In this post, Michael asks, I make a lotion that is leaving white smear marks on my face. It's not a tragedy, but I don't like it. I've increased the % of water, no change (now (75% water + 18% carrier oils + 6% E-wax NF).. I'm wondering if it's the amount of emulsifier? I tried reducing E-wax to 5%, but no change. Stumped.
This is called the soaping effect, and I go into greater detail about this phenomenon in the FAQ. I'm not sure what's in your e-wax, but that could be the culprit. If you're using stearic acid, this can cause the problem also. Check out that post and do some experimenting to see what works for you!
If you want help with a recipe, please include the exact recipe and entire process so I can offer more help, rather than guessing!
Preservatives: Grapefruit seed extract isn't a preservative! - Robert asks, It is very interesting which is the less chemical preservative? Could we put a mix of natural products which have preservative effects so we could put less chemical in our products ?
I'm going to start this by saying that chemical means something composed of elements, so the word chemical refers to everything on the planet. I think what we mean when we say "chemical" is the word synthetic, or something made by human hands? (Often "chemical" is used to mean "toxic", something I've written about so many times. This simply isn't accurate.) I'll be interpreting this question with that word in mind.
There is a concept called hurdle technology. Here's a quick summary from the post I wrote a while ago: It's basically the concept of using "different bacteria inhibiting or bacteria killing factors to achieve a safe product with an optimal shelf life". In other words, it's about combining different preservatives at lower levels to achieve good preservation of products. A huge part of this process is taking into account the physiology and behaviour of the microflora (aka beasties) that might contaminate our products, looking at things like homeostasis, metabolic exhaustion, stress reactions, and how they react to temperature, pH, ingredients in our products, and so on.
The hurdles in this process are retarding growth, removing organisms, and creating safe products. Our goal is to overcome each of the hurdles to create an awesome product that won't be enticing to bacteria, yeast, and moulds.
good manufacturing processes like heating and holding. The second is to consider the packaging we use - choosing disc caps or flip tops over screw tops, for instance - and consider making products single use or making smaller batches. And the third is to consider the ingredients we use.
To consider the question about using a mix of natural products, there simply isn't enough science to back up many of the natural ingredients people consider preservatives. As I mention in this post on preserving a coconut milk shampoo, citric acid, essential oils, glycerin, honey, and a ton of other things are not preservatives, and no combination of them will work. You can find "natural" or Ecocert preservatives that are showing some promise - visit the preservative section of the blog to find them - and those should be what you turn to when you think about more natural ingredients.
I want to turn to melian's comment in Thursday Wonderings because I thought it was excellent. I agree with you, melian. I don't think a product should be unpreserved and I plan to change all my recommendations to no days out of the fridge. (I was criticized for suggesting that someone drink something left out of the fridge for a few days because it could be dangerous. That writer only confirmed the idea that things aren't safe unpreserved and unrefrigerated, but I don't think she saw it that way!)
i want to weigh in on this. i have a slightly different viewpoint than you, swift, re preservatives and the argument that it is good for 3 days on the counter and 7 in the fridge. you said: "If you don't use a preservative, your product has a shelf life of about three days out of the fridge, about seven in the fridge. I wouldn't take a chance on it longer than that"
i ask: would you set a glass of coconut milk on the counter in your kitchen and leave it for 3 days and then drink it? not many of us would! but, why would you (general you, not aimed at you in specific, swift) want to take that same germy mess and smear it on your face in the form of a cream? aside from the sheer nastiness of that, any tiny imperfection or break in the skin and that bacteria has got free entry into your skin and system and must be fought off by your body.
another thing i don't get is why folks think preservatives are harsh? using enough alcohol in a product to preserve it is harsh. using .3% - 1% of a tried and true preservative isn't. most preservatives, excluding the ones newly out that are trying to kill things without being toxic to humans while trying to be "natural" (and what is more natural than germs and bacteria?) are well tested and have the track record of decades behind them showing they are not harsh or harmful. anyone might be allergic to one or the other of them - i can't use germall plus. but that is true of everything in life. allergies exist.
one last thing before i end my rant here, ever wonder why women from a hundred years or more ago aged faster and looked older at 30 than we do at 60? they were limited to only "all natural" things to make products from and had no preservatives and so had to use that germy mess on their bodies and faces. no wonder they looked older than they should!
ok, end rant.
I love your rants, and I love your point. Why do people think that a tiny amount of a preservative is harsh? I would never ever consider making a water containing product without a preservative! I'm too scared of the beasties that could grow in a product!
When people ask me if the products I make are safe, I respond like this - would I make something harmful for the people I love? No. I have done my research and feel very confident about the ingredients I use.
If you want to make organic or natural products, then have at it! You don't need to argue your perspective with me here because I agree that you should be able to make what you want, but make it safely. If you choose not to include preservatives in your water containing products, know that your product will go bad, and the contamination will be there before you can see it.
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