We’ve looked at reasons why vapers have become self sufficient DIY e-liquid mixologists. Now let’s take a closer look at the ingredients. Don’t worry! You won’t need a chemistry degree from Oxford! We are hoping that, “The Ultimate DIY e Juice Guide” can illustrate how easy it is to make homemade e-juice recipes.
There are typically 4-5 types of ingredients:
- Vegetable Glycerin VG
- Propylene Glycol PG
- Alcohol / Aqueous Glycerine AG
- Flavour Concentrates
VG & PG
The foundation to any e-liquid recipe is the VG/PG mix ratio. Comprising of the two separate ingredients Vegetable Glycerin (VG) and Propylene Glycol (PG). Typically e-liquids had a 50/50 mix ratio however since Sub Ohm vaping was introduced the VG ratios became heavier, increasing from 60% VG up to 100% VG in some extreme cases.
What is Vegetable Glycerin (VG)?
VG is a liquid compound obtained naturally from plants, typically soybeans or palm tree species. VG liquid is viscous, transparent, odorless with a subtle sweetness in flavour.
Higher percentages of VG results in a silky smooth vape with minimum throat hit. Due to VG’s viscous properties, it takes longer for VG to absorb into cotton and longer time to vaporise. Higher VG levels are best suited for powerful sub ohm devices. heavy VG levels result in more deposits over time causing wicking issues and coils have a tendency to burn out quicker.
Its advisable to use 50/50 up to 60/40 mix ratios for lower power e cigarettes operating with coil heads above 1 ohm resistances.
What is Propylene Glycol (PG)?
PG is a synthetic natural liquid compound which is transparent, virtually odorless and easily metabolized in the human body. Approved as “safe” by the FDA and used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food products to name a few.
PG is responsible for the heavy throat hit sensation and produces thinner vapour clouds than VG’s silks smooth smoke machine style clouds.
PG is a thinner liquid than VG making it easily absorbable into cotton and faster to vaporise. Heavy PG mix ratios are ideally suited for lower power set-ups. Best to use between 50% down to 40% PG. Higher PG ratios results in less deposits over time resulting in longer wick usage or coil head durations.
Nicotine is extracted from the tobacco leaf, it is the highly addictive element that delivers the “Throat Hit” associated with cigarettes, satisfying your nicotine craving / “nicotine hit”.
All other ingredients are generally safe to handle and are ok in contact with the skin. Nicotine in high concentrations (less diluted) is extremely toxic and should always be respected and handled with care.
WARNING: Nicotine evaporates quickly and can be easily absorbed into the skin. You should ALWAYS handle nicotine in an open and well ventilated room, wearing nitrile gloves and a pair of goggles. When not in use nicotine should be stored safely and locked away.
Buying Diluted Nicotine
If you want nicotine with your e juice recipe, then LEGALLY it can ONLY be purchased diluted in the UK. The maximum concentration is 7.2% and comes diluted with either PG, VG or both. Generally it’s best to buy Nicotine with a VG base.
Finding the right strength is important when making your DIY e-liquid recipe. Different types of device generally give different experiences of throat sensation. Generally the smaller the vapour production the more nicotine is required. The larger the vapour clouds the lower nicotine strength is required. More vapour equals more nicotine per inhalation and vise versa.
The “Base Mix” is the combination of VG, PG and Nicotine. Can be made at home from the three separate ingredients or can be purchased from a vendor. Mixing a base mix is easy, like all things in life, the more times you do it, the easier it becomes. However some people prefer DIY mixing without the hassle. If you come under the latter, then Base mixes can be purchased at the VapourBus shop.
Alcohol / Aqueous Glycerine AG
Both alcohol or AG can be used as an extra diluent to thin the overall viscosity/thickness that helps to prevent deposits over time and cotton wicking issues.
AG is glycerine mixed with distilled water and is not always necessary in e-juice recipes. Generally adding AG or alcohol is an ingredient for advanced mixologists with dripper type e-cigarettes tank systems. Most DIY chefs will be happy with VG/PG.
Here we enter the infinite! The paint colours of the classical artist, the 12 notes per octave of sound for the composer or the spice rack of the michelin star chef.
Infinite because of the sheer number of flavour concentrate brands and flavours on sale today. There are literally tens of thousands to choose from.
Flavours are available in categories such as; Bakery, Breakfast, Chocolate, Citrus Fruits, Custards, Desserts, Drinks, Menthol & Mint, Milky & Creamy, Nutty, Smoothies, Herbs & Spices, Summer Fruits, Sweets / Candies, Tobacco, Tropical Fruits and Yogurt.
You can buy as single flavour ingredients such as apple, toffee, strawberry or you can buy flavour shots that are a mixture of flavours such as vanilla custard. You may love whipped cream? Then add that to the mix. The choices are endless.
Per 100% volume, each e-liquid recipe has approx 10% up to 30% flavour concentrates depending on the strength/dilution. Generally as a beginner it’s best to find a recipe with good reviews and cook it up. Allow yourself time to learn the mixing procedure.