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Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Aromatherapy, Herbs and Essential Oils > Do I need a Preservative?
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Do I need a Preservative?

Hey there.

So I produced an aftershave (splash) product that I love and use all the time. I would like to try my hand at selling it, but it contains 25% grain alcohol. And I don't think it would be legal to sell or ship it (unless I had a liquor license) - even though you'd be crazy to drink this stuff!

I do have an alternative formula that uses 50% witch hazel and 50% distilled water as the only two ingredients other than the EOs.

My concern however is that EO will go rancid or the solution will become polluted in some other way without the alcohol. It's probably 7% alcohol at most.

Do I need to use a preservative? If so, which would be best? I've heard grape seed extract is a good option. But I'm kind of a blank slate when it comes to preservatives other than alcohol.

Cheers!


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Old 09-27-2017, 05:22 PM   #2
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It's actually grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and it's been widely disproven as a preservative. Apparently the person who originally recommended with and had good results with it was using a brand that container a preservative - so it did work, but because of the added preservative. Pure GSE doesn't work.

Can you use some kind of non-food-safe alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol?


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Old 09-27-2017, 05:26 PM   #3
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I think any time you use water in a product, you need to use a preservative. Especially if it's a product that will be used on the face.
GSE is not a preservative- it is an antioxidant. It's helpful for extending the life of oils and butters, but it will not prevent the growth of yeast, bacteria, or mold.
Have you checked-out SwiftCraftyMonkey? The site has a ton of information on formulating products, including toners and such.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:30 PM   #4
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Hi and thanks for clarifying. I could, but I'm trying to make a natural product and rubbing alcohol contains poisonous additives.

This product:
https://www.badgerandblade.com/forum...ay-rum.204807/

Their only ingredients are witch hazel and distilled water. The only alcohol, according to the manufacturer, comes from the witch hazel and the product is less than 5% alc. The difference I suppose is that they use fragrance oil whereas I'm using EO.
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Old 09-27-2017, 06:06 PM   #5
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Just because someone else is selling a none preserved product doesn't mean you should too. The aftershave could be good without preservative but all it takes is one bad bottle full of bacteria to make someone sick, why take the risk?

Use a preservative, to protect yourself and your customers. I'd never buy any bath products without preservatives and I would not support any company that sells them.
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:17 PM   #6
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Personally I think anything that has water in it, around it, will be used near it, etc., etc., should contain a good preservative.
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:46 PM   #7
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That would seem to make sense, but they sell their product as is on Amazon and it sells like hotcakes. They must have sold 10s of 1ks of bottles.

I did email them ans asked, "how does it stay preserved though if there's so little alcohol?" Their reply: "I don't actually know the answer to that... but it hasn't been a problem..."

Having said that, could you or someone recommend a good preservative? I've read that vitamin E is a good option. I've also read that it's inadequate.

Has anyone here used Optiphen?
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayBoy View Post
That would seem to make sense, but they sell their product as is on Amazon and it sells like hotcakes. They must have sold 10s of 1ks of bottles.

I did email them ans asked, "how does it stay preserved though if there's so little alcohol?" Their reply: "I don't actually know the answer to that... but it hasn't been a problem..."

Having said that, could you or someone recommend a good preservative? I've read that vitamin E is a good option. I've also read that it's inadequate.

Has anyone here used Optiphen?
Vitamin E is not a preservative, only an antioxidant.

This is my resource when researching good preservatives, but others may chime in with what works for them:

http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.co...ervatives.html
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayBoy View Post
That would seem to make sense, but they sell their product as is on Amazon and it sells like hotcakes. They must have sold 10s of 1ks of bottles.

I did email them ans asked, "how does it stay preserved though if there's so little alcohol?" Their reply: "I don't actually know the answer to that... but it hasn't been a problem..."

Having said that, could you or someone recommend a good preservative? I've read that vitamin E is a good option. I've also read that it's inadequate.

Has anyone here used Optiphen?
Vitamin E is another one that's not a preservative. It's an antioxident. Totally different things. Antioxidents won't do a darn thing to prevent the growth of mold, fungi, or bacteria. The ONLY thing they do is help inhibit rancidity in oils.

So... based on the response of the people selling this product, they've probably not done adequate testing. And as has been mentioned, all it takes is ONE problem (and expensive lawsuit) to shut a company like that down. Protect yourself and your prospective customers. Use a preservative.

Oh, and selling on Amazon is no guarantee of quality. Amazon is only a broker, and I don't think they care much what they move through so long as they get their cut. Take a look at all the known listings for fake EOs if you doubt.
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Old 09-27-2017, 08:03 PM   #10
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I see your point, though that company's been around for almost 10 years.

It's frustrating because I like my product as is with grain alcohol. There are SO many people on Etsy selling identical products literally listing vodka, bourbon and spiced rum in their ingredients.


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