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6 Tips for Preserving Homemade Natural Products

Avatar • Aug 19, 2013

 mixtress

By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Preservation” is essential for prolonging the shelf life of certain homemade products.  Additionally, it saves time spent on concocting new product after product for one‐time use.  The following list consists of basic preservation methods that are imperative for any natural mixtress:

1. Refrigeration

Use refrigeration to preserve water or aloe‐vera‐juice-based products (e.g., spritzes) for a short period of time (e.g., a few weeks).  The cold temperature of the fridge will delay growth of bacteria and fungi.

2. Freezing

Use the freezer to preserve water or aloe‐vera‐juice-based products (e.g., deep conditioner mixes) for a longer period (several weeks to a few months).  The colder temperature of the freezer will prevent growth of bacteria and fungi.  Place the product in the refrigerator to thaw on the night prior to using it.

3. Use clean utensils and containers

Bathe utensils and containers in a solution of soap and hot water prior to mixing.  An alternative is to wipe down utensils and containers with alcohol.  The soap or alcohol will essentially kill any bacteria that would otherwise contaminate your mixture.

4. Add an essential oil (but pregnant women beware)

Some mixtresses find that essential oils can act as a slight preservative due to their antimicrobial properties. Tea tree, lavender, lemon, thyme, and rosemary are just a few essential oils known to have these properties.  (Understand, however, that essential oils are not as effective as conventional chemical preservatives and may require high concentrations to provide some antimicrobial activity.)  Those who are pregnant or sensitive to essential oils should speak with their doctors before use.

5. Do not use your fingers to obtain a water‐based product

Our fingers contain tons of bacteria and can contaminate such products.  Instead, use a clean utensil to aid in obtaining that amount of product you need for use.

6. Store non‐refrigerated products in dark, cool areas

For certain products that do not require refrigeration, exposure to direct sunlight and heat can create an environment for mold to form.  Thus, it is recommended to keep such products in dark, cool areas.

THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT PRESERVATIVES, BUT STILL USEFUL …

Add vitamin E oil or rosemary extract oil:

These oils may slow down the oxidation of products containing certain oils, such as avocado, evening primrose, flax, hemp, or sweet almond. Vitamin E and rosemary extract are antioxidants, not preservatives.  Thus, they will not prolong the shelf life of a product prone to bacteria and mold growth.

Mixtresses, how do you preserve your homemade products?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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mangomadness
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mangomadness

I follow tips 2, 3 and 5 for my homemade hair care products. I don’t follow tip 4 because I know essential oils are not effective preservatives.

I store my homemade flax seed gel and homemade herbal detangler spray by freezing them. I thaw them in the refrigerator before use.

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

More tips I follow:
— use distilled water for your concoctions
— make small batches

Kayla
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Kayla

I love making homemade products but I hate the fact that they start going bad after a week. I’m going back to campus soon so I’ll try some of these (although my roommate might think I’m crazy for keeping my hair spritz in the fridge, lol) but I still don’t think anything I make will last longer than a week. Oh well. Back to buying sprays and gels.

Natural Nigerian
Guest

I love the tip 3.

I usually make small batches. Enough to last one application. I also have a bottle of Optiphen for when I do need to make bigger batches. I measure everything and make sure I do not use more than 1.5% preservative.

For water based products, ensure that the water you use is pure.

Essential Oils are not a valid option in my humble opinion. While some have anti‐microbial and or anti‐bacterial and or anti‐fungal properties, they usually cannot provide adequate (broad spectrum) protection.

TINA SMITH
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TINA SMITH

HMMM I HAVE SHEA BUTTER THAT I WHIPPED UP A YEAR AGO WITH ALOE VERA UNDER MY SINK AND IT’S STILL GOOD. I DON’T PLACE ANYTHING IN THE FRIDGE INCLUDING OPENED ALOE VERA JUICE AND IT’S STILL GOOD.…

Adrienne
Guest
Adrienne

what you say abt e vitamin and essential oil is true.
But everyone will have different way of preserving stuffs. Dn’t use your finger? How can we use product w/o finger? That is why I have germanble 11 . I put it in fridge for few days and then place in dark room . It is good. Just make sure you preserve enough..I used germable II, tree tea, e vitamin, water (warm ) and peppermint oil

Lucky
Guest
Lucky

No! Don’t use your fingers. If you want to avoid bacterial growth, spoon out the amount of product you’ll need into a clean container. Don’t dip your fingers into the “master product” i.e., that brand new jar of conditioner.

Kemi
Guest

For my hair spritzes I’ve simplified things. I don’t put any herbs/botanicals in it besides aloe juice. I do leave it on the counter but use it up within a week.

I don’t know if anyone uses honey in their hair mixes but I strongly suggest trying glycerin instead. Honey is great but once you add water bugs grow in it like crazy, especially that raw honey. I would save that for eating unless your going to use all of the product very quickly.

Everything else I make is waterless so I don’t add a preservative.

Kimberley King
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Kimberley King

Mys sister made a homemade product. She would like to know what to use to thin out the products. It is too thick.

sharonda smallwood
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sharonda smallwood

I make waterless mixtures with just essential and carrier oils and am yet to have a problem.

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