Sarah asks in this post, Lotions: Making a cream: I made an unscented cream yesterday for my friend with very sensitive skin. I left the cream in the bowl over night with a stainless steel spoon in it. Today I noticed on one side of the spoon the cream has been discoloured (purple in colour). From the beginning the cream smelt like metal (before discolouration), so I had to add a few drops of lavender essential oil. Whenever I use rose water in my formulas it always has a metallic smell.
The ingredients were:
Rose water, 64%
No water and preservative added because my friend has super sensitive skin.
I have two thoughts about this today...
preservatives? This implies somehow that preservatives are harsh ingredients that can hurt someone with sensitive skin instead of ingredients that can keep icky things out of a lotion that could hurt someone with sensitive skin. Exposing oneself to all the contaminants that can grow in a lotion is a bad idea for all skin types!
I notice in the unabridged recipe, Sarah is using grapefruit seed extract. Please note that this is NOT a preservative. It might act as an anti-oxidant in our products, which means it retards rancidity in our oils, but it is not a preservative. The only preserving power it might offer comes from the preservatives put into the GSE to keep it from going off.
I have to point something else out when it comes to not using preservatives - it doesn't take long for contamination to happen. You could have something growing in the product hours after you've made it. Keeping it in the fridge isn't going to stop the bacteria and other stuff from growing; it only slows it down. A lotion has maybe a few days in the fridge - certainly not a week or longer. And who wants to make lotion every other day?
Yes, I know I have said in the past that a lotion might be good for a week in the fridge, but I've learned a lot since then and now consider it good for only a few days. If you come across a mention where I say that it is good in the fridge for a week, please let me know and I'll correct it. As well, there's an e-book in it for you!
If you are making lotion, use preservatives! For using such a tiny bit - say 0.5% to 1%, check the suggested usage rate - you get so much protection for your products and your skin!
If you are giving away your product, I believe you have an obligation to let the giftee know what is in and what isn't in your product. If you aren't using preservatives, you have an obligation to let the person know that you aren't using one and what could grow in your product. I don't think it is fair or right to give something to someone when you are aware that there could be contamination in it.
Preservatives section of the blog
What contaminants can get into our products?
How preservatives work
Why grapefruit seed extract (GSE) isn't a preservative
Choosing a preservative
As a side question, is this a common thought - that water isn't good for sensitive skin? I've never heard it before, so I thought I would put it out to you, my lovely readers. Have you heard of this before?
Skin chemistry and types
Sensitive or resistant skin type - acne type
Sensitive skin type - stinging
Sensitive skin type - allergic
water soluble. Something like the rose water and glycerin Sarah puts into her recipe is considered water. Any of our hydrosols, hydrolyzed proteins, cationic polymers, and anything else that is water soluble is considered water in our product.
Anything that is water soluble is considered "water".
If you have rose water and glycerin, you have water in your lotion. In this case, you have 67% water in your product. When we have water in a lotion, you require a preservative, so take a look at the links above to find one that you like.
Learning to formulate: The water phase
Weekend Wonderings: Adding and removing from the water amount
As for why your lotion discoloured...there are a few reasons. One, the lotion could have reacted with the metallic spoon. Two, you could have contamination in your product, which, as I note, can start right away with lotions.
You mention in the original comment that your rose water had a metallic smell - I think you might have a problem there as rose water should smell faintly (or strongly) of roses. I would throw out that bottle and order another one. If this smell has happened more than once, consider ordering from a different supplier. And for the love of everything good and holy, please get yourself a good preservative and use it at the suggested usage rate so you don't have this kind of thing happening again!
Have a question? Want to suggest an ingredient for the one ingredient, ten posts series? Then make a comment!