8 natural preservatives for home made cosmetics

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8 natural preservatives for home made cosmetics
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Soaps, shower gels, shampoos, bath balls, moisturisers, anti-wrinkle creams, sunscreens – the list goes on! We can make any of these ourselves, and more and more people are deciding to make their own home made cosmetics. Given that these cosmetics are made from natural ingredients, they don’t last as long, because they don’t contain chemical preservatives. Here are 8 natural preservatives to protect your products from bacteria!

What are preservatives?

If your cosmetic product contains water, preservatives protect it from microbial contamination (from bacteria, fungi, yeast, etc.), or from premature deterioration. 

Rosemary essential oil

Depending on the amount of other ingredients you have used (in terms of the entire quantity), add around 5 to 10% the equivalent of undiluted rosemary essential oil to your organic home-made cosmetic product. Furthermore, this oil contains natural antioxidants.

Grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit seed extract is considered one of the most effective natural preservatives. Depending on the amount of water in your natural cosmetic product, add 0.6 to 1% the equivalent in grapefruit seed extract in order to preserve it for several weeks.

Vitamin E

You will find vitamin E in certain oils such as sunflower oil. As a bonus, its anti-oxidant action prolongs the life of your natural and organic cosmetics. If your product contains oil, add 3 drops per 100 mls. 

Propolis liquid extract

Bees produce and use propolis to reinforce and protect their hives. It is an ingredient that is 100% natural, with antibiotic, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Add a few drops of propolis liquid extract to your natural cosmetics, and they will keep for longer.

Benzoic acid

You can find benzoic acid in certain fruits (cranberries, cinnamon, plums, apples). This vegetable based preservative is recommended for any water-based mixture. Also called sodium benzoate, you can mix it with grapefruit seed extract for a more effective preservative.


Cosgard is a broad spectrum antibacterial and antifungal preservative. It is ideal for ensuring preservation of cosmetic mixtures containing water or flower water (hydorats). Add cosgard at a ratio of 0.2 to 1% of the total quantity of the product. 


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The acid in lemon is an excellent natural preservative. Rich in vitamin C, lemon eliminates moisture which prevents the product from deteriorating or going off. 

Citric acid

We get citric acid from the fermentation of fruit sugars, and this natural acid is ideal for prolonging the shelf life of natural products. 

It is recommended that you prepare small jars of cosmetic products and that you keep them in the fridge. Keep them for one week unless you have added natural antioxidants or preservatives, in which case you can keep them for up to a month on average. 


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