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Shelf life of natural cosmetics - preservatives, KBT & tips for storage

The approval of skin care products is subject to strict rules in Germany and the EU. This is important so that everyone can be sure that the products do not contain any ingredients that are proven to be toxic or harmful. It is also intended to ensure that the products do not spoil too quickly and that mold does not form, for example. For the latter, a so-called Preservation stress test (KBT), or This bacterial contamination test takes about 6 weeks and is usually carried out by independent institutes in accordance with DIN EN ISO regulations.

During the test, the products are inoculated with specific microorganisms (germs are placed on the product), followed by the determination of the number of germs at fixed intervals. It is specified how these germ numbers must be reduced in order for the skin care product to be 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 even decrease. The cosmetic must not be a breeding ground for the development of germs – and for this, cosmetic products usually need preservatives.

Shelf life of natural cosmetics and best before date of cosmetics

Important tip: Pure oils and very greasy creams (so-called fat melts) need no additional preservatives , as germs cannot find a breeding ground on oils. That is why you will also find in our Baby almond oil , Baby bath oil and Wind and weather balm as well as med balm and med care bath contain no added preservatives.


While common skin care products can rely on a variety of synthetic preservatives, certified natural cosmetics face the challenge that the certificates allow the use of only a few, mostly naturally occurring or nature-identical preservatives. This is not easy!

Shelf life of natural cosmetics and best before date of cosmetics

In order to ensure the same stability for customers, various approved preservatives are often combined in production. This means that the list of ingredients in natural cosmetics is sometimes quite long, which can be confusing at first glance, but is easily explained.

A very popular, naturally occurring and in its properties 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 oxidizes quickly and evaporates.

Also approved for use in certified natural cosmetics are 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. Usually these preservatives are 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 germs and therefore need special preservatives to remain stable. Solid shampoos or shower gels that do not contain water in the recipe like the boep shampoo bars , on the other hand, are completely free of preservatives.

Other natural Combination substances with 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 can be found in all our skin care 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 germs from contamination.

Solid shampoo without preservatives from das boep
In order to give customers the best possible assurance about how long their product will last, most cosmetics have a Best before date (BBD) or other information on shelf life . For the boep care series, you will find the BHD on the bottles on the back of the label, and for the tubes in the tube fold on the back. This period is usually 30 months from production, i.e. 2.5 years. This information naturally only refers to properly stored and unopened products. Once you have opened your product, we recommend to be used within 6 months – just to be on the safe side.

On our oils you will find a symbol with an opened cream jar, a so-called jar, with an indication in months, for example 6M for 6 months or 12M for 12 months. As mentioned above, oils do not provide a good breeding ground for germs, so they can be used beyond the 30 months and should only be used within the specified time after opening.

With these tips your natural cosmetics will last particularly long:

  • Store in a cool, dry place
  • Close tubes, jars and bottles tightly
  • Only remove contents with clean hands
  • Wipe and clean closures from time to time
  • Avoid contamination with other products

Overall, our natural cosmetics are based on the claim that we only use as many preservatives and consistency agents (e.g. emulsifiers) as are really necessary, so that the product arrives to you stable and safe and will give you long-lasting pleasure. However, you may need to shake your product well if the phases have separated slightly (for example, liquid oil has separated) or the color of a product has changed slightly. Such changes are not a sign of poor quality, but a sign of Signs of naturalness . Within the best-before date, such changes are harmless and the product can continue to be used normally.


A notice: If you happen to have one of our products in your hands that is still usable but crumbles heavily or smells bad, please stop using it and let us know at support@dasboep.de . We will then take care of it immediately and provide you with a replacement if necessary.

Best regards,
Dr. Michaela Hagemann

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