Natural Preservatives?

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Well-Known Member
Dec 4, 2007
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I am fairly new at making CP soap and I have been trying to research natural preservatives for Bath and Body products.

I just found a link to a new natural preservative called CitroZine or CitroFresh and I am wondering if anyone has tried it and whether it can actually be called natural or not.

I do want to give everyone a warning before this thread even gets started. I have seen many ugly arguements about natural preservatives vs standard preservatives vs no preservatives. Everyone is entittled to their own choices. Standards of preservation vary by country also. Please do not let this thread become an arguement or a matter of who's product is *better* preserved than everyone else's product.

Please feel free to explore this topic openly and honestly in a friendly manner.

With that being said, I have not heard of this product so I am afraid I can not help you.
Yes, I don't want to start a fight or anything. Just trying to figure out the different alternatives for preserving.

Oh, and what about food preservatives? My mom uses agar-agar (made from kelp) to preserve her homemade jam, would that be safe/appropriate to use in B&B products?
I make emulsified O-N-Water and W-N-Oil body lotions and creams from scratch. I have tested my mixture for 6 to 9 months before ever thinking about selling it. I do hear of a few new "natural" preservatives for B&B products, and these are starting to become available for purchase, so they must be tested as acceptable by the cosmetics police. I do use Germall Plus, LiquaPar Optima, Germaben 2, depending on the application, but have not tried these so called "natural" preservatives, so I cannot make a educated statement, and will not. I am sceptible about them, personally. I do know that I would never even think about adding anything as a "preservative" that is not accepted preservative material within the cosmetics industry. That is simply asking for at the least trouble, and at the most a lawsuit. These are just my opinions on what I do and would not do, but using a food preservative in a lotion, cream or scrub, is not acceptable practices and not safe.

Paul.... :) :wink:
Paul, I agree. If it is not safe, I am not going to do it. But if there is a safe, natural alternative out there, I would much prefer that. That is why I am researching as much as I can about this.

How about lotion bars? What kind of preservatives do you need for those in order to be safe? Or whipped shea butter? Do you need to add preservatives in all B&B products (except for soap)? Or just those that contain water?
IMHO, lotion bars & whipped shea do not need a preservative. They do not contain water & water will not be introduced into the.

I see some mass produced whipped butter do have water & preservatives but they are not the type of whips *we* would be making for the most part.
Thank you, Tabitha. At least there are some things I can make without worrying too much then.
The name reminds me of Citracidal or common name = Grapefruit seed extract (GSE). I am just now starting to use GSE as a natural preservative when using water in my lotions so do not yet have long term results to speak of. This Citrozine or citrofresh says its a bitter orange extract. I know orange oil works well as a natural cleaner. So there might be something to this - but I'm just thinking it through out load here. I'll be interested to learn more about it now!
I wonder if it smells though? Could be a problem if you don't want that scent.
I respectfully want to point out all the issues that surround both GSE and even the preservatives I use. GSE, even though invented in the 1970's in Germany, is not a trusted, reliable, preservative I would feel comfortable using while selling my goods to my customers, no matter how much I would LOVE to use it as such! Folks, GSE is not a "preservative" in B&B, and I only know of one Internet supplier who is brave enough to call it such, while most only will call it a "antioxidant" for preventing oils prone to rancidity, at best. Here is a article with quoted studies you might want to take a look at before considering this a safe "preservative" in aqueous emulsification's, especially if considering selling your water-based goods.
Yes, there are 2 sides to every fence, and I have, over the past 2 years, tried looking with an open mind at both sides. But until I can 100% guarantee to my customers that GSE will keep my/their lotions/creams protected from 1 year of manufacture, I can't use this product.

and also please read;

I do sell lotions and creams, and would absolutely LOVE to use an natural "preservative" if one would effectively work without causing harm to a customer. GSE cannot guarantee this and thus, in my mind, cannot be a trusted, effective long term (up to a year) preservative where water is a component in the emulsification. I use Lotioncrafter and The Herbarie as my lotions/creams preservative suppliers, and they do not sell GSE as a preservative, a antioxidant only. Like Tab stated, whipped body butters, things like shea butter, anything where no water in included, or could accidentally dropped into the jar of butters or scrub, is fine. Water creates germies if not protected correctly.
I even read that some GSE manufacturers are putting Parabens in their GSE to help it protect in water based applications. That is not much different than just outright using them as the preservative.

