Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why are preservatives considered a "necessary evil"?

Surfing around the 'net the last few days, I keep coming upon people commenting that "Preservatives are a necessary evil..." or "I don't like preservatives, but I'm using them..." (I guess I should be happy you're using them!)

What's not to like? Preservatives make it possible for us to make lotions that last longer than a week. They keep our products looking and smelling pretty. They keep you from getting horrible infections and diseases. They keep mold and other gross things from making your lotion look like that horrible picture to your left. They keep the people you love safe! How they a "necessary evil" or unlikeable?

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, if someone from the middle ages travelled through time and saw all the stuff we have to keep ourselves safe and healthy that we are choosing not to use, they'd beat us to death with scythes. 

I freakin' love preservatives! Using 0.5% of something like liquid Germall Plus gives one such peace of mind compared to the wishing and hoping things will remain uncontaminated that comes with not using that tiny amount. Want your product to stay mostly natural? 0.5% preservative keeps that lovely and botanically laden product safe for months to come!

When should you use preservatives? When you're making a product that contains water or might come in contact with water, like a sugar scrub.

Just a few thoughts for the day...

Related posts:
Why use a preservative?
Choosing a preservative


Danielle Martin said...

I emailed you about this, but I'm commenting just in case there are others out there with a similar formulation question. I want to use VegeCide (Glyceryl Monocaprylate (and) Glyceryl Monoundecylenate) in a formulation that's oil based with added oats, clay, honey, and ground walnut shell ( I use an emulsifier for the honey), but although I don't add water, I'm worried that VegeCide may not be enough to keep it safe with the honey in there. I can't find a ton of information on it so I'm wondering if you know more about it! Would I be safer with germaben, or is this an instance where my ingredients will allow me to use a more natural preservative?

Marsha said...

Danielle- I personally use Vegecide, from Ingredients to Die For, in my conditioner and have been for well over a year. While I don't do challenge testing, I've not once had an issue with my product noticeably going bad. I'm pretty sure if you ask, the company can get you their challenge testing results for the ingredient, if they have it on file. I hope another user experience helps give you some peace of mind.

Danielle Martin said...

Oh Marsha, that's a good idea. I think I will contact them. I'm having a lot of trouble getting any kind of guidance from anywhere about this ingredient. I know other manufacturers use it, but there are probably more environmental factors that could change whether this preservative makes sense for me or not. Is your conditioner in a squeeze bottle or jar? Thanks for responding!

Anonymous said...

People are so into this natural haircare movement/no preservative that they forget that everytime they eat something such as a candy bar, icecream, cold cut/processed foods and even medication they are eating dangerous ingredients that they cannot even pronouce it but in small quantities that won't harm them, well it will over a long period of time and they don't even realize nor do they worry about it. One day i got a bottle of cough syrup for my daughter and guess which preservative was on the label? Yes paraben. Stop this natural movement people companies will tell us anything to sell their product more over they all use the same ingredients, emulsifier, oils, thickners, syntetic fragrance and oils, preservative and water and a bunch of botanical ingredients that do not classifies that product as natural/organic better that the others, it's just costing you and me more money. Start paying attention to what goes inside your body, eat more organic/natural products that comes from the ground to be prepared at home, add preservative to your beauty products because Susan is right, and dump the processed can goods, they are no good for us.
I love Susan

Elisabeth said...

Stopped by to look at body butters, and can't help leaving a thought here. Even though I'm personally not set in stone about having my cosmetics be "100% natural" (insert meaning of choice here -- I'd rather have a sustainable solution to humanity's hopeless dependency on nuclear power and fossil fuels), I have to confess to some kind of odd hangup where emulsifiers, antioxidants and preservatives are concerned. They do such a mundane job that they've become all but invisible, and only when a formula's written out in black and white, I realise belatedly that I have to make space for the "functional yet unsexy" among the wonderful extracts and expensive oils. Sort of realising you can't build a society without garbage collectors and street sweepers.

Oh well, back to the body butters. Thanks again for being an absolute treasure.