𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐑𝐕𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐕𝐄𝐒: "𝐀 𝐍𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐄𝐯𝐢𝐥"
Updated: Sep 23
Yes,I know we all want to use products that are totally chemical free and harmless to our skin. Want everything to be natural. But did you know that many of the products claiming to be natural recipes actually do more harm than good.
As we all are taught from our childhood Water is the source of all life, the most important liquid in our ecosystem. Infact water itself is a chemical. Everything is based on a chemistry.
In simple words, when there is a presence of water then that will be a breeding ground for microbial growth. So the solution here is finding the right type of preservative that is plant derived or safe for our skin.
Do we really need the preservative in all formulations?
No, only in the recipes that contains water (Aqua) (including flower water, hydrosols, herbal infusions, aloe Vera. This includes emulsion based products i.e. creams and lotions, and other aqueous (water based) products such as toners.
Also, many of them claim that Vitamin E, Rosemary extract, tincture of benzoin and grapefruit seed extract are preservatives but the truth is they are NOT preservatives.
THIS is the single most important fact to understand when creating your own natural skincare products. (and the fact that many DIY beauty bloggers do not understand).
Did you know that bacteria ,yeast and fungi grow in large numbers if the product is unpreserved.
Signs of bacteria , mold growing in the recipe:
Cause the product to spoil or “go off”. Noticeable signs may include the colour changing or the product smelling terrible (but a waring: not all signs are noticeable to the naked eye)
Have some nasty consequences for your health including skin and eye infections, thrush, toxic shock and atopic dermatitis.
Do you really want to slather it that way all over your body?
Can we make products that are free from preservatives and still make a stable recipe?
Yes, only when they are Anhydrous products (or non-aqueous products i.e. those that don’t contain water) are not susceptible to microbiological proliferation.
Anhydrous products do not provide conditions under which bacteria, yeast and fungus will breed and therefore in most circumstances they do not need a preservative.
Anhydrous products are oil based products made of vegetable oils, butters and waxes only.
Products like facial oils, massage oil, balms, salves, oil based body butters, lotion bars and massage bars.
An antioxidant can be added to these products to extend their shelf life. Antioxidants slow the process of oxidation which causes oils to go rancid. I always use vitamin E oil as an antioxidant for almost all my anhydrous recipes.
Let’s see some of the preservatives we can use without worrying about the consequences.
1. Preservative Eco a.k.a Geogard ECT
INCI: Benzyl Alcohol (and) Salicylic Acid (and) Glycerin (and) Sorbic Acid
Preservative Eco is a broad spectrum Natural preservative which contains no Parabens, no Phenoxyethanol, no isothiazolones and no Formaldehyde. It is virtually fragrance free so it is perfect even for fragrance free products. It is approved by COSMOS and ECOCERT
pH range of 3 – 8 ,most effective at pH below 5.5.
It’s usually used at 1% in water based products. Not permitted in products for children under the age of three years due to the salicylic acid content.
2. Geogard 221 / Cosgard
INCI: Benzyl Alcohol (and) Dehydroacetic Acid
Broad spectrum preservative system that is a synergistic blend of an organic acid and alcohol that can be added at room and elevated temperatures. Dehydroacetic Acid and Benzyl Alcohol are both organic compounds which are accepted for use in natural cosmetics, offering a broad spectrum of stability at a wide range of pH. The organic preservative compound is a non-paraben, non-formaldehyde, non isothiazolone based preservative system.
It is water soluble with an effective pH from pH 2-6; it’s most efficient at pH below 5.5.
Typical recommended use level is 0.2-1%.
3. Naticide / Plantaserv Q
Naticide is a combination of natural aromatic materials formulated according to IFRA recommendations with claims for broad spectrum preservative action against Bacteria Gram-positive, Bacteria Gram-negative, moulds and yeasts.
It is effective at a pH of 4-9, but it’s best used at pH 4-5.
Typical recommended use level is up to 0.3- 1%.Due to limited water solubility (up to 0.6%) it’s not suitable for water based products, like toners or spritzes.
Some of the ingredients to watch out for in your products as they posses health risking factors:
The parabens used most commonly in cosmetics are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.
2. Synthetic colors
FD&C Blue No. 1 (Brilliant Blue FCF), FD&C Blue No. 2 (Indigotine), FD&C Green No. 3 (Fast Green FCF), FD&C Red No. 3 (Erythrosine), FD&C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine), and FD&C Yellow No. 6 (Sunset Yellow).
Antibacterial soaps and detergents, toothpaste and tooth whitening products, antiperspirants/deodorants, shaving products, creams, color cosmetics. Triclosan (TSC) and triclocarban (TCC)
4. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Sodium, Laureth Sulfate Sodium, Lauryl Sulfoacetate Sodium, Lauroyl Isethionate, Sodium Lauroyl Taurate
Look out for these : Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.
Toluene, found naturally in crude oil and in the tolu tree, is added to gasoline and is used in the making of many products including paint thinners, adhesives, rubber and hair dyes
7. Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol is a small organic alcohol commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent. It's classified as a skin irritant and penetrator.
8. Sunscreen chemicals
PABA, OD-PABA, padimate O, 4-aminobenzoic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid, p-aminobenzoic acid, Et-PABA, 2-ethylhexyl ester, p-carboxyaniline
cutting out all the chemicals is not possible but do look out for some these and limit the amount of chemicals you are exposing your body to by reading the ingredients in the label of the cosmetic products.
Stay Safe and Healthy.