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Preserving Cosmetics For Beginners

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

Effectively preserving your cosmetic formulation is an absolute must! Water in any capacity ( even hummidity droplets from a steamy washroom) CAN and WILL cause bacteria to grow and mold to form. Vitamin mixed tocopherals is NOT a preservative nor is Rosemary extract despite what you may have read online, they are antioxidants, not preservatives. While they are important in a formulation they serve a much different purpose which we will cover in a later post. Beginner formulators should ALWAYS choose a BROAD SPECTRUM PRESERVATIVE! Why? So you don't choose the wrong preservative for your formulation.

When selecting a preservative what should you look for and how should you choose it?

You should look for a broad spectrum preservative first and foremost ( as mentioned above)

Look at the Ph range the preservative is active in! A preservative like Optiphen Plus will be

useless if it is NOT used in the Ph of 4-6. If your product is sitting at the Ph of 6.5, guess what? Your formulation will have no protection whatsoever. You also need to take Ph drift into account (we will cover Ph drift in another post).


When should you add a preservative?

Know a preservatives temperature limits. If a preservative is added at a temperature that will deactivate it then it will not protect your formulation. ( Typically add in the cool down phase below 40c )

When making a cold press formulation add your preservative as early as possible, typically in the water phase.

How much preservative should I add?

Each preservative has a safety usage rate and you should know it and follow its guidelines.

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