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Beauty Time Bomb: Do Handcrafted Lotions Expire?

Beauty Time Bomb: Do Handcrafted Lotions Expire?

Handmade skincare products are a celebration of the beauty that unfolds when nature and human craftsmanship intertwine. Each jar, bottle, or container tells a story of dedication and passion, with meticulously selected natural ingredients coming together to nurture your skin.

In recent years, the demand for handmade lotions has surged as skincare enthusiasts are increasingly seeking alternatives to mass-produced, store-bought skin-pampering potions, driven by concerns about the potential harmful effects of certain synthetic ingredients. However, a question often arises when considering handmade lotions: do they go bad? 

The majority of skincare products, including those with natural components such as your beloved handmade lotions, incorporate preservatives to extend their freshness. According to this article from Real Simple, even preservatives lose their optimal function over time as quoted by Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.


So, does this mean handmade lotions expire?

In a nutshell, the answer is yes. Handmade lotions, much like other artisanal skincare creations, tend to have a shorter shelf life compared to store-bought alternatives.

If you're wondering when exactly your favorite handcrafted lotion is going to expire, check the label. If you can't spot the expiration date on the label or packaging, as a general rule, it's recommended to discard partially used containers that have been open for more than a year.


How long do handmade lotions last before they go bad?

The shelf life of a handmade lotion largely depends on several factors. First, the ingredients used in a handmade lotion play a critical role in determining its shelf life. Organic and natural ingredients, free from synthetic chemicals, tend to have a shorter shelf life. Ingredients like essential oils, plant extracts, and carrier oils can be prone to oxidation, which can reduce the lotion's lifespan.

This article from Healthline suggests that unopened lotions have a slightly longer shelf life compared to those that have been opened. And as a general rule of thumb, if you open a new or previously opened bottle of lotion and notice any changes in appearance or scent, it's advisable to discard it. Contaminated lotions are also more likely to spoil quickly, and improper storage conditions can accelerate this process.


How can you give your handmade lotions a longer lease on life? 

Once your handmade lotions are opened, it's crucial to shield them from both light and air, as these elements can cause the deterioration of the ingredients. It's best to store the lotion in a cool, dark place, ideally at or below room temperature.

Opting for a cupboard for storage helps prevent excessive exposure to heat and light, which can permeate the container and potentially modify the characteristics of specific ingredients, reducing their effectiveness. Additionally, high temperatures can foster the growth of any existing bacteria, while sunlight exposure may induce alterations in the lotion's color, fragrance, and texture.

For lotions packaged in jars, it's essential to securely seal the lid to prevent bacteria from infiltrating. When applying the lotion, using a fresh cosmetic stick for each use is advisable. In the absence of cosmetic sticks, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before inserting your fingers into the container.


Do handmade lotions have preservatives?

To extend the shelf life of handmade lotions, many artisans turn to natural preservatives like Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, and Grapefruit Seed Extract. These are ingredients that inhibit the growth of bacteria, molds, and yeast without resorting to synthetic chemicals. 

Another common preservative used in handmade lotions is Optiphen Plus. It's not considered a "natural" preservative in the strictest sense but it's a paraben-free and formaldehyde-free preservative, which makes it a more acceptable and effective choice for those seeking alternatives to traditional synthetic preservatives. While it is considered a safer option compared to some other synthetic preservatives, it's not derived from natural sources. Instead, it is a chemically synthesized ingredient that mimics the functions of traditional preservatives. It’s  favored by many handmade lotion artisans for several compelling reasons.


Unpacking the Secrets of Optiphen Plus

Firstly, Optiphen Plus is a versatile and effective solution to extend the shelf life of these natural skincare products. It offers protection against a wide range of potentially harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast, and molds, which could otherwise lead to spoilage or contamination. Handmade lotion artisans appreciate its reliability and effectiveness in maintaining product integrity over time.

Another advantage of Optiphen Plus is its compatibility with a wide variety of formulations, making it a popular choice for different types of handmade lotions. Whether the lotion is heavy on butters and oils or lighter with a more liquid consistency, Optiphen Plus can seamlessly integrate and serve its preservative function.

One of the primary reasons artisans prefer to use Optiphen Plus as a preservative is its commitment to being paraben-free and formaldehyde-free. In the world of natural skincare, avoiding these potentially harmful chemicals is paramount, and Optiphen Plus aligns with this goal. It allows artisans to create handmade lotions that cater to the needs and concerns of eco-conscious consumers seeking products with safer and more sustainable ingredients.

In summary, Optiphen Plus stands as a top choice among handmade lotion artisans due to its effectiveness, versatility, and commitment to safer ingredient standards. It plays a crucial role in preserving the quality and safety of these natural skincare products while aligning with the values of those who prioritize eco-friendly and health-conscious choices.


What we recommend:

Tub Therapy's After Series introduces a range of meticulously handcrafted body lotions that are specifically tailored to enhance your post-shower and bath skincare regimen.


Tub Therapy After Series CBD Lotion on Hand


These lotions not only incorporate the natural goodness of CBD but also leverage the potent moisturizing qualities of organic shea butter to create a sumptuous and deeply hydrating experience for your skin.

The secret to their prolonged efficacy lies in the presence of the dependable Optiphen Plus preservative, which extends their shelf life without compromising the integrity of the ingredients or the well-being of your skin. Beyond these essential components, the After Series lotions are infused with a wealth of nature's treasures, including Cocoa Butter, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and more, to provide your skin with an unparalleled hydration boost following your bath or shower.

Our verdict?

Handmade lotions offer a skin-friendly alternative by minimizing the use of harmful ingredients and chemicals. However, despite our love for these handcrafted treasures, they are not immune to deterioration.

To extend their shelf life, many skilled artisans resort to preservatives, often opting for synthetic options like Optiphen Plus. While not derived from natural sources, it is paraben-free and formaldehyde-free, aligning with the preferences of those who seek alternatives to conventional synthetic preservatives. As a general guideline, it's wise to use your lotion within a few months after opening it to ensure optimal freshness.