I get asked, a lot, about preservatives in lotions. The post about Organic & Natural standards prompted Shelly to ask about Bramble Berry's official stance on preservatives in the "Comments" section of the post. The question about preservative is probably the number one asked question here at Bramble Berry. My standard answer always goes something like:
"I really wish there was a failsafe way for you to use only natural preservatives in your lotions. If there was, I'm betting the really big guys would be using them more. The truth is that right now, there are a lot of great antioxidants like ROE or Vitamin E on the market but the natural-natural preservatives just coming into vogue aren't ideal for the home crafter.
Germaben II or Phenonip is used as less than 1% of the total ingredient in your lotion. I think that people probably do more damage to themselves by carrying around an extra few pounds or eating a Twinkie once a month than they do by having that 1% of preservative in their product.
Plus, if anything were to happen (shudder), you might end up growing a microbe in your lotion that actually harmed someone."
Bramble Berry's official position on preservatives is that for the home crafter, a full spectrum anti microbial such as Germaben II or Phenonip is the most safe and responsible way to preserve lotions.
Imagine my surprise and dismay when a chic-chic body cream I purchased at (throat clear) "A Big Name Salon in Seattle" started molding and growing hairs! Ewwww ... I checked the ingredients list. Sure enough, there are awesome antioxidants (Honeysuckle Extract & Vitamin E) but no effective preservatives.
I called the manufacturer to let them know, figuring they'd want to know how I stored the lotion (on my desk), how old it was (three months since date of purchase) and if there was a batch number on it (there wasn't). They graciously replaced the lotion.
Play it safe and use a preservative in your lotion products until natural preservatives become easy and efficient to use for home crafters.