Shelf Life of Handcrafted Creams & Lotions

This post was inspired by finding a jar of thick lotion I made for my sister last year in one of her cupboards. It was a fragrance free cocoabutter lotion made with a strong calendula tea. 

Why? Although everything looked smelled and felt okay, it had passed the ‘fresh by’ date on handcrafted lotion (with preservative) that I’m comfortable with and its not always that nasties growing in product is visible to the naked eye. Especially if you live in hot, sticky high humidity areas like I do. 

Unlike commercially produced lotions which are usually no more than chemicals that help preserve the emulsion for a very long time and under stressful conditions, handmade creams are not meant to last forever.

Also, unlike handcrafted soap which tends to get better with age (unless one or more of your oils go rancid) creams and lotions are best used up within 6 months. Some may last up to a year if kept in pump bottles away from direct heat, etc, but I would err on the side of 6 months and just make a fresh batch with active ingredients.

Spa ‘Breakfast’ Salt Soap

Coffee with milk. Oatmeal with a generous drizzle of honey. A slice of succulent red grapefruit on the side. Of course I’m talking about soap šŸ˜€

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I took a sniff of a sample Cafe Latte fragrance in my stash and I just had to make this breakfast inspired salt bar as my next ‘creation’. I like how it all came together and it’s my first double batch salt bars because timing is VERY important when making these.

This scrubby salt bar has ground coffee beans in it for deep exfoliation {ain’t I sounding high brow cosmetics-y all of a sudden šŸ˜€ } so I would use it like 3ce a week or every other day. Coffee is also said to help boost blood circulation under the skin and is a popular ingredient in anti-cellulite products.

Salt naturally stings cuts in the skin so I wouldn’t advice this near any kind of broken skin. Clogged pores would thank it though.

Pine Tar Soap

One of the reasons I started making soap and stuff was to strip as many unnecessary unpronounceables from my family’s personal bath and body products. Also, growing up with skin issues has made me empathetic to the needs of people currently battling with skin issues, and I like to help.

I’m not a skin (or any other kind of) doctor but I read widely and try stuff out on myself all the time. My little ones will grow up either loving or hating the smell of calendula and not even know why :D.

So…pine tar soap. I’ve read that people with serious skin issues like eczema and psoriasis have found a measure of relief (not cure) from using pine tar soap. I was put off making it because many soap makers noted the tar (made from burning wood in the most part) smelled pretty strong and needed to be cooked outside, otherwise the smell would linger for days in the house.

However I was chatting to a dear lady recently and the words children, atopic dermatitis, severe itching and psoriasis popped up so I asked her to do some research in pine tar soap and decide if she wanted to try it out. I also sent a bar for them to try.

She immediately reported that the itching had stopped (woot woot), which is even more relief as our hot dry season approaches.

I left the soap unscented and cooked inside the house. I found the best word to describe the soap is ‘medicinal’ and not one person in the house complained about it. Maybe we are used to strong smells or it’s not as bad as it’s been touted? Whatever the case may be, I’m happy some dear children are no longer terribly itchy after bathing.

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Hot Process Soap

Here it is….my first soap in my DIY tall skinny mould. I’m totally sold on it! 20140717-104808.jpg

This soap is made with Virgin coconut oil and unrefined Shea butter. I added coconut milk for even more lush lather. Pink and poppy seeds for visual interest. Fragranced with a citrusy blend that had my LO sniffing around in the kitchen yesterday and this morning.

Re hot process, I like it more every time I do it. It might just become my ‘thing’ šŸ˜€

I made this whole batch for a very supportive friend and customer so I cut them extra chunky. Hope she likes them!