preservative in homemade skin care products

7 Things to Know About Preservatives in Homemade Products

In Blog by Hong54 Comments

Many commercial skin care products are loaded with harmful chemicals and preservatives to allow products to remain fresh. Preservatives are great for keeping products free of bacteria, but many of them are unhealthy, can cause allergic reactions and even cancer.

More and more people are getting away from commercial skin care products. Many are now taking advantage of the wonderful benefits of homemade skin care products. 

7 Things to Know About Preservatives in Homemade Products - Homemade skin care products made with lemon, cucumber and aloe vera

Making your own skin care products can be fun and rewarding, but it’s important that you know how to keep your products safe and free of bacteria, yeast, and mold. This would involve using a chemical preservative.

I know, I know. It’s a chemical preservative. You’re probably thinking, “why would you add that to your homemade skin care products? After all, you make your own products because you want to avoid the chemicals in the commercial products, right?

Please let me explain below why a chemical preservative is necessary in some cases.

So without further ado, I am going to share with you 7 things you need to know about using preservatives in homemade products.


1. Why Do You Need to Use a Preservative?

There are many DIY recipes and also many finished products available on Etsy. I was actually pretty surprised to find that many don’t use preservatives. And this scares me because homemade products that are not properly preserved can be hazardous to your health, such as skin infections.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the fundamentals of creating safe products. And that makes it especially important that you don’t just follow any random recipes blindly. Always do your research. 

cartoon microorganism Anyways, with that being said. I am going to talk about why you would need a preventative.

So I am a little obsessed with the wonderful things I can create with the use of water in my products. However, the problem is once you add the water, it also becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, yeast, and mold.

These microorganisms reproduce and thrive in your lotions and creams. I don’t think that’s something you want to put on your skin, right?

It’s important that you understand if you make a homemade skin care product that contains water, milk, hydrosols, herbal tea or other aqueous liquids, you need some type of broad-spectrum preservative against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, mold and yeast.


2. Are There Any Natural Preservatives?

You might’ve come across other blogs that talk about preserving homemade products with natural preservatives, such as antioxidants.

Unfortunately, antioxidants are NOT preservatives. They are not the same and I’ll explain the difference shortly. 

essential oils bottles surrounded by pink and white colored flowers

I’m sorry to tell you that there are NO all-natural preservatives.

In order to produce a safe product that is free of bacteria, mold, and yeast, using a chemical preservative is important and necessary.

A natural substance such as essential oils that have antimicrobial activity is not adequate for broad-spectrum protection.

It would require a high concentration of essential oils to be effective. Unfortunately, a high concentration of essential oils is irritating to the skin and have undesirable odors and colors.


3. May I Use an Antioxidant as a Preservative?

As I’ve mentioned earlier that antioxidants are NOT preservatives. Many people get this confused and it’s important that you know the difference.

Antioxidants help to prevent and slow oxidation. Oxidation is when oil is exposed to air or oxygen and result in rancid oils.

Rancid oils are not dangerous or harbor microorganisms, they just smell unpleasant.

Antioxidants cannot preserve a water-containing product because they lack the anti-microbial qualities that preservatives have, yet they are still helpful in keeping your products fresh.

Antioxidants are generally used in anhydrous (those that don’t contain water) formulas such as lip balms, body butter, lotion bars, and other oil-based products.

Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, and Grapefruit Seed Extract are examples of antioxidants.

Preservatives have anti-microbial properties. They work by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold, yeast and other microorganisms. 


4. How To Create Preservative-Free Formulations?

Make Small Batches

If you do not wish to use any preservative, your homemade products will not stay fresh for as long as the commercial products.

I recommend making your products in small batches, keep them refrigerated, store them in a dispensing bottle, and use them up within a week. 

I personally love putting my lotions or creams in silicone containers because I can easily squeeze them out through the cap. 

With silicone containers, I don’t have to worry about transferring germs from fingers to the lotion and therefore causing contamination and decreasing the shelf life of the lotion.

