Preservaton According to Jane

July 23, 2022

A. If a product contains water, (aloe vera gel, tea, hydrosols, milk are mainly water), a broad spectrum preservative blend should be added. Our preservative article contains strategies to effectively preserve your product and provides reviews of preservatives.
B. Ingredient suppliers want to sell their ingredients and so often advertise producing, “data” showing their “natural” preservative as being effective and broad spectrum. Unfortunately, however, this is frequently not the case. Our preservative article reviews natural and synthetic preservatives so a more informed decision may be made.
C. Vitamin E, benzoin, grapefruit seed extract and rosemary extract are antioxidants, not preservatives. Antioxidants do not protect against gram negative bacteria, gram positive bacteria nor fungi.
D. It is not possible to rely on sight nor smell to know if a product is contaminated. Home preservative test kits are very inaccurate.
E. Anhydrous (no water) products do not need a preservative unless there is a possibility that water could be introduced.
F. Products labelled “preservative free” are not truly preservative free. The product either: (a) is not preserved properly; or (b) fails to list the preservatives in the product on the label; or (c) if the preservative has a dual function, the seller is relying on the other function to describe the ingredient. Less frequently, the seller is relying on a high level of glycols or alcohols to help preserve.
G. Heating and holding the water phase of your emulsion at 75°C/167°F for 20 minutes will help reduce the level of non-endospore forming bacteria.
H. One of the most frequent reasons for a preservative test failing is due to the formula containing high levels of food for microbial growth. Examples include fruit, botanicals, tea, lecithin, mineral water, milk of any kind, honey, hydrosols, floral waters, aloe vera, extracts, protein, clay, powders, starches etc. It is possible to include, for example, 50% aloe vera or hydrosol in a formula and still pass preservative tests if the formula is carefully formulated with that in mind and the supplier’s copy of the micro testing for the batch of aloe/hydrosols in the formula (could be in the Certificate of Analysis) shows that ingredient is less than 100 cfu/gram or ml and no staphylococcus aureus, candida albicans or gram negative bacteria.

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