I love DIY and all that can be done with it. Using organic ingredients in their rawest form and combining them in different ways to become something new without adding unnecessary harmful ingredients can be a fun and fruitful hobby. As the popularity of DIY hair product grows I find it is of the highest importance that people know how to create products at home in the most sanitary ways possible.
How do I keep my DIY sanitary?
- Always wash your hands, wear protective gear, gloves, hair net, shoes and eye protection. Nothing should be exposed. This reduces the likelihood that your products will be compromised or contaminated. Be sure to protect yourself by always wear closed toe shoes and minimize exposed skin.
- Sanitize you work area, utensils, measuring items, tools, bowls, etc... Be sure everything is sanitized.
- Never cross contaminate. Any tools, pots and other items used should only be for creating your products. Do not use anything for food and beauty products. No bueno.
What containers should I use?
- (Best Option) Glass: Will always be your best choice. It does not absorb ingredients or hold odors after being properly cleansed.
- Plastic containers should be safe for the intended use.
- (Worst Option) Metals: When metals are used it is best to use a high quality steel (stainless preferably). Some metals react negatively with oils, such as essential oils, this is not an ideal option for many things.
Can I use wooden & plastic utensils?
Many people cook with wooden items and feel it should be alright to use them for your products. However, wood absorbs liquid, oils, fragrances and other things. Using wooden utensils and bowls is not an option. They are too porous and that makes it very hard to clean properly. Plastic and rubber on the other hand are composed of chemicals, eliminating them as an option for most.
It is best to use silicone or stainless steel rather than wood or plastic.
Can I re-use containers that I already have?
We know that many reuse/ re-purpose bottles, jars and other containers. If this is something that you do always:
- Be sure that the item is heat safe and not highly porous. Porous materials increase the opportunity for bacteria growth. Always be sure to wash the container with hot water and soap. This removes any residue that may be in the container.
- Boil them fully submerged in a pot of water, for approximately 10-15 minutes. Be sure to use heat resistant tongs or utensils to remove them from the pot. Be very cautious when removing the containers from the water. They will be really hot!
- Be sure everything is 100% dry before using it!
- If you need to use them right away just preheat your oven to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the glass containers in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until they are 100% dry. Let them cool completely and they are ready to be used.
- Be sure to cleanse utensils with a cleanser that is not toxic.
Is it ok to use tap water?
Water is essential to life, we thrive on it - and so do microbes and other nasty bacteria. Ensuring the proper precautions lessens the possibility for having any potential heath issues. You are making preservative free DIY products with water. This is a haven for bacterial growth! This is why I prefer to use commercial grade preservatives. If water is added to any aspect of your product it is imperative to properly preserve the item or use it in a very short amount of time. Water is the #1 ingredient for moisture. It is wonderful for the hair and skin. The type of water used is also very important.
4 common types of water
- Distilled water (best): Is water in its simplest and purist form. It is created by distillation of water. The water is steamed. The steam is captured and the contaminants are discarded.
- Filtered water: High quality water filtration system can be sued as well but the more economical route for the at home diy-er is to just purchase distilled water.
- Boiled water: Is alright for home use products but I still don't recommend it.
- Tap water (worst): Should never be used. It usually contains a great deal of bacteria and undesirable minerals.
Can I add essential oils?
Yes, but only in small amounts. Essential oils are high concentrations of very potent oils that are undiluted, unless otherwise stated, when bought. They must be diluted into a carrier oil prior to use. The most products only contain a maximum of 2% essential oil in products that are made for the skin. Two percent is generally the highest amount that is safe to be used. Only use skin-safe essential oils on your skin and never consume oils that do not state that they are made for consumption.
What is the shelf life of a DIY product?
Because you are not adding preservatives to your products, and because bacteria can grow quickly, it is best to only make a single-use batch of your DIY product. It is best not to make more than what is needed for a very short period of time.
To prolong the shelf life of your product make sure you:
- Always use clean hands when getting products out of your containers. Using a spoon is more ideal so that you are not adding any bacteria into the product with your skin.
- Close containers after each use.
- Refrigerate any product that has water as an ingredient.
- Test pH (with pH strips if needed).
Do you practice safe DIY practices?