When working out how long a product will last, it depends on whether or not water has been added in any form (distilled water, hydrosols or floral waters). If it has, a preservative is needed not just to prolong the product but also to protect you from bacteria, fungus, and yeast.
Lotions, creams, and moisturizers are all emulsions and are made the same way with mostly the same ingredients.
Cream is generally thick and creamy, so it is best to apply this type of product at night so it can slowly seep into the skin to work its magic while sleeping
Lotion feels lighter over the skin and can be applied on the skin after showering or whenever you feel your skin needs a bit of moisturization. It will penetrate the skin quite quickly because it is so thin.
Gels can be used leave-on products on the face, and also as a tightening serum. It can work as a toner and work well if used after cleansing. It can also be used as shower gels, where the gel with the added surfactant acts as a solvent for dirt and grime.
The creams or lotions contain a water phase and an oil phase, and if it is in a jar/tub that gets opened every day and has fingers dipped into it, it creates the perfect environment for bacteria, yeast, and mould to flourish. So these products will need preservatives.
Lip balms are applied to prevent the lips from drying out. Lip skin does not sweat as there is no sweat gland, so it does not produce sebum. Without sweat and sebum, your lips dry out quicker than other parts of your skin.
Salves are solid combinations of oils and waxes such as beeswax. It is softer in consistency, while balms tend to be of thicker, harder in consistency. Because salves have softer in consistency, allow them to penetrate the skin more deeply.
Butters are creamy anhydrous moisturizers and is thicker than lotion, is extra effective at moisturizing dry skin. Body butter is richer than facial moisturizers because the body can take a lot more oil than the face
These products have no water added and are made from oils, butters, and waxes. Balm-type products do not grow mould and fungus, but they will eventually go rancid over a period of time. Adding 0.5-1% vitamin E plus the action of heating the oils and butters during the process of making your products, will be enough to lengthen the life of the body butter, salves, and balms to 1-2years, as long as you using oils that are within their expiry date.
Facial and body oils are blends of botanical oils, macerated oils, oil-soluble extracts, and essential oils. Certain oils can take a long time to penetrate the top layers of the skin, so it is worth knowing what carrier oils are suitable for what type of skin
Similar in nature to balms and butters, these products will not go mouldy but will oxidize over time and go rancid. As you are not heating, they do not last as long as balms. Adding 0.5-1% vitamin E should last the products at least a year or so.
Body scrubs come from various exfoliants, for instance, sugars and salts. Scrubbing helps to loosen dead skin cells and exfoliate your skin properly. Body scrub is an anhydrous product, but it still requires preservation because there is a good chance that wet fingers will be dipped into the product which will then offer a breeding ground for microorganisms.
Facial masques are not really ‘skincare,’ they are more of a treatment product, usually made with clays and muds. It is good at pulling out dirt and impurities and giving the skin a very deep clean. If you are applying the fresh masque and finishing the batch, then you will not need a preservative. Masques do not store very well because of the high clay and water content. Clay is notoriously difficult to preserve. It is very attractive to microorganisms (when wet), a blend of different synthetic preservatives is needed.
Once you determine what kinds of products and formulas you want to make, you can choose the appropriate ingredients for it. It is also important to keep yourself and your homemade skincare safe by observing some basic rules, for instance, a preservative or antioxidant, where necessary, is added to prolong the life and freshness of the products.
Making your own skincare at home is like creating a meal from fresh ingredients. It is easy, but it does take a little more time and knowledge than buying products off the shelf. Learning to make skincare is a complete beginner guide to learn, to get creative and have fun!
I can’t emphasise more that just because it is natural, it doesn’t necessarily make it safe or just because it is man-made, it does not necessarily mean is harmful. Most ingredients used in skincare are processed in some way to make them usable. For instance, essential oils are steam distilled, and oils are cold pressed. Botanical ingredients have undergone some sort of processing to keep their natural source as close as possible. Never afraid to use a small amount of safe synthetics to make certain products more functional.
When making skincare products, you have to see what you can compromise and the expectations of the performances you like to achieve. The term “green” is very subjective, and for you to create in a broader variety of the types of products, it is totally fine to compromise 5-6% of the green-ness for a more refined product. This is really up to you. Feel free to experiment and come up with your own variations!