How To Preserve Homemade Hair Products

Homemade hair care products have a much shorter shelf life than their commercial counterparts. Unfortunately some of the preservatives that are used in commercial preparations to extend the shelf life of the products are said to be quite harmful in the long run to your health. Hence, the reason that some persons are desirous of making their own hair products or using natural alternatives.

Here are some suggestions for how to preserve your hair products so that they can give you a little more shelf life if you are making them at home and simple suggestions to adapt when making your own products.

Know Your Natural Preservatives

Natural preservatives are safer to use in hair care products because they already exist in nature. Most of the preservatives that come from plant sources are safe for human consumption because our immune system is quite used to them. Here are a few of the preservatives; many of them can make your hair products last for up to a month or more.

You can add antioxidants directly to your oils to help keep them fresh, or you can add the antioxidant to the oil phase of your recipe.

Essential Oils-Vitamin E in particular is great for keeping oil from going rancid or oxidizing. This oil can slow the growth of certain bacteria. Other essential oils that demonstrate antioxidant and anti-microbial properties are: jojoba, cinnamon, clove, cumin, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, rose, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, tea tree, thyme and neem oil.

Salt (sodium chloride) – salt draws out moisture and creates an environment that is not hospitable for bacteria. A tiny amount of salt to water based hair products can make a difference to the shelf life. The salt restricts and protects food from yeasts and molds.

Sugar/Molasses – brown sugar and molasses is used as a natural preservative inhibiting bacterial growth after food or products have been heated.

Lemon/Grapefruit Seed/Citric Acid – The acid in citrus removes moisture to prevent spoilage and rotting. Grapefruit seed extract is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, disinfectant and preservative.

Honey – is known for being highly stable against microbial growth because of it’s low moisture content and water activity, low pH and anti-microbial constituents.

Make Smaller Batches

One of the key things when making your own hair products is to just make enough for one or two uses. Making too much may cause the ingredients to spoil on you.

Sniff Test

All oils are sensitive to heat, light, and exposure to oxygen, water-based preparations are easier and the quickest to go bad. If your products start to separate or smell they have gone rancid and need to be discarded.  Do not use rancid products, if you have an oil concoction that you intend to keep for a while add some Vitamin E oil to the mixture.


If you are using food as a base for your recipes including bananas, avocados and milk. Refrigerate or freeze your raw ingredients before they start to go bad and then thaw them out and make enough for one session.


Bathrooms are usually humid or warm and notorious for harbouring germs, store products in your bedroom or a cool place, preferably your refrigerator.


Your safest way to preserve your natural recipes is to avoid water in the formulation However, if water is unavoidable make small amounts for just a single use.


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