Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An aside: Shelf lives of our products (part 2)

I thought we should take a look at a few recipes and see if we can figure out how long the shelf life should be for them. And I do want to point out that my goal is always a product that will last 6 months to a year. I make small batches and use them quite quickly, so for me, 1 year is a really long time. If you can get your product to last a year, you're doing great. But let's see if we can make that time even longer!

33% sesame oil
33% fractionated coconut oil
32% IPM
1% Vitamin E
1% fragrance oil

Sesame oil has a shelf life of about a year. Fractionated coconut oil - about 2 years. IPM - about two years. Vitamin E - about 1 to 2 years, depending upon the oxidation of the product. And fragrance oil -  about a year. So look at the shortest life span ingredient - sesame oil or fragrance oil - and figure that's the life span of this product.

How could we make the life span longer? We could use a different fragrance oil. We could use a different oil (for instance, an ester that would last longer as I did with this recipe, and you could leave out the Vitamin E if you're not using natural carrier oils) or we could use mineral oil.

A note on essential oils: Whereas most fragrance oils have a shelf life of a year, essential oils can have variable shelf lives. Check with your supplier! 

How about this recipe? It's a little harder given that we have some water soluble ingredients in here!

39.5% water
20% aloe vera
3% glycerin

10% refined shea butter
10% soy bean oil
10% sesame oil
6% BTMS-50

0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil (Clementine Cupcake)

Water is okay - no real shelf life there. Aloe vera - about 2 years. Glycerin - about 2 years. Shea butter - about 2 years. Soy bean oil - 6 months to a year. Sesame oil - 6 months to a year. BTMS-50 - 2 years. Liquid Germall Plus - about 2 years. Fragrance oil - about a year. (I didn't include Vitamin E in this recipe as it was a 6 ingredient recipe!) So we can guess that we're going to get 6 months to a year out of this lotion. (As a note, all my ingredients were opened on the day I made it, so I'd think that a year is a reasonable length of time, although it's such a small bottle, I'd be offended if my husband kept it that long!)

Let's look at another recipe, this 6 ingredient hand lotion with esters.

39% water
20% lavender hydrosol

20% cetearyl ethylhexanoate
6% cocoa butter
3% cetyl alcohol
7.5% Polawax

3% honeyquat
0.5% liquid Germall Plus
1% fragrance oil - Clementine Cupcake from Brambleberry

Look at all the ingredients and figure out the shelf life of each one. (Honeyquat is 1 year from the date of manufacture.) Now combine them all to see if you can get an accurate shelf life date. I'll be back in a minute after I make my lovely cup of marzipan rooibos tea.

Okay, so what do you think is the shelf life of this lotion and why? Which ingredients could we substitute to make this a longer lived lotion? If you answered the honeyquat and fragrance oil, you're right! The rest of the ingredients have at least a two year shelf life, so these are the two that will cause problems.

So what could we use instead? We could use glycerin or another humectant in place of the honeyquat or perhaps another polyquat? Polyquat 7 - 1 year. Polyquat 44 - 1 year. Polyquat 4 - 1 year. Polyquat 10 - 1 year. Nope, can't use another polyquat, so it looks like glycerin, sodium lactate, sodium PCA, or another humectant with a shelf life of over a year is our best choice.

How can we get longer shelf lives? Add an anti-oxidant to the mix. Use a chelating ingredient. Use ingredients with longer shelf lives, especially oils. Make sure you keep your ingredients in a cool, dark place in your workshop. Put dates on your bottles when you open them, and if you aren't going to use an ingredient for a while, get it into the fridge or freezer (most ingredients can handle freezing. In fact, I can't think of one that doesn't...) Buy small quantities of ingredients you don't use a lot. Yeah, I know, you save money by buying larger amounts, but if you're throwing them away, you're not saving much. And put "best before" labels on the things you make!

As a note, I always keep my products in a visible place in my bathroom and bedroom because there's always that lotion that ends up in the back of the bathroom cupboard that I don't remember and they don't smell all that great when I open them again! 

As I mentioned above, 1 year is a great shelf life and we shouldn't compromise our products to get longer shelf lives. If you make an amazing facial serum with grapeseed oil, get some anti-oxidants in there, put a "use within 3 months of being given this great product" label on it, and enjoy it. If you make a fantastic hair conditioner with unrefined hempseed oil, get some anti-oxidants in it, make the label, and enjoy the feeling of having great hair. We don't have to strive for really long shelf lives, but it's nice to know you can if you wish!

Join me tomorrow for fun duplicating Soothing Touch's massage cream!


Patrick said...

Patrick here, good day!

With a nod to Blondie, how about creating a kick ass, mild, moisturizing dog shampoo.

I know dogs skin is a different ph than humans, so I wasn't sure where to begin.

If possible, more "common" ingredients than esoteric?

Someone suggested to me that mineral oil might be a good inclusion in a pet shampoo. Sounds weird, but the more I think about it, they're probably right. Opinion?

The reason for the post: my last purchased bottle of dog shampoo was $8 USD, and that was from a discount store, but that's not my main motivation. The biggest issue is I didn't like the myriad chemicals contained within.

Our two dogs need to go through a post-winter dog wash in style.

Thanks! Patrick

Ged said...

Rancidity and shelf life were a real bugbear for me until recently. I do sell, thuogh in a smallish, local way, which is how I like it, and I was continually having products go rancid before I sold them!

I decided to do what you suggest here and buy oils in smaller quantities, even though it's more expensive and I risk running out ... I also use mostly FCO, jojoba and some meadowfoam oils in my lotions, and add ROE as soon as I receive my oils.

