Friday, June 13, 2014

Learning about Lotions Part 1- Preservatives

I've started researching preservatives and other lotion ingredients, and soon I will start experimenting with making lotions again. I don't know if I'll sell lotions- it depends on how the experiments work out. I'll be writing about the various elements of lotions as I go. These are general thoughts, not in depth information on any one item. I find researching lotion making very exciting, and I want to share that knowledge with people who might not know what goes into making lotions. I think it's important to know what is going into the products you use, why they're there, and how they work.

I have made lotions and creams in the past, but I haven't made any to sell. If I were to sell any, I couldn't market my brand as preservative free, because there's no way I'm selling a lotion without something to keep it safe. Recently I've started to feel like calling Ivre de Fleurs a preservative brand is causing me to be a part of the scaremongering against preservatives, and I don't want that. I want to make products as naturally as I can, but I also don't want to be limited to using only ingredients that the average person can pronounce.

I'm starting with some natural preservatives in my experiments. It sounds like they don't work well for the most part, but maybe I can get them to work somehow. The ones I'm trying now are various fermentations and extracts, and some offer additional benefits beyond preserving. If they don't work, I'll start looking into other preservatives. A broad-spectrum preservative system is important to keep your water-based products free from bacteria, yeast, mold, and fungus out there. I've got a little kit to test for preservative efficacy, so I should be able to determine some things quickly, but then you have to make sure it works over time (no separating, no mold or fungus, no other nasty things). If I have a good recipe, I'd need to send it off for challenge testing, to make sure it's verified safe.

Parabens are one of the preservatives that you hear most often about, and usually not in a good way. Parabens are actually really good at preserving products, they are used at very small percentages, and I'm not convinced they'll lead me to a long and painful death. While a lot of people don't bother to check the labels of their beauty products, those that do often don't want parabens in them, so I'll be skipping them.

By the way, honeysuckle extract has a molecule that acts like a paraben. I've only read a little into it, and I'm not sure if it's effective as parabens are, but if you are avoiding parabens, you might want to add honeysuckle extract to your list of ingredients to avoid. Grapefruit seed extract might also have parabens in it- the parabens are being used to preserve the extract, and are then helping to preserve the final product. It seems like there's a lot of controversy on grapefruit seed extract, so I don't want to go there.

Formaldehyde donors are another type of preservative, but I haven't read too much into them yet. I have no plans to use them, but I'd still like to read up on them some more.

There are a few preservatives that can be listed as "parfum" or "fragrance" on a label. If a product claims to be preservative free but lists fragrance, they may or may not be using that fragrance to preserve the product. I've read of two- one that has a rosy scent, and another that's more vanilla/almond. I'm slightly confused as to why fragrance would be preferable to preservatives, but I guess it depends on why you're avoiding an ingredient.

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