Monday, April 11, 2016

The importance of preserving

"It's only for me, so I didn't use preservatives." I see this all the time, and I wonder why you wouldn't want to create the best product possible for yourself? Aren't you worth it?

The best way to keep your products safe and healthy is to use a good broad spectrum preservative at the correct usage level. There are so many you could choose, and I encourage you to visit the preservatives section of the blog to see all your choices!

I prefer liquid Germall Plus in just about all my products, but it's not necessarily the right one for your products or philosophy.

Lest you think it's not a big deal to not use preservatives or to not use good, effective, broad spectrum preservatives, take a look at this recall of Gilchrest & Soames products due to bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections. (For a really extensive list of what was recalled, click here!) Take a look at this recall of Badger sunscreen products. Or this list of what was recalled recently.

Bacterial and fungal contamination are not a joke. They aren't something you should risk because the product is "just for you". Contamination can happen in a few days, and keeping it in the fridge may slow down the process, but it won't keep your lotions safe.

I'm saying this because I care that you are safe. I'm saying this because I care that your products are the best they can be and that you won't get horrible infections from them. If you wish to argue against preservatives because they are evil and horrible, this probably isn't the blog for you. This isn't to say that we can't have a great discussion about preservatives or that I don't welcome dissent, but there are no good arguments you can make for not using a preservative in a water containing product. (There are arguments for self-preserving products, like alcohol over 70% or a whole lotta glycerin, but that's not what I'm talking about here...)

Related posts:
When should I use a preservative?


Anonymous said...

Good one!! Preservation is the least that a DIY Skincare formulator is interested in or concern of.

Rena Bovair said...

I have a question about preserving, actually. I'm on board with your stance on this, and my question isn't really related to the use of preservatives.

Here's the situation: I made a toner that's a bit of a variation on one of the ones you've posted. I preserved it using the Liquid Germall Plus as directed (0.5%). The formula contains Allantoin powder, which I love, but it seems to settle at the bottom of my bottle in a bit of a sludge. I heated and held for 20 minutes and blended it with a hand mixer (not sure if that step was necessary, but I did it anyway). So I guess I have 2 questions:

1) Is that normal? Should allantoin dissolve completely into the water phase?
2) Is this toner a failure? Will that sludge harbour bacteria and/or mould?

I'm sorry I don't have the full recipe on me. I can post it when I get home.

Also, I'm wondering if my temperature of heat/hold is a factor. I have 2 thermometers, and one reads at a higher temperature than the other, and although it's digital and I think it's more accurate, using it means my phases are cooler than when I use the other thermometer. So, I guess I have a 3rd question:

3) Is it better to err on the side of hotter than 70 degrees (or even 80+)? Or risk going a bit cooler? If I go above 80, is that likely to adversely affect my ingredients?

Sorry, that got longer than I meant to. My main concern is that my concoctions are safe, hence asking this in a post about preservation.

Furo Dublin-Green said...

Thank you for this article. Since following your blog, i use preservatives in everything i make. But seeing this just helps reinforce the need to, even if i don't want to

Abby said...

I'm trying to figure out how to preserve a biphasic product in which the oil floats on the water... do I add a water soluble preservative, or oil soluble, or both? Thanks!

Danuta Kilar said...

thank you Susan, never enough talking about preserving the product.

Baby Kat said...

I totally agree. I followed your advice and now I use Germall in everything. Here in south Florida where it's always hot, my natural products were going bad quick. I don't have that problem anymore! :)

leese said...

I totally agree, preservatives are important and yeah, there are a few people who think if it's just for them.... blah, blah, blah. BUT, the problem with Gilchrist & Soames isn't that they DIDN'T use preservatives -- they use Benzyl Alcohol, and DHA in shampoo (I didn't check each product). The problem must be contaminated raw material, cleanliness in production, or too low percentage in their products. The article states they do "not perform any microbial testing on any raw materials" - duh! More important than that is testing of their products after formulation. Yeah, test raw materials so as not to waste other materials, but definitely test a sample of every batch made.

The Badger sunscreen *shouldn't* require any preservative as there is no water present -- only Sunflower Oil, Beeswax, Sunflower Vitamin E, CO2 Extracts of Seabuckthorn, and Calendula, Chamomile Essential Oil. And seeing as their premise is "natural" products, they're not going to add preservatives anytime soon. It would make sense that they're not testing their raw ingredients or products after formulation either. Nasties shouldn't be growing in an anhydrous product however humans can contaminate product once opened; but I'm thinking they went and tested UNopened products and found them to be contaminated. Again, it's poor processes within the manufacturing causing these bacterias and, IMO, not the lack of preservatives.

But you can never beat people over the head enough about proper preservation. Thanks for blogging, Susan!

leese said...
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Christine K. said...

First - I LOVE ur blog and all the great info u share. Question - How can I find out what's actually in the preservatives and how chemical vs natural they are? Also, what is the best "most natural" of the preservatives that actually are preservitives? I'd like to learn if there is a more common or simple name to use for the preservitives. I don't want a chemical sounding name on my product label scaring "natural product customers" away. Thanks!!!!

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