Overpreserving - As Bad as Underpreserving

Preservatives are powerful. They have to be. They have a pretty important job: keeping bacteria, fungus, and mould at bay without otherwise compromising the product.

Working with preservatives is tricky and very demanding, so it's not surprising a lot of DIY skincare makers are uncomfortable working with them.

It's not the kind of ingredient where you can 'wing it' when it comes to type or dosage. The amount added – when it is added – and which one functions best is specific to each formula.

It's definitely not the kind of ingredient where you can add 'an extra dash to preserve even better'.

It just doesn't work like that.

An extra dash can cause more damage than one might imagine, which brings me to today's story: what can happen if you overpreserve a product.

Ask an Expert  - a Real One

It's one thing experiencing unwanted reactions from a product due to ones own experimentation, but I find it awfully disturbing when it happens as a result of guidance from an unqualified source.

Unfortunately, the internet is full of these – all over the globe.

Some offer pricey courses – promising to teach all kinds of things, but aren't quite truthful about their qualifications.

And that's when trouble happens.

Adding Insult to Injury 

Recently, I was asked for my input on a formula from an interested student of skincare formulating. She had burnt her face using a self-made product.

I was supplied with the formula which she explained had been approved by her instructor from the online course she had paid for.

Looking at it raised a couple of warning flags with me, but not being an expert in these particular ingredients, I decided to consult with someone who was.

As it turned out, they agreed with my initial impression: the excessive amount of preservative was the source of the problem.

This student had taken the advice of someone she believed to be knowledgable and ended up paying a dear price – both financially and personally.

Check Check and Double Check!

If you are considering taking an online course on how to make your own skin care products, please check that you are signing on with qualified, accredited professionals who can document their accreditation – otherwise you risk not just loosing your money but might also be risking your health and the health of anyone who uses your products.

Do Tell

Have you ever considered taking an online course in formulating and creating your own skincare products? What did you check for?


Hi Lise, thank you as ever for an interesting blog post. As you know, we run Formula Botanica with multiple online courses in organic cosmetic formulating. We hope this wasn't one of our students and course materials, and would be very interested to hear if it was so that we can follow up accordingly.
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Lorraine - Thanks for your comment. It was most certainly not one of Formula Botanica's students who was the subject of such poor guidance. This is why I recommend choosing accredited programs. Keep up the great work with Formula Botanica!
Signe said…
I didn't even know that there is online courses for that! I've been very careful when using someone else's recipe for soaping, but I must admit that I haven't been thinking so much of other cosmetic recipes I make. I think that good way is to check what ingredient seller has to say about using amounts.
GREAT input as always Lisa!It is really difficult to find a good online course!!! I found one in Greece from the farmaceutical univercity, which was allright, but a bit outdated, with no actual practice in formula making. Just a lot of theory which is useful ok, but practical use of different materials was not promoted. That's what all of us try to find.
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Signe - you are right to be cautious - it's not always easy to spot the fakes from the real thing
Lise M Andersen said…
Hi Olympia - thanks for your valuable input - it's definitely worth shopping around and taking your time at checking everything out before signing on for a course.
little mingle said…
Thanks Lisa, great post as always!
Lise M Andersen said…
thank you little mingle :)
MarĂ­a Zamora said…
Internet is an invaluable source of information, but it's oh so difficult to filter the good from the bad...
Sometimes an online course can be a good option to begin when you know nothing, but I also think that a lot of forums and bloggers can offer very good and verified information. Like this! ;)
Lise M Andersen said…
Thank you Maria for your very kind words. :)