If you don’t have silicon containers, dispensing bottles would work as well.

Make Oil-Base Products

Making anhydrous (those that don’t contain water) products is another way to eliminate the need for preservatives because oil-based products are not susceptible to microbiological proliferation.

homemade soap

Body butter, lip balms, bar soaps, and facial oils are some examples of oil-based products.

You may wish to use a natural antioxidant for oil-based products to extend their shelf life. Antioxidants help to slow the process of oxidation which causes oils to go rancid.


5. What Kind of Preservatives Are Available?

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of all preservatives available for homemade products. I’ve done quite a bit of research on preservatives and the list I put together here is what I think to be some great options.

Geogard ECT Preservative

  • It is a unique combination of Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, and Sorbic Acid, which are well accepted in a wide range of personal care products. It offers broad-spectrum protection against gram-positive & gram-negative bacteria, yeast, and molds.
  • Recommended Use Levels: 1.0% of the total weight of the recipe at temperatures below 113 F degrees.

Optiphen

  • Optiphen is a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative.
  • Optiphen can curdle or destabilize some emulsions.
  • It is recommended adding Optiphen during POST-emulsification.
  • It is best used in oil-based products, such as body butter.
  • Recommended Use Levels: 0.5 – 1.5% of the total weight of the recipe at temperatures below 176 F degrees.

Optiphen ND 

  • Optiphen ND is a very mild, broad spectrum preservative that is completely paraben and formaldehyde free for water containing products.
  • This preservative works best in surfactant-based systems, shampoos, conditioners, gels, creams, and lotions. It’s meant for use in products that contain water. Not suitable for anhydrous products  (Oil-based products).
  • Recommended Use Levels: 1% of the total weight at temperatures below 176 F degrees.

Optiphen Plus 

  • Optiphen Plus offers broad spectrum preservation without paraben or formaldehyde for water containing products.
  • Not suitable for anhydrous products (Oil-based products).
  • Recommended Use Levels: 0.5 – 1.5% of the total weight at temperatures lower than 176 F degrees.

Phenonip 

  • Phenonip is a liquid preservative to inhibit a full range of microbial growth in your creams, lotions, salt scrubs, dusting powders, and liquid soap bases.
  • It does contain paraben, which some people may not like.
  • This preservative is more suitable for products that are made at higher temperature ranges.
  • Recommended Use Levels: 0.5 – 1.0% of the total weight at temperatures lower than 200 F degrees.

Liquid Germall Plus

  • Liquid Germall Plus is a broad spectrum, paraben free, water soluble preservative for oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions and water-soluble formulations.
  • It is very effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria, yeasts, molds, and commonly found organisms.
  • Recommended Use Levels: 0.1 – 0.5% of the total wight.
  • Paraben and Formaldehyde Free


6. What Product Needs a Preservative?

  • Any homemade products that contain water or any products that may get water in it.
    • Example: Lotions, creams, scrubs.
  • All oil-based products (they don’t contain water, just contain oil) can benefit from adding an antioxidant to help slow oxidation and increase shelf life.
    • Example: Lip balms, body butter, lotion bars.
  • Cold process soap does not need a preservative. Generally, if the pH of a product is above 10 a preservative may not be required.

7. What Preservative Do I use?

Some preservatives work better than others. Every homemade skin care formulation is different and would require a different preservative.

I recommend that you do your own research and decide what works best for your recipe.

My favorite preservative is liquid germall plus. It’s water soluble preservative for the emulsified portion of oil-in-water and water-in-oil emulsions.

It’s very easy to use and is added at a temperature lower than 122°F or during the cool down stage of your creations. It’s heat sensitive and adding it above 122°F could result in compromising the preservative in your product.

Liquid germall plus is paraben free, not super expensive, effective over a broad pH range from 3-8, can be used in just about anything, except for products that don’t contain water and doesn’t mess with the emulsions or stability of your homemade products like some other preservatives.

How Much liquid germall plus do I need to Use?

