So you want to make your own skincare products?
It’s not as easy as you think. You can’t just mix up a few drops of olive oil with a big dollop of glycerin and add a spoonful of vitamin C powder to have a product that works.
You also need to make sure your concoction will last as long as possible. That means using a good preservative system and packaging that keeps the goodies inside safe from light and air (they oxidise natural ingredients, making them go bad faster).
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips on how to prepare and store homemade skincare products safely:
1. Wash your hands and sterilize your tools
Before your start preparing your homemade concoctions, you need to sterilize your hands and tools to make sure that no bacteria will end up in them.
Wash your hands, clean your work surface, your spatula, your bowl and anything else you’re gonna use with hot water or Isopropyl Alcohol.
Then, make sure they are completely dry (either let them air dry or use a clean paper towel) before you use them. Bacteria, fungi and yeast need a moist environment to thrive, so if there’s still some water in your containers, they may grow in your concoctions and spoil them.
One more thing: use a spatula or a spoon instead of your fingers to pick the small quantities of ingredients you need.
2. Make small batches
There’s a reason why moisturisers or serums come in 30ml or bigger bottles. They use preservative systems that are tried and tested to last for months up to a couple of years.
You won’t have access to those preservative systems or the opportunity to do professional testing to estimate how long the preservatives you can use will last. Heck, you may decide not to use preservatives at all.
That’s why it’s safer to make small batches. You don’t want to make a big potion only to find tiny black dots in it a few days later. FYI, those black dots are bacteria. Throw the concoction away!
Homemade skincare products have shorter shelf lives, especially when:
- They don’t use preservatives: I always recommend to add at least a couple of natural preservatives to make your homemade skincare products last a little longer.
- They contain water: a common ingredient in skincare, water makes antioxidants and other goodies spoil and go bad faster.
So make a small batch – just enough for a few days – and store them in the fridge. The lower temperature will help them last longer.
3. For bigger batches, use preservatives
If you want to make a bigger batch, then you MUST use a preservative.
And nope, I’m not talking about vitamin E & co. Antioxidants aren’t preservatives. They help the active ingredients in your homemade skincare products last longer, but they don’t protect you against bacteria and fungi.
Essential oils are a common choice. Lavender, rosemary, lemon and sage (to name a few) have antimicrobial properties that can protect your products from bacterial contamination.
But, they’re not without side effects. The problem with essential oils is that they need to be used in high doses to act as preservatives. High doses of essential oils aren’t always safe. In the best case scenario, you’ll get a bad irritation.
If you want to go down this route, do your due research to figure out how much essential oil you can use safely.
Some online shops also sell preservatives DIYers can use to make their skincare products last longer. These work better but, again, do your research to figure out how to use them properly.
4. Store them properly
I know I sound like a broken record, but homemade skincare products oxidize and lose their effectiveness when exposed to light and air.
Packaging matters as much as the ingredients you’re using. What’s the point of creating a wonderful homemade moisturiser if you’re gonna put it in a see-through jar that’ll make it go bad faster?
Always store your homemade skincare products in opaque and air tight containers. I like to use small dispensing bottles and tubes as they help avoid bacterial contamination.
That’s not all. Even if you’re packaging your homemade skincare products properly, make sure you’re storing them in a cool and dark place, like your fridge. Leave the under hot sunlight or near your radiator and the heat will spoil them faster.
How do you prepare and store your homemade skincare products? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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