The Truth about NATURAL Preservatives
in your home-made products
When attempting to make creams, lotions & body butters, it is wise to read a little about it. It is so much fun to achieve something that you've made yourself, and to share with your family and friends, but please be safe and smart about it. Do I make my own?? absolutely, some without the preservatives, which I keep refrigerated and the ones I sell, that have the appropriate preservatives for your safety.
I have seen so many Youtube videos and recipes that are being passed around FB, that are truly spine chilling. Sometimes I will comment, and sometimes I feel like it's a lost battle and not my place to do so.
Some of these recipes seam to be wonderful and yummy, but please know, that if you don't use some kind of preservative or keep it refrigerated for the life of the lotion, (which is not long) it will grow harmful bacteria, mold, yeast and fungi over a short time frame.
Using a contaminated product, could cause severe health problems, even blindness.
Any recipe that contains water, teas, milk, hydrosols or other liquids containing "ONE drop" of water, must be properly preserved to prevent contamination and microbial growth. Contrary to peoples believes, Vitamin "E", Rosemary Oil Extract, and others are "NOT" a natural preservative, they are an antioxidant, that may extend the shelf life of the product by a few days. Using Essential Oils as preservatives is probably the most natural form of antimicrobials you will find, but these would have to be used in very high levels, which in turn, would not be safe for the skin either. Some of the Essential Oils I like using to bring the percentages of preservatives down, are, clove, eucalyptus, caraway, lemon, rose, rosemary, sage, cinnamon, patchouli, frankincense, lavender, cumin, sandalwood, and thyme.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am huge on "NATURAL & ORGANIC" and I don't believe in harmful cancer causing chemicals, but,... there's also other ways to keep it healthy and natural using what mama earth gives us and even like this, you would still have to use some kind of preservative. If not using the preservative, keeping it refrigerated is very helpful and you must use a sterilized scoop or little spoon to get the product out, so the oils in your hands don't contaminate the rest, in other words, NEVER double dip.
Either way, my point to this article is, that making your own is still a very smart idea, not only because you can save a ton of money, but anything is healthier than the large amount of unhealthy and unsafe, cancer causing chemicals, the large manufacturers use. Same goes for soap.
I know, it sound discouraging, but my intention is only to educate you a little bit so your skin doesn't pay the ugly price. Also, if you are going to be selling it, make sure you have the correct ratios and percentages added to the recipe, because you don't want ugly mold growing in what you've sold.
If you need a supplier and more instructions on how to achieve a successful product, these are a few places to get started, “Soap Queen” , “Bramble Berry” and “Mountain Rose Herbs”. If you are looking for any kind of "ORGANIC" herbs in smaller amounts (Also resins) please feel free to contact me at:
There are 1000's if not more, of reliable sources and websites where you could become more knowledgeable and learn different recipes, but please DO NOT neglect learning extensively if you will be “teaching” or selling your products. Remember, baby steps and safety first. Above all, don't be fooled by people posting unsafe instructions on the web or Facebook.
One of my favorites I found, was about this lady on Youtube (and all over FB), that claimed to be making essential oils in her kitchen, by cutting flowers from her garden and pretty much frying them in Grapeseed oil over her stove. What I think she was trying to achieve, was to "INFUSE" the oils, which is night and day from making an essential oil, and even if that was the case, she had no clue what she was doing. The sad thing is, that thousands of people responded to her, and are buying her products, which (to my understanding) have high levels of bacteria and mold, yet the consumer has no idea, why they have developed onset acne, allergies and other health problems,....hummmm, I wonder why! And why is she not being regulated????
Oh, yes ....please always label and date your products. :)
I can go on, and on but I will stop for now and hope this helps.
Written by D.B.Hasty
and a few more things, lol
Here’s a little more information about those “Natural Preservatives”, that people claim to be natural, if you would like to read up on it. The information below was obtain from different books, websites and also from a web site named Treasure Locks. These only EXTEND the life not PRESERVE.
Alternative Natural Preservative #1- The Truth About Grapefruit Seed Extract
“Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is an all natural preservative”
There are rumors all over the web that Grapefruit Seed Extract works as a natural preservative. Oh, we wish these were true. We even considered using it in our products. However, the sad truth is GSE is not an all natural preservative. GSE is no more natural than parabens. Grapefruit seed extract is not grapefruit juice. It is not simply ground up grapefruit seeds. It is not grapefruit essential oil. Chemical manufacturers take the leftover grapefruit pulp, a waste by-product from grapefruit juice production, and in an intensive, multi-step industrial chemical process, change the natural phenolic compounds into synthetic quaternary ammonium compounds (does this sound natural to you?). Typically, in chemical synthesis of this type, chemical reagents and catalysts are used under extreme high heat and pressure or vacuum. Synthetic ammonium chloride is one of the chemical catalysts used in this process. So, first all, Grapefruit Seed Extract is not “natural”. It’s a chemically altered form of grapefruit seed. If you’re going to call it Grapefruit Seed Extract, you could by the same reasoning call Sodium Laurel Sulfate Coconut Oil Extract. Secondly, studies done on GSE have found that while it may be mildly preserving, it appears to be due to trace contaminants, rather than the GSE itself. A handmade Grapefruit Seed Extract that was not tainted with other chemicals showed zero preservative qualities. Here is one report from the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany:
“The antimicrobial efficacy as well as the content of preservative agents of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts were examined. Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben. In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected. Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present.”
Alternative Natural Preservative #2- Essential Oils
“Essential Oils will work as preservatives”:
While it is true that some essential oils have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, the quantity needed to effectively preserve a water containing product would be at unsafe levels. Care needs to be taken when using essential oils. They can help keep oil based products from going rancid. But, in water containing products, they're mildly effective, at best.
Alternative Natural Preservative #3- Potassium Sorbate
“Potassium Sorbate is an all-natural preservative”:
While potassium sorbate can effectively preserve against mold and yeast, it is not useful for protecting from bacteria. It is not at all effective in products with a pH over 6, which most lotions are. While potassium sorbate is found in nature, any available today would have been synthetically made so it is not all-natural. It is also believed to cause contact dermatitis (skin irritation).
Alternative Natural Preservative #4- Vitamins
“Vitamins A, C & E are great for preserving all kind of things and they’re good for you”
Vitamins A, C and E can extend the shelf life of products by preventing oxidation and by slowing the growth of certain bacteria. And, they are good for you. Vitamin E in particular is great for keeping oil from going rancid. We do use Vitamin E, as a preservative, in our oil based products. But, these vitamins are not effective as broad-spectrum preservatives and cannot replace other preservatives in all products. Think about this. Orange juice is loaded with Vitamin C. But, would you want to drink a glass that was left in your bathroom for a couple of months?