WHICH PRODUCTS DO & DO NOT REQUIRE PRESERVATION?
It is vitally important that the products we put on our skin be as safe from contamination and rancidity as those you consume. We all know that fresh food spoils and it must be handled with care and consumed before rotting sets in. The same principal applies to skincare. A formula which will rot will do so quickly, in a matter of days a lotion without a broad band preservation system will begin to grow mold, fungus and bacteria. Yet a salve made with JUST seed butters and plant fruit and seeds oils will have a long and happy shelf life if keep free of contamination.
DID YOU KNOW? WATER CONTAMINATION IS A BIG PROBLEM IN SKINCARE
What else is considered "water"? Aloe Juice, Aloe Gel, Hydrosol water, floral water, flower water, distilled or spring water. Anytime you see these ingredients on a label it is considered a water component. There must be a preservative in this product.
I will discuss preservation with alcohol in a future article here on my blog. Briefly, alcohol can be used to preserve certain products, things like toners and spritz and most herbalists use this technique because it is more "natural". However, it is very drying and can make skin problems worse! All skin at every age and every skin type suffers from the regular application of alcohol.
Plain old water, keep it OUT of all your skin care products! There are so many ways that water can make it into your lotions, shampoos, conditioners etc. And while most chemically preserved products can handle a small amount of water getting in (like a scrub that is in your shower, or a shampoo bottle left open) safe practices can ensure a longer shelf life and fresher products longer.
Products which DO NOT include water, such as powdered products, and those forumalated with 100% plant oils and butters, do not require a broad spectrum preservative.
Anti-rancidity ingredients should be included in 100% plant oil formulations to increase the shelf life of the oils: Vitamin E and Rosemary Leaf Oil Extract (ROE) are the most commonly used and are very effective. Both of these ingredients are packed with antioxidants which protect the oils from oxidative factors such as heat, light and air. Free radical damage to the fragile fatty acids in seed oils require special care when being handled!
ONLY OIL IN YOUR BOTTLE? HANDLE WITH CARE!
Stays fresh, unopened for varying amounts of time, depending on many factors.
After opening, shelf stability will varying depending on many factors.
Buy small amounts and use often until gone (empty bottles can be sterilized but not droppers)
Protect from contamination from water and wet fingers, water droplets and steam.
Keep lid screwed on tight to protect from the air.
Keep in cool dark location (bathroom cabinet - to protect from light and heat)
All lotions, body butters, shampoos & conditioners which include WATER should be properly preserved.
On the long list of preservatives available, I have chosen eco-friendly, plant derived preservatives to keep my products SAFE! There just is no away around this, BE WARY of any product which contains water (other than REAL Castille Soap!) but no preservative. Ask questions of the the crafter and proceed with knowledge and caution!
USE 'EM UP!
How many open bottles and jars are in your bathroom? Yes, even conventional skin care products should be used up or thrown away after 6 months. With my water + oil products it is best to use them up or throw away after 4 months as my preservatives do not have quite the efficacy of conventional synthetic chemical preservatives.
Play it safe! Why risk the damage that can be done to your skin by applying rancid or contaminated products to your skin, hair or scalp.
DON'T TRUST YOUR NOSE!
Your product might smell and look just fine, but be swarming with bacteria or fungi that can be dangerous to your health.
IS THERE "FREE WATER" IN YOUR BOTTLE? HANDLE WITH CARE!
Store in the refridgerator
Treat like fresh, cooked, unpreserved food.
Make or buy very small amounts and use often until gone within 5 days. This will varying depending on many factors. (Empty bottles can be sterilized but not droppers) Protect from contamination from water and wet fingers, water droplets and steam.
Minimize the amount of air in the container during storage.