Duplicating products: 4A – Figuring how where the 1% or lower line might be

This is a pretty important step, so I thought I should add a bit more about this part of the duplicating process.

The 1% or lower line is where the ingredients that are used at less than 1% or located. (Seems obvious, eh?) It doesn’t have to be in any particular order, just that everything from that point on will be used at lower amounts. In general, this is where we’ll find the preservative, fragrance, and some extracts.

From a Guide to Cosmetic Labelling (Health Canada)

Ingredients at a concentration less than 1%, and colouring agents may be listed in random order after the ingredients present at greater than 1%. Flavouring and fragrance agents in products at levels greater than 1% may be listed as “aroma” and “parfum” at the end of the ingredient list, or can be placed in descending order of concentration.

If you’re looking at an ingredient list, it’s safe to say that where the preservative and fragrance might be is where we start saying things are at 1% or lower, but there could be other things in the mix. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, just a simple way to start thinking about where that line might be.

Let’s take a look at our potential duplication of Youth to the People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Vitamins Age Prevention Cleanser. Where could the 1% part be?

Water (Aqua), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Brassica Oleracea (Kale) Leaf Extract, Spinacea Oleracea (Spinach) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Brassica Oleracea (Kale) Leaf Oil, Polysorbate 20, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate

It’s definitely at the hydroxypropyl methylcellulose as we don’t tend to use that at more than 1%. But could it be higher? I would argue yes!

I know the water, sodium cocoyl glutamate, and cocamidopropyl betaine are definitely used at higher than 1%, but everything after those three ingredients are potentially lower than 1%. Although I use panthenol at 2%, there’s no reason this cleanser couldn’t use less. Vitamin E is generally used at 1% or less as could be Vitamin. Given everything after cocamidopropyl betaine could be lower than 1%, we could triumphantly declare we have found the 1% line.

Okay, so the short answer is that when you start seeing preservatives, gelling agents, fragrance, and extracts, you’re probably in the 1% zone.