What are the 5 most common mistakes you can make, when starting to make homemade cosmetics

Are you disappointed with the quality of homemade cosmetics? When you want to make homemade cosmetics for yourself or for example for your family, of course you want a product of the best quality that will last a long time. Making such a product at home is possible, but it also requires experience and knowledge.

Read how to avoid the 5 most common mistakes when making homemade cosmetics.


1. Shelf life can become a challenge

In small-scale production, attention should be paid to shelf life in exactly the same way as in industrial production. If the emulsion cream or face lotion gets spoiled, the situation can even be dangerous. A cream rich in microbes can cause a serious skin infection. If the skin is broken, microbes can also enter the bloodstream. In homemade cosmetics, we ourselves are responsible for our product safety.

If you make an emulsion cream and store it at room temperature, you should always use a preservative. If you leave the preservative out of the cream, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a week. Emulsion cream containing water does not remain clean enough for more than a week.

When the cream starts to get spoiled, you will not be able to see or smell anything unusual about it. The cream looks still fine. the presence of bacteria can only be determined from a laboratory sample. We can’t constantly take laboratory samples of creams, so we have to act on the safe side. So, throw away all creams that are older than a week. By giving them up, you will save yourself from trouble.

The shelf life of creams can also be improved by sterilizing the (glass) jars in the oven or with strong alcohol (70%). You can also sterilize all dry ingredients in the oven (100 degrees, 30 min) before making the cream.

Never dispense the cream with your fingers, but use a spoon or spatula. Fingers always carry bacteria into the cream. The easiest way to avoid bacteria getting into the cream is to avoid touching the product with your bare hands.

I always keep all the creams I make myself in the fridge. In this way, the cream’s freshness is more certain.

Always add a label to the cream jars with the date of manufacture and the INCI list. A cream containing a preservative usually lasts for 3-6 months, and an emulsion cream without a preservative only for a week in the refrigerator. Afterwards, it’s impossible to remember if a cream contained a preservative or not and when it was made.

2.Homemade cosmetic product is not a copy of industrially made cosmetic product

You may have some great industrially made cosmetic product in mind when you start formulating your own cosmetic product at home. Actually, there is nothing wrong with this. Making copies of industrial creams can be really interesting and challenging. There is just one thing we must understand; A homemade copy of an industrial product is not really a homemade cosmetics product, although it is homemade and a cosmetics product. For example, you can also ask if a canned fish prepared at home, such as sardines, is homemade food. No, they are canned food, very delicious canned food, but they are not homemade food. Homemade food is usually considered as fresh and delicious, just prepared and still warm.

Prepare a lotion designed just for you

Industrial cosmetics, including natural cosmetics, are built from very different starting points than homemade cosmetics. The basic idea of homemade cosmetics is you and your unique, individual skin. Industrial cosmetics are built for mass markets. It’s built to suit anyone’s skin. Industrial cosmetics have many ingredients and properties that you can forget when making homemade cosmetics.

The appearance, skin feel, fragrance and packaging of industrial cosmetics are designed with sales and marketing in mind. Only a few unscented products are made, because unfortunately they don’t sell. The product must feel light on the skin and absorb quickly. When the customer tests the cream in the store, the cream should disappear from the skin in a few seconds. Otherwise, the purchase decision is negative. No one wants to buy a cream that doesn’t absorb into the skin immediately.

Creams that absorb well are often too light. When you make homemade cosmetics, you can decide yourself about the cream’s absorbency and skin-protecting effect. You just need to learn a little about the fatty acids in oils and how they behave on the skin. If you have some knowledge about the theory of natural ingredients in cosmetics, you can make for yourself incredibly effective products that are impossible to get in stores. By making your own cosmetics, you get a completely natural cream that serves your skin specifically.

Make a cream that does not contain ingredients that are not suitable for you

Industrially made cream often has too many ingredients. Today, however, there are many natural cosmetic products available with only a few ingredients. it is very important for me to be able to choose products suitable for my own skin. My eczema skin does not tolerate very many raw materials. It is often not possible to avoid allergenic ingredients in industrial products. You have to know how to choose, in a way, between two evils. You don’t have to that, if you can make the cream for yourself from the ingredients that suit to  your own skin.

If you wish, you can immediately leave all dyes and fragrances out of the product you are planning. They are the most sensitizing ingredients. You can also make products completely without sensitizing preservatives. Emulsion creams can also be prepared without preservatives if they are stored in the refrigerator and used within a week.

Many of the excipients in industrial cosmetics are completely useless. They are in the product only to facilitate the customer’s purchase decision. Such substances include, for example, chemicals that affect the structure of the product. They thicken or make the cream gel-like. On the skin, such substances are almost always useless.  You don’t need additional, useless substances in homemade cosmetics. It is enough that you have collected substances that affect the well-being of your skin, such as oils and herbal extracts, and you combine them into one product with as little effort as possible.

