As consumers, we don’t see a lot of mould in our lives. Every now and again, perhaps there is a plate of food that got forgotten at the back of the fridge, or some soft fruit that weren’t eaten quickly enough. But rarely do we see our facial product and products we use on our bodies growing the tell-tale signs of mold. Of course that is a good thing!
We know intuitively that if we don’t keep good hygiene in our kitchen, that mold will grow quickly, and it is the same for the product developers who help to create new personal care products. We want the products, whether it be makeup removal wipes or baby shampoo, to keep ‘fresh’ for enough time for folks to buy them, bring them home and to use them up – that’s why we have expiration dates (or Period After Opening) on products.
To hit those expiration dates, we need to carefully balance all the benefits we bring to the skin (which unfortunately tend to be great bug food), along with preserving the product against bugs. As product developers, we can play with different aspects of the mixture, to inhibit microbial growth – such as the pH – and we also have a few preservatives we can choose from, that are intended for use on the skin, and also keep the product fresh.
Brands can also monitor and optimize processes during the mixing of the product, to ensure that the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and not impaired during the process (such as using excessive heat). It also goes without saying, the same way as you keep your kitchen clean, the facility where the products are produced are also kept clean – although, they are checked regularly using micro swabs and the teams are highly trained in cleaning & sanitization.
I know that preservatives are often seen as an enemy, but the reality from behind the scenes is that the data is ever improving – to help product developers and brands make ever-better choices on the way they preserve their products.
Using a fine balance of science, experience, and knowledge of your products, means that it is possible to have products in your bathroom that do all the things you love about them, whilst keeping fresh.