By Kolbjorn Borseth
Aromantic receive hundred of emails every day so it can be
quite a challenge keeping up with them all. To help our customers we have
included here a sample of some of the more common questions our customers email
us about on a regular basis. If you do have a question and you cannot find an
answer either on the site, in our Newsletters, or in our publications, and you
are an existing customer of Aromantic then of course you are welcome to email
us with your questions, however, please donít expect an immediate answer
although we will do our best to answer you as soon as possible. For urgent
enquiries you can always telephone the office.
How do I convert from grams (g) to millilitres (ml)?
As a very general rule, 100 grams of vegetable oil or
essential oil is equivalent to 110 millilitres so thereís roughly a 10%
difference. If you are making a very small amount of a product, say 200g, then
the difference is so small that it doesnít really matter. However, if you are
making as much as a litre or more, then you have to decide before you start
whether you are going to use ml or g. Incidentally, water is exactly the same
at 100ml to 100g. Watery liquids such as Hydrolates (flower waters), as well as Aloe Vera Concentrate are also 100ml to 100g.
Generally, I recommend that you acquire and use a high
quality, accurate and gram-sensitive scale and then make your products by using
weight (g), except maybe for water or watery liquids, where you would measure
by volume (ml).
My cream is too thick or too runny what can I do?
You can add a little less water or a little more depending
on whether your cream is too thick or too runny. If you want to make a lighter
cream you can try blending it with an electric mixer but be careful not to
introduce air bubbles to your cream. You could also add some Aloe Vera Gel to your cream, which makes it fluffy
and has a very nice feeling on the skin. Sprinkling up to 0.5% Xanthan Gum over the cream and using a hand blender
to mix it in, will make it thicker.
My gel is too thick or too runny how can I put it right?
Again you can add more water to your gel if your gel is too
thick. If it is too runny then add some more Xanthan Gum but do it little by little until you get the desired consistency because if you
add too much at once you risk making it too thick.
Iím worried about Parabens, are they safe to use?
Personally Iím not so concerned about the Parabens that we
use, which are Butyl free and it is the Butyl parabens that has mostly been the
cause of bad press reports
If I donít use Parabens what other preservatives are available?
If you are concerned and would prefer not to use Parabens at
all then you can use Preservative 12 or Preservative K, however, you cannot use Preservative 12 in any product that contains detergents although it is perfectly suitable
for creams and gels and is more natural than most other preservatives. If you
decide to use Preservative K then this will work very effectively but only if
the pH value is 5.5 or less. Once all your raw materials including Essential Oils and Preservative K have been added to your product you can test the pH
value using Litmus Paper Strips that Aromantic can
supply, and if it is more than 5.5 you can reduce the pH value by adding Lactic Acid before testing it again. Once it is less
than 5.5 your product will keep from 1.5 to 3 years.
How much preservative do I use if Iím putting an infusion/decoction of
herbs/flowers in my product?
It can be a challenge getting the preservative balance right
as you need more preservative when using infusions/decoctions in your products.
As a general guide you would increase the amount of parabens to 0.8% and if you
are using Preservative 12 or Preservative K you would use 1%.
How do I make a clear toner/body spray?
Quite simply you canít unless you want to source your raw
materials from your local garage. The chemical that would make your toner a
clear colour is the same as that which is used to clear your car windscreen so
a cloudy toner is by far the more acceptable option. If you are concerned about
how it looks, then put your toner in a coloured bottle.
The shea butter doesnít have a smell, is this normal?
You should never use a shea butter if it has a very strong
smell, as it is then most likely rancid. There is a lot of rancid shea butter
sold in the marketplace. Never use it as it is damaging to your skin and your
You also have a certain quality of shea butter that is not
rancid but has a very strong smell that is impossible to hide with any
fragrance, perfume or essential oil so therefore unsuitable for use in personal
skin care products. Raw shea butter can always be detected by most people by its
strong smell and colour.
Aromantic sells Shea Butter that is naturally cleansed and deodorised by melting the raw shea butter and
washing it with water. The melted butter and water mixture is transferred to a
vacuum reactor where air and steam removes the odour. The melted shea butter is
mixed with diatomaceous earth to remove most of the colour and then filtered
for small particles and impurities by pressing through several layers of paper
and cloth. The result is a Shea Butter that is suitable to use in cosmetics or
The vegetable oil I bought from you is sometimes solid and sometimes
liquid, is this normal?
