How To Protect Your Preservative-Free Beauty This Summer


Preservatives. In the clean beauty realm, this has become somewhat of a taboo term, bringing to mind ingredients like parabens. And for the most part, that’s for good reason: Parabens (which are actually a category of preservatives, containing differentiations of the synthetic chemical) have been linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity. When that’s the risk, why would you want them in your personal care products?

One of the best parts about clean beauty products is that they don’t contain these potentially hazardous synthetic preservatives that can interrupt our bodies’ normal functioning. But that leads us to the inevitable question:

If our products are preservative-free (or only contain natural preservatives like vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract or essential oils), how do we keep them fresh and safe for use?

Many cosmetics’ formulas combine water, oils, acids and extracts that can create an environment that, if not properly stored, can lead to spoilage and bacteria growth. This is completely normal—it’s like if you leave a fresh loaf of bread out on your counter for a little too long and mold begins to grow. Healthy, natural bath and body products are made from fresh ingredients that have a shelf life. Their freshness increases their potency and it also requires a couple smart steps to keep them from going bad, especially during hot summer weather.

3 Tips to Protect Natural Products During the Summer

  1. Be mindful of storage. All year round, natural products need to be stored in a cool, dry location where temperature doesn’t change repeatedly or drastically (so keep them out of the shower, unless you use them up quickly!). This helps reduce the likelihood of fresh ingredients spoiling or getting contaminated. In the summer, storing products in the fridge not only extends their life, but also gives you a cooling sensation upon application (bye bye sunburn!).
  2. Check your hands. Healthy products are more prone to latch onto bacteria on your hands as you’re scooping body butter or body scrub out of its tub. To help prevent that, wash and dry your hands thoroughly right before use OR use a clean metal or wooden spoon to dip into your product before lathering on your body.
  3. Avoid the light. Direct sunlight, UV rays and artificial light can impact your natural products, breaking down their consistency and creating heat in their containers, both of which can encourage bacteria growth. Store your products in a dark location and in dark bottles (that’s why OBC uses the gorgeous Miron glass bottles for its facial oils—to protect the efficacy of the ingredients and increase their longevity), and close their caps tightly when you’re done applying.

What other practical rules do you follow to keep your products safe during warmer weather?

A version of this was originally published on Organic Bath Co.’s blog.

3 Responses to “How To Protect Your Preservative-Free Beauty This Summer”
  1. Silvy says:

    It’s not easy, but I’m trying not to buy too many products at a time. I have rules in place, generally only two of each types of product at a time (two cleansers, two toners, serums, etc., max.). Easier said than done, but it has been helping me to use up products so they aren’t sitting around for too long.

  2. Tiff says:

    I’m with Silvy on this one.

    It’s really hard to prolong the shelf life of ‘clean’ beauty products, especially when you live in a place with perpetually warm weather (like me!). Keeping it cool is the way to go. Having AC helps.

  3. Carla says:

    I only purchase waterless products and I store them properly. I used to purchase many of the cleansers and toners (water based products) that you recommended but truthfully had to stop as they were going funky pretty darn fast. I’m clean and I stored them properly but I think at the end of the day, they will go bad fast due to the simple fact a preservative is not there. I don’t want to risk an infection with something that is going bad as all it takes is a microscopic cut on your skin to cause trouble. I realize preservatives are viewed as bad, but it’s also very frustrating to bring something home and have it go bad right away. Kind of a health issue.

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