How do you scale your recipes and maintain the same water composition?

I've been working on a water-based pomade for a week now. Finally found a recipe that I like (I normally make a batch of 1).

Wanting to share it with my two friends, I decided to make a batch of 2 and doubled all of my ingredients. Because the water surface area didn't change much, the amount of water evaporated didn't double (an assumption) and I ended up with a watery batch.

Do you have any tips on how to scale recipes to maintain the same water content ratio? I want to eventually scale to something like 20-30 batch size but don't want to make mistakes there because it gets more expensive.

Appreciate any advice!


  • One of my friends suggested boiling the water first, then weight out the heated amount which is an awesome idea. However, my recipe calls for clays (which I often presoak in the water). By the time I add the heated water to the clay and mix it well, it is already too warm to be added to the oils.

    I also tried mixing the hot water and oils, then adding the clay at the very end but it didn't end up well. The clay basically globbed up together and refused to mix with the rest of the mixture.

    Just ordered a overhead stirrer to free up a hand - hopefully I can figure this out.
  • You don’t have to use the water at a hot temperature for it to continue to be sterile.  Boil the water, cover it and let it cool, then use. 
  • Industrial tanks should have some welded-in, protuding, volume marks
    You just add some extra water to top it off, so the volume mark is just beneath the liquid surface.
  • @shechemie Didn't know people heated up water to sterilize it, I use distilled water. The reason why I want to heat it up is because I want to mix it with oil/wax and I don't want the temperature to drop too low when I mix the two.

    @Gunther I wish I had an industrial tank. I am just doing a DIY project so I'm working with double boilers + pots/pans. I'll keep playing around with my process and see how I can improve it. 

  • @PomadeCraft ; not sure what you have, but if you have a scale, you can get a weight of the container you mix in. When you have added every ingredient, weigh the container +batch and subtract the weight of your container. Whatever remainder you have is your actual batch weight, and you should add back enough water to reach your original intended batch size.

    Ex. a 400g container and a 300g batch
    if  you  weigh the batch + container at the end and it doesn't weigh 700g (say 690g), add 10g of water  and mix it in before pouring. Hope that makes sense!
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    how big are your batches?
    if they're more than a few hundred grams, the effect is insignificant
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Evaporating water probably shouldn't be a part of your recipe, and if it is you should do before/after weights on a successful trial and replicate it that way.

    If you're only heating water to combine an oil and water phase, you don't need to heat it to the boiling point of water. Melt the waxes and any solid oils you need first, then combine them into hot water.

    Some water will obviously still evaporate but it should be negligible if you take it off heat after mixing.
Sign In or Register to comment.