Liquid germall plus works very well at inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold, yeast and other microorganisms at extremely low concentrations. It’s used in small quantities at 0.1 – 0.5% of the total weight and still able to achieve broad-spectrum protection.

The recommended usage rates are provided only as a guideline to proper preservation. All new formulations should be tested to ensure preservative efficacy.

I recommend using 0.5% since our kitchens and tools are far from being sterile. If you have 100 grams of lotion and want to use 0.5 % of liquid germall plus, that would be 0.5 gram (100 grams of lotion x 0.5% of preservative and divided by 100) of preservative.

You can use a scale to weight the preservative or use a dropper. I don’t have a scale, so I use a dropper, this would translate into 10 drops of preservative. Using a dropper does not give you a 100% accurate measurement, but it’s good enough.

You are unlikely to have to test the pH or make an adjustment. If you want to make sure that your preservative is working properly, you can test your product with a microbial test kit.


Conclusion

Now you know the 7 important things about using preservatives in homemade skin care products. Using preservative is important in any product that contains water.

Keep in mind that your homemade products are still a much healthier alternative even with preservatives to commercial products because the remaining ingredients within your product are natural and gentle.

We like to keep our products as natural as possible, but nothing is more unsafe than a product contaminated with bacteria, mold, and yeast. The risk of using preservatives is far less than the risk of not using them.

I hope you enjoyed the post. If you did, please feel free to share this post with others. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments below.

Thank you for visiting my site.

Hong

Comments

  1. Nice post admin. Hello everyone, it’s my first view go to see at this site,
    this site is very informative and more helpful for all people in the whole
    world and this site paragraph is such a genuinely fruitful in support of me,
    and other peoples. keep up posting such type of contents. Thanks again admin

    1. Author

      Hi Prateek, thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I am glad you found my article interesting and helpful. Let me know if you have any question. I am happy to help.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  2. I appreciate your frankness about the state of homemade cosmetics and how, ironically, in avoiding all the poisons some people end up creating unsafe products! In life, moderation is key. I’m glad there are so many options for preservatives including ones that are Paraben free. Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions, it really makes the process so much easier!

    1. Author

      Hi Penelope, good to see you again on my website. You are welcome for the information. I am glad it was helpful.
      Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  3. Hello Hong. I found your article just loaded with good information! With all the advances in science and in society as a whole, we have to stop and think now about how to best take care of ourselves and our resources. “All natural” is far better and to know it is “all natural” the best way, I believe, is to create the product for yourself. Everything from cereals to soups to chips to lotions can have a label in the store identifying the product as “all natural”…..but how do you know???!! And the preservatives in store bought products….. what impact can they really have on your body??! You have a good organization to your website, I like the images you include, and I have never seen tips on preserving lotions in such a natural way and how to store them. Thank you Hong!! I have what may be a dumb question to add……could you please tell me what parabens really are???

    1. Author

      Hi John Patrick Styron, thank you for reading and for your comment. There are many products I came across from food to skin care products labeled as “all natural” or “organic”, often times turned out to be a fraud. In fact, the term “natural” is completely unregulated by the FDA. Any company can stamp the word on its product, even if the product is loaded with whole bunch synthetic chemicals. But not all products with the word “natural” or “organic” on their labels are frauds. The best way to determine that is to study the ingredients.

      Ever since I learned how to make my own skin care products, I’ve stopped buying store skin care products altogether. Many preservatives and chemicals in commercial skin care products are harmful and toxic to our body. Making your own product is the best way to avoid these harmful ingredients. And the best thing is making your own product is actually much easier than you think. Check out my DIY recipes for more information. Here is an article I wrote about some common harmful lotion ingredients to identify, avoid and the effects of them in human body. I think you will find these articles helpful.

      Parabens are found in almost all commercial lotions and are the most widely used preservative in cosmetics. They help to prevent bacteria, mold and fungus from growing in lotions, creams, concealers, and many other personal care and cosmetic products. You will find more information about parabens in this article.

      Thank you for your compliment. Let me know if you have any other question.

