By Alesha Escobar of Butterfly Beaute
Whether you’ve concocted an Ayurvedic tea rinse or whipped up a moisturizing shea butter recipe, your homemade mixes will have this in common—they need to be properly stored and preserved. It’s exciting to be able to create and blend your own conditioners and moisturizers—it’s not so exciting if their potency declines and they become overridden with bacterial growth or mold.
If you’re a mixtress, or would like to give it a try, there are several methods to storing and preserving your rinses and mixes so that you can get the longest shelf life possible and protect yourself from contact with harmful bacteria. One common method is to refrigerate your mixture for five to seven days (and then discard any remaining portion). Just as if you were storing food, storing your mixture in this manner will help preserve it for a few days.
Another easy avenue is to just create an anhydrous mixture. This means that the contents contain absolutely no water or water-based ingredients. Say, for example, a blend of olive oil and jojoba oil—this would be an anhydrous mix because it’s free of water. Anhydrous mixes don’t require preservatives, but it is helpful to add in an antioxidant to slow any oxidation of oils (this will keep the oils “fresher” for a longer period of time).
A slightly more advanced method is to add preservatives such as ascorbic acid (a form of Vitamin C), tocopherol (Vitamin E), grapefruit seed extract, and essential oils that are known to be antibacterial and antiseptic. It is important to do one’s research on the proper ratios of preservative vs. batch mix so that you will know how much to add. The benefit of adding preservatives is that your mix can last for months instead of days.
Finally, keep in mind sanitary procedures, such as using clean hands (or gloves) and sterilized utensils when mixing your concoctions, and to store non-refrigerated mixtures in a dry cool place. If something smells funny or doesn’t look right, then toss it! Remember, it is important for any mixtress to understand the basics of storing and preserving her mixes, so it is strongly suggested to do one’s own research and to use one’s own judgment when using these methods. As long as you’re safe, you’ll find that creating your own small batches of rinses and moisturizers can be beneficial to your existing hair and skin regimen.