3. Inappropriate storage containers

Storage containers are important in homemade cosmetics, even if the product is not intended to be sold. Cream jars don’t necessarily have to be very expensive and fancy. It is enough that they are intact and the material is glass. Not all plastic jars are suitable, especially if you want to use essential oils and most of us do. Essential oils dissolve plastics. The ingredients of plastics are transferred to the product and through it to your skin. This is not the intention at all. So always preferably use glass jars. They can be recycled and used again and again.

4. Too strong active ingredients

When you want to make homemade cosmetics, you have to take care of product safety yourself. As I stated earlier, responsibility for product shelf life is a very important matter. Another product liability issue is the chemicals and other active substances in the product. In general, cosmetic products mainly contain water and oils. These are the only substances with which there are no major problems. Oil and water do not cause skin irritation unless you happen to be allergic to some oil.

In the case of active ingredients, you must definitely follow the dosing instructions of the seller/manufacturer of the raw material. If there are no instructions available, always start experimenting with a new active substance in very small amounts. By small amounts I mean, for example, a tenth of a gram or a drop. The dosage can be increased if necessary. With many plant chemicals, it can take a long time before any irritation starts to appear on the skin.

Active ingredients in cosmetics that can cause problems

• Essential oils; when overdosed, they are a health risk. Read my post about essential oils.

• Acids; acids can be found, for example, in fruits and berries and vinegar. Lactic acid is also sold in online stores that sell raw materials for homemade cosmetics. Ascorbic acid and salicylic acid are also strong acids that are widely used in homemade cosmetics. Acids are solvents and corrode the skin if used excessively. You should be especially careful with all acids.

• Plant chemicals, alcohol extracts from herbs, strong oil extracts, pitches, resins, etc. can contain large amounts of substances that strongly affect the skin. Especially if you have prepared the plant extracts yourself, their strength can surprise you. Phytochemicals cause allergies easily. Therefore, all plant extracts should be dosed drop by drop. Get yourself pipettes for dosing. You can’t really measure drops otherwise.

• Baking soda is a very commonly used active ingredient in homemade cosmetics. It is considered safe, because it is food. However, baking soda is quite alkaline and therefore not suitable for the skin. Especially if baking soda is used in deodorants, it starts to sting the skin sooner or later.

• Salts are here to stay both in homemade cosmetics and natural cosmetics. They are very useful if you know how to use them correctly and in the right places. Salt is also often used in deodorants and scrubs. The problems with salt are somewhat the same as with baking soda. Salt is also alkaline and therefore easily makes the skin sting. Salt is much better for oily skin than for thin and dry skin. Salt is also a very troublesome ingredient in the most common emulsions.

How to accurately measure the ingredients of homemade cosmetics

When you start making homemade cosmetics, you should immediately invest in a good scale and other measuring tools. In cosmetics, substance ratios are sometimes really important. Problems easily arise with ingredients that are only needed in very small quantities. A preservative is a good example of such an ingredient. If a preservative is required for 0.5% of the volume of the entire cream batch, measuring it is really challenging. Preservatives have usage limits that must be followed for safety reasons. That’s why you have to forget about “pinches” and roughly dosing. Therefore, good measuring spoons and a scale that also measures tenths of a gram are necessary.

Pipettes are also very handy for measuring small quantities. There’s no point in trusting spoons. They come in many sizes.

5. When you start to make your own cosmetics, how do you make sure that the recipe is reliable

Photo by Mi Min on Unsplash

There are a lot of recipes for homemade cosmetics available online.  You may find thousands of different recipes for creams and lotions and deodorants. However, many recipes are quite rough. The dosing of the ingredients can cause a lot of trouble. I myself have paid attention especially to the quality of the ingredients.

In many instructions, the ingredients are chosen without a clue about the subject. The needs of the skin have not been considered at all. Especially in DIY hair care products, coconut oil is commonly used. However, coconut oil is not a suitable oil for this purpose. Coconut oil cannot be easily removed from the hair. Applying other oils liberally to the hair requires a really effective shampoo so that the hair is clean again. Effective shampoos do not separate fats. Along with coconut oil, they also remove the hair’s own sebum.

I have created this blog specifically to help you choose the right ingredients and methods when making homemade cosmetics. When you start making homemade cosmetics, you take a big leap towards an ecological lifestyle. It is very unfortunate if people give up making homemade cosmetics just because the online instructions are so wrong and they often recommend unsuitable ingredients.

What problems have you had in making cosmetics? Comment your own experiences below this post!

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