum
    13.55
    Mineral Oil 18.01
    Laneth-15 0.40
    PEG-24 Hydrogenated Lanolin
    0.20 Et
    hylated Soya Sterol 2.00

    1. Author

      I can’t figure out the percentages without a little more information. Are the amounts listed the percentages you were given? If so, they only add up to 43.16, so something is missing.

      If the amounts listed are for amounts, I’d need to know that they were all ounces or grams by WEIGHT in order to calculate correctly.

  5. Your addition is wrong in the Detailed Calculations, it should be 83.27 not 88.27.

    1. Author

      Thank you – I’ve corrected the total. The percentage calculations were still correct.

  6. What if you can’t get a percentage list for a blended ingredient, like Foaming Bath Whip? I can’t find a supplier who knows that info, let alone will give it out, so how do I figure out how to label stuff I make with it?

    1. Author

      You may not be able to get an ingredient list with exact percentages, but the manufacturer or supplier might tell you where to place an additive (such as the fragrance) in the ingredient declaration. Also, remember that ingredients present at 1% or less can go after all other ingredients present at greater than 1%, and any color additives can go after the ingredients present at 1% or less (at the very end) regardless of percentage. So if you are only adding fragrance (at 1% or less) and color, you can correctly place those without any additional information from the suppliers.

      However, if you can’t get sufficient information to correctly label your product, you might want to consider a different supplier.

  7. Hi Marie!

    This article has been very helpful but I am still having a problem with the “Calculating Percentages” sample that you gave us. I tried dividing the amount of the ingredient by the total amount and still didn’t come u come up with the number you have? For an example when i divided 12oz./88.27 my answer is 7.35? How did you get 14.41%?

    1. Author

      Well, there was a typo in the calculations (not the total); it should be 12 / 83.27 and it will equal .1441 (14.41%).

      I tried a number of ways, and couldn’t get an answer of 7.35 – so I’m not sure what you are doing.

  8. Marie,

    I am blending dry powder. I am looking to get to a 20% protein and 20% fat level. Below are my ingredients, along with protein % and fat %. I have listed them in ascending order. Please help me!

    Whey – protein 11% fat 2%
    Animal fat – protein 7% fat 60%
    WPC – protein 34% fat 4%
    Whole milk – protein 23% fat 13%

    I’m trying to figure how many pounds of each ingredient I need to have a 20% protein and a 20%fat. The total weight is 1 metric ton 2000lbs.

    1. Author

      I’m sorry – this isn’t something I can help you with.

  9. Dear Sir/Ma’am,

    Good Morning !!

    Please help me is it possible the ingredients are more than 100% to display in back side of the products

    suppose my list of ingredients are ..

    coconut chips 650gm
    sugar 320gm
    liquid glucose 130gm ,

    then what is the percentage of the above ingredients please help me.

    Thanks
    Samarth

    1. Author

      It is not possible to have more than 100% ingredient.

      If your components of a blended ingredient are as you listed, then the whole of the blended ingredient is 1100 gm.
      coconut chips = 630 / 1100 = .591 = 59.1% of the blended ingredient.
      sugar = 320 / 1100 = .291 – 29.1% of the blended ingredient.
      liquid glucose = 130 / 1100 = .128 = 12.8% of the blended ingredient.

      (NOTE: I rouded to 3 decimal points)

      If those are components of a blended ingrednet, then take the percentage that the blended ingredient is in the WHOLE recipe and multiply each to see the percentage of the blended ingredient components in the whole.

      Let’s say the blended ingredient (made up of coconut chips, sugar and liquid glucose) is 20% of your total product recipe.

      Then to calulate the percentage of each component ingredient in the whole it would be:
      coconut chips 59.1% of 20% = .591 x 20% = 11.82% (of the whole)
      sugar 29.1% of 20% = .291 x 20% = 5.82% (of the whole)
      liquid glucose 12.8% of 20% = .128 x 20% = 2.56% (of the whole)

      So your 20% of blended ingredient is replace in the ingredient declaration by coconut chips, sugar and liquid glucose placed in descending order or predominance based on their percentage of the whole.

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