The wonders of preservatives

Funny how in the beginning of my pursuit with DIY, I was extremely adamant on not using any preservatives in my products. Taking charge of my own skincare meant that everything must be 100% natural. Also, have you not read how they cause cancer! Respiratory problems! Skin allergies! There were a couple of times I read about the near-death experiences (!!) of those who used products that were laden with chemicals. 

Yet, after much extensive reading and research into the world of preservatives, I became more critical of what I was reading, cross-checking with reliable sites and speaking to people in the medical field. Finally, I came to the conclusion that I simply can't make natural products without considering the usage of preservatives, especially if I want them to last for at least 6 months. Unless I make super-small batches, and use them all up in a week or two, I cannot guarantee that the nasties will not be incubated in this perfect breeding ground full of moisture and nutrients that promote their growth.

At least, I comfort myself, I know the amount of preservatives I use is minimal, usually kept to 1-2% of the whole product or even less. If you check the product label of the Big Boys, you will find that more often than not, they can go up to 8-10% of the entire content, which in itself can be toxic over time. However, if you still choose convenience over control, it's okay! I won't judge. 

Let me end off today's post with a recipe that you can try on your own, inclusive of preservatives. I have tried this myself, and made some changes to the recipes I took off the net, and am currently in my 2nd week of usage. If you choose to omit preservatives, you have to make sure that your product does not come into contact with water, and is stored in the refrigerator immediately.  This will also affected its "whipped" texture. 


* I will only start posting photos of my process once I get past the embarrassment of my (lack of) photography skills.

** After reading through the recipe below, many of you will realise that it is quite a hassle to make your own lotion. Feel free to buy from your local stores, or if you are game, sign up for my hands-on workshop on making lotions here. (Selling koyok, hoho!)


Moisturising Hand and Body Lotion
Adapted from: and


  • 60 ml jojoba oil
  • 30 ml shea butter
  • 2.5 tsp pure beeswax
  • 30 ml distilled water
  • 5 drops rosemary extract or vitamin E oil (optional, may help extend shelf life if you do not use preservatives)
  • 10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional)
  • 1% of a preservative such as optiphen


  1. In a double boiler (I don't have one, so I have fashioned something similar by placing a stainless steel bowl in a pan of boiling water), melt jojoba oil, shea butter and beeswax. Stir gently until the solution is clear, and set aside, allowing to cool to about room temperature.
  2. Add in rosemary extract or vitamin E oil, essential oils (I used lavender and lemon), and optiphen during the cooling down phase.
  3. Ensure that the mixture is cool enough by using a clean finger to press down on the emulsion. It should be semi-solid but soft to the touch. Begin blending with either a mixer or a stick blender. ( I have both, but the stick blender is much easier to clean as it is less messy)
  4. Pour distilled water in a slow, continuous stream while still blending. You can choose to add in less water if you prefer a thicker consistency. Continue to blend your mixture for a couple of minutes to get the desired fluffy texture.
  5. Store in a sealed container (100-120ml) for up to 6 months.  Refrigeration will help prolong shelf life if you choose to omit the preservative.