Guide to Calculating and Working with Percentages
Let's suppose that you want to work with a balm recipe that includes the following ingredients. Let's also suppose that you want to make 5 pounds of the balm. If you're brand new to formulating, we recommend that you start by making small trial batches, but this is intended to serve only as an introductory calculation example.
Step 1: When working with percentages, begin by referring to the total size of your batch and take note of the measurement unit (i.e. pounds, ounces, grams, ml) In this case, we're working with a total batch size that is denoted in pounds.
Step 2: Start with the first ingredient, 10% Beeswax, and convert 10% to a decimal. 10% = 0.10.
Step 3: Multiply the decimal equivalent for the Beeswax that you just calculated (.10) by the total batch size of 5 pounds: 5 pound batch size x 0.10 beeswax = 0.50 pounds.
Therefore, you will need 0.50 pounds (or half a pound) of Beeswax to make 5 pounds of this balm.
Use the same process to calculate the Jojoba and Shea Butter amounts needed for the recipe. Here are those calculations:
Jojoba: 5 pound batch size x 0.20 (the equivalent of 20%) Jojoba = 1 pound. Therefore, 1 pound of Jojoba is needed to make 5 pounds of this balm.
Shea Butter: 5 pound batch size x 0.70 (the equivalent of 70%) Shea Butter = 3.50 pounds. Therefore, 3.50 pounds of Shea Butter is needed to make 5 pounds of this balm.
Sometimes, you may find yourself working with a recipe that requires that you work with very small or very large amounts of particular ingredients.
Let's suppose that you are now working with a different balm recipe that calls for the following ingredients. And let's say this time that you only want to make 2 pounds of the balm:
When working with small percentages of ingredients such as the 2% essential oil called for in the recipe, it can become challenging to try to accurately measure out .04 pounds of the essential oil (the amount called for - see above to confirm how to perform this calculation).
The alternative to trying to weigh small, awkward quantities such as .04 pounds of essential oil, is to first convert the batch size to a smaller unit such as ounces or grams.
The form of measurement that you are most comfortable with and the type of scale that you use will play a part in which measurement you select.
Converting to Ounces: Let's assume that we have a scale that is capable of measuring in ounces and in fractions of an ounce. There are 16 ounces in a pound. Since the batch size is 2 pounds, the batch size is equivalent to 32 ounces (2 pounds x 16 ounces).
Converting to Grams: Let's assume that we have a small digital scale that is capable of measuring in grams. There are 453.60 grams in a pound. The batch size is 2 pounds, equivalent to 907.20 grams (2 pounds x 453.60 grams).
To determine the amount of Helichrysum Essential Oil needed for this example recipe in grams, multiply 0.02 (the equivalent of the 2% Helichrysum Essential Oil) by 907.20 grams: 0.02 Helichrysum Essential Oil x 907.20 grams = 18.10 grams of Helichrysum Essential Oil needed for this recipe (it's ok to round down to 18 grams).
Sometimes you will see measurements in a recipe denoted like this:
When working with recipes denoted in "parts," start by counting the total number of "parts" shown in the recipe. In this example, we have 1 part Beeswax plus 2 parts Jojoba plus 3 parts Shea Butter. 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 total parts.
To calculate how much of ingredient that you need, you divide the number of parts shown for each ingredient by the total number of parts called for in the recipe (in this case, 6 total parts):
Suppose that you want to work in ounces and that you just want to make 16 ounces (equivalent to 1 pound) of this balm. Multiply the total batch size of 16 ounces with the calculated percentages derived above to determine how much of each ingredient is needed.
Measurement Conversion Tools
The following Web sites offer measurement conversion tools that can help you convert between measurement types. We hope that you find these tools helpful. As these tools are supplied by third parties and outside Web sites, we cannot be responsible for the accuracy or usability of these tools.
Common Weight and Mass Conversions