      Have a wonderful day!
      Hong

  4. Hi Hong, thank you for this informative post. I always wanted to make my own homemade products but, keeping them fresh was one of my concerns. Although, I did learn over time that supposedly essential oils were suppose to help keep products fresh as well. I know it has worked for my DIY conditioner however, I am not sure how they would work with a homemade lotion. I never tried a preservative I will have to look into them. Can these preservatives be used in a DIY conditioner? Thank you for this article as I did learn a lot.

    1. Author

      Hi Lakisha, thank you for viewing my page and for your comment. I am glad you found the post informative. Each preservative has its pros and cons. Some preservatives only work for oil-based formulations. While others only work for products that contain water. My favorite preservative is liquid germall plus. It works for anything that contains water, it is very easy to use, it is effective with just small amount, and it does not mess up your emulsions. Liquid germall plus will work for your conditioner as long as it contains water.

      I am glad my article was helpful. let me know if you have any question.
      Have a great day!
      Hong

  5. Wow Hong!
    I make homemade product for myself. I’ve always shied away from making anything other than oil based because of the germ factor. Now I know what to use for preservatives. I have sensitve skin, which do you recommend?

    1. Author

      Hi Suzanne Haverkrorn, thank you for visiting and for your comment. I also have sensitive skin. My favorite preservative is liquid germall plus. I have been using liquid germall plus for months and haven’t had any bad reaction with it. It’s paraben free, not too expensive, effective with just small amount, can be used in just about anything, except for products that don’t contain water, and doesn’t mess with the emulsions or stability of your homemade products like some other preservatives. Let me know if you have any other question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  6. Great and informative article Hong. Its a real eye opener to hear what could lay in conventional skin care products. And that’s what we out on our body. Wow.
    I love your natural methods and always find them to work well.

    1. Author

      Hi Vince, glad to see you again on my website. I appreciate your comment. Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  7. Hi Hong! Is Geogard ECT Preservative, Optiphen , Phenonip, or Liquid Germall Plus safe to use on babies skin and especially, babies with eczema prone skin? I am interested in making my own soaps but am wary of certain chemicals for my babies skin.

    1. Author

      Hi Sophia Melendrez, these preservatives are generally recognized as safe when used according to the manufacturer’s recommended use levels. It is hard to know if babies with eczema prone skin will react to the preservative or not. Every baby’s skin is different. A patch test is recommended. It is important you know that contaminated homemade product can be hazardous to your health, such as skin infection. The amount of preservative used is very small, it’s barely anything and especially it is spaced over many uses. Your homemade products are still a much healthier alternative even with preservatives to commercial products because the remaining ingredients within your product are natural and gentle to the skin. The benefit of using a preservative far outweighs the risk of not using one. If you prefer the all natural method, I recommend that you make oil-based products or make small batches of your product, keep them refrigerated and use them up within a week.

      I hope this helps. Let me know you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  8. Thank you Hong, for the great information. I’ve always thought I’d start making my own lotions one day but haven’t got around to it yet haha. So good to know I’d need to add a preservative. Many recipes I’ve seen online don’t mention this.
    Thanks again,
    Suzanne

    1. Author

      Hello Suzanne, thank you for visiting my article an for your comment. I am glad my article was helpful. Let me know if you have any question. I’d be happy to help.

      Have a great weekend!
      Hong

  9. Hi Hong,
    As someone who’s a natural, holistic junkie, I absolutely love this article and can relate to it on many levels. Most mainstream brand skincare products contain many harsh preservatives that have no business coming in contact with our precious skin, such as parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, etc. However, conventional brands put them in place to preserve shelf life so they can be sold with years and years time. I totally agree with DIY, homemade, and natural, non-toxic skincare products must utilize some form of “natural” based preservatives that will remain a product “fresh” for some time. I know certain plant extracts such as oregano, honeysuckle (a bit controversial tho), and vitamin E can preserve freshness IF a proper concentration (otherwise, it won’t work) and amount are added to the product.
    Any who, great article!

