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What is VG? - Explaining E-Liquid Bases

May 15, 2018

VG E Liquid Base Explained

The Basics on E-Liquid Bases

Although vaping has gathered some staggering popularity, many people are still pretty weary about it. There is no question that it is the safer alternative to cigarettes, but some are still concerned about what exactly they are vaping into their lungs and the effects that it can have on the body.

Alongside the flavoring and nicotine, e-liquid is made up of a base and just a bit of distilled water to determine how much that base is diluted. This base suspends the flavor and nicotine so that the ingredients don't separate, meaning the base helps you get a perfectly balanced hit each and every time so you don't end up with an overly flavored or overly nicotine heavy vape. However, not every e-liquid uses the same base. Typically they either use a PG (Propylene Glycol) or VG (Vegetable Glycerin) base, and sometimes even both. Both of these bases are non-toxic and approved by the FDA. Both are also used in many foods for the same purpose they are used in e-liquids, but still, people are suspicious.

However, PG is usually the substance that is greeted with the most distrust. This has lead many vapers to choose liquid with a VG base instead. Yet, how does a VG base differ from its more widely used PG base cousin?

VG Base Compared to PG

Vegetable glycerin is a clear and odorless liquid that is extracted from plants. Essentially, the oil is extracted from plants like palm, soy, and coconut before being combined together into vegetable glycerin. While VG and PG function the same, when it comes to their uses as e-liquid bases, they produce different effects.

E-liquid made from a VG Base will be:

  • Thicker - Compared to PG, e-liquid made with a VG base is considerably thicker. This can mean several things. First, because the liquid is thicker, it will take longer for it to absorb onto the wick. Thus, it may take a longer time for your vape session to get started, but typically that is only for the very first session of the new wick or atomizer. Second, because VG liquid is thicker, this also means that you will need to clean your vaporizer more often as it can build up and cause clogs.
  • Sweeter - The nice thing about VG bases is that they do have a very subtle sweet flavor to them. This can make all of those already delicious dessert flavors even better, though most e-liquid manufacturers typically take that sweet taste into consideration when balancing their flavors.
  • More Vapor - While the thick consistency of a VG means it has a slower absorption rate and will require more vape kit cleaning, the major benefit of its consistency is that it produces much more vapor than a PG base. If you want bigger clouds, you will need the right vape kit, but a VG-based liquid can also make a big difference too.
  • Less Throat Hit - Throat hit is that feeling you have in your throat when taking a hit. Those that use vaping for smoking cessation often need that throat hit to feel the same satisfaction from vaping as smoking a cigarette. However, because VG liquid has less of a throat hit, for non-smokers, often this makes the liquid feel like a much smoother vape.

The Best VG Ratio For the Perfect E-Liquid Base

two women vaping VG e-liquid bases

In some e-liquids, the base may not just be VG or PG. Sometimes e-liquid manufacturers will use both to get the best of both worlds. By mixing the two, you can get bigger clouds and a better throat hit. However, if you don't want PG included, you can find e-liquid that uses a pure VG base but is also diluted with distilled water. This cuts down the VG consistency and mimics the some of the benefits of PG without actually using PG.

Typically, the best VG ratio is around 70%. This means the e-liquid will be around 70% flavored VG base, a percentage of nicotine (if any), and the rest made up of distilled water. This is still considered a "high VG" liquid, but has some distinct benefits such as faster absorption since some vaporizers have difficulties with the thicker VG liquid. This ratio also means you don't sacrifice flavor either.

The issue with adding more water becomes that the flavor will get weaker and the much appreciated dense clouds will thin out. This is typically why you don't see a lot of e-liquids made with anything below a 60% VG base without adding in PG to dilute it but still preserves the flavor. However, if you want to avoid PG for allergic reasons, you obviously don't want that.

Is a VG E-Liquid Base Safer?

Both VG and PG liquid bases are safe. Typically, PG bases are vilified because they were discovered to be an ingredient used in anti-freeze, yet antifreeze manufacturers choose to use propylene glycol instead of toxic ethylene glycol purely because it is non-toxic and safer.

Yet, even without the smear campaign, there can be some allergy concerns. When using PG base liquid, people can manifest allergy symptoms such as dry mouth or skin rash. A VG base has a lower allergy risk, but still has a slight one. Usually, those with soy or plant-based allergies manifest a little more phlegm after using a VG base because the amount of soy is so slight. So even if you have a plant-based allergy, the amount of allergen in a VG base is usually so small it doesn't cause huge symptoms. This is even more lessened if the VG base is diluted with water.

Even when you dilute a PG base, there is still a chance you will manifest allergy symptoms. This is what makes VG based e-liquids preferable to those with allergies to propylene glycol but don't want to stop vaping. However, you need to be careful not to choose an e-liquid with a VG base that is also cut with PG to dilute the thickness, as you may still manifest allergy symptoms.

Velvet Cloud's E-Liquid Bases

All of Velvet Cloud's e-liquids are made with a VG base. We use a single droplet of distilled water to mimic the viscosity of a 70-80% VG liquid, using a proprietary method. We only use PG when absolutely needed in the flavor concentrates - it's never added to the liquid. 

This all makes a difference - our e-liquid is thicker, sweeter when it needs to be, and produces more vapor. Interested in trying it out for yourself? Of course you are! Check out our shop now!

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