How to Convert %s to Weight Amounts

One of the questions I frequently get when I’m teaching classes at Otion is:

I got this great recipe from my grandmother. It looks like fun. But, it’s all in %s! How can I turn this awesome balm recipe into something I can work with? Help!

Answer: Your grandmother’s (fictional!) balm recipe can be recreated. Here’s an example of how I would do this.

Step one:Formula in percentages – everything equals 101% (preservative isn’t included in the 100% since you need preserve 100% of the product)

Mango Butter 25%
Stearic Acid 19%
Sweet Almond Oil 40%
Jojoba 11%
Polysorbate 20 4%
Lemongrass EO 1%
Preservative 1%

Total: 101%

Step Two: Convert these percentages to decimal numbers. Here is how that is done:

25% divided by 100 = .25
19% divided by 100 = .19
40% divided by 100 = .40
11% divided by 100 = .11
4% divided by 100 = .04
1% divided by 100 = .01

Step 3: Finally, multiple the decimal by how much you want to make. In this case, I’d like to make 22.5 ounces so this is multiplied by 22.5

.25 x 22.5 = 5.625
.19 x 22.5 = 4.275
.40 x 22.5 = 9.0
.11 x 22.5 = 2.475
.04 x 22.5 = .9
.01 x 22.5 = .225

= 22.5

Optional: Now, let’s do this in grams. Wha? Why grams? Ounces are not as preferable as grams because the unit of measure is much larger and clunkier. Converting this to grams gives us: 638 grams (1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams)(22.5 ounces x 28.3495231 grams = 637.864)

.25 x 638 = 159.5
.19 x 638 = 121.22
.40 x 638 = 255.2
.11 x 638 = 70.18
.04 x 638 = 25.52
.01 x 638 = 6.38

= 638

Viola! Simple math gets you a recipe that you can use. As for this recipe, it will be heavy, waxy and spreadable. I imagine it would work well for an elbow and foot cream and will not absorb in quickly.


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    • says

      I would follow the formula Anne-Marie laid out above rather than just tripling your ingredients. Although it will probably be the same in the end. But it’s just a great skill to have so you can quickly adjust your recipe to any size.
      – Amber

  1. OOAK babies by Mina says

    oh thank GOD!! I am hopeless when it comes to equations, and I would have got there eventually, but this puts things into perspective! thankyou!

  2. lisa says

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I have been wondering how to do that for awhile now but felt silly asking. Three cheers for Soap Queen!

  3. Daisy Soap Girl says

    I should have paid more attention in school to the math that I thought I’d never use in real life. Thanks for the easy to understand lesson.

  4. Anne-Marie says

    Sprite, Please tell me how everything goes with the goodies your owner gets. If she needs any help, just tell her to ask =)

    Mary, I love, love, love Marrakesh. I hope it stays around too! We’ll review sales numbers for everything mid-year and then start making plans on what to put on sale, to sample, to push etc…

    Charity, No, you do not need to preserve lip balm. However, a little vitamin e or ROE would help to prevent the oils in the lip balm from going rancid. =)

  5. Charity says

    That is a very simple-to-follow explanation. Thanks!

    Can I ask a quick preservative question? Do I need a preservative in a lip balm?

  6. Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill says

    I am a “numbers” lady and love breaking a formula (or recipe) down. When I travel around with a calculator in hand, paper and pen, my husband comments, “Oh-oh, mad chemist at work!” Great post.

    And, by the way, I am getting ready to order some Marrakesh. I absolutely love the scent, and hope you keep it in stock for a while. The happy pac that I received from you, brought forward a new customer! :)

  7. Sprite, the odd dog. says

    Thanks! My Girl is getting her first package of soap making stuff today!! She is very excited.