How to Preserve Homemade Skin Care Products

How to Preserve Homemade Skin Care Products?

In Blog by Hong36 Comments

In my previous post, I highlighted the importance of proper preservation for natural homemade skin care products that contain water. It’s important that you understand your preservative-free formulations are not going to stay as long and fresh as commercial products.

We use a preservative to prevent product damage caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, mold, and yeast. We also use a preservative to protect the homemade products from inadvertent contamination during use.

You might be wondering “What about natural preservatives?”

The reason it’s not recommended is because natural preservatives such as essential oils don’t offer broad spectrum anti-microbial protection against bacteria, mold, and yeast. The amount needed to make it a preservative is usually too high and unsafe to use in homemade skin care products.

Some people prefer their homemade skin care products to be all natural and chemical free. They would leave the chemical preservatives out completely. 

In this article, I will share with you 8 tips to preserve your homemade skin care products without a preservative.

So without further ado, let’s get started!


1. Keep Water Out

Anytime water is added to homemade skin care products, it also becomes a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms.

As I’ve mentioned earlier that natural preservatives lack anti-microbial properties, so it can’t protect products against these little beasties.

If your product contains water, milk, hydrosols, herbal tea or other aqueous liquids, a chemical preservative is essential.

If you are not a fan of chemical preservative, I recommend the following:

  • Make a small batch of your product
  • Store it in the refrigerator to further retard bacterial growth and oxidation
  • Use the product within a week

2. Make Oil-Based Products

Generally speaking, oil-based products such as lip balm, body butter, and bar soaps will not need a preservative, but an antioxidant is recommended to prolong their shelf life.

How to Preserve Homemade Skin Care Products - homemade soap and essential oils

Antioxidants help to slow the process of oxidation which causes oils to go rancid.  

For those that aren’t a fan of chemical preservatives, making oil-based products is a great alternative.


3. Wash Hands

It’s important that you wash your hands thoroughly when preparing and making your homemade products.

Contamination will cause your product to go bad faster, which makes it unsafe for use.

a person washing their hands in the sink


4. Clean Utensils, Containers and Work Surface

Always clean your utensils, containers, work surface and any other tools you’re going to use to make your product. This helps to ensure that you do not introduce bacteria to your products and contaminate them.

Brand new containers may be clean but clean them anyways.

an empty glass container

Wash the utensil and containers with dish wash detergent, proceed to boil them, and then allow them to completely dry.

Next, wipe down utensils, containers and work surface with isopropyl alcohol diluted with water.  

70 % alcohol & 30 % water works better than 100% alcohol.

100% alcohol evaporates too fast. Adding water helps to slow down evaporation, therefore increases surface contact time and enhances effectiveness.


5. Do Not Obtain Water-Based Products With Your Fingers

Our fingers contain tons of bacteria and can transfer germs to products and contaminate them.

If you store your products in jars, try to avoid dipping your fingers into the jar.

Instead, use a clean spoon, toothpick, or popsicle stick or other appropriate utensils to obtain the amount you need for use. This will prevent introducing bacteria to your product.


6. Carefully Select A Container to Store Your Product 

I personally don’t like to store my water-based products in jars because of inadvertent contamination during use and also the frequent exposure of products to air. This can cause products to spoil much faster.

My personal favorite is a silicone container. They are leak proof, easy to use and fill, 100% BPA free food grade silicone, great for travel, and also convenient for dispensing.

Silicon containers help to minimize air exposure, making them a good option for moisturizers and creams that contain unstable ingredients, such as retinol or vitamin C.

With silicone containers, I don’t have to worry about transferring germs from fingers to the product, which can contaminate and decrease the shelf life of my products.
 


7. Other Containers I Recommend

Pump Dispensers

Pump dispensers are great for lotions, essential oils, liquid soaps, and other homemade products.

They tend to be more hygienic than jars because you’re not touching the product with your fingers every time you use it. 

Amber Glass Bottle Bottles with Plastic Pump

  • These 8 oz amber glass pump bottles are great for protecting your products from harmful ultraviolet rays.
  • They are refillable BPA-free bottles for essential oils, lotions, liquid soaps, or other organic beauty products.
  • They come with reusable chalk labels. So when you fill them with something different, simply wipe the label clean and label them something new on the bottle with chalk or chalk pen. 
  • These amber glass bottles are durable and much safer than plastic bottles.

Airless Pump Bottles

Airless pump bottles are also great for minimizing air exposure, making them a great option for moisturizers and creams that contain unstable ingredients, such as retinol or vitamin C.

They’re also convenient for dispensing products, which helps to prevent contamination and extend the shelf life of your products.

