an entire section of the blog devoted to the individual preservatives, along with comparison charts and information on why we might like to use them. As much as I like this post, I think the preservatives section of the blog offers much more information. And I think you'll like the charts, too! May I encourage you to check out that section after reading this post to learn more about the myriad choices you have when it comes to preserving your products?
Preservatives are essential to our products - they prolong the shelf life by keeping our products free from contamination and help retard rancidity in our oils (click here for information on microbial rancidity) - and I hope this series on preservatives will either strengthen your conviction to use preservatives or change your mind about being preservative free!
So why use a preservative in your product? Preservatives help prevent microbial growth in our products, which can cause separation of our emulsions, speed up rancidity of our oils and butters, and cause weird smells. Contaminated products aren't pretty and they're dangerous. There are countless reports of unpreserved lotions causing contact dermatitis, rashes, and worse.
When should you use a preservative? If you make a product with water, you need a preservative. Anhydrous products don't need preserving, although products that might come into contact with water, like scrubs or in shower lotion bars, require preservatives.
The beasties in our products grow before we know it. By the time you see the pink or green tinge in your lotion, it's way too late - you've been contaminated for days, if not longer. Keeping your products in the fridge isn't an option - leave it out for a few hours while you're taking a bath or cleaning the house and you've got a ton of contamination.
Think of it this way. If you made a cup of tea today and left it on the counter, would you feel comfortable drinking it in two days or seven days? Would you feel comfortable putting it in the fridge and drinking it a week from now? If you said no, then why would a lotion be different? If you won't drink it, why would you bathe in it?
If you still aren't convinced, please take a look at this video - The Importance of Preservatives - detailing what happens to an unpreserved lotion in 7 days. Or take a look at Anne-Marie's experiences with a mouldy lotion on her Soap Queen blog!
Join me tomorrow as we delve deeper into the world of preservatives with a look at what beasties can grow in our lotions! (It won't be too graphic, I promise!)
Please note, I will be going into detail about the components of preservatives as well as the most common preservatives we find on our suppliers' shelves, but you'll have to be patient as there's a lot to cover!