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Preservation of lotions and salves


Post Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:16 am

Posts: 187
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
I made a lotion and kept it in my cool storage room but it did eventually grow mold. I had put vitamin E in it. And I've heard that putting lavender into lotions and salves will keep them from growing mold. So I'm trying to get an idea of how to better preserve lotions and salves, or to at least prolong their shelf life.

1. Any suggestions on what to use and how much to use (ratio or parts) to help lotions and salves last longer?

1a. What is the shelf life of your suggestion (if you know)?

Post Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:09 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1066
How long did yours last with the Vit E?

Without any preservation I would expect 3-6 months in the cooler depending on the mix.

With preservation, 6+.

I do not know how much is needed to adequately preserve.

Post Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:54 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1066
I worked HARD today. I wore gloves a lot. I dug in the dirt. I harvested licorice and marshmallow.

My hands are really rough and dry.

My wife just handed me a salve to use. We got this salve from a friend YEARS ago. It has never been refrigerated.

It has never had any mold, not once.

Licorice root, comfrey, chaparral and chickweed are the ingredients. I am guessing the chaparral is what is preserving this.

Post Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:59 pm
Doc Jones User avatar
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No bug with good sense would want to get anywhere near chapparal. :barf:

Post Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:29 pm

Posts: 187
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
The lotion I made lasted maybe 4-6 months in the fridge.

I have a lotion of olive oil, beeswax, lavender, marshmallow, comfrey, calendula that I kept in my cool storage room in the basement and it got mold within 5 or 6 months.

I have a lotion of almond oil, beeswax, and infused lavender water that grew mold after 5 months. I also made a lotion using coconut oil instead of almond oil and it did not grow mold at the 6 month mark. Both were stored in the basement cool room.

I have a comfrey, marshmallow, calendula, olive oil, vit E lotion that is still good and has been kept in the fridge since 7/9/16.

I have echinacea, plantain, malva, dandelion root, olive oil, beeswax, vit E that has been in the fridge since 9/12/16. It gets dark on the top and so I've skimmed the dark off and used the portion below. Mold grows from the outside in, right? So, it's not harmful to do this?

How much vit E would you recommend to a 1 c oil, 1 oz. beeswax, 1 c infused water?

Post Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:48 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1066
The dark stuff is called oxidation. It will not harm you but is not very potent as the oxygen has broken down the material.

I do believe that mold can form from any point in a material where the conditions are right for it to grow. The good thing is there will be many clues, including visual and scent, that will clue you in to its presence. Since oxygen is a primary for many molds, yes, you will typically see mold on the surface.

I do not know exactly how much E to add. We put a few drops into the herbal oils at or workshops. Have not gotten any feedback from folks on the efficacy though.

Post Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:39 pm

Posts: 187
Location: Rexburg, Idaho
I attended a workshop and the lemon balm lotion began oxidation around 6 months in the fridge. If I remember right, you did not put vitamin E in it.

Post Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:30 pm

Posts: 221
It's the same thing that makes your guacamole turn brown two hours after you make it, and the reason we squeeze some fresh lime or lemon into it (besides making it taste good).

You could try adding ascorbic acid to your lotion. (I wouldn't use fresh lemon juice, that would probably grow mold).

Post Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:03 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1066
Lavender is another good preservative that smells good. I have an infused oil that is still usable after many years.

Post Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:26 am

Posts: 87
Here is a very thorough look at preservatives.
Excellent article.
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/libr ... atives.asp

And for waaay more info with lotsa big words, go to this page.
https://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/soap ... atives.asp
The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas first.

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