You’ve Seen The Good, The Ugly Is Here And The Bad WILL Come

You worked your ass off putting together the perfect scrub, shampoo or body wash! It smells divine and works EXACTLY the way you want it to!

Watermelon scented sugar scrub colored with freeze dried strawberries.

Then maybe a week or so later you go to inhale its heavenly scent and congratulate yourself on a job well done, yet again, when you notice that it doesn’t quite smell the same!

Dare I say it smells like…MOLD?!?!?

*insert ominous music here*

This is one of the ugly down sides to handmade bath products and using fresh ingredients. The best shampoo I ever made had fresh coconut milk in it. I was so damn proud of that stuff and when I smelled THAT smell, my heart just shattered into a million pieces.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any helpful advice right this moment, but it’s coming. I have my feelers out for some kind of explanation.

Despite my lack of helpful and constructive suggestions, I wanted to be sure I mentioned this because it pissed me off and is certainly not a pleasant surprise!

If you plan to sell products with fresh ingredients or a questionable shelf life, I recommend trying to make these as close to delivery time as possible, make them in small batches and keep refrigerated whenever you can.

But what about scrubs, you say?

Generally a scrub made with any carrier oil or body butter will have a pretty decent shelf life on it if you don’t open it right away. I’d say 6-12 months easy. Where you start running into unappealing scents is when you use wet hands to dip into the scrub. 

Whenever possible, try to dry your hands as much as you can before dipping into that scrub. This will reduce germs and prevent icky things from growing in the jar thus extending the (shower) shelf life of your opened scrub.

Other examples of fresh products

Mud masks: I prefer these made fresh, then I know there’s no preservatives added because you use it right away!

Scrubs with fresh citrus peels or fruit/veggie pieces.

I luuuuuuurve the idea of fresh citrus peels or fruits (freeze dried strawberries anyone?) and vegetables (cucumbers y’all!) in my scrubs and other products. And not just because I get to snack while I create my mad science! Natural, natural, natural ingredients!!

But they need to be VERY dry and it wouldn’t hurt to infuse your oil using heat. 

So for example, I would take a mason jar and fill it up with orange and grapefruit peels, then I pour my (melted if needed) oil over it until the peels are covered, put on the lid and set it out in the sun for the day. Because it’s summer and 80+ degrees out right now, I’ll do this maybe two days in a row and even add more peels if some room can be made.

Dandelion coconut oil in its solid form

Alternatively, you could put the sealed mason jar in your crockpot, fill it with water until the water is as high or slightly higher than the oil in the jar, but try not to submerge it to prevent water leaking in. Set it on low and leave it overnight checking occasionally to add water and keep the water level where you want it. 

OR set it on high for about 4 hours, remove your oil and check to see if it smells the way you want it to. Either you’ll be done or you can put it back in for a while, just keep checking on it every 30 minutes to an hour.  I feel that you get a nicer smell letting it work it’s magic low and slow.

Roses ready to be covered for rose oil or water

One preservative idea that just occurred to me is that you could emulsify your oil when you finished. Melt maybe 1/4C emulsifying wax per 1C of liquid (or melted) carrier oil to blend the oil and water *just in case* and then proceed to use your oil as usual.

Vitamin E can be used as a preservative, however, I haven’t found any conclusive evidence that suggests just how long it helps preserve your product or how much you need to ensure proper preservation. 

I did find some helpful information about preservatives at The Soap Queen, but still not anything that comes close to competing with non-natural preservation. 

So just remember SMALL BATCHES!!!

If you know something about this that hasn’t been covered by us or The Soap Queen, please let us know in the comments!!

Have a great week friends!!