Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bugs, Bacteria and Beasties


This fresh tidbit of info on bugs and beasties crossed my path the other day. I know I'm always preaching about bacteria in DIY products and how you need to add broad spectrum preservative as soon as you add plant material to a water-based mixture, and blah blah blah – seriously?

I can already hear loud yawning and eye rolling.

OK, I guess you're allowed to roll your eyes just a little. But let's – for the briefest of moments – celebrate the amazing capabilities of microrganisms, because these teensy little critters are actually quite remarkable.


Too Small to Matter? Not at All.
Although microorganisms are so small you need a microscope to see them, they are vital to ecosystems because they act as decomposers and aid the recycling of nutrients.

They also have an impressive ability to multiply.

(No, not that way...)











This way.

See that little guy with the red ring around him? An hour ago, he was all alone in this unpreserved jar of DIY cream (or shampoo or skin tonic or deodorant or other product containing water).

FACT: in an unpreserved cosmetic product, microorganisms can multiply to several billion in just 48 hours.

Yes, you read correctly.

Several billion in 2 short days. So say Cosmetics Test Labs, and they're not even exaggerating.

Just a little microbiobial food for thought...

How Bad Could it Be?
For a frightening example of just how wrong a DIY recipe can go, visit this post by Jessica Allison.

6 comments:

Christopher said...

When I first started DIY I was under the misconception that I could omit preservatives when making products. I thought that the commercial giants used them for a "hidden" purpose and not actually for preserving. Now, however I won't DIY without them. Even if it's an anhydrous product, I'm still skeptical.

It's about being safe and taking all the necessary precautions we can to ensure that the product is as safe as possible. This is especially important when formulating for friends/family.

Would you rather use a true and tried product with "synthetic" ingredients that are added for your own safety? Or would you rather risk your health because you think preservatives are dangerous? The answer is pretty obvious.

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Christopher - Thanks for your input. I do agree with you - safety first! That said, if you are making anhydrous products that are not going to be in contact with water - (body butters, lip balms, hair wax etc) - then preservatives are not necessary. I have body butters that have lasted beyond 2 years without problem.

Kelly Martin said...

Thought sure I had left a comment, maybe not. If you are making your own perfume with beeswax do I need a preservative in that too?

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Kelly - You did leave a comment - but because I have so many spam comments, any comment to a post older than a few days is set to go through moderation.

Now: as to your question - if your perfume is anhydrous (completely free of water or any water-containing ingredients), then you do not need a preservative.

Kelly Martin said...

Thanks hun, I will be adding pure essential oils, so is that anhydrous?

Lise M Andersen said...

Yes, if your mixture is purely oil based and without water - you're fine. Beeswax and essential oils are all water-free. :)