Making Handmade All-Natural Organic Skin Care That Lasts

When making DIY all natural organic skin care, you must be aware of the shelf life for safety...especially if you're making to sell or give to loved ones. If you don't, your creations may start to smell, change color, change consistency, or grow harmful mold and bacteria.

Shelf Life of Preservative Free Skin care and Cosmetics

Oil Only Ingredients:

Because they do not contain water, oil only ingredients like lip balms, lotion bars, salves, and body butters don’t grow mold or bacteriaUnfortunately, oils are vulnerable to oxidation and go rancid over time and lose their effectiveness.

The shelf life of a recipe consisting of only oils is only as much as the oil with the shortest shelf life. You calculate the shelf life of a oil from the moment you first open it. 

Water Based Ingredients:

Refrigerated water based recipes without preservatives will grow mold and bacteria in less than 5-7 days. Non refrigerated, non preserved recipes will grow mold and mildew in as little as 3 days. This is why water based homemade cosmetics and skin care need preservatives.

Preserved Ingredients:

Using a preservative will forestall mold and bacteria growth in water based ingredients. Oils will still go rancid even with a preservative present, however. This is why the shelf life of ingredients with a preservative is whatever the ingredient with the shortest shelf life is. 

An antioxidant such as vitamin E can be used to prolong the shelf life of oils. It is just hard to say for how long. Once the shelf life of the ingredient with the shortest shelf life passes and it still seems fine, it's most likely thanks to your antioxidant of choice doing a good job. It is still healthier and safer to not use it too long past the shortest shelf life. 

An example to further explain:

If your creating a recipe that consists of:

rose water
grapeseed oil with a shelf life of 4 months
a preservative

This recipe has a shelf life of 4 months because of the grapeseed oil. With a antioxidant, you could increase that to 5 or 6 months, however, keeping a eye on the product is a good idea. 

When making large batches or not planning to use any time soon use a preservative and opt for the ingredients with a longer shelf life.

Preservatives can only extend the shelf life so much. They do have a limit. Different preservatives are made with different shelf lives by different companies. 

Some natural preservatives last a year or more and some last only six months. Make sure you know how long the preservative you use will last. 

For example:

Your creating a recipe that contains:

rose hydrosol
olive oil with a shelf life of 3 years
a preservative that has a shelf life of year

This facial moisturizer will have a shelf life of 1 year due to the preservative.

How do you tell if your product has gone bad? 

The most obvious sign is spots caused by mold and bacteria. This will not happen if you use a preservative.

Has the color changed?

If your product isn't the same color as it was after you first created it, it has likely been contaminated.

Change of smell? 

Another sign of contamination may be the change of smell.

It changes in consistency:

If the merchandise is more sparse than it had been after you first created it, it may be contaminated.

Do not keep the product if you notice any of these changes.


  • Store product in a cool, dark, place to help shelf life last as long as possible.
  • Write shelf life on the product to prevent it being used after it has expired. 
  • Make sure the ingredients you use are not expired or close to expiring. The fresher the better.
  • Use preservative in water containing ingredients unless you plan on using within a couple days.
  • Refrigerator helps oils last longer.
  • Use antioxidant to prevent oils from going rancid sooner.
  • Use clean containers for products to prevent contamination.
What DIY All-Natural  Organic Recipes Do You Like? Please Share With Everyone Below!

1 comment

  1. Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!