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Topic: do i have to use a preservative in sugar scrubs/sugar soaps?  (Read 7713 times)
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xxxanity
« on: October 28, 2008 10:56:41 PM »

Okay, so now that I'm in college I fully understand what 'poor' means. Generally in my family we don't go too big on the gifts and my friends are pretty used to getting handmade stuff from me anyway, and since I've had a recent obsession with sugar scrubs I wanted to make a bunch of jars as gifts. I just add a little sugar to my body scrub, but I found some recipes online and obviously don't want to give people "I put some sugar in this bottle of Caress for you!" gifts, so I was all excited about making some.

Most of the recipes I've read were really straight forward. Turbinado sugar, an oil or two, and perhaps a little honey or fragrances. Being paranoid about allergies I was going to forget about the fragrances/essential oils all together and probably use sweet almond oil if it isn't CRAZY expensive and a little vitamin e to help preserve it. But now I've read so many contradictory things about preservatives that I'm ready to give up on the idea completely.

I've read that you don't need them and that you do, that if you use item b you don't need a preservative, that if you touch it with water or your hands that penicillin will start growing on it... ugh. Now I'm convinced that I'm going to ruin Christmas by giving everyone moldy greasy sugar.

This is the most straightforward recipe I've found.

1 cup fine loose salt or loose sugar
3 teaspoons liquid glycerin
1 teaspoon pure honey
3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil
Optional: Pinch of lavender blossoms (available in the bulk department of good health food stores), or chamomile, or dried herbs of your choice, chopped exceedingly fine.
Mix ingredients well and store in an airtight container. Add more liquid ingredients if you prefer a thinner end-product. Stir thoroughly before use. This keeps very well, and in fact, the honey acts as preservative. Use small amounts when scrubbing the nose, being careful not to irritate or get it in the eyes. Scrub elbows, hands, knees, and feet. Rinse in warm water, pat dry, and apply your favorite lotion afterward.

Sigh. Will this work? If I cut out the essential oil? What about the herbs? Should I add those?

Should I go with one of the more oil+sugar recipes with a preservative? What the heck are these preservatives anyway, how much are they, and where can I get them? If I do make scrubs, should I put them in squeeze bottles as opposed to the fancier jar?

Please save my Christmas from bacteria and mold.  Undecided
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kat_728
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008 08:52:46 AM »

I don't know much about sugar scrubs either but I am going to do them as gifts for Christmas this year also. The recipe I am using is from the Big Ass Book of Crafts as everything in the recipe is cheap and I can buy at the grocery store. No essential oils to jack up the price. If you like there is also a face scrub recipe in the book that has different ingredients that I can give you.

Lemon Tea Sugar Scrub

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Epsom salt
10 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
3 green tea bags
1 lemon to zest
grater
large mixing bowl
container

Grate lemon rind and set aside.
In the mixing bowl, combine and mix the sugar, epsom salt and loose tea(rip open bags and sprinkle leaves in).
Add olive oil, and mix.
Add honey, and combine well.
Add the lemon zest
Mix everything in the bowl,then fill up the container.

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sporadic
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008 12:47:32 PM »

Yes, you DEFINITELY need a preservative!  You'll be giving these people bacterial muck if you don't.  Vitamin E isn't a preservative and neither is honey.  Use something like Germaben.

The reason you need a preservative:  germs & bacteria are introduced into the mix while you're making it as well as every time somebody sticks their fingers in it.  The bacteria and germs will continue to grow unless there is a preservative to kill them.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2008 12:51:28 PM by sporadic » THIS ROCKS   Logged
xxxanity
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008 01:19:28 PM »

I don't know much about sugar scrubs either but I am going to do them as gifts for Christmas this year also. The recipe I am using is from the Big Ass Book of Crafts as everything in the recipe is cheap and I can buy at the grocery store.

I have this recipe saved and it sounded easy, but I wasn't sure about adding the tea and lemon. It just seems like it wouldn't last. Thanks though. I really ought to get that book, I see a lot of people making projects from it.

Yes, you DEFINITELY need a preservative!  You'll be giving these people bacterial muck if you don't.  Vitamin E isn't a preservative and neither is honey.  Use something like Germaben.

