How long does Optiphen Plus protect your product?

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Mar 20, 2015
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Hi all,

Nice to meet you virtually! I'm a relatively new soaper (coming back to soaping after a few year hiatus doing mostly HP now switching to CP) and a very new lotion maker. I've made a few batches, but haven't dove too deep into the world of preservatives. I'm eyeing some Optiphen Plus, but I can't seem to figure out just how long it protects a product? In other words, if I add Optiphen Plus to my lotion, what is the estimated shelf life? Would it become the shelf life of lowest shelf life oil or butter in the recipe? Or, if I added some Vitamin E + Optiphen Plus, would it extend it by, say 3 months?

Thanks for any help! I'm super confused!!
There is no way to estimate shelf life of a preservative in a given product. You have to test the product as made. The efficacy of a preservative is highly dependent on your sanitation practices, the recipe, the type of packaging, and the storage conditions.

If you don't work clean, if you fill your lotion with "bug food", and if you package your lotion in an open jar so it's easily contaminated with dirty fingers, the lotion is going to grow cooties a lot faster, even with a good preservative, than if you don't do those things.

"...Would it become the shelf life of lowest shelf life oil or butter in the recipe?..."

You're confusing antioxidants (prevents rancidity) with preservatives (kills microorganisms). Optiphen is a preservative.
Bug food is anything that the bacteria can feed on. Using milks or teas or sugar in a lotion will put more strain on your preservative. Sticking to plain old oils and water is the lightest load.

As DeeAnna also said, using pump bottles instead of tubs means no fingers going in which also adds in material for the bacteria to feed on, adding to the work that the preservation system has to do.
You could send a bottle to a lab to have it challenge tested! That's the only way to know for sure. Make sure to use good manufacturing practices to give your lotion the longest life possible! I wouldn't do it until you have a solid recipe you really like, as it can get pricey. You can also buy testing kits from suppliers, like lotioncrafter, to be sure that nasties do not grow in your lotion right away, but they do not give any indication of how long your product will last. Good luck on your journey! Lotions are so satisfying to make!
I send my lotions to for testing. Then I keep a bottle of lotion for a year from the same batch and send it again for testing. I also do her common usage test which is similar to challenge testing but for home crafters.
Thank you all so much for your responses! SUPER helpful! I love the idea of having a batch challenge tested once I get to that point. I purchased the Optiphen Plus and am going to try working with it sometime this week. Thanks again!! <3

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