These are just my guidelines I use for making my decisions based on the research I've done for the past couple years, and asking others their views. You guys, please research, and after looking at both sides of the fence like I did, and make the decision that only you can feel comfortable with! :wink: 8) :)

thanks for the added knowledge about GSE. I'm new to all this and as much as I've researched I still have been afraid to make anything with water since I can't find a suitable preservative. Sounds like we're all in the same boat - wanting to make the safest and most natural product we can.
But just this past week I decided to thin out some lotion bases with distilled water and thought I'd try GSE. I too do not want to harm customers, but also have not found anything I feel comfortable with as the 'proven' options either have glycols or parabens. So for now these lotions are for personal testing. Maybe I should thin with something else other than water to avoid the whole mess?
I have made no water lotions, but need GSE and Vit. E to help keep the oils from going rancid, so maybe I'll stick with working on perfecting these recipes until an 'all natural' preservative falls into my lap.
I've got a bit more on my mind about all this but for now this is as far into the topic as I'll go as I'm still learning.
So nice when everyone can get along. I agree, I would not trust using just GSE. That is why I have been researching to see if there is a proven alternative that I have overlooked in my newbieness.

But that bitter orange extract is all I have found and I don't know if there is any real research on it or even whether they have added all kinds of chemicals to it that they don't tell you about. If they can do that to GSE, why not to this?

I guess I will stay away from any water-containing recipes for now.
I agree, it is nice when we can all state our thoughts, findings of research, and opinions in a way that does not belittle another forum member! :D 8) This is what forums like this should be about. Respect. Thanks guys for making this topic such an enjoyable exchange of ideas! Cool!!! :D

Paul.... :) :wink:
I have a deodorant that my cousin made for me. It is liquid but does not contain water, only oil. It has no preservatives in it. Is that okay? It is in a roll-on bottle.

Also, do you need preservatives in salt scrubs, as they don't contain water either?

I really can't bring myself to use artificial preservative. At least not yet. I think it is the hippie in me. :lol:
I would for salt scrubs simply because of the environment they are used it. It'd be easy to get water in the container... Unless of course you're just using it for yourself at home and not to sell. I mix up a simple one before a shower, but I'd never sell it.
The deo *should* be OK. It would have a modest shelf life though. Oils do go rancid.

As for scrubs, you MUST use a preserve if you plan to store it ANY length of time. They will grow mold quickly. They may not be made w/ water, but you are going to get water in them for certain. If you just mix up enough for 1 or 2 uses I would *think* you could keep a non preserved scrub in your refridge for a week or so but you are taking a risk if you do not use it same day.

I would rather use a scrub with an artificial preserve in it than one that is moldy & full of bacteria :shock: .

If you absolutely are dead set against preserves I would suggest keeping you dry ingredients in a jar and your liquid ingredients in a bottle and just mixing the 2 together in your hand as you need them. I have bought scrubs like this before. You just place 2 tablespoons of dry ingredients into a small cup, or the palm of your hand, add a tablespoon liquid & stir.
I would rather use a scrub with an artificial preserve in it than one that is moldy & full of bacteria[quote:1r6f23lc]

Can I get an order of the penicillin flavored scrub? WOW what is that staring back at me? hahahahhaha Is that green stuff supposed to be furry?

Ok enough!!
Lol! The penicilline flavored scrub is going to sprout legs and walk out on you, dragonfly!

No, I am not dead set against preservatives. I am just dragging my heels about it because that was not how I envisioned things would be. I will sulk for a few days and then start using preservatives like there is no tomorrow.
Zen, I think 98% of us dived into this w/ a fairy tale innocence that about how our products will be. The more we learn , the more we adjust our vision. I do not mean that in a mean way. There are soapers out there that work really hard to have the *most* natural product possible & that is admirable, when done safley. I would like to some day be able to claim my products are all veagan, not just vegetarian, but veagan!

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