How to Preserve Natural Skin Care Products

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Natural skincare products are usually seen as better than artificial brands. They cost more, are theoretically better for your skin, and you can control what is in them if you make it yourself. But, because there are no artificial ingredients, these products don’t last very long. So, what do you do when it expires, but you didn’t finish the bottle?

How do you preserve you natural skincare products?

  • Use clean containers to preserve your natural skincare products.
  • Distilled or boiled water will keep out contaminants.
  • Antioxidants and alcohol help extend the oxidation of these products, preserving it.
  • Lastly, store it in dark bottles to keep light out and keep it in a cool, dark place.

These methods can help preserve your naturally made skincare products, so they have a longer shelf-life. While they can never last as long as their store-bought counterparts, if you buy or make it in small batches, you can use it completely before it expires. Read on to learn more about why these preservatives help to keep the longevity of these items.

Clean Containers

One of the easiest ways to preserve your natural skincare products is to use clean containers. Sterilize the bottles and caps or pumps before putting your products inside them. This will prevent bacteria and other contaminants from infecting your product and then possibly infecting you by association. Not to mention, it will keep your customers safe if you plan on selling your natural skincare products as part of a business.

Any jars that you have used before, whether it was for previous skincare products or food, should be thoroughly washed and sterilized before you put more product in. This will prevent any bacteria or moisture from making your product go bad faster than usual. Usually, it’s better to use brand new jars to optimize sterilization.

If you are ordering jars and bottles that are “brand new,” you should still wash them. Add a little bit of white vinegar while washing and let it air dry as another sterilization measure. Make sure it is completely dry before adding any product! It may not mix well with the white vinegar, which will effectively ruin your skincare product.

Lastly, you should use a flip-top or pump on your bottle or jars. This will prevent your hands from getting into the product, possibly contaminating it with bacteria or dirt on your hands. Using one of these tops will keep it separate, which will extend the longevity. Also, make sure your product is closed when you aren’t using it, so it isn’t exposed to air particles which can also make it expire faster.

Watch Out for Water

Water-based products will expire much quicker than oil or butter-based products due to the living organisms within it. Mixed with other products to make sprays or rinses, over time, bacteria and mold can form over time. This is why it’s important to boil or use distilled water, which kills off any living organisms within the water.

This tip will help keep your water-based products longer. They still won’t last as long as oil or butter-based products, simply due to its makeup. But distilled water or boiled water will help keep it longer compared to using tap or bottled water. You will have the most benefit from these products when you use them as quickly as possible.

When needing more product, it is better to create another batch rather than try to add water to the already made product. This adds living organisms in the water to the product, which won’t keep it for longer. Plus, if you use distilled or boiled water, you’ll have to add other products to even out the mixture. Or it will be too watery and dilute the other ingredients, which will decrease its benefit.

Also, be aware of what you are making when adding water to the mix. Different ingredients will act differently depending on if you had hot or cold water. You may melt ingredients, such as coconut, which will decrease its effects when you add hot water compared to cold. Be sure to do your research when making products before attempting to make it. 

Antioxidants and Alcohol

These important ingredients not only add benefits to your products but also help keep it fresher for longer on your shelf. Antioxidants, such as vitamins or essential oils, provide great benefits to your skin. Plus, it keeps oxidation down, which is one of the biggest factors in keeping your products fresh.

Some examples of helpful antioxidants are:

  1. T-50 Vitamin E oil
  2. Rosemary antioxidant oil
  3. Grapefruit seed extract
  4. Germaben™ II
  5. Germaben™ II-E
  6. LiquaPar ™ oil
  7. Antimicrobials

These are great to add to serums, lip glosses or massage oils. Make sure you add these towards the end of creating your products. Mix your butter and other oils together, and then add these antioxidants. Make sure you heat it up beforehand so that these antioxidants don’t get heated up directly, which will prevent it from working properly.

Alcohol works about the same way, basically limiting the effects of oxidation to keep your products fresh and beneficial for longer. You can use alcohol extracts or organic alcohol in your products for this benefit. However, alcohol does not mix well with butter-based products, so reserve its use for water-based products ones.

Storage Matters

Where you store your products will make or break how long your product thrives and works properly. The color of the bottle, temperature, and place you store your product all play a vital role in how well your product remains usable. These methods are different based on what kind of product you are trying to preserve.

If you made a butter-based product, the best method is to keep it in a cool, dark place. These products can easily melt in hot cars or near warm appliances. This will make the products less effective and more susceptible to bacteria and mold. If you put your hands in the bottle or jar to use it, make sure to wash your hands first so you don’t contaminate the product.

If you made an oil-based product, the best way to store it is in dark bottles to keep light out of it. Light can speed up the deterioration of these products, so the dark color helps prevent it. Also, store it in a dark place like behind a mirror or drawer that doesn’t change in temperature very often.

You can preserve water-based products by storing them in the fridge if you want to keep them awhile. This keeps the particles from heating up and becoming less effective. The fridge works better if your house is usually warm, or it’s in the summer. You can keep it out of the fridge in winter or cooler months. 

Smaller is Better

Since natural skin care products don’t have the same shelf-life as store-bought products, it’s better to make small batches rather than making items in bulk. Unless you’re selling or using multiple batches at one time. This will help you use it in a timely manner rather than have it expire and thrown in the trash.

Make sure to use it quickly and consistently. The sooner you use it, the fresher the ingredients inside will be. This will help make them more beneficial than only using it occasionally or waiting until you’re out of the previous batch. Share some with friends and family if you are having trouble using it quick enough.