Yes it is. Many oils will solidify or crystallise at room
temperature or cooler and as the temperature rises they will become more liquid
and runny. If your oil is too thick to come out of the bottle you can simply
heat up the bottle slightly and the oil will melt and pour easily. The most
common oils that will solidify in a fridge or at low room temperatures are
olive, jojoba, papaya seed, (all three contain high quantities of oleic acid)
macadamia, moringa, sesame, neem, etc. Generally, the higher the quantities of
saturated fatty acids in the oil, the more likely it is to solidify or thicken.
To read more about The Aromantic Guide to Unlocking the Powerful Health & Rejuvenation Benefits of Vegetable Oils, click here.
How do I make soap from scratch?
Aromantic does not make soap from scratch because of the
harsh chemicals such as caustic soda that would be required to make it. If you
get caustic soda in your eyes it can make you blind. However, there are many
companies or individuals who can teach you to make soap from scratch (more
commonly called cold process soap making). The Soap base Aromantic sells is Glycerine-based Melt
Do I need any special equipment to make Aromanticís products?
Itís amazing how many times we are asked what kind of
equipment is required to produce products using Aromanticís recipes. The answer
is you donít need any special equipment at all as Aromanticís recipes are
designed for standard kitchen equipment that you are already likely to have at
home. I will say though that if youíre starting a business, then I would
recommend you use equipment especially dedicated to making your products.
Aromantic do sell some equipment that makes it easier for you to make accurate
recipes and larger quantities. Click here for a
free PDF document of useful equipment. Click here for our Getting Started Guides.
I would like to create my own range of products can you help?
Yes Aromantic can help you with this. A one-to-one
consultancy with either myself or Mike Harmon costs £800 for a full day and
during this time we can create a range of recipes for your own brand of
products. We will not, however, make the product, that is something you could
mostly do yourself at home. Any recipes that are created for you will of course
remain confidential and we are happy to sign a confidentiality agreement if you
I would like to start up a business making and selling my own products but
where do I start?†
The first thing to do would be to attend Aromanticís courses in order to get a good basic grounding in how to make your own products the
Aromantic way. You could also purchase The Aromantic Guide to making your own Natural Skin, Hair and Body Care Products as
this contains a lot of recipes and other information to get you started. We
also run a legal requirements course where you will receive a CD containing all
the necessary paperwork that you can personalise for your own business. We can
also recommend companies that can supply you with insurance and contact details
of someone who can test your products for you before they go on sale. The rest,
of course, is up to you.
information do I have to put on my labels?
To comply with European legislation you must list all the
ingredients on your label starting with the one that is in the greatest
quantity in your product. You must include the INCI name, which is the Latin
name for a particular raw material, but you can put both the INCI and the
English if you wish. Click here for our Getting
Started Guide, ĎStarting a Businessí.
Sometimes the gel I make from your recipes are clear, sometimes cloudy or
milky...can you help?
Adding oil- or fat-based raw materials
If you use xanthan gum as the thickening agent when making a
gel, you can make a clear gel as long as you donít add oil- and fat-based raw
materials as it then becomes cloudier and takes on a whitish colour. Just as
cowís milk contains about 4% fats, and 96% water and is a white, Ďmilkyí
colour, so it is with gels containing oils. That is the way it is with
emulsions.† So mixing water- and fat-based products naturally creates a whitish
Adding coloured raw materials
When adding raw materials that are coloured, such as
tinctures, they will change a see-through gel to brownish, greyish or cloudy.
To make the gel more attractive, you can add raw materials that naturally have
an attractive colour, eg calendula CO2 extract, sea buckthorn CO2
extract, blue azulene, St. Johnís wort oil, or a pearlescent colour of your
Whisking and stirring: other reasons for discoloured gels
Another reason that gels can become discoloured, is that you
may have beaten or whisked the gel for longer than is absolutely necessary.
Stop whisking when you can see that there are no lumps and you will have a
clearer gel (as long as you havenít added any fat, oil or coloured raw
materials of course).
