Preservatives in home-made products? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-26-2008, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I've decided to do a homemade chistmas this year. I want to give out some bath and body products. I make a lot of my own little "potions" that I love, and I also have some experiance with cold process soap. My question deals with preservatives. To this point all of my mostureizers and other concoctions have been used just by me, so I never really bothered with preservatives. I can tell when something is off. I do not want to give things to other people that can grow bacteria and become harmful. I also don't want to give them things that only last a month or require refrigeration. I've been doing some research on preservatives, and checking things out on the cosmetics database.
I get most of my supplies from, and they only sell a paraban based preservative, which I want to avoid. Potassium sorbate only has a rating of 1 so I'm okay with that, but the information I found online says that it is for use with water based items and most things I make are oil based. I could really use some advice/information from more experianced product makers. I'd also like to start selling some thigns on etsy if my family has good things to say about the prodcuts, so I would be much more comfortable with an "offical" preservative, if you get what I mean.

I can just see someone in my family finding some after shave mist in the back of the cupbord in july and thinking it would be great on their legs, compleatly ignoring the fact that it was made before chirstmas and the experation date has long passed.
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#2 of 6 Old 08-26-2008, 03:53 PM
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Grapefruit seed oil is my best suggestion. I'm curious what others suggest.

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#3 of 6 Old 08-26-2008, 11:07 PM
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It really depends what ingredients you're using. I don't use any preservatives but I tend to keep my products formulated with ingredients that last quite a while.

I've heard of people using GSE.

Vitamin E acts as a preservative but I wouldn't trust that in a water-based product.

You could always make up stickers with expiration dates on them and encourage everyone to try everything as soon as possible after the holidays....just tell them they deserve it! I know some people save stuff like that for special occasions or to pamper they're so nice they hate to actually use them. Just tell them to go ahead and use immediately.

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#4 of 6 Old 08-27-2008, 08:45 PM
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Vit. E doesn't act as a preservative, it acts as an antioxidant and keeps the oil portion of your recipe from going rancid as quickly. It is a good thing to include but it doesn't do a thing to stop mold or bacterial or fungal growth.

There are surely some pathogens that you can see or smell so that you can tell when something has gone 'off' but there are two things that concern me about relying on sight and smell: the pathogens are already there before you can see or smell them and, some pathogens have no smell, are of a white or beige color that perfectly blends in with the formula so as to make them invisible, and some actually smell pleasant. So having a pleasant smell means very little in determining if the batch is contaminated.

Germall Plus liquid, LiquaPar Oil, Optiphen and Suttocide A are all paraben free preservatives. If you use them at the proper pH levels and temperatures, they should provide effective protection against pathogen growth in your formulas. Check out, in the lotion supply category.
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#5 of 6 Old 08-28-2008, 11:58 AM
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i dont use it and i doubt its edible (i am fairly sure its inedible, really very sure.) but germaben 2 is a popular one with the women i know who make potions and stuff. there are tons of yahoo groups on this i belong to one that is full of information.

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#6 of 6 Old 08-28-2008, 04:02 PM
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Germaben II has parabens, if you are avoiding them, one of the others is a better choice.

If you don't want to have to worry about the whole issue of contamination, try some of the many fun products you can make that are not water based - body butter, lotion bars, salves & unpetroleum jellies, lip balms are always popular, and salt or sugar scrubs are fun too.
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