Monday, October 26, 2015

This Is Why I Cosmetically Preserve Aqueous Solutions

Recently, as part of my testing phase for Face Cleanser A, I purchased a microbial test kit to ensure that what I might sell would be entirely safe for consumption. As I've harped about excessively, I use a cosmetic preservative in all of my hydrous products because, um, grossness and danger of germs!!! I also tested my shampoo and conditioner (I won't sell these but, hell, I'm using them!) and, as a control, I tested an "all natural" sun cream with grapefruit seed extract acting as the "preservative". That product, I bought.

I used test batches of product that I made between mid and late September. The face cleanser, specifically, was made on Sept. 28 and I tested it on Oct. 12 (I waited 2 weeks, which is the recommended length of time). The shampoo and conditioner were made on Sept. 15. The control product was made in the summer sometime (I assume) as I'd owned it since July. Note: I bought it specifically to test and I never used it.

Then I waited 2 weeks (you should wait a minimum of 5 days but after 2 weeks you'll get a very accurate result). The tech sheet (test instructions and interpretation info) is available here. One side of the slide is coated in rose bengal agar (pink side) and the other with nutrient-ttc agar (orange side) - to interact with potential germs. In simple terms, one side reveals broad-spectrum bacterial growth and the other fungal growth.

Here's what was revealed:

Face Cleanser A: Clean!

The slides have these little plus signs on them which is the texture you can see on the agar. These were completely clear of any discoloration anywhere. I'm thrilled by this - though not surprised - because I love this cleanser (as do many others at this point) and I think CURIO clients will too. I'm extremely careful about using the appropriate amount (no more or less than necessary) of preservative. I bought a special scale to assist with this.

Shampoo A: Clean!

Same as above.

Conditioner A: Clean!

Note that with this product, given its texture, I had to use a sterile swab to rub it on the agar slides which is why you can see a bit of white creaminess in a couple of spots. It's not germs - it's just the residual conditioner...

But, Lord, this is what scared the CRAP out of me:

Purchased, "Naturally Preserved" Product: UTTER FAILURE!

If you can believe it, this is the orange side.

I was so freaked out by this I could barely hold the slides to take the photos. Honestly, I was holding my breath at the same time. I can't even look at the pictures!!!

People, run - don't walk - when you see nicely packaged lotions and cleansers containing water but not a cosmetic preservative. This is danger on a stick. (Scientists - feel free to disagree with me but I don't care what you say. Ugh!) I haven't looked up what's going on with this product - on my tech sheet - because frankly, I don't fucking care. I'm never using this and my only dilemma now relates to the person who made the natural product and whether / how I'm going to bring this to her attention.

If you'll excuse me, I have to take a shower.

Thoughts or feelings?


  1. That looks horrific!! I hope it's a case of "looks worse than it is" but um... yuck!

  2. Ummm.... yuck. Just yuck. I hope you scrubbed well!

    1. I did. But every time I think about it, I feel crawly.

  3. Congratulations on achieving safety in your products! You're really looking out for your customers! As for the naturally "preserved" product you bought that is now a festering sauna for germs, EWW.

    1. Thanks! I was confident that my cosmetic preservative worked (I've done a lot of research) but it's important to test before you sell! That naturally preserved potion was about as edifying as it gets. Nothing like seeing it first hand...

  4. Thoughts? "HOLY SHIT THAT"S DISGUSTING!!!" I was so worried reading this that there was going to be something wrong with the face wash you gave me (which is lovely though hard to get out of the bottle), but no, of course not - you would have told me, i'm sure! :)

    1. I wouldn't have given you any face wash that I felt had the remotest potential to injure you! I'm in no way surprised that my product was safe (I'd done the research!) but I was exceedingly surprised that the natural one was such an extensive pool of germs...

      And those mini bottles are a pain, I know. They're just tester models that I'm working through, not to be replaced. (The actual size of the product will be 2oz in a bottle that squeezes nicely.)

    2. And just to clarify for other comment readers - the face wash Gillian got (which is the same as the one I've used) was always cosmetically preserved. I wouldn't use it for even a week without preservative, much less give it to others.