The approval of skin care products is subject to strict rules in Germany and the EU. This is important so that everyone can rest assured that the products do not contain any ingredients that have been proven to be toxic or harmful. It is also intended to ensure that the products do not go bad too quickly and that mold does not form, for example. For the latter, a so-called Preservation Stress Test (KBT), or also Bioburden test to be carried out. This germ load test takes about 6 weeks and is usually carried out by independent institutes according to DIN EN ISO regulations.
During the test, the products are inoculated with defined microorganisms (germs are placed on the product), followed by the determination of the germ count at fixed time intervals. It is specified how these germ counts must be reduced so that the skin care product is considered stable. So if the product later comes into contact with mold, the product's recipe alone must ensure that these germs not only do not multiply, but actually reduce them. The cosmetic must therefore not be a breeding ground for the development of germs - and cosmetic products usually need preservatives for this.
While common skin care products can fall back on a large number of synthetic preservatives, certified natural cosmetics have the challenge that the certificates only allow the use of a few, mostly naturally occurring or nature-identical preservatives. That's not easy!
In order to be able to ensure the same stability for customers, various approved preservatives are often combined during production. As a result, the list of ingredients in natural cosmetics is sometimes quite long, which can be irritating at first glance, but is so easy to explain.
A very popular, naturally occurring and in its property also preservative combination substance is alcohol . Used in low concentrations, it gives the product preservative properties without drying out the skin. When it comes into contact with air, alcohol also oxidizes quickly and evaporates.
Also approved for use in certified natural cosmetics nature-identical preservatives such as benzoic acid, salicylic acid, sorbic acid and their salts. These substances are sometimes also permitted for the preservation of food. These preservatives are usually only found in products that do not remain on the skin but are washed off, such as shampoos (eg boep baby shampoo ) or shower gels. These liquid products always contain a lot of water, which is the perfect breeding ground for germ formation and therefore need special preservatives to remain stable. Solid shampoos or shower gels that do not contain water in the formula like this boep shampoo pieces , on the other hand, do not contain any preservatives.
More natural Combination substances with a preservative effect are essential oils and vitamin E. Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol in the ingredients list, is a fat-soluble vitamin and can be obtained from many plants. It has antioxidant, elasticity-enhancing and skin-soothing properties and is found in all of our skincare products. Essential oils are used in natural cosmetics as fragrances and at the same time have preservative properties. Rosemary and thyme oil, for example, are known as "bacteria killers" and thus prevent contamination.
With our oils you will find a symbol with an open cream jar, a so-called crucible, with an indication in months, for example 6M for 6 months or 12M for 12 months. Since oils, as already mentioned above, are not a good breeding ground for germs, they can also be used for more than 30 months and should only be used after opening within the specified time.
With these tips, your natural cosmetics will last a particularly long time:
- Store cool and dry
- Close tubes, jars and bottles tightly
- Remove contents only with clean hands
- Wipe and clean fasteners from time to time
- Avoid contamination with other products
Overall, for our natural cosmetics, we aim to only use as many preservatives and consistency enhancers (e.g. emulsifiers) as is really necessary, so that the product arrives stable and safe with you and give you pleasure for a long time. However, it can always be the case that you have to shake your product well if the phases have separated slightly from each other (e.g. liquid oil has separated) or the color of a product has changed slightly. Such changes are not a sign of poor quality, but a signs of naturalness . Such changes are harmless within the best-before date and the product can continue to be used normally.
A notice: If you actually have one of our products in your hands that is actually still good, but is crumbly or smells bad, then please stop using it and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will then take care of it immediately and if necessary. deliver replacement.
dr Michaela Hagemann