Everyday each one of us is faced with a variety of math problems. Whether it is increasing or decreasing the size of a recipe, balancing the check book or determining which size of applesauce is a better value, most of us take these math problems in stride. So why do we quake in our shoes and cower anytime someone says the word math?
I say enough of that! Almost all of us use algebra every single day without giving ourselves the credit for it. In fact, most of us have been doing it since the 1st or 2nd grade. Remember when you had to fill the the empty box? 5+7 = ∏ . Yep, that is algebra. Except we now say solve for X.
Well, that is all well and good but what about percentages. Trust me, if you can count pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters to make a dollar, then you already know how to use percentages. Pennies are the equivalent to 1%. Nickles are the equivalent to 5%. Dimes are the equivalent to 10%. Quarters are the equivalent to 25%. You must be able to create something that is equal to $1.00 using different combinations of these four coins. Just like making $1.00, you must make 100%.
Let’s play the What If Game. What if you have a lotion recipe that weighs 10 ounces and you need to use a preservative. How do you calculate a preservative for that? Let’s say that we were going to Liquid Germall Plus as our preservative. Liquid Germall Plus has a usage rate of 0.1% to 0.5%. How much is that?
Let’s start with 0.1%.
10 ounces X 0.001 (0.1%) = 0.01 ounces to be added to lotion
Now let’s try 0.5%.
10 ounces X 0.005 (0.5%) = 0.05 ounces to be added to lotion
How did I calculate that 0.5% is equal to 0.005? I removed the percentage sign, and moved the decimal point two places to the left. Even if I was calculating 15%, the decimal point would still move two places to the left. Now, 15% is 0.15 and easy to multiply, because this is the same as if I had $0.15.
Say we need to increase our recipe 11.5 times in order to fill 100 jars. We would multiply each ingredient by 11.5, right? Guess what. That is algebra and not only can you do it, but you are a whiz!
What if someone gives you a recipe and you want to check your percentage of fragrance oil. Are you ready? Our recipe makes a total of 14 ounces and our recipe calls for 0.035 ounces of fragrance oil. So start with your amount of fragrance an divide by the size of your total batch.
Say it out loud:
What is 0.035 of 14 oz?
0.035 of (÷) 14 oz? (=) The answer is 0.0025.
To make this into a percentage, we need to move the decimal to the right by two places, giving us 0.25%. So what is 0.25%? It is one quarter of 1%. 1% is also $0.01. 0.25% is less than 1%. Someone has taken our penny and cut it into 4 pieces!
According to our math, this recipe uses 0.25% of fragrance oil, which is a safe amount for most skin safe fragrance oils. How cool is that? Now you can draw your mighty pencil and conquer the Math Dragon! Go forth, young grasshopper!