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January 28, 2009



This looks like a great recipe for a cuticle oil. What could be added to preserve it?


Hi Carol,

Thanks for your question. Tea Tree oil acts as a natural antibacterial, and that will help ward off the bacteria that is introduced into your cuticle oil each time you stick the brush back into the bottle. You can use tea tree as your essential oil of choice in the receipe. Vitamin E Oil is probably the greenest anti-oxidant that is traditionally used for product preservation. The tocopherols contained in Vitamin E acts as a natural anti-oxidant and is also good for the skin, hair and nails. Rosemary Oil Extract (ROE) is another anti-oxidant alternative. Rosemary Oil Extract shouldn't be confused with Rosemary Essential Oil, but it does have a distinctive aroma. Anti-oxidants will help protect the actual carrier oil from oxidizing and thus going rancid, but an anti-oxidant isn't the same thing as an anti-microbial or anti-bacterial. Aside from anti-bacterial essential oils like tea tree, Grapefruit Seed Oil is probably the greenest anti-microbial ingredients used as a preservative. These are what I consider the greenest alternatives for preserving handmade aromatherapy products... anyone planning to make a product for sale will need to learn a lot about preservative options (much more than I know as I like to keep things as natural and simple as possible) and should have their product(s) challenge tested by a lab. If you go with one of these ingredients as a preservative, please check with your supplier as to usage/ratio recommenations. The concentrations can differ between suppliers. Carrier oils all differ in their stability, and using more stable oils like jojoba (actually a liquid wax), watermelon seed oil or meadowfoam oil can also help. I love to use carrier oils that are rich in essential fatty acids. By their nature, however, they tend to oxidize (go rancid) the fastest. I like using craberry seed oil as it is high in EFAs yet is also rich in Vitamin C, and the Vitamin C helps to stablize it and gives it a shelf life of 2 years.

A good article entitled "Using Preservatives to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Products" that I helped develop can be found on the site of FromNatureWithLove.com (a long time supporter of AromaWeb): http://www.fromnaturewithlove.com/library/preservatives.asp

Linda - Total Body and Skin Care

What a great recipe! All the ingredients are easy to obtain too. Sometimes a good recipe has almost unobtainable ingredients.

I am always reading other people's ingenious little tips, and this is one of them.


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