If you’ve spent much time in the vaping space, you’ve probably heard of DIY e-juice. Although somewhat niche, it is popular among some communities of vapers, especially flavor-chasers and vapers active in the DIY scene.
Making your own e-juice may sound simple, but doing it right takes a surprising amount of knowledge and care.
It’s not without risk, either; using the wrong chemicals or the wrong ratio of ingredients can result in a liquid that is not at all safe to vape.
If you have ever considered making your own e-liquid, it’s important to understand the risk and difficulty involved. Only experienced vapers who are well-versed in e-liquids and e-liquid safety should ever attempt to mix their own juice.
For the vast majority of vapers, buying commercial e-liquids from reputable producers is by far the best way to vape. It’s not only safer and more convenient, but most often you’ll get better-tasting, more consistent flavors by buying commercial brands.
However, some vapers choose to mix their own e-juice for a variety of reasons, including saving money and getting to experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
In this post, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of making your own DIY juice and why it may or may not be worth it for you.
The Appeal of DIY Juice Mixing
Before you look at the nitty-gritty of what making e-liquids is all about, you should know what makes DIY e-juice appealing to so many vapers.
While it’s easy to assume vapers mix their own juice to save money, in reality, most DIY mixers are in it for the flavor and experimentation.
A large number of DIY e-juice makers are also part of the flavor-chasing crowd—e-cigarette users who vape primarily for the taste, and are always chasing the perfect e-liquid blend.
There are two main types of flavor chasers: those who love variety and trying out every new e-juice flavor under the sun, and those who have a more limited palate for a few, choice flavors.
The first group, the variety lovers, is likely to get into e-juice mixing in order to experiment with exotic ingredients and new flavor combinations.
The latter group is more likely to turn to DIY mixing to perfect their favorite flavor or to make large quantities of a personally tailored recipe.
Making your own juice is sometimes cheaper than buying specialty e-liquids and can save money in some cases. However, the up-front cost of getting all the supplies and ingredients you need can be steep, and can take some time to pay off.
Because of the substantial risk, cost, and hassle involved, it’s not usually worth doing for cost savings alone.
Another reason that some vapers turn to DIY juice is out of necessity in areas where commercial e-liquids are difficult to buy.
In fact, this has begun to happen in countries that have banned vaping or restricted e-liquids with strict regulations, flavor bans, or prohibitively high taxes.
The Risks and Drawbacks of DIY Juice Mixing
While DIY mixing may be worthwhile for experienced and determined vapers, for the vast majority of e-cigarette users, it’s simply not worth the time and risk.
Making e-juice that’s safe and high-quality isn’t exactly easy or cheap unless you have a lot of knowledge and experience already.
First, finding the right ingredients is not easy, since suppliers usually only sell the base e-juice ingredients to e-juice manufacturers. Even if you do find the right supplies, you have to make absolutely sure that they are safe and come from a trustworthy source.
For example, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, the main liquid ingredients in e-juice, have a variety of uses and are sold for many different purposes.
But to use them in e-liquids, it’s very important to find versions labeled safe for human consumption, because they have been subjected to more strenuous safety standards than versions used for industrial and non-food purposes.
If you want to mix juice that contains nicotine, that bumps up the danger of making your own e-liquid significantly. Nicotine for e-liquids comes in a purified, concentrated form that can be very toxic even when absorbed through your skin.
When making nicotine-containing e-liquids, you have to be extremely careful to protect your skin from contact with the concentrated nicotine and take precautions to prevent splashes and spills.
It’s also vital to store all of your ingredients, especially nicotine, in clearly-labeled, child-safe containers to prevent accidental ingestion.
In fact, a many cases of nicotine poisoning come not from ingesting e-liquid itself, but accidentally ingesting concentrated nicotine. That’s why it’s also important to know how to do the math to correctly dilute the nicotine with other ingredients to get the percentage of nicotine that you want.
Even a minor mistake in your calculations could result in a DIY juice that has many times the amount of nicotine that you expect.
Finally, most DIY vapers find that making a great-tasking juice isn’t as easy as it might seem at first. Chances are, unless you’re an e-juice prodigy, it will take a lot of experience, mistakes, and trial and error before you are ever able to make an e-liquid that can compare the delicious flavors available from commercial e-juice brands.
Is DIY Right for You?
As a vaper, you have to understand the risks of making your own e-juice before you try DIY juice or attempt to mix your own.
However, many people choose to make their own e-liquids despite the potential dangers, and serious adverse effects are relatively rare.
Even so, it’s as important as ever to do your research and take extra precautions to protect yourself and others if you decide to make your own e-juice.
You need to be able to trust the source of your materials and know how to handle and store them safely.
Luckily, there are so many different flavors and varieties of e-liquids that you can get just about any kind of e-juice you could imagine without ever having to mix your own.
In fact, if you’re like most vapers, making your own e-liquid is probably not worth the time, hassle, and risk involved.
But if you’re an experienced vaper on a budget, or a creative flavor chaser with an itch to invent your own juice, DIY mixing might be for you.
Just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and take the time to learn everything you can about how to be safe.