Airless pump bottles have many advantages:

  • Have you ever tried to pump out the last drops of your lotion from standard pump dispenser but can’t because the dip tube is not long enough? You either have to throw it away or take it apart and dig out as much lotion as you can before throwing it away. This will not be an issue with the airless pump bottle. It will dispense almost all of your product so almost nothing goes to waste.
  • Airless pump bottle has no dip tube but rather utilizes a vacuum system to dispense the product. It works by having a tiny bit of air push under a plate at the bottom of the bottle that pushes the product upward. So when you pressed the pump, it creates a vacuum effect which pushes the product up.
  • The bottle doesn’t have to be placed upright in order to work because the pump will push the product out regardless of which way it leans.
  • Airless pump bottle helps to protect sensitive products such as creams, serums, foundations, and other preservative-free formula creams by keeping air and contaminants out, thus enhances the formula’s stability and effectiveness and helps to extend the shelf life of your products.
  • If you plan to sell your product, airless pump bottle is a great packaging option that offers excellent branding effect. It also gives your product a luxurious and sophisticated look which allows you to charge more for your products.

8. Refrigeration

Keep your products out of direct sunlight and heat. Store them in a cool place.

If your water containing skin care products do not contain preservatives, be sure to store them in a refrigerator.

Refrigeration is a natural preservative that helps to expand the shelf life of a product. The cold temperature of the refrigerator helps to delay the growth of bacteria.


Conclusion

There you have it, 8 tips to preserve your homemade skin care products without a preservative.

Making your homemade skin care products are not only fun and rewarding, but it’s also very important that you understand how to create safe products.

After all, we create our own products because we want to avoid harmful ingredients in the commercial product. And we don’t want to accidentally create something that can be harmful to our health, right?

One last thing I want to mention is that if you are going to make a water-containing product and want to use it beyond a week or so, a chemical preservative is a MUST. The risk of using a chemical preservative is far less than the risk of not using one.

I hope this information was helpful and useful. If you liked and enjoyed this article, I would really appreciate it if you could kindly share it with others. 

Please feel free to ask me any questions about any of the contents I’ve created on my website. I will respond as soon as I can.

Thank you for visiting.

Comments

    1. Author

      Hi Marko, thank you for visiting and for your comment. I am glad you enjoyed the article.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

    1. Author

      Hi Adam, thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. You are very welcome for the information and thank you for following me.

      Have a wonderful day!
      Hong

  1. very informative article! we have just begun to transition away from store bought skin care products will look forward to viewing future articles and am heading to your store here shortly .

    1. Author

      Hi Garry, I am glad you found the article informative. I will be posting more DIY skin care recipes in the future. Stay tuned for new articles. Thank you for visiting and for your comment. I hope to see you soon.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  2. I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of making my own makeup products after dabbling in candle making, these tips were invaluable! The tip about keeping water out is particularly useful.

    1. Author

      Hi Rachel, I am glad you found the tips useful. Ever since I started making lip balm, I’ve become fascinated in making natural skin care products. I’ve transitioned away from commercial products for several months now, and I absolutely love my own products.

      I hope to see you soon in the future.
      Have a great day!
      Hong

  3. Hi Hong,
    Fantastic looking website! Really informative and easy to read. Great use of imagery and I see you’re starting to indulge in adverts alongside your articles. If i need any skin products I will be checking back with you!
    Keep up the great work 🙂
    MM

    1. Author

      Hi Marcus, thank you for your compliment. I am glad you found the article informative.
      Hope to see you soon again and have a great day!
      Hong

  4. Wow, never thought that pump dispensers are a better option and keep bacteria away. You never really think about these things. There is no much thought that we should put into making our own products. thank you for this. I will make sure to save this article for myself.

    1. Author

      Hi Sarah, thank you for visiting and for your comment. You are welcome for the information. I hope to see you soon again in the future.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  5. Hello Hong, Very informative article on how to take better care of your homemade skin products. I will say I like the suggested bottle storages you suggested, I think overall these are better and can be more appealing if decided to sell to potential customers. Making water containing products for your skin requires more steps than I assumed, thank goodness I stumbled into your site before attempting to try things on my own. Thanks again

    1. Author

      Hi Kell, thank you for visiting my page and for your comment.

      I am glad I can help. I have fallen love with silicon bottles ever since I started using them. Great for travel as well. Another container I love is the airless pump bottle. It is also great for dispensing products without having to obtain the product with your fingers, which helps prevent contamination and extend the shelf life of your products. Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a wonderful day!
      Hoong

  6. I am always looking for good skin treatments. This is a great article filled with valuable information. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Author

      Hi Nicole, thank you for visiting my site and for your comment. I am glad you found value in my article. I have a few articles about how to make skin care products. Click here if you are interested. Let me know if you have any question. I am happy to help.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  7. a very informative post. I like the way you explain everything so simply. tip no 5, which everybody should read it as im sure most of us do that mistake.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Author

      Hi Akbar, thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I tried to explain things in a simple way as much as I can. I was someone who used to also obtain product with my fingers. I learned it’s not very hygienic and also increases the speed of product spoilage.

      You are welcome for the information. Let me know if you have any question, I am happy to help.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  8. Hello Hong,

    Oh, so, i was under the impression the preservatives were all that one needed to preserve and protect your skin care products! I have a few and I will be rethinking their storage to save me money in the long run.

