Monday, January 31, 2011

If you want to make products without preservatives, then make them...

If you are going to make a product that contains water or might be exposed to water, you need to include a preservative.

If you want to make a preservative-less product or want to use alcohol as a preservative or want to store things in your fridge, do it. If you've read all that I've written about preservatives (like why we use preservatives and what kind of contamination can wreak havoc on your products) and read what others have written about them in great forums like the Dish or great blogs like the Soap Queen and you aren't yet convinced that preservatives are necessary and far better for your skin than the inevitable contamination that you'll see in unpreserved products, then make your products without preservatives.

I've done what I can to educate on the value of preservatives and I'm exhausted in fighting what seems to be a losing battle. If you don't want to use preservatives, then don't. But please stop asking me how to do it because I can't be a party to something I consider a dangerous practice.

I'm not sure how to end this rant...so I'll just stop writing.

18 comments:

Tara said...

Haha... so funny. Sounds as though you're getting a tad frustrated by some people, lol.

I always use preservatives. I was just wondering though (as I often do), if you have a product that doesn't have water per se, but contains water-soluble liquids, such as glycerin or honey, will the microbes still grow? My (past) microbiological background tells me no, but I have not actually melded my previous career with my current hobby in any practical way.....

melian1 said...

i hear ya. people who would shudder at the possibility of mold and e-coli and e-boli in their food seem perfectly fine with the concept and practice of having those and worse smeared all over their skin, into mucus membranes, and into whatever little scratch or opening into their skin that is available for those little buggers.

apparently modern advertising campaigns are stronger than modern brains.

no need to waste your time, energy, or blog space explaining and re-explaining.

Heidi said...

We all want natural things, but need to realize how far science has done to add years to our lives!

Mold is not something to take lightly.


That being said. My question is this.
They tell us we don't need preservatives in soaps. Do you believe this is true? And if it is, why do we need a preservative in a solid shampoo bar(syndet)?

And how about something without water like a body lotion bar?

I appreciate your blog and help. I have learned so much. Thank you

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara. I guess I'm just a little frustrated by people writing to me all the time asking for things without preservatives, how long they will last in or out of the fridge, how long they will last on the counter, and so on and they don't want to listen when I tell them it's dangerous. So I thought I'd put that out there again!

The moment you add anything that contains water - glycerin and honey count there - you have potential bug food. I know some people consider honey an anti-microbial ingredient, but you still have to be careful because it does contain a ton of water.

Hi Melian! I've said it before, but would those same people drink a cup of tea that's been sitting on the counter for a week? Pretty sure they wouldn't.

Hi Heidi. I've turned your question into a post (click to find it here). Hope that helps answer it!

Nancy Liedel said...

This gets me all ranty too. I'd just send them a form letter of this rant and be done with it. They don't give a rats hind end and endanger people. They just will argue and argue. I go a step further. I'd rather use something tested to death over 40 years than something just popped out of Frankenstein of the Marketing and Branding part of the company, mixed with a healthy dose of fear based consumerism and a chemist.

Oh and for Anhydrous products, no water, I use either Cap-5 which is EU approved but your product has to be a pH of 6, or lower (most lotions are), or Optiphan. That too will work in anhydrous systems. Phenohip works too, according to Lotioncrafter.

I love my preservatives. I collect-em-all. I think I have 8 and am careful about the dates. Some are only good for so many years.

Natalie said...

I love this. :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.paulaschoice.com/beautypedia-skin-care-reviews/by-brand/lush?sort=product&direction=asc&pageNumber=1&pageSize=25&brand=lush

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Can you please share your name and some kind of context for this link? Please do this by Thursday morning so I don't have to take this down. I'm always interested in links, but I'm not comfortable with links without discussion!

Elyssa said...

Hi Susan! Do you count raw honey as something that contains water? Or just processed honey?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elyssa. Does raw honey contain water? As far as I know, it does, so it's considered a water containing ingredient and really needs preservation, more than water would, in my opinion. I've written a few posts on using honey in our products, and know that it contains none of the anti-bacterial properties once you dilute it. Because it is a natural ingredient, you need to preserve it really well to make sure it doesn't contaminate your product!

Elyssa said...

Thank you, Susan! I love your blog; it's so informative. I'm still trying to learn how to navigate it. Could you possibly direct me to a post about "natural emulsifiers" like EcoMulse vs a standard, synthetic emulsifier like Polawax? I'm hoping to eventually formulate and sell my own lotions and am trying to determine what kind of emulsifier to use. Since I don't have a broad knowledge of chemistry like you do, sometimes it's hard to make informed decisions on what I'm really using.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elyssa. Take a look at the right hand side of the blog and see the links to the lists of ingredients. You'll want to learn more about Sucragel AOF and Ritamulse if this is what interests you. Or check out the posts I wrote on Natragem EW, a more natural version of Polawax.

Natalie Jo said...

Hi again,

I responded to a recent post about extracts and your knowledge of Rose Hip Extract. I hope to hear from you when possible.

On to a new subject...I run a small skin care/health business. I've encouraged preservatives, but got to a point where people were 'turned off' by it. I had to resort to actually making preservatives as an 'option' when people buy. Basically I give the choice of a preservative or all natural product because the preservative seemed to make people stray. I figured a choice will bring in better sales.

My question is this...am I allowed to give them a link to your articles on preservatives? I want to give them things to think about regarding preservatives in my product descriptions? I would give the source of info in any way you'd like. I just want to inform those who think slathering bacteria on their face is 'natural' and 'healthy'.

I want people to read your blog and realize nothing can be 100% natural and cause no harm without a preservative. I'll respect any response you give and than you for it in advance.

Natalie Jo

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Natalie Jo! Link to whatever posts you want. Check out the post below for more grossness. As an aside, do you think it wise to offer products without preservatives knowing things could be contaminated? It could open you up to lawsuits and complaints and seems to perpetuate the idea that not using preservatives is okay if you're willing to do it. Just a thought...

http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.ca/2013/11/this-is-why-you-want-to-use.html

Graciela Dyangko said...

Hi I was wondering, if you use mainly coconut oil and aloe vera gel - what could you use as a preservative? I know the aloe vera gel is pretty much water? so therefore a preservative is needed..but what is a 'natural' preservative? What do you think about sodium levulinate?
Thank you.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Graciela. I'm afraid I can't give you a definite answer as I don't know your recipe, but if you are making an oil-in-water lotion, you'll want to use one of the water soluble preservatives, like Liquid Germall Plus or Germaben II. (See more about these in the preservatives section of the blog.) Check out the posts in there to see more information about "natural" preservatives. (I put natural in quotes as I don't consider anything that is that processed to be natural, but some of them are considered Ecocert.)

Are you using an emulsifier with this combination because they won't mix together otherwise!

As for sodium levulinate, it's not considered a broad spectrum preservative, so you'd have to include something else with it. As a note, it's one of the ones you can call a "fragrance" so you can say your product is preservative free. That seems really underhanded when one is adding it as a preservative!

Reference: Chemists' Corner and Special4Chem (need a membership for this).

Birgit said...

My a-ha moment about preserving everything came when I took a cup of chamomile tea (boiled water, chamomile, honey - sounds like somebody's recipe for a facial toner, right? ;-)) into my workshop and forgot it there for a few days. Next time I saw it the whole mug was moldy, and I had the hardest time getting it clean. So, yes, preservatives are necessary, and honey sure can not preserve anything other than itself.

Jill Rutherford said...

If you really want to get your point across, just mention that while bathing with non-preserved products there exists the danger of such things as, eye infection, ear infection, sinus infection, bacterial vaginal infection......... :)