When flashy headlines about hormonal disturbances and cancer risks from Parabens and chemicals erupted all over the news, the media mistakenly put a blanket blacklist over ALL preservatives in cosmetic products.
The public responded by seeking products that made ‘preservative free’ claims, looking out to make sure none of these scary sounding carcinogens were added to their skincare. It makes sense, after all, who wants cancer? Unfortunately, the reality is that the preservatives in a cosmetic actually work to make a product SAFER, not deadlier, and it’s important to understand the good kind of preservative, from the ones you’d like to avoid.
Preservatives in cosmetics aren’t only about the shelf life. Most synthetic chemicals don’t need the extra longevity and natural products decay regardless (which is why you need to keep an eye on your expiration date!). One of the main reasons why preservatives are added is to prevent microbial growth.
Every single water-based cosmetic (that’s every cream, serum, toner & more) grows microbes, and natural extracts with higher eco burdens are more susceptible to them. You wouldn’t eat a bowl of guacamole that had been sitting out on the counter for a month, and that unpreserved avocado lotion isn’t any better off. Your dream product may have just contracted a veritable petri dish of bacteria, yeast, mould, and even worse you won’t even know it.
Because the microscopic cultures can’t be seen by the naked eye until they’re supersized, the bacteria can grow and multiply for weeks before anything even looks weird and mouldy. Your zero-preservative cosmetic may have been capable of killing you before it even left the factory.
You may ask, what about the Natural Preservatives like Grapeseed Oil or Rosemary Extract? This seems to be case of incorrect information going viral. Truth is, ingredients like GSE and Rosemary are NOT preservatives. These mainly act as anti-oxidants to slow down the oils from going rancid, but do not uphold the integrity of the product by preventing microbial growth.
Thankfully, though, technology and green chemistry is advancing to the public demands of safer ‘natural’ preservatives. New compounds derived from natural botanicals are quickly becoming game changers and hurdle technology has begun to use good bacteria from preventing bad bacteria growth. Preservatives made up sources like fermented vegetables, to acids from herbs have now proven to be as effective at preventing microbial growth just as well as synthetic chemicals.
At Herbs & Heart, our Australian natural skincare embraces these newer preservatives that are natural in its origins, and are ECOCert Approved (Meaning they are approved for use in Organic & Natural products).
OUR PRESERVATIVES OF CHOICE ARE:
A 100% completely natural and effective broad spectrum preservative. It is made from the extracts of Oregano leaf extract, Thyme extract, Cinnamon bark extract, Rosemary Peaf extract, Lavender Flower extract, Lemon peel extract, Peppermint leaf extract, Golden Seal Root extract and Olive leaf extract.
A plant based preservative that is comprised of P Anisic Acid from the Basil Leaf, and Sodium Levulinate & Sodium Anisate, that are derived from Corn & Grapeseed sources.
A unique chemical discovery that originated from fermented radishes. The Bacteria used traditionally to make Kimchi (That delicious cabbage & radish pickle at your local Korean BBQ joint) Leuconostoc kimchii, a lactic acid bacteria consists of an isolate peptide that is secreted from the bacteria during the fermentation process that has been shown to have antimicrobial benefits.
Elderberries have traditionally been used for making wine, syrup, and confectioneries. The flowers and berries of these plants have been used most often for medicinal purposes. Elderberries are rich in a variety of phytonutrients that exhibit both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and quercetin. The fruit also contains anthocyanins, which have been shown to help boost the immune system. This unique superfruit is also an excellent source of undecylenic acid, an organic fatty acid that provides broad antimicrobial benefits, but is especially effective against fungal microorganisms.
Naticide is a safe preservative derived from vegetables, that adds a subtle sweet smell of almonds to the cream. Naticide was one of the first ‘Natural’ preservatives to come out on the market, and has the INCI (Legal) name of ‘Parfum’. This is unfortunate as other companies use the term ‘Parfum’ to disguise a number of harmful toxins, that Naticide, well, is not.
We are dedicated to creating a skincare line using the best of nature’s ingredients, whilst committing to make those products as safe as possible. We are also committed to being 100% transparent with our clients and educating and informing about ingredients in skincare. If you have any other questions get in touch with us and we’d love to chat further!