Smaller products will also be stored in smaller containers, which makes it easier to store with other items or products in your home. This means it won’t take up too much space, which would result in you moving it to a less than ideal place. This can cause the product to go bad or go unused.

Smaller batches will also be easier to go through than if you make more than you use in the time you have before it goes bad. It will be fresher for you, and it won’t go to waste. Plus you can preserve the ingredients for another batch once you finish the first batch. These ingredients stay longer separately than they do when mixed.

Microbial Growth

Some of your natural skincare products, especially those that are water-based, are susceptible to microorganism growth. Here are some examples of what products grow these unwanted guests in your products:

  • High water content
  • Hydrosols, plant extracts, and dried plants
  • Clays
  • Natural gums
  • The temperature of storage and application
  • Humidity like that in a warm, humid bathroom
  • A pH between 4,5-6,5

Your products that aren’t water-based are less likely to have little microorganisms party crashers. Unfortunately, microorganisms cannot be kept out indefinitely. Even if you store it optimally and sterilize everything, they will come eventually. Yet another reason to make them in small batches, so you use them before the microorganisms come.

Microorganisms can turn into one of three main contaminants: mold, yeast, or bacteria. None of these are contenders you want to deal with in your products. Not only are they not good to have on your skin, but they can also do major damage if any of your products go near your eyes.

If they are already growing in your product or were introduced when adding a contaminated ingredient, they can grow quickly. You won’t have much use from these products, plus it won’t be good for your health or skin to try to use it anyway. You’re better off making a new batch and throwing out the contaminated one.

Going Through Changes

Over time as your products sit, they will change. It is an unwanted change, but your product will change nonetheless. Some of the ways these products can change over time are:

  • Phase separation
  • Changes of viscosity (suspended particles might settle down or float over the surface)
  • Color change
  • Turbidity of transparent products
  • Scent change

Ideally, you will use your products before they reach this stage, but these are definitely signs that your product is reaching the end of its life. You can remix your product when you notice a phase separation; however, you should probably throw out the product if you notice a new smell or color change. Microorganisms can thrive in these conditions.

Preserve to Protect

Many people use natural skincare when they have a limited immune system or skin conditions such as eczema or acne. Because of this, it’s important to preserve your skincare products to ensure it stays fresh. That way, the skin doesn’t get infected and cause the person using it to get sick.

This is important for your own use, as well as your customers if you are selling your skincare products. Microorganisms are one of the main causes of illness and infections. Given that fact, it is important that you preserve your products, so they don’t have a chance to hurt you or your clients.

Since store-bought products have synthetic chemicals inside, it doesn’t work as well as natural products for people with these conditions. Often, they can have a reaction to these chemicals that can make their conditions worse. Which is why natural products have been on the rise when bought either online or from specialized stores.

If you are wanting to sell your own line, make sure you take these people into consideration!

Knowledge Sells

Showing your clients (or yourself) that you have all this knowledge when creating your skincare products can put them at ease when buying and using your products. This will ensure that you continue to create these products correctly, whether you use them for yourself or sell them. The side effects of preservatives are far less of an issue for your health than contaminants.

You can showcase this knowledge when talking with potential customers about how preservatives help keep all your natural ingredients from getting contaminated and allow for your product to last longer. While this may make natural purists uncomfortable, they will have peace of mind knowing the preservatives are there for their protection.

Make sure to measure your pH levels in all your skincare products. This can affect how well your product works as well as how long it will be correctly preserved. It is another factor that can give you or your client’s peace of mind knowing that you have this knowledge and background to share when using or selling skincare products.

Check out this YouTube video on how to preserve your products and showcase your knowledge!

Preservative-Free Options

If you, or your customers, absolutely don’t want any kind of preservatives in your skincare there are options out there. Of course, your products will not stay fresh for very long if there aren’t any in them, but if you make very small batches or use it regularly enough, the time frame won’t matter.

These methods work best for spas which use these products right away or make them specifically for a customer. It can also work if you only make a single-use portion for your own spa day! Essentially, you are using the whole product immediately after making it. That way, you don’t need to worry about storing it since you used it all already.

Dry skincare products like bath salts or bath bombs also last longer without the need to use preservatives in it. Since they are dry and do not have any exposure to water before use, they can stay longer than wetter skincare options. As we’ve discussed earlier in this article, water-based products are at the most risk for microorganisms to develop.

Similar to the natural skincare products that do have preservatives in them, you need to store your preservative-free products safely. Keep them away from sunlight, heat, bacteria, and moisture until you want to use them. That will keep them longer without running the risk of them going bad or inviting unwanted microorganisms.

To Summarize

There are multiple ways to preserve your natural skincare products. You can use antioxidants or alcohol to keep it microorganism free. Be sure to clean and sterilize all equipment and storage options you will use with your products. Keep it at the right temperature and climate that is best for the specific product.

Keep your portions small so that you don’t waste a bunch of product that does go bad or gets exposed to microorganisms. It’ll be a waste of product as well as a waste of money on all the ingredients you used to make it.

Do your research on the best ways to store and keep up with your product’s overall health. Especially if you are selling or marketing it to people who are seeking your products for skin conditions or have lower immune systems. You do not need to deal with angry customers if you don’t have to, or bad side effects if you use it on yourself.

There are also preservative-free options for those purists who don’t want any kind of chemical in their products.

All in all, this has been a thorough guide on how to preserve your natural skincare products. Have fun creating your own, or become a smarter shopper if you are purchasing natural skincare products from other companies or private sellers.