We love homemade beauty products because it fresh natural products using the minimum of chemical addictives, so on this blog I will write some guidelines on storage and shelf life without preservative. A good starting point for prolonging the shelf life of your homemade products is to create a super-clean working environment, using equipment specifically kept for product making that you do not use for cooking. I like to use metal and glass, as they are easy to keep clean and less likely to harbor bacteria.
Before your start work, wipe your equipment and countertops with isopropryl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, which is available from most pharmacies. You could decant a small amount in a spray bottle to mist surfaces and wipe with paper towel; make sure the bottle is clearly labeled and kept in a safe place, as alcohol is flammable.
Creams, gel & lotions
The key thing to remember when working out how long a product will last is whether or not water has been added in any form (this includes bottled spring water and hydrolats, or floral waters). If it has, then the finish products will need to be keep in refrigator and will not last for more than a week or two at the most; treat it like dairy products.
The life of a cream or lotion will also depend upon is packaging: if it in a jar that gets opened every day and has fingers dipped into it, its shelf life will be shorter than a product keep in a bottle with pump dispenser, which not only keeps fingers out but also prevent air from being sucked back into the bottle.
And if you are adding herbal ingredients on your products ( especially infussion ), this will also reduce the shelf life, since they are a great growing medium of bacteria. If you notice mold growing on the top, thinning or separating of the product, strange smell, or changing colour, throw it out!
Lip balm, butters & salves
These are products that have no water added and are simply made from oils, butters, and waxes. Balm-type products do not grow mold and fungus, but they will eventually go rancid over period of a time, depending on oil used. If you notice a product growing mold, it means that somewater has somehow got into it. So, make sure your bottles and jars are completely dry before use.
To gauge how long your product will last, check the expiry dates on the ingredients used and go by the one with the shortest life to be on the safe side. Some oils last a year or two but some, such us rosehip and borage, will turn rancid within a few months of an antioxidant such as vitamin E has not been added at the time of pressing. It is a good idea to buy these oils with an antioxidant already added, if possible. The action of heating the oils and butters during the process of making your products, as well as adding 0.5-1% vitamin E oil, will be enough to lengthen the life of your body butters, salves, and balms to 1-2 years, as long as you are using oils that are within expire date.
Face & Body oils
These are similiar in nature to balms and butters in that, they are not go moldy but will oxidize over time and go rancid. As you are not heating them, they will not last quite as long as balms, but they should last a year or so with 0.5-1% vitamin E added (depending on the shelf life based oils used). All reputable suppliers should include an expiry date on ingredients; if they do not, then contact them to check. If making your own macerated oils with fresh plant material, then they should last 6-12 months, but don’t forget to add vitamin E as an antioxidant.
Bath Bombs & Salts
Bath bombs and salt will not go off but should be stored in moisture-resistant containers to keep them at their best. If bath bombs get wet, they will start to dissolve and salts can sometimes go a bit solid, so it is best to keep them in airtight kitchen storage containers.
Hope those tips are useful for the DIY beautician, happy making your own skin care products 😊. See ya on my next blog and feel free to drop comment below.