    1. Author

      Hello Kseniya, thank you for vising my site and for your comment. I am happy to hear that you love this article. Many commercial lotions are nothing but bunch harmful preservatives and chemicals. Making you own skin care products is the best to avoid them. I am not sure what oregano and honeysuckle are. Do you know if they have anti microbial properties or are they antioxidants?

  10. Thank you for this informative article Hong. I hadn’t even thought about adding preservatives to anything with water, but it makes sense! I have wanted to make something with all of the lavender I have. I am not sure about making lotion, but balm is the fascinating option. Thank you for taking the time and researching all of these products,

    1. Author

      Hello Colleen Fonseca, thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. I am glad you found the article informative. I have a lip balm recipe, which is very easy to make. Feel free to check out my article on that. If you need help or have any question. Feel free to let me know.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  11. I did not know if you make a product with water you automatically would need a preservative. I think it is so beneficial to make your own products these days because you just never know all of the ingredients that are really in products off of the shelf.

    I will pass this on to my Aunt who loves ideas like these. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Author

      Hi Nate Kidd, thank you for visiting my page and for your comment. Making your own skin care products is the best way to avoid many harmful ingredients in commercial lotions. I appreciate you passing this information to your aunt. I hope she finds it helpful. Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  12. Hi Hong

    This is an excellent post on preservatives. I had no idea. I really did not think its that big of a deal, but after reading this it really hit home for me. I’ll need to share this with my wife. So what do you use for no chemical free preservatives that you like the most?

    AJ

    1. Author

      Hi AJ, thank you for your taking the time to red my article and your comment.
      I appreciate you sharing this article with you wife. I hope she finds it useful.
      There isn’t really a natural and chemical free preservative. If you make a product that contains water. You need a chemical preservative unless if you are going to make your product in small batches, keep it refrigerated and use it up within a week.
      I hope I answered your question. Let me know if you have any other question.

      Have a great weekend!
      Hong

  13. Hi Hong,

    Great article and really informative. For someone like myself who is new and relatively inexperienced with creating homemade skin care products, is there a simple one you could recommend to start off with? And have you ever experienced any negative side-effects based on what preservatives you choose? Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Will, thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate your comment. I am glad you found the article informative.
      I have a lip balm and a coconut hand lotion recipes that are very easy to make. They only require few ingredients. Feel free to check these recipes out. I have tried several preservatives and haven’t experienced any negative side effects from them so far. I think the most important thing to remember when using a preservative is to follow the manufacturer’s recommended usage rate. Based on my experience, I found Liquid Germall Plus to be the best. It’s very easy to use, inexpensive, effective, and doesn’t mess up your emulsions like it would with Optiphen.
      I hope I answered your question. Let me know if you have any question or concern.
      Have a great weekend!
      Hong

  14. Hi Hong,

    A very comprehensive and informative article. I learned a lot from reading this in terms of how the benefits of these preservatives that you present here far outweigh the costs of not using them in regards to overall shelf life. I’m glad you mentioned refridration as an alternative to preservatives. That was the main question i was going to ask.

    My take away from reading this is that the trade off is – if one chooses not to use a preservative then it will take more of your time to make the smaller batches more often and if you do decide to use one of your forementioned preservatives then you save that extra time with a larger batch which is’nt (as you said) “100% natural”. Now, with all that known and understood, your only using a 0.5 to 100 gr ratio that doesn’t seem like a whole lot to compromise the overall benefits i would submit as i said at the top.
    Still, either way, a far better choice that going to the supermarket and just using some over the counter lotion without reading the label(as you mentioned in your prevoius post).

    Anyway, I got a lot out this post Hong and will share on my Google+ and site.

    Also, as a side bar, just wanted to get your 2 cents on this – I started using a humidifier that i have had on a shelf the past couple of months, decided to start using it and when I read the instructions, It said not to use purified or distilled/filtered water(only tap water). So it’s better to use water with all the nasty chemials like chlorine?!!! That doesn’t make sense to me. Just wondering what your thoughts are.
    Thanks for another great post,
    Hope you are having wonderful day, God bless, Brad

    1. Author

      Hi Brad, thank you for taking the time to read my article and for your comment. I am glad you found the article informative.

