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How To Keep Your Homemade Products from Going Bad

Avatar • Sep 30, 2011

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Contributed by Reader Elaine D.

This is something I really think is necessary…especially for the mixtresses out there. (Hey!) I haven’t seen it addressed yet and I love BGLH too much not to share. I come from a family of scientists and a father with a Phd in Biology who is very big on parasitology, microbes etc. I recently shared with him some of the mixes I create and store to use on my natural hair. I love all of them and am enjoying the benefits they’re producing…especially financially. That’s when he brought up microbes.

I know most mixtresses don’t add preservatives in their mixes so I find it important to address the issue of microbes that cause serious health concerns in products made at home and how to reduce that. Sometimes these can’t be stopped from growing EVEN if a mix is stored in the fridge like I know many naturals do. Grapefruit seed extract and sage are two strong natural anti-bacterial and mild preservatives that I have started using in some of my mixes which I know I will use for more than a week. I also know of a number of essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint and rosemary that are good at killing bacteria at different levels. Some, however aren’t as effective so research is needed. Whats the use of healthy hair that ends up with fungus or other gross things growing that end up making you sick?

This is a great reminder! Ladies, have you ever had a product go bad? Do you add preservatives to your homemade mixes?

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Rachel
Rachel
9 years ago

Great post! This is definitely something to keep in mind.

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago

I don’t preserve my homemade mixes (shealoe body butter, green tea/tea tree oil toner, water/aloe vera/glycerin hair spritz and flaxseed gel). Why? I run through them quickly and I’ve never had a mix go bad (I refridgerate the flaxseed gel and keep it for 3 weeks tops). Also, I’m not a fan of preservatives in general (which is whi I make stuff). Maybe I’ll try grapefruit seed extract in the future…

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago
Reply to  mangomadness

P.S. Here is a post with super helpful tips on making and storing DIY mixes: (http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/09/tips-for-diy-natural-hair-product.html).

ranuka
ranuka
9 years ago

I don’t have the mixtures a long time so as to add a preservative. Tea tree oil I would add. I recently made a large batch of conditioner so I have to add a preservative to one of them, the smell is kind of strong, so i’m figuring out what else i could add.

Chana
9 years ago

I make my own skincare and hair products and sell them on-line. What I “know” to work as a preservative is essentials oils. We have to ask our selves what, “what did they use in the past to preserve products back when there were no “modern” day chemical laced preservatives”? Salt, Sugar, Essential Oils, Vinegar…have been used for centuries as preservatives. I actually have an article on my natural product website about dead sea salts and how they were used to preserve products back in Egyptian culture. Most of these common producdts NEVER spoil. Mainstream wants you to believe that… Read more »

marsha
marsha
9 years ago

where are the pictures????

Donna
Donna
9 years ago

In addition to essential oils, I use pure distilled water to dilute my homemade products and avoid risk of bacteria in the water.

Natural Hair Love Affair

Agreed! Products were not originally meant to be made in bulk sizes and sitting on dept store shelves for long. Chemical use has bought on alot of bodily hazards that produce long-term effects. Too many unexplained diseases. But there are alot of essential oils and natural ingredients that can be used to preserve your D.I.Y. products.
‑Mixtress tools are a handmade girl’s best friend, (www.naturalhairloveaffair.com/shop)

Sue
Sue
3 years ago

Hi
where on your website is the tools for making your own products?
Had a look but couldn’t find it

ScrewyHair
9 years ago

It all depends on what you’re mixing: If it’s aloe vera, coconut milk, bananas, avocados, etc., for deep conditioning, just make up what you need for one treatment. For anything that contains water, a preservative is the safeest bet. If it’s butters and oils like shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, etc., it’s okay to just make up small batches and make sure they’re in a cool, dark place. The women who harvest shea nuts to make the butter in West Africa say that unprocessed shea butter will last anywhere from 12–36 months without refrigeration if stored in a cool,… Read more »

Shakira
Shakira
9 years ago

So.. Should I worry about my Olive oil, water mix ?

Elaine D.
Elaine D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Shakira

Yes…I would add something to this. This was how I learned my fast lesson on germy growth in my mixes. Adding other essential oils helps but I highly recommend the grapefruit extract. It doesn’t smell as bad as the tea tree too. My hair was just itching…so yeah 🙂

Nat
Nat
7 years ago
Reply to  Elaine D.

olive oil is a preservative in itself, cheeses etc stored in olive oil wont go bad for years.…thats a major way they preserved things in old times in the mediterranean. you dont need to add anything if its just olive oil and water.

Debrina
Debrina
9 years ago

Interesting, I recently just started experimenting with making my own natural products. I actually noticed a batch of Shea grow some mold near the lid. What I learned from this is I shouldn’t store my product in the bathroom where moisture can cause microbial growth. Additionally, I need to insure that the container I am using has a good seal. I Made 2 batches of my Shea butter mixture (recipe from Naptural85 on youtube) the only additions I however did use essential oils (tea tree, rosemary, lavender, and peppermint). I noticed only one of my containers had the greenish mold… Read more »

Natalie
Natalie
9 years ago

I use linseed gel and find it keeps OK if you keep it in the fridge for months. I also add essential oils like rosemary but this is for scent only but I assume it also keeps the gel fresh. Personally, I’m quite happy to use weeks old mouldy yoghurt on my hair, I doubt I will get food poisoning through my scalp. You have to remember for over 2000 years human lived in not so clean habitats and survived, germs are a good thing. I have now nearly perfected my own creamy leave in conditioner and I splashed out and bought Vitamin… Read more »

M
M
8 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

Natalie, I appreciate your approach to germs and not freaking out over hair products that are a week or two past their expiration date, but at the same time I hafta point out that for over 2000 years people only lived up until their mid-30s and died everyday from preventable diseases we no longer worry about now thanks to those same not-so-clean habitats. I don’t know if you were exaggerating or not, but as for using products with visible mold in your hair I also have to caution you against that. While it might not give you food poisoning through… Read more »

Nat
Nat
7 years ago
Reply to  Natalie

I would do the same thing, its just hair.…lol. I know others will disagree but you should know you’re not the only one who doesnt think a little germs is a big deal.

Makeba
Makeba
7 years ago

Great information..research is definitely the key!

non medical home care
7 years ago

Whoa! Incredibly absorbing review. So I am book-marking the particular page without delay. Bless you!

Judson Beaird
Judson Beaird
7 years ago

The 1929 Ruby Red patent was associated with real commercial success, which came after the discovery of a red grapefruit growing on a pink variety. Only with the introduction of the Ruby Red did the grapefruit transform into a real agricultural success.’

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Florence
Florence
6 years ago

I have just applied a mixture of tomatoes,salt,honey,onions,oliveoil,coconut oil. my face was very smooth.
was still asking myself how to keep for 3 more days

Cooper
Cooper
3 years ago

Thank you for mentioning this. Too many mixtresses don’t know that when water is added to an formulation, bacteria & fungus are the inevitable result. Grapefruit seed extract, rosemary and the like are great antioxidants (which slow rancidity) and do have some antimicrobial properties which MIGHT be sufficient (meaning, safe) for personal use. When you sell products or give them to your friends and family you need the big guns unfortunatley, which means a commerical antimicrobial product. Many home based creators out their loath the idea of doing this but unless you are telling users to store your creations in… Read more »

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