    I was surprised to learn that oil based skin products last longer and so I will be harassing my local Pharmacist for such in the future.

    I completely understand about the hygiene part though, I think it takes one microbial about 20 minutes to be millions! Not good for sure. When cleaning your utensils consider sterilizing after washing with fresh boiling water – this temp kills most if not all microbial’s.

    Thank you kindly for your tips Hong 🙂

    Regards,

    Philip.

    1. Author

      Hi Philip, thank you for visiting and for your comment. Yes, oil based products do not harbor microorganism, but antioxidants are recommended to help prolong shelf life. Sterilizing the tools a great way to help eliminate as many germs as possible, which helps to prolong the product’s shelf life. Thank you for sharing your tipp.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  9. Hi Hong,

    This is a wonderful follow-up to your last post. Very comprehensive information. If one is not in tune with the idea of using preservatives this article should teach them everything they need to know about containing and storing a homemade DIY skin care product. I can’t say enough about your fabulous articles. I’ve learned so much from every one of them that I have read.

    Thanks and Blessings, Brad

    1. Author

      Hi Brad, good to see you again. Thank you for your comment and your compliment. I am glad you found value in my article.

      Hope to see you again soon in the future.
      Have a great day!
      Hong

  10. Hi Hong,
    This is a practical and useful article. I make my own hair oil and all ingredients are natural. Since a bottle of hair oil can be used for a long time, to prevent microbes growing, I usually add preservative in it. You give a nice suggestion of adding antioxidant to prolong their shelf life. I will follow your ideas to replace preservatives with antioxidant. Which antioxidant is the best?

    1. Author

      Hi Anthony, thank you for visiting my page and for your comment. I am glad you found value in my article. Normally oil-based products do not need a preservative, because they are not susceptible to microbial growth. However, an antioxidant is recommended for oil-based products to help prevent rancidity. Let me know if you have any question. I will be happy to help.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  11. Quite an informative article, i did not know that water is not a good preservative so thanks for the information. So its advisable to wear gloves when making the products to avoid contamination.

    1. Author

      Hello Anita, I am glad you found the article informative. Water is not a preservative. If you make products that contain water and want them to last longer, a preservative is a must. Wearing clean gloves is a great way to avoid contamination. Thank you for visiting my page and for your comment. Let me know if you have any question. I am happy to assist.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  12. Water is the enemy! So rarely is that true…but I can see how it would corrupt and spoil all your hard work making this organic homemade lotion. Thinking more about this, I definitely have all-oil based products that seem to last for years…I also had no idea that amber glass saved products from UV damage, that’s really good to know. Always good info on your blog!

    1. Author

      Hi Penelope, there are definitely pros and cons when it comes to water based and oil based products. If a chemical preservative is not used in water-based formulations, products will spoil very fast. Oil-based product lasts a lot longer, it would be great for those that want to avoid chemical preservatives completely. I am glad you found some value from this article. Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again in the future.

      Have a great day:)
      Hong

  13. Awesome!this is so informative I now know how to take care of my products .Thank you for the good article

    1. Author

      Hi Mercy, thank you for visiting and for your comment. You are welcome for the information. I am glad you found my article informative. Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  14. Hi Hong! Thank you for the great information. I have always wanted to make lavender oil and oregano oil and those amber glass jars look perfect! What is your favorite natural product that you like to make? Also, how long will a product last if it has preservatives added? Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hello Colleen, thank you for visiting and for your comment. You are welcome for the information.

      I am glad you found value in my article. My favorite natural products I like to make are lip balm, sulfur facial spray and lotion. I am also exploring other homemade products which I will also be sharing on my website.

      In regards to preservatives, how long a product lasts depends on many things, such as the type of preservative you choose and the shelf life of the preservative itself. Generally speaking, your product would be good for as long as the shelf life of your preservative. But there are also many factors that can make a product spoil faster, such as contamination during preparation, store the product in a jar and obtaining the product with dirty fingers, exposure to air and light, and use fresh ingredients to make your product, and store the product in a warm and moist environment.

      Feel free to check out my article about using preservatives in homemade skin care products.

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

      Have a great day!
      Hong

  15. Hong, I love the idea of using airless pump bottles! I’m constantly struggling to get the last of my store bought lotion out of the container. Will definitely try this in the future…

    1. Author

      Hello Sarah, thank you for stopping by and for your comment. Airless pump is one of my favorite containers to store my products. I love the fact it offers so many benefits. Let me know how you like it when you try it out.

      Have a wonderful day!
      Hong

  16. Oh I love your site! I just came across it for the first time and will be sure to take a look around. I’m very much getting into more natural remedies, and a holistic themed lifestyle. So this really resonated with me! Thanks for being so detailed with the containers that you use/prefer, sometimes I can get hung up on that. Thanks so much for sharing and keep up the good work!

    1. Author

      Hi Courtney, thank you for viewing my site and for your comment. You are very welcome for the information. I am happy to hear you like my website. Let me know if you have any question.

      Have a great day!
      Hong

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.