I've explained to my loyal customers why I may not always have their favourite product in stock immediately and they don't seem to mind - in fact it seems to give the products a certain cachet in having products that are "freshly made"! They don't even seem to mind paying a bit extra!

I now mainly keep my lovely exotic, short-shelf-life oils to play with in making products for myself!

Ged said...

Meant to ask in previous post - does honeyquat really only have 1-year shelf life? The bottle I bought about 2 months ago has a 10/2012 best before date ...

Will said...

Re dog shampoo, I think I remember reading somewhere that it should include some beeswax for a shiny coat.

Can't remember if it was a liquid product or a cold process soap, though.

I also remember that some place sells "natural" dog shampoo that's a liquid castille with tea tree and eucalyptus oil.

I also remember warnings all over the place that dog shampoo should never, ever be used on cats as their livers can't handle essential oils. Probably worth mentioning...

Here's a comment and ingredient panel for an expensive "natural" dog shampoo: Aroma Paws 12 oz. Luxury Dog Shampoo & Conditioner in One. Leaves your dog's coat soft, fluffy & unbelievably shiny!

Aroma Paws Shampoo & Conditioner is blended with Green Tea Leaf Extract for a shiny coat, Aloe Leaf Extract to soothe skin, and Sweet Almond & Coconut Oils to relieve dryness and detangle. Our all natural, CHEMICAL FREE cleansing agents will safely, gently and naturally cleanse your dogs skin & coat.


Ingredients: Purified Water, Earth Derived Cleansers (from Coconut, Palm & Corn), Glycerin, Panthenol, Colloidal Oatmeal, Pure Honey, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Macadamia Seed Oil, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Extracts of: Apple Fruit, Lime Flower, Beet Root, Aloe Leaf, Chamomile Flower, Cucumber, Pine Tree Root, & Dandelion, Cellulose Gum, Palm Stearic Acid, Citric Acid, Blend of Botanical & Essential Oils

Will said...

...and another, love the name...

Isle of Dogs Natura Luxury Intensely Nourishing Gloss Dog Shampoo for Intense Shine

Ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, sodium lauroamphocetate, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, hibiscus sabdariffa (hibiscus) extract, wheat amino acids, hydrolyzed wheat protein and linoleic acid and linolenic acid and hyluronic acid and sorbitol and triticum vulgare (wheat germ) oil and simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil and panthenol and tocopherol, yeast extract, di (lauryl dimethyl ammonium hydroxy propyl), decyl glucoside, citric acid, behenamido-propyl hydroxyethyl dimonium chloride, peg-150 pentaery-thri

...another one I liked the name was called "Sexy Beast", but found no ingredient description.

...found a panel that describes various qualities of herbals as related to dogs:

Coconut Papaya SENSITIVE SKIN FORMULA. Coconut Oil: a natural moisturizer. Papaya Extract: conditions skin & coat. Vanilla Bean Oil: soothing, stress reliever. Seagrass Extract: purifies skin & increases circulation. Seaweed Extract: anti-inflammatory. Great for Dogs with very long coats, extra detangling abilities.
Geranium Orchid Sage: MOISTURE RICH, ANTI-ITCH FORMULA. Geranium Oil: balances dry skin. Orchid Flower Extract: protects skin from moisture loss. Peony Extract: antioxidant. Rose Oil: tones skin, reduces inflammation. Clary Sage Oil: relaxant. Great for Older Dogs, Extra Emollients for Dry Skin.
Honeysuckle Jasmine: DRY SKIN & DANDRUFF RELIEF FORMULA. Honeysuckle Oil: natural emollient. Indian Jasmine Oil: mood elevator, antiseptic. Sweet Violet Oil: helps reduce insomnia & stress. Great for Itchy dogs, Provides extra relief for dry skin.
Lavender Chamomile: ANTI-ITCH & HOT SPOT RELIEF FORMULA. French Lavender Oil: relaxant & skin soother. Roman Chamomile: helps restore pH balance to dog's skin & coat. Ylang Ylang Oil: softens skin. Eucalyptus Oil: naturally refreshes and cleans skin.
Great for Dogs with Anxiety, helps calm during bath time.
Mandarin Green Tea: SHINY COAT FORMULA. Mandarin Oil: rids dog's coat of environmental build-up. Green Tea Leaf Extract: antioxidant. Ginger Root: improves circulation. Great for Outdoor & Extra Dirty Dogs.
Orange Nutmeg Veriver: SHINY COAT & CALMING FORMULA. Sweet Orange Oil: naturally calming & detoxifying. Honey: antioxidant & antimicrobial. Nutmeg Oil: natural antiseptic. Vetiver Oil: calms aggression. Great for Calming Aggressive Dogs, Sweet Orange Oil is known as the "Happy Oil".
Pomegranate Cucumber: FLUFFY SHINY COAT FORMULA. Pomegranate Extract: moisturizer & antioxidant. Cucumber Extract: moisturizer and astringent. Lemongrass Oil: aids natural shine. Peppermint Oil: helps relieve itching. Great for Any Dog.
Vanilla Lemongrass: NATURAL COAT BRIGHTENER FORMULA. Vanilla Bean Oil: soothing, stress reliever. Lemongrass Oil: aids natural shine. Pink Grapefruit: astringent & coat cleanser. Rose Oil: tones skin, reduces inflammation. Great for Dogs with Light Colored Fur.

Have a great day! Good luck dog washin' Patrick, come do mine, too!