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To preserve or not...

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I decided to start a blog, but had no idea what I wanted to talk about. So, I made a conscious effort to slow down and pay attention to what was happening to and around me so I wouldn’t miss the things that were screaming, “PICK ME, PICK ME, I am interesting!” Well, wouldn’t you know it, inspiration came in the form of a conversation with a customer about preservatives in my lotions – and so my first blog was created!

Many of us are label readers, and the abundance of preservatives used to extend the shelf life of many commercial brands is what partly led me on my journey to soap/lotion/scrub/candle making. My goal was to make an “all natural” or completely organic product line, but I quickly learned that was next to impossible.

In order for a product to be ALL NATURAL, it has to be made without water because water allows for the growth of microorganisms. In order to make a lotion or cream, water must be used along with an emulsifying agent, therefore it becomes necessary to add a preservative. Swiftcraftymonkey’s blog says it best:

“Preservative is not optional; it is essential. I know a lot of people get into
making bath and body products because they want to be natural but failing
to use a preservative in a lotion or surfactant mix will result in natural fungi
and bacteria and other nasty things to grow in your lotion, which could make
you sick or hurt your skin. As of March 2009, there are no proven "all natural"
or organic preservatives available to the home crafter.”

As you can see, if I want a product that will be safe for use and have shelf life, which I most definitely do, it must be preserved. So, what is my preservative? Phenoxyethanol. Yes, the question was posed about the controversy surrounding its use. My response, “Is there a preservative that hasn’t had some controversy?” There is sooooo much information on the internet and elsewhere that it is easy to become overwhelmed and confused. It is important therefore to do thorough research and become informed in order to make educated decisions. After doing my research, I knew I didn’t want parabens anywhere near my products, so I went on the hunt for something safe. Among the things I learned, something I found especially useful was:

“Phenoxyethanol ~ Offers a universal highly effective broad spectrum
protection for gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mold, yeast
and fungi. It also is not a formaldehyde releasing agent. Probably most
popular paraben free and propylene glycol free preservative on the
(http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/06/preservatives-in-cosmetics-natural-vs-synthetic/ )

Yes, phenoxyethanol is chemically made to protect against bacteria, however when the recommended usage is followed (no higher that 1%) it hasn’t proven to be harmful.

I use the best possible ingredients in all my products, and my lotions include a combination of distilled water, pure butters /organic oils and pure essential oils. My goal is for my customers to have the best possible experience with all my products. However, we are all different, and react to different products differently, so it would be wise to do a patch test to make sure you don’t have a reaction. My advice? Read the ingredients, do your research, test the product and go with what feels right. I have every confidence in my products, and wouldn’t be selling them if I had any doubts.

If you are interested in learning more about lotion making, go to http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/lotions-basic-recipe.html., or if you want more information about preservatives in cosmetics, visit http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/06/preservative...

Until next time! I am off to seek out inspiration for my next blog!


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