I know many women have the natural instinct of mixing beauty potions, but how safe are DIY beauty products made in the kitchen? I ask myself this question because I see more and more companies offering cream bases to add essential oils and various extracts, or even women going on a course to learn how to make beauty creams at home. Is it ok to buy a cream made like this? My answer is no, because I do not think and believe DIY beauty products are safe. I shall tell you why.
I would probably answer yes if we were talking about water free products, like beauty balms and oils. But with creams and also shampoos we have water, and water feeds life, including microorganisms.
In fact the main issues are microbial safety and also skin safety.
I tell you this because I saw it with my own eyes in my lab experience. I did a test to see how essential oils and herbal extracts affected the cream antimicrobial testing. I made exactly the same cream base with different oils and extracts and sent it off for antimicrobial testing. Some samples failed completely, some failed only with a few organisms, some passed very well. The essential oils were in at low concentration, yet they had such a major impact on the product safety. If I sold that cream base to add essential oils, extracts or God knows what, who knows what would have happened. Yet there are companies out there selling cream bases and shampoo bases to people who add their own ingredients and sell the cream off. What is the difference? they use strong petrochemical preservatives to cope with these unknown variables as well as the lack of hygiene in the kitchen where they are mixed. The cream base buyers very often do not know this and they are given fancy names of the preservative system so they have no idea what is in the cream base they are buying or even making. The preservatives might be in also at a higher concentration than you would normally get if you bought a similar beauty product from the shop.
This leads to the skin safety, because we face two situations here: one is having the skin exposed to strong petrochemical preservatives, which are among the major culprits for skin reactions. The other situation is to have a beauty cream full of bugs to apply on the face or body. Some micro-organisms can be spotted pretty quickly because of their fluffy appearance, whereas others stay invisible or odourless when they reach extremely high counts…
My tip is if you are passionate about making your own DIY beauty products, play it safe and stick to oil based beauty products with no water involved. It is still fun and rewarding. If you buy DIY beauty products to reduce safety risks, ask about what preservative is used in the product and if they test for microbial content of the finished product.
If you want to make a business out of making beauty products make sure your products are microbiologically and dermatologically safe. As the Green Chemist Consultant I provide technical coaching as well as full formulation development.