Okay, that's pretty much what I was thinking I'd have to do...  So looking online, would I need to use Germaben II for mixtures with more than 25% oil or would I be okay with just plain Germaben? And I'm totally confused as to how much I'd need to add. Is there anywhere to get this other than the internet? I'm trying to avoid shipping costs if at all possible. Thanks!  Cheesy
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sporadic
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2008 07:47:29 AM »

To avoid shipping costs, look for a supplier close to you:  http://www.SuppliersByState.com

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Curlita
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2008 12:09:52 PM »

I've been giving out sugar scrub as a gift for the past month or so, and I got a little freaked after reading this because I haven't been putting any preservatives in my scrub. I read two articles online that were helpful because they talk about a lot of different natural preservatives. Here's a link:
http://www.botanicalworks.com/NaturalPreservatives.htm

I've been using lemon juice in my scrubs, and am planning on adding some grapefruit seed extract, since it's a powerful anti-bascterial and anti-fungal, and doesn't really have a smell.
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sporadic
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2008 02:37:05 PM »

The essential oils and lemon used in a scrub will not be an effective preservative - they will not prevent nasties from growing in the scrub. You need to use something like Germaben. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2008 11:22:32 PM »

Technically, if you use a clean spatula to scoop the scrub out and do not get any water into the jar you could be ok...for yourself, but if you are giving or selling them it is probably wise to get a preservative. Don't confuse anti-oxidants (like vitamin E) which prolong oil shelf life with preservatives and that prevent the growth of bacteria.

In my experience, lotions (containing water to start with) are a lot more sensitive to needing a preservative than a scrub.

I've never used GSE but heard lots of things, both bad and good about it. Please let us know how it works out if you use it!
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2008 12:18:29 PM »

I've always been a fan of grapefruit seed extract. It's all natural (it's a by-product of the citrus industry) and it has anti-fungal & anti-bacterial qualities. I use it in my soaps and find it extends shelf life nicely. And as people mentioned it is virtually odorless, and it's an oil so no harm there. The great thing about it is that it is VERY affordable because a little goes a looooong way. I go through a bottle a year, maybe? Good stuff.

Now this comes entirely from CP soap making, so while I assume it'd translate well into scrubs, I'm not sure!
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« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2008 06:36:16 PM »

Do you find that it helps eliminate/prevent DOS?  Just wondering   Grin
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« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2008 09:19:46 AM »

If you're referring to "dreaded orange spots," in all my years of soap making, I have never had a problem with them. BUT, I have always used GSE, so maybe there is a connection? *shrug*
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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2008 09:39:14 AM »

Cool! I've heard that before. I have the occasional problem with DOS, and it always seems random. Maybe I will have to check out the GSE!
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2008 09:57:47 AM »

I swear by the stuff, truly. Give it a whirl. Best case you fall in love, worst case you don't notice a difference, lol.

Is it bad that the first time I read your post my thought was "Who uses Disk Operating System anymore?" It took me a second to get into crafty mode...  Embarrassed
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nerfulness
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2008 03:23:00 PM »

You do NOT need to put a preservative into your sugar scrub. Any moisture in your scrub will become saturated with dissolved sugar. This creates a hypertonic solution, which sucks all the moisture out of any and all bacteria/fungi/horrible little nasties through osmosis. Chemistry major, FTW.

You DO need to store them in airtight containers, because otherwise any oil you put in there will oxidize and start smelling nasty. However, I have sugar scrubs that are about a year old that I put into airtight containers, and they're still good.

My scrub recipe is even more simple than yours:

1 c sugar
1/4-1/2 c oil
Enough crushed dried herbs that it smells nice.
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PonyHuetchen
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2009 04:21:02 AM »

I've been experimenting for a while and was wondering whether i should use a preservative in products containing sugar as is suppose that sugar might "feed" nasty germs....

Am I right? And what would be the best preservative? something chemical? or something like vitamin E?
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2009 07:57:48 AM »

First, Vit E is NOT a preservative.  It IS an anti-oxidant, keeping oils fresher longer.

High sugar environment isn't condusive to growing nasties.  That is one reason that honey doesn't spoil.

But back to your question.  do your sugar scrubs contain water (or liquid other than oils), then yes, you would need a preservative that works in formulas high in oils.

You can get non-paraben preservatives
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PonyHuetchen
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2009 08:07:33 AM »

Thank you so much, this answer is really helpful
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2009 08:17:06 AM »

NP, glad to help.  I sent you a PM
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lavale
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2009 03:07:52 PM »

I think almond oil gets rancid easily, so I would rather use a different oil.
About grapefruit seed extract, I read it's a preservative because of pesticides it contains, so I woudln't use it. Most people and firms making organic cosmetics in Italy have stopped using it.
ciao
vale
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