Another way of avoiding discolouring is to add coloured raw
materials to the gel more carefully i.e. fold them into the gel or stir gently,
then stop mixing as soon as possible as the more you stir, the cloudier the gel
The clearest gels
To make the clearest gel possible, you need to use cellulose
as the thickening agent, which is whisked continuously into heated liquid such
as water (approximately 50įC) until the gel becomes thick. Then, add all of the
other raw materials.
How do I avoid my Shampoos from separating?
Quite a few of you have had this problem. One way to solve
this is to stir together the Guar Gum with the Omega, then add all of the
water/liquid at 45-50ļC. You can even mix this together with an electric stick
blender as there are no detergents at this stage.
Leave the Guar Gum/Omega/Liquid mixture to swell up to 5-6
hours. Then stir in the detergents and other active raw materials,
preservatives, essential oils, etc and bottle. (Tip: No need to reheat the Guar
Gum/Omega/Liquid mixture before stirring in the detergents, etc.)
This knowledge has come to me from talking to my partners
and sales representatives in Scandinavia, who have been manufacturing shampoos
using Guar Gum for many years.
I am confused about sterilising the jars and bottles I use for my products
and about sterilisation in general. Can you help?
I think that there are no set rules that you have to obey by
legislation but we use alcohol to spray our equipment, both here in Scotland and at my factory in Sweden and that works well enough. This method is acceptable even for drug
industry standard Good Manufacture Practice (GMP). With regard to bottles/jars,
as long as you know that these bottles/jars have arrived clean without dust you
don't have to sterilise them again. You can also get a letter from providers
such as us stating that the containers are clean and that is also good enough.
I would say that to start to sterilise the bottles and jars yourself may
contaminate them rather than sterilise them. All of our glass jars and bottles
are available in airtight, hygienic packs, already sterilised by the
manufacturers. Our plastic bottles are not available in airtight packs but
no-one I know in the cosmetic industry sterilises these when producing
cosmetics. The key thing is that you produce products with the correct
proportions of preservatives in them so that this sterilisation is a not an
issue. The main thing is that you blow plastic jars or bottles clean with a
blow dryer if you see that there is any dust in them.
Are the scales you sell qualified by Trading Standards in the UK?
The scales we sell are not qualified by the Trading
Standards for selling to the public - It doesn't matter which scales you use,
however, they have to test the scales every year and they charge for this, so
expensive. I recommend that you sell by millilitres and not grams and this
solves that problem.
What is hot maceration of herbs, seeds and roots and why does it need to be
done to create Macerated Herbal Oils?
with the hot maceration process: Fresh herbal/botanical material is added
to room temperature vegetable oil, then covered and heated to 95įC for 2-2.5
hours. The oil will be floating on the top of the water (that has come from the
plant material), scooped up filtered once it has cooled down. The oil is then
bottled and stored.
Why it needs
to be done: When fresh herbs/seeds/roots are used to make Macerated Oils,
they cannot be steeped in vegetable oil and left to macerate for up to 6 weeks
as the dried herb material can. This is because the fresh herbal/botanical
material contains approximately 90% water/liquid and would become mouldy if
left in oil during that period. Any exceptions? Hypericum
(St. Johnís Wort) flowers are the only exception to fresh herbs that need hot
maceration. They can be cold macerated but if making a commercial product, the
macerated oil needs to be pasteurised.
all of these fresh herb macerated oils, you need to watch out for botanical
material collecting at the bottom of the container, so you need to check the
oils and filter if necessary before adding them to products.
I have heard that you do not recommend the use of wheatgerm oil in
products. Why is this? I know many respected UK companies which sell it.
Hereís a few
facts about Wheatgerm Oil:
- it's rancid 1-2 weeks after
- and also therefore reduces the
shelf life for your product, instead of extending it
- applied rancid oils come with
free radicals and therefore enhance the destruction of the connective
tissue i.e. giving you, your clients or customer increased wrinkling of
- a lot of people are allergic to
it because of the wheat source
- it is highly comedogenic (creates
comedones, or blackheads) it shouldn't be used on any one with acne-prone
skin, oily skin and combination skin
- the big cosmetic companies never
put the oil into any of their products, it seems to be something that only
the aromatherapy industry does.
We hope you found these FAQs helpful! Good luck with
making your products!
Getting Started Guides