      Using a preservative is really a personal choice. Some people prefer 100% natural products without any chemical. Just as you stated that more time will be spent to make small batches of lotion if one chooses chemical free products.

      I personally choose to use a preservative. The risk of using preservatives in the homemade products is far less than the risk of not using them. The amount used is so small. 0.1% to 0.5% of preservative for 100 grams of a product, that would translate to 0.1 gram to 0.5 gram of preservative, which is barely anything. Especially it is spaced out over so many uses.

      Using a preservative comes with a peace in mind that my products are protected against any accidental contamination, bacteria, mold, and yeast. The benefits of using a preservative far outweigh the risk of not using one.

      Regarding the humidifier, my family has three humidifiers and we only use distilled, demineralized or purified water. I don’t use tap water for the same concerns you have.

      It just makes sense to me that if you want to breathe clean air, you would want to use clean water in the humidifiers. There are so much chemicals, contaminants and heavy metals in our tap water. And if this is not scary enough, up to 90 percent of drinking water contaminants in ultrasonic humidifier aerosols are also inhalable.

      Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside your humidifier that promote bacterial growth. Evaporated tap water may form a dry, white dust on surfaces, and this can also irritate the respiratory systems of some sensitive individuals. Tap water is loaded with so much scary stuff and I don’t think we want to breath that nasty stuff into our body.

      Here is an I found “New Study Shows Why You Should Never Use Tap Water In Your Humidifiers And Diffusers” that I think you may find interesting and helpful.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

      1. Thanks for that link Hong,

        Red flags went up in my mind when i read the instructions that came with the humidifier. In addition they offer no explanation as to why you should not use purified or distilled/filtered water. Thanks again for shedding some light on that. I’m definitely going to share this.

        Hope you have a most blessed remainder of the weekend, Brad

  15. Hong, what an in-depth analysis of the world of preservatives! The only homemade products I have ventured into making are perfumes, but I have certainly thought about making my own scented soaps and candles as well. Would these products still benefit from adding in preservatives for being oil based? Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hello Donovan Reich, thank you for visiting and for your comment. ​If you make a product with water, you need a preservative. A general rule of thumb is if you product is anhydrous (without water) then you do not need to use a preservative, but adding an antioxidant can help prevent and slow oxidation. For high pH products such as liquid soap and if the pH is above 10 a preservative may not be needed. So soaps and candles would benefit from an antioxidant, but not required.

      I hope I answered your question. Let me know if you have any other question.

  16. Wow, i never thought about adding preservatives to my homemade lotions. I usually just make small batches, but then I rin out and sometimes it can take a while until I can make more, so we juat do without. I have one question though about tgise silicone containers, do they leak? I use the dark brown glass ones, and I always worry about them breaking, I’d live to switch to something else.

    1. Author

      Hi Jim Nastic, thank you for visiting and for your comment. I have three silicon bottles. I love them. I normal make small batches of lotion for myself and for my parents and store them in the silicon bottles. They are very easy to use, leak proof, BPA Free, easy to refill and clean, and great for travel. Feel free to read more details about this product in this link.

      Let me know if you have any question.
      Hong

  17. Great article Hong , it was very informative and definitely empowered me. People are definitely become more health conscious these days especially with all the free to share information out there.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Author

      Hi Dane, thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. I am glad you found my article informative and that it has empowered you. There are so much information on the internet, finding a natural solution to health is becoming much easier.

      Thank you for you compliment!
      Have a nice day!
      Hong

  18. That’s pretty interesting. I never knew that much went into skin care. What’s the best all natural skin care product though?

    1. Author

      Hello Jasmere, I appreciate your comment. I make my own lotions and I don’t buy them anymore. So I can’t really recommend an all natural lotion. I do however recommend that you check out my “How To Read Lotion Bottle Labels – 9 Harmful Ingredients to Identify and Avoid” to help you make more informed decision when buying a lotion. Let me know if you have any question.

  19. Hi Hong,

    Such a great post! very thorough and you really cover the whole spectrum of your topic. I have been making turmeric paste with water and oil and I know it lasts about 4 to 6 weeks.

    I think I need to add a preservative or just make it with oil. Will have to experiment I think.

    Thanks for a really interesting read. I learnt a lot,

    Kev

    1. Author

      Hello Kevin Mcnamara, thank you for visiting and for your comment. I am happy to hear you found this post helpful. Your turmeric paste sounds very interesting. What are the health benefits of paste? If you have any question, please let me know.

  20. Good stuff. I prefer no preservatives at all but I did not know that mattered so much with lotions and such. This information helps in buying natural products as far as use time and refrigeration. Thanks.

    1. Author

      Hello Thomas G, I appreciate your comment. I am glad this information was helpful. Let me know if you have any question.

  21. Good work Hong! You clearly know your subject. Thanks for the thought that went into this post. DIYers for making these products could certainly benefit from reading this!

    1. Author

      Hello Byron, thank you for your comment and your compliment. I am glad this information was useful.

  22. Great job! You really did your homework on this subject. DIYers for these products need this information.

  23. This is an amazingly well researched and presented post. I learned such a lot about making my own personal care products and the ingredients required. I was especially interested in the part about the use of preservatives and I do understand they would be necessary for long term use. However I was wondering if using distilled water would make any difference.
    I think this site is very informative and well written. Thank you for presenting it in such a clear format for any lay person to follow.

    1. Author

      Hi Judy Edwards, thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. I am glad you found the article informative. I try to explain things in a way that most people can easily understand.

      Using distilled water is definitely a much better option than using tap water or bottled water. Using distilled water to create lotions, there are fewer opportunities for bacteria and virus and other impurities to ruin our homemade products, this will help extend the shelve life for sure. But for long term use, a preservative is still required.

      Our kitchens and tools are far from sterile, there could also be an accidental contamination that we don’t even know about. Even if the whole lotion making process is contamination free, just storing lotion in a jar allows a opportunity for fingers to transfer bacteria to the product and cause these bacteria to reproduce and thrive in your lotion. I don’t think we want that on our skin.

      If you don’t like to use preservative, I recommend making oil-based products or making water containing products, keep it refrigerated, and use it up within a week.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any question. I am happy to help.

  24. I always fancy using homemade products as these are so so healthier and better and market products. Thank you so much to giving these ideas about adding preservative in home made products. As always your articles are very useful to read and to gain from…

    1. Author

      Hi Sarah, nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment. I am glad you find the information useful.

  25. Thank you for this clear breakdown of preservatives in skin products. My partner has been reading a lot about this lately and she said she wants to create her own homemade skin products. This lead me straight to your site. I will tell her to go with your recommendation; the liquid germall plus. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

    1. Author

      Hi Brandon, I appreciate your comment. Thank you for sharing this information with your partner. Let me know if you need help or have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  26. Hong, thank you ever so much for making clear the whole mystery surrounding the concept of preservatives. Now you clarify that there are no chemical-free preservatives, I can understand why so many people suffer from skin allergies. I am one of them. For instance, I cannot use perfumes at all, even the most expensive ones. And there is only a limited number of moisturisers I can use without getting a flare up. This said, I like the ideas of preservative free products, and more so the idea of small batches. I think, as you mention, that is the very key.
    Thanks again my lovely!

    1. Author

      Hello GiuliaB, thank you for your comment. And you are so welcome for the information. I am glad my article was helpful. It’s nice to hear you like the idea of preservative free products and the idea of making small batches. I have sensitive skin and I find my skin irritated after using most of the commercial lotions. I have not had a problem with my homemade coconut lotion. And actually it does a much better job at protecting my skin. Let me know if you have any question. I am happy to help.

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